The Friday 5: Fun things to do this weekend in NWA

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Happy Valentine’s weekend!

There are lots of options for fun in Northwest Arkansas on this weekend of love. Here are 5 of them:

1. Sweetheart Lunch/Eagle Watch Cruises, Saturday and Sunday. Share the wonders of nature with your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day weekend by taking an Eagle Watch Cruise on Beaver Lake and enjoying a yummy lunch at Ventris Trails End Resort. Lunch will include roasted pork loin with mushrooms in white gravy with mashed potatoes and bacon green beans, or portabella sandwich with green peppers and onions with a garlic mayo, cheese and fries.  Also:  soup, salad, rolls, tea/coffee/lemonade, and dessert.

Sweetheart Weekend trips are limited.  Cruises are available Saturday and Sunday February 13th and 14th, and run 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost: $80+ tax per couple or $40+ tax per individual.

Reservations and payment must be made in advance.

Contact the Hobbs State Park Conservation Area visitor center to reserve your spot: 479-789-5000.

bluebird of happiness2. Pinch pot class for an adult + child (or as a couple) at Terra Studios, Saturday and Sunday. The Valentine’s Pinch Pot Class for an adult + 1 kid — or for a couple — is $20 total and includes 2 cheesecakes, 2 beverages and a baby bluebird. Terra is such a fun place to spend the day. You can stroll the grounds, have a delicious treat, and make a pinch pot with a splash of bluebird glass in the center. All materials are included in the cost of the workshop.

Terra says: Please wear comfortable clothing that may get stained with clay, dyes, glazes, paints, or whatever art materials you happen to be working with at the time.  Also, remember that layers are helpful with heating/air conditioning and time outdoors.

Arrive at the Terra Studios Gallery at least 15 minutes before your scheduled class time and check in at the register. Your teacher will meet you in the Gallery.

The classes will be held at various times on Feb. 13 & 14.

Click here or call 479-643-3185 to sign up.

james james3. James+James Future Craftsman Club project. James+James has free monthly classes for kids and on Saturday they’ll be making Valentine’s Day cards. All supplies are provided PLUS drinks and snacks, so that’s cool.

Drop by James+James Home in Springdale (Furniture Row area) on Saturday (Feb. 13) anytime between 2-5 p.m. to make the V-Day craft.

4. Family Sunday, I ♥ Art, Crystal Bridges. If you’d like to visit Crystal Bridges this Valentine’s Day with your family, there will be music and hands-on fun. You’ll LOVE what they have planned for this event. It’s free and no registration required.

Click here for more info!

5. Valentine’s Day Brunch, Sunday. If you’d rather get a sitter and celebrate with your honey on Feb. 14th, you might consider having brunch at Eleven, the restaurant at Crystal Bridges Museum. Crystal Bridges has brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and this Sunday they’re hosting a “Valentine’s Day Brunch for Two”.

The first course will be fresh crepes stuffed with Boursin scrambled eggs topped with hollandaise sauce, thick-cut bacon, and cast-iron potatoes gratin. The second course will have you feeling sweet with white chocolate & vanilla bean crème brûlée and chocolate-covered strawberries. ($36 for two, tax/gratuity not included)

Reservations are recommended for brunch and dinner service.

Click here to make a reservation online or call 479-418-5700 Option 2.

Got an event or activity you’d like for us to add to the calendar or consider for a future Friday 5 list? Email it to us at mamas@nwamotherlodeDOTcom.

Last chance for Mamma Mia Girls Night Out!

Mamma Mia GNO click for infoGirls Night Out is tonight!! We are PUMPED!

We’re going with a big group of local moms to see the show Mamma Mia on the Walton Arts Center stage tonight. And we’re meeting up for a pre-show Happy Hour at Hog Haus Brewing Company, which is right hog hausacross the street. Come by Happy Hour any time between 5 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Then we’ll walk over to the Walton Arts Center and find our seats because the curtain on the show goes up at 7 p.m. Get all the details by clicking HERE.

There may be some last-minute tickets available and we do have a group discount, so call Rachel at the Walton Arts Center (479-571-2719) to see if you can get a ticket. Be sure to tell her that you want to sit with the nwaMotherlode group.

During the pre-show Happy Hour at Hog Haus, we’re going to give away some fun door prizes provided by mom-friendly companies like Belle Boutique, Walton Arts Center, Amazeum, Revive Medical Spa, Kyya Chocolate and the Walk a Mile in My Shoes shopping event. Many thanks to the sponsors who made the door prizes possible. We appreciate you!

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Life with Ladybug: The fine art of cat selling

kitty face

By Shannon Magsam

I’ve mentioned that Ladybug and I volunteer in the cat adoption area at the local PetSmart. In other words, we pimp cats.

When people walk by the cages, we shamelessly hold up the kittens or cats for them to see, even stooping so low as to hold up the feline’s furry paw to wave. We’re trying to pull them in, into the room behind the plexiglass where the cats can be petted and played with.

The first rule of cat selling (and fishing): Set the hook.

Once we get them into the room with the cats, we can work the real magic. Well, the cats can. We soundlessly coach them:

orange catBig eyes, big eyes.

Look aggressively cute.

Play with toys like a boss.

Reach out to the victim (um, the person visiting the cat adoption center) through the bars of your kitty prison. That reaching paw really pulls on their heart strings.

And the biggest thing: when the human picks you up, PURR. Purr like your life depends on it, because it does. Nuzzle the person, and make like Puss in Boots from Shrek with the big eyes.

As a PetSmart cat adoption center volunteer, I’ve met some really unique people. Like the guy who said his cat likes to ride the family’s pet tarantula around on his back. (Note: NEVER adopt a cat to this guy. Yep, there’s actually a black list, in case you were wondering.)

I’ve ticked off people who think they should be able to walk up and walk out the sliding glass doors  of PetSmart with a cat. Sorry, but there’s an application to fill out. The cats need homes, but they need good homes where they’ll be safe and cared for.

I’ve also been unwillingly cast into the role of therapist while volunteering. Once an engaged couple came it to look at the kittens and they each fell in love with a different one. The young woman cried at the prospect of not adopting her chosen kitten, but the young man held firm: his kitten would be their choice.

I tried to intervene, asking who got to choose their dog. The guy, as it turns out. I was starting to see a pattern. They ended up adopting the guy’s choice and I resisted the urge to tell his fiancée: “Run now, while you can! If he won’t budge on the issue of pets, imagine what he’ll be like when you two have kids!”

But I was just glad they adopted one of the cats.

kittenThere are SO MANY. Every week there are new whiskery faces to fall in love with. My daughter and I call our volunteer time cat therapy and our blood pressure goes down while we’re there petting the kitties and giving them the love they crave.

Most have sad stories like being left behind when their people moved away, or being found in a dumpster or being trapped under a crumbling trailer, as was one of the kittens we took care of last weekend.

We can’t take all of them home, but we do what we can to visit with people about cat behavior, match-make humans and the cats up for adoption and give the kitties lots and lots of love.

One cat at a time.

One volunteer day at a time.

Now. Who needs a cat?

Matters of the heart: valve disease, aortic aneurysm and crucial tests

heart-care-1040229_640Dr. Anton CherneyFebruary isn’t just about hearts and roses. It’s also about hearts at risk. Because February is designated as American Heart Month, we’ve interviewed a leading Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon at Mercy, Dr. Anton Cherney, to ask questions about three critical issues related to heart health — heart valve disease, aortic aneurysms and the most important tests you can get to make sure your heart is healthy.

What is heart valve disease? What do valves in the heart do and how many are there?

heart valvesThe heart valves are crucial to the function of the heart. They open and close as the heart contracts, making sure the blood is flowing in the right direction. There are four valves in the heart: Aortic, Mitral, Pulmonary, and Tricuspid. Heart valves become diseased when they do not open fully and create resistance to blood flow. Sometimes diseased heart valves don’t close completely, allowing blood to leak back into the heart chambers.

What kinds of problems cause heart valves to malfunction?

Most of valve malfunction comes from normal wear and tear that happens as we age. Rarely, valves become infected or affected by rheumatic disease.

How are heart valve problems diagnosed? Are there usually symptoms?

If the valve disease gets bad enough, a person can experience symptoms of heart failure, including fatigue, shortness of breath, and leg swelling. There are multiple tests to look at heart valves, but the most commonly used test is an ultrasound of the heart called an echocardiogram.

What are the most effective treatments for heart valve problems?

The valves can sometimes be repaired. It is always best to have the valve repaired because this preserves the person’s own tissues. Sometimes the valves are damaged beyond repair and have to be replaced with an artificial valve or valve made from animal tissues.

What is an aortic aneurysm and how is it different from a brain aneurysm?

Aortic_aneurysmThe aorta is the largest artery in the human body. Aorta carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to organs and tissues. An aneurysm of the aorta forms when part of the aorta becomes enlarged or “balloons out.” Aortic aneurysm can lead to many problems, including rupture and internal bleeding. Aneurysms can affect other blood vessels in the body, including blood vessels in the brain.

Are there any warning signs that a person is about to experience an aortic aneurysm? Who is most at risk?

Patients affected by aneurysms of the aorta can experience chest, back, or abdominal pain, especially if the aneurysm has leaked or ruptured. Very often, however, these aneurysms do not cause any symptoms. Some people are genetically predisposed to develop an aortic aneurysm. These people have one of several inherited conditions where connective tissues in their body are weak.

How would an aortic aneurysm be treated if it’s caught in time? 

Aortic aneurysms affecting part of the aorta called the Ascending Aorta (close to where it originates from the heart) are repaired with open surgery. Aortic aneurysms in other parts of the aorta can be repaired by less invasive catheter procedures.

With the use of modern testing techniques, can most heart attacks be prevented?

There are numerous tests that can detect coronary heart disease before it leads to a heart attack. These include Coronary Calcium Score and Exercise Stress tests. If coronary disease is found, it can be treated with medications, catheter procedures, or surgery, to prevent subsequent damage to the heart.

american heart monthWhat are the most effective preventative heart screenings? 

A Coronary Calcium Score involves a special type of a scan called a CT scan. It’s used for patients who are at increased risk of coronary disease but have not had symptoms. If the Calcium Score is abnormal, this will lead to further tests to establish the presence of coronary disease.

At what age should a person have the first screening? How often should a person have preventative screenings?

Currently, there is no exact age cut-off for Coronary Calcium Score screening. The screening test is recommended if a person’s calculated risk is more than 10%. The risk calculators take into account many factors including age, increased cholesterol, increased blood pressure, and family history of heart disease.

For more information about Dr. Anton Cherney and the Mercy Heart & Vascular Center, click HERE to visit the website. Dr. Cherney’s office is located at 2708 Rife Medical Lane, Suite 210, in Rogers, Ark. The phone number is 479-338-3888.

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Slightly Tilted: Mothers are some kind of crazy

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

I may look like a mild-mannered, well-behaved mother of two, never prone to irrational behavior or rash decisions, but looks can be deceiving.

emoji scaredI, like most moms I know, am a sleep-deprived, whirling mass of emotional and physical frenzy that rarely, if ever, gets a moment to herself. This makes me (and I dare say 99.73% of all moms) borderline psychotic most of the time.

emoji clockConsider a day in the life of a mother. It’s awesome, hard, funny, sad, and hectic.

We have heard stories from kids all day long. Stories that never seem to end. Stories that keep going and going and going. And going.

We have said things like “The goldfish does not want to go for a walk. Put him back in the bowl.” and “Please do not wipe snot on your sister!”

emoji carWe drive with one eye glued to the rear-view mirror in order to prevent a nuclear meltdown while we negotiate the release of a stuffed animal held hostage.

We have relearned everything we ever were taught in school in order to not look dumb as we help the kids with their homework.

We have planned meals, cleaned floors, re-cleaned the floors because grape juice was spilled after the first time we cleaned the freaking floor, and figured out what that disgusting smell was in the playroom.

We have worked at work, worked at home, worked in the car, worked in the gym, and worked at trying to relax.

emoji coupleWe have given advice to friends, kept other people’s children, chauffeured the neighbor’s kids places, and scheduled “spontaneous fun” time with our spouse.

We have planned the stuff. All the stuff.

We have spent money on clothes for our kids that they won’t wear and bought food that they won’t eat.

We have worried about family, friends, the economy, and the size of our rears.

emoji kissWe have made the decisions and kissed the boo boos.

We love our little people fiercely, but, oh…they can make us crazy.

So…please forgive us if you see us somewhere and we don’t say hello. Our mind is probably in a million other places. If we have one glass of wine too many and talk too loudly at the one Girls Night Out we get every three months, we apologize, but we probably really needed it. If we show up to a meeting with toothpaste on our shirt, we’re sorry. If we duck out of your dinner party early with a emoji sleepinglame excuse, it’s because life has beat us down and we need to collapse for a bit.

Moms are a rare breed who are revitalized by the same little bodies that wear us out. Nobody warms our heart like the little people screaming in our backseat. No one makes us laugh like the kid pouting because he doesn’t have a fever and has to go to school.

emoji crazyMothers, I love y’all. Y’all are some kind of crazy.

I mean that in the nicest way.

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! :)