Category: Uncategorized

Doing the One Priority Thing that Makes a Big Difference in Your Day

by Rhonda Franz

When we walked in, tripping over backpacks and lunch boxes and ourselves, at least the kitchen and dining room table were a-waitin’ on us. On this day, the dinner prep—all the way to the table setting—was the one priority thing.

Some days, the priority thing is laying out clean clothes for the church program.

Other days, just being able to finish one work project is the most important.

Often, working backwards from the end of the day works the best, just like I did with setting out the bowls. Productivity and organization pros refer to it as “reverse engineering.”

Whatever works, and works for you…I say.

When you’re overwhelmed, pick out the one thing that will relieve your mind and create the most order. And leave the other stuff for another day (or if you’re lucky, someone else).

Check out how Rhonda accomplished her one priority thing. READ MORE…

The One Essential Refrigerator Hack That is Working for Me

by Rhonda Franz

I finally have an organization tool that works for me so’s I know what’s in my refrigerator:  that big white thing in our kitchen that my family and I look into 456 times a day. Every time we open the refrigerator, it’s like turning a new page from an Eye Spy book.

Is it like that for you?

I found one simple trick that has helped solve this problem. Check out my trick and 6 tips to help make it work for you. 


The Touch of Grace at Christmas

By Nancy Kay Grace

My heart was no longer warmed by the pathetic tree. It brought stress each time I had to clean up the mess and pine needles.

Isn’t that the way Christmas celebrations are? We hope for joy but have more stress than anticipated. My plan for a tree led to a mess. Unmet expectations lead to disappointment.

Disappointment can steal the joy of the gift of Christmas. We get disillusioned with the crazy pace of the season, with the lack of time and resources, and how people treat us.

We’re broken people needing a touch of grace.


DIY Christmas Fabric Canvas

By Alicia Dowell

I have been discovering or I should say rediscovering my love of crafting. It has been fun to diving back in and the best part is Glitter Bug has been finding out she loves to craft as well. We recently made Christmas fabric covered canvas. This DIY Christmas Fabric Canvas is such a simple craft and doesn’t take forever.


Amazing Grace of Autumn

by Talya Tate Boerner

Oh my stars. The amazing grace of autumn is truly astounding. Here we are ankle deep in autumn, and I can’t get over the trees. I’m a new mother showing off pictures of her baby. I’m me showing off pictures of Lucy and Annabelle. Nothing whatsoever wrong with either scenario. Just a disclosure of what’s to come.

Pictures of trees.

And so here I go with a few of the pictures I took yesterday.

Filtered only by the grace of God.

Amazing grace for sure.


A Pollinator Friendly Garden

by Brenda Embry, Miss November 2017

Gardening, for me, is a state of mind.  To connect with nature, to create beauty, and to provide food for birds, bees and butterflies, gives me great satisfaction.  Pollinators, in particular, have a rough time when their habitat is limited. Restoring the landscape with native perennials or nectar-rich annuals can hopefully bring a balance to their uncertain future.

Read More…

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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