Family Camp

hikers

Fellowship North hosted it’s first “Family Camp” last Sunday – Wednesday at Castle Bluff in Newton County, Arkansas. For as long as I can remember, the church did a snow camp in Colorado, but this year, it was decided to stay closer to home and utilize our beautiful camp in the Ozark Mountains. There were 13 families there — including mine.

family camp

The weather was beautiful until the last half day. We hiked, played GaGa Ball, ziplined, rappelled, sat in rocking chairs and visited with friends old and new. It was very relaxing, and the kids ran and played until they collapsed in their beds each night.

It was a fun 72 hours with great people! Hopefully this will become a spring break tradition.

November Events at the Clinton Presidential Center

The Beatles

The Fab Four at the Clinton Center

Beatlemania has taken over the Clinton Center! Our new exhibit, medstore Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!, infection includes more than 400 pieces of memorabilia, pestilence as well as a sing-along booth where guests can record their own version of “Yellow Submarine” with Ringo Starr, and a wall graphic of Abbey Road where guests can recreate the iconic album cover!

clinton centerClinton Center November Calendar
Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles! – Now –  April 2, 2017
FREE Admission Day for Veterans –  November 11
12th Anniversary FREE Admission Day –  November 12
Ideas Matter Essay Contest Deadline – November 19
Deadline to Order Thanksgiving Dinners – November 19

Thank You, U.S. Veterans!
To honor and thank our country’s veterans for their service, all active and retired military members and their families will receive FREE admission to the Clinton Center on Veterans Day. 
The Clinton Center Celebrates 12 Years12years
Each November, the Clinton Center celebrates its grand opening with a FREE admission day. Tour the permanent exhibits, as well as the current temporary exhibit, Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!, free of charge, on November 12.
essaycontest
Ideas Matter Scholarship Essay Contest, Deadline: November 19
For the sixth year in a row, the Clinton Foundation invites Arkansas students in 11th and 12th grades to participate in the “Ideas Matter” essay contest. First prize is a $2,500 scholarship.
Start Holiday Gift Shopping Early!
The Clinton Museum Store is your one-stop shop for gifts this holiday season! From our new Maya Angelou collection and lovely scarves to toys, books, and autographed items, we have something for everyone on your list!
Stress-Free Thanksgiving Dinnersturkey
Let Forty Two, the Clinton Center’s award-winning restaurant, do all the cooking for your Thanksgiving dinner this year! Order your turkey, dressing, side dishes, and desserts by November 19, and enjoy your holiday with family and friends.

Day at the Arkansas State Fair

swings at the fair

cowYesterday was Arkansas State Fair day for the Valley family. Maya entered a watercolor in the Kids 5-8 age category, there and I entered a pecan pie in the pie competition. Maya won Best In Show, and I got nada. But we did get to sample all the pies, so that’s a win. Maya's painting

pie competition

After eating deep fried fair food, Anthony took my left over pie to work, and the girls and I stayed at the fair another few hours. I bought them armbands so they could ride all the rides they wanted, and lucky for me, I didn’t have to ride a single one! fair ride

fair ride

fun house

fun slide

It was incredibly hot for mid-October, but the girls had so much fun. Seeing them holding hands and smiling really made me so happy. I love that we get to have these carefree moments that will create fond childhood memories for them.

The Arkansas State Fair runs through October 23. Who knows — maybe we’ll go again this year.

Family Roadtrip to Bentonville



Last Friday, anemia Anthony, viagra Kennedy, artificial Maya, Quinn and I loaded up the car and drove to Bentonville for the day. I had wanted to take the kids to the Scott Family Amazeum since it opened, and we finally got a free day to go. Our 12-year-old Madison was at church camp, so unfortunately she missed out this time.

amazeumAmazeum lives up to it’s name! We all had such a great time. Even though it’s geared toward kids ages 4 though 9, it has two play areas for toddlers, as well as managed to peak the imagination of our teenager. Anthony and I enjoyed watching our daughters have so much fun.

We had lunch at Crepes Paulette, a food truck in downtown Bentonville — not too far away from the Amazeum. There was a long line, but the wait was worth it. Maya got a strawberry and Nutella crepe.

Crepes PauletteAfter lunch, we went back to the Amazeum. We had 2:15 passes to the Hershey Lab. I thought we would get to play with chocolate (as in EAT chocolate) in the Hershey Lab, but instead it was an experiment about weights of items. This was my only disappointment of the day because I WANTED CHOCOLATE of course.

After we left the Amazeum, we drove back to downtown Bentonville and parked near the square. We walked to the Walmart Museum and did a quick tour through there, then walked over to Onyx Coffee Lab for a pick up me before the drive home.

It was an awesome day. We definitely want to spend more time in Bentonville — and spend the night next time; maybe even a whole weekend. There is so much to do in this bustling, little town.

Maya and Quinn conked out on the drive home. I call that a sign of a good day. asleep in the car

Please share your favorite family town to visit in Arkansas. I want to do more of these family roadtrips and welcome your suggestions.

Gymboree Sale On Now!

Family Fun Days: June 4-5

Disclosure: I received free admission to Playtime Pizza in exchange for promoting AR Family Fun Days. However, prostate all opinions expressed her are my own.

Playtime PizzaThere’s a lot of good research out there about the benefits of families spending time together – how it builds confidence in kids, dysentery encourages a healthy lifestyle, breast etc.  The goal of Arkansas Family Fun Days is to create an opportunity for families to get out of the house and experience something new and fun together. Several Little Rock area attractions offering special deals for families this weekend (June 4-5):

Plus all locations are also offering two for one ice cream, courtesy of Hiland Dairy!

Playtime Pizza

I spent yesterday celebrating my birthday at Playtime Pizza, one of the participating attractions. Playtime Pizza is a 70,000 square foot indoor family entertainment center. My parents, my brother and his family, and my family were there for the fun — and we all had a blast! Not only does Playtime Pizza have a great selection of pizza, pasta, salad, desserts and more, it has games that appeal to kids of all ages. (And I got to act like I’m 8 instead of 48!)

Please take advantage of the savings this weekend and go enjoy some family time. These are memories that you and your kids won’t forget. And it’s the perfect way to start off your summer!

Big thanks to Tiffany, Playtime Pizza general manager, and all the Playtime Pizza staff for their hospitality yesterday. You were so kind and made my birthday party a smashing success. Thank you!

Studio Theatre Announces Auditions for DOUBT

I’m not 100% paleo — yet. But I really do feel better eating this way, website like this and I have found a number of delicious recipes that I can make on the regular and not get bored. Here are a few of my favorites lately (mostly from Melissa Joulwan from the Well Fed cookbooks):

Gingered Zucchini Soup

Meatballs — Cuban and Bacon-Jalapeno Burgercuban meatballs and pan-fried plantainsPan-Fried Plantains

Loaded Tuna Salad Mason Jars

Red Curry with chicken and carrots (or whatever I have on hand)curryBrussels Sprout HashBrussels Sprout Hash

For snacks, pharmacy sliced carrots with guacamole is my go-to the past few weeks. I found little individual containers of guacamole at Sam’s that are perfect to take to work with my baggie of sliced carrots. I have also discovered that I like sliced whole carrots better than baby carrots. I find them sweeter and more flavorful. Other items I like to keep on hand are eggs, sweet potatoes, avocados and apples.

Here is a link to my Pinterest board where I park many of the gluten-free and paleo recipes that I find.

I still totally fail on occasion — like yesterday when I made a BREAD pudding. But hey, my family was happy.

Designers' dresses at StyleWe
CONTACT INFO
Bob Bidewell, therapy
Director
bbidewell@sbcglobal.net
(501) 940-4646The Studio Theatre

THE STUDIO THEATRE’S OPEN AUDITIONS FOR DOUBT – A Parable by John Patrick Shanley
JUNE 18-19, link
2016

 DATES AND TIMES
Auditions will be held:
June 18 at 1:00pm
June 19 at 6:00pm

Auditions should last no longer than two hours each day.

Callbacks, if necessary, will be held June 20, and those called back will be notified by email.

AUDITION INFORMATION
Auditions will not be conducted by appointment.
Auditions will consist of cold reading from the script.
Head shots and resumes are not required, but are strongly encouraged.

Questions can be answered by emailing studiotheatreauditions@gmail.com

ABOUT OUR PRODUCTION
Performance dates are September 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 2016.
Rehearsals will begin August 15, 2016.
The production will be directed by Bob Bidewell.

We are looking for a cast of 4 diverse actors to fill the following roles:
Sister Aloysius Beauvier – fifties/sixties
Father Brendan Flynn – late thirties
Sister James – twenties
Mrs. Muller – African American, mid-thirties

DOUBTABOUT John Patrick Shanley’s DOUBT
Time/Place:  1964. Place:  St. Nicholas, a Catholic church and school in the Bronx, NY.   In 2005, it won the Drama Desk for Best New Play, the Lucille Lortel for Outstanding Play, the NY Drama Critics Circle for Best Play, the Pulitzer Price for Drama, and the Tony Award for Best Play.

 SYNOPSIS
What do you do when you’re not sure?” So asks Father Flynn, the progressive and beloved priest at the St. Nicholas Church School in the Bronx, in his sermon. It’s 1964, and things are changing, to the chagrin of rigid principal Sister Aloysius. However, when an unconscionable accusation is leveled against the Father, Sister Aloysius realizes that the only way to get justice is to create it herself. And as for the truth of the matter? As Father Flynn says, “Doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty.” In stunning prose, John Patrick Shanley delves into the murky shadows of moral certainty, his characters always balancing on the thin line between truth and consequences. Doubt: A Parable is an exquisite, potent drama that will raise questions and answer none, leaving the audience to grapple with the discomfort of their uncertainties.

THEATRE LOCATION & CONTACT INFORMATION
THE STUDIO THEATRE
320 W. 7TH Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
501.374.2615
studiotheatreauditions@gmail.com
www.thestudiotheatre-lr.org

 

 

Walk for the Waiting is tomorrow morning (rain or shine)

Walk for the Waiting is tomorrow morning (rain or shine).

There are now 4, website like this 800+ kids in Arkansas’s foster system, human enhancement 600+ of which need an adoptive family today. Over 200 foster youth will age out this year because they were not adopted or did not find a permanent family.

The funds from Walk for the Waiting will go to The CALL, viagra Project Zero and Immerse Arkansas who are working hard to make sure each of these children get the family and care they deserve.

If you’ve already signed up to walk or give – THANK YOU!

If you haven’t participated yet, can you help to make sure every kid in Arkansas has a family? You can give at https://www.walkforthewaiting.org/staceyvalley

Here are my two precious girls that were in the Arkansas foster system, but are now part of a forever family — my family. They are my treasures, and I thank God that I get to be their mommy. meandmygirls

May Events at Clinton Presidential Center

FTC disclosure: I am a social ambassador for the Clinton Presidential Center, unhealthy and do receive a small compensation for promoting the Center.

American Champions: The Quest for Olympic Glory continues through September 11

Bridge to the Future – May 21 (see info below)

Conversation with author Garrard Conley – May 24 (see info below)

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Bridge to the Future Festival

bridge to the futureOn May 21, 2016, the Clinton Center, along with partners Hippy Arkansas and Special Olympics Arkansas, will host the Bridge to the Future Festival, a free community festival that encourages students to read throughout their summer break and will include fun activities for kids, and literacy, health, and safety resources for parents. The free festival is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Clinton Presidential Park

According to extensive research, all students experience some level of “summer learning loss” or “summer setback” while on summer breaks.  Some students are more effected by the summer break than their peers.  Some quick facts:

  • Students score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do at the beginning of summer vacation.
  • Students who see the biggest drops in test scores are already in higher-risk low-income groups.
  • “Summer setback” has a cumulative effect and can follow students through high school.
  • Educators, on average, spend four-to-six weeks re-teaching material that was lost during the “summer setback.”

Activities for families:
–Free books from the Reading Is Fundamental “AR Kids Read” program
–Crafts and coloring activities, including making a book
–Appearances by Cookie Mouse and Curious George
–Story time
–Central Arkansas Library System library card applications
–Writing activities with Foreign Tongues Poetry Troupe
–“Commitment wall” encouraging students to commit to reading throughout the summer
–Puppet shows
–Fire safety demonstrations
–Flag Football and the Young Athletes Program
–Face painting and bounce houses
–Free vision screenings for children provided by North Little Rock and Little Rock Founder’s Lions Clubs

—————

Arkansas Author Returns Home for Book Tour

Garrard ConleyThe Clinton Center is proud to host a conversation with Garrard Conley, author of the soon-to-be-released memoir, Boy Erased, on May 24 at 6 p.m. The son of a pastor in Arkansas, Conley writes about his experience at a church-supported conversion therapy program to be “cured” of his homosexuality after he was outed to his parents at the age of nineteen.

Go to the Center for more information and reservations.

Clinton Center

Anniversary Weekend in NW Arkansas

My husband Anthony and I will celebrate our third wedding anniversary tomorrow. To celebrate, gerontologist we spent the weekend in Eureka Springs and Bentonville.

The drive up on Friday was perfect. IMG_5110We stopped in Conway for lunch at Tacos 4 Life — our first time at this delicious taco place that gives back to hungry kids. I had the shrimp taco, buy and seriously: it was so good. The chips and cheese dip were yummy too.

IMG_5113Since Prince just died the day before, youth health Anthony and I listened to the 80s station on XM Radio, then once we found out that they had a new ALL PRINCE station, we switched over to that. We sang and talked all the way up Pig Trail to Eureka Springs. Arkansas is really just breathtaking sometimes.

We stayed in a little cottage run by Eureka Zen. It IMG_5124was our second time staying at an Eureka Zen cottage, and once again, it didn’t disappoint. It even had a private courtyard out back with a hot tub! The inside was tastefully decorated (not too frilly as some B&Bs can be in that area), and it was walking distance to downtown’s shops and restaurants.

Speaking of restaurants, Anthony and I ate well over the weekend. Here is a run-down of where we went:
Dinner Friday: Chelsea’s for pizza on the outside deck

Anthony on the top deck at Chelsea's Pizzeria
Anthony on the top deck at Chelsea’s Pizzeria

Dessert Friday: Farm to Table – FRESH
Breakfast Saturday: Mud Street Cafe — best. pancakes. ever.

Peanut Butter Cream Pie at Mud Street Cafe
Peanut Butter Cream Pie at Mud Street Cafe

Lunch Saturday: Pepe Tacos at Casa Colina (love their outside dining area)

Patio area at Pepe Tacos
Patio area at Pepe Tacos

Snack Saturday: The Magic Pan Creperie
Dinner late Saturday: Ermilio’s Italian Home Cooking

For something different on Saturday, we visited a big cat rescue just outside Eureka Springs called Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. Going at 1 p.m. wasn’t the best choice as most of the animals were napping in the shade hidden from the humans. But we did see several and learned their stories of being rescued. Bottom line: Don’t get a wild animal for a pet. It is cute and cuddly now, but will grow up and want to eat you. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Eureka Springs is a colorful little mountain town. You never know what surprise you’ll find around the next bend or down a stairway ally.Eureka Springs stair art

Sunday morning we went to Thorncrown Chapel for their 9:00 a.m. service. This church is an architectural beauty surrounded by nature. We sang out of hymnals. The sun beamed through the windows. It was truly a spiritual experience. Thorncrown Chapel

After church, we drove to Bentonville — straight to Crepes Paulette. We arrived at 10 minutes til 11:00 which is opening time. Good thing because there was already a pretty decent line. I gushed a bit over the owner and his sexy French accent. Luckily, this doesn’t phase Anthony. He refused my request to start talking with a French accent. Anyway, the wait was totally worth it. We each got a savory crepe AND a sweet crepe. OMG — best food I’ve eaten in a long while.

Crepes Paulette
Line at Crepes Paulette
Ham, cheese, spinach & egg crepe
Ham, cheese, spinach & egg crepe

Next we visited the 21c Museum Hotel (lots of funky modern art) and Crystal Bridges. There wasn’t time to see everything, so we just took in the new photography exhibit, The Open Road. Really good stuff.

It was a glorious weekend just being with my honey. I really am blessed to be married to such a sweetheart as Anthony K. Valley.

Woolly Hollow State Park Camping Trip

Last weekend I took Maya camping for her first time. We joined a big group of our friends from church up at Woolly Hollow State Park which is just about an hour from our house. It was an amazing weekend of food, decease laughter and kids playing in the wild. Here are a few pics from the weekend.

Maya had such a blast — and not an electronic device in sight! Even if she did wear the same clothes for three days in a row, I don’t care — I count this a win. In fact, we loved it so much, I bought a big 8-person tent for the next time, so Anthony and the other girls can go too. These are precious memories in the making right here.IMG_4911