Spring Break 2019

Lake Ouachita State Park

JKLMN is spending Spring Break 2019 camping at Lake Ouachita State Park. We are literally within a 30-minute drive to home. Living in Hot Springs means we are only a short drive away from many, many fantastic camping spots. Actually, people drive here for a vacation from all the surrounding states. We are blessed to have this right here in our own backyard.

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We have not camped at Lake Ouachita State Park in at least 20 years. I actually believe the last time we camped here was when JB and I were just dating. We camp most often at the Core of Engineer parks on the other side of the lake, most often at Brady Mountain. The State Park campground here has recently been renovated and it is now one of the nicer ones on the lake. We thought it was about time we spent a week here.

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20+ years after our first camping trip together to Lake Ouachita State Park

Saturday, March 16, 2019

We have NO PLANS for the week. We want to fish, hike, bike, read, watch the fire…just relax in general. Today we managed to do all of this.

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My plan for the week, relax & read.

I started the day with a 3-mile run exploring the campground. It was a slow, cold run but I felt good after. The minute Logan woke up he went straight to the bank of the lake and started fishing. I don’t think we’ll see much of him this week, he’ll spend the entire week fishing.  About mid-morning we decided to take a ride on the boat to do a little fishing along some other banks. Fishing with JKLMN is always interesting We didn’t catch any fish but we did catch the boat, the fishing tackle bag, and a buoy.

 

Nanny and Papa joined us for the afternoon. Once they arrived we headed off for a hike. We hiked the 4 mile Caddo Bend Trail. It was definitely an adventure. The scenery is beautiful. I love hiking along the lake. Macy and Nanny spent the ENTIRE 4 miles complaining but they made it. Logan, Noah and their friend Cannon ran way ahead of us for most of the hike . They were having fun checking out dead trees, rocks and sticks. We were all exhausted when we finished but we made it!

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Johnny and Logan spent the evening out on the boat fishing. Macy, Noah and I spent the evening reading and watching the fire. I think we will all sleep well tonight.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY and Happy 12th Anniversary to my sister and her husband!!!!

Today has been a beautiful day. The weather so far has been fantastic, sunny, not too hot and not too cold…just right. My parents, sister and her 2 kids came up to visit us today. One thing that is great about vacationing close to home is that all our family can come to spend time with us.

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Look at these love birds!

We played a mean game of Uno (Memaw rigged it for our nephew Carter to win, LOL), then tried some fishing. Let me tell you, fishing with 4 kids under the age of 9 is an adventure. I’m not sure there was any real fishing going on. Johnny and Big Daddy spent most of their time untangling lines. Thank goodness the kids grew bored with fishing fairly quickly. We spent the rest of the afternoon grilling burgers and chilling by the campfire. Good food and family makes for a great afternoon.

Johnny, the kids and I finished the evening exploring the lake looking for the perfect island for the boys’ “Survival Challenge”. We’ll keep you posted on how that goes. Then we read by the campfire for a while before bed.

Monday, March 18, 2019

I feel like this morning was ages ago. We have done so much today. I finally managed to get my lazy bones out of the bed around 8am, by that time Johnny had already been up for a couple of hours and enjoyed watching the sunrise. We started the morning with a delicious breakfast of eggs and bacon. Let me just say, breakfast on the lake is always MUCH better than breakfast at home. There is something about cooking outside, drinking a cup of coffee and listening to the peaceful sounds of nature waking up.

We finished breakfast, cleaned up and then had to make a quick trip into town. We were running low on a few supplies (milk & firewood) so we decided to get that trip out of the way. A few stops later and we were back at camp ready for action.

Johnny and I started the afternoon with a little run. He kicks my booty every time, even though I run 2-3 times a week and he only runs a few times a month. Once we finished our runs it was time for some geocaching!

Geocaching is a real-life treasure hunt. There is an App you can use that tells you where all the cache’s are in your area and it gives you clues on how to find them. Macy started out not very happy about being forced out of the hammock and onto her bike but by the time we found the last cache, she was having a good time. We found 5 today in all. We’re hoping to find some more when we do another hike in the next day or so.

Tonight I am exhausted. We’ve had our dinner (grilled pork chops, YUM), relaxed by the fire and had our showers. I think now it’s time for reading in bed until I fall asleep with the book on my face.

Goodnight!

The rest of the week…

Well, here I am 4 months later finishing this blog. I guess we were having so much fun the remainder of the week, or I was just too tired, that I never finished writing about the week’s events. Here are some things I can remember.

  • We did more biking, hiking, and boat riding
  • The kids found large limbs to use to make walking sticks. Giving the kids an ax & machete to do their work was scary but they’ve got to learn to be independent.
  • The boys did their “Survival Challenge” on an island along with our friend Jason Vincent and his son Cannon. They had tons of fun and Noah is asking to do another one.
  • Macy and I threw the softball ALOT!
  • We all learned how to play dominoes.
  • The week was so much fun and a great break to reenergize us to finish the school year.

We already have reservations to do it again next Spring Break!

Christmas Break Mini-Vaca

 

Thursday, December 27, 2018, 5:30 pm

JKLMN is on the road again!! We made it through the last few days of school, which were full of tests, basketball, choir and band concerts. Then we made it through Christmas, which although is very enjoyable is also very stressful and busy. As we were finishing up our Christmas celebrations with family Johnny said, “Why not make a quick trip to Branson?”. Well, we couldn’t think of one good reason not to. The weather looked to be beautiful, Kira had 7 more days left of vacation, the kids had already had WAY too much screen time and Branson is only a short 5-hour drive away. So, why not???

We spent Wednesday cleaning up, washing clothes, putting away the Christmas decorations and packing the rig. It was supposed to storm overnight and into the morning today so we did not plan on leaving too early. Instead, we spent the morning relaxing, drinking coffee and taking care of those last minute chores you have to do before heading out of town.

We left this morning at around 9:30 and we were very grateful for an uneventful, beautiful drive to Branson. We even took off and drove up with NO RESERVATIONS! That in itself is unusual for us, we are normally “planners”. Of course, this whole trip was spontaneous so why not continue it. We had looked at some options and knew we’d have plenty to choose from. We are now parked at America’s Best Campground here in Branson, MO and so far it seems like a really nice place. (Even better since they are in their winter pricing at only $25/night!!)

No RV trip would be complete without at least one mishap though. We arrived, starting setting up and JB walked around the corner of the camper with a look on his face that told all of us something was wrong. Guess what we forgot….our electrical cord! UGH! Inconvenient, yes, trip-ruining, no thank goodness. We quickly got on the phone and found an RV parts store nearby and within 30 min we were back on track.

Tonight, once we got set up, we made a delicious dinner of spaghetti. That is another perk of RV life, you pull your kitchen with. Rather than spending $50+ on dinner for a family of 5, we were able to throw together a simple meal for under $15 for all of us.

We are now getting ready to go see “Samson” at the Sights and Sounds Theater. More updates to come….

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We’re all excited to see Samson!

“Samson” is an amazing show. We would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good show to see in Branson. It was good enough that Noah’s reaction after it ended was “Can we come to see this every night???”.  We haven’t done anything else this evening. Honestly, it was almost a 3-hour show so that doesn’t leave a lot of time for exploring the town. We are all now happy to be back in our cozy camper and ready to settle in for a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow, Silver Dollar City!

Friday, December 28, 2018, 9:00 pm

SDC

What a day! We have had so much fun but it was COLD!!! We started the day by making a good breakfast of biscuits and gravy and with the kids riding bikes around the campground.  We then bundled up and made our way to Silver Dollar City. Again, it was COLD!!! I don’t think the temperature rose above 33 degrees today. That meant that none of the roller coasters were running. We didn’t let that spoil our fun though. There are plenty of things at SDC to keep you busy. The lights in the park during this time of year are beautiful. We also spent time shopping and watching shows. At the end of the night we had had such a great time that we went ahead and upgraded our tickets to season passes. As an RV Trip, this is a very easy pull for a long weekend so we plan on coming back this coming year.

Now, let me also tell you that even though we had a great time, don’t think that it was perfect. Having 3 kids means constant bickering amongst them which in turn leads to a pretty irritable mom and dad at times. If we heard “I want” or “that’s not fair” one more time one of us might have lost our minds. We also had to deal with a sullen teenager who has decided he doesn’t like pictures and who was disappointed in not getting to ride any roller coasters. That’s just life with kids though.

Again, RV trips are not complete without some hiccups. Tonight we came back to a very cold camper. Turns out our heater is having some kind of issue and is turning itself off before getting the camper warm. Thank goodness we do have 2 radiator heaters in here and they do a decent job of keeping the chill out. We may not be nice & cozy tonight but with a few layers of blankets, we should be just fine…maybe. It’s only going to get to 22 degrees tonight. Oh boy…..

 

Saturday, December 29, 2018, 9:42 pm

We survived the night! It actually wasn’t bad at all. The 2 radiator heaters have done a nice job of keeping the camper warm. We’ve had them going all day and it actually got a bit too warm in here by this evening. Our normal heater is still not working, that means a trip to the RV shop when we get back to town.

There is something to be said about a spur of the moment getaway. We are normally planners and have every moment of our time planned out. We have not done that on this trip. We got up this morning and just said: “So what do you want to do today?”. That led us to meeting up with some friends who had also came up on a quick vacation. Our kids hung out together for an hour or so and had a blast. Once we left their condo we drove to Table Rock State Park to check out a bike trail. We are so glad we brought our bikes with us. We spent a couple of hours riding the Table Rock Lake trail which took us around a part of the lake and let us see some of the beautiful scenery around the lake. Granted, Macy and Noah were not thrilled about the entire ride but they survived.

Bikes

The bike ride took up most of our afternoon. Once we finished it we found a place for a late lunch/early dinner. We needed a good place to fill our bellies and warm up our bodies after riding in below freezing temps for 2 hours.

We finished our night with a family game night here at the camper. We had a heated game of Uno, then Skippity, then Noah & Mom ended the night with Battleship.

Overall, we have had a fantastic day. Our original plan was to drive home tomorrow but now we’ve decided to stay one more day. We are going to go to Springfield tomorrow to visit Bass Pro Shop. For now, we are settling in for a good night’s sleep.

Sunday, December 30, 2018, 6:39 pm

Bass Pro

We finished out our mini-vaca with a trip to the Bass Pro Shops and the Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, MO. If you are ever in the area it is definitely worth the trip. Of course, we’ve been visiting Bass Pro Shops for years and have seen it transform several times. This is by far my favorite transformation yet. We chose to not visit the Wildlife Museum and instead took our time in the Aquarium. The kids loved it. They got to see everything from bass to sharks to alligators to Black Bear. It is a little pricey to go in but you do get a lot for your money.  We also walked around the actual Outdoor Store where Logan found another knife to add to his growing knife collection.

We finished up in Springfield around 3:30 this afternoon. We decided to take it easy tonight and hang out at the campground. It is actually raining tonight so it was a good time to make a big pot of Taco Soup for supper and let everyone unwind before our trip home tomorrow.

Overall, this has been a fun and exciting, spur of the moment trip. Yes, we’ve had a few camper problems and yes the kids have done their fair share of fighting and whining but we wouldn’t trade it for anything. Tomorrow morning we get to go back home and get ready to go back to the “real world”.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY!