Mena, Arkansas

Stonehill Cottages in Mena, Arkansas | happy together
This year we changed things up a bit for our summer vacation and went north. We wanted to try out a place we haven’t been too before so I looked up a bunch of places that were under 7 hours away from us and came across a small town of Mena, Arkansas. It looked really pretty and once I found Stonehill Cottages I knew we needed to try it out. I’m happy to say we had a great time and loved where we stayed. Our kids love nature so they had a blast as well because it’s a really small town and nature stuff is about all there is to do. I would really recommend this place if you are looking for a quiet getaway and enjoy the outdoors. It still wasn’t my sweet Tennessee, but it was a nice mountain fix for a much shorter road trip.

Farmhouse in Mena, Arkansas | happy together Stonehill Cottages in Mena, AR | happy together Stonehill Cottages in Mena, AR | happy together Mena, AR | happy together Stonehill Cottages in Mena, AR | happy together
How adorable are these little cottages? I want to share pics of this place because the couple who owns them did such a cute job in designing and decorating them. We loved the farmhouse decor. My children now want a house like this haha. There were four of these on the property plus the owners house so it felt secluded but not like you were completely alone in the woods. It would be a great place to do a family reunion or something and rent out all the cottages.

Farmhouse Kitchen | happy together Open shelving in kitchen with shiplap | happy together Stonehill Cottages in Mena, AR | happy together Farmhouse Sink | happy together Stonehill Cottages in Mena, AR | happy together Stonehill Cottages in Mena, AR | happy together Stonehill Cottages in Mena, AR | happy together Stonehill Cottages in Mena, AR | happy together Farmhouse bedroom | happy together Stonehill Cottages in Mena, AR | happy together Shiplap walls in bedroom | happy together Stonehill Cottages in Mena, AR | happy together Stonehill Cottages in Mena, AR | happy together Purple Clover
We walked around the property a lot in the evenings and my girls enjoyed picking flowers and exploring. During the mornings we would go out and about for activities. One of our favorite places was Board Camp Crystal Mine. We had a blast and found so many pretty crystals. We like searching for seashells and sea glass, so this was right up our alley. The owner was very kind and goes with you to show you what to look for and all so you are for sure to find something. We walked away with a bucket full of all kinds of crystals and most were found right there on top of the dirt.

Crystal mining at Board Camp in Mena, AR | happy together Crystal mining at Board Camp in Mena, AR | happy together Crystal mining at Board Camp in Mena, AR | happy together
We also took a morning to go to Queen Wilhelmina State Park. It was a pretty drive to get there and the park itself was nice. It has a lodge where you could stay, a camping area, and a few fun things for kids like a mini train, mini golf, and play ground. We were interested in the trails and did the Spring Trail which was shorter but really rocky. Unfortunately it was really dry and we saw no spring. I saw places which looked like water would flow down, but we didn’t see a “spring” like place they make it sound like it has…so not too sure about that. We also hiked some of the Lovers Leap Trail which we enjoyed more because you were able to go to this spot and get a beautiful view. If you can’t tell, we enjoy hiking when there is something to see like an old cabin, a pretty waterfall, etc…. It helps motivate the kids (and us!) when they (we) start to get tired :)

Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Arkansas | happy together Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Arkansas | happy together Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Arkansas | happy together
We are always on the lookout for new places to see, so please share any cool places you like to visit on vacation! -jess

10 on 10

Vintage Fabric Two Layer Christmas Skirt | sewn by Happy Together
The past month was like a whirlwind for us. It was full of of Christmasy goodness and lots of cherished time with friends. I managed to make a Christmas skirt for miss J using some vintage material from my stash and a green lace I got from Hancocks. She was happy with it and she wore this to church the Sunday before Christmas and miss E wore her dress.

A Horse and Carriage Ride in Loisiana | happy together
We went on a carriage ride to look at lights with some of our friends. I seriously could not believe that horse pulled us all. It was a good time though and something we have wanted to do since moving here.

Christmas Wreath Making with Friends | happy together
We hosted the small group we attend at our church and I ended up taking the ladies into the garage to make wreaths. I went up to Lowes and got a ton of free tree trimmings. I made a garland to go around our garage, a wreath for our door, a centerpiece, and a few other decorations in our kitchen with the scraps, but I still had a ton left over. So an impromptu wreath making party it was!

Christmas Clippings Gift Wrapping | happy together Christmas Clippings Gift Wrapping | happy together
I also added little trimmings to random gifts we gave through out the month. I kept a jar of water in the garage filled with the trimmings to use. It was the perfect little touch.

A Simple Naked Cake | happy together
I made yet another naked cake for my friends birthday. I just love making cakes like this. They are so simple and then you can top it with whatever decorations you like. I picked some lovely flowers for this one and it made me excited thinking about spring….even though that is a bit aways still.

Winter Harvest of Radishes | happy together Winter Harvest of Kale | happy together
Our little winter garden has been good to us. We harvested a ton of radishes and the girls loved pulling them out of the ground. Our kale is growing and growing and I use it at least three times a week in our meals. I have never eaten so many greens in my life, but I can say I really feel a difference from eating more of this super food. I like to add it to soups and saute it by itself. It also goes well in smoothies. Always remove the stems to help get rid of the bitterness if you have never cooked with it before. I started a Pinterest board where I pin recipes I have tried and how it went if you would like to follow along.

Farmers Market Buy Local | happy together
I love growing our own food, but I also love supporting others who offer homegrown things we don’t grow at this point. I have made it our goal to attend a local farmers market once a week and make it a part of our grocery trip. Then we are eating and supporting local and getting what is in season. We also never know what we might find so it’s fun. This one week we even got some hand spun yarn! I am working on a little cardigan from miss J from that orange-red yarn right now. She loved seeing the pictures of the sheep the wool came from and is anxious to wear her cardigan made from it’s wool. Oh how that girl wants a farm :)

10 on 10 | happy together
The girls have also been loving their trampoline we got them for Christmas. What a great energy outlet it has become! The cold finally came to Louisiana, so they are waiting for the warmth to come back so they can enjoy it more. I on the other hand am enjoying some cooler weather for once ;)

-Jess

Sulphur, LA | happy together

 

Veterans Day

Veterans Day | happy together Today my youngest and I went with my husband to see him and many others take down the flags from the Avenue of Flags display here in Lake Charles, LA. It is a large collection of flags that have once laid across a soldier’s casket. It is a beautiful memorial set up on Veterans Day in honor of those that gave their life. It was touching and sobering to see those who came to find the flag that was for their spouse, friend, or family member. I’m very glad that our country has special days to help remind us of all the sacrifice that has happened so we can live in freedom. Thank you Veterans for all you have done. We honor you and remember you.

-Jess

Veterans Day | happy together Veterans Day | happy together Veterans Day | happy together Veterans Day | happy together blog-10 Veterans Day | happy together Veterans Day | happy together Veterans Day | happy together

Chicken Day

Chicken Day | happy together
This morning we awoke at our usual time but scurried to get out the door a little bit earlier than usual for a special date. A date with some chickens. Which then turned out to also be a date with some bunnies and turtles too. Our friends own all of these animals and I asked if my girls could come over and help feed them one morning since they both love animals so very much. My girls were so excited they even skipped their breakfast this morning! Fortunately, my good friend had us covered and greeted us with fresh donuts and kolaches from a local bakery. Yum! Now, I want to talk a little bit about photography.

Chicken Day | happy together
I love pictures. I especially love taking pretty pictures. I have taught myself how to shoot in manual mode with raw files and have tried to find my editing style over the years. It’s hard teaching yourself sometimes, but am I ever so grateful for all the people who share their knowledge online. I knew this morning I wanted to really just try and get some fun shots of my girls having fun with the hope to print some out for their rooms. I used my Canon 7D and 32mm f/2 Canon lens. I was happy with the pics and challenged myself in the editing department this time. I would only edit in Lightroom (I have version 3….I know I need to upgrade! lol). I usually do a lot in Photoshop Elements 8 (yes, another one I should update as I think it’s up to 12 or something now). I had bought the VSCO film 1 a while ago because I loved the film look and decided to use that as main editing. I feel like I like the clean and bright sstyle when doing product/craft stuff, but tend to prefer the film or vintage feel on lifestyle photos. I even figured out the right way to export these to the size my blog needs and add a text watermark. It took me hardly anytime to edit a ton of pics! I was so happy. I think I will try this some more and learn more about using Lightroom, especially if I upgrade it. I’m going to go to bed now, so enjoy the rest of the pics. *And make sure to challenge yourself in an area you want to grow in this weekend.* -Jess

Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together Chicken Day | happy together

Summer Birthdays

Simple Summer Birthdays | happy together
This past summer my girls each had their birthdays. Seven and three. They were simple birthday events as each on desired.

Simple Summer Birthdays | happy together
Miss E is still young to really have too many ideas about a birthday party, but she helped pick out decorations (all from Target) and said she wanted an icecream cake.

Simple Summer Birthdays | happy together
Simple Summer Birthdays | happy together
Simple Summer Birthdays | happy together
We celebrated just with our little family and took time to focus on her and let her open a few presents. Simple Summer Birthdays | happy together
Miss J on the other hand kept changing her mind about what she wanted. We went from a party at the bouncy house, to Micheal’s for a craft party, to a pool party, to traveling somewhere, etc. Finally she decided she wanted to invite only one of her friends over (so she came with her family). J picked out a cheesecake and I used some decorations I had. I found those green pinwheel fans at Walmart a while back for only $.29 for a pack of two! It must not have been a popular color lol. My mother in law sent some party supplies that matched perfectly. It worked out nice and she had a great time with her friend.

Simple Summer Birthdays | happy together
I have a feeling next year might be more of a “party” kind of year, but we will see. I think it will depend if we move somewhere new where we don’t know anyone or get close to family/friends. I’m just glad that they don’t need to have things a certain way, that they can be content with whatever can be done. I look forward to this new year of their lives, to see them continue to grow up and flourish and bond more of a friendship with their sisterhood.

-Jess