New Photos in the Gallery!

0064-momkayleeapril09.jpgHave you noticed that we’ve added brand new photos to our gallery this week? If you haven’t flipped through our online scrapbook lately, this is a good time to do it because there are some REALLY cute pictures in there, a few of which we’ve displayed here in this post. (Look at the cheeks on this baby. SO cute!) To see our photo gallery, scroll to the bottom of this page or click on the Polaroid at the top of the page.

In a few days, our panel of judges will look through all the photos submitted in April and choose three more finalists for the giveaway from our photo gallery sp0015-nolandsapril09.jpgonsor, Lisa Mac Photography. (To see the finalists chosen from the March photos, click HERE.) A grand prize winner will be selected at the end of May, and that winner’s child will get a free session with Lisa Mac as well as a HUGE (16 by 20) wall portrait — for FREE. That’s about a $400 value, girls!

Photos finalists are selected based on biggest emotional impact, so send us your cutest kid photos and show them off with your fellow moms. E-mail your digital photos to mamas@nwaMotherlode.com.

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What’s On Sale: Home Decor, Scrapbooking and Holiday items

big_sale_tag2.jpgNote to all our fellow sale lovers: We just found out that Signed Sealed Delivered is having a BIG warehouse sale starting TODAY, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (April 30th through May 3rd) at their warehouse located behind the Tontitown Flea Market off of Highway 412. The exact address is 181 Industrial Circle East. Shopping hours are from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the warehouse.

Shoppers will see 75 percent off prices marked on items including holiday decor, floral, gifts, scrapbooking, home decor and more. (75 percent off is our kind of sale!)

As always, go early to get the best stuff! And if you need more specific directions, call 479-756-9961 for more info.sssd_new.jpg

One more quick note: Owner Christine Meier tells me that Signed Sealed Delivered will now be open on Sunday afternoons. She has heard so many requests from customers that she has decided to open the store for a little Sunday shopping. Sunday hours are from noon to 5 p.m. and they begin this Sunday, May 3rd. Happy shopping!

Calling all crafty mamas: Don’t miss the chance to win our $100 shopping spree!

Speaking of Signed Sealed Delivered, don’t forget that we’ll be crowning a Crafty Mama Queen in the coming months, so  take a photo of your craftiest project to date (or whip up one that you’ve been thinking about) and e-mail it to us along with a line or two about what it is or how you made it.

The only rule is that you have to have made it yourself. It might be wall art in your kids’ room, a piece of furniture, a funky planter, a favorite scrapbook layout, a kids’ costume – you name it. If you’re a local NWA mom with a flair for crafts, we want to hear from you.sssd_new.jpgA panel of judges will review the photos and select a Crafty Mama Queen in the coming months. That winner will receive a $100 shopping spree from one of our favorite crafty places in NWA – Signed Sealed Delivered. For those of you who haven’t been there, Signed Sealed Delivered is a Crafty Mama’s dream come true. They’ve got roughly a gazillion scrapbooking products along with a huge selection of silk florals, dishes, gift items, tools to use for home improvement projects, Razorback stuff, and the list goes on. We could shop in there for hours.

The newly crowned Crafty Mama Queen and her shopping buddy will also be treated to a gourmet lunch on the day of her shopping spree at Cuisines Gourmet to Go, located right across the street from Signed Sealed Delivered in Rogers. Cuisines is primarily a catering company, but they also offer a fabulous lunch menu Monday through Saturday. And here’s the big news: They also offer take-home meals! For those days when you just don’t have an ounce of energy left to cocuisines.gifok dinner, this place is a lifesaver. On the menu today? Beef Brisket Madera with Garlic Roasted Potatoes. Yum. Their lunch specials and take-home meals sell out every day, so you need to call ahead so they’ll have your meal ready to go. For more info on Cuisines, check out their website by clicking here. The site is great – lots of info and detailed menus!

If you know a Crafty Mama who might be perfect for this contest, please e-mail her the link to this article and encourage her to send in a photo. (Sometimes those Crafty Mamas are too modest for their own good.) With permission, we may even use those photos on the website to inspire your fellow moms with new, fresh ideas for how to become a little craftier themselves.

If you have questions, e-mail us at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com. We can’t wait to see what you Crafty Mamas come up with! Good luck.

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Neighborhood Yard Sales This Weekend!

yard-sale-sign.gifQuick update: We just had a comment posted by a reader who pointed out that Pleasant Grove Road is under construction right now and is a huge mess. To get to the neighborhood yard sales described below, she suggests taking the Pinnacle Promenade exit. Then turn right on Bellview Road (which is by Target) and then right on Pleasant Grove Road, to avoid the construction hassles. Thanks so much, Starwoodgal, for the helpful tip!

If you’re a hard core yard sale shopper, then you’ve probably been waiting all winter long for the mega yard sale that is happening this Friday and Saturday (May 1st and 2nd) in Rogers. Several subdivisions are participating, including Highland Knolls, The Manors, and Ridgecrest. The first three are located off of Pleasant Grove Road in Rogers.

I have shopped these neighborhood yard sales for about five years now, and I have found some GREAT deals there – particularly on kids toys, books and more. I am still bragging to my friends about the big wooden train table I snatched up (complete with wooden train set) for a mere 40 bucks!! I also found a nice set of kids’ encyclopedia books in pristine condition.

My buddy Janice, who is like the Navy Seal of yard sale shoppers, once picked up a beautiful, upholstered rocking chair glider to use with her newborn – for 35 dollars!! I’m not kidding. I saw it with my own eyes. There are lots of young families living in these subdivisions, so it’s a great place to shop if you’re looking for kids’ items. But there’s always plenty for adults, too.

The sale starts this Friday but some homes only open their garage door for the Saturday sale, so you might want to cruise through those neighborhoods on both mornings to see what’s available. Good luck and happy bargain hunting!

Healthy Mama: On Pregnancy and Labor from a Doctor Mom

jennifer-schroeder-color2.jpgDr. Jennifer Schroeder is a busy lady. She recently returned to work as a family practice and obstetrics physician at Rogers Medical Center following the birth of her second child.

When we met her, we were amazed that, not only was she dressed up with no spit-up on her shirt, she was also bright-eyed, focused and witty, too! And she was gracious enough to answer some of our nosy questions about what it’s like to be both a doctor and a mama at the same time. Here’s our question and answer session with Dr. Schroeder.

Having just returned to work from maternity leave, how has going through pregnancy and childbirth for the second time impacted the way you relate to pregnant patients? Has being an OB patient changed you in any way as a physician?

I think it helps me relate to how women feel and what’s on their mind through pregnancy. I think the bigger learning curve for me was being able to understand some of the practical information that’s valuable to parents – which is not really in a book – the things I learned once I had children of my own. Overall, I think it makes me a better physician.

Do OBGYN physicians get nervous about childbirth, just like the rest of us?

Sure. We have the fortune of knowing what minor things to not worry about and also realize the full spectrum of complications that can occur. I keep in mind for myself and my patients that most women have normal outcomes, and we’ve been doing it forever.

You’re known for trying to attend the delivery of all your OB patients, even when you’re not on call. Why is that so important to you?

Birth is one of the most profound events in our lives and being there for patients when the big day comes is wonderful – and I think it enhances their experience.  I wanted to have my doctor be there with me. I had a relationship with that person, and it makes laboring and afterwards so much easier when you know what to expect.

A few decades ago, pregnancy used to be called a “delicate condition.” These days, some women think they can do almost anything while they’re pregnant – from kickboxing to mountain climbing. Has the pendulum swung too far in the other direction? 

My experience has been that patients feel better when they stay active through pregnancy.  That is, of course, tailored to their pre-pregnancy activity level, the stage of pregnancy they’re in and the type of activity. So I encourage women to continue activities unless they pose a danger.

How do you feel about “birth plans” and do they usually work out the way the expectant mother plans it?

Birth plans probably evolved out of women’s need to communicate and have some control over their delivery in order to have a good experience; they are a starting point. For my patients, I think communication is key and recognizing that labor is a dynamic process – so sometimes our birth plan evolves according to the needs of mom and baby – to ensure everyone is healthy and happy in the end.

What’s the toughest part about juggling a toddler, newborn, husband and a medical career?

Right now – breastfeeding. I’m a strong advocate of breastfeeding especially the first 6 months so babies get mom’s antibodies. I have a good work situation to pump milk – space, a refrigerator, and control over my own schedule. I don’t have much unscheduled time in my life right now, and there’s no other single activity I do so often and pump milk/feed the baby. I love it, but it’s a part-time job along with my other roles.

What are the top concerns women bring to you in the early months of their pregnancies?

The biggest concerns women really think about are the baby being healthy and how this is going to change their life.

What brought you to Northwest Arkansas to practice medicine?

I was looking for a job change and found great group of partners to work with closer to family in a community with good schools. My husband, Pat Lewis, is from Hot Springs and was ready to return to Arkansas to practice law.

Your personality is so relaxed, approachable and low-key. Do you find that this type of personality helps alleviate patients’ anxiety?

Pregnancy and labor can be an anxious time for families and being able to offload some of that stress is part of my job. The pregnancy and birth experience is easier if you have someone you are comfortable with, who you communicate well with and who you trust. That holds true whether there are minor concerns, a normal birth or handling complications should they arise.

To visit with Dr. Schroeder in person, call for an appointment at the Rogers Medical Center at 479-338-5555 or go to their website by clicking HERE. 

Drama for Mama: American Idol

Wednesday elimination night recap:

Okay, so the person going home didn’t really surprise us Wednesday night. As much as I like Matt Giraud’s style and talent, we all knew he wasn’t destined to win it all. What made everybody’s jaw drop matt_giraud_210x2022.pngopen was that Adam was the one standing next to Matt as part of the bottom two. It was a true Idol shocker, and it was the first time all season that Adam has found himself in that spot.

It must have been a little humbling for Adam because Ryan split the other four contestants into groups of two: Kris and Matt on one side of the stage, and Allison and Danny on the other. Ryan then told Adam to go join the group he thought he belonged with based on last night’s performances. Adam pranced over to Danny and Allison’s group. Then Ryan ushered him over to the Matt and Kris group and said that “this is your bottom three.” Yikes.

So that means Danny and Allison got the most votes Tuesday night. Allison did have an amazing performance, but I still thought she would struggle in the likeability arena. Apparently, she did not. Danny had perhaps the best performance of the night out of all five.

So Allison, Kris, Danny and Adam make up the final four. Simon calls it the most open competition he has ever seen at this point in the race.  I still think the final three will come down to Adam, Danny and Kris, but if Allison continues to peak in performance level, she might edge one of the boys out. She should have an easy time picking a song next week because the theme will be Rock n’ Roll. Stay tuned!!

Tuesday night recap:

Oh, I hope you didn’t have to miss American Idol Tuesday night because it was SO good! And I was idol-logo2.pngsurprised, too, because sometimes the “theme” shows that force the contestants to sing older songs can produce disastrous results. But the top 5 contestants were really on their game during “Rat Pack” week, and there wasn’t a stinker in the bunch.

Jamie Foxx was this week’s mentor, and he was really great with them and seemed to help them more than past mentors have. Even Simon mentioned that Jamie had pulled something special out of all the contestants this week and thanked him for it. Here’s how it went:kris_allen_210x2021.png

Kris Allen: He sang “The Way You Look Tonight,” and he looked and sounded great. Dressed in a suit, he stood at the microphone and really belted it out. The judges gave him rave reviews, except for Simon who says he still lacks the confidence (or cockiness) to win. But I’m betting that Kris feels pretty good. Jamie called him the “No. 1″ and said that if this Idol thing didn’t work out that maybe they should do a song together. Wow.

My only concern for Kris is that he sang first, and that position seems to hurt performers becausallison_iraheta_210x2021.pnge voters forget how great you were just an hour ago. Fingers crossed.

Allison: She sang “Someone to Watch Over Me,” which was a great choice for her because she is the youngest of the bunch and still has an innocent face. She really did an amazing job with it and I thought it was her best performance to date. The judges agreed.

But she has visited the bottom three in weeks’ past, so who knows what will happen to the last girl standing.matt_giraud_210x2021.png

Matt: This was really Matt’s week to shine because of the Rat Pack genre. He studied jazz in college, after all. He sang “My Funny Valentine,” and it was a solid performance with some really big notes that we don’t typically hear Matt sing. Randy was a tad iffy on it, as was Kara, but Paula loved it and Simon said it was “brilliant.”

Danny: He sang “Come Rain or Come Shine,” and he seemed to surprise everyone with a new level of confidence and showmanship this week. Last week, Simon called danny_gokey_210x202.pnghim awkward and clumsy, but there was none of that this week. He commanded the stage, and his vocals are always spot on. Randy loved it. Kara loved it. Paula called it “stellar,” and Simon agreed.

Right now, it looks like the final three could come down to Kris, Adam and Danny. From that point on, I think it will be an incredibly close race.

Adam: He sang “Feelin’ Good,” and he started it slow at the top of a lit staircase. When the tempo picked up, Adam swaggered down the stairs in true theatrical style, wearing aadam_lambert_210x2021.png white suit, black shirt and white tie. As always, the sheer control he has over his voice is mind-blowing. I have to agree with Randy in that it was a little too theatrical and dramatic for my taste, but I’m sure Adam’s core fans LOVE that about him. Rave reviews from the judges.

Prediction for the bottom three?: I’m not even sure they’ll do a bottom three with only 5 left. I’m guessing they might just do a bottom two. If so, I’d have to pick Allison and Matt, simply because they’ve been there the most before. Can’t wait to see what happens!

Fellow Idol fans, post your opinions, comments and predictions by clicking the word “comment” below the dotted line.

Food for Thoughts: Chime In and Win Dinner Out!

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Mamas, we’ll choose a winner at random TODAY (Friday, May 1) and announce the winners on Saturday. Look for an e-mail or phone call this evening if you won food for your thoughts!

One of the reasons we started this website is because we wanted to create the kind of online gathering spot where moms can really talk and swap ideas and tips. Even though there are thousands of parenting books out there, we think some of the best advice comes from our fellow moms. So today we’re going to pose a question (one that I desperately need some input on), and we’re asking you to provide the answers.

To give you a little extra incentive for participating, we’re going to give you a chance to win food for your thoughts – meaning we’ll select three people at RANDOM who post comments here and those bonefish.jpgthree moms will win a gift certificate for a nice dinner on the town, courtesy of NWARestaurants.com. And we’re not talking about the McDonald’s drive-thru here, ladies. We’ve got gift cards for Ruth Chris, Bonefish and Carrabba’s Italian restaurant – the kind of gift certificates that will help you convince your sweetie that it’s definitely time for a night out.

carrabbas.gifIf you’re shy about posting your opinion, keep in mind that you don’t have to use your whole name. You could even list just your first name or your initials or something like “Jack’s mom.” You do have to provide your e-mail address, but that address is never posted online and it just helps us verify that you’re a real person and not a spammer. It also gives us a way to contact you and let you know if you won a gift card. If you’d rather enter the drawing via e-mail, you can do that by writing to us at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com.ruthchris.gif

Here’s the question of the day: My husband and I are taking our three kids (age 7, 4 and 2) on a LONG car trip to attend a family wedding in Iowa in May. We have a DVD player in the van, but there’s no way that device alone is going to keep them occupied for that long of a trip, so….

What are your ideas, activity tips or recommendations for how to keep kids occupied (and not whining) on a very long car trip?

Click the word “comment” in the lower right hand corner of this post (under the dotted line) and let us know what you think. Can’t wait to use your ideas on my big trip!

New Motherlode sponsor is a natural for NWA kids this summer!

Guest post by Sheilah Roenfeldt, NWA mom and Ozark Natural Science Center enthusiast

ozarkscience1.jpgOur family, like most, are busy with year-end school activities such as benchmark testing, projects, finals and celebrations.  It is also time to begin to think about summer plans to keep our kids happy and active.

One place to definitely put on your list is the Ozark Natural Science Center (ONSC) located in Madison County.  ONSC is a private, non-profit environmental education center offering year-round programming including age-appropriate summer camps.  Their mission is to enhance the understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the Ozark natural environment.

ONSC offers seven summer camps specifically designed for campers age 8-17 plus two new programs for families.  All programs incorporate activities at the center, ecology lessons and field experiences in the Ozarks with safety as a top priority. 

Two of my children have attended both school and summer programs over the past four years.  They learned about local features of the area by hiking, camping, canoeing, and caving under the supervision of a highly-trained field staff.

My daughter, in particular, has benefited from these experiences by using her caving knowledge and skills to earn a Girl Scout Silver Award, three honors at the Arkansas State Science Fair….as well as heading her into the direction of a career of a cave biologist! (See a picture of Sheilah’s daughter going underground in a shot at the very bottom. The one just below is of some kids “turtle tracking” at the Center.)

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Here are some questions answered by ONSC staff to offer additional information. I also encourage you to check out the website at www.onsc.us.

Q: My young child has never been camping.  Will she be able to participate?

Of course!  The younger campers stay in lodges with private restrooms and showers and eat delicious food in the dining hall.  Their field experiences will be on our trails and property with a nightly campfire near the lodges. 

Q: Will my older child being a newcomer to an advanced camp be disadvantaged without prior experience?

No, our camps are set up so that any newcomer will be welcome and fit right in with experienced campers.  Each camp program is designed with age-appropriateness.  Older campers spend more time away from the main center with day trips and overnight camps as they explore the Ozarks, including the Kings and Buffalo Rivers.

Q: Does my child need any special training or equipment to attend?

No special training is necessary. Each camper is provided with a packing list prior to camp of items such as clothing, footwear, flashlights, etc. and we provide any equipment campers need in the field or off-site with the advanced camps.

Q: Why do two camps require special registration?

Field Expeditions and Ozark Underground are advanced camps which are more physically demanding.  Campers need to have a high level of awareness and personal responsibility due to the nature of activities.

Q: Do you have orientation sessions for parents and children?

Parents and potential campers are welcome to schedule a visit to the Center at any time.  At the beginning of each camp, our staff hosts a welcome session to answer any concerns and questions to make sure that both camper and parent are comfortable.

ONSC SUMMER CAMP INFORMATION:

  • Fledgling Naturalists      ages 8-9       August 6-8       $275
  • Junior Naturalists I        ages 10-11   July 12-15        $400
  • Junior Naturalists II       ages 10-11   July 22-25        $400
  • Senior Naturalists          ages 12-14   June 16-20       $500  Session 1
  •                                                        June 28-July 2  $500  Session 2
  • Field Expeditions*          ages 14-17   June 8-13         $650
  • Ozark Underground*      ages 14-17   June 22-27       $650
  • Buffalo River Escape      families        July 9-12          $400/$200 child
  • Family Naturalists          families        July 16-19        $400/$200 child

*** Special registration required

So, get busy and check out the ONSC website or call (479) 789-2754 to decide which camp is the right fit for your child and let them explore the natural wonders of the Ozarks!  Your child will thank you.

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Mealtime Mama: Tips from Local Cooks!

cookingtipslocalmoms.jpgBy Rhonda Franz

A group of moms from Northwest Arkansas offer up tips they use during the cooking process. From making flavorful stew to cooking potatoes to planning ahead, these ideas can help you make the most of your time in the kitchen.

* Use weekly meal plans/menus. This saves time and money and can help you stick to your list at the grocery store. Save these and anytime you don’t want to plan a whole new week, pull out one to use.

* Cook extra and freeze. Double a dish you’re already cooking and put the extra batch in the freezer. Even if you do this just once a week, you can stock your freezer with meals for busy evenings.

* Cook extra and freeze, part II. When cooking chicken: cook extra, debone, and freeze in 2 cup portions for use in recipes. For ground beef and turkey, cook 5 lbs. at a time and freeze in 2 cup portions. This makes putting recipes together simple and quick.

* Keep a pantry stocked with pastas, rice, broth, canned tomatoes, and sauces. Having these essential ingredients can help you prepare meals with what you have on hand.

- The tips above are from Leigh Anne, a Rogers homeschooling mama to four children ranging in age from 1 ½ to 22, and a grandma to one. She credits menus4moms.com for helping her with some of her tips.

* Make individual portions of foods (meatballs, waffles, cookies, etc) and place on cookie sheet in a single layer. Freeze until solid, then place in a container to keep frozen. The foods will come apart easily.

* Bake homemade pizzas just until almost ready to brown, then cool and freeze. Take them out as needed and cook as you would a frozen pizza from the store.

* Put together the dry ingredients in pancake and biscuit mix in large batches and store in an airtight container. Scoop out as needed when you’re ready to make a batch.

* Have a meal exchange with a group of friends. Each person (or family) makes several batches of the same recipe and trades meals with others in the group.

* Cook squash and potatoes easily by cutting in half, and placing face down in a jelly roll pan. Put approximately ¼ inch of water in the pan and cook at 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit until very soft. Scoop out the insides.

- Heidi lives in Lowell. She is an educator, piano teacher, and mom of three children.

* Keep a sheet of your family’s favorite meals. Include the cookbook title and page number where each recipe is listed and refer to this when you are stumped for what to cook.

- Lori is a busy Springdale mom of three boys.

* Use frozen bread dough (such as Rhodes) for pizza crust. Allow the dough to completely thaw, roll out for pizza pans, and add your ingredients.

* Use a stand mixer instead of pastry cutter when a recipe requires cutting cold butter into dry ingredients for things like biscuits, scones, and croissants.  Just add the wet ingredient (milk, buttermilk) until a ball of dough forms and sides of the bowl are clean.

Author’s note: A food processor can also be used for this. Use the blade attachment and pulse the processor to cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.

-Kyra lives in Berryville and works in the medical profession. She has three grown children and five grandchildren.

* For a richer flavor in beef stew or soup: place 1 teaspoon instant coffee in the broth.

* To make sure you are keeping fresh spices on hand: write on the bottom of the container when spices were purchased.

* Use canned diced potatoes when making potato soup, and then instant mashed potatoes to thicken the soup as needed.

- Pam is a Bentonville mom to two children and a community volunteer

* Go out for dinner.

- Angela is a Rogers corporate businesswoman turned work-at-home mom. She was pretty quick with this tip. Sometimes, you just have to let someone else do the cooking.

Motherlode contributor Rhonda Franz lives near Lowell with her husband and two young sons. The cooking tip she uses most often—in a house of three hungry boys—is to triple her recipes. That way she has one for a meal, one to use as the leftover since there won’t be any from the first batch, and one to hide in the back of the refrigerator so she’ll have something to eat later on.

Doc Talk: Pre-pregnancy advice

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donnell.jpgDoc Talk is a weekly series of short video podcasts of Mercy Health System doctors answering questions moms want answers to. Click on the Motherlode video podcast below to see and hear the answer to today’s question.

Dr. Hugh Donnell, the doctor answering today’s question about what to consider before becoming pregnant, spoke to Motherlode previously about his 17 years with Mercy and how much he enjoys continuing the care of the babies he delivers. (Click here to read Dr. Hugh Donnell’s prior Q & A).

Want to know more about this guitar-playing physician? Just click on his photo to watch his biographical video podcast which offers details about his experience and training.video11.jpg

Q: What is your best pre-pregnancy advice? What should I consider before embarking on motherhood?

A: Click on the video podcast icon at right. When the window opens, click on the “play” arrow to begin the video answer.

Dr. Hugh Donnell is a family practice/obstetrics physician at Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas. His practice, the Rogers Medical Center, is located in the Physicians Plaza just off Interstate 540. For more info on Dr. Donnell, click on his photo to watch his bio podcast or call his office at 479-338-5500.

logo_mercy1.gifNWAMotherlode.com does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about a medical condition. Don’t delay getting professional medical advice because of something you read online. This website doesn’t necessarily recommend or endorse any specific tests, doctors, products, procedures or opinions discussed on the site.

It’s “Touch a Truck” Time for the Kids!

tat_logo-170x158.gifBreak out your hard hats and get ready for another great time at Touch a Truck 2009. Kids of all ages can climb, discover and explore their favorite things on wheels at this family-friendly event.

Touch a Truck is a unique event allowing visitors to touch and climb on vehicles of all types, including helicopters, construction vehicles, emergency vehicles, motorcycles and big rigs.  Kids will also have a blast climbing through the bouncy obstacle course, learning to build items with the Home Depot crew, and chowing down on hamburgers, hot dogs, Yarnell’s ice cream, and Pepsi drink products.  Attendees can win great prizes, including bicycles, a family campsite set (including tent, sleeping bags, and grill), and gift certificates.  Additional entertainment will include character visits by SpongeBob Square Pants and Strike with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. 

Safety education will be provided at Touch a Truck by the Coast Guard, Rogers Police and Fire Departments, and the Morgan Nick Foundation.  Health and wellness education will be presented by Walmart Vision, the Walmart Fitness Center, and Coppertone.

Touch a Truck 2009:

  • Saturday, May 2
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • John Q. Hammons Convention Center, just off I-540 at exit 83 in Rogers.

Admission armbands are $5 per person or $20 per family and can be purchased at juniorleaguenwa.org, by calling (479)751-7054, or at the gate the day of the event.

Proceeds from this event will help fund various projects sponsored by the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas.  To help meet the needs in our communities, the Junior League focuses on domestic violence awareness, education, and prevention.  Their partner agencies include long-term shelters, Restoration Village and Havenwood, as well as Children’s House, a therapeutic daycare for preschool-age children who have been victims of abuse or neglect.

The Junior League of Northwest Arkansas is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.  Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

Drama for Mama: Desperate Housewives

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If you missed your weekly dose of desperation, here’s what happened Sunday night on Wisteria Lane:

Bree: Orson was just about to be discharged from the hospital for the bump on his head he got while trying to rob an old lady’s house. (She whacked him with a baseball bat.) But Orson told Bree and the doctor that he had fallen and hit his head on the curb while out for a midnight stroll. Bree wasn’t too happy about her clepto husband coming back home, but he promised her he had decided to be happy and put his bad behavior behind him. She decided to give him another chance as long as he promised there’d be no more lies.

But later Bree found out that her elderly neighbor had slugged an intruder stealing knick knacks with a baseball bat. She gave Orson one last chance to tell the truth and he went right on lying. Bree made up an excuse to go to Andrew’s house, and she told her son she’d be divorcing Orson.

Lynette and Gabi: Their stories were intertwined this week. Carlos and Lynette have been swamped and working long hours at work. Tom is feeling neglected and is jealous of Lynette’s time, especially when she said she spent part of that time away taking a shower at Carlos’ office bathroom. When she realized it bothered Tom, she said she wouldn’t do it again.

Then Carlos came to pick up Lynette for an early meeting and she was in her own shower and running late. She slipped and fell and didn’t answer Carlos when he asked if she was okay. He peered in her bathroom and she had knocked herself unconscious. He moved her to the bed, and she realized he had seen her naked and was embarassed. She made him promise not to tell Tom.

Meanwhile, Tom had joined Gabi’s garden club and had become chummy with the sluttiest housewife in town because she paid attention to him. Gabi warned Tom to stay away. At a double date with the two couples, the truth came out about the shower scene and Tom’s new friend and the date ended badly. Later, Gabi and Tom patched things up as friends and he confided in her that he has been feeling neglected and invisible since Lynette went back to work.

Susan: In an attempt to check on crazy Dave, Susan stopped by with sandwiches and accidentally saw a handgun lying on Dave’s duffel bag. She assumed that, since he was so depressed about Edie, that he was suicidal. She secretly took the gun, knives, belts and prescription pills from his house, just to be safe. In true Susan style, she then got pulled over by the cops for talking on a cell phone while driving and had to explain why she had a gun in her car.

She went back to apologize to Dave for stealing his things. He told her that he’d had a fight with Edie before her car crash and felt guilty. She told him about her car crash years ago (not knowing this was the crash that killed Dave’s wife and child.) She admitted that, even though they’d told the police that Mike had been driving, it was actually Susan behind the wheel. They’d lied because Susan had forgotten to take her driver’s license with her that night. Crazy Dave seemed to come alive again at the realization that he now has someone new with whom to get revenge. At the episode’s end, he made an ominous statement to Susan’s son, M.J., about being careful because his mother would be destroyed if anything happened to him.

Catherine: She told Mike that she would never lie to him because he was the one who she was going to spend the rest of her life with. You should have seen the look on Mike’s face. It was definitely a look that told us that he wasn’t so sure that she was the one he’d be spending the rest of his life with. Looks like there’s still a little room in his heart left for Susan.

Next week: Looks like we’re building up to a big season finale here, and I’m guessing there’s going to be a crisis with Crazy Dave doing something to put little M.J. in danger. You can bet this will make Susan and Mike take another look at what really matters most to both of them. In the meantime, though, it looks like Jackson the ex-boyfriend is going to be back on Wisteria Lane with flowers in hand for Susan. Stay tuned.

Devotion in Motion: “To My Son, On His 18th Birthday”

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“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

Dear Spencer,

It’s so hard to believe that you’re 18 years old now and graduating high school. The thing that astounds me most is how quickly the time has gone by and how much you have grown. I know you get tired of hearing me tell you this, but I used to bathe you in the kitchen sink. It’s boring for me to tell you that over and over, but it’s just so astounding to me. Somewhere I have a photograph of you and me when I’d just pulled you out of the sink after bathing you. We are looking at each other, and I’m holding you with one hand, for heaven’s sake! Now that you are six-foot-one, it would be hard for me to wash even one of your feet in the sink!

Your mom was crying the other night. She has been doing that a lot lately, any time something reminds her that you’re growing up. Something she said to me was, “I wish we had spent more time with the boys.”

I said to her, “Wait a minute. We have spent a lot of time with the boys. In fact, we have spent as much time with the boys as we possibly could. If we had spent any more time with the boys, they would grow up to be weird.”

Spencer, you and I think alike on some things, and I think you will tell me I’m right about that. We have spent time with you and Seth, but we have never been over-the-top parents.  You know exactly the parents I’m talking about—the ones who make a video of the first time their kids sit on the pottie chair and then bronze the poo and send it to the Smithsonian. We weren’t that crazy—I don’t think—because we didn’t want to mess you up. But we spent a lot of time with you. I hope you believe that, and I hope that’s the way you remember your childhood.

Sometimes I feel like crying, too, because you’re so grown up, but I try not to. I’m trying to look at this thing philosophically. After all, you really want to grow up. You don’t want to be 17 and in high school forever. So, I’ve got to let you grow up because that is what you want. Also, the fact that you are no longer a child doesn’t mean that you are gone. It only means you’re moving on to other happy parts of your life. I hope the Lord lets me live to watch you grow older because that will be so much fun. But whatever happens, we will always be together in the end because we have the same precious faith in the Lord Jesus.

Thanks for being such a neat kid. You are the package deal—a great student, a great athlete, a great musician, a great Christian boy, and a great son. I’m so glad God sent you to be my son. I love your honesty and the way you think things out so carefully. I love to see you eat an entire “All-Star Breakfast” (which is the whole left side of the menu) at Waffle House and still look like a track-runner. I love your caring ways, the way you pick up heavy things so I don’t hurt myself, your lightning-fast wit, and your sense of humor. You always lift my spirits by making me laugh. You are a great comfort to me.

Spencer, you know I have never pressured you to become a preacher. And I really don’t care if you never become famous or “important”. I hope you will always have enough money to pay your bills, but I really don’t care if you never become rich. There is just one thing I want from you. I want you to always be a Christian. Find the tasks that God wants you do in this life, and do them with all your might. Because, if you will just do that one thing, things will work out for you in this life and in the life that is to come.

I hope you will forgive me for my many failings as a father. You were my first child, and I had to practice on somebody. You drew the short straw and got that honor. Sorry about that. I hope you believe me when I tell you that, with God as my witness, I really tried my best. I believe you understand that now—and you’ll understand it better in a few years.

Remember your Mama and me, and your little brother, Seth. Remember all the fun you had growing up in the little parsonage and the country church. Remember all the people who have loved you and the lessons they’ve taught you. Make a big splash in the world. You only have one life, so remember the Lord Jesus, and do as much good with your life as you can.

There is so much more that I could write—but I don’t have words. Hope this will suffice. I love you always, and I am always proud of you.

With Prayers and Blessings,

Dad

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” *Sing that  title to the tune of “Secret Agent Man” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his third decade of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi.  He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 18) and Seth (age 14) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church” (where the Preacher and his wife want to remind you to spend time with your babies because they’ll be grown before you know it). You should write him at extramailbox@juno.com.

The Rockwood Files: Me and My Shadow

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

I think I’m being followed. There are footsteps behind me everywhere I go – even into the bathroom. Not only am I being tailed throughout the day, I can feel someone’s eyes on me all the time – watching, studying, memorizing my every move.

I’d be worried about it if I didn’t know my stalker so well. Honestly, she’s not all that good at concealing her interest. She just comes right out and announces it: “Mama, I go wit’ you? I do dat, too?”

“Sure. You go with me,” I say. And off we go – me and my 2-year-old shadow – on the dozen daily errands and chores that constitute our days and weeks.

My daughter Kate has entered the “mimic phase,” which is an eye-opening experience for the one being copied. I know her older brothers went through this phase, too, but I don’t remember it being this intense. Perhaps I don’t recall it as much because the boys were more interested in mirroring what their Dad did around the house, so I was off the hook.

But now it’s my turn, and Kate is taking her cues from me. It’s exciting, a little scary and humbling all at the same time.

It started a few months ago with simple, sweet things. When I’m putting on my makeup, she wants to sit on the bathroom counter so she can pilfer through my cosmetic bag and pretend to use the eyelash curler on her own lashes. She peers into the mirror and holds her mouth in the same awkward position I do. Then she blinks her eyes a few times and says “There. All done.”

Lately she has also been dragging a chair over from the dining table to the kitchen sink. She climbs up and starts the water running so she can “do the dishes,” she says. If I don’t remember to move the bottle of dishwashing detergent out of her reach, she will use a very generous amount to fill the sink with a tower of foamy bubbles.

Last week, while I was sitting at my writing desk beating my head against a deadline, Kate ran up to me and draped one of her baby blankets across my lap. Then she ran off again and came back carrying her father’s black comb from our bathroom. She motioned for me to bend forward so she could reach my head and then started combing my hair and turning my chair from side to side.

“Kate, what are you doing?” I asked.

“I give you haircut,” she said. Then she stooped down to fiddle with the lever under my rolling desk chair that must have reminded her of the haircut appointment we’d gone to a few days earlier.

“Oh,” I said, laughing. “Yes, a haircut would be great. Go right ahead.”

After a five minute haircut, my hair looked exactly the same, but it sure was fun to watch the little stylist at work. When she was all done, she smiled and said “Looks nice!” Indeed.

As amusing as the copycat act often is, it’s also somewhat disconcerting to hear your words echoed back to you in the same way they’re delivered. The other day I walked into the bathroom and discovered that Kate had spilled an entire bag full of tiny ponytail holders all over the floor. Before I could even open my mouth to speak, Kate chimed in beside me and said “Oh, Katie! You made a mess!” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Sometimes Kate will take it too far and bark orders at her older brothers, which drives them absolutely nuts: “Buckle up, boys!” “Eat your dinner, boys!” “Stop it! I said enough!” Settle down right now!” Yesterday, I even heard her give one of them a stern “shush-it,” which sounded way too familiar, and it made me wonder if I yell as much as my echo chamber indicates I do.

Seven-year-old Adam rolls his eyes at his little sister’s bossy act and says, “Mom, Kate is talking like a grown-up again, and she’s BOTHERING me!”

What can I say to something like that? I don’t have the heart to tell him that, based on my own experience as a former little sister, his irritation will likely continue for at least another decade or so. It’s just the way it is.

In the meantime, all I can do is remind my little mirror that she is not the mama around here. “I’m the mama,” I remind her, and she stares back at me intently. Then she rounds the corner into the next room, points a finger at her dolls and tells them firmly, “I’m the mama. And I’m in charge.”

Daughter see. Daughter do.

Want to read previous installments of The Rockwood Files? Click here!

Local doc takes overweight NWA women in a new direction

feezellmugshotwhite1.jpgSince nwaMotherlode.com opened its doors in May 2008, Mercy Health System has been our corporate sponsor. One of our favorite physicians within the system is Dr. Randy Feezell, who’s been practicing in Northwest Arkansas for 12 years.

He’s very personable and always delivers a generous dose of humor with his medical advice. (You may remember Dr. Feezell’s answers in Doc Talk about over-the-counter weight loss medications HERE and birth control options HERE.)

Dr. Feezell is a gynecologist, but he’s also a board-certified bariatrician (which means he has specialized training in weight loss medicine). Dr. Feezell is one of our new sponsors and he’s trying to get the word out about a new program designed to help overweight women in NWA: the New Direction Weight Control System. You can click on Dr. Feezell’s picture or the New Direction ad on the right to learn more.

The program is designed for women who have 40 or more pounds to lose and those who are struggling with that last 10 or 20 that can hang on for dear life.

Dr. Feezell fills us in on the weight loss program in this Q & A:

Q: Who would be a good candidate for this type of program?

A: New Directions offers two multi-disciplinary weight management programs:

The Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) is for people who have over 40 pounds to lose or someone who is overweight and has health risks that could improve with weight loss.

The Low Calorie Diet (LCD) is designed for those with 10 pounds or more to lose.

Q: Why does the VLCD program target women who have at least 40 pounds to lose?

We know that people who have at least 40 pounds to lose are at risk for a number of life-threatening diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure.  Obesity and being overweight are also major contributors to female cancers, arthritis and joint disorders, high cholesterol, early death and depression.  The New Directions program is an  intense, medically supervised, multidisciplinary program specifically designed to provide a rapid, safe weight loss option to quickly reduce risk of these obesity complications.

Q: Is it healthy to restrict calories so drastically?

A: The health benefits of weight loss and the safety of nutritionally complete VLCD’s of high-quality protein, supplemented with adequate fluid, have been documented in the past two decades.

Q: Do you go through the program independently or with a group?

A: The New Directions program offers weekly group meetings that cover behavior modification, nutrition education and exercise. The group format allows you to not only learn how to modify your lifestyle but also to get support from others and learn from discussions with staff and other groups members how to make food choices that will help you manage your weight.

Q: About how much can someone expect to lose in a month?

A: That depends on several factors, including your current weight, age and sex.  An average weight loss of 2 to 3 pounds a week is common with the VLC and 1 to 2 pounds a week with the LCD.

Q: Why would this work for me when so many of the diets and tricks I’ve used have failed in the past?

The VLCD and LCD programs will allow you to “jump start” your weight loss and lead you on the road to a healthy lifestyle.  Research shows, however, that losing weight by diet alone doesn’t work, at least not in the long run.  To manage your weight for a lifetime, you need to make permanent changes in your eating and exercise habits and the role food plays in your life.  New Directions offers weekly group meetings that provide you with the support and skills needed to help you manage your weight.  These meetings, led by a behavior counselor, registered dietitian, and exercise specialists are offered during all three phases of the program.

Q: Why did you decide to start offering this program at your clinic?

A: We needed a multidisciplinary program (complete) for this difficult problem.

Q: What do I need to do to get started?

Call our program coordinator at 479-338-3830 and register for our free orientation.  At this session, you’ll learn all about the program, including the diets used, medical screening and monitoring and fees.

Q: How does this program help ensure long-term weight loss and prevent the “yo-yo” effect?

Experts agree that the best approach for successful weight loss and weight maintenance is one that promotes permanent changes in diet, exercise and lifestyle behaviors and attitudes.  The required weekly group programs help patients learn and apply key behaviors associated with successful long-term weight maintenance.  Everyone has a choice to change the behaviors that lead to obesity.  If they choose to change their lifestyle, we’ve provided the people and education to help them do so.

The most satisfying part of my job is to teach and advise people so they can reach their health goals.  This takes a partnership to succeed and that is rewarding to see.

We haven’t personally participated in Dr. Feezell’s program, but we wanted to share some testimonials from a few of his patients:

Elaine: “This is the first time in my adult life my weight is under 200 pounds and my blood sugar is normal.”

Haley: “I didn’t think I could do it .. now I’M GOING FOR ROCKSTAR!” Down 94 lbs

Anonymous: “My husband says it’s like being with a new woman.”

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