Refuge of the Wild

In Eureka Springs, Arkansas there is a refuge for exotic cats that have been rescued from people who want to own them and then realize they have no idea what they’re doing.

A tiger sits behind two sets of fences to keep itself and the human visitors safe. Not So SAHM

Refuge for the Wild – ProjectEdit365 – 09 June

The original. I cropped in to the tiger’s face to focus on the face and to de-emphasize the fence that was closer to me (the fuzzy tan lines). I sharpened the whole picture and reduced the noise just a little. I used an adjustment brush on his eyes first to sharpen them. I then used another one on his face to sharpen his whole face. I increased the contrast and clarity sliders to make the colors more distinct. I increased the vibrancy just a little.


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Thorncrown Chapel

425 windows and over 6,000 square feet of glass.

Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Light streams in through the windows of Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, AR. NotSoSAHM

Thorncrown Chapel – ProjectEdit365 – 27 Apr

The original. I wish I would have composed the shot to get all of the front door – portrait instead of landscape. But, part of this challenge is working with what I’ve already taken. The original was definitely too dark. I decided to make it black and white to make the lines more dominant.


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Arkansas Trip: Day 5 – Heading Home

Click Here for the results of my Friday 13 Photo Scavenger Hunt 




Friday 13: Photo Scavenger Hunt

Just like yesterday there was no chance to sleep in this morning. In fact, I had my phone alarm wake me up at 6:30 again. I never mind waking up early to go shopping though. Yes, I am one of those women who will wake up at 3am to get ready just to be able to be at the stores at 5am on Black Friday (I do not shop without putting a little effort towards my appearance). I am a dedicated shopper, so 6:30 wasn’t that hard.


Packing up the truck to go home is always interesting. Somehow we’re able to get everything into the truck in a nice orderly manner before we leave for vacation. Why won’t the same amount of stuff fit when it’s time to go home? I do have to admit that there was just a leettle bit more to fit this time. Although Ashlyn’s clothes are tiny, when there are a lot of Ashlyn’s clothes they aren’t so tiny. If you know Du though, you know that he will make everything fit AND he’ll still be able to see out of the rear view mirror. Desired time of departure = 9am. Actual time of departure = 9:02am. I don’t play when shopping’s concerned.


We made it safely to Springfield after being robbed at the gas pump. I will happily pay for gas though in order to travel. We knew what we were getting ourselves into when we bought an SUV. We arrived at the most awesomely fabulous fabric store before it even opened. We did call to make sure they’d be open on Memorial Monday. Forgot it wasn’t until 11:00. I could have slept in 15 more minutes… The owner must have noticed our desperation (and the desperation of several other women who happened to show up early and be waiting in their cars–it was like it really was Black Friday) because he opened his shop early. The awesomely fabulous thing about this fabric store is that not only does he have rows and rows and rows and rows and rooms of fabric, but that it’s all priced cheaper than you could find it anywhere else. People, silk for $7.99 a yard. I know! Home dec fabric for $5.99 a yard. I know! I was trying to make up projects so I could justify purchasing a yard of every single fabric in the store. After a couple of hours and feeling up every bolt, I walked out hobbled out barely able to stand the weight of everything I bought and still spent less than $100. From now until Jesus returns you’ll find me at the sewing machine making things for my darling daughters.


Unfortunately I cannot live in that store, nor even work at it, so we had to leave to meet the guys and kids for lunch. Have you ever noticed that the best places to eat are usually a little less appealing on the visual side? This was some good barbeque. And since the establishment was no where near hoity toity Ashlyn behaved herself perfectly. Reagan managed to spill her sweet tea though.


We had to leave by 1:30 to be back in time for Reagan’s dance class. I should write a whole other post about dance moms, as I am not one of them. The only reason we even were concerned about the dance class was that this is the last class before the recital. No attendance in dance class, no participation in recital. Fair enough and it meant that we would get back at a decent hour to unpack.


Ah, unpacking, that part you dread because when you were packing all you cared about was leaving so you just grabbed things from here and there and left things strewn about not having time to clean them up, and pulling things out of this makeup case because you want to use it on the trip and leaving that stuff all over the bathroom, and we’ll just get to it when we get back. Know what I’m talking about? I should know better by now that the only thing I care about when getting back is a clean house and paying someone to unpack my bags for me. I haven’t found anyone to do that yet.


OH yes, and to prove what awesome pet owners we are I’ll end with this last story.  When we were getting ready to leave we laid eyes on both cats. Having been through this before with our old cat Spaz* we knew we needed to know exactly where both cats were. Ricki* was positive she saw Fuzz* upstairs and Bo* downstairs. Lu* was positive he had seen both of them as well. So we shut the door to the guest bedroom downstairs because we didn’t want them in there causing all kinds of cat trouble. Fast forward to Day 5–we opened the door expecting to see both cats right there wailing at us for leaving them so long. Bo* was right there meowing up a storm. Where was Fuzz*? He’s usually the first one to greet Ricki* whenever she’s left the house? Could he have escaped over the weekend? Ricki* called for Fuzz* throughout the house but there was no sign for him. Wait! What was that Ricki* heard? A faint meowing that took her back downstairs. Behind that closed guest room door the meowing grew louder. Yes indeed people, Fuzz* was locked in the guest bedroom for the whole trip. After realizing that he was still mobile, in good spirits, and would indeed survive the attention was focused on the room. Where had that cat “gone” for those days? Little Fuzz* had done the best possible thing. Understanding that if starvation didn’t kill him Ricki* would he decided not to relieve himself on the bed, the carpet or any other permanent, hard to clean fixture. The poor cat had gone on an old comforter that we had tried to sell at the yard sale.

As we like to say, “all’s well that ends well.”

*As PETA is probably trolling blogs looking for people to throw paint on all names have been changed in this story, to protect the innocent and the guilty.


Arkansas Trip: Day 4 – Sleepy’s and Mars

I was convinced that this would be the only day Ashlyn would want to sleep in; the only day she really shouldn’t. Being the awesome wife that I am (I feel like I need to convince myself of that) I got up before everyone else to be ready when the kids woke up. And no, Ashlyn did not sleep in.

Church and Sunday School are always interesting when they’re not at your home church. We enjoy coming here though and everyone greeted us like long lost family, or the prodigal son or something. We didn’t get offered the “welcome bread” this time though signifying that we are no longer first-time visitors, for the fourth time.

After church we ate lunch at SLEEPY’S!! Nearly the only restaurant in these parts, Sleepy’s is your typical small town restaurant. It’s actually called “The Cove” now and attempts to dress itself up with new wall paint and chic wall decor and light fixtures. It cannot escape its roots though as there is a huge fish hanging on a plaque on the wall over the buffet boat (not a table. a boat) and a huge turkey in flight out of one of the corners of the walls. The waitress that always waits on us waited on us again today. She is now on a first name basis with Dick and Ruth and is pretty close to learning their usuals. Awesome buffet boat, btw: fried chicken, baked chicken, pulled pork bbq, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, rolls, salad, cherry cobbler, lemon pound cake…I had it all. almost all of it at least.

After lunch we headed to the town park. They had swings, which made the girls’ day. We noticed a path beyond the horseshoe pitches and decided to explore. After juicing up on sweet tea we headed out. It’s a perfect path for a letterbox or geocache. We’ll have to see next time if someone has left something there. It took us to the other side of the lake that we normally don’t see.

An afternoon thunderstorm cut our power for a couple of seconds but got no more serious than that. I did get to see Danica Patrick get wiped out by some bozo on pit lane. (Does this guy actually have a license to drive?) Missed NASCAR though because we were monitoring the storms that were threatening to spawn tornadoes. The highlight of the night (well my night anyway) was watching live NASA’s reaction to the Phoenix Mars Lander land safely on the Red Planet. I made my family tune in to the NASA channel a couple hours later to see the first pictures come back, live, of Mars. Absolutely incredible. We saw a solar panel, a Lander leg, and a little bit of the Martian horizon. Not much really, but I thought it was absolutely incredible. We’ve never seen Mars that closely before. God’s creation is amazing and to be able to slip past Earth and see more of it, that’s really just beyond our grasp, wow. I can’t wait for the color pictures to start showing up.

The highlight of the kids’ evening was seeing a raccoon that had scaled the probably twenty foot deck post to get up on the deck to eat the suet that’s been left out for the bluebirds. He wasn’t frightened at all by twelve peeping eyes at the kitchen door. Nor was he afraid of the spotlight Dad shone on him so we could get a better look. The pig ate all the suet and then climbed out of sight. Probably to go get in a neighbor’s trash can. My ‘rents are smart enough to lock up their cans.

Tomorrow is the drive home. But first we’ll stop at that fabulous fabric store I hinted at on Twitter. Reagan’s dying to do some shoe shopping as well. She thinks that big girls shouldn’t have to wear shoes that have security straps over the tops of the feet. She wants just plain flats with no straps. So we’ll see if we can’t find her some.

Oh, did y’all totally miss my Friday 13 post this week? How are you doing on your scavenger hunt?

Arkansas Trip: Day 3 – J’adore les francais!

We awoke to grey clouds and thunder in the distance. Let me rewrite that. Ashlyn woke up at her normal 7am because she doesn’t know how good it is to sleep in on vacation. Since I’m the best wife in the world I get up with her because I want Hubby to get much needed sleep. The sky was still grey and the thunder was still rolling when everyone else woke up. Before breakfast was over we were treated to a great rain shower. There’s something about watching rain fall on the lake. It’s very peaceful, even if the wind is whipping about.

The rain didn’t last long and I got to go to a French yard sale. There is a French couple that found their way into the Ozarks almost two decades ago. As the well-known saying goes (tweaked a bit to fit this situation): you can take the Frenchman out of Paris, but you can’t take Paris out of the Frenchman. Their accents are still very thick. She has an art studio in her house. They press their own apples to make apple cider. They have a chicken house out back where they used to raise chickens, rabbits, and a peacock until the raccoons got the chickens and the fox got the peacock. Well, maybe you can take a little bit of Paris out of the Frenchman. They were super nice too, so come to think of it, they were Arkansawians (what have we decided that word would be?) with French accents. It was a pleasure to stumble my way through conversations with them. They, like everyone else I’ve attempted to speak French or German with, are very gracious and flattering to my face. I can only imagine the snickering and fun making that happen afterwards. Kind of like the Griswalds who show up at the door of their “relatives” in Germany, make absolute fools of themselves and leave hugging and kissing their hosts–never to find out they were at the wrong house the whole time. The people I try to converse with probably leave the experience wondering what in the world just happened. And how could I butcher their language so badly. And next time, if there were to be a next time, they would set me straight. ha.

We left the yard sale with loads of “vintage” fabric that I plan on playing with to get some good practice with my serger. I’m taking lessons now and plan on turning that baby out. We headed into Branson to a pretty awesome fabric store where I got some great new fabric for burp cloths. Be looking for some new additions on the Sew Petit website.

After leaving that store we headed down the main stretch for a little while and what to my wandering eyes should appear (I swear I’ve said that in a post before) but the OUTLET MALL (one of several in the general Branson area, if you’re keeping tabs)!! What could be better on a relaxing vacation than living on the lake and then shopping at an outlet mall? Really, what? Armed with the blessing of my husband I head to the children’s stores to stock up on clothes for Ashlyn. You would think the poor girl runs around neked (southern for naked) with how I go on and on to Reagan about how we have to buy Ashlyn all these clothes and we’re buying none for her because her closet is already bulging. For some reason she believes this. It really is true though. Ashlyn doesn’t run around neked because I dress her in the same seven outfits every week. I swear that’s what it seems like. I do feel a tinge of guilt for buying all these clothes when the average salary for most people in this area is below poverty.

Off topic: the juxtaposition of lifestyles around here is quite amazing. Around the Branson area you’ve got many wealthy people coming in to settle the area. It’s absolutely gorgeous out here. And once you’ve retired really what else is there to do except go watch daily shows bedecked with all the sequins in the world and then go home to your condo on the lake? The folks that dun been livin heuh fo most of they lives live in trailers with a car lot fulluh cars in they frunt yahds. I haven’t quite grasped what to make of the economic situation for most of the people out here. For the record my family does not live in either a condo or a trailer.

While the girls were getting their shopping on in the Las Vegas of the South the guys were entertaining She That Shall Not Be Taken Into Public If Civility Is To Be Kept. Everyday Ashlyn gets closer and closer to being two. I believe somehow she knows that many kids experience “terrible twos” and she’s relishing her future job. In fact, she’s in training right now and proving to be very good at pitching a fit. She’s an expert at reaching up and snatching Reagan’s long, beautiful hair. She’s also on par with the best at flailing her arms and legs around when picked up if she doesn’t desire to be picked up. Please pray for us. Where was I? Du and Dad actually had a good time with her. They played with her inside. Then they swung her on the swing. Then they took her on a golf cart ride. Then they swung her on the swing. Then she took a nap. Then they swung her on the swing. Do you get where I’m going with this? OH, they also got to watch some golf somewhere in there. I think we had a better time, but I’d never tell them that. Oh! And they had dinner waiting on us when we got home. I could do this everyday.

I forgot to mention a couple of things yesterday. Almost as soon as our truck had pulled into the driveway Reagan was already manipulating her way into a tractor ride. The tractor is hooked up with a flatbed trailer. Of course it’s not to haul kids around, but what else could it be for when the grandkids are in town? Both girls thoroughly enjoyed it as did the neighbor’s dog who jumped on to tag along.

Also, while we were fishing yesterday we managed to come back a little bit lighter than when we left. While I was casting, expert caster that I am, I managed to sling the jig, sinker, and probably a bobber too right off into the far distant water. This isn’t the first mishap I’ve had with fishing poles (ask me about the time when I was young that involves fishing line and another boat’s motor). Fortunately Dad backed up my excuse that the string was just too flimsy. He proved it himself while trying to tie me on another setup.  Old string. Good for nothin. Another pole I tried to use just wouldn’t cast at all. Du even told me “you have to hold the button down when you cast”. “No I don’t” I said, “it’s the fishing line, it sucks”. Once again Dad proved me right. That stupid pole wouldn’t cast for anything. So he ended up letting Reagan throw it overboard, to let it sink and live with the fishies where it belongs. BTW, you don’t have to hold the button down when you’re casting. Love you honey! I actually have no room to talk though. No matter how we cast our lines, he’s caught fish in this lake and I haven’t caught a single one.

All in all, another very good day. A cross-continental cultural experience, great shopping deals, dinner waiting for us when we got home, and another full day of swinging for Ashy.

Animals we came into contact with or close proximity to: beaucoup birds (like how I threw that in?), a dog, a cat, numerous turtles crossing the road (someone needs to make up a joke about that), a dead armadillo, and Bucky the tame deer.

Tomorrow: church and lunch at the ever-famous Sleepy’s!