Ann Wilson in Las Vegas!

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My first concert was Heart’s Bad Animals tour when I was seven years old. I’ll forever be thankful that my dad was cool enough to take me. They’ve been one of my favorite bands forever. So when Ann Wilson preformed on Fremont Street, I was all over that!

Her voice is so incredible. I always wanted to sing like Ann Wilson or Bonnie Tyler, but I sound more like a very timid Jewel.

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It was 105 degrees outside with no airflow, so we were dying a bit. This is what a very hot Ann Wilson fan looks like. But it was so worth it!

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What an amazing night! Her music moved my soul. What a pleasure to let go a little bit and dance in the street my husband and happy strangers!

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Who are some favorites you’d love to see in concert, or see again?

Indoor Camping

We Yardleys really know how to rough it. Or at least we know how to enjoy ourselves. Ever have a day where you just want to build a blanket fort and crawl inside for the rest of your life? We have those days quite a bit. What’s more? We do it.

Not only did we build a fort big enough for all of us, but we roasted marshmallows over the gas stove in our kitchen. It was an easy way to add a bit of sparkle to the day.

Nightmare Fuel: Scorpions in Las Vegas

Or in my backyard, if we’re going to be more exact. Perhaps a few of you know that a bark scorpion stung me and sent me to the ER a few weeks ago. I had a healthy respect for them before, but now I know exactly how deadly they can be. Which makes this blacklight scorpion hunt even more terrifying. My husband killed eight scorpions that night. Eight.

So, That “I Nearly Died By Scorpion” Thing.

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Some of you know that Las Vegas is under seige from the venomous bark scorpion. We’ve had many at my house, which I documented in The Obligatory Scorpion Montage. Well, earlier this month I was stung on the foot while washing dishes, and within an hour I was temporarily paralyzed in a hospital wheelchair.

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The doctor assured me this wasn’t a typical reaction to a scorpion sting, which really made me feel better as my body went into strange convulsions. It was crazy to have my mind functioning on one level and my body on another. I watched my body move, run, tremor, and shake of its own accord. I heard myself moan and gasp. Meanwhile, my mind was like, “What is this? My body is running away without me!” That’s its own brand of horror.

But after a $10-30 grand antivenin, I survived.

I actually have terrible survivor’s guilt, since it’s summer and I’m depressed and my husband is out of town. I felt terrible about spending the money. The life-saving antivenin money. It wasn’t until I priced out funerals and daycare that I realized living really was more economical. Hooray! For those who don’t suffer from depression, this will make no sense to you. For those that do? You get what I’m talking about.

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My husband was out of town on a business trip. After he called me (he says he did, anyway) he hopped a plane and flew home. Apparently I texted him while on morphine. And, no, as far as I know, we unfortunately didn’t call Europe. But he still is my boiiiiu.

 

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The venom caused my blood to coagulate to the point that the doctors thought I had a bleeding disorder. They apologized for making me wear these compression devices, but I was completely numb so I didn’t even feel them. Paralyzation for the win!

Miraculously, I was home in a bit more than 24 hours. It was closer than I’d care to admit, so I simply won’t admit it. I expected myself to bounce back right away, but it’s taking longer than I thought. My body is exhausted. I’m angry at being at risk in my own home. I can’t sleep because I think things are crawling all over my body.

But as experiences go, it was one I had never expected. Now I know what a scorpion sting feels like, and what happens if you have a senstitivity to it. I find that intriguing as an author, and have to use it in a book somewhere. I’m going to do a short video in the coming weeks describing it for anybody who has ever wondered what it was like. I have. If you have any questions that you’d like me to answer, I’ll gladly do so. Just leave them here in the comments. Have a great, scorpion-free day!

Christmas in July Wrap-Up

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I adore Christmas, but it hasn’t been so much fun lately. It’s turned into a huge fanfare with tons of pressure and very little fun. This is why Christmas in July has become so important in our house.

Every year, my mom would pull out the Christmas tree for a week. We would decorate it, listen to Christmas carols, and give each other small, homemade gifts. It was the good feeling and spirit of the holidays without consumerism undue stress.

 

This year it was especially nice because it’s been a difficult summer, and this gave us something joyful to lift our spirits for a week. Hooray for Christmas! Happy Summer Holidays to you.

 

What Fun! The 1980s Have Returned!

I was at the store with my kiddos, and we found these treasures. “I loved these as a kid!” I squealed. They didn’t care.

Lite Brite! Puppy Surprise! Popples! Care Bear Cousins! I know all of these!

Even better? Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” was playing over the speakers. I practically grape-vined my way out of there in legwarmers. My children were horrified. Serves you right, kids! My childhood was a blast.

Miss Murder’s Easy Pressure Cooker Mac and Cheese

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You guys know me: if it isn’t easy, I most likely won’t do it. But I’ve fallen madly in love with my pressure cooker (I named it Sachiko after the friend who introduced me to it) and one of my favorite things is easy Macaroni and Cheese. You throw everything in one pot, it takes four minutes once it comes to pressure, and it’s a great way to sneak some spinach in there. Yeah, I said it: spinach mac and cheese. And my kiddos still eat it!

I have a Cusinart pressure cooker, but you can make this recipe with any cooker.

Ingredients: 

16 oz small pasta shells

4 cups chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon mustard

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups cream

3 cups chopped spinach

2 cups shredded cheese, any type. (I usually use cheddar)

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  1. Mix pasta, broth, mustard, paprika, chopped spinach, and pepper in the pressure cooker. Lock the lid, put it on high pressure, and set the timer for four minutes.
  2. After the timer dings, release the pressure manually.
  3. Stir in cream and cheese. Salt and paper to taste. Voila, you have dinner and there’s even a vegetable in there. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Enjoy!

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