Fall classes start next week at Nerdies — and Arties!

The new Northwest Arkansas start-up, Nerdies, had a GREAT summer.

And so did all the kids and teenagers who attended their summer sessions.

The Nerdies summer school registrations were off the charts, the founders built a new gaming center for birthday parties and corporate events and they also started a new company for kids who may have a different bent called Arties.

The new studio is a thing of beauty for gamers (it has an adjoining “chill room” where you can have the birthday cake or other food/drinks. Cool.):

nerdies gaming studio

This news just happened this week: Nerdies Founder Head Nerd, Brad Harvey, was named one of the “Visionary Arkansans” of 2014 by the Arkansas Times.

In the most recent August 28th Issue, The Arkansas Times chose 25 people from across the state of Arkansas whose vision and leadership in their respective areas makes Arkansas a better place to live.

Click  here to what Brad had to say about Nerdies in the Times article. We loved this quote:

Head Nerd, Brad Harvey

Head Nerd, Brad Harvey

“The big deal is that we’ve just gotta go do,” Harvey said. “The learning is secondary to the doing. If we’re going to build this, write this, shoot this, the learning has to occur. But we’re very much outcome-focused. … By the time they’re 18 and they’re applying for jobs, they can say, ‘I’ve already shot 12 films.’”

Fall classes at Nerdies start next week, so be sure to check out the awesome sessions to see which ones would be a good fit for your kiddo. Nerdies and Arties will offer some of the same awesome classes they had over the summer, but are adding some new ones, too.

Classes for the fall include: Minecraft World Building, Web Design, Mods for Minecraft, Comic Book, Photography & Editing. Click here for all the fall classes at Nerdies.

There’s also some good news for adults! Starting next month, Nerdies and Arties will offer some classes just for grown-ups, like how to set up and run your own blog! You know the Motherlode mamas love that topic :)

Here’s a full list of kid and teen classes Nerdies and Arties will offer for fall:

nerdies and arties fall lineup

Click here to see the entire list of Arties classes.

comics comic

Abrakadoodle offers new art classes, including Pint-Sized Picassos

abrakadoodle

Since Joy Davis and her mom, Cora, started Abrakadoodle in Northwest Arkansas, they’ve been spreading the joy of art all around the region.

They’ve helped kids create at First Thursday in Fayetteville, at First Friday in Bentonville, at summer camps at Fast Lane Entertainment and other local businesses/non-profits. Now that school is back in session, it’s time for a new format.

Abrakadoodle classes are great for schools, after-school kids, homeschooled kids and pre-k kids. This fall they’re offering The Abrakadoodle Express: 50-minute art lessons for a special fee. They specialize in art education for kids ages 2-12. Abrakadoodle also offer classes for adults. That could be FUN with the right group of girls! Joy and Cora bring the party to you.

Joy said they just started Pint-Sized Picasso Play Dates for Pre-K kids — or just plain Picasso Play Dates for older kids. Abrakadoodle can bring out the supplies on Saturday or after school. They also offer private lessons in homes or can meet in a public space like a library.

Here’s some of the art from a recent Picasso Play Date themed “Animal Doodles”:

animal doodles

Oh and we can’t forget that they can provide everything you need for an Arty Birthday Party. As artists, you can bet the face painting is AWESOME.

eventsAbrakadoodle Art Classes for kids are all about creativity. Kids use their imaginations while using a wide variety of materials, such as paints, wire, clays and more.  They explore artists, techniques, world cultures and more.

They offer a wide variety of art classes for kids of these age groups:

  • Toddler Art Classes called Twoosy Doodlers (ages 20 months – 3)
  • Preschool Art Classes called Mini Doodlers (ages 3-5)
  • Elementary School Art Classes called Doodlers (ages 6 and up)

Give Joy a call at 479-856-6651 to find out about options for your kids.

Click here to check out the Abrakadoodle website and click here to connect with them on Facebook.

Be sure to tell Joy that you heard about Abrakadoodle of NWA here on Motherlode!

Giveaway: Show us your favorite back to school pics for a chance to win concert tickets/dinner!

 

John Lleyton on a rockFor lots of Northwest Arkansas kids, today’s the day!

The first day back at school!

That means moms will either be boo-hooing or woo-hooing (or possibly a little bit of both).

Angela's boysBut you can bet all mamas will be snapping a few photos before the kids head off for their first day back at school. So since we know you have those cute snapshots on your smartphone, Facebook wall or camera memory, we want to show them off here on nwaMotherlode.com, too!

These can be homeschooled kids, private/public school kids or even your big college kid!

The giveaway part: We’ll choose one back-to-school photo at random and that mama will win two tickets to see Foreigner in concert at The Amp plus dinner at P.F. Chang’s!

Foreigner will be at The Amp on Aug. 29. Click here for tickets if you don’t want to risk missing out on the show.

Foreigner is universally hailed as one of the most popular rock acts in the world with ten multiplatinum albums and 16 Top 30 hits. Founded in 1976, the band is comprised of Mick Jones, Kelly Hansen, Jeff Pilson and Tom Gimbel.

Their debut album propelled the group onto the music scene and featured hits such as “Feels Like The First Time” and “Cold As Ice.” In 2013, Jones was inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the band released Juke Box Heroes, a new compilation of digitally recorded Foreigner hits. The band continues to produce sold out tours and album sales, now exceeding 75 million.

We absolutely LOVE P.F. Chang’s and always order the Crispy Green Beans. Or lettuce wraps. Sometimes we order both :) Look at this deliciousness:

pf food

Don’t have kids in school yet? No worries. We’ve got a way for all you mamas of babies and toddlers to get in on the giveaway action. Older kids learn in school, but babies and toddlers are very busy learners, too — especially when they’re playing! So if your kid is not quite school age yet, send us a favorite snapshot of him or her hard at play. (Playing in your kitchen cabinets? Learning to snack on Cheerios? Discovering the joys of petting the family dog? Send us any shot you like best.)

HOW TO ENTER: If you’d love to win the Foreigner concert tickets + dinner at P.F. Chang’s, just send your back-to-school snapshots (or babies at play snapshots) to gwen@nwaMotherlode.com or you can post them on our Facebook page by clicking HERE. You can also enter by simply clicking the words “leave a comment” below and tell us what your favorite Foreigner song is or your favorite back-to-school moment.

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR ODDS: To increase your odds of winning this great giveaway, email your friends and family to let them know about it. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your note so we can give you proper credit.

4th grader printableBE SOCIAL: Spread the word via social media and we’ll give you extra chances as well. Just share the giveaway with your friends on Facebook (click here to go see the post on our Facebook page and share from there) or share about the giveaway on Twitter to increase your odds of winning. If you do either of these things, just let us know in a posted comment or send us an email so we can give you proper credit.

Good luck in this week’s giveaway! We’re looking forward to seeing your snapshots. Thanks to the local mamas who shared these cute back-to-school pictures with us. We hope your kids have a GREAT first day of school.

Fasting from TV this summer: Why you’ll be glad you did

tv fast

By Shannon Magsam, nwaMotherlode.com co-founder

The summer I turned 17, I traveled across the United States (and Bermuda – hard job!) in a huge tour bus with a Christian group called the Continental Singers.

I was one of the youngest among the group of singers, guitarists, drummers and sound techs. We were often in a different city every night and stayed with host families from the churches where we performed, everywhere from Florida to Texas.

When I returned home just before my senior year in high school, I realized I hadn’t watched television – or seen a movie (nobody had Facebook back then) – the whole summer. And then I realized I hadn’t missed it one little bit.

My family recently went on vacation and about mid-way through I mentioned (with a little surprise) to my husband that we hadn’t watched television in our hotel room at all. He told me he had consciously not turned it on. We decided we’d continue to literally unplug for the remainder of our trip.

It turned out to be an awesome idea.

Want to join us one week this summer in a TV fast? Here’s why you’ll be glad you did:

Top 5 reasons to unplug (so you can plug in to your family – and yourself. Remember you?)

You’ll be more connected. Without the television’s numbing qualities, you’ll naturally talk more to your family — and get to know each other better. You’ll think of deeper things to ask besides, “How was your day?” and “What do you want for dinner?” You might even ask your husband or kids something like, “What’s making you happy lately?” or “What’s making you unhappy?”

paint brushYou’ll be more creative. Chances are, with the extra time you would normally spend sitting on the couch, passive, you might realize you can work on a project you’ve been hoping to tackle. My daughter drew in her sketchbook a lot while we were in Florida and I wrote down ideas for future blog posts (and jotted down a few ideas for a novel I’d love to write). Getting reacquainted with out our creative genius is grounding and finishing a project can be really rewarding (painting project done, craft with the kids completed, clean garage shining, organized office beckoning).

You’ll be less stressed. Have you ever heard of second-hand stress? It’s a real thing. If you sit next to someone at work who’s a stress ball, you’ll start to internalize it and feel anxiety, too. And like second-hand cigarette smoke, that stuff can kill you. I get stressed while watching TV shows, too. I’m naturally empathetic and if there’s an emotional or violent scene, I’m right there with the wronged party. I can literally feel my blood pressure rise and I often pace the living room when certain scenes fill the screen. And while you’re fasting from television, why not also take a break from the Internet (social media, that is; I know some of you have to use a computer at work). Research shows that as time spent on reading Facebook increases, for example, the more a person’s happiness decreases. Social comparisons are not your friend.

You’ll be a better parent. How many times do you shoo your kids out of the room when you’re watching a TV show that’s not really age appropriate for them? I’m picky about what my daughter sees and it seems like she happens to walk through every time something inappropriate pops up on, say, The Big Bang Theory. There will be 10 full minutes that are completely fine for her to watch, then watch out: a zinger. Or heck, the commercials can make me cringe more these days than some of the TV shows. The other day we were all watching some completely innocuous TV show and the commercial for the movie “Sex Tape” came on. It was horrifying for me and my daughter.

You’ll have more s*x. When you’re not sitting like a zombie in front of the TV, you’ll have more time for lots of activities, including some that involve your husband. S*x is healthy. It strengthens your relationship, it naturally boosts your mood, and it burns calories.

#winning.

Now, I won’t lie: The night we got home from vacation, we grabbed our favorite snacks and sat rapt in front of the boob tube. And it was glorious. It was nice to zone out and travel to another world (this one filled with Starks and thrones and back-stabbing, oh my!).

But the TV fast was so successful that our family will be doing it again this summer.

shan, blue dress, circleWant to join us? Let me know in comments if you’re willing to take the plunge — or if you’ve lived through a TV fast in the past.

Advice from moms to moms-to-be

baby shower, advice

For a recent giveaway, we asked Northwest Arkansas moms if they’d share some advice they wished someone had given them before their first baby was born.

Below a list of the advice, wish is so, so good. (So good that Shannon printed it out, added a little ribbon and gave it to a mom-to-be at a recent baby shower):

Q: What advice do you wish someone had given you when you were about to have your first baby?

Renee: Heating the crib a little with a heating pad before you put baby in will often keep a warm sleeping baby from waking up, and keep a blow dryer by the changing table, if you dry their little bottoms when you change them it will help prevent diaper rash.

Stacye: Don’t let anyone make you feel like a bad mother (relatives especially) and remember, this is YOUR baby, not theirs.

Lisa: Always have a bottle of water in your diaper bag, you never know when you will need it!!!!

Jan: Sleep when the baby sleeps!

Holly: You and your partner should agree on the way you will parent. The fact that both of us wanted a parent-led environment, wanted to keep her on a routine and neither of us wanted to co-sleep meant we had a super easy time adjusting to having a baby. We were married 13 years before getting pregnant and it wasn’t a difficult adjustment for us.

Stacey: If possible, have your husband or someone else stay with you for longer than 2 days once you get home from the hospital.

Desiree: Every parent is different just because one does it in a certain way doesn’t mean you have to do it that way…. Also, you will learn the different cries as time goes by.

Velva: Best advice I ever got was to hang a shirt you had worn that day over the edge of the crib. Baby thinks you’re nearby and sleeps longer. Worked like a charm on our twins.

Cori: It’s okay for the baby to cry! Put them in a safe spot and take a breather.

Lindsay: I wish someone had told me how little of sleep I was going to get. I was mad that my relatives didn’t warn me!

Abby: Listen to your instincts. Even though this is your first child, you know best.

Jordan: Don’t mess with sleepers with snaps or buttons, stick with gowns or zip sleepers ONLY!

Jamie: Babies sense stress! If you’re stressed or nervous, your baby may easily get upset. Just relax, breathe, & think “everything is gonna be alright!” Also, you can read all the parenting books in the world but nothing prepares you more until once that baby is in your arms! Go with your gut & instinct!

Brandy: First-time moms tend to get quite a bit of help in the beginning from family, church, friends, etc with all kinds of things (food, cleaning…) and when that ends it can be overwhelming at times. It’s okay to ask for help when you feel overwhelmed!! I wish I had known, people are willing to help!

Sandra: I wish someone would have told me that the baby stage goes so fast…. to enjoy the middle of the night feedings when all is quiet and seems perfect. There will be time to catch up on sleep later… just enjoy all the sweet embracing.

Christie: A lot of people will give you advice, but always go with your gut feeling and what your pediatrician says!

Carolyn: Chill out.

Shannon: Buy lots of Mylicon. You will need it! Oh, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re going to “spoil” your baby by picking him up too much. It will help him grow up to be a secure person :)

What advice would you give a mom-to-be?

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