Here Come the Mummies

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Watched a band that we’ve never seen or heard before last night. Thought it was going to be hokey at first — with the mummy costumes and all — but they were actually very good. We should have known better. Never judge a book by its cover.

Adventures in Mulvane

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After our early supper last Saturday, Brian and I checked out this cute little park next to Luciano’s. Brian and I decided that we will ask for a table on the park side of the restaurant on our next visit.

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It’s a small historical park with lots of interesting stuff to see.

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This is an old jail cell from the 1800s.

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My handsome hubby.

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A peek inside the jail cell.

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Interesting displays.

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After walking around the park, we walked down the street and saw this sno-cone stand. Complete with outdoor seating.

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Lauren’s Kitchen.

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The end.

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13th Anniversary Dinner at Luciano’s

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Here are some pictures from our low key anniversary dinner at Luciano’s, a restaurant that we’ve heard so much about but have never been to until now.

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This is Brian’s interpretation of Kilroy.

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Our delicious starter, which consisted of two different types of mozzarella cheese, prosciutto (from Parma, Italy), kalamata olives, olive oil, and salt.

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I liked the cozy ambiance of the restaurant. It’s quiet enough for a nice, intimate conversation also. Brian and I agreed that it’s a great place for a date.

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Brian had the baked lasagna.

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I had the pasta carbonara.

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And, we each got dessert. Tiramisu for me.

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Creme brûlée for Brian.

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Brian and I really enjoyed our dinner at Luciano’s. Even though they did card us and I didn’t have my purse with me. At least our server used good judgement and realized that if I’m married to an old man like Brian then I must be equally old. LOL.

I’m really glad they let me drink otherwise I would have missed out on the delicious sangria. It was so good that I had two glasses of it. Even Brian liked it. The only downside is that you could only order it by the glass. A carafe to share with Brian would have been nice.

Anyway, great dinner overall. I highly recommend Luciano’s. Brian and I will definitely be back, with or without a special occasion to celebrate.

Hello, Dolly!

Reason #374 why I have the best husband ever: he agreed to see Hello, Dolly! with me at Century II. How many husbands indulge their wives in this way? Seriously? I think the typical husband would have found an excuse to get out of it. “Why don’t you take one of your friends?” some would say. Not Brian. Why? Because he is the best husband ever.

Music Theatre Wichita completed another awesome season. This year the lineup consisted of Aida; Disney’s My Son Pinocchio; Billy Elliot; Big Fish; and Hello, Dolly! I only got to see the last two shows and they were both fantastic. Though, Big Fish was by far my favorite of the two.

Last year I had the opportunity to watch the West Side Story with Brian and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with my little sister Nickira. Both shows were great too. The 2016 lineup is fantastic:

Nice Work If You Can Get It
Beauty and the Beast
Oklahoma!
Jesus Christ Superstar
Mama Mia!

Brian and I have been very impressed with the shows we’ve seen. That, and I actually want to see all of these, so we’re considering season tickets next year.





Except, tickets are kind of pricey. It’s going to cost us about $500 to get our season tickets for next year. If you would like to donate to the cause of bringing more culture into our lives, you may do so here. Think of it as an anniversary present. Or, you could also think of it as a birthday present to me. After all, my birthday is coming up in a couple of months. Thank you in advance for your thoughtfulness and support. You guys are the best!

Exploding Kittens

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I don’t always back projects on Kickstarter. So far I’ve only backed a handful. When I do though, they are super cool. My Exploding Kittens games (one regular deck and one NSFW deck) arrived last week with this little note:

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These guys are so clever!

Play the video above to learn more about the game.

This video is a sample round. Brian and I have played the game a few times. It’s really fun and hilarious. Although, I think I am far more amused than Brian. Probably because I’ve won the last few times we played.

Exploding kittens is great. The only downside to it for me is that it’s only 5 players max. I’m actually thinking of buying a few extra card decks as soon as they become available so that more players can play. As you know, we often end up with a dozen or so people wanting to play a game.

Cards Against Humanity works out great because an unlimited number of people can play. You’re only limited by the size of your dining table. Although, I must say that it gets really confusing once you get upwards of a dozen people so it’s best to start a separate game. I know this from experience. Trust me. At one time, we had three games Cards Against Humanity games going simultaneously.

BTW, all of the backers got a special surprise. This guy’s reaction is pretty much consistent with ours when we unboxed our deck last week.

Who wants to come over and play with us?

John Fullbright at Bartlett Arboretum

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Brian and I took my little sister Nickira to Bartlett Arboretum last Sunday for the John Fullbright concert. He is amazing. If you’ve never seen him perform, you’re totally missing out. Although, I understand if you’re not into Americana/Folk music.

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I really enjoyed the show but I know it’s not for everyone. The music put Kira to sleep. Nothing against John Fullbright’s musicianship because it really doesn’t take much. She falls asleep while riding in the car from one side of town to the other.

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We walked around during the intermission to take some photos. That seemed to perk her up. She loved exploring the “secret” garden.

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She really enjoyed the swing.

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Here are my favorite photos from our outing.

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At least now Nickira has been exposed to American/Folk. Maybe one of these days it won’t put her to sleep and she’ll actually enjoy it. LOL. In the meantime, here’s a video of John Fullbright for you all to enjoy…

Breakfast at Keller Feed & Wine Co.

The morning after our moonlight horseback riding adventure, Brian and I decided to drive to Cottonwood Falls for breakfast.

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This restaurant is in the former Emma Chase Café location. I’m not sure what it looked like before but, right now, it looks pretty cool with the kitschy touches.

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The maple bacon donuts looked enticing but we managed to resist them.

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Partially due to the fact that we were already full from the big meat breakfast and banana-Nutella French toast sandwich.

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Brian said the breakfast plate with ham, sausage, bacon, fried egg (it wasn’t fried hard enough for him), and country potatoes was just okay. We both thoroughly enjoyed the French toast, though. It was delicious!

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We walked around a bit after breakfast.

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We found several neat stores selling neat stuff like this awesome fountain.

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We also walked by Grand Central. I had the opportunity to try their food several years ago when we met some coworkers there for lunch.

Cottonwood Falls is a neat little town. It’s definitely worth checking out. While you’re there, I recommend eating at Keller Feed & Wine. Get the French toast. It is amazing!

Standing Tallgrass Short Film

Here’s the film that inspired our visit to Flying W Ranch.

Standing Tallgrass | Imagine Kansas Short Film Series 01 from Westar Energy on Vimeo.

http://ImagineKansas.com From early on, Jim Hoy was involved with the Symphony in the Flint Hills that helps bring attention to preserving the tallgrass prairie near Clements, Kansas. He and countless other Kansans are working to protect this picturesque part of our landscape so that the next generation will be able to enjoy its beauty. Westar Energy shares Jim’s passion to push Kansas forward and is working right alongside him and our fellow Kansans to make it happen.

This film is part of the #ImagineKansas Short Film Series presented by Westar Energy. Watch all the films at http://ImagineKansas.com.

Filmmaker: The Hadley Group, Stilwell – http://RussHadleyFilms.com
Original music: Sam Billen, Lawrence – http://PrimaryColorMusic.com
Narrator: Jason Aldrich, Bonner Springs
Still photography: Mark Feiden, Mission
Still photography: Harland J. Schuster, Morrill
Still photography: Austin Colbert, Hays

You can learn more about the ranch in the next video.

Best. Weekend. Ever.

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As you all know, Brian and I will be celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary in a few days. We started our celebration early because we wanted to do a moonlight horseback ride and we couldn’t dictate the moon’s schedule so we had to be flexible. LOL.

This moonlight horseback ride adventure was even made more special by the blue moon. Blue moons occur when you have two full moons in the same month. It’s not really blue. I’m not sure why they call it that. It was pretty cool, though.

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Brian and I both took Friday off because we didn’t know how long it would take to get to the ranch and, having never stayed there, we wanted to scope out our accommodations.

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We were supposed to stay in this solitary cottage called Calaboose but the previous guests busted the blinds so Gwen moved us to the Tallgrass Suite, which is on the West side of the cabin. It actually worked out better because we got to look at both rooms and, for the same price, the Tallgrass Suite is way better.

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This is the inside of the Calaboose. It’s a tiny cabin consisting of just a sleeping area and a bathroom. It’s cute and cozy and would have worked out just fine but the Tallgrass Suite is definitely an upgrade.

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The Tallgrass Suite is attached to the Prairie Room. While we initially wanted to be by ourselves, the spaciousness of the alternative room more than made up for the location. In the photo above, the Tallgrass Suite is on the left and the Prairie Room is on the right.

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Our room had a full-sized kitchen, complete with range, dishwasher, microwave, coffee maker, and full-sized fridge. We got dishes, pots and pans, utensils, dish towels, and even wine glasses. We had a sitting area and everything. If we were staying longer, there was a washer and dryer and detergent. We also had a small back deck with a gas grill.

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The bedroom had a closet and huge attached bathroom with a separate tub and shower. It was really a lot nicer than I expected. I mean, I packed a hair dryer because I wasn’t sure there would be one there but our bathroom had one. Had I known our accommodations would be so comfortable, I would have reserved two nights instead of only one. LOL.

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Here’s the outside of our cabin.

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Other accommodations on the property include the bunkhouse, pictured above, and the lodge, below. The lodge is super nice. The pictures that follow really don’t do it justice.

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This is the living room area of the East side of the lodge.

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The large dining room is big enough for 40 people.

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This is the living room area of the West side of the lodge.

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Another view of the living area.

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Full kitchen.

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The West side of the lodge has two private bedrooms on the ground level and additional sleeping areas upstairs. Overall I think it can comfortably house ten people. It’s perfect for families or small groups.

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I love the rustic look of the outside.

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Our experience started with dinner at the lodge.

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Our dinner consisted of salisbury steak, roasted potatoes, corn, and tomato cucumber salad prepared by chef/rancher Josh Hoy, followed by homemade raspberry and blueberry pies (which I didn’t get any pictures of).

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After dinner we sat and listened to Josh’s father Jim tell stories. He’s like the Bob Ross of prairie stories. I could listen to him for days.

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Jim Hoy is a celebrity in these parts so I had to get a photo with him. 😉

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Actually, Josh is a bit of a celebrity too. He was on Master Chef and showed Chef Gordon Ramsey how to cook like a cowboy a few years ago.

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We stayed on schedule and saddled up around eight o’clock.

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They put Brian on Rufus, the clumsiest horse of the group. I think they did it on purpose because Brian was the most experienced rider of all the guests. Brian said he was a good horse, even though he found all of the pot holes in the trail.

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I ended up getting Phatty. Josh did tell me ahead of time that they might call me by my horse’s name, as they’re prone to doing because they sometimes can’t remember all the guests names, and not to be offended. I guess one time they put a portly man on Phatty and forgot to tell him in advance so he was getting really upset each time he got called Phatty. After they explained to him that the horse’s name is Phatty, he felt a lot better.

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In this photo you’ll see their niece Piper, Jim Hoy’s wife Cathy, Brian, and Jim.

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Brian, Jim, and Cathy waiting for the rest of us to get on our horses.

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Piper may only be thirteen but she looks like a pro. She was going to help them with shipping cattle the next morning.

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We took off in time to watch the sunset.

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We took some photos while we were waiting.

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Here’s a picture of our wonderful hosts, Gwen and Josh Hoy.

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There are few things as breathtaking as the sun setting in the Flint Hills.

The first time I ever saw a Flint Hills sunset was during the Symphony in the Flint Hills several years ago. It’s kind of a spiritual experience.

Photos don’t quite do it justice and beautiful doesn’t begin to describe it.

When the sun finally set, it was time to look for the moon.

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We stopped at a few spots to admire the beauty of the Flint Hills and learn some stuff but the moon was definitely the star of the show.

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She was full, bright, and majestic that night.

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I’d been horseback riding before but this most recent horseback riding experience is one that I will remember forever. It was truly something special and I’m glad that I got to share the experience with Brian.

The next day we met John Plots from Boston as we were leaving. He and his wife and two kids were supposed to be on the moonlight horseback ride with us but they arrived at the ranch late. We also met Bones, ranch hand and blogger.

Others who went on the moonlight horseback ride with us besides, Piper, Jim and Cathy Hoy, and our hosts Josh and Gwen Hoy, include Sheila Townsend who actually works for the same company as me. She’s in the real estate department and works out of our Topeka office. We also met Steve, Alice, and their son Charlie. We had a great group. I also liked that it was small because I’m not an experienced rider and I appreciated that there were enough people to keep an eye on all of us.

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The next morning, Brian and I wandered around Cottonwood Falls before heading home. We ate at the Keller Feed & Wine Company (formerly Emma Chase Café). I will write more about our Cottonwood Falls adventures next time.

For now, I hope you enjoyed my account of our horseback riding adventures at Flying W Ranch. Perhaps you can join us next time.

The Hill Bar and Grill — New Favorite

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We tried the Hill for the first time recently and now it’s our new favorite place to eat. Brian and I are addicted to the chicharrones.

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As you can see, we can’t get enough of it.

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Brian says their onion rings are really good too. We love that they provide a variety of dipping sauces. They’re all very good but we think that the one we like the most is called chipotle aioli. It goes great with the chicharon.

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Some folks at work tried the Hill and said it was really good. My friend/coworker Tammie likes it because they have lots of options for vegetarians. They have several gluten free items on the menu as well.

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Here are some pictures of food from the Hill.

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My favorite thing to get is the carnitas tacos. Admittedly, I haven’t really tried much of anything else. Brian and I have been to the Hill twice now. The first time was when we had lunch with Jan, Connie, and Isaac. The second time was last Thursday when we wanted to grab a quick bite before going to Chamber Music at the Barn.

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I tried to order something different on our last trip there but, after much deliberation, I still ordered the carnitas tacos. Sometimes you just have to stick with what you know.

Brian had the pulled pork sandwich the first time and chicken tacos the second time. The chicken tacos looked good but I don’t think that they were nearly as good as my carnitas tacos. Just sayin’.

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We didn’t have time for the donuts on our first trip because it was during my lunch hour and I had to get back to work. The menu says to allow 10 minutes for the donuts so I recommend ordering it only if you have some time to spare.

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Since we missed out the first time, we made sure to get it on our second trip. The donuts are really donut holes covered in cinnamon and sugar. They kind of remind me of the sopapillas we get at Felipe’s Jr for dessert, except they’re a lot smaller than the regular sopapillas and bigger than the bite-sized ones. They came with three different dipping sauces: raspberry, chocolate, and caramel.

I thought they were good but not as good as sopapillas. If I could have the mini sopapillas from Felipe’s with these dipping sauces that would be the perfect combination. Still, I really liked the Hill. The location is great for meeting up with our West side friends who don’t want to drive all the way out to the East side and there’s bound to be something on the menu that everyone will enjoy.

Brian and I both liked the Hill so much that we’re already looking forward to our next trip. I just hope that I can talk myself out of ordering the same thing again next time.

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