Category: Guest Blog

Guest Blog

Beth & Todd’s Excellent Adventure – Phase 2

We left Las Vegas on Monday morning and started toward our next major destination (you’ll have to wait for Phase 3 to find out where!)  On our way, we knocked out something I’ve always wanted to see in person…Hoover Dam.

From the beginning, this was planned to be a short visit.  Working for our local Flood Control District, I’ve been on several dam tours and been inside the seeping underworld.  And in my research, I had already learned quite a bit about Hoover Dam and its interesting construction.  But I’ve always wanted to SEE this giant marvel of engineering.  We had planned to go the Visitor’s Center and see it from the bottom, however, GPS took us another way, which was good enough for us, as we hadn’t planned to spend more than an hour or so here anyway.  We were very anxious to get to our next stop…wherever that might be!

We went through a thorough security checkpoint where they made sure nobody was strapped underneath our car or hiding in the back seat.  Whew, we were all clear!  Just down the road, we parked in a small lot with maybe one or two other cars – it was not very busy on this Monday morning.  We took a short walk up to the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.

I borrowed this photo from to show how massive it was.  And windy.  REALLY windy!

We walked out to the middle of the bridge and tried to take some selfies (it was so windy, my phone almost blew out of my hand, and as you can see, it was a very long way down!) and more pics of the record low levels of the reservoir.  While there was a pedestrian walkway on the bridge with a 5-foot concrete wall dividing the walkway from the highway, there were a ton of 18 wheelers whizzing by, some of which thought it would be fun to honk their horns when they passed.  Funny…the second and third time.  The first time, not so much, lol!

Hoover Dam was quite a magnificent sight to see, and I’m so glad we made the time to stop and see it.  

Todd and I got back in the car and headed to our next stop…

(Thanks again, Beth, for your entertaining report. Stay tuned for Phases 3A and 3B – coming soon to a family blog near you 😉)

Guest Blog – Beth & Todd’s Excellent Adventure

This is the first of several parts of Beth’s Guest Blog. She and Todd recently completed a nice vacation, and she was kind enough to agree to share with us. Thank you, Beth.

We left Riverside around noon and arrived in Vegas just before rush hour, pulling off the crowded freeway and making our way down The Strip (aka Las Vegas Blvd) to our shelter for the weekend, the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.  I cashed in Citi miles to splurge on an Eiffel Tower view room, where we not only had an awesome view of the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower, but just beyond were the famous Bellagio fountains.  We enjoyed the lights from both magnificent features despite our windows being so filthy dirty that we couldn’t get decent pic in the daytime!

[By the way, I would like to give Sharon kudos for her excellent blog skills. It’s tough to remember to document as you’re enjoying the experience.  You’ll see by my content that I am clearly a beginner. Mad respect to you Sharon!]

We spent the majority of the time in the casino sportsbook, rooting for the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday and then again for NFL on Sunday.  (We stomped Kentucky in case anyone was wondering and remain undefeated this year.  Go Dawgs!)  I did a little unsuccessful slot play here and there and was happy to drink all my sorrows away, lol.

We did venture outside at one point to see the Bellagio fountains.  They have several shows to various music all day and night.  Spectacular – I could watch these shows all night!

This may be a shock (not!), but the highlights of our trip were the meals!  We had reservations at two very fancy schmancy restaurants: Gordon Ramsey’s Steak and the Eiffel Tower Restaurant.  My apologies in advance for eating most of our food before taking pics (I know, I know, I will get better!)

Gordon Ramsey Steak: Steak is located right off the casino floor, lit up with red neon.  As you walk into the restaurant, it’s supposed to be like you’re walking into the Chunnel.  The lamppost and “cobblestone” floor outside were part of the Parisian theme, which was very cute and well done.

Of the two meals, Todd and I agreed we’d come back to Steak in a heartbeat.  We were seated upstairs in a private booth with a tall leather back, and the service here was outstanding from beginning to end.  We expected nothing less after watching his cooking shows – I shiver at the possible consequences of one of his staff providing less than stellar service, lol!

We started off with oysters (one of our absolute favorites), and Todd had a shrimp cocktail.  The oysters were a sampling of four different types, all delicious!  The shrimp cocktail was very good, but let’s face it, still just a shrimp cocktail. Sorry, no pics because we gobbled it up to fast.

For our entrées, I was tempted by the $41 per ounce Japanese A5 beef (but then thought really, how good could it be?  And honestly after eating the steak I did order, was not sorry.)  I instead went with the American wagyu rib cap and butter poached lobster tail.  As soon as the waiter said marbling, I was sold!  Todd had a filet and pan seared scallops (Sharon, you would have loved those scallops – look at that sear!)  We both agreed that my steak was the best, but both were excellent.

The following night we ate at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, also in our hotel.  I had arranged to have a window table and was so glad I did – the view was amazing!

From the hotel casino floor, we checked in at the hostess booth and then took a private elevator up to the restaurant.  When the doors opened, we found ourselves in the kitchen of the restaurant.  Greeting us was a very nice woman who ushered us to the upstairs hostess.  We were seated promptly and sipped on a drink while we thoroughly enjoyed the amazing view.

We both started with the lobster bisque with Jerusalem artichoke and butter poached lobster.  Very yummy!  I ordered the broiled rib eye with roasted bone marrow, and Todd ordered the filet mignon.  By the stripped clean bone in the picture, you can tell the bone marrow was awful.  (Not!  It was melt in your mouth delicious!)  We split some of the best olive oil mashed potatoes I’ve ever had and thought we were done.

But then I remembered that I couldn’t skip dessert tonight because I had already pre-ordered it.  You guessed it…a soufflé!  (Yes, Beth DeHayes skipped her absolute favorite dessert, creme brûlée, for a soufflé.)  What flavor of soufflé would make me do this?  Chocolate? Grand Mariner?  Vanilla bean?  All good options, but no.  This would have to be a very, very special flavor.  What’s that you say?  A Sicilian pistachio soufflé?  Yes please!

While we enjoyed two outstanding dinners and enjoyed being out and about in the world, we were not thrilled with the Paris Hotel overall.  I think Vegas is trying to make some money back from being closed during covid.  The slots were tight, the drinks were extra pricey, and the overall service was meh at best.  While we would return to both of the restaurants in a heartbeat, we will not be staying at the Paris Hotel again.

Stay tuned for Phase 2 of our vacation to see where we headed next!

Corn Maze & Pumpkins

Chrisie sent some photos of Louie today, and I thought it might be fun to share. He is growing by leaps and bounds!

Here is what Chrisie said about their day:

We are out of school today for Fall break. Louie and I went to a pumpkin patch and they happened to have a corn maze. We did our first ever corn maze. The good thing; we found our way through on the first try. The bad thing, we got all the spider webs 🙄.It was a lot of fun… except for the webs. Haha.

Chrisie said Louie really enjoyed the corn maze. Not surprising, as he very good at solving puzzles!

Thank you, Chrisie. Did you know it was this easy to do a Guest Blog?🥰❤️👍

A Crafty Guest Blog

Beth sent us an advanced preview of the gift she made for Catherine’s birthday. It is so cute!!! We couldn’t share until Beth was able to give it to Catherine. Beth, Catherine and Louise celebrated with a girl’s night out yesterday, and Beth was able to reveal her gift.

Here is Beth’s description:

My craft for this weekend was to make a succulent dish (not food) with a beach theme for Catherine for her upcoming birthday. I made the fence with popsicle sticks and thin copper wire, and I made the Adirondack chair from popsicle sticks too. Even the flip flops are rocks from my side yard and I used puffy glue for the straps. Think it turned out pretty darn good!

How cute is that??? I feel honored to be part of such a crafty family 😍👍🥂

Be Safe!

Pizza Pizza Pizza – Guest Blog!!!

Here we go – an exciting guest blog from Kathy. Kathy and Steve recently took delivery of a pizza oven. This seems to be the thing to do as a couple of our friends have added pizza ovens (we just mastered takeout, so that will have to do for us).

__________________ Kathy’s blog starts below:

Three key learnings so far:

#1   It is never as easy as the reviewers say

#2   I’m beginning to wonder if someone doctored the video we watched of a 6 and 9 yr old making pizzas – they made it look soooo easy!

#3   If you want to make homemade dough, good luck finding yeast.   Luckily a rescue package arrived from Maine Midcoast RR with some spare yeast and an added bonus of a roll of toilet paper!  Thank you Lou.

Now – a description of the pizza making process:

#1  Testing the yeast.  Yep it is nice and bubbly.  I used my KitchenAid stand mixer.  Poured the flour, etc. in, set it on medium speed for 10 minutes.  Dough comes out perfect.   Before the yeast arrived I bought a ball of dough at the grocery which we used for our first pizza attempt, it was really good.


#2  Waiting for the dough to rise.  It looks like a cartoon face.   It eventually rose over the top of the bowl.  Punching dough is fun!


#3   After 2 attempts hand tossed pizza is out.   Rolling has eliminated the query “can’t you make it round?”  For me rolling makes it much easier to control the shape and size, granted it is still wonky, but this is a definite improvement.

#4   Flouring the peel is key, otherwise the pizza sticks to the peel and will not slide off into the oven.  We learned that from watching a video of a 6 and 9 yr old make pizzas.  We also prefer the stainless peel to a wooden one. 

#5   It is starting to bubble.   This oven will heat up to 900 degrees fahrenheit.   We cook ours at around 725 degrees, it only takes a few minutes.   Steve has one of those infrared pizza guns to keep track of the oven temperature. 

#6   The finished product, again not exactly round, but it tasted good. 

Our review – practice makes “good”!    We are looking forward to getting to the point of being able to have guests over for pizza.

Update on May 28 … Kathy continues to make pizzas and progress. These look so good. The first is half pepperoni and half bar-b-qued chicken. The second is all pepperoni (yummmmm)

_______________________ This concludes Kathy’s Guest Blog !!!

Thank you, Kathy, for telling us what it’s like to use a Pizza oven. We are looking forward to being some of those guests who get invited to check out some Pizza!!!


Guest Blog by Catherine – “About Biscuits”

Continuing the food trend we have going this week, Catherine shares a cute story about Biscuits. Please read on:

Introducing Montgomery J. Biscuits, aka “Monty,” the newest addition to the DeHayes/Holmes family!

Day 1 – #toomuchcuteness. With our older dog, Vijay, slowing down, we decided to get our next dog in the hopes that Vijay would train it and teach it English!  As an added bonus, it was Victoria’s birthday, our youngest, which seemed like a perfect excuse.

Day 2 – This Dog is Perfect! Monty has adjusted so well and is sleeping through the night (mostly!).  We all are congratulating ourselves on our dog training ability and Monty’s innate outstanding qualities!  

The boys are getting to know each other and gradually bonding. Although Vijay thinks it is completely unfair the new puppy is allowed to go into the kitchen.  

The vet says he is perfectly healthy but perhaps we need to be aware that he will be HUGE…


Day 3 – Who Would Like a Beautiful Puppy?

So, the honeymoon is apparently over…  Monty just realized that he is no longer with his mom and siblings and does NOT like his crate.  Crying, crying, crying…all night long.  Anyone want a beautiful Collie puppy?  Available daily from 11 pm through 5 am!  He’s a pain but he sure is cute…


Outside of sleeping time, Monty continues do so well – adjusting to so many different experiences each day. He has been fearless in greeting new people and new environments each day.  

Today, Mark brought him to my office for an hour – he accepted all the hugs, pets, and cuteness explosions from about 25 different people and then curled up under my desk for a nice sleep!



Thank you, Catherine for the guest blog. And best of luck to Monty and Vijay as they plot to figure out how to make life interesting for the Holmes family!

And, let’s not forget a great big Happy Birthday wish to Victoria!