2016 Mom-Approved Award Winners Announced


The votes are in, and local moms have spoken!

Thank you to all who cast votes for your favorite mom-friendly businesses in 35 different categories. This year we compiled a list of the three companies with the most votes in each category. Since Northwest Arkansas covers multiple counties and cities, having three good choices in the area is helpful for local moms trying to find solid companies to do business with.mlawards

Please note that the following companies are listed IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER in each category — not by number of votes received. In some categories, four winners are listed which indicates there was a tie for the third-place position. (After votes were tallied, all winners were offered the option to advertise their win and thank moms for recognizing them as “mom-approved.”)

Congrats to the 2016 Mom-Approved Award Winners, and THANK YOU for being the kind of businesses that go above and beyond to meet the needs of local families.

NOTE: Congrats to Monica Bryan who won the “Unique Boutique Shopping Spree” simply by voting in this year’s contest. Have fun shopping!

CLICK HERE to download and/or print the list of this year’s Mom-Approved Award Winners. Keep the list as a helpful reference when you’re looking for a product or service. And look for the yellow window decals and award certificates displayed by local winners. When you spot it, you’ll know that company is “Mom-Approved.”

Best Family Outingamazeum-mom-approved


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Fast Lane Entertainment

Best Gift Store

Bella Jack’s Children’s Boutique

Melody’s Choices

The Mustache Goods & Wears

Best Preschoolfirstschool

Doodlebugs Daycare

First School of First United Presbyterian Church

Learning Ladder Preschool Academy

The New School

Best Summer Camp

Camp War Eagle

Kanakuk Christian Summer Camp

New Life Ranch

Best Gymnastics Lessonswiliams-center-ad-2016

Aspire Gymnastics Academy

Hopes & Dreams Gymnastics

Williams Dance and Gymnastics Center

Best Childcare Facility

Central United Methodist Church

Doodlebugs Daycare

Learning Ladder Preschool Academy

Best Allergy Clinichedberg-ad-revised

Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Northwest Arkansas

Hedberg Allergy & Asthma Center

Best Hair Salon

Cabin Red, A Salon

Crown Beauty Bar

Freshair Salon & Boutique

Best Place to Work Outfacad

Bentonville Community Center

Fayetteville Athletic Club

Planet Fitness

Best Jewelry Store

Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry

Kay Jewelers

Underwood’s Fine Jewelers

Best Mom’s Night Outpaintingtwistad-2016

Junque 2 Jewels

Painting with a Twist

Sassafras Springs Vineyard

Best Tutoring Service

Club Z In-Home Tutoring Services

Kumon Math and Reading Centers

Sylvan Learning

Best Kids’ Clothes3-monkeys-with-seal

3 Monkeys Children’s Boutique

Belle Boutique

Bella Jack’s Children’s Boutique

Best Family Photographer

Amber Lanning Photography

Lisa Mac Photography

Maliah Pinkelton Photography

Best Dermatologisthull-dermatology-ad-2016

Hull Dermatology & Aesthetics

Ozark Dermatology Clinic & Advanced Aesthetics

Premier Dermatology & Skin Renewal Clinic

Best Local Women’s Clothing

Belle Boutique

Impressions Boutique & Gifts

Skye on the Town

Whimsy Whoo

Best Orthodontistark-dentistry-braces-for-post

Arkansas Dentistry & Braces

Dr. Jeremy D. Smith Family Orthodontics

Northwest Orthodontics (Dr. Jesse Gray)

Best Spa

LaVida Massage

Premier Dermatology & Skin Renewal Clinic

Spa Botanica of Northwest Arkansas

Best Pediatric Clinicmercy-for-award-post

Mercy Pediatrics

Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics

Northwest Health System (Best Start Pediatrics)

Best Consignment Shop

Cece’s Closet Luxury Consignment Boutique

Rhea Lana’s of Northwest Arkansas

Once Upon a Child

Best Pediatric Dentistsmile-shoppe-for-post

Dr. Brent Caple Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dental Associates & Orthodontics

Smile Shoppe Pediatric Dentistry

Best Family Restaurant (Fast-Food)


Slim Chickens


Best Family Restaurant (Table-Service)


Grub’s Bar & Grille

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

Best Realtorcoldwellbankerad3

Nicky Dou

Meza Harris

Claudia Vilato

Best Florist

Northwest Arkansas Florist

Pigmint Flowers & Fun

Shirley’s Flowers, Inc.

Best Kids’ Birthday Placemodernmissionad

Chuck E. Cheese’s

Fast Lane Entertainment

HighRise Extreme Air Sports

Modern Mission Tactical Laser Tag

Best Furniture Store

Ashley Furniture Homestore


Sam’s Furniture

Best Dance Studioacademyofdance-2

Academy of Dance

Kaleidoscope Dance Academy

Williams Dance and Gymnastics Center

Best Getaway Destination


Eureka Springs

Kansas City

Best Private Schoolmamaapproved-new-school-final

The New School

Providence Classical Christian Academy

Shiloh Christian School

Best Eye Care


Brandon Eye Clinic

The Eye Center

Best Pet Boardingdogpartyad

Camp Bow Wow

Dog Party USA

Wedington Animal Hospital

Best Veterinarian Clinic

Faithful Friends Animal Clinic

Stanton Animal Hospital

Wedington Animal Hospital

Best Dentistark-dentistry-braces-for-post

Arkansas Dentistry & Braces

Family Dental Center

Smile Center Family Dental Care

Wisener Cooper & Fergus, D.D.S.

Best Car Dealer

Adventure Subaru: Fayetteville

Everett Buick GMC

Fayetteville Autopark


Northwest Arkansas Calendar of Events: September 2016

September calendar slider

leafNote from the mamas: Be sure to take a look at our Fall Fun Guide for more ideas for things to do this season in Northwest Arkansas! Click here to see the post!

First Thursday Fayetteville

Break up your back-to-school routine and join us on the Downtown Square for First Thursday in September. Celebrate with art, live music and activities for the whole family.

First Thursday Sept. 2016LIVE MUSIC!
Main Stage: 412 West
Kids Stage: Jugglology

Art walk featuring local artists and vendors
Activities for the whole family

Local food Trucks + Beer Garden

Date: Thursday, Sept. 1

Time: 6-8:30 p.m.

Location: Fayetteville Square

More info: Click here

First Friday Bentonville, Sugar Creek Days

The Bentonville Square is transformed into a Sugar Creek Day blockparty with live music & entertainment, outstanding food options and family friendly activities. Sponsored by popchips.

11am | Food Trucks Open

On Mainstage
5:45-6:10 | The Leslie Serrano Band
6:45-8 | The Sons of Otis Malone

4:30, 6:20 | Holmes Brigade Minstrels

5:30, 6:30 | Bank Robbery Re-Enactment in Front of Arvest
There will be loud gunshots during re-enactment.

Don’t forget to check out the FREE First Friday After Dark concert at Meteor Guitar Gallery at 8pm featuring Foleys Van.

First Friday Sept. 2016Date: Friday, September 2

Time: 11-8p

Location: Downtown Bentonville

More info: Click here

Light Night Party

The Fourth Annual Light Night takes over the space around Buckyball with a glowing evening of creative chaos, featuring music by Deadhead Productions with popular North Carolina-based funk band The Fritz and retro-pop country duo Jazz Mills. Light Night has something for everyone with light-art tinkering stations with Amazeum, black-light graffiti drawing, and special light-art installations by Highberry Music Festival. Enjoy artmaking zones by Amazeum, Crystal Bridges, and local artist Jenn Gilder. Bring your own LED lights for dancing, or show off your illuminated style in a Light Night-inspired costume! A cash bar and food will be available.

light nightDuring the event, Museum Way and the Additional Parking Lot will be closed. Parking will be available at Orchard Park and at the Amazeum from the North Entrance.

Free, no registration required.

Date: Sept. 2

Time: 8-11 p.m.

Location: Crystal Bridges Museum

More info: Click here

8th Annual Fayetteville Film Fest

The 8th annual Fayetteville Film Fest will be held at locations around the downtown Fayetteville Square.  A record-setting 55 films (including feature films, documentaries, short films and animated films) will be screened over the course of the five days of the festival.  In addition to the impressive lineup of films, the week will also feature panel discussions, Q&A sessions with the visiting filmmakers and workshops with industry professionals.

Date: Sept. 6-10

Time: Varies

Location: University of Arkansas Global Campus Theatre, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

39th Annual Ozark Quilt Fair

Antique and new quilts for show and sale. Music by Working Class Grass, miniature quilt display by the Itty Bitty Quilt Committee.

Date: Sept. 10

Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Location: Shiloh Museum

More info: Click here

Shiloh quilts

Dog Days, Bentonville Farmer’s Market

Bring your furry companions out to the Farmers Market to celebrate all things dogs. Schedule:

10am- Dog Parade- Meet in the street outside of Walmart Neighborhood Market

11am- Dog Contests- Register at the DBI tent in front of the Walton 5&10 and compete to win some great prizes in the following categories:
Cutest Adult Dog
Cutest Puppy
Best Trick
Best Costume

Date: Sept. 17

Time: 7:30 a.m. to 1 p

Location: The Bentonville Square

More info: Click here

The Junk Ranch

junk ranch100+ vendors will fill the barn, large tents, the house & the grounds with vintage, antique, handmade, repurposed, jewelry, boutique, salvage & much more. There will be live music playing on both days & some food vendors. Friday, September 30th (Early Shopping Day): 12 – 7pm…… $10 Admission. Early Shopping Tickets are good for free return entry on Saturday. Saturday, October 1st (General Admission): 9am – 5pm….. $5 Admission.

Parking is free; kids 12 & under are free.

Date: Sept. 30, Oct. 1

Time: See in description above

Location: 11195 Centerpoint Church Rd., Prairie Grove

More info: Click here

The Northwest Arkansas Calendar of Events is sponsored by The Jones Center for Families in Springdale. There’s ALWAYS something fun happening at The Jones Center, plus they have all kinds of classes for adults and kids — and great birthday party options at the indoor swimming pool, gymnastics or ice skating rink! CLICK HERE to visit the Jones Center website to see more!

jones center, small

Fall Fun Guide: Top 10 things for families to do this fall in Northwest Arkansas!

Fall Fun Guide 2016

There are so many fun things to enjoy in Northwest Arkansas this fall, so we rounded up 10 of the best.

Here’s a good list to get your fall started off right:

farmland adventures 2016Just click on the orange highlighted words to find out more about each activity, and CLICK HERE to see a printer-friendly Fall Fun Guide that lists even more events/activities! It’s sponsored by Farmland Adventures!

Just print out the list and keep it on your fridge or in your purse for a quick reminder of things to do over the next few months. You can also save it to your phone for a quick peek when you’re looking for fall fun activities.

1. Pumpkin picking and corn maze fun. If you want to pick your own pumpkin, let the kids pet some cute animals, play in a corn maze and hang out on the farm for a few hours, there are several options around here, including Farmland Adventures.

See our printable for more pumpkin patches and corn mazes, including dates of operation.

2. County fair time! The Washington County Fair started on Tuesday and will run through Saturday, Sept. 3, this year!

carousel washington county fair

3. Take a scenic stroll! The fall foliage on the Crystal Bridges Museum trails are beautiful this time of year, so you should go take a stroll! They have several group events scheduled if you want to enjoy the trails with a guide. And look for Fall Preschool Playdates at the museum where kids can enjoy art projects, story time, and creative play inspired by fall’s changing colors.

4. Festivals and antiques! If you like visiting hometown festivals, the Arkansas Apple Festival in Lincoln is coming up Sept. 30, Oct. 1-2. On the drive to the festival down Highway 62, you can stop off in Prairie Grove and shop some of our favorite little antique stores (including Daisies and Olives and The Summit Hill Cottage Shoppe). For more shopping, try The Junk Ranch event on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, which has 100+ vendors in a big barn and on the surrounding grounds. You should also take some time to visit Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park. The battlefield is SO PRETTY in the fall and there are lots of walking trails to enjoy, historical markers to read and a playground for the kids.

war eagle5. Craft fairs galore! Of course, there are plenty of craft fairs to visit in October, including the HUGE War Eagle Mill Arts & Crafts Fair in Rogers on Oct. 13-16.

Check out our printable list for LOTS more craft fair listings!

6. Leaves to see! Of course, this time of year means it’s time to drive I-49 or the Pig Trail Scenic Byway to ooh and ahhh over the trees that are changing into their brightly-colored fall clothes.

7. Call those Hogs! You really should enjoy a Razorback football game this fall or take part in the University of Arkansas Homecoming, which is Oct. 25-31 this year. The Dickson Street Parade and Homecoming Pep Rally will be on Friday, Oct. 14. The parade will run from the Highland intersection to the Chi Omega Greek Theatre. Just find yourself a spot on Dickson Street and see the Arkansas Spirit Squads, Razorback Marching Band, Homecoming Court, Greek Floats and more.


8. Shop unique boutiques! In early November, there’s the NWA Boutique Show to enjoy! This show is held each fall in Northwest Arkansas and will be on Nov. 11-12 this year. We’ll be there with a booth, so be sure to stop by and say hello (plus sign up for our giveaway)! This juried show features boutique booths with custom and one-of-a-kind creations from local and regional designers. Clothing, jewelry, art, stationery, gifts, personalized items, home décor, furniture, baby essentials and more. See you there!

fayetteville farmer's market9. Check out the farmer’s markets around NWA. The various farmer’s markets in hometowns across NWA run through the fall, so if you haven’t been out to one yet, you should visit those while you can!

Here are the links to each (our printable lists the dates that each season ends):

10. Festivals and Halloween events! There are SO MANY festivals and Halloween events coming up in NWA! Click here to see a big list of festival dates/Halloween events on our printable!

pumpkin200Note from the mamas: We’ll keep writing about fall fun/Halloween activities here on nwaMotherlode as the season continues, so visit often!

Voting is about to close for the 2016 Mom-Approved Awards!

awardsVoting is open for just a few more days in the 2016 Mom-Approved Awards! Voting ends Monday, August 22nd!

Vote for your favorite mom-friendly businesses in Northwest Arkansas. (CLICK HERE to vote online!)

We know from personal experience that the best recommendations are from our fellow mamas. If you want to know where the best places are to eat, shop, get a haircut, buy a car or go to preschool, ask another mom. She’ll know where to send you for the best stuff from the friendliest people.click here to vote

Moms are often the CES of the family (Chief Executive Shopper), which is why it’s important to have a list of some of the best stores and services in the area. Your votes will help other moms (especially those new to the area) make more informed decisions, and it’s also a great way to recognize those local businesses and service providers who know how to treat a mama right.

Another BIG perk? When you fill out the survey (CLICK HERE TO VOTE NOW) you’ll automatically be entered to win $350 in gift cards for the “Unique Boutique Shopping Spree.” We put together a list of some of our favorite places to shop, and each of those boutiques has contributed a gift card. We’ll choose a name (at random) and that voter will receive a total of $350 in gift cards to use at these participating boutiques: (Click the name of each shop to visit their online stores.)

shopping bags2 The Anchor

Belle Boutique

Blue Moon on the Square

The Haley Boutique

Kate Austin

The Mustache

Use your shopping spree to add some new things to your fall wardrobe or your home, or use it to get a jump on gift shopping before the holidays. You’re going to LOVE these one-of-a-kind shops.

The details: Cast your vote by August 20th. (It takes less than 5 minutes.) Be sure to complete at least 30 of the 35 categories in order to be eligible to win the Unique Boutique Shopping Spree. We always choose our winners at random using a random number generator, so anyone can win.

The award winners will be posted on nwaMotherlode.com in late August. We’ll also provide a downloadable list of the winning businesses that you can print and keep as a handy reference.

We’d love for you to tell your friends about the giveaway — or share it with those business owners you may be voting for. We’re sure they would love to know they’ve got your support!

We can’t wait to reveal your favorite businesses and announce the BIG WINNER of the Unique Boutique Shopping Spree. Thanks and good luck!


August 2016: Northwest Arkansas Calendar of Events

Calendar, August

First Thursday Fayetteville

FirstThursday_LimeOn the first Thursday of each month from April to October, First Thursday Fayetteville transforms the city’s historic Downtown Square in to a vibrant arts district, featuring the work of more than 40 visual artists, live music, street performers, food and drink, and children’s activities. First Thursday Fayetteville is a monthly event held on the Downtown Fayetteville Square, celebrating original works of art. On the first Thursday of each month, an outdoor art walk, live music, and a local craft beer garden take over the Square, while participating galleries and art-related venues offer free access to visual and performing art starting at 6:30 p.m. Starting in May, the Kids Stage act will be from 6 pm – 6:45 pm.

It’s a safe, family-friendly, community event for people of all ages, free to the public, and a lot of fun. First Thursday feels like a giant gallery opening, with all the energy and excitement of a street festival.

Date: Aug. 4

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Location: Fayetteville Square

More info: Click here

gulley park concert series 2016Gulley Park Summer Concert Series

Last concert of the season! Effron White from 7-9 p.m. Free event. Bring your blankets, picnics and drinks.

Date: Aug. 4

Time: 7-9 p.m.

Location: Gulley Park, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

First Friday Bentonville

On the First Friday of every month, Bentonville Square is transformed into a themed community block party with live music, outstanding food and family friendly activities. Thousands of members come out to celebrate the community. The theme for this First Friday is back to school.

Date: Aug. 5

Time: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Location: Downtown Bentonville

More info: Click here

First Fridays august

Dog Day of Summer at the Siloam Springs Farmer’s Market

The annual Dog Day of Summer event at the Farmers Market will have: Special Dog-Themed Vendors All Day; 9:30am – Dog Walk; 10am – FREE Contests:

  • Cutest Dog
  • Cutest Puppy
  • Dog/Owner Look Alike
  • Best Costume
  • No registration required – contests are FREE! Farmers Market Vendors will be the judges.

10:30am – Live Music from Sam Thompson

Date: Aug. 6

Time: See above

Location: Downtown Siloam Springs

More info: Click here

Astronomy Night at Hobbs State Park (Features the Milky Way and the Perseid Meteor Showers)

night sky, hobbsThe Sugar Creek Astronomical Society (SCAS) will once again partner with Hobbs State Park for another FREE night sky viewing on August 6th. Each astronomy event at Hobbs is different because the night sky constantly changes.

According to Katherine Auld, President of the SCAS, “The Perseid meteor shower bursts into light as Earth passes through the long trail left by Comet Swift-Tuttle.  The Perseid meteor shower runs through most of August, but it will not peak until the following week so the number of meteors we will spot will likely only range up to 20 per hour.  During the lecture we will talk about the Perseid meter shower; its source, location in the sky and viewing practices so that you can have the best possible chance of viewing this spectacle.

With only a wee sliver of a moon this night, we will have the dark skies necessary for a beautiful view of the Milky Way.  Members of SCAS will have telescopes set up for the public viewing.  We will be able to explore The Great Rift (massive clouds of starlight-soaking dust extending from Sagittarius across Cygnus).  We will also have the chance to view several deep sky objects including M51, the Whirlpool galaxy, and M39, an open star cluster in Cygnus.”

What to Bring:

  • Flashlight (covered with a red cloth or red balloon)
  • Binoculars and/or telescope (if you have)
  • Folding chair – one per person`
  • Star chart (if you have one)

Date: Aug. 6

Time: Beginning astronomy class at 7:30 p.m.; observation using binoculars, telescopes and the naked eye will begin shortly after sunset, about 8:30 pm

Location: Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection.

More info:  Call 479-789-5000 or visit http://www.friendsofhobbs.com/

Coffee & Cars

coffee and carsCoffee & Cars in Downtown Springdale will be Aug. 6 from 8a.m. – noon. This family friendly event is FREE and open to the public. Downtown Springdale will be filled with antique cars, muscle cars, show cars, motorcycles, and your favorite classics the first Saturday of the month through October across from the Shiloh Square. You’re invited to bring your own car or motorcycle to register for FREE! Five trophies will be awarded by various community leaders including Mayor Sprouse and the Downtown Springdale Alliance.

Complimentary coffee and pastries will be available from Springdale’s own Pontiac Coffee House while supplies last. The Mill Street Market is just one block over – meaning lots of tasty treats and fantastic shopping.

Date: Aug. 6

Time: 8 a.m. to noon

Location: Downtown Springdale

More info: Click here

Tontitown Grape Festival

FREE parking, FREE admission, FREE entertainment, armband SPECIALS each night, & much more.

grape festival 2016FREE NIGHTLY ENTERTAINMENT schedule:
Tues 8/9 – 7pm: Backroad Anthem, 9pm: Clayton Anderson
Wed 8/10 – 7pm: Eye for a LiE, 9pm: Maren Morris
Thurs 8/11 – 7pm: Kelly Road Band, 9pm: Shenandoah
Fri 8/12 – 7pm: J.R. & The All Stars, 9:30pm: J.R. Moore
Sat 8/13 – 6pm: Kyla Horton Stephens, 7pm: Kevin Upshaw & One Night Stand, 9pm: John Berry

Date: Aug. 9-13

Time: Varies

Location: Tontitown

More info: Click here

Summer Concert Series, BGO

Gates open at 5 and the Garden is free to enter! Bring a picnic and a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy some mid-week entertainment. Featuring The Silvershakers.

Date: Aug. 16

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

More info: Click here

Eureka Springs Bluegrass Festival

Date: Aug. 18-20

Time: Varies

Location: Eureka Springs

More info: Click here

Secchi Day on Beaver Lake

secchi dayThe public is invited to attend the 11th annual Secchi Day on Beaver Lake from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at Prairie Creek on Beaver Lake, five miles east of Rogers, Arkansas, on Hwy. 12. The Science Education Festival includes activities for all ages, with a mobile aquarium, on shore scavenger hunt with prizes, free lunch and ice cream, kayak test rides, microscope activities, a photo contest and more. This event is free. Email awilson@bwdh2o.org. The event is named for the Secchi Disk, a black and white device lowered into the water to measure clarity.

Date: Aug. 20

Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Location: Prairie Creek on Beaver Lake

More info: Click here

Buckin’ in the Ozarks PBR

Date: Aug. 20

Time: 8 p.m.

Location: Parsons Stadium, Springdale

More info: Click here

’80s Night at the Rink

This special 1980′s-themed ice skating session sounds awesome. Dress up in your favorite neon, windbreakers, or poofy hair to introduce your children to what life was like in the 80′s. This is a free ice skating event for member only and their families. Become a member or renew your membership online here http://bit.ly/1Nmq9Vs or by calling 479-756-8090.

Date: Aug. 21

Time: 5-7 p.m.

Location: The Jones Center, Springdale

More info: Click here

Frisco Festival

frisco festival 2016Live music on Friday night and Saturday from 3pm until 11pm. Musicians include: Got It Covered, CalleSoul Salsa, Voxana, The Show and Tellers and Crescent City Combo. Expanded kid zone includes magicians, street performers and games. There will be Southern BMX Stunt Show performing on Saturday, dancing, food and craft vendors and a BBQ contest and chicken cook-off. There are still more surprises planned so stay tuned.

Date: Aug. 26-27

Time: Varies

Location: Downtown Rogers

More info: Click here

Model Railroad Show

Enjoy a model train display in the Annex of the Rogers Historical Museum on the Saturday of Frisco Festival.

Date: Aug. 27

Time: See link below for more info

Location: Rogers Historical Museum

More info: Click here

Dickson Street Slide

slideThis event will have you slip-slidin’ on a water slide spanning Dickson Street from Collier Drug Store to WAC! This benefits Solider On Service Dogs, which will be working with the Dickson Street Merchants Association and the City of Fayetteville, local businesses and nonprofits to provide food, fun, and entertainment.

Date: Aug. 28

Time: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Location: Dickson Street

More info: Click here

The Northwest Arkansas Calendar of Events is sponsored by The Jones Center for Families in Springdale. There’s ALWAYS something fun happening at The Jones Center, plus they have all kinds of classes for adults and kids — and great birthday party options at the indoor swimming pool, gymnastics or ice skating rink! CLICK HERE to visit the Jones Center website to see more!

jones center, small