• Northwest Arkansas Calendar of Events: October 2016
  • Halloween 2016 Guide: Family-friendly events/activities in Northwest Arkansas
  • 2016 Mom-Approved Award Winners Announced

Giveaway: Win tickets to the NWA Boutique Show’s Girls’ Night Out!


Congratulations to Rose, Sasha, Stephanie, Marian and Nikola! Each of these 5 mamas won tickets to the VIP event at the NWA Boutique Show the morning of Nov. 11th.

Today we’re giving away tickets to the Friday night Girls’ Night Out event plus gift certificates to some of the awesome unique boutiques at the show.

As a reminder for those who’ve never been, at this show you can shop over 150 merchants featuring thousands of one-of-a-kind and custom items, including home decor, gifts, clothing, gourmet food, holiday decor, children’s items, art and more.

Plus? We’ll have a Motherlode booth there again this year and we’re planning a spectacular giveaway for the show. We being media sponsors every year at this show. Please stop by and say hello! We’d love to visit!

But right now, let’s get to this week’s giveaway: Five winners will each receive ticket packages which include 4 Girls’ Night Out passes ($60 value), 5 general admission passes ($25 value) and 1 $15 merchant gift certificate to be used at the show. Total bundle value is $100).

About the GNO Shopping Event:

  • Friday, November 11
  • Girls’ Night Out, 5-9 p.m.

Enjoy a live DJ and cash bar while you shop, with samples from local restaurants. Enter to win dozens of amazing door prizes from our merchants. All GNO guests will receive free return admission Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.!

Tickets are $12 Online through 11/10/16 or $15 at door*  with a portion of proceeds benefiting Junior Civic League.

Each of the five nwaMotherlode winners will receive a $15 gift card to one of the following Boutique Show merchants:


Swanky Sooie is always fun to shop!


Mmmmm. Who doesn’t love Kyya chocolate?


Logo n Stitch awesomeness


Gingiber’s animals make us happy


These cute stockings will be at the Picking Poppys booth!

HOW TO ENTER: If you’d love to win one of these 5 Girls’ Night Out bundles, click on the word “comments” (right under the headline of this post) and scroll down to the bottom of the comments posted by other moms. Then write a quick comment telling us which of the boutique show merchants you ALWAYS visit every year. If you’ve never been, which booth is on your must-visit list? Here’s a list of all the merchants who will be at this year’s show!

You can also email your answer to us at giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

christmas gift sack 250INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING: Help us spread the word about this giveaway by emailing your friends and family about the giveaway. We’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your note so we can give you proper credit.

Our newsletter subscribers get access to the good stuff, including exclusive giveaways (like this one), information about local events, local mom interviews, recipes and more.

It’s delivered straight to your inbox so you don’t miss anything awesome. CLICK HERE to sign up. We won’t fill your inbox with info, no worries. We only send out newsletters when there’s something in it for you — and we know you’ll be interested in hearing about it.

BE SOCIAL: You can also earn extra chances to win by commenting on our Facebook page, following us on Twitter or following us on Pinterest. If you do any of those, just mention it in your comment or email so we can give you proper credit.

We’ll choose the 5 winners on Friday, so keep an eye on your inbox! Click here to like the NWA Boutique Facebook page and keep up with all the current shopping news!

Devotion in Motion: A new way to look at interruptions

“Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” Mark 6:3 NKJC

By Bro. John L. Cash

ringing-phoneI’ve had a hard time getting a column written this week.  It seems like every time I sit down to write, I have some sort of interruption.  As soon as I sit down at my laptop, the phone rings, there is a knock at my door, or somebody asks me to do something else.

It can make a person feel aggravated and frustrated.

I think, however, I’m dealing with situations like this better now than I would have a few years ago.  A devotion that I read from a book written in the 1800’s changed my way of thinking.

The author described in vivid detail an imaginative tale of a typical day in the life of the Lord Jesus as He was working in his carpentry shop.

The day had been full of difficulties and trials.  After He had finished up His work day, swept the floor, and was locking the front door, He heard footsteps on the street.  A customer had shown up at Jesus’ shop just as He was leaving to go home for the night.  He wanted to talk with Him about a piece of furniture that he wanted to have built.

In the devotional story, the Lord Jesus smiled at the man, unlocked the front door, and took the man inside and gave him a seat.  Together they spent an hour making plans for the furniture that the man wanted built.  And after they meeting was finished, Jesus whistled as He walked toward His home.  You see (the writer said), Jesus understood something that we (in our haste and impatience) have not yet learned. In every instance of interruption and change of plans, the Lord said to Himself, This is the will of My Father.”

In God’s way of thinking, interruptions are not hindrances.  More often than not, the Lord is changing our plans to bring people into our lives for us to minister to.

When we realize that, our days can be filled with joy and peace as we accept our role in God’s eternal plan.

(Here’s wishing you a wonderful new week! Please excuse me now, because I have to run…  The phone is ringing again….)

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 31 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 congregation had hayride and stew at Bo Clark’s house last night.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 25), and Seth (age 22), and his wife Leanne (age 21). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.

The Rockwood Files: Out of place

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

It happened again. It started out as an occasional twinge of discomfort between my shoulder blades, just a little to the right of my spine.

I felt it when I turned a certain way or looked over my shoulder to back out of the garage. After a day or so, the annoyance became more insistent, like a door-to-door salesman who won’t quit knocking. After hearing me grumble about it, Tom reminded me I still had a spa gift card I’d received for Christmas last year. So I scheduled an appointment, certain a massage therapist could work out the muscle spasm.Spa-Girl-Graphic

As amazing as an hour on the massage table was, it only temporarily soothed that angry area of my back. Two days later, it was back and felt like someone was sticking a broom handle into my back and leaning into it. No matter which way I turned, I couldn’t escape it.

As I picked up the kids from school that day, I squirmed in the driver’s seat to find a more comfortable position. I arched my back and tried to stretch it, but the sticking pain made me feel like I couldn’t take a deep breath. (Ironically, the exact moment when you feel like you can’t get a deep breath is also the moment you feel like you desperately need one.) That panicky feeling was accompanied by a strong surge of déjà vu, and I finally recognized the pain in my back for what it was – a slipped rib.

I’d felt it once before about this same time last year, and it took a visit to my chiropractor to pop it back into place. I called and made an appointment for the next day. In the meantime, I Googled “how to pop a rib back into place” and found some questionable methods on the Internet that my better judgement told me not to try at home.

The next day I arrived at the chiropractor’s office, eager to get my rib and my daily routine back in place. When the doctor came in and asked if I’d had an injury that could have caused the rib to slip out of joint, I had nothing interesting to offer. There was no extreme workout to report. No rock-climbing adventure. Not even a session of brisk jogging. I had no choice but to go with the truth. “I think I may have slept on it funny.”

The doctor nodded her head sympathetically and jotted down a few words in her notes. I’m guessing it was something like “Whiny middle-aged woman injured while napping.”

She ran her hand up my spine and then went to work, turning me every which way and applying just enough pressure to snap, crackle and pop my rib back into its proper place. I stretched my back and took in a nice, deep breath that felt incredible.

I asked the doctor if she thought my wayward rib would be an ongoing problem, popping out without provocation. She said it was possible. “Sometimes we have a weak spot and this might be yours,” she explained.

I wanted to tell her I have many weaknesses – cheese dip, sweet tea, fudgy brownies – and that a rebel rib isn’t something I’d like to add to the list. But I knew there was no point grouching about something I can’t change. The rib, just like people and our life circumstances, can get out of whack from time to time.

Whether it’s a wayward rib or a bad habit or a difficult situation, perhaps the best we can do is to call it what it is, find help when we need it, and get what’s out of place put back in line.

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.

Slightly Tilted: Becoming the Procrastinator

By Jen Adair, Blogger at Slightly Tilted, Entreprenuer, Homeschool Mom to two fab kiddos

I’m not a procrastinator. I’ll have something done before you finish asking me for it. I was always the nerd that would finish the semester-long assignment the first week it was assigned.

I don’t like projects and chores hanging over my head – I want them done! Now!

But lately…oh, lately. It’s been a whirlwind of work, school, dramatic fights with kids in retail stores, major life events, and unforeseen situations. I don’t know what’s been the air the last six months or so, but I’m ready for it to go away.

All life’s stresses seemed to hit at one time, which definitely affected my way of life. I became…dun dun dun…THE PROCRASTINATOR.

I have been surprised – both good and bad – at this turn of events. My husband is usually the one who has the procrastination market cornered. He can procrastinate about his procrastination. Never at work, oh no…he saves all of that for home. #ImSoBlessed

to-do-listWhat I’ve learned through this “forced, but necessary” procrastination era of my life is this: it’s okay to wait a bit and let the creativity fester.

Usually I’m so focused on getting the project done and off my “to do” list, that I don’t take the time to kick around several ideas.

I can be too structured, too obvious. I need to take a step back and let my mind wander. Somewhere along the way, I traded deadlines for originality. That’s not necessarily bad, but it sure as heck ain’t good either.

There is something to “smelling the roses” and, although I wasn’t ignoring a situation or project to just laze around and do nothing, focusing on another situation or project allowed me to have fresh eyes when life swung me back the other way.

Some days, I just had to give myself a mental and emotional break and watch Netflix all day and not move. Those days were good, too. Wiping your brain clean of stress allows you to slowly refocus on the people and situations that are causing you stress in the first place.

The not-so-good is that some friendships were strained, some feelings were hurt, and some projects were dropped. As bad as these things were, I really think they couldn’t be helped. Although I never intended – or wanted – that to happen, I would have destroyed my family and my sanity by trying to juggle ten or more balls in the air. I’m just a overgrown girl, not a magician.

I can feel my anti-procrastination creeping back in, and although it’s a welcoming, comfortable feeling, I think I’m going to fight it for a bit longer. I need some mental space. I need a creative spark. I need to breathe.

But don’t tell my kids – I want their rooms cleaned. Right. Now.

jen adair3Hey. I’m Jen Adair. I’m an entrepreneur. Homeschool mom. CEO of organized chaos. Ok – it’s really not all that organized. Some days are great, some are not, some days I feel invincible, some days I can barely get out of bed. BUT…it’s my life and I’m living it. Browse my collection of random thoughts, humor (well, I think I’m funny!), images, links, whatever…at my blog Slightly Tilted. Sharing is caring, people! :)

5 Minutes with a NWA Mom: An interview with author Talya Tate Boerner


Name: Talya Boerner

Kid’s names and ages: Kelsey is 27 and Tate is 23.

How does momming change when your kids are in college? Both my kids have graduated college and are happily employed, but those college years were a time of transition for all of us. I’ve never been a helicopter mom, but even so, freshman year felt particularly odd when I realized I no longer had any idea of my kids’ routines or schedules. We all found ourselves with more freedom, and that was a good thing.

The worrying and praying part never changed, but my role became more that of a sounding block, an advisor, and a friend. And home became a safety net and a place for our children to regroup, because really, once they left for college, they never lived under our roof again for any significant stretch of time. When you think about it, that’s the end goal, right?

What’s your favorite “me time” spot? I’m very much a homebody, and there are lots of great spots in our home to sit and read or write. Really, I find “me time” any place I can sit in silence with my journal, Macbook, and a cup of coffee or glass of iced tea. Working in the yard is also favorite “me time”.

the-accidental-salvation-bookTell us about what inspired you to write your book, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee: I always planned to write a book, but a conversation with my father-in-law spurred me to actually put pen to paper. The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee was inspired by my own childhood as a farm girl growing up in the Mississippi River Delta. The book began as a series of blog posts that evolved into a memoir and eventually became fictionalized into Accidental Salvation. It was a process, for sure.

Where have you traveled to promote your book? I’ve had book signings and events all over Arkansas, as well as in Dallas and Austin, Texas. This past summer I attended the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery and did some promotional work in Mississippi. I participated in the Barnes and Noble Teen Book Panel in Tallahassee and had a book signing in Seaside, Florida. Next up, I’ll be attending the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge at the end of October.

Did you always want to be a writer? Not really, although I always planned to write a book (if that makes sense). Growing up, I wanted to work in the corporate world and have a corner office in some large city.

I have vivid memories of playing “banker” with my little sister. We’d count out Monopoly money and write up deposits using slips from the bank in town. When it came time to attend college, I earned an Economics degree from Baylor University.

I worked in banking for thirty years and even ended up with that corner office in Dallas—probably some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Now, writing feels like my reward for working so hard all those years.

Do you have any new creative projects in the works? I’m working on another novel, I’ve started on a sequel to Accidental Salvation, and I have a children’s picture book in the works. I have lots of other projects working in my head.

What was the last thing you laughed out loud about? Saturday Night Live.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter, where would you go? I’d love to spend Christmas in the Rockies with our entire family.

What’s something your friends might not know about you? I can juggle.

If you could share a message with the entire world, what would you say in just a few sentences? Be kind and laugh often.

the farm sunflowersWhat’s the most reliable way for you to get inspired? Nature always inspires me, especially working in the garden and walking around on our family farm where my mother still lives. Even a quick walk through the neighborhood provides inspiration for me. I also find inspiration in being around other writers and bloggers. Reading inspires me, too.

What were you doing last when you lost track of time? Writing. For me writing is like time traveling. I can easily lose half a day or more.

What do you most want people to remember about you? Maybe that I had a way of making people see something special in ordinary things.

One word to sum me up: Inspired.