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The Best on Monika Rued

I’ve really enjoyed my time as Miss May 2017. Thank you again to Arkansas Women Bloggers for giving me this wonderful opportunity and I’m honored to be in the company of so many fantastic bloggers. It means the world to me. I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite Arkansas State Parks blogs, will subscribe, and share our blogs that connect with you.

What’s it Like to be Scarlett? 

This blog was so much fun to put together. As with most of our blogs, this was created out of collaboration. I had the idea to have a “dress off” with my colleague and see who could get all those layers required in 19th-century fashion on first. So, we shot a video of this difficult challenge. I was surprised how hard it was! I edited it in black and white and sped it up with some fun Benny Hill-like music.

Billy Nations, the supervisor of interpretation at Historic Washington State Park, did one of the things he does best: interpret history in a way that connects with the audience. People often glamorize 19th-century dress and he breaks down what it would really be like to be Scarlett O’Hara. This blog is loaded with facts and history about the 19th century, but Billy makes it relevant to today.

Vlog: Chalk Up Buttercup, We’re Climbing at Mount Magazine 

Armed with a GoPro and determination, I set out to shoot my first video blog for Arkansas State Parks. There are a few things I would do differently and it’s way too long, even with some fast-forward action, but it’s still one of my favorites. People want an authentic experience. They crave an opportunity to explore and go on an adventure. If you fast forward, make sure you check out me reaching the top, exhausted and a little frightened!

This vlog still gets a great response and I’m excited to share my Mount Magazine State Park rock climbing adventure with you.

What is a Park Interpreter? 

We have an amazing team of park interpreters. We know your free time is valuable, and we want to help you make the most of your schedule, so we offer a diversity of interpretive programs and events to help you make memories of a lifetime. Park interpreters help you connect in a meaningful way. Kelly Farrell, our chief of interpretation, takes a look at the role of a park interpreter in this blog.

Vlog: Unexpected Challenge at Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park 

Meg Matthews takes a look at how an interesting problem at Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park that turned into a family affair.

A Day in the Life of Monika Rued

When I found out this “A Day in the Life” post was a part of my reign as Miss May 2017, I wasn’t exactly sure what to do since my average day isn’t full of thrills and chills. While it’s interesting and fun for me, I’m not sure how interesting it is for everyone else! So, I put together this little video to give a little glimpse into one of my typical days.

If you take a look at the Arkansas State Parks social media and our newsletters, you can see my work and the types of media I use to help tell our story. I hope you enjoy it and if you have any questions about my go to programs I use daily or such, I will happily answer those. Just leave me a note in the comments.

James Moore: Choose Your Garnish Ramen Salad

Our Foodie Friday post this week is brought to you by none other than Busvlogger (aka James Moore).

I developed this simple version of Ramen Salad for busy families with picky kids. If someone you’re serving can’t even, with the green onions, leave them out and reserve them as a garnish. I also give you a few pointers for add-ins that make this salad a lot of fun.


James Moore: Choose Your Garnish Ramen Salad


  • 2 packages Ramen noodles
  • 1 14- ounce package coleslaw
  • 1 bunch green onions (greens chopped)
  • 1 6-ounce can black olives
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 packages chicken seasoning from Ramen package
  • 1 cup edamame
  • 1 15-ounce can Mandarin orange segments, halved
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • ed pepper flakes


  1. Cook noodles as directed on package (or leave crunchy). Drain; let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all dressing ingredients until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Combine all ingredients except garnishes and crunchy noodles. Chill.
  4. If you chose to keep noodles crunchy, incorporate just before serving. Present garnishes alongside your salad.
  5. You can really get creative with your garnishes.
  6. Try panko or, heck, crunch up your favorite chips; wouldn't crushed Takis be interesting?

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Larger Than Life: Nostalgia

by Adria English

The impact music has on memory is huge. It’s something I’ve experienced for myself while at the same time witnessing from my parents–my father often drove my sisters and me to school, and he alternatively lectured us on some subject or “cultured” us by playing music from earlier decades. Sometimes the songs led into a history lecture as many lyrics refer to a concept of the period, like 99 Luftballoons or Spirit in the Sky, or we were treated to biographies of Elvis, the Beatles and Johnny Cash. When my father played a song, he told us its date and what was going on in his life at the moment, and how he first heard the song or what he did to buy a record. Life is wrapped up in the music, as if it has its own playlist.

I love being a kid of the 90s. The pop culture I grew up in remains vivid, looming inseparably over the scene of my childhood and simultaneously valuable for its own sake and valuable for how it appears in hindsight. I heard my father when he mocked *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears, and I’m aware that not everyone will genuinely appreciate those musicians (“Call that music?” my father would complain) as well as other aspects of the decade’s culture, but I loved it then and I still love it now.

Like my father, I have my own memories that play to a record–or, to be accurate, they play to a cassette disk and then a few years later to CDs and finally an iPod. *NSYNC’s hit “Bye Bye Bye” was released when I was ten and enjoyed playing Four Square at recess. Unfortunately, the older girls dominated the scene, playing rough and keeping the rules flexible to suit themselves. For a few weeks when someone got out, the older girls jeered “bye bye bye,” complete with hand motions. One memorable day, however, my friends and I succeeded in beating out the older girls, and we did not neglect to crow “bye bye bye.”  

That year, a bad snow storm kept schools closed for a week. During this time, my younger sister Delaney and I spent our time exclusively in the basement putting puzzles together (including a 200 piece Little Mermaid pizza party puzzle and a 1000 piece Beauty & the Beast puzzle) while listening to our *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys CDs. It sounds simple, maybe even dull to some people, but to me it has the strongest sense of nostalgia, sweet and insistent. I could live an eternity in moments like those that reign larger than life.

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Adria English is a professional writer and a casual artist with a penchant for doodling. She currently resides in Mountain Home, Arkansas with her husband, Garrett, their daughter, Nenive, and two black cats. Adria blogs about young family life, culture and home projects at

Julie Kohl – Easy Artisan Bread in Under an Hour

by Julie Kohl

I love fresh, warm, just out of the oven bread. I always lamented the fact that we didn’t have a local bakery and for years went without fresh bread mostly, because I thought it was really hard to make. Turns out that it doesn’t have to be. I came across this recipe for delicious artisan bread a few years ago. It is EASY to prepare and tastes so good. I still wish we had a local bakery but this will do when I am craving warm bread. And the best part is, you can make this in UNDER an hour!

Easy Artisan Bread in Under an Hour
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  1. 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (two packets)
  2. 1 tablespoon sugar
  3. 1 1/2 cups water
  4. 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  5. 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 3/4 teaspoon vinegar (I used red wine vinegar but balsamic works great too!)
  1. You will need a heavy duty, oven-safe dish with a lid. I used my cast iron dutch oven. An enameled dutch oven or a covered casserole dish will also work.
  2. Place the baking dish of your choice into the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees allowing the dish to come to temperature with the oven.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the yeast, sugar and water with the paddle attachment and then allow to rest about 5 minutes.
  4. Now add 3 cups of flour, the salt and the vinegar and beat for several minutes. Switch to the dough hook, add the last 1/2 cup of flour and beat for eight minutes. The dough will be sticky.
  5. Oil a large microwave bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl rolling it into a ball shape. Cover the bowl with a wet towel and cover that with a dry towel.
  6. Microwave on high for 25 seconds. Let the bowl rest in the microwave for about 5 minutes.
  7. Microwave on high for 25 more seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and let it rest on the counter for at least 15 minutes.
  8. Remove your heated dish from the oven. Shape the dough into a ball and place into the hot dish. Make several slits in the top of the loaf. Cover and return to the oven immediately. Bake for 30 minutes. Internal temperature of the bread should reach at least 120 and should sound hollow when tapped. If the bread needs more time remove the lid and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
Adapted from Somewhere but I don't remember!
Adapted from Somewhere but I don't remember!
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