Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A New Favorite???

Welcome to Shouse Ford on DeGray Lake.  This may be my new favorite!!  Amazing view...walk down to a great swim hole..over to the right and down a little path is a fishing spot that we had a blast catching fish after fish!!  This trip goes down as our best yet this summer!!  So many memories!!  
It was Bubba Bear's first trip, so we let him go solo and the other furkids got to stay with their favorite housesitter of all time, Kristen.  I worried that I wouldn't be able to relax and he would drive me crazy, but he did better than I could have ever imagined!!  He just chilled out.  I think he was exhausted from all the newness.  We took him for a walk each night and he went swimming for the first time!

Our Campsite - #77

Sunset the first night

Bubba Bear's first swim!  Head up! Ha!

"Come on!  You can do it again!"

Trying to show him how comfy the bottom bunk is so he would sleep there. No GO!

Instead he jumped in our bed and peeked around the corner like, "hey, this is better, come in here!"

Our fishing spot

My first catch!  Cute!  Good thing they got bigger! LOL!

Caught our own dinner!  Yay for us!  Best day!!

I am such a sucker for this dog!!

Our view

Bubba Bear keeping cool while we fished.

Shouse Ford - DeGray Lake - site 77 - July 28th to July 30th

Thursday, July 25, 2013

New Chapter

In exactly two weeks, I start my new job!!  I am excited and terrified at the same time!!  A new school year is approaching and I honestly have no idea what to expect.  For the first time in 16 years, I will not get a new group of students on the first day of school.  I will get to teach the entire school!!  How am I going to learn over 400 names?!? 
This latest journey started for me sometime back in March.  The librarian at the school where I began my teaching career emailed to let me know she was retiring.  She was my mentor when I started the library program and helped me with a few projects while working on my masters degree.  She was also the one who nominated me for my first teacher of the year award.  She had been threatening to retire for a few years and I had not really thought about it.  I was content in my 4th grade classroom.  (Remember, last year I moved schools and the year before that I switched graded levels - moved classrooms.  I was really hoping to stay put for a bit!!! Ha!)  God had other plans.
After my initial panic when I read her email - What to do?  Did I want to try for the job?  Was I ready?  Could I give up having my own classroom?  Did I want to go back to my first school in the projects?  Could I do it?  Well, to make an almost 4 month long drama short, I asked for a professional day to go and spend the day with the librarian during a regular school day.  After spending the day there, I felt like I had my answer.  I could do it.  I would be welcomed back and kids are kids no matter where you are.  It was settled.  Once again, I was possibly moving schools.  I spent over a month getting my resume and portfolio together.  Waiting FOREVER it seemed like for the job to post (2 months).  Once it posted, I applied and after a week, I had my interview.  I hate interviews!!  So nerve-wracking!  I had to present a technology presentation, which helped loosen me up for the rest of the interview.  After almost 2 hours, I was done.  It was all in God's hands.  I had been praying for months for clear direction and for Him to please open the door if it was His plan and close it if it wasn't.  It took nearly two weeks for the call back.  Apparently, it was narrowed down to me and two other candidates.  I had no experience was my negative.  BUT, in the end, I got the job!!!  
So, two weeks from today, I will not walk into a classroom.  I will walk into a library.  It will be mine.  I will officially put all my hard work from my masters degree to use and become an elementary school librarian.   I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared.  I KNOW how to get ready for the school year as a classroom teacher.  What do I do to get ready as a librarian???  I go back two days earlier than the classroom teachers and I don't know what to do! LOL!  It's going to be a learning year FOR SURE!  A big thanks to all my prayer warriors on this journey.  Keep praying and think about volunteering!  The book fair is in September!  ;)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Horse Show

 Saturday I went to watch my niece in the horse show.  The day started off miserably HOT, but thankfully some clouds came and cooled things off for us.  It turned out to be a nice family day.  And, other than one of the horses, Chester, limping and Autumn having to scratch in two events, I would say she did a great job!  She placed in almost every event. 
 Can you believe my little, cute niece has grown up?  She is now a gorgeous teenager!!  In the blink of an eye it seems!!

 I have a hard time with the ole iphone camera catching her in the speed events! :( 

July 20th - Hillbilly Horseshow - Searcy

Friday, July 19, 2013

Gap Creek by Robert Morgan


I was intrigued by this book from the beginning because of the time frame and setting.  I have always been fascinated with the "pioneer days"/Little House on the Praire times.  This is truly the story of a couple.  I thought it was a good read.  The end just happened though...like it could keep going.  And, it should.  This book was written in 1999 and the sequel is just coming out this fall. It definitely leaves you hanging, so I recommend the sequel before I even read it! :)

After seventeen-year-old Julie Harmon marries Hank Richards, their new life in the valley of Gap Creek - in the last years of the nineteenth century - becomes more complicated than the couple ever imagined.  Sometimes it's hard to tell what to fear most - the fires and floods or the flesh-and-blood grifters, drunks, and busybodies who insinuate themselves into their lives.  Their struggles with nature, with work, with the changing century, and with the disappoints and triumphs of their marriage make Gap Creek a timeless story.  Julie and Hank discover that the modern world is complex and that it grinds on without pause or concern for their hard work.  To survive, they must find out whether love can keep chaos and madness at bay.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


 Sunday after church, we headed out for a little two night camping trip and left every single fur kid with a sitter.  Ahhhh!!!  I tell ya, I slept good!  I slept the latest I have slept all summer.  Might have been the missing 80 lb. boxer sitting on me when he ready for me to get up in the mornings! ha!  
Our first adventure was trying out the new hammock.  That turned out to be not exactly what we thought...but by the end of the trip, I figured out how to take a cat nap in it! ;)
 Not only did I sleep good, but Big Bear ensured we ate good this trip!  First dinner was ribs and grilled corn on the cob!!  YUM!!

 Can you tell Big Bear is losing weight?  He's lost 30 lbs so far!  And, I was impressed because the entire trip, he still ate no bread.  He had his burgers on a lettuce wrap!  That's dedication!
Big Bear got his fishing license for this trip.  I think I will get mine for the next one.  He fished both days for a bit and I got to lay in the hammock and read.  Bliss!
 He would have been happier if he had caught anything bigger than this:
(I thought he was cute!)
 We spent this time exploring DeGray Lake and stayed at the State Park.  It had its pros and cons.  The drive was MUCH easier than going to Heber, so that is a plus.  It is also an hour off the drive.  The negative to me is that you have to drive to the swimming area to swim and that is the only place that is really available to swim.  I like being able to walk to a non-swimming area place off of campsites.  So, we took a little road trip adventure Monday morning and checked out some other campsites on the lake.  We found one that we really liked.  There were several sites in this one that we could walk down with the dogs and let Stella swim and we could swim and/or fish if we wanted.  No one can say I don't love Stella as much as the boxers, because every single campsite we visited, all I said was, "but where can I take Stella swimming?"  It was all about her.  Of course, she is our best camping dog! ;)
Later in the month, we trying out one of the spots we found and taking Stella girl.  I think we are cancelling our Lake Catherine reservations after seeing the spots we found Monday.  DeGray Lake truly has the potential to be our new "home" lake.

 July 14 - 16th - DeGray Lake State Park - site #80

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer Scrap Camp 2013

Scrap supplies for 2 days of serious scrappin!
 My BFF and I, in the past, got together every summer for about a week.  We would split it between our two houses.  Then, somehow over the past few years, I guess kids, allergies, new husbands and summer school got in the way.  Well, we are officially back on track!  The perfect escape from kids and husbands and no cat allergies = the new camper!  Mark my words, this was my final summer to teach summer school, so no more scheduling issues either!  Whoop!
We rented a spot at a KOA campground (nice) in Maumelle.  Only a 20 minute drive for me, and it was convenient for Michelle to get the little one to grandparents.  Win! Win!  Plus, we wanted to be close enough to take a trip over to Cabot and go to that scrapbook store.
 Turns out the camper is just roomy enough for two scrappers and a pomeranian!  Michelle had the dining area table and I brought a small table to put in front of the couch.  Perfect!  Below is as we got started...it got a lot messier! ha!
 My awesome husband set up the camper for us on a 100 degree temp day and didn't complain once!  Then, when we were done, he came and broke it all down for us.  Plus took care of all the furkids while I was away.  Love him!!  :)  
We got our essential junk food...which also included Dr. Pepper and raw cookie dough.  Dinner one night was cookie dough and bean dip.  Kevin would be mortified and honestly, I might not even eat bean dip for awhile! LOL!

 This is what I refer to as my scrapbook hangover picture:
All in all, it was a success.  Only a few things to do different next year.  It was a bit of a pain this year that Bubba Bear was going through the last week of heartworm treatments, so I went home once a day to check on him and let him out.  That killed some serious scrap time.  And, we ate out too much.  Next year, we will bring more food than the junk.  And, next year, I will beat my 45 pages done record. 
Now...if I can just keep this scrapbook "fire" I have! ha!
Maumelle KOA Campground G13 - July 9th-11th

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

HOME Again! Whoop!

After 24 days of boarding & treatment for the nasty heartworms, Bubba Bear finally got to come home on Sunday.  There may have been some tears when the vet tech couldn't hold him back once he saw us around the corner!  Love this boxer boy!  Doesn't he look adorable in his bandana they put on him for his homecoming?  I tell you, the girls at our vet clinic are AWESOME!! 
 We were all excited!  (Well, Stella, maybe not as much!)  But, I know we did the right thing boarding him for the first 3 weeks of treatment.  It would have been too hard to keep him calm and still with his brother and sister around, plus a bed to jump on!!  We are still keeping the doggie door locked this week and no wrestling allowed.  Basically, he doesn't have to be still, but we have to keep his heart rate down.  Friday will mark 4 weeks and then things can get more back to normal.
In the meantime, everyone got new comfortable beds (Bubba may have destroyed TWO I brought him during boarding! ha!)  This is my side of the bed every night...I am well protected.  Stella gets too hot with the wool topping, so her bed keeps her cool. :) 
 Home Sweet Home!  Pray the heartworms are GONE!  We have a re=check in 3 months.  Stupid Heartgard!!  We are switching Bubba to the 6 month pro-heart shot that his brother and sister had last month.  Please don't let this happen to your dog.  If you use Heartgard, take them to the vet and have them checked and then switch.  I just had another friend go in to do that, and both his dogs tested positive for heartworms ON heartgard!!  This is NOT a fluke!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Traveling Arkansas...

Lake Catherine
Some of my favorite times are when we get in the car for a road trip with no schedule, no real plan and see where the day takes us.  That is exactly what we did Saturday for Kevin's big 40th birthday!!  Put a little cooler in the backseat, grabbed some swimsuits, and hit the road.  First stop, Lake Catherine.  Our only real mission was to check out camping areas closer to us than where we have been going.  Just thinking it might make it easier to camp for a week or more.  We really thought Lake Catherine was going to be a hit because several people told us they really liked it.  But, I didn't feel the love.  Mainly, it was that the campsites are piled pretty tightly on top of each other.  BUT, we still made reservations for later this month to try it out before we totally diss it.  Since we weren't totally sold on Lake Catherine, we headed into Hot Springs for Kevin's birthday lunch (Cajun Boilers - yum!!).
Lake Hamilton
Then, we decided that Lake Hamilton was RIGHT THERE so we would look for a place to camp.  Ha!  JOKE!  We went to about four "campgrounds" and every single one of them was literally a gravel parking lot and you pulled into a parking spot.  NO thank you!
After being a bit discouraged, we decided we weren't on a schedule, so we headed over to Lake DeGray...
Lake DeGray
I will say that of the three lakes we visited (and didn't swim once! ha!)...Lake DeGray was my favorite, but it still doesn't compare to Greers Ferry (my opinion).  We drove around the state park and marked our favorite sites.  Then, we made reservations for later in the month.  Of course, after that, we discovered another park.  So, needless to say we will check out other places when we go camp.  It was a good day of exploring...and more exploring to come later in the month!  
And, most importantly, I believe Big Bear had a good 40th birthday! :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

July 4th = Festivals = Concessions

How did we spend our 4th of July?  Branching out and doing our first festival.  I wish I could say it was a huge success, but it was a learning experience for sure!  We broke even and I was grateful for that because for the first 3 hours or so, I thought we were in BIG trouble!!  But, it's a gamble, these festivals.  At least this one didn't have a fee to pay to come.  I can handle breaking even.  I just hate seeing Big Bear disappointed.  And it's hard not to be when you work the day before getting ready, the day of in HOT conditions (that trailer with those friers is almost unbearable at times!!) and then come home and spend the next day cleaning  it all up.  And, to do all that for nothing...it's discouraging.  BUT, at least we weren't in the hole!!  Cuz trust me, I really thought we were going to be!  And, I guess the good news is that we have burgers for all our camping trips for the next year! ha! 
 Our big hits were the giant corn dogs and the fried pies.  Chocolate fried pie = YUM!!  So, you know how I love concession food!?! Yesterday, I may have had a giant corndog, a chocolate fried pie and more french fries than I care to mention!!  (We won't even talk about the cake balls a friend's mom brought me!!)  I ate all that and Kevin has lost 30 lbs and counting!!  I guess I'm gaining it as he loses it! :)