Outings Under $20: Malco Kids Summer Film Fest starts Tuesday

Malco kids summer film fest 2016

The Malco Kids Summer Film Fest starts on June 7th this year, and it’s a great way to enjoy a theatre movie with the kids without breaking the piggy bank.

All the movies will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in June and July and The Croods will kick everything off this year on June 7th.

Tickets are $2 each for kids and adults (tickets are needed for kids 2 and over).

The Film Festival will be held locally at these theatres:

  • Rogers Towne Cinema (link)
  • Razorback Cinema, Fayetteville (link)

Note: Be sure to arrive early so you can be sure to snag a seat!

Enjoy these fun outings with your kids while keeping more money in your wallet! :)

Guest Post: 5 Practical Ways to Serve a Friend with Cancer

By Marissa Henley, local cancer survivor and author of Loving Your Friend Through Cancer

In a previous post, we discussed three ways to support a friend with cancer. Your friend needs your constant encouragement throughout her cancer journey. She also needs your practical acts of service.

Being diagnosed with cancer is like landing an unexpected full-time job. The work seems unending, and the pay stinks! Your friend probably didn’t have much free time before her diagnosis. Now she’s going to spend half her time in doctors’ waiting rooms and the other half sleeping off the treatment she receives there.

In other words, she needs your help.

Here are some ideas to consider as you serve your friend through her cancer treatment:

1. Text her when you’re headed to the store.

grocery cartLet your friend know when you’re going to the store and ask if she needs groceries or prescriptions. While you’re there, grab toilet paper, paper plates, and paper towels. You know those will get used eventually!

In our local area, we’ve got Walmart grocery pickup, which makes this task even easier. Have your friend place her order online and then pick it up for her. Depending on her physical condition, she may appreciate your help putting the groceries away.

2. Remember that whatever you’re doing at your house probably needs to be done at her house.

When I had cancer, my best friend drove my daughter to mother’s day out. At holiday party time, she signed up and texted me to let me know that she would purchase snacks and deliver them to the party. My daughter didn’t miss out on contributing to the party, and I didn’t have to devote my limited mental energy to it. I was thankful my friend took the initiative to serve me in a way I probably wouldn’t have even though of.

Are you putting away your kids’ winter coats and pulling out their shorts? The Great Seasonal Closet Swap probably needs to happen at your friend’s house, too. Are you buying school supplies? Find out what her kids need. Are you making Pinterest-worthy valentines with your kids? Invite her kids to join you! Your friend will feel appreciate your awareness of these ongoing needs that might not be on her radar right now.

3. Respect your friend’s parenting methods when you care for her kids.

You’re familiar with the concept of grandparent detox, right? Those lovely days after a visit to Grandma’s when your children struggle to remember about rules, vegetables and bedtimes?

Imagine the relearning that will be needed if your friend’s kids experience life as a daily party for several months. It’s natural to want to brighten their day because of all they’re going through. Yes, you should have fun and give them extra hugs. But try to mirror your friend’s parenting methods as much as possible. You’ll be doing your friend and her kids a favor in the long run.

4. Take care of her dirty laundry.

ballerina-sheets-pottery-barnYou can help with her weekly laundry responsibilities by picking up her dirty laundry to take home to your washer, dryer and fantastic folding skills. Don’t forget to ask if she has any ironing that you could take as well.

If you aren’t close enough friends for her to feel comfortable handing you her underwear, another great option is to wash her sheets. Stop by in the morning, strip the beds, and take the sheets home to wash. Make sure to remake the beds using spare sheets or return with her clean sheets before bedtime to finish the job.

5. Don’t forget the burden her husband is carrying.

When a woman is sick, most of the support tends to come her way. But her husband is also suffering. He is probably shouldering a heavier burden in their home, and he may be under increased financial and emotional pressure.

How can you lighten his load? Consider taking their cars for oil changes, sending your teen over to pull weeds, or pooling money with friends to hire a lawn care service for the summer. If they have small children, he might appreciate a night out with the guys while you help with bedtime for the kids.

These five ideas are a great starting place, but I hope you will also consider your friend’s unique needs. What challenges does she face as a result of her treatment plan or her children’s routines? Spend time considering how you can serve, make a specific offer of help, and keep offering your service for as long as its needed.

Marissa Henley headshotMore about Marissa: Marissa Henley, author of Loving Your Friend Through Cancer, is a follower of Christ, wife, mom, and cancer survivor who writes about faith, friendship, and cancer at www.marissahenley.com. Most days, you’ll find her drinking a latte while shuttling her three kids around in a minivan, wondering if the dog will ever learn to stay and if she’ll ever love cooking as much as her husband loves eating.

The Little Free Pantry: A Q&A with the founding mama from Fayetteville


Have you heard about The Little Free Pantry that Jessica McClard started in Fayetteville recently? There’s been a huge buzz around her great idea.

We wanted to get the scoop on Jessica and how her LFP pantry movement is already growing across Northwest Arkansas.

Here’s a Q&A with Jessica about her big idea:

What exactly is the Little Free Pantry?

The Little Free Pantry applies the Little Free Library concept to help neighbors address local food insecurity, which is just a fancy way to say I built what looks exactly like a Little Free Library and put food in it!

The Little Free Pantry is “crowdfunded;” those who donate contribute nonperishable items of their choosing, placing items directly inside the pantry. The pantry contents then become available to anyone.

Where did the idea come from?

I am both an avid runner and reader. When neighbors placed a Little Free Library in their yard, I’d swing by on runs and browse the shelves. Even though the Little Free Library concept encourages users to “take a book, leave a book,” I always felt I could take without giving back—that the spirit of the Little Free Library was about neighbors promoting an activity which makes life better for so many, including me!

As Little Free Libraries were popping up all over Fayetteville last summer, I began to wonder if that compelling idea could address other quality-of-life issues, and the Little Free Pantry was born.

Jessica McClard

Jessica and her dog, Baron

While there are other similar projects (mini-fridges, etc.), a couple of which I’ve linked in The Little Free Pantry Facebook page, the Little Free Pantry is my original idea.

Where is it located?

The LFP is located at the Rolling Hills entrance to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, street address 2925 N Old Missouri Rd, Fayetteville, AR, 72703.

Can people in the community help you stock it?


The first day “live,” so many generous people indicated desire to help support the project, I was concerned about space under the pantry becoming a collection point; however, need has far outpaced supply.

Are you encouraging other people to start their own free-standing pantries?

YES! A single Little Free Pantry is “little.” Lots could be BIG, becoming another tactic to address food insecurity in our neighborhoods, communities, cities…

Are any other pantries currently being built?

I know of plans for at least two other LFPs locally and one in Northeast Arkansas. Multiple individuals and groups interested in and with questions about duplicating the project contact me daily.

What’s your background? Have you always had an interest in helping people in your community?

I grew up in a rural community in Northeast Arkansas called Weiner (I’ve heard all the jokes!). Residents there regularly organize to help one another, and I think my sense of “community” as “helping people” at a very local level was cultivated there. Also, having a strong sense of justice from an early age, I nearly always favor the underdog.

Professionally, I’ve been a teacher, a law student, a full-time mom, a nurse, and a financial associate. That they are all helping professions is the common thread.

I am so grateful and excited to have ended up at Thrivent Financial. Thrivent is a membership organization of Christians that helps members be wise with money so they can be generous, benefitting families and communities; we say we “help people do well so they can turn around and do good.”

Outside of work, I am active in Womenade NWA, a women’s giving circle focused primarily on helping local women and children. I am also church council president of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fayetteville.

What has been the public’s response to LFP?

Humbling in a way that rekindles my faith and hope for a more neighborly and caring world! I posted the project to Facebook last Thursday.

In five days my page posts have reached 459,351 people, and the first fully stocked pantry photo has been shared almost 3000 times. Though the occasional skeptic presents—“That’ll be vandalized,” or “Someone who doesn’t need it will take it all,”—the overwhelming majority is not just supportive but moved to action by the concept.

Public response to the LFP supports the idea that just as people need food to thrive, people need to serve. The Little Free Pantry is a physical meeting place for both these needs.

CLICK HERE to visit The Little Pantry Facebook page and keep up with all the good news.

Guest Post: Three easy ways to support your friend diagnosed with cancer

By Marissa Henley, local cancer survivor and author of Loving Your Friend Through Cancer

Has this happened to you? Your phone buzzes, and you look down to see a call from a friend who’s expecting biopsy results.

The minute you hear her voice, you know: it’s cancer.

As you process your shock, sadness and fear, you wonder how you should walk this road with your friend. How will you support her as she endures treatment and survivorship? How will you avoid doing or saying the wrong thing? What does she need most?

loving your friend through cancer, marissa henleyI’ve gotten that phone call from a friend. I’ve also been the tearful voice on the other end of the line. In October 2010, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called angiosarcoma.

I endured several months of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, most of which took place at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. My besties kept my household running, meals showed up three times a week, and the prayers of thousands encouraged and sustained me.

I wish every cancer-fighter could feel as loved and supported as I was. But too often, friends lack confidence and hesitate to reach out with supportive words and actions. If you haven’t already had a friend face cancer, it’s likely you will.

When that phone call comes, here are three simple ways to love your friend through cancer:

1. Don’t just “like” her updates—leave a comment.

Does your friend post online updates to a blog or social media site? You could “like” her post (and please do!), but she won’t be certain you actually read it. Commenting on her updates is a simple way to show support and doesn’t require her to respond.

Writing a comment can feel risky if you don’t know what to say. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Short comments are fine!
  • Keep your comments about her, not about you. This isn’t the time to tell her how upset you are about her illness.
  • Acknowledge what’s happening: “I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been feeling sick lately!”
  • Let her know you care: “I’m praying for you and your family.”

2. Make specific offers of help and let her tell you “no.”

Your friend with cancer will hear this over and over again: “Let me know how I can help!” She knows many of these offers come from a sincere desire to serve; others are flippant words spoken by someone who doesn’t know what else to say.

You can prove your sincerity by making your offer as specific as possible. Think about where your lives intersect and how you can help.

  • Do you drive by her child’s preschool on your way to work? Are your kids on the same soccer team? You could offer to give her child a ride.
  • Do you have a specific pocket of free time each week when you could commit to serving her? Ask what she needs during that time—offer to clean her house or take her to run errands if she’s unable to drive.
  • Are you a terrible cook with terrific technological skills? Offer to set up a master meal calendar and then sign yourself up to bring her take-out!

Once you’ve made your offer, let her tell you “no.” She may not be ready to accept help. She may be clinging to as much normalcy as possible, for herself or for her kids. If she turns you down, tell her you’ll check in with her again in a few weeks to see if things have changed. Make a note to follow up later with another specific offer.

3. Let her know you’re with her for the long haul. 

After my diagnosis, I kept apologizing to my friends. The next several months would be difficult for them, and I hated that reality.

One of my friends finally sat me down and said: “Marissa, you say this is an assignment from the Lord. Well, He didn’t give this assignment only to you. He gave it to us as well.”

Because of her comment and many others, I knew my friends were with me for the long haul, no matter what. I didn’t have to worry that when the newness of my crisis wore off, they would move on.

You can love your friend through cancer by repeatedly letting her know you’re with her. Text her and say, “You’re not alone in this! I’m praying for you.” Let her know you’re by her side for as long as she needs you. Even if her treatment is brief, she will need emotional support as a survivor, too.

Your friend needs your compassionate support. Show her your concern by responding to her updates. Make specific offers and act on them if she accepts. And be a friend she can rely on for as long as it takes.

Marissa Henley headshotMore about Marissa: Marissa Henley, author of Loving Your Friend Through Cancer, is a follower of Christ, wife, mom, and cancer survivor who writes about faith, friendship, and cancer at www.marissahenley.com. Most days, you’ll find her drinking a latte while shuttling her three kids around in a minivan, wondering if the dog will ever learn to stay and if she’ll ever love cooking as much as her husband loves eating.


Looking for something? We’ve updated our Moms’ Business Directory!

biz directory mastheadA few years after we launched nwaMotherlode.com, we started to get lots of emails from moms who were on the hunt for a certain kind of business. Some of the moms were new to the area and learning their way around. Some had been here forever but were new to motherhood. All of them wanted to find out about solid, mom-friendly companies that could help them out with what they needed — everything from bakeries to veterinarians.

We answered all these emails with our best recommendations, and then we decided that the best way to help out would be to put together a searchable database so moms would have an easy way to find local companies, organized by category. The result? The Moms’ Business Directory.

We know you’ve seen directories before. What makes this one different is that we include ALL of the local businesses we can find in each category, and we give you their name, address and phone number so it’s easy for mamabizdirectoryyou to contact them. (Many directories won’t include info about a company unless they pay for it.) But we wanted local moms to have as much info as possible, regardless of the company’s ability to pay.

You’ll notice that some of the listings in the directory have more info than others. (For example, some listings include reviews by local parents. They’ll also give you a short description of what that company offers as well as a link to the company website.) Companies who want you to have as much info as possible pay a little extra for these expanded or premium listings. (If you own or manage one of the companies in our directory and want to make your listing more comprehensive and “clickable,” just email us and we’ll give you info on how to do it.)

Below is a screen shot of one of the pages in the Moms’ Business Directory. Remember you can always find a quick link to the directory on the top-right corner of our homepage. Just click it and then begin a search by category and/or city. It’s easy to use and it’s completely mobile-friendly.

NOTE: We’ve spent the past several months updating the Moms’ Business Directory to ensure that the information is as accurate as possible. We’ve added new businesses, deleted closed ones and changed addresses for companies that have moved recently. As you can imagine, keeping a database of this size updated is an ongoing challenge, so if you see something that needs to be revised, we’d love it if you’d shoot us an email to let us know. If there’s a category that you’d like us to add, send us a note about that, too.

We hope you’ll love the new and improved Moms’ Business Directory and use it often to get connected to local companies. (Tell new moms about it, too!) Check it out by clicking HERE and let us know what you think!!

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