Giveaway: Skate or Splash Party at The Jones Center!

It’s not like you need a reason to party, but there are plenty of times when you have one — a kid’s birthday, awesome grades at school, an upcoming holiday, or even just a get-together with fun friends. Since you already have plenty of reasons to celebrate, we’re going Printto help provide the party place. This week we’re partnering with our friends at The Jones Center to give one local mom a FREE party for up to 12 people at either the ice skating rink or the newly renovated Splash Pool at The Jones Center in Springdale. All you need to do is bring the kids!

The Jones Center will set you up in a private party room, and you’ll have up to 2 hours to either skate or splash. (We can almost guarantee that winning this kind of party for the kids will earn you some MAJOR cool points with your kids and their friends.)

So the only question is… do you want to skate? or swim? Here are some details on both options:

SKATING PARTY: The Ice Arena at The Jones Center is massive. Kids are always blown away when they see it for the first time. It’s home to hockey games and ice skating lessons. (And remember that time they hosted the characters from Frozen on the ice rink?)

If you choose to spend your party time skating, you’ll also get your own ice skating assistant, who will give the kids a 30-minute lesson and then give skating tips throughout the remainder of the hour. Here’s a pic of the expansive Ice Arena.


SPLASH PARTY: It doesn’t matter if the sun is shining or what the temperature is outside because the huge Splash Pool at the The Jones Center is indoors, so it’s always ready to party. The Splash Pool area just went through a massive renovation and it is gorgeous! Fun, bright colors surround the pool area, and the bottom of the pool is nice and smooth for little feet. The twisty slide is back and better than ever and so is the always-popular mushroom fountain.

If you pick this option, you’ll get a private party room located on the pool deck, and lifeguards will be on duty. Here’s a pic of the amazing Splash Pool.


HOW TO ENTER: To throw your name in the online party hat to win either a skate or splash party, just click on the words “post  a comment”  below and tell us what occasion you’d like to celebrate. (Birthday? Congratulations party? Family Fun Time Party? Holiday party? Or maybe it could be a ” Just Because We Have Awesome Kids” party.)

You can also email your answer to us at

Please note that you’ll be able to work with the folks at The Jones Center to find a party date that works best for you and your guest list.

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.

Our newsletter subscribers get access to the good stuff, including exclusive giveaways (like this one from last week), 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 a winner on Friday afternoon, mamas! Good luck!

Mealtime Mama: Garden Vegetable Soup


Now that the weather’s getting colder, a big bowl of homemade vegetable soup sounds GOOD.

Our Mealtime Mama sponsor My Brother’s Salsa cooked up this recipe:

Garden Vegetable Soup

4 tbsp Olive Oil

1 cup celery, diced

Mealtime Mama, My Brother's Salsa½ cup yellow onion, diced

1 tsp minced garlic

3 small zucchini, sliced into bite-sized pieces

15 oz. can okra, drained

15 oz.  can yellow corn, drained

28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes

Four 15 oz cans vegetable or chicken broth

3 tbsp lime juice

1 cup My Brother’s Salsa Original—Medium

Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste


Heat olive oil over medium heat; add onions, garlic; cook until softened; add carrots, potatoes, zucchini, & mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; add broth and increase heat to high;bring to a simmer. Then add corn, okra,  tomatoes, Original Salsa, and salt/pepper; reduce heat to low and cook until veges are tender yet slightly crisp, about 20 minutes (don’t let them get mushy); remove from heat. Serve with crusty bread or corn bread.

Gluten-free note: to ensure this recipe is gluten-free, carefully read the ingredient label on any packaged store-bought items used.

For more fabulous recipes, pop over to Helen’s online table HERE. The website is full of fun stories and inspiration for dinner tonight!

Devotion in Motion: Two reasons for most problems

18 “And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may be well with you, and that you may go in and possess the good land of which the LORD swore to your fathers.  ~  Deuteronomy 6:18  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

When asked about the cause of the unhappiness in his life, Arkansas-born country singer Glenn Campbell said he had finally figured out his problem. “Every three years I go and marry a girl who doesn’t love me,” he said, “and then she proceeds to take all my money.”

Now there’s a wise and honest man we can all learn from. You can’t fix what’s wrong until you identify it. None of us can solve our problems until we figure out the “root cause” of our troubles.

Today I share with you two simple statements. But if you give them some thought, I’ll bet you’ll agree that they explain a lot of the chaos we see in the age in which we live.

number 1 smallNumber One: “Most of the trouble in the world happens because somebody didn’t do the right thing.”

In our culture, people who want to do the right thing are often presented as being corny and laughable. But face it: Doing wrong always causes trouble in little and big ways. We get chewing gum on our shoes because somebody didn’t wrap it in paper and put it in the trash. And terrorists kill hundreds because they don’t remember to love their neighbors as themselves.

That’s why we’ve got to strive to do what’s right in every situation. The condition of the world that our children will live in depends upon it.

number 2 smallNumber Two: “People often need counseling because they needed love and didn’t receive it.”

I see this principle at work in the pastoral conversations that I have with young and old (and in every episode of Intervention that I watch). People become sad and sick when the folks they’re depending on (who should love them) fail to fittingly love them.

Our duty to love as parents, spouses, siblings, relatives, and Christian friends is vital, a holy trust from the Lord. Perhaps that’s why the Scriptures say so much about the necessity for and supremacy of love.

So, in this coming week, let’s strive to do what’s right and to live lives of love. And teach your children to do the same. The future of everybody and everything depends upon it.

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 outdoor-cats come to the door to ask for their supper each night.) Their kids include Spencer (age 24), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21). You can send him a note at

The Rockwood Files: Wheels on the bus

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

My kids used to ride the bus. Now they don’t. Now I spend more than an hour in the car on weekdays sitting in long car lines at three different schools so I can pick them up.

It’s not one of my favorite activities, although I’m slowly learning how to make better use of my “sitting in the crazy long car line” time. So why don’t I just make the kids ride the bus like they used to? I’ll tell you.

The bus has changed. When my kids first started riding it in elementary school, they had this incredible bus driver named Ms. Virginia. Every time she pulled up at the stop sign, it felt like Mother Goose herself had arrived to lift her protective wing and let my sweet ducklings toddle off the bus and into my arms. She loved them. We loved her. It was idyllic.

But then Ms. Virginia left for a new job. And as the kids grew older and approached the middle school age range, the bus atmosphere changed and grew bus-878697_640exponentially louder. One day my son told me the new bus driver wouldn’t let him sit with his little sister anymore. The new rule was that boys must sit together and girls must sit together – three kids to each seat.

I’m sure the driver had good reasons for the new seating arrangement but he may have underestimated what happens when you put three boys together who’ve just been released from a school day that forced them to be quiet for more than six hours straight. The boys’ excited chatter and horseplay quickly ramps up to a noise level equal to that of a jet taking off. Similarly, put three little girls that close together and I can almost guarantee that high-pitched squealing will ensue. They don’t even need a good reason to do it. It just happens.

New bus drivers came and went, and sometimes the poor newbie driver would rely on the fourth and fifth graders behind him to figure out where he was supposed to stop along the route. But I don’t blame bus drivers for not being able to ensure a peaceful, orderly ride home. I can barely concentrate on the road with only three excited kids in my car. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be the only grown-up in a moving vehicle with roughly 70 kids behind you.  

My kids started walking off the bus with headaches triggered by the chaotic ride home. Then one day my fifth grader told me about a music video he saw on the bus as one of his seatmates watched it on an iPhone. It’s the kind of graphic video that makes me feel like I need to take a shower after seeing it (or poke out my mind’s eye).

Raising a kid through puberty is hard enough without Nicki Minaj’s booty-obsessed music videos making it even more complicated. And kids with smartphones and a 4G signal can read or see anything – anything – on the bus ride home, especially if their parents haven’t set up parental controls on those phones.

So that was it for me. I didn’t want my kids to get a big dose of the Internet’s dark side on the way home from school. That’s not the kind of “education” we’re interested in getting.

And that’s why I’m now part of the daily cattle-herding operation we call the “school pick-up line,” which is full of patience-challenging phenomenons I’ll tell you about some other day. Until then, hug your kid and hug your bus driver. They’re both dealing with plenty of not-so-idyllic circumstances on the long ride home.

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.

Inside His Head: Husband is not ‘romantic’ enough for wife

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Dear Inside His Head,

I’m married to a great man who’s also a great dad, but I feel frustrated by his lack of romance. He says he’s “not very romantic” but I remember that he was when we were first dating. I don’t expect roses every week or for him to cook me a candlelight dinner, but I would appreciate a little affectionate note every now and then or a special treat occasionally. I’ve dropped hints, but he doesn’t seem to be picking up on my bread crumbs. Should I just come right out and tell him some of the gestures I would like? Would it be annoying to you if your wife did that?

greg1.thumbnailGRAY: This shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, but men aren’t the best at picking up subtleties.

For that matter, most of us aren’t so good at delivering them either. It’s a good bet that the “affectionate note” or “special treat” are the furthest things from his mind. It’s not that he doesn’t care, but his way of caring doesn’t involve the little touches.

Sure, things were a lot different when you were dating. When I met my wife I didn’t have a fraction of the obligations I have now. To some extent, my life used to be able to revolve around hers. Now my attention goes to my daughter…who commands a good deal of it…and to some extent I feel like I show love to my wife by being a good dad.

And it’s true with so many other things: a love letter has become emptying the dishwasher, a bunch of flowers has become taking care of all those projects in the yard. Not very romantic? No, I suppose not, but there you have it.

Victorian VioletsWould it be annoying if my wife asked me to write her little notes? Yes it would and here’s why: it would be akin to saying what I do isn’t good enough, but somehow a “little note” is. I think it would trivialize my affection rather than make it stronger. These trivial little touches would suddenly be on equal footing with the really important stuff.

Everyone likes to be treated in a special manner every now and again, but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself if you’re blessed with what you have. I’m not saying to stop dropping the little hints, but try to appreciate what the two of you already give to each other.

Discovering he’s helped your child with all their homework so you can do things together during the weekend may not be the same as having a surprise bouquet delivered to you…it’s much better when you think about it.

john.thumbnailMAVERICK: The one problem with hinting is, if he’s paying attention it pretty much takes all the “romance” out of it, making the hint a demand he’s having to comply with to humor you.

And if he’s not paying attention, all the hints in the world won’t work.

First, when you say romance, I figure you mean a thoughtful or spontaneous display of affection. Something simple, like a love note or a more complex gesture, like dinner and a movie with him arranging child care. What we’re talking about here is pursuit – the guy making it clear he desires the object of his affection — namely you.

Lots of married women complain their husbands were really “romantic” while dating but it dried up after marriage. It’s pretty standard behavior. Typically this behavior is blamed on the guy. But if you think about it, the signals that triggered that pursuit behavior are likely missing as well. Men pursued their wives during courtship because they were both desirable and playful.

So, perhaps, if you like to be pursued and acknowledged, you might want to start the chase anew.

Do something surprising for him that he might enjoy — make him nachos while he’s watching a fight on TV or recommend you kick around that giant sporting goods warehouse store he loves on a slow Saturday afternoon. Offer a glass of iced tea after he comes in from mowing the yard and a back rub after he takes a shower. Arrange a dinner at his favorite place and surprise him afterward with a night that is worthy of a love note.

Actions like this make him feel valued, cherished, desired and are much more likely to get him to return the gesture, than nagging and guilt.

I’m not saying maintaining the energy and vigor in the relationship is all your responsibility, I’m just suggesting reminding the guy how lucky he is to have you with deeds not words. If you want to be chased, remind him how much fun it is to catch you.

To read more Inside His Head posts, click here.