Project Stir: Local woman making it her mission to rekindle the family recipe

Sarah Shotts, ProjectSTIR, cropped

Guest post by Sarah Shotts

Remember that dish your grandmother or great-aunt made that no one else could? We all have memories tied to the food of our childhoods. Stories from the family kitchen. Friendships forged by sharing handwritten recipe cards.

Project STIR is a mission to rekindle the family recipe. So often in our busy lives, we fail to take the time to slow down and remember these recipes. To pass them on to the next generation.

I never knew my own grandmothers, but I was blessed to grow up with Mamaw’s chicken dumplins every February at our home gymnastics meet. Mamaw was my gymnastics coach’s mother, but we all called her Mamaw as if she was our own grandma.

When I was getting married I knew two things… I wanted to wear matching green converse shoes and I wanted Mamaw to make her chicken dumplins.

It had been years since I’d had Mamaw’s dumplins and sharing them with my new husband stirred up all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings for me. I knew I had to learn how to make them.

But this wasn’t a recipe that could be written down.

You know the kind… a pinch of this, a dash of that, kneading the dough until it becomes “just right.”

Because of this no one in Mamaw’s family knew how to make her famous dumplins. This was a little over a year ago and I was just beginning to explore freelance cinematography so I asked her granddaughter Rachel if she’d like to be in an heirloom recipe film learning how to make dumplins from Mamaw. She said yes.

When I started sharing that film I found that it really resonated with people. Stories of recipes from all over the world started pouring in. Families invited me to document their family recipes in countries like Wales, Turkey, Canada, Panama, Croatia… and that’s how Project STIR was born.

Project STIR recently launched on Kickstarter to fund a series of heirloom recipe films taking place in kitchens around the world. Click here to learn more about how to get involved.

You can also join the Project STIR Facebook community to share your own family recipe stories.

Lets rekindle the heirloom recipe together.

Sarah Shotts, headshotSarah Shotts is a visual storyteller based in Northwest Arkansas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in performing arts at Mississippi University for Women. She continued her studies abroad, earning a master’s degree in applied drama from Goldsmiths University of London. Sarah is passionate about grand adventures and capturing the micro-adventures in the everyday. She blogs at She recently launched a kickstarter campaign called Project STIR. Project STIR is a culmination of Sarah’s passions for food, family and adventure.

Make a Summer Bucket List with your kids + 25 ideas for what to do!!

bucket list 2

How are you enjoying your summer so far?

If you haven’t done it yet, you might want to consider making a “Summer Bucket List”.  At our house, we use an actual bucket!

What you need:

Just buy or find a bucket (or container of your choice!) and some large, wooden clothes pins. Using a Sharpie, write various activities you want to do over the summer on the clothes pins and then clip them around the bucket.

After you do an activity, you just toss that clothes pin into the bucket. Having a bucket list helps make your summer more intentional, even if you have 15 clothes pins that read, “Sit out front in the sun with a book”.

Be sure to add a few clothes pins for yourself, mama. Or just make your own bucket :)

Here are 25 ideas for activities you can write on your clothes pins (some local, some universal):

  1. Go see a movie at Malco during its Kid’s Summer Film Fest
  2. Ride a roller coaster
  3. Swim at the the Rogers Aquatic Center
  4. Have a water balloon fight
  5. Go to First Thursday on the Fayetteville Square
  6. flip flopsGo to First Friday on the Bentonville Square
  7. Create an ice-cream sundae bar and invite over the neighbors
  8. Go fishing
  9. Camp out in the backyard
  10. Camp out indoors
  11. Go to a Gulley Park concert series concert
  12. Set up a lemonade stand
  13. Try zip-lining
  14. Toast marshmallows outside (and make s’mores!)
  15. Make liquid sidewalk chalk and create a masterpiece on the driveway
  16. Make chalk dress-up dolls while you’re out there
  17. Visit your local Farmer’s Market
  18. Sign up for the summer reading program at your library
  19. Visit the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
  20. Play mini golf
  21. Eat snow cones
  22. Make your own ice cream in a bag (YouTubevideo)
  23. Go to Vacation Bible School
  24. Visit the Tulsa Children’s Museum
  25. Make “fairies” in a jar (or just catch fireflies!)

If you need more ideas, CLICK HERE to see our Summer Fun Printable! Stick it on the fridge for inspiration this summer.

Summer-Remix4Bonus idea for the summer: Have your kids take a picture every day of summer vacation and put them all together in an awesome video at the end of the break. Or make a Summer Memories 2015 book with Snapfish or Shutterfly.

Crafty Mama: Homemade body lotion


We were excited to talk recently to a mom and grandmother who makes her own salsa, laundry detergent and even body lotion.

mason jarsShe’s so crafty!

We asked for her lotion recipe and she kindly shared. The recipe is from Dianna Cox of Mountain View, mom of three daughters and five grandsons.

Making the lotion could make for a fun birthday party: Just have the guests whip up their own lotion and each child can take home a little in pretty crystal Mason jars– or inexpensive clear plastic pump bottles. The kids could decorate the outside of the jars while they were being artistic :)

Dianna said the lotion isn’t greasy and smells great. She said if you rub the lotion on your feet at night and add socks, you’ll wake up with tootsies that feel like “baby feet”.

Homemade Body Lotion:

2 bottles of Shea Butter baby lotion (Dianna gets hers at the Dollar Store)

2 bottles of Vitamin E cream (Dollar Store again!)

1 small jar of Vaseline

Directions: Add all the ingredients to a large pan and whip the mixture with a whisk until it’s thoroughly combined. Add lotion to emptied (or new) bottles or pretty jars.

Here’s to baby soft hands and feet!

Crafty Mama: Cute chore charts made from cookie sheets!


Jennifer's chore chartsThere are all kinds of chore charts out there, but this one is genius — and super cute!

Local mom of four, Jennifer Smith, used basic cookie sheets to make these for her kids and we love them.

Jennifer said this is how she did it:

  • Use Mod Podge to glue a piece of scrapbook paper onto the cookie sheet.
  • Hot glue your favorite ribbon for the lines (I used black for mine)
  • Use scrapbook stickers for name labels

How to make the magnets:

For the magnets, I bought a set of round magnets at Hobby Lobby and some small wooden circles to hot glue on. I had some old garage sale stickers lying around so that’s how I did my color code system.

And how does the color code system work?

Jennifer said each magnet has a different chore and each color represents a specific amount of money her kids can earn for that chore.

Orange is 25 cents; pink is 50 cents; and green is $1

Jennifer's chore chart up close

And here are the kids who are doing all those chores :) Aren’t they cute?

Jennifer's kids, cropped

Jennifer is a local photographer and mom of four. Click here to visit her photography website, Captured Moments by Jen. Thanks for the chore chart idea, Jennifer!

How To: 5 tips to corral the kids’ craft clutter!

By Holly Anderson Shacklett, co-owner of Simply Organized of NWA

With the holidays coming up, the kids will likely be using their craft supplies even more with projects and cards. Here are a few tips for getting everything organized so it will be easier to access everything in a hurry.

1. Toss flimsy boxes and put drawing and coloring tools into lidded boxes or bins.

Holly art supply drawer

2. Separate supplies for easier access.  We mostly use ziploc bags for this – which don’t photograph well.  We have a bag for glue sticks, one for stickers, one for pipe cleaners etc.  All of those are corralled together into one cute cube.

Holly reclaiming kids area cube1

3. Keep craft paper upright and together by standing up in a cube, sorted and stored in large plastic envelopes,accordian files or stacking trays.

Holly reclaiming kids area folder

4. Don’t bother saving every free crayon!

Holly, misc crayons

5. Keep a vinyl tablecloth or newspaper with the art supplies!

holly reclaiming ivys closet painting
Holly headshotHolly Shacklett is a mother of 2 girls ages 6 and 2. Holly earned her degree in Elementary Education, traveled the United States with her musical husband, and has worked in various types of office settings. Holly actually gets a little giddy at the completion of an organizing project because she simply loves it. She updates the blog and maintains the facebook pages for Simply Organized. You can reach her at 479-790-6146 to schedule a consultation and visit about your space.