First Shakedown Cruise and Leonid Meteor Shower

First Shakedown Cruise and the Leonid Meteor Shower

Our first shakedown cruise and the Leonid Meteor shower both happened on November 16th of 2020. It makes for a good story. I hope you have better luck than we did, but at least we laugh about it. This excursion was initially planned as a field trip for homeschool with a rental rig. We happened to find the ‘perfect for us right now’ rig right before this planned outing. That is when it became a combination event.

What is the Leonid Meteor Shower? Mother Nature puts on this show every year. Once every 33 years, it turns into a meteor storm as the comet passes on its closest orbit to the sun. Seeing a falling star is a sure-thing with clear skies and low light pollution. 

We planned to educate our boys (and my nephew) by them researching the answers to the meteor-related questions, watching space-themed movies, and watching the shower ourselves.

Did I mention that, in my great aspirations for our meteor shower viewing, I purchased a telescope? Hold on, before you crucify me, I know you don’t need a telescope to see a meteor shower. I was on a theme! The problem came when I could not ‘site-in’ the telescope. We live in a very wooded area, and I could not find a target far enough away to be able to set it up correctly. My aspirations of planet and moon viewing before the meteors arrived were dashed alongside the dream of a decent night’s sleep.

Leonid Meteor Shower Curriculum

This excursion was initially planned as a homeschool field trip to experience our first meteor shower. 

Learn about the Leonid Meteor Shower

These are the questions I had my boys research and answer (in complete sentences) to prepare them for the experience.

  1. What is a meteor?
  2. What is the Leonid Meteor Shower?
  3. How often does the shower occur?
  4. How often does the Leonid Meteor storm instead of shower?
  5. When was the last time it stormed?
  6. When will it storm again?
  7. What is the official name of the comet associated with the Leonid Meteor Shower?
  8. When is the best time to view the shower?
  9. Where is the best place to view the shower?

Learn about the constellations

  1. What is a constellation?
  2. Where is the Leonid constellation?
  3. What is the story of the Leonid constellation?

Learn about planet locations in the sky

  1. What planets should we be able to see the night of the shower?
  2. What does it mean when a planet is in retrograde?

Name one or two activities you would like to do during our camping/stargazing night.

 
 

That was the plan.

That was the plan. I love making plans and enjoy seeing those plans come to fruition. It did not happen this way.

I think we went wrong by planning this excursion less than 7 days after my hysterectomy. At home, after resting for most of the day, I had little to no pain. It lulled me into a false sense of security. Read more details about the reason for my surgery here: Yolk Sac Tumor, Age 38, Female.

First, the misadventure kicked off when our propane grill failed to work. We should have anticipated the malfunction since it began on our Branson trip. We had planned to grill burgers and serve bagged chips – easy to cook, easy to clean. After half an hour of working on the broken grill, we drove to the closest gas station and bought a terribly unhealthy dinner. The boys were happy.

Blackstone Griddle 22″

This is the grill we will be purchasing if we don’t get one for Christmas from our folks.

Travel Telescope

This is the telescope that I bought but have not yet used. 

Next, we retreat inside The O’Neill until meteors time (around three AM.) The boys chose Guardians of the Galaxy from the space-themed selections; It is a family favorite. It was nice to relax in our rig as a family but we all get regular whiffs of a nasty sewer smell. Husband and I really don’t want to say anything that might suggest our purchase was poorly researched. But we can’t deny it for long. There is a problem. Okay, so we need to flush the black tank. I wish that had resolved our situation. When writing this blog, we pray we have a poo pyramid that our second shakedown cruise can remedy. I will let you know.

In addition, I discovered the trampoline effect. I was able to doze in and out. The youngest spawn bounced the entire trailer when he moves in his bed at the other end. This must be fixed.

To add insult to injury, we still had a factory mattress on our bed. Husband and I dozed but never achieved REM.

Leonid Meteor Shower

Can you imagine the family’s mood as I woke at three am for the meteor shower?

I made coffee and hot chocolate. We bundled up and gathered blankets. Thankfully the campsite had a wooden deck for us to layout yoga mats and blankets. It was so cold. We lie flat, staring at the sky in darkness for about thirty minutes. I saw about 7 different meteor flashes across the sky.

Husband had to work early the next morning.

We assumed that it would not be an issue because we chose a campsite very near home. It is a good thing Husband enjoys riddles! We stayed at a State Park where they close the gate and lock it. I am so glad I grabbed the paperwork to hunt a four-digit code to try in the combination. Success!

Did I mention that I had a hysterectomy five days before this excursion?

Husband had to shower and go to work. The boys did school and games. I curled up in my chair and napped for the rest of the day.

From the Boys' Mouths

Challenges discovered during our first shakedown cruise:

The suspected poo pyramid. 

It took a bit of research once we had recovered from our first trip to fall on this diagnosis. Our second shakedown cruise is very soon. During this time, we plan to fill up and dump our black tank multiple times.

The factory mattress.

Mother bought us a new mattress. It is already installed. I am very excited to sleep on it.

The trampoline effect.

We have not even begun to research this. I have a sneaky suspicion it’s related to the twisted, mangled messes that are our back stabilizers. Looking back on our purchasing process, we should have asked to lower the back stabilizers for our review. You don’t know what you don’t know, am I right? Our pride is a bit damaged on this one, so I imagine we will put the research off a bit.

Stay tuned if you are even slightly entertained by our shenanigans listed above! I am sure they will continue. And we are so very grateful because the alternative sucks!

Shakedown Cruise

What did we learn?

  1. Everything looks better after proper rest. We know and expect challenges. But they are only challenges, not plan-ending events. Problems to be solved.
  2. Don’t make life harder than it needs to be. There was no need to combine a shakedown cruise with a meteor shower experience right after a significant surgery and work the next day. 
  3. At the end of the day, we will remember this trip and all its incidents fondly. Challenges make great stories, and our kids will tell these stories for the rest of their lives. And maybe, just maybe, they will say to their kids about the one time the old folks woke them in the middle of the night to see the shooting stars. And our grill broke so we had to go to the gas station to get dinner. 

Issue Solutions

The Suspected Poo Pyramid

Every YouTuber we have seen recommends Happy Camper Black Tank Treatment.

The Factory Mattress

Mother has already purchased us a new mattress. It is installed and ready for our second shakedown cruise.

The Trampoline Effect.

Our wheels are farther apart than the average; therefore, we need the X Large X Chocks to help with stabilization.

🎁 My Rig Wish List 🎁

I have been shopping for my rig for months. So much so, in fact, that I just had to put together an entire blog about it. The funniest part was that we had not found our rig yet! I didn’t know the first thing about what the rig would actually look like when we got it. Now that it is here, these are the items still on my wishlist. 

We are often asked by folks, “How can I help?” It’s easy! Shop on Amazon through these links. Look at the products on this page. If any of them interest you, click on them. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 💵 😁

Affiliate Disclaimer

Several of the links provided on this page are Affiliate Links. That means that if you use them to complete a purchase or create a subscription, we receive a commission of some kind. Using this code does not cost you anything extra, and sometimes we can get you a discount or freebie for using our code. If we recommend a product, we use it and genuinely appreciate the product or service. We do not recommend products we do not like. We clearly label all products that we have not used yet and therefore have not yet been reviewed.

This blog was written and designed by Haley Reggio Pederson. She also owns and operates The Social Media Lady, Social Specialist, a digital marketing agency specializing in social media marketing for small to medium-sized businesses. 

Haley Found Bohemian Décor for the Rig

Haley found Bohemian Décor for the Rig.

Haley found Bohemian décor for the rig.

We haven’t even found our rig yet.

I know exactly what we want.

Did you catch that?

As we walk into every RV lot, Husband looks at me and says, ‘Babe, you’re doing the talking.’

We want a tow-behind trailer rig (maximum weight 10,000 lbs) with rooms on opposite ends of the rig. One bedroom will be a bunkhouse-type setup with a bunk-over-couch opposite a bunk-over-storage with a door (not a sheet). The living area should include both a dinette and loveseat, fireplace desired. The master should include a king bed. We won’t buy a new, but we can buy it today.

I realize it is a tall order. I have been blown off by a few salespeople. I am not an easy sale or a high commission. So, in the meantime, I have been window shopping on Amazon. I am strongly pulled towards the Bohemian look but also fairy tale forest. This will get interesting!

Bohemian Fairy Tale Forest

Note: This is a wish list so I have not reviewed any of these products. 

Master Bedroom Décor Ideas

First, let’s start with the most important room which receives the least usage.

No matter which rig we buy, the bedroom is going to be small. Most folks know that to make the space feel as big as possible, the comforter should be light-colored or white. Bohemian styles demand several splashes of color and fairytale forests are made of purple, green, and brown hues. It’s all about the comforter and one or two small wall pieces. And remember, weight is an issue! 

Boys Bunk Décor Ideas

Next, we will skip across the imaginary rig to our teen and tween boys’ room.

The same light-colored linens theory should also be applied for the boys’ bunk room. The boys are going to hibernate regardless of the decor, so I will try to make it as un-cave-like as possible.  They will be camping in our Bohemian Fairy Tale Forest.

Living Space Décor Ideas

Finally, the best and largest space to decorate – the living/kitchen room.

The living space is still very open to inspiration. Mostly because the color scheme of the rig when we buy it will determine what needs to be done to get it into shape. I am all about customizing the interior of the rig to my own unique style. 

Some of the newer rigs have the white or lighter colored paint jobs but they usually all have the dark pleather sofas. It is important to bring in lots of different, natural textures through rugs, seats, and curtains.

The waiting is driving me crazy! I have always heard that the person that gets emotional first, loses. The purchase of this rig cannot be emotionally driven. Circumstances will force me to be patient as I have surgery in mid-November. If you want to read more about my little cancer story, I have chronicled some of it here: Yolk Sac Tumor, Age 38, Female.

At the same time, we are ready to ‘start small, start now.’ I have become a fan of Keep Your Daydream, the primary advocate for that philosophy. I have said that I want their job, or something very similar. I also want Josh Gates’ job but I doubt I would have the cajones to perform the tasks required by Expedition Unknown.

We are often asked by folks, “How can I help?” It’s easy! Shop on Amazon through these links. Look at the products on this page. If any of them interest you, click on them. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 💵 😁

Affiliate Disclaimer

Several of the links provided on this page are Affiliate Links. That means that if you use them to complete a purchase or create a subscription, we receive a commission of some kind. Using this code does not cost you anything extra, and sometimes we can get you a discount or freebie for using our code. If we recommend a product, we use it and genuinely appreciate the product or service. We do not recommend products we do not like. We clearly label all products that we have not used yet and therefore have not yet been reviewed.

This blog was written and designed by Haley Reggio Pederson. She also owns and operates The Social Media Lady, Social Specialist, a digital marketing agency specializing in social media marketing for small to medium-sized businesses. 

Ozark Camping Views, To-do’s, and Reviews

Ozark Camping Views, To-Do's, and Reviews!

I have been planning this trip for over a year and so much has happened in that year!
I had hoped to take this trip with the boys in 2019, but I broke my ankle instead. January of 2020 rolls around bringing COVID. The highlight of the year is that I re-married my high school sweetheart! But then, surprise! My cancer is back.  We really needed a family vacation.
 
The delay made it better! Brandon made it better! 
 
This trip became our big blending adventure to come together as a family. It was full of firsts!
🧨 First time for me to “camp.”
🧨 Brandon towed a rig for the first time. 
🧨 The boys ‘attended’ school in the rear cab of the truck for the first time.
 
Disclaimer for Reviews: I am a very easy-going person and so is Brandon. It is not difficult to get a 5-Star Review from us.
 

Blended

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – “One of Adam Sandler’s Best!” – 🦋 Haley

Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, and most of the favorite Happy Madison lineup take an African safari trip to bring newly ‘blended’ families together. This Sandler film actually has a great story and message. We fully recommend.

Virtual School

On-The-Go!

AC Power Converter

❓❓❓❓❓ – 🦋 Haley

The boys broke the other one on our last trip so we had to order a new one. I will update my review when we have used it a bit.

Travel Lap Desk for Kids

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

Each boy has his own color. It has storage and folds/stores away easily.

Car Seat Back Organizer

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

I don’t know why these don’t come standard in every vehicle. Even if you don’t have kids, almost everyone needs storage in their car!

Day 1 – TRAVEL DAY

Thursday, September 25, 2020

We have watched many YouTube videos about RV-ing. I have developed an obsession and desperately want to RV full-time. I expect us to do so within the next 12-months, as long as my health holds out. 

Ozark View RV Park 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

http://www.bransonrvers.com/
My family had the most wonderful experience here. We stayed for four nights and had the most fantastic view . The spot had full hookups, a picnic table, and a designated campfire  ring. Management was cheerful, kind, and helpful. We were RV newbies, equipped only with hours of YouTube videos, and still had a seamless glamping experience!
 
God perfectly situated the campground between Branson, MO, and Eureka Springs, AR, which are FULL of activities for everyone.
Day 2 – Berryville and Eureka Springs, AR
Friday, September 25, 2020
Cosmic Caverns 
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
https://www.cosmiccavern.com/
Today’s education was about cave geology, natural springs, and underground waterways. The caverns were gorgeous! So, this is a natural cave system that is relatively easy to access. If you are from the south, you will want to wear a light jacket. If you have a fear of small spaces, you should be fine. If you fear falling, buckle up, babe. Our tour guide was an adorable, tiny retired teacher that was full of spunk! The boys learned a TON! 
 
Blue Spring National Heritage Center 
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
https://www.bluespringheritage.com/
We followed the underground river system from the caves to the Blue Spring 💦 Heritage Center, which was not only a vast blue hole in the ground but also a stop on the Trail of Tears (LEARNING OPPORTUNITY!!) The youngest asked about the said Trail and learned something BRAND ⚡️ NEW! The gardens around the Blue Spring made for a vigorous and beautiful walk. 
 
We went back to the camper after this realizing how quickly the temperature was rising and that we had NOT turned on the air conditioner. If we did not get home soon, the fur babies would be in bad shape. We made it in plenty of time, and they were glad we made it back. We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon breathing in the view and taking a hike around the campground. Henry still struggles on walks, even short ones.

Day 3 – Branson, MO 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

We drove down the main drag on Branson, and my kids could not stop themselves from ooo-ing and awe-ing over the crazy buildings and attractions. They were suddenly upset that we only had two days for activities.

Titanic Museum

⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
https://titanicbranson.com/

First, we visited the Titanic Museum-Branson, which was fascinating and sobering, BUT no pictures allowed 😡. You could spend $35 and receive two print copies and multiple digital copies of pose-in-front-of-a-greenscreen Titanic-themed scenes. I did, of course. I am a history buff and have spent a decent amount of time watching and reading about Titanic. I knew most of the information but appreciated how the museum focused on connecting the visitors with the passengers’ stories. My favorite part was the freezing water that you could put your hand in to see how long you could stand it, and realize that 1,500 people froze to death in water just as cold as that. 🥶

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
https://www.ripleys.com/branson/

Next on The Pederson Family Day-O-Fun was Ripley’s Believe It or Not! I captured many, many pictures here! The boys loved this place with its oddities! The second half of Ripleys down the road that we enjoyed after a good Chimi and #mojito!

Botana’s Premier Mexican Grill

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
https://botanaspremiermexican.com/

Best #Mojito of My Life!!! Freshly squeezed lime🍈 juice makes all the difference in the world! The food was great too!

Ripley’s Super Fun Zone Branson

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
https://www.ripleys.com/branson/attractions/super-fun-zone/
 
Brandon was able to fulfill his Branson memory here with the giant maze! He says the one from his childhood was more significant, but I say he was much smaller! This maze was giant. All 3 of the guys had a smashing good time playing games. I even got caught up and played a game of laser tag! Memories were made. 
 
We went back to our campground and fur babies to relax and enjoy beef & shrimp kabobs cooked on our brand new Black Rhino grill. We made a campfire this night and roasted marshmallows for smores. I found marshmallows with chocolate on the INSIDE, which worked perfectly with the Fudge Stripe cookies. The guys took turns telling ghost stories. 

Super Easy S’mores

Chocolate Stuffed Marshmallows

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

Oh my heavens! This may have been the best invention EVER! We combined these with Fudge Stripe Cookies and it was so easy. It was actually cleaner too! 

Fudge Stripe Cookies

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

Combining the chocolate stuffed marshmallows with fudge stripe cookies is pure genius 🤓!

‘Mallow Roasting Stick

❓❓❓❓❓ – 🦋 Haley

We used kabob sticks because we had kabobs this night but I found these on my search for the chocolate filled marshmallows. These look awesome. I am ordering a pack. Tell us in the comments if you have a favorite.

Camping with a Kitty!

Also, this night Weasley got loose running freely around the campground. He went galloping all over the nearest four campgrounds, of which all but one were occupied. That is a BIG NO-NO in Campground Etiquette, but we had to capture the runaway ginger kitty. He is almost old enough to neuter but not quite! 😳 Brandon saved him!

Telescoping Net

❓❓❓❓❓ – 🦋 Haley

We did not have this but I wish we had! We chased that kitty all over. If we had this net, we would have caught him immediately. Tell us your experience in the comments.

Cat Harness

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

Training a cat for a harness may be the funniest thing you have ever seen. Be patient. Be consistent. It is too important for the cat’s protection to keep it on a leash.

Bubble Backpack

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

💯 recommend this carrier! We found a way to combine a retractable leash to the leash-let inside the bubble and opened the door on the ground. Weasley could explore but felt his limits.

Day 4 – Branson, MO 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Branson’s Wild World

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
http://bransonswildworld.com/

We started the day at Branson’s Wild World with an Aquarium and glow-mini-golf. It was a great time. There was a lot of up-close-and-personal with the animals, and pretty well priced for what you experience and the time you invest. Our entire family enjoyed the interactivity with the animals and the displays. I appreciated the design and décor that walks the visitor through the whole experience with the animals. Definitely Do. All around, a good time!

Hollywood Wax Museum

⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
https://www.hollywoodwaxentertainment.com/branson-mo-attractions/#attractions

This museum was not originally on my list, and I remembered why when we arrived at the register. 😳 💰 The wax museum alone was a great time. It was large, filled with many great celebrities and photo ops, and priced well for the experience.
The guys also desperately wanted to do the mirror maze. Combining three attractions was cheaper than buying the two separately, so I’m glad we got all 3. The mirror maze was cool for the 3 1/2 minutes it took to complete it, and the accompanying story was written for 5-year-old girls.
The final attraction was a 4-D Virtual Reality shoot ‘em game, which was startling yet fun! All four of us teamed up against killer clowns 🤡 in a theme park. The clowns jumped at you from out of nowhere. I screamed loudly and often.
I will only give four stars because I think it was overpriced. We might revisit the wax museum in the future but not the other two attractions.

Birthday Dinner

Charlie’s Steak & Ale

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

http://charliesbranson.com/
My bacon-wrapped filet mignon was cooked just right! My pretty blue drink was named Missouri Holy Water, and my brownie dessert was fried.😍 I am pretty sure everyone else liked their food too. 

Day 5 – TRAVEL DAY

All-in-all, Travel Day morning ran quite smoothly. There were some hurt feelings over left-over eggs, but we brushed that aside and got to packing. We had packed as much as we could the night before in the truck but still had a great deal to secure. Brandon dumped the tanks and unhooked the hoses without any problems.

Dumping the Tanks
Make sure you have your PPE
Personal Protective Equipment
Face Mask

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🐵 Brandon

If you dont use this one, make sure you use something. Particles will fly around in the air during dumping. You do not want to breathe that in!

Rubber Gloves

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🐵 Brandon

Purchase LONG, THICK rubber gloves. In fact, purchase 3 sets! Have a backup to your backup.

Kneeling Pad

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🐵 Brandon

You are going to be doing a lot of kneeling; make it comfortable. They are light-weight; buy 3.

We are often asked by folks, “How can I help?” It’s easy! Shop on Amazon through these links. Look at the products on this page. If any of them interest you, click on them. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 💵 😁

Affiliate Disclaimer

Several of the links provided on this page are Affiliate Links. That means that if you use them to complete a purchase or create a subscription, we receive a commission of some kind. Using this code does not cost you anything extra, and sometimes we can get you a discount or freebie for using our code. If we recommend a product, we use it and genuinely appreciate the product or service. We do not recommend products we do not like. We clearly label all products that we have not used yet and therefore have not yet been reviewed.

We forgot a few items and had to make two trips to Walmart. We suggest you buy them ahead of time through these links!
Bougee Salt & Pepper Shakers
Wish List – 🐵 Brandon

These are now on our list. I truly appreciate fresh ground salt and pepper for my dishes. Leave us your favorites in the comments.

Condiment Travel Container
Wish List – 🐵 Brandon

These are now on our list. Grab ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, steak sauce, and fresh minced garlic right out of your fridge. Saves on wasted purchases and you are more likely to not forget.

Extension Cord
Wish List – 🐵 Brandon

These are now on our list. You can never have enough extension cords. Always have extra.

This blog was written and designed by Haley Reggio Pederson. She also owns and operates The Social Media Lady, Social Specialist, a digital marketing agency specializing in social media marketing for small to medium-sized businesses. 

Yolk Sac Tumor, Age 38, Female

Yolk Sac Tumor, Age 38, Female

That is the first thing most doctors say about me now when they begin a discussion, Yolk Sac Tumor, Age 38, Female, First recurrence, original diagnosis and treatment January 2019.

This was not the second post I imagined making, but since this subject is dominating my brain 🧠 I will write about it. And, maybe it will be cathartic.

At the beginning of 2019, I was diagnosed with and treated for a yolk sac tumor (germ cell tumor). It is a rare type of cancer with little to no chance of recurrence when treated with a specific plan.
 
Those who know me know that I fully embrace the Go Big Or Go Home 😎 mentality. When I throw a party, I go all out.  When I got cancer, I got a rare and aggressive type. And now, I have to be in the tiniest of percentages that have a recurrence.
 
My blood show’s tumor markers are slowly increasing, indicating that I have a tumor growing somewhere. The surgeon’s nurse suggested that I may have a full hysterectomy soon (when she scheduled my appointment 3-weeks in the future.) This procedure is a catch-all or stop-gap (apparently) because the CT Scan shows nothing. 
Yolk Sac Tumor, Age 38, Female
Defines hysterectomy as “Scooping out the lady parts.”

Calm down. He means it in the most immature way. 

IF my tumor markers continue to rise after they ‘scoop out the rest of [my] lady parts,’ then I must endure chemotherapy again. 🤬 I AM NOT COOL WITH THIS. I wouldn’t wish chemo on an ex-husband; I do not want to endure it again. Not all the other bulls#!t that goes with it.
😡 Hair Loss
😡 Nausea
😡 Tsunami-level Night Sweats
😡 9 Days of Constipation
😡 Total Body Swelling
😡 Feet and Ankle Swelling
😡 Insomnia
😡 Daily shots in the stomach for immune support 
😡 Needing a nap after making the bed
I could go on more, but I tried really hard not to dwell on the negative 👎🏻 last go-around. 

Haley, how can I help?

Prayers and Positive Vibes
Shop Amazon using my link.
 As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 💵 😁

Work from Anywhere Gear

Surface Pro 6

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

I use my Surface so much! If you are a Windows person it is the perfect balance between laptop and tablet.

Bamboo Lap Desk

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

I use this desk daily and will replace it immediately if anything happens to it. I use this at home, in the truck, or at the hospital.

Ergonomic Mouse

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

I use a mouse most of the day. If you do too, please invest in many ergonomic mice. I have used this variation and the trackball version. I really like this version because it keeps the wrist in a very natural position.

So, how am I handling it? 
How would you? 
 
The first time I was told I had cancer, I got very drunk. On chocolate wine. All things considered, I still feel that this was a perfectly reasonable response and the wine 🍷 was very good.
 
This time, I cried. 😭 I ignored the news completely (and very effectively) for about 2.5 weeks. Now, I’m angry 😡. There is a scene in Catching Fire with Johanna Mason (the forest chic that strips naked in the elevator) being interviewed by Cesar where she goes off. “I was told if I win The Hunger Games, I could live the rest of my life in peace. Now, you want to kill me again!” I FEEL that.
 
Yes, I have re-watched The Hunger Games series twice since recalling that scene. I am working quite a bit from my recliner at the moment.

Counting My Blessings

🦋 I’m praying. I’m leading my children in prayer. I’m asking for prayers and positive vibes.
🦋 I’m slowly telling family and friends.
🦋 I am taking daily naps again. 
🦋 I am researching alternative medicines, just in case.
 
I am transferring the day-to-day work for the agency over to Terra Leigh but will still keep a managerial eye on things. The great news is that I can work from anywhere as long as I have a strong internet connection.
 
Many of you are sending prayers and positive vibes. Thank you so much, and please keep them coming. 
 
Some are asking what you can do to help. You can use my link when you shop on Amazon. I earn a small commission, and you buy what you were going to buy anyways. I will continue to blog and share my stories from travel as well as my fight with cancer. Stuck in the middle of these stories will be my reviews, recommendations, and links to buy products. 

Make it Mobile!

AC Power Converter

❓❓❓❓❓ – 🦋 Haley

The boys broke the other one on our last trip so we had to order a new one. I will update my review when we have used it a bit.

Non-Slip Mat

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

I cut square-ish pieces and put on our lap desks. This keeps our computers from slipping all over the place while we drive. Very helpful.

5G Mifi Verizon

❓❓❓❓❓ – 🦋 Haley

I am unsure about this brand/model. I ordered a 5G Mifi from Verizon directly and it worked great. We had a solid connection and all of us could stream and game without any issues. 

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Several of the links provided on this page are Affiliate Links. That means that if you use them to complete a purchase or create a subscription, we receive a commission of some kind. Using this code does not cost you anything extra, and sometimes we can get you a discount or freebie for using our code. If we recommend a product, we use it and genuinely appreciate the product or service. We do not recommend products we do not like. We clearly label all products that we have not used yet and therefore have not yet been reviewed.

Hot Springs – Weekend Trip with Reviews

The trip to Hot Springs

Was completely spontaneous after I found out my cancer had returned. I decided to leave town for the weekend with my favorite people instead of getting drunk this time. I still hold that both choices are valid in the situation. Because it was spur-of-the-moment, Brandon booked the first hotel he found available, and I researched activities on the way there. Driving in on Friday night, we had one full day (Saturday) for new experiences. We drove back home on Sunday after a good breakfast. I broke it down by days but also included the local restaurants at which we ate in the reviews.
 
Disclaimer for Reviews: I am a very easy-going person and so is Brandon. It is not difficult to get a 5-Star Review from us.

Friday, September 18, 2020 

Fisherman’s Warf Restaurant 

⭐⭐⭐ ½  – 🦋 Haley
https://www.facebook.com/5101spacity/
 
For dinner on Friday night, I was trying to ease the shock of all this news and upheaval of the day, so I chose a seafood restaurant that had crabs! 🦀🦀🦀🦀 Brandon loves fresh steamed crab legs. I found Fisherman’s Warf. The food was excellent even though Brandon said the crab was too expensive. All three men-folk ate themselves sick. I was just sick; however, my nausea might have been caused by the liter of liquid I drank for the CT scan that day.
 

Motel 6, Lookout Point, Hot Springs, AR 

⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
https://g.page/motel-6-hot-springs-ar?share
It was a spontaneous trip, and this is a Motel 6, so I should have managed my own expectations a bit better. Looking back, I may have seemed so like a Karen. However, I hate to have a 3-minute discussion about why there where only 2 sets of towels in the room. Nevermind that I had to bring the used towels to the front office to exchange for new ones. I am used to being a bit more pampered – even my husband pampers me. Nevertheless, the sheets, towels, and room were clean. 

Travel Gear!

Duffel Bag for Kids

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

These bags are great for kids to travel. It even has extra space to store your shoes and dirty laundry!

Travel Toiletry Bag

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

I love this bag for my toiletries and I got each of the fellas one too.

Phone Gimbal

⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

If you need to capture video while you are touring, hiking, or riding; this gimbal will hold your phone steady. It is not extremely user friendly but does the job once you learn to control it. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The English Muffin Country Kitchen 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
https://goo.gl/maps/mEuSkSaf51uaVPPKA
Breakfast was superb! They offered a solid selection on the menu including fruit for me, which is usually a struggle. The prices were reasonable, the staff was friendly, and the atmosphere was happy and relaxed. 
Iron Mountain Lodge, Marina & Resort 
https://g.page/ironmtn_marina?share
We got up early because the beds were both flat and lumpy at the same time, so I wanted to visit the place from my childhood – Iron Mountain Lodge Marina, & Resort. This is where the Reggio’s vacationed in the 90s. Sometimes we went just as the six of us and sometimes we joined up with cousins and friends. We spent all day on Lake DeGray and evening time enjoying the peaceful views from our cabin full of electricity, television, and hot running water! 
My family just used the public restrooms provided near the boat launch but they were cheerful, clean, and functional. We slowly rolled through the cabins, boat launch, and marina parking lot so I could drink in the nostalgia. We probably looked like we were casing the joint to anyone paying attention. 😨
 

Hot Springs Tower, Hot Springs, AR 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
https://hotspringstower.com/
Go. Even if you have a fear of heights, this is doable. We went shortly after opening time and waited less than 15 minutes to ride the elevator to the top. The view is breathtaking and the wind is strong! 💨 Please exit through the gift shop! which included your usual souvenirs (including a sticker for Brandon), magic rocks, and bears in bathtubs 🐻🛁.

The Gangster Museum of America

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
https://www.tgmoa.com/
I didn’t get enough pictures at The Gangster Museum of America. 
I HAD NO IDEA that Hot Springs was the place to vacation if you were a criminal in the late 1800s and early to mid-1900s. The tour guide said that Hot Springs is “Real good at ignoring stuff.” 😉 
Apparently, THE GUY that first organized crime in the US, retired and lived a second life in Hot Springs.  Also, it was a great place to make and distribute #moonshine during prohibition.
We really enjoyed it as a family. They do talk briefly about the other primary revenue source in Hot Springs during this time period AKA the oldest trade in history, prostitution. Parental guidance suggested but I give it a full five stars.

Virtual School

in the Truck

AC Power Converter

❓❓❓❓❓ – 🦋 Haley

The boys broke the other one on our last trip so we had to order a new one. I will update my review when we have used it a bit.

Travel Lap Desk for Kids

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

Each boy has his own color. It has storage and folds/stores away easily.

Car Seat Back Organizer

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley

I don’t know why these don’t come standard in every vehicle. Even if you don’t have kids, almost everyone needs storage in their car!

Galaxy Connection

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 🦋 Haley
https://www.thegalaxyconnection.com/
Y’all know we are #scifi nerds. We found a museum/gallery for the ’70s and ‘80s kids to go bananas 🍌! It started as the private collection of one fan put to good use and has been added to over the years with donations from people and organizations to help the nonprofit.
The best part of this museum is that all the proceeds go to help other charitable organizations around the area. Many of the costumes on display are there because they have been retired from use as the organization cosplays for sick kids, parades, and other stuff to help the community.

Osaka Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar

⭐⭐⭐ ½  – 🦋 Haley
http://www.osakahotsprings.com/

The boys have fallen in love with hibachi grills. They really enjoy watching the chefs flip the knives, throw the food, and squirt all the oils, liquids, and bottles. It’s a show and a meal. So why didn’t this place get auto-five stars? The restaurant lost one full star from our review because it was an hour before the chef arrived at our space. It lost another half of a star because our chef needs some improvement before going-it-alone. Once the chef arrived, the show was entertaining enough but there are many more skills he can add to his toolbox. 

That night we all curled up together and watched our new favorite family film: Blended with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. 

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Affiliate Disclaimer

Several of the links provided on this page are Affiliate Links. That means that if you use them to complete a purchase or create a subscription, we receive a commission of some kind. Using this code does not cost you anything extra, and sometimes we can get you a discount or freebie for using our code. If we recommend a product, we use it and genuinely appreciate the product or service. We do not recommend products we do not like. We clearly label all products that we have not used yet and therefore have not yet been reviewed.