It’s Vegas Baby!

Coke Museum and Store, Vegas Baby! With my husband

It had been twenty years since I had last been in Vegas and my husband was experiencing it for the first time this last October. We both were wowing at the sights for very different reasons. I was amazed at how much it had changed but some aspects had stayed the same. My husband couldn’t believe all that was going on.

The great thing about Vegas is that it’s ever changing. New improvements to the guest experience. Need a new hotel and casino, build one. If there isn’t space, implode an old one. I was amazed at how many more things had been crammed into the stripe. In the 90’s the casinos had grand sweeping pieces of real-estate that guests had to travel through to get to the casino. It was all part of the experience. Now that real-estate has other small hotels on it, or retail shops and drink carts to get your adult beverage as you walk the strip.

Jason’s first pull on a slot machine

Walking the strip has become a lot easier. I love the pedestrian bridges that are at almost every intersection.Now you don’t have to worry, as much, by getting hit by a car when crossing the street. You just take a bridge over. Even on street level there is a barrier between the side walks and the street. Depending on the time of day there are still a ton of people walking and that makes it a challenge to walk around but over all a lot easier to explore.

My husband and I had a great time walking the strip. We wondered in and out of casinos, played the slots, ate and drank. It was a fun experience. Every once and a while we would get behind some one who was smoking pot, which is legal in Nevada. That wasn’t a pleasant experience but there was always room to get around them or just pop into a casino.

If you haven’t been to Vegas in a while, or have never been, take a trip and experience it. It’s like no other place. It’s Vegas Baby.

Until next time.

Follow on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Our arrival at the Vegas Airport

Gingerbread Adventures

Recently the family and I visited OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) for two different exhibits taking place. The big featured exhibit was Exquisite Creatures and the second was Gingerbread Adventures. Gingerbread adventures was more than a gingerbread building contest, it was also a look at the science behind gingerbread houses and other creations. Using the current Exquisites Creatures exhibits as inspiration four local teams of expert bakers, architects, designers, and construction firms worked together to make these holiday treats. Except for the bases and structural supports, each sculpture was built with edible materials.

Let’s dive in to the competitors entries. The entrants will be reviewed in the order they were presented.

First up is Holiday on the Bayou by SFA Design and Safeway. The birds, snakes, frogs, turtles, and dragonflies are excited to share their holiday cheer. The alligator is covered in pear jellybeans. Little Beatles work to decorate their home on the Bayou. I enjoyed the detail given to the bugs and amphibians that live in the bayou.

Second up is Life in Contrast by WRK Engineers, Ankrom Moisa Architects and Zest Bakery. A veiled chameleon attempts to bring down a dragonfly for dinner. Butterflies rise from light to dark. I was drawn to the colorful chameleon covered in sweet tarts and skittles. It’s tongue is made from sour stripes. I then saw the massive dragonfly followed by the butterflies.

Third up is Jingle in the Jungle by Scott Edwards Architecture and Sugar Cubed Cakes. Gillian Gecko is throwing a party and were all invited. Detail is everywhere in this display. From the animals, bugs, lizards, and frogs, to the furniture and landscaping. There is even an Exquisite Creatures gallery in a log with mini artwork. Absolutely amazing.

Fourth and final entrant is Arborvitae by LRS Architects and New Seasons Market. The tree of life. From gingerbread sand to lofty branches this tree gives life and protection to the animals that depend on it.

After viewing all four displays we were invited to vote for our favorite. I voted for Jingle in the Jungle. There was so much to look at from every angle. While voting I opted in for an email to tell me the winner of the contest. We’ll find out the winner at the beginning of January. Good luck to all the entrants.

This exhibit runs until January 2nd, 2020.

Follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall for more of my daily adventures.

Until next time.

Crunchy Taco Ring

Crunchy Taco Ring

I recently made this Crunchy Taco Ring recipe for my family. It is very similar to another family favorite, The Cheeseburger Ring. Which I’ll post that recipe later. I figured I would give it a try. Overall it was tasty. The family enjoyed eating it and it was great as a left over for lunch the next day.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Crunchy Taco Ring

1 pound ground meat

1 packet taco seasoning mix

1 cup crushed corn chips

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar plus , 1/2 cup cheese to top ring

2 tubes of Crescent rolls

Guacamole

Sour Cream

Salsa

Shredded Lettuce

1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Brown ground meat and drain

3. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Cook for several minutes to incorporate and thicken

4. Make crescent roll ring

5. Add corn chips and cheese to meat combine well

6. Put mixture on crescent roll ring

7. Fold points over mixture to create ring

8. Bake for 18-20 minutes on middle rack

9. Let sit a minute or two before cutting. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over ring

10. Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and lettuce

I made a salad for a side item with the shredded lettuce.Until next time keep up with me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Pull points over the meat mixture to create a ring
Crunchy Taco Ring is ready to go into the oven

Making things happen

We recently moved in with my father and in that process we got rid of a lot of stuff. Then the first two weeks we were here, we got rid of even more stuff. Then more time went by and we got rid of even more stuff. We donated to local charities and sent other things to the auction house. There is still more stuff to go through. I have been consistently going through all of our belongings in an attempt to organize and get things in there new home. But in this process I’m still donating items and there will be more items in the future.

But what’s got me thinking is the two pods worth of stuff still to be unpacked once the addition is finished. The addition is another story. There is furniture for the boys rooms and other miscellaneous items for the house. My mind keeps going to the “do we need, or want, all those items in the pods?” And I keep thinking, “probably not”.

It seems kind of backwards to me that I want to reduce the amount of things I have but we’re adding about 900 square feet to the house which will end up with stuff. The space were adding is for bedrooms, not just to have more space for stuff. But it does feel a tad counter productive.

I look around and see my belongings and that of my families. Some of the stuff is useful, some meaningful, and other things that are just there. Some of the items will have a home in the addition and are hanging out in an odd spot, but I feel others may be moving on to new homes.

There will be a lot of work going on in the coming months to pear down the things and lots of construction of the new area. But when the addition is ready to move in to I will have to face the pods and all that they hold. I think that will be a true test of what items I want to keep in my life and which items I will bid a fond farewell too.

How do you feel about your space and your belongings in it?

Until next time keep up with me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Summer Enrichment Planning

While other teachers are counting down to summer break. I’m ramping up for the Summer Enrichment Program. Don’t get me wrong, I’m counting down to the end of the school year also. The enrichment program is a totally different curriculum than my school year teaching.

I get to teach S.T.E.M all day long, four days a week. Then the fifth day we go swimming and play cranium busters. Cranium busters are fun games to expand your brain.

This program gives the students the opportunity to get hands on in a lot of different educational situations. Not only do I get to do tons of science with them, they do art, crafts, writing, drawing, physical activity and we get to go on some pretty awesome field trips.

I love how the students introduce me to their parents as the science lady. The kids are always so excited to do experiments. Sometimes they are so excited the experiments go off track. But I always remind them their is no such thing as a failed experiment, just an opportunity to discover something unexpected.

We are T-minus five weeks until the summer program starts. I’m getting closer to being ready. There are a lot of fun and exciting things planned and I can’t wait to experience them with the kids.

Are you working a summer program this year? If you are good luck and have fun.

Follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.

The Purge

When I was in middle school I read a collection of stories about people who gave up all their worldly possessions to live a simple life. That simple life was in different forms. I remember thinking who in the world would do that? All of their stuff. Only crazy people do that.

Well call me crazy but I’ve been purging a lot of stuff lately. Car loads of stuff to our local charity. And I was reminded of those stories. My life had been taken over by stuff. And most of that stuff didn’t have any meaning for me. The thought of having meaningless stuff just hanging around, weighing  me down, was a horrible feeling. That’s when I started going through everything.

I’ve gotten rid of a lot of things and I don’t even miss the stuff. Which I thought I would, but I’m loving the feeling of being free from stuff. A weight has truly been lifted. Believe me I still have a lot of things, but I’m going through them. I have a goal of once a week to make a drop off trip to the charity. The charity also does pickups so I’ll be using that as well.

When I’m deciding if an item will stay or go I ask myself a few questions.

  1. Have I used this lately
  2. Does it give me joy
  3. Is it meaningful

It’s been hard for some items and to be honest, there are items that have made it through a few rounds because I can’t seem to let them go. And there were others that were really easy to say good-bye to. But oh what a feeling of knowing  others will enjoy and benefit from the items. That makes me feel good.

Have any of you gone through this or are currently purging stuff out of your life? I would love to hear about it.

If you’re interested in my daily journey please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Have a great day and see you soon.

July Book Sale

Well hello happy people. I know July is almost over but it’s never too late to let you know about a book sale.

Every year Smashwords hosts a very large sale on books. Books are up to 75% off and some are even free. Can’t beat free with a stick people. The author’s who participate in this sale do so voluntarily with the hopes their stories and their voice will be read by those who may not have considered their work in the past.

I have several books for 75% off and some free ones as well in the sale.

If your interested in checking out some of my work or the work of other authors please head on over to Smashwords. You can search me Laura K Marshall or LKMarshall to find my full catalog of work.

Hope you all are having a wonderful day and as always follow me on Instagram for updates on being me. Search beinglaurakmarshall to follow.

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The Starving Writer Review Collection

Long Time No See

I had this really long post written about all the stuff that has gone on with me over the last several months since I posted last. Then I realized when it came down to it there were only two life things that were big for me. We all celebrated October through December holidays in our own way then came January through May, but two big things in my life that has moved my journey forward. In November I turned forty and in February I officially became debt free. These two events really mean something in my journey. I have been a slave to the norm, work a job, pay bills, be responsible, etc., etc. I knew deep down there was more. I love being creative either through writing, crafts, painting or drawing. Those things enrich my life more than my day job of contributing to the obesity problem ever has. Reaching those mile stones has really opened up possibilities for me that I never considered. Always sometime in the future or that would be nice but. Well hell, but nothing. I am actively now engaging in the realities of creating the life I want. Not settling for the day to day survival. I am actively moving in the direction of change and creating new goals. What are those goals you may ask?

My life goal is to travel and live a full enriched life through creativity and helping others.

How does that look in reality? I’m not sure but I’m figuring it out. Day by day I get more insight into how I am going to be able to live my dreams and reach my goals.

What are you working toward in your life? I challenge you to ask yourself that question. You may be surprised in what you find.

If you’re interested in my daily journey please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Book Sale

You've Decided to be a Writer, Now What?
You’ve Decided to be a Writer, Now What?

You read that correctly, Book Sale! I have a great deal of my titles on sale this month on Smashwords. Here is your opportunity to check out my writing for up to 75% off.

Here is just a sampling of the titles available during this sale:

Mighty Magnificent Book of Prompts

Solar System Lesson Plan Workbook

Short Story Crash Course

I Love to Read and Write

Journaling Guide and Course Work

Reading is Fun – At Home Activities for Beginning Readers

Aunt Millie’s Dairy Farm

You’ve Decided to be a Writer, Now What?

Mr. Quipsters Tales

And so many more.

I am very excited to be sharing my work with all of you. So hop on over to Smashwords and check out the Book Sale.

If you’d like to see my daily journey please follow me on twitter @beinglkm or on Instagram beinglaurakmarshall

Super Laura

Addicted to Art

Hello my name is Laura and I’m addicted to art.

Super Laura
Super Laura

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It all started nine weeks ago when I realized I was addicted to art. I dabbled off and on for years in sketching, a little water color here and there, maybe a colored pencil or two, but it wasn’t serious. I could stop any time I wanted to. That’s what I told myself at least. I would try to give it up but it kept pulling me back in. You know the smell of freshly sharpened pencils is hard to resist. We all know once you get hooked on art you can’t go back.

You know what? I am totally okay with that. That’s right. I’m okay with being addicted to art.

The last nine weeks have been totally amazing. I have rediscovered how much I love creating art. I started with some sketching, then Parker and Aiden started doing pixel art. So I figured I’d give that a try. It was so much fun. I have created quite a collection of those bad boys. Then I started drawing the harder stuff. You know, mandalas. Wow, talk about amazing. The ones I have created so far have just blown me away. I don’t even know how to express how much this process of creation has changed me over the course of the last two month.  It has been a wonderful experience that I plan on continuing for a long, long time to come.

Where is all of this art doing going to take me? I’m not sure, maybe art world domination? Only time will tell.

So I am proud to say, My name is Laura and I am addicted to art!

Enjoy these selected pieces of my art. For a daily dose of being me follow me on Instagram – beinglaurakmarshall or on twitter – @beinglkm