Sunday, July 20, 2008

If your going to do Dollywood... must have the following things:

  1. One Gold Season Pass per family
  2. A refillable mug for each member of the family

We went to Dollywood today and it became clear to me that those two things were the best deals Dollywood is offering. The reason I say this is, the Gold Season Pass saves you from having to pay for parking, PLUS it saves you 20% on ALL purchases inside the park. We love getting a 20% discount on all of our food and drinks, plus it is nice getting that same discount in all of the shops. Did you know that Dolly's Closet has a wide selection of Vera Bradley items? With the Gold Pass they are always 20% cheaper than anywhere else. Also, did you know that The Emporium is now carrying Life Is Good merchandise? These items, which are hard to find on sale at other shops, are always discounted for Gold Pass holders, as well.

Now, as for the refillable mugs, yes, they are a little on the expensive side when you first purchase them (but again, save 20% with your Gold Pass). The good thing is you can reuse those mugs year after year. Dollywood doesn't have a policy that the mugs are only good for one season. We are still using mugs from 4 years ago. I don't know about you, but I think we have definitely gotten our moneys worth out of them. Also, you can ask that your mug be filled with water and there is no charge - at all. Today, we were thirsty and got an Icee in one mug and ice water in the other and it only cost, $1.71. Sure beats, the menu prices of $3.79 for an Icee (in a non-refillable cup) and $2.89 for a bottled water. See what I mean - what a bargain!

We also found a bargain for lunch. At Victoria's Parlor they have a family special on Sundays; you get a large pizza, 1 bowl of salad, 4 breadsticks, and 4 large drinks for $28.99. This was so much food. And honestly, I don't know of any other amusement park where you can feed a family of 4 for a little over $23 (remember, the 20% Gold Pass savings).

With the economy in the tank the way it is, I think a lot of families are opting not to go on vacation this year. They just don't feel they can afford the gas, hotel and entertainment. I know in our house, we are making some adjustments too, as a result of the rising gas prices. But it was nice to see that we could go to Dollywood today and it didn't break the bank. A good time was had by all; and we ate until we were stuffed and walked away leaving food behind that we couldn't finish (we were nice and offered our untouched 5 pieces of pizza, still in the box, to a large family sitting behind us).

We will definitely go back again before the summer is over and, of course, we will have to attend the Harvest Celebration and Smokey Mountain Christmas. Sometimes I forget how lucky we are to have Dollywood as a neighbor. Today, however, I was reminded of what a good neighbor it is.

Friday, July 18, 2008

BUNCO Night - Whoopee!

Tonight's Bunco game is going to be a little different that usual. Normally, one person will host the game at their home and they are responsible for providing the food and drinks. Unfortunately, this was our friend E's month to host the soiree and, for obvious reasons, she is not really in the hostess frame of mind. So, tonight we are helping her out and we are doing a pot-luck Bunco. Everyone is suppose to bring a yummy dish to share but I have had a few reservations about this plan since it was suggested. As with all groups, we have a few people that will try to do the easiest, quickest and cheapest thing, which usually means showing up with a bag of chips and a jar of salsa. Well, needless to say, that is not how my brain works. I have worried that we won't have a meat or main course of any type. Or, we won't have enough food to feed our group of 12. Or, we will only have desserts, chips and drinks. For these reasons, I am probably doing more than my fair share, just to make sure that we have enough to make a meal. After all, like many of the other girls, I wait to eat my dinner at the game, and the last thing I want is to leave hungry at the end of the evening.

So, my contribution to tonight's meal is Mini-BBQ Sandwiches and Georgia Cracker Salad. And yes, my contribution is quick and easy, but unfortunately for me, not too cheap. Oh well, that is the price I am willing to pay for convenience.

Here are my recipes:

Missy's Mini BBQ Sandwiches Makes 60 sandwiches

4 pkg frozen Parker House Yeast Rolls (like Sister Schubert)
2-18 oz containers of Lloyd's Original BBQ Pork
BBQ Sauce (your favorite brand)

Heat the BBQ pork in a pan on the stove top. Add additional BBQ sauce if you want your meat a little juicier.

Bake the rolls according to package directions.

When the rolls are done, remove them from the aluminum pan and split. Fill with the BBQ and then return them to the pan. Cover with foil until time to serve.

(My sister made these for a party and they were delicious. Super easy and super fast!)

Georgia Cracker Salad

I posted this recipe earlier, so I won't bother retyping it - just click the link if you didn't get it the first time (Anna). Tongue Out

Monday, July 14, 2008


My word for today is "friends". I have crossed paths with many today and each one has touched my heart in a different way.

First, I was finally able to meet (face to face) my friend Angie and her handsome son, Edison, and her adorable daughter, Caroline. Angie and I have been Blogging Buddies for a few months now. I can't really remember how we found each other, but we did. It didn't take long to realize that we lived in the same small town. We both have been on the look-out for each other for awhile now, but amazingly enough hadn't managed to bump into each other. Well, today I was picking up Kaylea from Arts and Craft camp (at Angie's church - where she also works) and I decided to go upstairs and introduce myself. It was nice to finally meet the person behind the words and pictures that I look at daily. Hopefully, we will see each other again very soon and very often.

Second, I went to a funeral this evening to support my friend, E. Her father passed away very unexpectedly. He was in his 80's and lived with E. She found him Saturday morning sitting in his recliner, but he had already passed. E said that she feels he went quickly and peacefully and she is getting comfort in him knowing that he wasn't alone. Nonetheless, this was a very hard thing to watch a friend go through. My heart goes out to E because she doesn't have any other family to speak of. She has never been married; therefore, we, her friends, are her support system.

Lastly, at the funeral I was able to see a lot of friends I have made through my years as a substitute teacher. You see, E is a teacher from Kaylea's old school and a lot of faculty members were there to support E, as well. It was a little strange for me being the only "non-staff' member standing in our large group. The Principal, Assistant Principal, Secretaries, Teachers and Assistants were all there and I felt like I actually fit in. Even though I have had my difficulties in accepting many things that have happened to me at that school; I really felt like they were a family, of sorts, to me.

So, whether you are making new friends, offering support and love to existing friends or just laughing and sharing stories with old friends, your life is a happier place because they are in it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Date Night in the Old City

Last night Bub and I had another one of our "Date Nights". These are always so nice. We actually get to spend a few hours alone and have dinner where WE want to and have an uninterrupted adult conversation. We were kinda late getting started, it was 7:00 when we left the house. WOW, I can't believe that I just said that. Back in the day, we wouldn't even think about going out until at least 9 or 10. Anyway, we had the usual discussion about where we would go. Bub saying, "I don't care." And me saying, "It doesn't matter." Finally, Bub came up with an idea and just started driving. He does this sometimes; I never can tell where the car will stop. Honestly, I really like the surprise of it all.

Well, last night he drove down to the Old City. After parking the car, we just walked the street trying to decide where to eat. I will admit, there aren't that many choices down there anymore; so with our limited selections, we decided on Patrick Sullivan's. When we went into the restaurant, there were several people seated at tables and the bar, but it was not overly crowded. Our meal was very good. Actually, I was quite surprised. I had a French Dip sandwich and the roast beef actually melted in my mouth. I, also, had the Creamed Spinach as a side; it was as good as any I have ever had. Bub tried the Prime Rib sandwich and he said his was excellent, as well. He didn't get too adventurous with his side, just had the steak fries. Though they were the traditional choice, their rosemary seasoning made them better than the norm.

It is sad that the Old City isn't the wild and crazy street party that is was back in the 90's, but it is still a nice area to go to for dinner. (Heck, I guess if it was still a crazy street party, old farts like Bub and I wouldn't go near the place). As we were leaving the restaurant around 9:30ish, the streets were getting a little more crowded. It would be nice if that area of downtown could experience a rebirth like Market Square. Let's go back to the days of the funky little eclectic shops, the art galleries, the outdoor dining, and coffee and dessert at Java or JFG. Those were the days! Actually, those were the date nights that Bub and I had when we were actually dating. Long before marriage, family, mortgages, etc. What a great place to go back to last night! Thanks Bub, for taking me on a trip down memory lane!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Yes, we made it home from the trek to the great white north. I was really looking forward to going to Wisconsin and exploring new territory. I have to be honest, though. It didn't look much different than Indiana or Illinois to me. Lots of corn fields and dairy farms, but not much more. Of course, you have to remember, I live at the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains (which we kindly refer to as 'God's Country') so it is hard to compete with my everyday surroundings.

The trip north was excruciating. We followed ThiThi who was being guided by the misguided Magellan. I think I have figured out what "GPS" REALLY stands for, something along the lines of "Goshdarned Piece of Scheist". (Ya know I have to keep things clean around here). That stupid Magellan and its wonderful services turned a 13 1/2 hour trip into a 17 1/2 hour trip. All I can say is, at least I was in good company.

My cousin, Cizzy, and her two girls, K8 and SJ, joined Kaylea and me. We had a lot of fun, some at ThiThi's expense (sorry, sis!). There was a lot of laughing and quality time spent with them. Heck, what other choice did we have. The girls watched lots of movies and Cizzy and I listened to lots of movies. Once we reached the 14 hour mark, we all were ready for the ride to be over, but we managed to endure the remainder of the trip.

Before making the return trip, I invested in this really neat navigational device - it's called an ATLAS. Wow, imagine my surprise and joy when I was able to drive home without having to change interstates 14 times and encountering hardly any traffic. Yes, the return trip was still a long one, but it was sooooooooo much easier. Cizzy made a profound statement. She said she believes the GPS makers are in cahoots with the oil companies and getting kickbacks for the extra gas people are buying by following the GPS' directions (i.e. - going the long way). Ya know, she might be onto something. Makes ya think, don't it?

Luckily for Kaylea and me, we were able to stay at Cizzy's house Sunday night. That enabled me to rest and catch my second wind for the remaining 4 1/2 hour drive to K'town. Needless to say, we were in no big hurry to leave Indiana on Monday. If Kaylea had her way, we would still be there. I had to explain to her that we just couldn't move in with SJ. I guess we finally made it home about 7:30 Monday evening.

We are still trying to recuperate. Both of us are tired and our butts are dragging. Kaylea slept until 10:30 this morning and we're still in our PJs. I have a feeling this will just be one of those lazy days.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Kilroy was here!

Yeah, defacing this one too! See, this is what happens when you put me in charge of your comments... I make comments too! Guest blogging is so much fun... for realz!

Anyway, you've heard the scoop... they're speeding north, apparently one potty break at a time. From the sounds of things, outhouse tours are now a family specialty. Who knew? Anyway, if you want some sound advice, avoid the Steak & Shake. I'm just sayin'.

Apparently Angel is over St. Vitus' Dance with the flea treatment, and her cousins are doing better after their bath this AM too. So far Sargeant's is studiously avoiding calling me back, which is beyond shocking, I know. But I did get in touch of the Store Manager at PetSmart and I let him know in detail what I thought of the product in question. You know, the toxic snake oil that they are selling as a Flea and Tick preventative. Tricky bunch of weasels!

Okay, so that's enough ranting about the dog stuff. The proprietress will be back with tales of wonder and delight soon enough. Until then... l8ter g8ter!

DOG OWNERS -- BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have just completed one of the scariest nights of my life and I feel responsible to share it with everyone that will listen (or read as the case may be). Yesterday we gave Angel, our 9 lb Schnoodle, a bath so she would be nice and clean for her visit to Mamaw's house. Since it is summer and we live in Tennessee, I needed to give her a flea treatment. Normally, I give her K-9 Advantix which we purchase at our veterinarian's office. This time, I decided to try a new flea treatment and purchased Sentry Pro XFC at PetSmart. For every reader out there that has a dog, please heed my warning and DO NOT PURCHASE THIS PRODUCT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I put the flea treatment on Angel around 10 pm last night. I followed the package directions and applied it in a straight line down the back of her neck to mid-point on her back. By about Midnight I noticed that Angel was obsessively licking at the air. She acted as if she had something stuck in her mouth that she couldn't get loose. I looked in her mouth and ran my finger around inside but found nothing. So I just chalked this up to another one of Angel's oddities, but I also started keeping a closer eye on her. She would sit on the couch and then spring up like something had bit her. Then she would turn around and try to lay down again. Within seconds, she would spring up again. You have to understand this is very unusual for Angel. Normally, by 9 pm she has already curled up next to one of us and has settled in for the evening.

After watching our Schnoodle-in-a-box for about 15 minutes or so, I gave her another check. She was still doing the licking thing and her muzzle was totally wet. I decided to lay down on the couch and try to get her to settle down and lay with me. She got under the blanket and curled up like normal, but she couldn't lay still. She was twitching and jerking and it sounded like she was gagging a little. When I pulled her out from under the blanket she was drooling a little.

At this point I woke Barry and he looked her over. We couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. I wondered if it could be the flea treatment, but thought there is no way she could have a reaction like this to something that "harmless". I then did a search of the house to see if Angel might have gotten into something that would be causing this. I found nothing. The only thing that she had been exposed to was the flea treatment.

Because Angel is a 9 lb dog and I had bought the SentryPro XFC for 9 lb - 20 lb dogs, I began to think maybe I had accidentally overdosed her. That was when I turned to my dear friends at Google and did a search on "SentryPro XFC Overdose". Imagine my shock when I found link after link about people that had used this product and their dogs had the same symptoms as Angel. Actually, many people had dogs with worse symptoms. Here is a list of side effects or reactions your dog can have to this product: vomiting, muscle tremors, seizures, foaming at the mouth, wobbly walk, etc. Basically, the ingredients in this, and most other flea treatments, is a combination of pesticides. One vet told an owner, by giving a monthly flea treatment such as this they are doing the equivalent of giving their dog a teaspoonful of Raid each month.

I am very angry right now. How can these products be on the market? How can PetSmart sell something like this to its customers? How can Sergeant's 'Pet Care' Products package this product without including a specific list of side effects that may occur? The only statement concerning the possible reaction is, "Sensitivities may occur after using.........If signs of sensitivity occur, bathe your dog with mild soap and rinse with large amounts of water." SENSITIVITIES? HELLO? COULD YOU BE A LITTLE MORE SPECIFIC?

After doing my research and giving Angel two baths, the first in her normal dog shampoo and the second in Dawn dishwashing liquid. We laid down for the last time. She was still very jumpy but I rubbed and petted her until she settled down and finally fell asleep. This was about 2 am. This morning she is tired, of course; but she is no longer licking. It appears that I got the stuff washed off of her soon enough. She is occasionally scratching herself, but from what I read this should subside today. I will just have Mamaw watch her for any other "sensitivities".

If you have a dog, or know someone that owns a dog, please pass this post to them. I feel like we were lucky, as scary as it was. Apparently it could have been a whole lot worse. I am thankful that we still have our little Angel this morning. Some people were not so fortunate.

Here are some links to top four results that I found in my Google search. This is scary stuff!


Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Normally, I would be excited about a summer roadtrip. But for some reason it doesn't seem right to get excited about taking a roadtrip to a funeral. Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to seeing my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins that I don't get to see very often. It is just the reason for this mini family reunion that really sucks.

Tomorrow, Kaylea and I will be heading up to Indiana to pick up my cousin, Cizzy and her two daughters, K8 and SJ. (you all remember Kaylea's favorite cousin, SJ from the Hilton Head trip?) Needless to say, Kaylea is beside herself with excitement because she gets to play with SJ for another 5 days, or so.

Thursday morning, Cizzy, the girls and I will meet up with ThiThi, Mr. Bob and Ethel and Chris, the two Hens (you know from our Annual Hens and Chicks Trip) they are bringing. I'm sure the intercept destination will be a Cracker Barrel somewhere in Indiana. Afterall, you can't have a roadtrip without at least one stop at a Craker Barrel. After stuffing our guts, we will do our reenactment of Speed Racer to get to Stevens Point, WI by that evening.

I never would have guessed that I would be spending the 4th of July in Wisconsin, but I suppose there could be worse places to be. Actually, in addition to seeing family members, I am looking forward to touring this part of the country. I have never been to Wisconsin, so this will be new territory for me.

Luckily, we will have a couple of days to spend with Auntie H's family. My cousin Thom and his wife are having all of us over to their house on Friday. The kids will get to swim while the adults get to take the every-so-familiar walks down Memory Lane. What is a family gathering without a little bit of "Remember When...?" I'm certain that there will be a lot of laughter and a few tears that day, but we all will go home that evening with a smile on our face and pleasant memories from days gone by.

The caravan of vehicles will be heading back home on Sunday. It will be too soon; but, Auntie H would want it that way. She would expect us to get on with our lives and stop blubbering over her. She was just that type of person.

So, my friends, until we return.............