Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Ouachita National Forest

Hey Down Home Friends,
Normally I am out and about traveling the roads of Texas whenever we get a chance but this summer we decided to go to Arkansas. We were excited to see another part of the world and especially excited to be in a national forest.

Knowing that we could not make reservations to camp within the national forest because it is a first come and first served campground, we decided to make reservations nearby. Lucky for us, just by chance, on our first day there we were able to find a campsite within the national forest. We made our home at the Charlton Recreation Area. This area is located just 20 miles from Hot Springs.

Our campsite was large, lush and well maintained just like the entire park. I swear we never wanted to leave because it was just so picturesque.

There were plenty of things to do to keep us busy during our stay. Lots of great places to kayak nearby, bike riding and walking through the forest are just a few. I think my favorite might have been walking in the forest and just listening to the sounds of nature.

But quite honestly, the campfires were my favorite. Seeing the stars through the trees in the forest by campfire light was just what I needed.

There are plenty of things to do around the area. I think the highlight of the trip was horse riding through the forest. Mountain Harbor Riding Stables is the one to check out if you are in the area. The people who own the business were so friendly and accommodating. It was definitely a scenic ride through the Ouachita Mountains.

The horses were beautiful and so gentle. it honestly was a ride I will never forget. And something I look forward to again. I had such a great experience I am already looking forward to a return trip to do it just one more time.

But the next time we are going to also try the carriage ride. I just can't wait.

There are several rock shops to find a local treasure...or a few.

There were so many places and vistas along the highway to take great pictures. This one reminded me of home...

The observation tower in Hot Springs National Park is something to check out. A great place for pictures. The gift shop has lots of interesting things to help remember your trip.

And while you are in the area, a riverboat cruise is a nice way to end the day.

With so many things to see and do I think I left a piece of my heart in Arkansas but Texas will always be home...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Internet On The Go!

Hey Down Home Friends,
So thankful for this time of year to get out and explore a little more of Texas that I have yet to discover. And you can bet I am not going anywhere without some sort of connection. I use my phone a lot but I also take my Surface Pro to get a little work done when we are traveling. Years ago I wasn't sure really how this was possible but it is really very simple. And I get asked this question a lot believe it or not. My service provider is AT&T. A very nice customer service representative told me about tethering. Although I had recently heard of it, I wasn't quite sure just how it worked. She actually sent me directions by email. I was shocked at how easy it really was. I was happy that I also had everything I needed to get it going right away.
Connect your device to the USB port. I used my phone charging cable.
On your phone look for your utilities tab.
Go to settings.
Turn ON your personal hotspot.
Now connect your computer or device to the internet.
And that is it.
When you are finished with your work just remember to turn OFF your hotspot.
I have used this little system for several years now and have had no problem. And it is safe and secure. I have never been charged any additional fees by AT&T. If you are a customer you can call and ask them about tethering before you start. This will eliminate searching for networks to connect to. I am always on the hunt for ideas and hacks to make camping trips fun. I have run across numerous articles and posts about other more complicated or expensive methods. For my family this is the most secure, reliable and inexpensive way to connect on the go. You do have to have an internet signal for it to work. Very few places we have been have poor signal but it does at times happen.

Now all you have to worry about is that perfect camping breakfast.
Happy Trails!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Birthday Brunch!

Hey Down Home Friends,
I came across this great recipe when I was searching around for some inspiration for a make ahead birthday brunch recipe that I could make and take with me for a little celebration on the road. I am a huge fan of brunch and I always love a recipe that is easy to transport and can be made ahead because I am a night owl which probably has a lot to do with loving brunch so much.
Sausage and Veggie Casserole by Jimmy Dean sounded like a winner to me. I knew using the basic recipe I could modify it a little for my family and it could be easily prepared in advance and transported one of two ways. You can assemble it ahead of time and bake the next morning or you could make and bake it and heat it up as needed when you are on the run. And it would go perfectly with some fresh fruit that I can pick up anywhere.
The small pyrex dishes are perfect for dividing up the recipe and making one immediately and freezing one for later. Or in my case a small dish fits perfectly in a small oven in my little trailer. You can easily transport any of these dishes in the cooler bag or in an actual cooler. And I love the fact that they fit in my teeny, tiny trailer refrigerator.
With the food part of my birthday brunch taken care of I was ready to think about the decorations. Instead of paper party goods I always opt for things I can mix and match and use more than once. And as soon as I saw these Pioneer Woman linens at Walmart I just couldn't get them out of my mind. When I finally fell in love with was over for me.
And the best part about this combination is that I can combine it with my favorite color. I ordered these and a few other things from the Pioneer Woman Collection from Walmart because it is hard to find the exact pieces in the store because they sell out fast. The tablecloth was a great price at $14 and the napkins were $10 for 8 which anyone can tell you that is a fantastic price for 8 cloth napkins. I even picked up the teal napkin set...go figure. 

And it all matches with my camping dishes! So once it is time to go I will be looking forward to a day without an alarm and a brunch on my own time while feeling the spring breeze and listening to the sweet sounds of spring.
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