The Washington County Fair starts today! 5 fun things to try

ticket infoThe Washington County Fair starts TODAY –  Tuesday, Sept. 1, in Fayetteville and we’ll definitely be there.

If you’re new to the Fair, here are some things that belong on your must-see list:

Take a ride on the wild side. Most of the kids (both young and old) LOVE hitting the rides. And we mamas love snapping a few pictures of our little adventure-loving kiddos on the carousel and the more daring stuff, too.

carousel 680Take a food tour. This fair has some great food, and we love the post our friend Peter just wrote over at Click HERE to see his post which includes a list of all the food trucks that will be at this year’s Fair.

Delicious-BallsMeet the goats. And the cows, and pigs, and chickens. Local mom Janeal Yancey, who blogs over at, wrote a post recently with an awesome run-down of everything you need to know about visiting the Livestock Barn with your kids. Click HERE to read it.

animalsWatch the high drama of bull-riding. The 2015 Bull Buck Out, sponsored by Everett, will happen September 5, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. (Also, don’t miss the always-popular Mutton Busting. Sign-ups start at 6:30 p.m.)

bronco_tallTake in some art. It’s always fun to see the art and produce winners. Cruise through and see everything from quilts to canned goods to expertly grown potatoes!quiltsWe hope you and your family have an amazing time at the Fair this year. Snap some photos and share them with us on Facebook! (And our thanks to the good folks at the Washington County Fair for letting us send FOUR of our nwaMotherlode readers to the Fair this year with $100 in ride tickets!) Have fun!

Click HERE to visit the Washington County Fair’s website for all the info and details about this year’s Fair.

Good Gossip: Dolly, Julianne, Sofia, Kelly and Bindi

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.

sofia vergara wedding coverSofia Vergara, one of the stars of Modern Family, is on the cover of the Fall issue of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. She’s engaged to actor Joe Manganiello, one of the stars of Magic Mike. When asked about her upcoming wedding, the actress says that there’ll be a lot of fun and a lot of cake. Known for her love of pastries, she said “the cake table is going to be super special, a big wedding cake and lots of desserts.”

bindi irwinBindi Irwin, daughter of the late Steve Irwin, is one of the new contestants on Dancing with the Stars. She said she has watched the show since she was little, but she’s also scared because she has never done anything like this. “As a girl, I’d put my fairy costume on and go and dance around the zoo. Then I’d go pick up a snake or a lemur, and I’d come home and my fairy dress would be covered in mud.”

kelly clarkson4
Kelly Clarkson
gave the people at her Los Angeles concert a huge surprise when she told them that she is pregnant with her second baby. Kelly is married to Brandon Blackstock and they have a baby girl named River Rose.

dolly parton 3You can always count on Dolly Parton for a good laugh. When asked recently how she feels about makeup, she said “I always put on a little makeup. I never know who’s gonna come to my door. And if I’m in L.A., I put on full makeup in case an earthquake comes and I have to run out into the streets. I want to be able to say, “Yeah, my house fell down, but don’t I look good?” (Yep, you always do, Dolly.) :-)

julianne hough2Speaking of Dancing with the Stars, judge Julianne Hough recently announced her engagement to her hockey player boyfriend, Brooks Laich. “We are overwhelmed with joy and excitement…” they said via Instagram in August.

Source: People magazine, September 7, 2015 issue

Giveaway: Tickets to see Bryan Adams and dinner at ROMA

Ladies, this giveaway is going to ROCK — (and we mean that literally.)

We’re sending one very lucky local mama to the Bryan Adams concert at the Arkansas Music Pavilion (AMP) on September 19th. With two free tickets, this will make an AWESOME date night or a Girls’ Night Out. For a preview of just how amazing this concert is going to be, play the video above to get a quick sampling of some of Bryan’s most-loved songs over the years.

roma italian photoWe’re pairing the two concert tickets with a gift certificate to the newly opened Roma restaurant in Rogers, which is within walking distance of the AMP. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is fun and not stuffy. Perfect for a fun night on the town.

For many of us who were tweens and teens when Bryan Adams’ music was on the radio ALL the time, this concert is like a trip back to some of the most exciting moments of our lives — first dates, high school dances, summer nights, first kisses, first cars, Walkmans, and those awesome “jam boxes” we all just had to have.

For the younger mamas, you have no doubt heard plenty of Bryan Adams’ greatest hits because they have quickly become “classic rock” anthems that stand the test of time with lyrics like “I need somebody. Somebody like you. Everybody needs somebody.” (And we’re not even sure it’s possible to sit still when you hear “Summer of ’69“. That song makes us want to dance!)

HOW TO ENTER: To enter, just click on the words “leave a comment” at the bottom of this post and tell us what kind of memories are associated with Bryan Adams’ music in your mind. For example, does the song “Heaven” remind you of your first boyfriend? Does “Run to You” remind you of slumber parties with your best friend in middle school? OR… just tell us why you’d love a date night or girls’ night out right now.

You can also email your answer to us at

INCREASE 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 on the CC line of your note so we can give you proper credit.

(You can also earn an extra chance to win by signing up to receive the free email newsletter we send once a week. Click here to sign up.)

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 a winner on Friday afternoon, mamas! Good luck!

bryan adams concert2

Devotion in Motion: The book for “regular” Christians

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Sometimes I read the Bible while I’m sitting in a coffee shop by myself. Invariably the waitress will see this and will remark, “I notice you’re reading the Bible.  Are you a preacher?” Of course I always say “yes.” But there’s a part of me that always wishes I could say, “No, I’m not a preacher. I’m just a ‘regular’ Christian. God’s Word is important to me and I really enjoy it. It’s not just a book for preachers.”

Last week I told you a story about my cousin Richard. Richard wasn’t a preacher, but he was a Christian who loved God’s Word and studied it every day. As best I understand it, his habit was to get up about 4 or 4:30 in the morning.  He got out his Bible, a concordance, and some other study helps, and then spent an extended length of time in prayer and the reading of the Scriptures.

In fact, it was because of the study of the Scriptures that Richard (several years ago) discovered that he had had a minor stroke. Sitting down to start his daily Bible study, he realized that for some reason he could not comprehend the words on the printed page. He awakened his wife Mary Lu and told her he needed to go to the hospital.

rp_bible-300x200.jpgMost Christians believe that God gives insight to His pastors as they study the Holy Scriptures. But I have found that God illuminates His Word for all who spend time in prayerful study. Even though Richard wasn’t a preacher, I was always fascinated and heartened by the things he had learned from God’s Word. Once when we were visiting he said:

“John, when I went to Church Camp all those years ago, the preacher always said that at the Last Judgment the Lord would have a movie projector. On a huge screen He would show the movie of our entire lives, and everyone in the world would be watching. Every secret wicked deed and sinful thought would be known by every person in the world — and we would be horrified and ashamed for everyone to see us as we really are.”

But after I started to study the Bible, I came to the verse where Paul says, ’There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ Jesus died in our place to remove our guilt and cleanse us of shame. So the Judgment Day is not going to be anything like what the preacher said about the movie theater.  Instead, at the Judgment, each of us will sit down with God, one-on-one. And we’re going to have a heart-to-heart talk with Him about what we did with our lives. It’s going to be very quiet. And it’s going to be very serious. That’s why we need to strive to serve Him every day.”

The longer I live, and the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that Richard was right. Let’s spend some time in God’s Word this week so that we’ll live in a way that’s more pleasing to Him.

rp_john-l-cash-212x300.jpgDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 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 Preacher believes that God’s Word is “good for everything.”) Their kids include Spencer (age 24), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21).

The Rockwood Files: Microwave obituary

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

The Rockwood family microwave, affectionately called “Mike,” died suddenly in the home on August 6, 2015 while attempting to reheat day-old pizza. It was 10 years old.

popcorn microwaveThe microwave is survived by two adult roommates, three children and a matching dishwasher, stove, oven and refrigerator. It also leaves behind two bags of frozen chicken nuggets, several cans of soup and a pantry full of microwave popcorn.

Born into the family during the Great Kitchen Remodel of 2005, the microwave served admirably during its decade-long life, heating everything from baby food to bacon. Its kitchen timer ticked steadily through years’ worth of mandatory 20-minute piano practices, while the family’s mother listened from the next room.

“How much longer does the microwave say I have to practice, Mom?”

“Twelve more minutes. Now keep playing.”

The microwave witnessed many family milestones – baby’s first bite of solid food, first steps, birthday meals, Christmas cookie baking, and weekly Sunday lunches lovingly prepared by the family’s Memaw, who always knew just how to push the microwave’s buttons.

As the kids grew, it was “Mike” that taught them the valuable lesson every child must learn the hard way at one time or another: Never put aluminum foil in the microwave. (The children will never forget the shower of sparks they saw that day.)

The family has been dealing with the shock of this loss for many days now. It’s even worse than the Ravioli Explosion of 2009 which left the microwave looking like a crime scene. The mother and most loyal user of the microwave has been stunned by its sudden departure.

“I just didn’t realize how much we needed it until it was gone,” she said. “We haven’t been able to eat microwave popcorn since the day it happened. We just can’t do it.”

The microwave was a devoted appliance and avid re-heater, known for its accessibility and easy-going personality. It wasn’t like most microwaves that slowly rotate their trays. This one defied cultural norms with its side-to-side “gliding tray,” an innovation the family had never seen when they brought it home 10 years ago.

When the family’s children learned to cook, it was the microwave they leaned on most in their time of hunger. Jack, the middle child and most enthusiastic cook in the household, was recently overheard saying, “I keep going to the microwave to put something in there, and then I remember. It’s gone.”

Even the family cat has been lost since the appliance’s passing because the microwave’s over-the-range nightlight has gone dark, leaving the fat feline to eat her Fancy Feast cat food in a pitch-black kitchen.

The family has survived by relying on old-school methods of food preparation, like boiling hot dogs on the stove. The kids said it was “weird and takes too long,” proof that their grief is still palpable. Good old “Mike” will be deeply missed.

The family said the best way to celebrate the microwave’s life and service is to welcome a new appliance into the home and continue the tradition of heating, timing and night-light shining. So it is with great joy that they announce the birth of a new microwave that arrived on August 17th, measuring 2.1 cubic feet, named Maytag or “May” for short. May’s sing-song chime which signals that the food is heated has brought happiness back into the kitchen.

Even so, the family will never forget “Mike” and the many times it heated up leftover lasagna. They hope the machine has found its rest and that its signature “gliding tray” might still be floating side-to-side in a much better place.

gwen-headshot-2014Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of 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.