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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tomatoes + Humidity = Fruit Flies

Yep, that's right...fruit flies! Ewwww. I'm not talking just a couple flying through our kitchen...I'm talking breeding ground. I shall explain (aren't you thrilled?).

As you have seen from my previous posts, we have our own little tomato farm going this year. At this point we think we are over 200 lbs. of the yummy stuff. After we harvest them into bags, we put them onto the dining room table. We have one of those padded vinyl table covers for this purpose. Well, what we didn't think of was the fact that the sun comes through those windows at various points of the day. Couple that with the insulation of the table cover....are you getting my point? It causes the tomatoes to ripen a tad faster which, in turn, causes them to OVER-ripen faster. The fruit flies are having a field day. Now, it's not like there is a swarm but we had the beginnings of one. I do use the word "beginnings" for a reason. Last week we went to pick out the smelly tomatoes when all of a sudden I saw something move. EWWWWWW! Tons of worms, or fruit fly larvae if you would prefer. Blech! Needless to say, I didn't take a picture. I didn't want to remind myself of what that looked like ( like I'll EVER get THAT visual out of my head).

So now I am getting a complex and am double and triple cleaning the tomatoes. I am throwing away tomatoes with cracks and am no longer harvesting those ones. Pity really since they are normally ok to eat. With all the rain we have been getting this past week it's "Fruit Fly City" in the backyard.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

PHEW!! Speeding ticket & Expired registration ticket averted

HUGE Sigh of relief as I am writing this.
I was just pulled over for speeding on a nice stretch of road in town. For those of you in Branson...I was on Shepherd of the Hills coming from Roark, heading towards 76.

So, I'm on the phone with my mom in California and I pass a cop while going 47. I am one of those drivers that constantly looks in her rear view mirror, especially when a police car is involved. I notice him turn around about 200 yards after he passed me. Hmmmmm. So, I continue talking to my mom and switch lanes. At this point he's about 300 yards back and I see him do the same. CRAP. Yep, he gets closer and I tell my mom that I need to go. As soon as I hung up he signaled for me to pull over.

This is where I'm very thankful to be female. I honestly DO think that comes in handy at times. I was also dressed in my church clothes =)~ He told me that he pulled me over because I was going 47 in a 35 zone. Oops. I told him that I honestly thought it was around 40-45 at that point and that it changed to 35 as you headed towards 76. Being a nice person, I apologized. I then took the initiative, before he could get to it, to tell him that I was aware of my expired plates. I also told him that I was going in tomorrow and showed him my property tax receipts that I had in my car, all ready to take with me tomorrow. He chuckled at that.

I figured I would tell him my fun little story about having to have my mom mail me my passport to renew my license. This happened about a month ago when when my car was in the shop ( from the fender bender I mentioned in a previous blog), so I couldn't bring my car in for the inspection that I needed to renew my plates. I told him that I was going to do it all online but they messed up when they entered my car info in so the information didn't match up for the past 2 years. At this point I showed him the tax receipt where they had crossed out the information and corrected it. He told me that since my car was a 2007 that I might not need to get another inspection and to call first instead of spending the money. =)

So, long story short...he let me go. =)Wahooooo

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Day at Silver Dollar City

We had a family reunion of sorts on July 25th of this year. It was nice to meet more of the extended Hughes clan. One of our activities included going to Silver Dollar City. It's always a lot of fun, has tons of amazing food AND it's free for us. Ya can't beat that! We went during KidsFest, hence all of the fun and colorful photo ops. =)

As we were leaving the parking lot we got hit by another car. =(
My poor Forester got a tad smashed up in the front. The nice thing was...we are in the Ozarks! Translation...nice people everywhere. The couple that hit us were really nice and admitted that they were at fault. We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses and talked for a bit. They were on vacation for the weekend. We gave them tickets to our show because we felt bad about everything. Since the fender bender the car has been fixed and we have exchanged emails. They are hoping to come back to see our Christmas Show this year. =)

I always seem to be doin' the Asian Squat.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pictures of our tomato plants

Several of you have wanted me to post pictures of our tomato garden you go!
The top picture is a close-up of our Sweet 100 Cherry tomato plant. It is now 8 feet tall and about 5 feet wide. This year we planted 8 different tomato plants, 2 of them cherry tomatoes...Sweet 100s and a yellow pear shaped one. These 2 plants are seriously out of control. The yellow pear ones are now reaching to all sides of the grow box. We got a little lazy in our maintenance so it turned into a bush/tree. Oops
This is what a few of them looked like at 1 month.

A view of the Sweet 100 plant

I have to stretch and reach to grab the top ones now
This was taken a few weeks ago. It may be more than 8 feet by now. Hmmm, I guess I should measure it again this week.

Canning tomatoes

We have been busy canning a lot of our tomatoes. At the moment we think we have harvested at least 150 pounds. Pretty amazing for 8 plants! Our latest canning adventure involved salsa and pizza sauce. Mmmmmm

Adam is a huge salsa eater and we wanted to try and make our own. I found a few recipes and we combined them, thus creating our own little experiment. Note to self, don't use as much vinegar next time. We used 11 pounds of tomatoes for the salsa and a ton of other veggies. Adam had fun chopping up a pound of jalapeno peppers and I made a nice mess with the tomatoes.
My favorite thing that we have canned is the pizza sauce. Serious NOMage. Nom nom nom
I found a mix and it tastes great....simple too. LOVE that! All you do is blanch, peel and core 6 pounds of tomatoes, Whiz them up and toss them into a pot. Add 5 Tbs of sugar and the packet. Bring to boil and then simmer for 25 minutes. I think the process time was 40 minutes. Sooo much easier than canning tomatoes plain. We made pizzas on Greek pitas and used Havarti Cheese. OH MY GOODNEEESSSS, AMAZING! Next time we'll add more toppings and go all out.

As per usual, I was a klutz and got a steam burn while checking on the boiling canning pot. I just wouldn't be me if I didn't injure myself in some way. The best part was that the next day, during our show, I scratched it with my nail during a dance. All downhill from there. *sigh

On the upside...we have yummy tomato products for the following year. We're going to do more pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce and plain tomatoes in the next month.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tomatoes anyone?

This is a picture of a typical tomato harvest from our garden. This does not include the literal hundreds of red and yellow cherry tomatoes that we have. We have to harvest these little goodies every other day, can imagine the poundage of tomato-y goodness at our house. We have always weighed our watermelons and occasionally our cherry tomatoes. I am now kicking myself for not weighing these each time that we pick them. I would love to have a grand total of how many pounds of tomatoes we grew this year. We have canned some, given away bags, frozen some, eaten some, and still....we have plenty. I am always on the look-out for new ways to cook or use them so please share any ideas that you have. I know we have had over 100 pounds, easily. Hmmm, factor in that vine ripened ones are around $1.50 a pound and cherry tomatoes are even more.....I think we got our money's worth with our 8 plants. =)

PS- We have 2 or 3 plants that are about 8 feet tall!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Costume Malfunction

Tonight was an interesting show for me. There is a number that we do called "Showtune"...the picture is from that number. We open the second half of our show with this number so I have about 30 or so minutes to kill between my last number and this one. During that time I like to sit in my car and listen to music, read, or check my twitter or email on my phone. The skirt is pretty fitted on the waist and has no give at all so sometimes I will undo the top hook so I can be more comfortable while relaxing in my car. Apparently I forgot to re-hook it. DOH!

The beginning of the number starts with Mara singing and then I join her up front for a few lines (See the picture above). During those lines I must have made a sudden enough movement that made the skirt unzip. I had no idea until Adam told me. We are constantly moving and changing formations throughout the number and there is one point where he is right next to me. He was closer than normal tonight and was trying to tell me something. I didn't understand him at first and was thinking, "What? I'm doing the right steps, right?" Then he leans over and tells me that my skirt is falling off! AHHHH. Needless to say, I was freaking out inside trying to figure out how to make it through the rest of the number. SO, I got to take smaller than normal steps while hitching up my skirt every once in a while. It's always interesting what goes through your mind at that point...."OK, I can grab it on this next move and then I'll be behind Jason for a second and I can grab it then. At the end while you are spinning forward to the middle...grab your skirt while you turn!'re in the middle..ummm, hand on hip..." For those of you that perform, you so know what I mean, right?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My first Mini Tweet-up

(Left to Right: Adam, Tessa, Anthony, Emeline, Me)

Tonight was my first mini Tweet-up. Yay!

What is a tweet-up you maybe asking yourself? Tweet-up is a coined word combining meet-up and Twitter. Basically, it's meeting up with people you have met on Twitter.

Now, in theory, I met Anthony through a great podcast called Nobody's Listening. It's a clean and funny podcast that I love listening to when I get a chance. You can also follow Nobody's Listening on Twitter. There are a bunch of us who follow the podcast on Twitter, hence meeting Anthony.

Anthony and his now fiance', Tess, came out to Branson this week. He proposed to her at the Branson Landing and they have been spending the week out here on vacation. Tonight they came to our show and we finally got to meet.

There is a point in our show where the Brothers sing a love song, It's Something That We Do. Before the song begins Jason likes to find out which couple in the audience has been married the longest. Tonight is was 67 years! After he talked to that couple he congratulated Anthony and Tess on their engagement and then dedicated the song to those two couples. Awwwwww

SO glad that we got to meet. They are wonderful people and an adorable couple.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Groundhog did it!!!

For the past 3 or so years we have planted melons in our garden. We plant them right next to a retaining wall in a nice long stretch of space. The area gets great sun... which the melons love. Normally we have the crows to contend with. They attack our watermelons and eat a few of them before we can get to them. The best way that we have found to deter them is using water scarecrows. These are motion sensored and spray a nice stream of water at them. Mwah ha ha.

This year we have another critter attacking our garden. However, he isn't attacking the watermelons...noooo....he's attacking the cantaloupes. We couldn't figure out what was eating all of the leaves and fruit. We literally had stems. We finally figured it out. We had a groundhog living in the retaining wall. Yep, IN the wall. The wall is made of bricks and he lived in the spaces. Each day he just went out there for a nibble and went back in his hole. We even caught him sunbathing on the bricks. Grrrrrrr

We borrowed a trap and lured him into it with apples and cabbage. SUCCESS!!! Adam released him a few miles away.

Now, you would think that was it, right? NOPE! A few weeks later we had ANOTHER groundhog. Apparently he was strolling by and saw the new cantaloupe growth that we were finally starting to get again. He decided that the wall was INDEED a mighty nice home and settled right in. This guy was more active though. He was constantly out, sunbathing on the wall. Adam pointed the scarecrows in his direction and caught him playing soldier with it. He saw them getting set off by his movement and he literally acted like he was in the trenches. He ducked under the watermelon leaves when he moved and popped his head up every once in a while. He kept doing that so that he could move along the wall. SO....we trapped him and released him too.

Wonder when we'll have another one move in....

A Teenager did this?

I thought that I would pass on this e-mail that I received. There were more photos but I am only allowed to post five pictures at a time so I chose my favorite five. He also painted "Thank you Veterans" on the side.

There is a huge rock near a gravel pit on Hwy.25 in rural Iowa. For generations, kids have painted slogans, names, and obscenities on this rock, changing its character many times. A few months back, the rock received its latest paint job, and since then it has been left completely undisturbed.

It's quite an impressive sight. Be sure to scroll down and check out the multiple photos. (all angles) of the rock.

I thought the flag was draped over the rock, but it's not. It's actually painted on the rock too.

Here's the artist:
Ray 'Bubba' Sorensen.
AWESOME Work, RAY ....
Thank you!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Turning 36...eek!

Once again I have fallen behind on my blog. Seriously though, are you really that surprised?
Time for a little backtracking.

My 36th b-day was on Saturday , July 11th. That particular day was great, though the rest of the weekend...not so much. The day started with Adam making me breakfast in bed....scrambled eggs with zucchini from our garden AND whole wheat pancakes. Yummmm. A plate was broken in the process but hey, the food was still great.

Later that day we got lunch at the Chateau on the Lake and some dessert. YUM on the chocolate mousse cake and chocolates!!!

One of my favorite gifts was from my brother's family. They sent me an Official Tour de France Souvenir Musette bag full of goodies. Being the Cycling Geek that I am I LOVED it! At first I couldn't figure out why I was getting a package from France. LOL
Of COURSE I had to attempt to put everything on all at once for a photo. =)

As for the rest of the weekend, I got sick the next night...BOO! Stomach flu again. Second time in three weeks. Argg. Not cool. At the moment I'm fighting off something again. This year has been the year for getting sick. There are 6 people in my family are/were sick over the past 4 days. Yikes! Hopefully everyone will get healthy soon so we can enjoy the rest of the summer!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Object of Joy Part 2

I forgot to post a picture of my Object of Joy in its new frame. It looks AMAZING in person!!
Now I need to work on framing all of my other cycling goodies, however, I think this one is going to be my favorite for a VERY long time! It's final resting place will be downstairs in our workout room. Granted, we still need to finish that room's still in the great room upstairs. It's nice being able to see it as I leave the house everyday.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Up 3D

Time to post a few things from earlier this summer.
Adam, Lauren (my step-daughter), and I finally went to go see Up 3D at the end of May. GREAT MOVIE! The only downside for me was the 3D effect thing. It was great in some parts but it gave me a headache. The new glasses are much better than those old paper ones but...still killed my head. Ah well, the movie made up for it! I would love to see this again in the regular format.
Here are a few pics from our little outing.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


I got this email today and have already checked it out on to see if it is true, which it is. I thought it was fitting to post this on Independence Day. Don't get me wrong.....I was also sad to hear about the passing of famous stars and others that have touched people's lives, I just thought that this one was also worth hearing about.

Ed Freeman

You're a 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley ,11-14-1965, LZ X-ray, Vietnam . Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 - 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.

You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.

Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it...
Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come. He's coming anyway. He drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board. Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses.

And, he kept coming back.... 13 more times..... And took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.

Medal of Honor Recipient, Ed Freeman, died last Wednesday at the age of 80, in Boise, ID . . . May God rest his soul.

I bet you didn't hear about this hero's passing, but we sure were told a whole bunch about some Hip-Hop coward beating his "girlfriend"; or the passing of Fawcett & Jackson

Friday, July 3, 2009

Christmas in July

There is one benefit to my family being in Cedar City while I am home in Branson....Christmas in July! Yep, that's right folks. When everyone is out of town I tend to get bored. What do I do when I'm bored? I shop! It's hard not to when you are surrounded by 3 outlet malls and another mall on the lake. Throw in the fact that there are a ton of sales going on right now because of the holiday weekend......

Now I know what you are thinking....but you're wrong. I actually went shopping for other people today. I am one of those people that has her Christmas shopping finished before the holidays arrive. What I don't pick up during the year from online sales or from today, I'll finish up at the Thanksgiving sales.

Today was pretty crazy at Tanger Outlet. For those of you that aren't familiar with that little slice of heaven, it is an outlet mall with decent shops. Granted, I don't think the prices are really "outlet" prices anymore but that's ok. At Tanger you will find shops like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Tommy, Gap, Old Navy, Aeropostale, American Eagle, Liz Claiborne, Polo, Children's Place, Osh Kosh, Carter's, Black & Decker, Skechers, Bath & Body, and much much more. People drive hours to go to the major sales. It's madness at the Thanksgiving sales when they open at midnight.

Today I spent the majority of my time at Banana Republic and Ann Taylor, taking care of all the female gifts, including Christmas gifts for this year and birthday gifts for next year. who knew you can get an extra discount by opening an Ann Taylor card? Ok, a few of you already knew that....BUT....did you know that you can pay it off right away at the counter thus avoiding any finance charges? How cool is that? You can pay with your debit card, which I was planning on doing anyway. WOOT!

The only down side of today was the fact that I had enough time to try clothes on and finally decided to at Ann Taylor. I always avoided their pants and shorts by not knowing what size I am. For those ladies out there, you know what I mean. It's a pain sometimes to try the bottoms on so that you can figure out your exact size. Once you do though....all you have to do is grab it off the rack because you know what fits you, thus making it easier to spend. I found out today that I am a OOP and they fit perfectly. *sigh* Now I need to avoid the sale racks in order to save my already dwindling closet and drawer space.

Oh..and yes, I did break down and get a couple things for myself...I'm not completely unselfish!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Online Article about the Hughes Brothers Show

I thought I would post the article that was written about our family this past week. A few of the names aren't spelled correctly but hey...there are a lot of names to keep track of. Also, Jessie's song is called "Cowboy Sweetheart", not "I Want to be a Cowboy's Girlfriend".

Here's the link to the article

I'll also copy and paste it for those of you that are too lazy to click on a link. My copy and and paste version doesn't show the pictures because I am too lazy to save and insert them. =)~

Families that sing together...go to Branson

Randall Murphree - Guest Columnist - 6/18/2009 10:15:00 AM
The Hughes family epitomizes a Branson, Missouri, tradition of families entertaining families. Entertain is one key word, and family is the other for this small Ozark Mountain city that bills itself as America’s live music capitol. (Some say world capitol.) Branson boasts more than 100 shows performing in 53 theaters with 60,000 seats -- more seats than Broadway has.

One remarkable aspect of this family-friendly town is that it seems most of the head-liners are families performing together. The five Hughes Brothers have been singing together for 30 years, half of them in Branson. When they began, Andy, the youngest, was two years old.

They’ve got a lot to show for three decades, not the least of which is five talented wives who join them dancing and singing onstage. And no small assortment of their 27 children, from teens down to toddlers, steal the show from time to time at the Hughes American Family Theatre on the 76 Strip, heart of Branson’s music mecca. They lay claim to the title “World’s Largest Performing Family.” Anybody want to argue?

Before the show one Saturday morning this spring, Lena Hughes, known affectionately as M&M (mom and manager), took time to give me a little family background before I talked with Jason (a brother) and his wife Mara.

One little aside: Dad Gary Hughes’ name tag says “Chief Indian” and he does his fair share of the grunt work around the place, manning a product booth, training grandkids to run light and sound, making sure everything runs smoothly. From my perspective, however, Gary’s most important role is to oversee Papa Hughes’ Fudge Shop. Don’t skip the fudge! Now, back to the music.

“We started off at Silver Dollar City,” Mom recalls. “I thought we’d be there for five years, but we were only there for four months before we were given an opportunity down here on the strip. We came to this theater in 2000.” Silver Dollar City is a family theme park a few miles outside Branson, and it’s not uncommon to hear Branson’s top entertainers say they got their start there.

Not just a bunch of brothers

In the Hughes Brothers show, you’ll enjoy the tight harmonies that are often the trademark of siblings, especially those who’ve sung together for 30 years. And you’ll like the show’s mix of music. “Danny Boy” and their medley of “The Sound of a Man Workin’ on a Chain Gang/Sixteen Tons” were among the old favorites I enjoyed.

M&M likes to brag on her boys, but she is also quick to point out that they married extremely talented girls, and the Hughes wives -- and children -- add the perfect complement to the show.

Ah, yes, the children -- the piece de resistance. Who cannot be charmed by talented kids onstage? From Aaron and Christina, teens with an admirable level of mastery of the violin (or fiddle, as the tune dictates) to Jessie’s cover of “I Want to be A Cowboy’s Girlfriend,” to a whole passel of the next generation singing show tunes such as “No Business Like Show Business” and “Do Re Mi,” you’ll enjoy the family balance they bring to the show.

The Hughes tribute to veterans and to America sparkles with a moving, colorful delivery of “America the Beautiful,” well said and well sung.

With transparent humility, Jason and Mara reflect on the journey from their native Utah to a Branson stage by remembering those who helped them along the way.

“There was one person after another,” Jason says. For example, Merrill Osmond saw them performing their last show at Silver Dollar City and invited them to open for the Osmonds. Then a theater owner saw them there, and invited them to audition for another show.

They say it’s been like that through 15 years now, even including the purchase of their theater. They had all their ducks in a row when the bank deal fell through at the last minute, and an impossible deadline loomed just ahead. Then a small locally-owned bank came into the picture.

“This little bank called their committee together,” Mara says, “they worked all night, they put the whole thing together and covered the whole loan for us in one day -- what other banks said they couldn’t do in three months.”

Not just any theater

The Hughes Family Theatre is not just any theater on the Branson scene. It boasts the ambience and style of older theaters -- wider aisles, roomier seats, more leg room. It’s also a Branson landmark, the first fine theater built on the 76 Strip 20 years ago. The original owner brought in Roy Clark, and the theater became known as the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre.

“That’s what started the big names coming to town,” Mom says. “There’s a plaque in the lobby that has all the big names that originally performed in this theater.”

The Branson music industry celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, having its roots in the Baldknobbers’ downtown show and the Presleys’ first metal-building theater on the strip. Still, the Hughes American Family Theatre owns a legitimate slice of Branson music history.

Branson has something to entertain you day and night -- magic and museums. Breakfast shows, dinner shows, showboat cruise shows. Fishing, hiking and camping. Roller coasters and water parks. Comedy, variety and cowboy shows. Ozark mountain train tours, Ride-the-Ducks land-and-lake tours. Upscale shopping and discount malls, quaint crafts and historic downtown shops.

But when it comes to the music, the Hughes Brothers represent the best of the town -- family, God and country.

“This is a dream come true for us, “Jason concludes. “Not only to entertain -- that’s kind of the cherry on the top. The great underlying thing is that we get to work together as a family. Not only does that bring us close as a family. Sometimes, when we portray the family on the stage the way we do, it inspires families. Being a family, being together, is not only healthy and a good thing, but it’s cool. It’s something our society really needs.”

(interview that was included on the next page)

ONN writer Randall Murphree interviewed Lena Hughes (mom and manager) and Jason (one of the Hughes brothers) and Jason’s wife Mara before a recent show at the Hughes American Family Theatre, a Branson landmark first known as the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre.

ONN: What brought the Hughes family to Branson?

Lena: The boys were getting a little older and were refining their talents, and all of a sudden for about two years we were constantly getting bombarded with the idea of going to Branson. We’d never heard of it, but everybody would say, “You guys belong in Branson” or “Have you ever thought about going to Branson?”

After that, they won first place in a national contest in Las Vegas, and that gave them a recording package in Nashville. I realized that maybe we could hit Branson on the way back home from Nashville to Utah. As we learned more about Branson, we realized that the shows here are about family and God and country, all those values that we believe in.

ONN: What ages were the boys when they won the Nashville deal?

Lena: About 16 through 26. We thought just for the fun of it, we would see what Branson was all about. I was hoping to get an audition or something, but I couldn’t even get past the front desk, let alone talk to a manager.

I had a promotional DVD, so I asked a friend who was in entertainment, “Would you review this DVD and see if it’s any good?” He said, “I’ve got someone even better that can do that.” His friend was director of the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, and he reviewed the DVD and said, “Before I talk to you about your DVD, I want to know why you guys aren’t in Branson.”

I told him my experience, that I didn’t know how to talk to anybody there. He said, “No problem. I know everybody.” He kind of opened the doors for us to get started.

We started off at Silver Dollar City in 1994. I thought we’d be there for five years, but we were only there for four months before we were given an opportunity down here on the strip. We came to this theater in 2000; we were just leasing a spot until 2000.

ONN: What is the history of this theater?

Lena: Jim Thomas, the man who built this theater was one of the first entrepreneurs who saw the vision of the town. This is called Branson’s landmark theater because it was the first theater built on the strip.

The Baldknobbers were performing in a barn and the Presleys at the cave, but they didn’t have the nice theaters they both have now.

This theater is about 20 years old. It’s a great theater and a great location. Thomas brought Roy Clark here. They called it the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre and that’s what started the big names coming to town. There’s a plaque in the lobby that has all the big names who performed here.

The names of these entertainers are written on the walls backstage -- everybody signed their signatures back in the dressing rooms. The walls were kind of a putrid green color. When we took over the theater, the boys said we ought to paint backstage and clean it up.

I said, “Well, wait a minute. Those names are the history of the theater. We can’t just paint over them.” So they ended up painting around the names. So now we have a green and white cow-print wall. Everywhere there’s a name, there’s a green area around it.

They did paint over one name they didn’t recognize, so they didn’t think it was anybody. The name was Richard Clark -- Dick Clark.

ONN: How has the Hughes family changed since coming to Branson?

Lena: When the boys first came, the show was just the five brothers, and two of them were married. The oldest had a little toddler and a newborn. Now we’re expecting grandchild number 27. We’re celebrating our fifteenth year in Branson this year.

ONN: Jason, were any of you on a different career path before coming to Branson?

Jason: Sort of -- but related. I was studying music, dance and theater. Marty was a performance media-music major, and Adam was studying film.

ONN: What kind of challenge was it, the transition from home to Branson?

Jason: I think it was different for each of us. For me it was an easy transition. We were newlyweds, and I had just finished school.

Mara: I was expecting our first when we moved here. I was about seven months pregnant. It was fun though; it was an adventure.

Jason: There was nothing to lose, really, in coming out here. Our youngest brother, Andy, left just before his senior year in high school. All five brothers had gone to the same high school and it was kind of his year to be the big guy at the high school. I don’t think he cared for that.

ONN: Who helped you most in Branson in making a transition?

Jason: I don’t know if there’s one individual necessarily -- there was one person after another; each one was one little part.

Mara: Somebody was always there. We had this three-month job at Silver Dollar City and, when that contract was up, we were thinking, “What are we gonna do? Where are we gonna go?” That time, it was Merrill Osmond who saw them perform the last time at Silver Dollar City and invited them to come and open for the Osmonds. They did that for a couple of weeks and somebody happened to see them there -- a theater owner who said, “Hey, can I see you to audition for our show?”

ONN: How did you wind up buying this theater?

Jason: The previous owner kept driving by our [previous] parking lot and realized we had a lot of coaches, and just kind of checking us out. He was the first theater owner here in town to build a theater just to do shows. He was bringing in big name acts. But after a while, he realized there was not enough profit to have a middle man involved. So he decided it would be better to lease the theater, and in order to entice us, he gave us an option to buy.

After the five-year lease, we exercised that option. We ended up having to scramble to get financing. Normally on a commercial building like this, it’s a year to six months to get financing. We ended up starting on it with three months. Three banks approved us, but two told us there was just no way they could do it in that time frame.

The last bank also fell through at the last minute, but one miracle after another occurred, as things that normally take months to do, we were able to do in a week.

Mara: We asked for an extra 24 hours, and the previous owner would not give it to us.

Jason: He had a couple of other buyers interested. So Mom got on the phone and started calling anyone in town she thought might have enough money to lend us for a week.

Mara: And this little local bank called their committee together and worked all night. They put the whole thing together and covered the whole loan for us in one day -- what the other banks said they couldn’t do in three months.

Jason: That kind of goes to show what the problem is with our nation -- with nationalized banks and internationalized -- too much power and too much influence [too far away].

ONN: What is the biggest challenge for a family doing what you’re doing here?

Jason: Getting up early enough to bring the whole family in for an interview. Sometimes I say the greatest miracle of the show is when all the kids make it out onstage on time...

Mara: ...fully clothed! It’s great that we have such a good team. We have to help each other out.

Jason: Our wives work together probably better than we brothers do. Like yesterday, we have this new costume we wanted to put in the show by today. So all the little girls have to have shoes. Mara was about ready to drop everything she had to do and go to every store to find the shoes. But then, Vicki said, “Hey, I don’t have that much to do. Why don’t I go do that?”

Mara: We get it done.

Jason: A rehearsal is called at the last minute, or occasionally extra things, like interviews or an extra appearance here or there. Communication might not happen from upstairs [offices] to down here.

We had plenty of notice [for this interview] this morning!

Mara: He had plenty of notice! The biggest communication problem is that somebody talks to one brother and he says, “Sure, we can do that.”

Jason: That’s probably one of the hardest things -- communicating to everybody. There are the five brothers and Mom and Dad and we’re all the boss. People will tell one of us something and think they’ve told all of us.

ONN: What’s the best thing about performing in Branson?

Jason: This is a dream come true for us. Not only to do entertainment -- that’s kind of the cherry on the top. The great underlying thing is that we get to work together as a family. Not only does that bring us close as a family. Sometimes, when we portray the family on the stage the way we do, it inspires families. Being a family, being together, is not only healthy and a good thing, but it’s cool. It’s something that our society really needs.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cookie Time!!!

The kids in the family got yummy cookies again. There is a family that brings them cookies every once in a while and they are always adorable. This time they got Mickey Mouse Ears in fun summer colors. At Christmas they got rice krispy treats that were in the shapes of trains and bears and decorated with frosting.

Here is what the card said:

Hughes Children-
Thank you for the wonderful job you do of entertaining all the people that visit your show. You are truly "professionals" in every sense of the word. Your Christian goals and attitude make a difference in so many lives that you touch. Keep up the good work!
We love you all! See you soon.

The Whitts
Don, Nancy and Chris

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Chewie and the Squirrel

Yes, it's time for a few more pictures of Chewie and his antics. Every year there is a squirrel that likes to tease Chewie. He gets right next to the window and looks him in the eye. The little stinker knows that Chewie is stuck indoors and takes full advantage of that little fact.

This year the squirrel has been sitting in my pots and attacking the birdseed bags on our deck. There are also a couple of chipmunks that have joined in the fun this year. Oh yay. It IS pretty funny because the squirrels keep ganging up on the chipmunks. They are constantly chasing each other off. I followed one of the chipmunks the other day to try and figure out how far he is traveling to our deck. I followed him around to the front of our house, up the driveway, across the street and up the hill of our neighbor's house. His cheeks were packed pretty full when I saw him last. I'll need to take a few pics of those guys next.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Group Date

I thought that I would post a few pictures from our group date the other night. We had dinner at a church activity this past Saturday. The overall theme for the evening was about service to others. Here are a few pictures from our table. 
Erika with me smilin' purty

Jason and Mara

Dallen and Erika

Only in Branson

Only in Branson will you find such honest people. I observed this the first week that I moved here, seven years ago. Adam and I were at the Tanger Outlet Mall in the customer service office. A man came in asking if anyone had turned in a wallet. Sure enough, someone turned it in, complete with $100 bills! WOW!

I was the beneficiary of this Branson honesty last weekend.

After the aforementioned group date night, Adam and and I went to Home Depot to pick out our garden plants. As per usual....this took a little while. When we were finished I went to the Wal-mart Supercenter across the street. I must have been really tired. Apparently I left my wallet at the check-out stand. DOH! I didn't notice this until two days had passed. I was going to get an estimate on a frame and could not for the life of me find my wallet. I searched my car several times, ugh. This takes a bit of time because it tends to accumulate things throughout the week. It took me a few minutes to remember when I last used my wallet. I finally decided to call Wal-mart juuuuuust in case. After being on hold for literally 25 minutes, they told me it was there. Phew! The manager knew exactly who I was because...well.....I go there a lot. Well, that and the fact that there really aren't THAT many Chinese people living in Branson.

Oh, all of my money and cards were still inside. =)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

USA Today - Branson Airport Article

I thought I would post this link to the USA Today article on the Branson Airport. We also have a small mention in the article.

Branson Airport Opening

Yay! Branson finally has it's own airport. The closest airport has been an hour away and the rates have been awful! The Branson Airport is privately owned and the rates rock!

Our family was invited to take the first flight out of Branson. Wahooo! The Brothers got to sing a few songs and we even made the evening news on a few stations out here. This is a clip from KY3, the local NBC Syndicate. I'm the dork taking a picture, wearing my Livestrong band, of course. I am also in the background pulling my red shirt down. LOL

Friday, May 8, 2009

My new computer

Well, I finally did it....I finally bought a Mac computer again. I was in need of a new computer because mine has been slowly dying. I am a die-hard PC person. I have had an iMac before, one of those alien purple pod looking things. I absolutely hated the operating system. Easy to operate...yeah right! I know the ins and outs of a PC. I know where to find things and how to fix things. Macs? Not so much.

So...Adam and I were price shopping online and the best deal was an iMac. *sigh. With all of the rebates and offers that we got online, we couldn't pass it up. I have warned Adam that he better hope that I love my new computer because if I hate the Mac, he will NEVER live it down. Oh, in case you aren't aware, Adam is a die-hard Mac person. Honestly, the man should be getting a kick back from the company because he talks them up so much. He has sold a lot of Macs to people because of his knowledge and love for the brand.

Here is a picture of all the new stuff that my lovely FedEx and UPS men brought me. Yes, you do see Six mice in the picture. The five mice that are lined up were free. Each one of them has a $20 rebate. Wahooo! Free $100 right there. We are giving the mice to the theatre for them to use in the offices. The majority of the other programs had full rebates on them too.

So far I am not loving the Parallels program. It's doing something funky with my AOL and is starting to annoy me. Granted, it was a free program but STILL, it should work. Grrrrr
I am liking the speed for little things like playing Farmtown on Facebook. YES, it is a stupid game but I LIKE IT! The entire game is Flash and is much easier to play on the iMac...the 24" screen doesn't hurt either.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Easter 2009

It rained this year on Easter Sunday so the Easter Egg Hunt had to be inside. Adam hid my eggs downstairs and I hid his upstairs. It was fun trying to find the eggs around the house. I'm a tad competitive so I think I did a better job of hiding them and finding them. =)
Adam had the hardest time finding the ones in the kitchen. He literally looked right at them and didn't see them. Hehe.