Life with Ladybug: Backyard chickens, rest in peace

Dot, ready for her close-up

By Shannon Magsam, co-founder of and mama to 1 little lady(bug)

I won’t ever look at a Saltine cracker again without thinking about our backyard chickens.

They liked a little wheat bread tossed out the back door from time to time, but Saltines? Oh yeah. They’d fight mightily over those.

I’m writing in past tense, but we do have one left: Tessa. She reminds me of the Little Red Hen from one of my favorite children’s books and, as of this morning, she’s all alone in the backyard.

Her buddy Shawnna, a black and white checkered beauty, died three weeks ago and my husband found Dot, the feistiest of them all, dead in their coop this morning when he went out to let them loose into the backyard. (That’s a close-up of Dot in the picture above. Ladybug took it last spring.)

I told my husband through hot, bitter tears this morning: “I don’t think I’m cut out to be a backyard chicken farmer.”

When you have a huge flock it might be easier to lose a few. But when you start out with the three amigos and you’re down to the lone survivor it’s a sad sight. The little red hen has been searching all morning for her friend. She calls out, loudly, but there’s no answer.

With Shawnna, we had tried valiantly for weeks to keep her alive, even taking her to a vet. I had thought at the time it would be better if she had just died quickly. But then this morning. With Dot. I felt like I hadn’t really had a chance to say goodbye, which I did with her sister.

When my husband dug the grave out back, it was a lot of work to cut through all the rocks and roots. It was a fairly large box we buried Dot in. While he worked, flashes of panic gripped me. What if I woke up one morning and found that he had died?

Death reminds us of death. Deaths of those who have gone before, deaths that will come later, our future deaths. All uncertain. I do have hope, though, for the afterlife. I cling to that hope.

If I managed one smile this morning, from the time my husband woke me up to tell me the bad news to the time I had to tell our daughter the same, it was when I pictured Shawnna running up to Dot as she reached heaven, calling her over to the best spot for scratching out bugs.

And the spot where a nice heavenly host tosses them the occasional manna – or maybe even a Saltine cracker.

Chicken collage

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

Beauty Buzz: One mom’s take on nail art

beauty buzz, nwaMotherlode.comBy Andi Douglas, nwaMotherlode Beauty Editor and mama of 3

I’ve ignored it, I’ve denied it, and I’ve ridiculed it, but I think, now, it’s time to accept nail art, because it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. It’s even getting easier to achieve these detailed creations.

The latest direct sales business I have seen popping up on my newsfeed is the vinyl nail-decal company Jamberry Nails.The design options are seemingly endless (ie: I got sick of trying to count them) and they can be applied at home, during the post-bedtime bliss, while sneaking your secret stash of good chocolate.

After reading this honest review by mom blogger Mrs. Wiggle Bottom, I think these are very simple to apply, once you get the hang of it, but like ay product, would not be for everyone. I can totally see getting these for a special occasion and the Mommy & Me sets would be too cute for spa themed party. At $15 a sheet, which yields several  sets of snazzy looking nails, these cost more than a solid color of polish, but are a fraction of the cost of a salon visit.

Maybe you are a DIY-er at heart, or a fabulous artist. Or just the type of person who likes to casually accept praise over your nails depicting famous internet grumpy cat nailskittys, mention that you had a little free time and then moonwalk away. Unfortunately, most of the tutorials that caught my eye require several different colors, and unless you regularly wear Grumpy Cat grey on your nails, you will have to supplement your nail polish collection.

The good news? Consumer Reports did a recent test with 7 different popular nail polish brands and found, that  after 10 days of wear, the winning polish was the cheapy brand Sinful Colors, available for only $2 a bottle at Target (where I happened to have a really dorky-mom convo with the teenage cashier, who did not find my Consumer Reports  research interesting). You might want to get an old pallet and some modge podge to DIY a nail polish rack with all that free time you have.

Hopefully, we can stay out of our rain boots long enough to show off those stunning new toes and you can admire your perfectly coordinated chevron nails as you push your little one on the swing. Now, since the name Jamberry is making me irrationally hungry, I am going to see if my kids have any Easter candy stashed away.

NOTE: If you’re really into nail art and all things polish, check out the LacqLustre blog, which is where we found the impressive shot of “Grumpy Cat” nails pictured above. The ideas on this blog are seemingly endless! (We loved the look of the “girly pearl nail art” and the “herringbone nail art.) Have fun, mamas!

AndiAndi Davis is the mama of three little ones and when she’s not playing house, reading them a book or trying to get them to go bed on time — adores playing with makeup. She loves to answer your beauty questions (including those about hair) so send ‘em on over! Just email them to mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com.

5 tips for dealing with sibling rivalry

sibling rivalry art

If you’ve got more than one kid in your house, chances are you know a LOT about sibling rivalry. Most of us have witnessed first-hand how brothers and sisters boxing gloves red(and sometimes cousins) can be best buddies one minute and then go into an all-out brawl the next minute. It can be exhausting!

So we devoted a whole week to sibling rivalry during our Mamas on Magic radio segment recently. (You can hear the Mamas on Magic segments by listening to Magic 107.9 around 7:45 a.m. each weekday morning.)

If you missed the radio discussion, just click the LEFT side of each audio bar below to hear it now online. Good luck to all our fellow mamas this summer as we all try to keep the peace. :-)

How to deal with sibling rivalry during road trips

The most common topics for sibling fights

Our sibling rivalry memories

How to help siblings develop better bonds

When sibling fights cross the line

Click HERE to listen to more Mamas on Magic radio segments on a range of different parenting-related topics.


Mealtime Mama: Cool summer recipes

mealtimemama-ONF It may be hot outside, but it’s precisely the time to bring the heat to my mouth. Whether you use fresh tomatoes or canned, this homemade salsa is a fresh treat.

In the summer, my mom always has it waiting for me when I arrive “home” for a visit. I even had it for breakfast one day! I love it that much. Below the salsa recipe is another family favorite that involves fresh broccoli. No turning on the oven for this one and it’s super good, especially to share at a potluck. Don’t let the broccoli fool you; the recipe also has BACON in it.

Banquet Salsa:

tomatoes-on-vine.PNGHalf a large green bell pepper (or one small)

1/2 jalapeno

Small onion, diced

1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes

Diced garlic (two cloves)

Cilantro to taste (finely chopped)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt & pepper to taste

Place bell pepper and jalapeno into the oven and broil them until the skin browns. Then peel the skin off and dice finely. Mix the other ingredients together and chill. Enjoy!

Broccoli Salad:

broc.jpg2 bunches broccoli, separated into florets

8 bacon strips, fried and crumbled

1/2 cup chopped onion (red adds color)

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons raisins (or to taste)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup mayonnaise

In a large salad bowl, combine broccoli, bacon and onion. Set aside. In another bowl, combine mayo, sugar and vinegar until smooth. Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss.

ONF storeNote from the mamas: The Summer Remix symbol appears on posts previously published on nwaMotherlode that were noted as a “reader favorite”. If you missed the original publication date, we hope you’ll enjoy this encore performance. Happy summer!


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