Tropical Smoothie gift cards come with a bonus. Yum!

gift cardSome people are hard to buy for, but we haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t like food and a fun drink. One of our website sponsors, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, is making gift cards a lot more fun this year by giving you a holiday bonus. When you buy a $25 gift card, you get a free smoothie! (And it’s a big 24-ounce smoothie. You’ll get one free smoothie for each $25 gift card you buy.)

So that’s a little something for your gift recipient and a little something for you, too. Everybody wins.

People who are new to Tropical Smoothie Cafe are always pleasantly surprised when they find out how amazing the food is there. Here are some of the popular dishes being served up this season at Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

Island Buffalo Sandwich: It comes with FRANK’S RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce and features grilled chicken, mozzarella and gorgonzola cheese, tangy, house-made slaw tossed in a citrus dressing and covered with buffalo cheese spread, served on freshly toasted brioche bread.

Moho Mojo Chicken Club: It’s served with bacon, avocado, zesty mojo sauce, and topped with a signature slaw. It’s a full-flavored sandwich served on freshly toasted brioche bread.

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If you’re in the mood for one of their famous smoothies, there are a few new holiday choices you won’t want to miss.

Feeling naughty? Try the Blueberry Pom Truffle Smoothie featuring Ghiradelli White Chocolate. (Did someone say white chocolate? Yes, sign me up for “naughty.”)

Feeling nice? Try the Blueberry Bliss Smoothie made with blueberries, strawberries and bananas. (This one has plenty of antioxidants and it’s tasty, too.)

blueberry pom truffle and blueberry bliss naughty niceGiving Back: We’re so proud to be promoting a company like Tropical Smoothie Cafe because they stay focused on things that truly matter. Every summer in June, they host National Flip Flop Day which raises money for a non-profit organization called Camp Sunshine. Camp Sunshine is a camp specifically for families who have a child dealing with a life-threatening illness.

quarter1During the holidays (Dec. 1st to Dec. 27th), Tropical Smoothie is inviting its customers to donate just one quarter (25 cents) to Camp Sunshine during each visit. While that one quarter doesn’t sound like much, the coins definitely add up to huge benefits for the camp when you consider how many people visit Tropical Smoothie Cafes. For example, 200 quarters provides a DJ Masquerade Night for kids at camp. And 2,000 quarters will provide a horse-drawn carriage and sleigh rides for a night.

We hope you’ll join us by visiting Tropical Smoothie Cafe often during December and help those quarters add up to new joy for the families visiting Camp Sunshine. It’s an easy (and delicious) way for you and your kids to do something for others during the holidays. You can find a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers.

trop smoothie camp sunshine

Farmland Adventures Winter Attractions Now Open

Farmland adventures, Christmas treesIf you and your kids had a blast picking out a pumpkin or playing at Farmland Adventures in October, we’ve got fun news to share. This year Farmland Adventures is offering Winter Attractions for families, AND they’ll be selling Christmas trees! They are open TODAY (Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) now open signand will be open each Friday and Saturday from now until December 19th.

If your family always puts up “the real deal” kind of Christmas tree, now you can make selecting your tree a family event that will be a lot of fun for the kids and awesome for family snapshots, too. This could be a special new “getting the Christmas tree” family tradition that you begin this year.

In addition to pre-cut Christmas trees for sale, Farmland will also have the play area available, wagon rides, pony rides, a small petting farm and pedal karts. If you don’t need a live Christmas tree, you can still take the kids to Farmland Adventures to play and to get some great photos of them enjoying winter fun on the farm.

Hours of operation will be:

FRIDAYS: November 27th through December 19th on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

SATURDAYS: November 28th through December 19th on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Admission info: $8 per person; FREE for kids 2 years old or under; Groups of 20 or more people pay $7 per person.

Here’s a run-down of all you’ll find during the holiday season at Farmland Adventures:

Christmas trees: Please note that you do NOT have to pay admission if you only want to purchase a Christmas tree. They are pre-cut and priced individually.

Wagon rides: Ride around the beautiful farm in a wagon pulled by a tractor. The ride takes about 15 minutes and that crisp winter air will feel great while you’re bundled up in the wagon with your little ones. There is NO extra charge for wagon rides because they’re included in the price of adPony Ridesmission to Farmland. (Remember, the wagon rides close at dark so go early!)

Pony rides: Farmland ponies are so popular with kids! Most children love to ride them but, if your kids are a little hesitant, bring them by so they can simply pet the ponies. Pony rides are also included with farm admission. Kids must be under 100 pounds and 4 feet tall.

Petting farm: Kids are fascinated to see the farm animals up close, especially when they can touch and sometimes feed them. Not all of the animals are available for viewing during winter, but there will be plenty to see in the small petting farm.

pedal kartsPedal Karts: If your kid was born to ride, he or she is going to LOVE the Pedal Karts and the racetrack at Farmland. They’re kid-powered (not electric) and they have four wheels. (There are two sizes — one for little kids and a bigger size for kids age 7 and up. Even moms and dads can get in on the racing action.

Play area: The play area at Farmland is designed just for younger kids. The Straw Bale Maze, Hay Bale Pyramid, and Corn Box will keep kids entertained and occupied. Let them play, climb, dig and jump around all they want.

Cozy campfire: Take a break from the fun winter activities and warm up by the fire!

DIRECTIONS: Click HERE to get specific directions on how to find Farmland Adventures. The farm is located at 5350 Parsons Road in Springdale.

For questions, call them at 479-799-5033.

We know how much fun our families and others have at Farmland Adventures during the Halloween season, so we were thrilled to hear that the fun is being extended this year with these new Winter Attractions. Hope you guys have a blast on the farm! We’d love to see your photos so tag us on Facebook!

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Sponsor spotlight: The Grove Bar & Grill

Happy Friday, mamas! One of our favorite things to do on the weekend is go out to eat and let someone else do the cooking AND the clean-up. A favorite new spot of ours in Rogers is called The Grove and you’ll find it Grove ad 2015 finaljust off the Pleasant Grove Road exit from I-49, in the Pleasant Crossing plaza in front of the Walmart Supercenter.

It’s a locally-owned and operated restaurant, and the food is GREAT. (You must try the fresh guacamole, and the chicken corn chowder is also amazing.) We recently interviewed one of the owners, Dave Bass, to get the backstory on what led to the birth of this new business, and his answers are below.

NOTE: The Grove has a Kids Eat Free policy all day every day. (And did we mention the free tablets they let kids play games on while you finish your meal? Yep. That’s genius.) And if you’re looking for a fun place to watch the Razorbacks play this weekend, this is the spot. There are tons of TVs and the atmosphere is family-friendly and lots of fun.

What was the inspiration behind opening The Grove restaurant? Have you always been a foodie?

grove exterior225Yes, I have always been a foodie. Some people eat for fuel where as I eat for the taste! When I decided I wanted to open a restaurant, I knew I wanted the food to be superb. I wanted to do an American Bar/Grill, if you will.

When my wife and I travel, we always try out the best restaurants we can find, according to Google and friends recommendations. It’s one of our favorite things to do.

We love the Razorback influence on The Grove’s interior design. How long have you been in Northwest Arkansas and what are some of your favorite things about living here?

I have lived all over the state of Arkansas and have been in NWA since about 1997. My favorite things about the area are the beautiful scenery, the people and Razorback football, of course!

What are your favorite three things on the menu right now and why?

grove burger190Tuna Tostada – It’s a good, light appetizer and pretty new to the menu.

Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger – I love a great burger, and we’ve worked hard to perfect ours.

Salmon al Rancho – Fish is also a favorite of mine. I like to eat healthy now and again.

You offer a Kids Eat Free (all day every day) policy. Why do you feel that it’s an important thing to do for local families?

We know that every dollar counts for a family and want them to be able to come out and enjoy a great family atmosphere dining experience and not have to worry that the bill will be astronomical.

What has surprised you most about the process of launching a new restaurant?

Everyone has different tastes and thinks differently of each item we have on the menu. It’s challenging and keeps us on our toes to be the best at what we offer and to find new items to add to the menu. At the end of the day, it’s rewarding.

Restaurants are often part of special occasions like birthdays, anniversary dinners, celebrations, Razorback game-watching parties, etc. Tell us about one of the special moments you’ve witnessed in the restaurant and what it’s like to be a part of family/community life in NWA.

grove cocktail180We had an office party for JB Hunt of about 40 people who got together in the bar area. They had a great time mingling and watching sports on the big screen. It was nice to see a big group enjoy it, and it makes all the hard work pay off.

Razorback games are also a hit. We have people come in and watch on the big screens, and we have drink specials along with a wing special, too! The game plays over the speakers so the whole restaurant can really get into it. It’s always a good time.

What do you wish more local women and moms knew about The Grove?

grove nabi190The Grove is not just a bar. Yes, we wanted to do the American Grill/Bar, but we are very family-friendly. We do not just serve “bar food” either. We strive to have the best quality food and at a good price, too.

Kids Eat Free all day, everyday and we even have tablets called Nabi’s for kids to play on while they’re here. (The tablets have educational games downloaded on them.) They’ve been a huge hit and they allow adults to relax and enjoy their meal.

Our thanks to the owners of The Grove for answering our questions and for sponsoring one of the most popular pages on the website, the Northwest Arkansas Kids Eat Free List. Hope you have a great weekend. We leave you with a few more mouth-watering photos from The Grove. Go Hogs!

grove collage

Sponsor Spotlight: Brand new Northwest Arkansas play center, Imagine Adventureworld, is open!

seating, cottage

Northwest Arkansas has a new play center and it is AWESOME.

Imagine – A Child’s Aventureworld is across from James at the Mill at 3801 Johnson Mill Boulevard (in Johnson!). The play center, one of our newest nwaMotherlode sponsors, is individually owned and created.

We asked the owners of the play center, a husband/wife team, to tell us a little more about Imagine in a quick Q&A:

Q: What inspired you to start this new play center?

trainMy wife and I have 2 kids of our own, 5 and 3. With our kids, we focus on creativity and imagination when it comes to playing. We want their play time to be an opportunity to invent, to problem solve, and learn to enjoy life.

With this criteria in mind, we observed them playing and took note of what types of toys, interactions, scenarios, and settings helped them do this, and then we started creating Imagine.

We found that many toys would draw their attention for a short period of time but it was the wooden, role-playing type toys that really kept their attention, and this became the focus and the design.

Q: What can parents expect when they bring their children to play there?

Imagine is set up with a center seating, which is surrounded by multiple themed areas.

The walls are all half walls so visibility is open throughout the whole facility. There is a train area which houses a large scale wooden train that the children can enter into and play on, two large built and secured down train tables, and a large mat area where kids have everything available to construct their own train sets.

Next is a child’s size cottage with wooden refrigerators, ovens, mixing bowls, wooden food, table, tea sets, strollers, dolls, and high chairs. Each area is a similar concept and include: gardens, construction zone, race tracks, drawing areas, fire station, vet clinic, market, ride on area, and even a cruisers and crawlers area.

imagine collage1

Q: How much does it cost? Do you have monthly passes?

Yes, we have several options. The pricing system is as follows: $4 for adults, $4/hr for children (15mins = $1 with a 1 hour minimum), children under 1 are free, you pay when you leave.

$35 for monthly passes (includes 1 child and 1 adult)

$25 for any additional child

Annual pass $150 (for 1 child and 1 adult)

Q: So far, what do the kids seem to gravitate to the most at Imagine?

So far kids seem to gravitate most to the cottage and the town (which is where the ride-ons, forestation, market, and vet clinic are).


Q: We love that you have healthy snacks available for purchase since parents don’t always have something with them! What types of snacks do you have?

snacksSnacks include; veggie and fruit packs, applesauce packs, skinny pop popcorn, annie’s crackers, and dried apple slices. We also have water and organic juice boxes for sale too.

Q: And parents can also purchase toys there?

Yes, we also have a small retail section where we sell the toys found in the play center. The 2 companies we used to fill the stations are Hape and Melissa & Doug.

Q: You have birthday party options, right?

Yes, we have birthday party options! The pricing is based on the number of kids. $200 for 10 kids (not including birthday child), $250 for 15 kids, and $350 for an after hours party or renting of the whole location. The $200 and $250 options will get 45 mins access to the private party room and 75 minutes of play time. The $350 option is a renting of the whole facility and can only be done after 5 pm during the week or on Saturdays.

Note from the mamas: Imagine  just started a special that allows anyone who books a birthday during the month of November to receive $50 off. The birthday doesn’t have to be in November, just booked by the end of November.

Q: What kind of feedback have you heard from parents since opening Imagine on Oct. 10th?

The feedback has been great. The parents love the setup that allows them to let their kids play and still feel safe to sit and interact with other adults.

Many have said they like how calm it is. Others have commented on how easy it makes it for them to interact more with their children and play with them. While others have really raved about the wooden toys and clean environment. Most everyone has thanked us for opening up, saying that Fayetteville really needed something like Imagine.

Note from the mamas: We found some insightful reviews written by Northwest Arkansas moms on the play center’s Google Maps page. Here are a few:

Katie: My children are 5.5 and almost 4 years old and love playing here. The variety and quality of toys is wonderful and the different section they have to play is perfect for all ages under 8. They have a vet, house with play kitchen, art supplies, market to grocery shop, train and car section, Legos and more. There is even a section reserved for babies. There are large picnic tables set up in the middle for snack time or for parents!”

Tiffany: This is a clean and safe place for kiddos to play. Great for rainy or cold days! And it really encourages imaginative play. I love having a place to take my daughter that doesn’t involve any screen time!”

Sarah: We love taking our daughter! We go weekly!!”

Dana: This place is amazing and just what we needed for this area!”

Tiffanie: “My two boys (ages 8 and 5) and I love visiting Imagine. The layout is appealing to kids and adults, and the toys are so cute that I was even drawn into the play! The first thing my son said as we left was, ‘Can we come here every day?’”

Q: What about feedback from the KIDS?! :)

child playing, croppedThe truth is, our kids helped us design a lot of the location and pick out a lot of the toys so the first approval we ever got was theirs. That being said, most kids don’t want to leave. Almost all the kids ask us if they can come back when they are putting their shoes back on.

A couple other things to note: We are a no shoes facility which goes for adults as well. We always have socks for any adult or child who needs some though, which we let them borrow.

We are also very concerned with sanitation and have all kids wash their hands before starting play for which we have a hand washing station. We also have a cleaning and sanitation system for the toys in the facility.

To visit their Facebook page, CLICK HERE. If you’d like to visit their website, CLICK HERE. You can also reach them by calling 479-249-8020.

Clearance sale on appliances at Metro

clearance sale 2015Heads up, bargain hunters: There is a serious two-day sale going on at Metro Appliances & More today and tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 15th and Friday, Oct. 16th). If one of your appliances is limping along on its last legs, this might be the best time to scope out a new one at a much lower price than you’d normally see.

This is an “inventory clearance” sale and the discounts are deeper than the store has had in more than 40 years of doing business. And that says a lot because Shannon and I have both shopped there for years and have already seen some very reasonable everyday prices.

The last time Metro had a major sale like this, we mentioned it on social media and one of our nwaMotherlode readers snagged a whole package of appliances and let us know about it on our Instagram page. How cool is that?

metro commentKeep in mind that local deliveries are FREE which should save you even more on the deal. Shopping hours are until 7 p.m. today (Thursday) and from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

Hope you find exactly what you’re looking for while you’re at the sale. And we already know you’ll get awesome customer service while you’re there because that’s one of the many reasons we’ve been partnering with Metro Appliances & More for more than seven years now. These guys know their stuff and they definitely take care of their local mama customers. If you have questions or need directions for how to get to Metro (located at 5700 N. Thompson in Springdale), call them at 479-750-2200.

Happy shopping!