Abrakadoodle offers new art classes, including Pint-Sized Picassos


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.


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?

Review: NWA Mobile Detailing

rav 4

By Shannon Magsam, nwaMotherlode

I was never going to eat in it.

That new car smell would be preserved for months. Years! The pristine mats would never be stained and disgusting. The gear shift would never be covered in goo.

That was the first week I had my new car (a Toyota RAV4, like the one pictured above). During week two, my daughter and I were hustling to an activity where we wouldn’t be able to eat for a while and I caved.

Fast food was eaten in the car and all bets were off after The First Time.

nwa mobile detailingThat was a few years ago and, as a mom, I know you know what it looks like now.  To celebrate the fact that I will pay the car off this month (actually TODAY! TODAY!) I called NWA Mobile Detailing about turning back the clock on my nasty vehicle.

Owner Zack Roller agreed to let me review his services as trade for a deep interior clean. I’ve never had a car detailed, so I thought it would be an interesting experience. Zack is pretty new to the business and has never had his services reviewed by a blogger, so he thought it would be an interesting experience.

The first step? I needed to shovel out the car. I knew Zack wouldn’t be able to clean the upholstery and floor mats if they were covered in STUFF when he arrived.

I tossed the trash and put everything else in plastic bags to go through later. I was astonished at the things I found in my vehicle:

  • Books (so that’s where that overdue library book was hiding!)
  • A tennis ball lodged underneath my daughter’s seat
  • CDs. So many CDs.
  • Sonic straws. Sonic straws with paper on. Sonic straws without paper. Sonic paper with no straws inside.
  • Hair accessories from 3rd grade on.
  • Years-old receipts.
  • Years-old to-do lists.
  • A Christmas gift list from 2010.
  • Something sticky in the driver’s side pocket.

After I picked everything up, the dirt underneath was even easier to see:

Rav before collage

Zack worked for about two hours on my dirty RAV4, then called me outside to check out the improvements:

rav after collage

Don’t you just love before/after pictures? Click here to see more of Zack’s before and after shots on his Facebook page. Pretty impressive! Not only were my mats awful, my seats were covered in stains and greasy smears (mostly in the back seat, of course, where the kids hang out).


♦ Zack showed up on time in my driveway on the appointed day (we’d had to initially reschedule several times because of rain, but that wasn’t his fault). He was courteous and kind, introduced me to his girlfriend Stephanie (who often helps out) and they got straight to work.

♦ He came to ME. I stayed inside and worked at my desk while he and Stephanie worked outside. I didn’t hear a peep until he rang the doorbell to tell me he was finished (although I did walk out once to see if they wanted something to drink. I’m Southern, after all).

♦ He steam cleaned the upholstery and carpets, cleaned the dashboard and other surfaces (windows included) and used pressurized air to blow all the gunk out.


♦ I made the mistake of keeping all the doors and windows closed after Zack left and it smelled musty the first time I got in. I kept the windows down for a while, put in a carton of baking soda and now it smells good.

♦ There were still a few stains here and there  (but I don’t blame him — they were no doubt completely ground in).

The rest of the story: The first time I got into my car after the Big Deep Clean, I just sat there for a while, basking in the loveliness.

kind barI happened to be on my way to an event and I realized halfway there I was starving. Not cool, as it would probably be a while before I could eat.

I remembered that I had a Kind bar in my purse.

And then I looked down at my clean carpets and the lack of crumbs in the gear shift and decided I could wait to eat when I was OUTSIDE my car.

But by the next exit, I had gingerly opened the Kind bar packaging. I ate it very, very slowly, not dropping  a single crumb.

I’m going to need to call Zack again in a few months, right?

rav mobile detailing truck

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