• Kids playing Pokemon GO in NWA? Here’s your Poke-Mom cheat sheet!

Good Gossip: Fun celeb news, minus the mean

Good Gossip slider 700Yes, we do love a little celebrity gossip but we also know it’s not cool to do something we teach our kids NOT to do. It’s never okay to indulge in stuff meant to humiliate or hurt another person. That’s why we came up with the concept of “Good Gossip,” which is celeb news minus any mean stuff. Have as much as you want and share it with your celeb-loving friends because this “dish” is all guilt-free.stork2

If you’ve ever been pregnant in July, you know how actress and fellow mom Blake Lively is feeling these days. She recently told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show that “it should be illegal to be pregnant in New York in July. I’m going to make my water break just so I can cool down.” :-)

keshia knight pulliam instagramRemember the adorable Rudy from The Cosby Show? The actress who played Rudy, Keshia Knight Pulliam, is now 37 years old and is about to become a mama. She and her husband, former NFL player Edgerton Hartwell, are expecting a baby girl soon.

tara and johnny instagramIf you fell in love with Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir during the 2014 Winter Olympics, you’ll be happy to know that they’re coming back for the Olympics in Rio this summer. The duo will be cultural correspondents for this year’s Games. They’ve spent months planning what they’ll wear on the air, and Johnny recently told People magazine that it will include “crazy shoes, glitter for sure, lots of jewelry.” Tara said that one of the nicest things about her friend and broadcast partner is that he’s a gentleman. “He takes my bag; he helps me out to the car. He’ll come running if the doorman isn’t there. He’s my little knight in shining armor.”

al roker and pepperAl Roker of The Today Show says he’s a germaphobe who didn’t really want a family dog. But when he met a dog named Pepper at an animal rescue organization, “…it was love at first sight.” Roker said he had a strict rule about Pepper not sleeping on the bed, but guess where Pepper sleeps now? Yep. “The foot of the bed! But still. She’s been slowly working her way up,” he admitted. Roker told People magazine that their dog is “…not too big, not too small. She’s the Goldilocks dog. She’s just right.” For cute pics of celebs with their dogs, check out the August 1st issue of People magazine.

Source: People magazine, August 1, 2016 edition

Go Ask Dad: Q&As with Northwest Arkansas fathers

Go Ask Dad logo use

We’d like to introduce you to our newest feature: Go Ask Dad!

In this space, we’ll interview dads who make Northwest Arkansas their home. We already interview the mamas (5 Minutes with a Mom) so we decided it was time to chat it up with the papas.

We’ll start this show off with one of our favorite NWA dads, James Moore, a.k.a. Busvlogger. James, a stay-at-home dad and video blogger, wrote a guest post for us several years ago and we wanted to catch up with him again. {Click here to read his hilarious guest post which published on Motherlode in 2013.}

James Busvlogger and the kids, resized

Photo Credit: Tonya Reeves Photography

Read on to see what Busvlogger is up to right now:

What’s the best part of being a SAH dad/professional video blogger (vlogger)?

It’s like I get to look around, find things that I geek out about and people let my alter ego, Busvlogger, in with open arms! I feel really great about taking my kids along. I’m proud that we can share so many unique experiences together and that they can bear witness as I do what I love.

How do you describe what you do on YouTube?

I have a deep conviction that we can all move our lives in the direction we want it to go, no matter where we’re starting from. In my quirky way, I try to inspire my viewers to intentionally craft their best lives through the examples of food, farming, home and travel. I like to say that it’s a lifestyle show gone terribly wrong.

How crazy is it trying to also vlog while juggling 4 kids?

A lot of my video gigs are jobs where I’m trying to share my excitement about something or someone cool in Arkansas. The kids are usually a big help, contributing to the wonder that I’m already trying to convey.

You involve your kids a lot in your vlogs. What’s something you’ve done together recently?

My 6 year old son just hosted a video for me at Fork and Crust Pie Company in Rogers. He made a little mini pie and, while he was wrist-deep in caramel and apples, delivered my tag line: “Life is what you make it. Let’s get our hands dirty.”

{Click here to watch the Fork and Crust video}

Sometimes the family “house pig” is your co-host. What’s the story behind that?

James and the house pig, cropped

Photo Credit: Tonya Reeves Photography

I was reading through Charlotte’s Web with the kids as a bedtime story. My oldest daughter got her heart set on having a baby ‘spring pig’ to mother, like Pearl did.

To make a long story short, a friend of a friend was looking to re-home their mini pig and Emilia became a part of our family.

That was almost three years ago. I do a segment sometimes called “Q&A with a Pig” where viewers send in questions and I lift Emilia up (pigs hate to be lifted up) and I answer questions while her squealing drowns me out. I caption a lot.

She makes more regular appearances on Instagram as the couch princess that she is.

What’s next for Busvlogger/dad?

We are about to take an epic cross-country road trip before school starts; which means an epic cross-country road trip video series!

I’m just growing this thing, meeting interesting people, visiting fun places and trying to inspire others. As long as the audience keeps growing, I’m pleased with things as they are; though I’d consider a TV show if I got the right offer.

Where do you like to hang out with your kids in NWA?

Besides on our couch, watching a movie together, we are enthusiasts of Shave the Planet. Some of us like pink snow cones, others the super hero themed treats; but I happen to know that the Harry Potter ones are the best. When the kids sample your ‘Invisibility Cloak’ it doesn’t stain your clothes.

How did you meet your wife?

We met in college. I kind of figured out when she went to the cafeteria and coincidentally ended up across the table from her a lot.

Was it love at first sight?

Yes. And just when I stopped looking.

What was the most surprising thing about fatherhood?

The moment that our oldest was born, it was like the world looked different. Life now seems so precious and beautiful that I cry at paper towel commercials.

What’s your favorite date night destination in the area?

We love AQ Chicken and Grubs for supper. Afterward, anywhere that we don’t have to argue with kids.

busvlogger logoWhat’s something you’ve always wanted to learn?

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at glass blowing. Maybe someone will teach Busvlogger how.

What’s something you always have with you?

I always have my Busvlogger business cards. It’s all about the views!

In your opinion, what are three things dads should teach their kids?

Dad’s should teach kids security in who they are, that love is an action word and that their gifts are not a mistake; they are their purpose and their charge.

One word to sum me up:

Wonder

Places to find Busvlogger (click to visit):

If you’d like to nominate a Northwest Arkansas dad you know (and love) to be interviewed in this new feature, give us a shout. Email Gwen and Shannon the info to mamas{at}nwamotherlode{dot}com. We’re excited to Go Ask Dad lots more questions!

Devotion in Motion: The end of the story

7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you..

remix (4)1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I have so many happy memories of “the Good Old Days” of my younger years. The passing of time paints the past in rosy tones of simplicity and perfection. But the older I get, the more I see that all the same problems existed back then (in some form or fashion) as the problems people have now.

Recently I’ve had a realization. Part of the reason that the events of the past seem so pleasant is because we can see the end of the story. Sure, we can still see the endthe problems we had all those years ago. But we can also see that so many of our problems “worked out.” And the solutions to our difficulties very often came in ways we never could have predicted—or even imagined.

I’m in a different stage of life now because my children are pretty much grown. But I always notice young couples who are “in the thick” of raising their kids, and my heart goes out to them. Seeing their stresses and struggles brings back waves of emotion as I’m reminded of what it was like to be going through that time in life.

These young parents are dealing with overwork, financial worries, health problems, and assorted overwhelming griefs and stressors. Maybe that’s what you’re going through, too.

Well, I want to tell you what I always tell them. Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. And try not to worry, because your story is going to have a happy ending.

Things are going to work out, because the Lord never fails.

The portion of your life that you’re going through now will later be part of your “Good Old Days.” God is going to see you through.

Trust me on this one.

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 29 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the weather joyfully had the first hint of Autumn this week.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

The Rockwood Files: A Vacation Unicorn

rockwood files colorBy Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

It happened – the rarest of family vacation experiences. It has never happened before and may never happen again, which is why I must document it here for the sake of posterity and to give parents everywhere hope that it’s possible.

On our recent trip to Minneapolis, Tom and I took our three kids to the amusement park he’d visited as a child – Valley Fair.  We arrived before the gates opened and hoped the morning rain shower wouldn’t wash out our plans.

We debated about buying “fast passes” for the kids. These passes allow you to stand in shorter lines for rides, which means you spend more of the day riding and less of it standing around sweating. But fast passes are also a fast way to empty your wallet, costing $150 for three kids. We decided to take our chances without the fast passes and hope for the best.

On our first ride, not only did we not have to wait in line, we were the only people on it. I pretended we were VIPs who’d bought out the entire park so as not to be bothered by the paparazzi. The ride was amazing, and we scampered off to the next and the next. By then, the clouds had parted and the sun was peeking through. The temperature was a perfect 82 degrees without an ounce of humidity.

But the most remarkable part was that we never waited in line – ever. Anyone who has been to an amusement park knows just how rare that is. It’s the unicorn of all vacation experiences. You dream of it, hope for it, but you know deep down it’s not going to happen.

unicornAnd yet  it did.

We kept expecting it to end. Surely the crushing crowds would come. They’d catch wind of our good fortune and show up to spoil it. But they didn’t. We meandered through the park, walking on to each ride. We even rode the park’s largest roller coaster two times in a row simply because we could.

By 2 p.m., we’d criss-crossed the park and been on every ride we wanted. We decided to break for lunch, and that’s where the story takes a turn back toward reality. In our haste to get to the park early, we’d neglected to pack a picnic lunch to eat outside the gates.

Luckily, we spotted a Subway inside the park. We’d been burned by other amusement parks in the past, who charged penthouse prices for what turned out to be inedible chicken fingers. At least at Subway, we’d know what to order and what to expect.

As we’d hoped, the food was good, but we paid $75 for it. Keep in mind that only covered sandwiches for five people who shared one bag of chips and one bottle of water. We took comfort in the fact that we’d skipped buying those fast passes, so we were still coming out ahead.

We finished the day with a visit to the adjoining water park, where we slid and splashed to our heart’s content. The people-watching was fabulous, too, although we still haven’t recovered from a few of the R-rated bathing suit choices we witnessed along with some inexplicable tattoo designs. They were the proverbial train wreck you don’t want to see yet can’t look away from.

It was a small price to pay, however, for what will go down in family history as that time we went to an amusement park, walked on to every ride with no waiting, never felt crowded, ate decent food and enjoyed perfect weather.

Vacation dreams really do come true.

gwen-headshot-2014Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

The Friday 5: Fun things to do this weekend in Northwest Arkansas, July 22-24

Friday 5

ccc pottery class1. Family Friday, Community Creative Center, Friday, 6-8 p.m. {Cost: $20 per person}. The theme for this week’s Family Friday is Pottery Wheel (Ages 6 and Up). Your family can get creative together and take a spin at the pottery wheel. Learn the basics of centering, pulling, and trimming. This workshop will give your family an evening packed with fun and a taste of this classic creation process.

Note: Next week’s Family Friday (Friday, July 29) will be wizard wand making :) Click here for details.

Click here to read more about the pottery-making event!

2. Barn Party at Shiloh Museum of Ozark History,  Springdale, Friday night, 5:30-8 p.m. {Free} Enjoy great acoustic music by your friends and neighbors at the monthly Barn Party on the front lawn in front of the Cooper Barn at Shiloh. Musicians are invited to bring an instrument and join in the jam session.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic supper. A fun way to start the weekend.

Click here for more info on the barn party.

Farmer and the markets3. Super Saturday: Farmer and the Markets, Saturday, 10:30 a.m. {Free} Come and enjoy a family concert performed by Farmer and the Markets. The show will be in the Walker Community Room at the Fayetteville Public Library.

Farmer and the Markets is a Northwest Arkansas acoustic indie folk band specializing in arranging unique and original takes on music by a variety of different artists, doing both easily recognizable hits and satisfying deeper cuts.

Click here for more info on this Super Saturday show!

4. Bentonville Farmer’s Market, Saturday. {Free} Have you visited the Downtown Bentonville’s Farmer’s Market yet? You’ll find local foods, produce, meats, art and crafts.

Stop by 7:30 a.m. t0 1 p.m.

Click here for more info!

5. Mountain Street Stage Summer Music Series, Ben Harris & the 4tet, Sunday {Free}. This toe-tapping event will be at the Fayetteville Public Library from 2-4 p.m. in the Walker Community Room.

With a decidedly ‘old school’ approach to jazz, Ben Harris & The 4tet play music that is upbeat and energetic, music to tap your foot and snap your fingers to. Producing a sound reminiscent of everything from New Orleans Dixieland swing to 1950′s small group cool jazz, this group swings hard and grooves deep. Featuring original songs and new arrangements of jazz standards by guitarist Ben Harris, the group also features Craig Crocker on tenor sax, Jim Jernigan on clarinet, Benji Wilson on bass, and Ken Everts on drums.

Did we mention that dancing is encouraged at these Sunday events? :)

Upcoming concert: There’s only one more concert left in this summer series and it will be on Sunday, July 31. FlashBack-Inspired by Caribbean Island dance rhythms is an entertaining and talented group specializing in hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Click here for more info on the FPL Sunday music series!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!