Tuesday, March 29, 2011

For Tomorrow Is Another Chardonnay

Missouri has many wineries (more than 100) and now there is more incentive to visit them!  The Missouri Wine & Grape Board has launched a winery passport and tasting journal program.  Pick up your free passport at one of the wineries and start collecting stamps (no purchase necessary).  You have to log on to http://www.missouriwine.org/ and sign up to get credit for your visits.  Check out 4 different wineries for the first reward - a bar towel.  There are many levels and things you can earn - wine opener, neoprene carrier, apron, food and wine pairing, dinners and even a winery weekend getaway!   We know you are going to visit the wineries anyway...why not get a little something extra?!   We visited 2 in Branson: Stone Hill tasting room and Mt. Pleasant.  We enjoyed the Jacquesse Kick'n White $7.99 and Dry Vignoles $15.99 at Stone Hill.  The Vidal-Chardonnay was on special at Mt Pleasant for $8.99 so of course we had to buy some!  Next on our list will be our local Summit Lake Winery in Holts Summit and then Les Bourgeois in Rocheport or Seven Springs at the Lake of the Ozarks.  Anyone want to join us for some wine this summer?

The Stone Hill tasting room and tour in Branson

Mt Pleasant tasting room in Branson

Yakov's Dinner Adventure - another great Branson show!

We had the opportunity to spend a few days in Branson last week and visit with our grandson, Gabe.  Yakov had a special on his 'Dinner Adventure' show - two for the price of one - so we had to check it out.  This special is on through the end of April, so if you are heading for Branson in the next month add this to your 'must see' list! 

Prior to the show - fun in the lobby
This is a variety type show with different short acts that are woven together in the story of a circus clown and ballerina who fall in love.  Yakov is NOT present in the show (we don't want anyone to be disappointed if they expected to see Yakov) but he narrates the story on big screens to the sides of the stage.  Russian acrobat Andrei Soumiatin and Russian ballerina Marina Bolkchakova play the 2 main characters.  You may have seen them on the Showboat Branson Belle in the past few years or earlier on a Royal Caribbean cruise.  They continue to entertain and amaze the audience with their balance and strength.  Other acts include a fire dancer, unicycle, Russian Cossacks, dancing bears and fun surprises.  There is some audience participation and of course dinner!

Dancing and cycling bears
Dinner is served at intermission.  There are small tables that swing up on each theatre seat.  You are given a bottle of water when entering the show - so don't drink it all before your food comes out!  It can be a little cramped eating like this, think of an airplane meal.  We didn't have any problems...but we were seated on an aisle.  The dinners were tasty and hot.  Real china, silverware, cloth napkins plus each tray had a little battery operated candle!  Dessert was served later, a cake and strawberry combination, in a lighted plastic martini glass that you get to keep.

Dinner included brisket, chicken breast, mashed potatoes, mixed veg, corn muffin and tomato soup
 The total cost for us was $33.24.  A great price for a couple to see a show and have dinner!  This deal is through the end of April.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Trivia Night - put on your thinking caps....

Last Friday we attended a fundraiser for the Holts Summit Lions club.  It was a trivia night (their first, we have been to many over the years).  For those of you who cringe at the thought of playing trivia, let me explain this way to play.  It is a team event, most places have 6-8 people per team.  This time we had 6 players.  There are 10 rounds of play with 10 questions per round for a total of 100 points possible.  All the teams answer the same questions and write their agreed upon answers on a score sheet.  The judges check the sheets and post the scores for the teams after each round.  For those of you who are 'trivia challenged' it is a perfect situation.  You can be on a team and never even give an answer!  Winners sometimes get their entry fee back or prizes.  Remember...this is a fundraiser for the group putting on the game.

Our team - Dennis, Holly, Lynn, Troy, Carrie & Brian

One round was 'name the cereal'
Extra items that are sometimes available are 'mulligans' or points for a price.  We bought stickers that could be placed on the scoresheet when we didn't know an answer and still get the point.  Most games allow 5 mulligans to be purchased for $5-$10.  During breaks between rounds there may be extra games to play for an additional charge.  This event had a few of those games for $1 per person to play.  One was true/false.  Each player had a sign with true on one side and false on the other.  Everyone lined up and a true or false question was read.  Players decide individually their answer and hold up the appropriate sign.  If you are wrong, you are out.  The winners got scratcher lottery tickets.   Other games that played the same way were dead/alive (where famous names were read) and heads/tails (coins were flipped).  During the evening there was also opportunity to purchase 50/50 tickets.

Dennis won the true/false game

This event did not have any silent auction, live auction or door prizes - those are often available at other trivia fundraising events.  Because the Lions Club does not have a bar - you could BYOB.  Your admission included soda, cups & ice and free popcorn!  Hot dogs and sandwiches were available for purchase.   There were 'goodies' on the table for team players from local businesses (pencils, nail files, chapstick, candy and more). 

A few of the Lions Club members

Nice crowd for the first Lions Club trivia event
The final scores were not great, this event had some hard questions!  Our team ended in the middle of the pack (6th out of 13 teams) with a score of 50!!  We usually end up in the 70's at these events.  It was a fun evening out and supported a great group.  Thanks to the Holts Summit Lions Club for sponsoring this event and we look forward to your future ventures!

Monday, March 21, 2011

For all who have asked, here it is!

We have heard over and over "you should write a book about your trips".  I don't know about a book, but maybe a blog we can manage!  Many of the places we visit and pictures have been posted on Facebook, Shutterfly, Trip Advisor and more.  It is confusing and difficult at best to remember what has been posted where and not everyone has a Facebook account (hard to believe, but true!).  This site will be our primary informaton sharing venue with a few pictures from places we visit.  Our http://www.kraftor.shutterfly.com/ site will continue to be our main photo sharing/storing area for the folders of pictures that we take.

Please let us know what you think!  We look forward to suggestions of places to visit, restaurants, museums, attractions, parks or other travel tips you may have for us.  (Where do you think we find out about places we go?!)  Contrary to what everyone seems to believe...we are not ALWAYS on a trip somewhere.  We do stay home, but enjoy events, fundraisers and restaurants close to home.  When we are in Missouri you may see blogs about our local area.  This won't be a daily blog, but we hope to add something weekly.  It's a work in progress!