Five Minutes with a Mom: Dina Harrell

Cole Family

Name: Dina Harrell

Kids’ names and ages?

Tanner, 14

Lauren, 12

Carson, 8


Braxton, 15

Berkley, 12

How long have you lived in NWA and what brought you here? I have lived in the Rogers/Bentonville area since 1990.  I originally moved here due to my father being relocated through Wal-Mart.

How did you meet your husband? I met my (future husband) through work.  We had previously gone to school together years ago in Rogers and I was friends formerly with his family.

Tell us about your wedding! Ryan and I will be getting married Saturday, November 22, 2014 at Barn at the Springs.  We are so excited to symbolize our love for one another and begin blending our families officially through a special unity ceremony. What started out as a small wedding vision has grown into the perfect large friends and family setting.

What has it been like to blend a family with five kids? Any secrets you can share? Blending a family of seven is tough, I will not sugar coat it.  However, I wouldn’t have this any other way! We are blessed that the blending is teaching us more patience, open communication, trust, respect, and further love.  The balance to give each child individual attention is complex.  Ryan and I both work hard in this area to ensure that all five children know that they are individuals and highly important to the both of us.  Secrets…well there are a few we use!  1. We encourage open communication.  I feel that the children need to express their feelings or this can create unwanted stress under our roof. 2. We limit the children to one friends/sleepover day per weekend.  This allows us the time to blend and learn how to live together. 3. Ryan and I must be on the same page.  We discipline and praise in the same manner.  Having a “united front” is key! 4. Ryan and I having alone time.  We feel it’s crucial to any relationship to continue to grow the bond in which led us to marriage and blending.  It is easy to say we have other things to do but we have pledged to one another that this will always be a priority!

What are some of your favorite places to hang out with your family in NWA? We love going to the movies, Fast Lane, and spending time outdoors.

Our children are in the following sports which keep us on the go: High School Football, High School Wrestling, Travel Baseball, Travel Softball, and Competitive Cheer.

What do you enjoy doing when you have a little extra time? I love to work out!  It provides a necessary outlet for me.  I also love to decorate, shop, and travel. (Cool Side Note: Dina is owner of WILD About Learning Academy in Bentonville and she’s been a teacher at World Gym for nearly 10  years.)

What’s playing on your iPod right now? Taylor Swift’s new 1989 album.

What’s the best part of motherhood for you? The ability to relate to other mothers and the real stories of life!

What’s something your friends might not know about you? Goodness…that’s a tough question.  I like to think I’m pretty much an open book.  I wear my feeling on my sleeve and always put others first over my family.  This is something I will be working on!

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter where would it be? Cabo.  It is by far my most favorite destination! Not to mention that this mommy needs a break!

What’s something you have always wanted to learn? How to speak Spanish fluently. I tried taking lessons this spring while in Brazil but need to continue my studies.

What are three things you always have with you? A memory, my cell phone, and the ability to change someone’s day!

What would your ideal day look like? Breakfast with my children and spouse, a calm drive to wherever it is we may be heading, teaching at the gym, a little me time, and counting my blessings at night!

One word to sum me up … Real

Five Minutes with a Mom: Hannah Carter

Hannah Carter


Hannah Carter

Kid’s names and ages:

Colin is 5 and Mason is 2.

Where are you from and how long have you lived in NWA?

I’m actually from Arkansas!  Both my husband and I are–I grew up in Heber Springs and Trey grew up in Pine Bluff. We’ve been in Rogers for 7 years now.

Which songs are on your iPod right now?

Such a hodgepodge!! I love oldies and classic rock–so, The Rolling Stones, Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival to name a few.  I also love Dave Matthews Band and keep those in heavy rotation.

Tell us about a day in your life:

I stay busy with the boys!!  No day is exactly the same! I’m not a morning person though. One thing that remains constant is getting to the gym–I won’t skip a day!

Tell us about some traditions you’ve started with your kids:

Our faith is so important to both Trey and I–we want our boys to grow up in a house where we live it out everyday–not just on Sunday.

What has been one of the most surprising things about motherhood?

That I can feel so frustrated and mad at a person (or sometimes both little people) I love more than anything else on this earth.  A Mama’s love really is unconditional. It’s given me a much better appreciation of my own amazing mom!

Where do you and your family love to play in NWA?

We love Fast Lanes, the Gentry safari, and Chickfila. :)

Do you have any fun hobbies?

I sell some ridiculously amazing mascara in my “spare” time!

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter where would it be?

The beach.  Any beach. As long as it’s warm. Can I go now? Maybe without kids??

Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

Reese Witherspoon–even though she looks nothing like me.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn?

How to sew.

What three things do you always have with you?

iPhone, lip gloss, wallet

How do you relax at the end of the day?

I watch Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show–it never fails to make me laugh!

One word to sum me up:


If you’d like to be featured in 5 Minutes with a Mom — or if you’d like to nominate someone — email us at mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com.

Five Minutes with a Mom: Kim Sirmans

Kim Sirmans


Kim Sirmans

Kids’ names and ages?

My son Julian is 4, and my little girl Ella Grace will be 3 in a couple weeks

Where were you raised?

I was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida

How long have you lived in NWA and what brought your family here?

We just moved here two months ago from Florida. My husband is a finance guy and took a job as a research professor with the Walton College of Business at the UofA.

What was the last song you sang along with?

ha! I am currently singing the “Days of the Week” song in my head: my kids were jamming out to it this morning on the way to preschool ;)

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

My brother and sister live in Destin, FL and we always enjoy our time there (who doesn’t?!). It’s going to be strange not having it just an hour and a half away anymore! But I’d say some of the most incredible places I’ve been on vacation would be Aruba, the Republic of Panama(!), or the Virgin Islands. The Lord made such a beautiful world for us to enjoy:)

Your favorite place so far in NWA?

That is hard to choose! We have found quite a few gems we love! To eat- I’d say Stone Mill Bread or Briar Rose Bakery (I love carbs); outdoors- Devils Den, War Eagle Caverns, or biking around Lake Fayetteville. I love the classes at Fayetteville Athletic Club! And I also LOVE how many adorable locally-owned shops and boutiques there are in NWA.

What about your favorite chick flick?

Also tough! I finally narrowed it down (to six! ha!) by thinking about which movies I’d try to watch if they were on TV. Let’s go with “Father of the Bride” (1 & 2!), “A League of Their Own”, “Baby Mama”, “The Blindside” and “The Help”

When/where did you first meet your husband?

We met at church when we were about 10 years old.

Was it love at first sight?

No, not quite! As we grew up, we always had the same mutual friends, but never really saw much of each other (we attended church at different times and went to different schools). Then he asked me to his senior prom when I was a sophomore. I was so excited simply to go to prom as a sophomore! I knew he was nice and cute, but at the time he was also very shy. However, it didn’t take long for me to become smitten with his kindness, gentility, humility and humor. (The fact that he played guitar and sang in a band didn’t hurt either;) We’ve been together ever since!

His family used to tell me how nervous he was to ask me to prom: he’d dial the first six digits of my telephone number and then hang up over and over again. Finally he decided he wanted to ask in person so he found me at church and asked me there. Sometimes I think about what life would be like if he hadn’t gotten the courage up, and still to this day, I thank him regularly for asking me to prom.

What are a few of your favorite parenting moments so far?

Even though my son is “all-boy” he and my daughter are both very affectionate. Some of the sweetest moments have been spent snuggling in the morning. Julian will put his hands on my cheeks and quietly says things like “you are the most beautiful mama I’ve ever had.” I also love waking up and seeing my little girl just smiling at me. I can see in her eyes her pure excitement and anticipation for all the fun the day might bring. In those moments (and always), she is so enthusiastic about life. It is such a good way to start the day! I love watching them learn new things and gain confidence through doing so.

A few days after we arrived in Arkansas and as we were waiting for our moving truck to arrive, we went to the Rogers Aquatic Center. My little 4-year-old wanted to go across the floating leaf and lily-pad path where you have to go across a rope “monkey-bar style” to get across.

Well, he was too small to do that, but he was undaunted in his determination to get to the other side. So he figured out a way and jumped from float to float. There was a group of four or five teenage boys behind me just cheering him on, clapping, and encouraging him. He made it across and was just beaming! It was such a sweet moment and such a kind welcome to Arkansas!

Incidentally, he wanted me to go across after him, so I did. When I made it to him, I picked him up and gave him a big hug and said “I’m SO proud of you!” and he hugged me tightly back and said “Thanks! I’m so proud of you too!”

What’s your favorite way to get your kids laughing again after a hard day?

An almost foolproof way to get my kids laughing again is just to be silly with them. We’ll sing songs in a silly way or dance around. Another way is to play “Red Light, Green Light”

What’s a meal you make over and over for your kids?

Do peanut butter sandwiches count as a meal? ;) Really, we are all about easy and try to be healthy, so we’ll do chicken or salmon on the grill and veggies a lot. They also love Taco Tuesday :)

Your most-loved hobbies?

Since moving here to Fayetteville I’ve taken up biking and hot yoga! I love taking pictures of my kids and documenting their lives. I enjoy cooking and baking and serving a dish or dessert I can be proud of. I have strong opinions politically and enjoy (and sometimes cringe) learning more in that arena. I also love learning more about (and striving to grow in) the gospel.

What’s your idea of a relaxing day?

Having nothing to do except go outside and play with my family :)

One word to sum me up

friendly or passionate :)

5 Minutes with a Mom: Lindsey K.

Lindsey's kids


Lindsey K.

Kids’ names and ages:

Bentley (7), Logan (girl, 6), Roman (4)

What’s one movie you could watch over and over again?

Nothing really comes to mind…maybe The Avengers? Back in college days, it would have been Patch Adams or The Other Sister. A League of Their Own is great, too!

Tell us about some traditions you’ve started with your kids:

A simple birthday tradition we’ve been doing includes taking the birthday child to pick out a couple of balloons from Party City, and then usually a lunch date with Daddy if it falls on a weekday.

My husband has also made dates with our daughter a pretty regular thing (particularly for the special daddy-daughter date nights put on by CFA). Inadvertently, we’ve spent every spring break (that I can recall) with our kids’ out-of-state cousins. Last summer they moved nearly 3x the distance they were previously and weren’t going to be able to come to AR for spring break. We managed a VERY last minute trip to go see them, and I’d love to make that our new spring break tradition – especially since my oldest son and oldest nephew both have birthdays over the break and have always spent them together.

And may I just give a shout-out to my AMAZING traveling kids?! I took them by myself (to VIRGINIA; ~1025 miles) and I’m convinced there are no better travelers than my kiddos – we managed only 1 hour worth of stops each day on the 2-day drive there. Summer traditions include spending lots of time with out-of-state cousins, and possibly a trip to FL (just mommy and kiddos) to go see my grandparents and sister.

If we manage that trip this year, it’ll be our second year in a row. I feel it’s important to see my grandparents as often as I can while they’re still with us. I suppose you could some up the last half of that as: Road trips with Mommy for spring break and summertime!

Where does your family love to play in NWA?

We have only been to Tanyard Creek once – but it was AWESOME! We will go again this summer. Closer to us, but with some of the same frills as Tanyard Creek, is the park on Horsebarn Road. The creek there is great and we just discovered a Mulberry tree there this week – those berries are DELICIOUS! Otherwise, we love hopping around to our local Springdale and Fayetteville parks (the new Rotary Adventure Park in Springdale became a quick favorite). Once in a blue moon we might go to Jump Zone, Boingo Bounce, or Little Giggles – and those are a HIT every time!

What’s something your friends might not know about you?

I rarely ever listen to the radio. I don’t typically have it on in our van, but even when I’m alone – I usually just drive in silence. Ahhhhh, silence.

If you could have vacationed anywhere in the world this summer where would it have been?

New Zealand sounds nice!

Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

Oh dear, this is totally not up my alley. Maybe Candace Cameron Bure…? I’m trying to come up with a Christian woman, or anyone who would remotely be like me. I suppose it’d be her.

What would the name of the movie be?

The two hardest questions of this whole interview – aah! I’ll go with, “Redeemed.”

What’s something you have always wanted to learn?

I’d like to learn more about photography and editing. I take photos for family/friends for fun, but I’d like to learn more.

What are three things you always have with you?

Chapstick/lipgloss, my phone, and my incessant brain chatter ;)

How do you wind down at the end of the day?

Usually just by watching some TV with my hubby and a cup of hot tea. Sometimes it’s sans TV and we just talk.

One word to sum me up …


5 Minutes with a Mom: Rachel Burks

rachel cropped

Name:  Rachel Kay Burks

Daughter’s name and age: Maycey Monroe, age 6

What was the best thing about being pregnant? I actually had a really difficult pregnancy, so the best thing about mine was when it was over!  I had a beautiful baby girl who has changed my life in the best possible ways.

The worst? The hardest part was being put on bed rest because of preeclampsia.

Where are you from and how long have you lived in NWA? I am originally from Conway and I moved to Fayetteville last July. But for a few years in between Maycey & I lived in Brooklyn, New York.

What brought you here? After a few years of living in New York I knew I missed my home state of Arkansas but since I lived in Central Arkansas most of my life I decided to give Fayetteville a try!

Rachel & Maycey 1What are you and your daughter loving most about Northwest Arkansas? We love the community! There is always something fun happening! But our favorite thing to do is probably visiting the farmers market on Saturday mornings and then going for brunch afterwards.

Tell us about your job as a kitchen designer: As a Kitchen Designer I get to design and remodel everyone’s favorite room in the home!  It’s always interesting to come into someone’s home and see how they live.  My projects become very personal to me, because it’s more than simply making a room look pretty – it’s helping improve someone’s day to day life. (Rachel works for Kitchen Distributors of Fayetteville, FYI!)

Tell us about a typical day for you: Every day is different! Most days I come to the office to draw up design plans and give showroom tours. Then I pick Maycey up from school and head to soccer, softball, or dance practice.  (Or Junior League for me!)

What’s something your friends might not know about you?  Hmm… That isn’t possible because I don’t keep anything from my friends! But they might not know that when we lived in Brooklyn, we lived in a Hasidic Jewish neighborhood.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this summer where would it be? My sister is a missionary in Africa, so I am actually going to visit her in a few weeks!

What’s the most enjoyable thing about being a mother? The best part is Maycey of course. She has the biggest, happiest personality and there is never a dull moment. She keeps me on my toes and she keeps me laughing literally ALL the time!

What’s something you have always wanted to learn? I have always wanted to learn how to sew.

What are three things you always have with you? Blueberry red bull, heavy duty measuring tape and headphones.

How do you relax at the end of the day? Doing the dishes by hand.  Call me crazy, but it is a stress reliever for me!

One word to sum me up … Fearless!

Photo credit: Anna Martin Photography

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