Win a Staxx Ring from Kate Austin Jewelry & Gifts!

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Between now and Christmas, we have some really sparkly giveaways for you. So let’s not waste any time! Today’s sparkly giveaway is one of my favorite new finds at a favorite shopping spot in Rogers — Kate Austin Jewelry & Gifts. If you haven’t been there yet, you’ve got to go check it out. It’s in the Tuscany Square shopping plaza on Pleasant Grove Road, about a minute off Interstate 540. I’ve found lots of cute things at Kate Austin, including my favorite chunky bracelet, a sweet little necklace for my daughter and an insulated lunch bag for my son’s teacher last year.

During a recent trip to Kate Austin Jewelry, I found this unusual ring called the Staxx Ring. I’ve never seen anything exactly like it. I’d describe it as “Legos for ladies.” You build your own ring with various pieces. When you’re tired of that look or you put on a different outfit, the ring can change right along with you. Just take it apart and build it in a totally different way with different pieces or colors or shapes. It’s creative, practical and genius, if you ask me.

I had so much fun standing there at the jewelry counter building and then rebuilding different rings with totally different styles and colors. You know how sometimes you’re in the mood for something small and understated and then other days you want something big and bold? This ring totally understands those different moods and can change to accommodate them.

Below is a photo example of one of the Staxx ring gift sets. It’s called the “Garnet Gala” and it retails for about $120. But if garnet is not your favorite stone, don’t worry because we’re making this giveaway very flexible. The winner will receive a base ring and then get to choose her favorite pieces with which to build her own ring.

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If you’re like me and you’re still in the thick of Christmas shopping, this ring might be a good choice for a sister, friend, mother or a teenage girl whose sense of style is always changing.

Here’s what makes this really nice for the average mom — it’s affordable. The individual pieces of the ring vary in price and start as low as two dollars. Or you can buy a gift set like the one above that has several pieces in it, kind of like a starter set. If you give the ring as a gift, then you could just buy a gift card for future birthdays so the recipient can choose her favorite pieces and add to her collection.

HOW TO ENTER: Since most of us are helping kids write letters to Santa or hearing from our teenagers about their extensive wish list, we want to know what YOU want from Santa this year. Yes, you! The mama! What would you love to find wrapped up with your name on it? Click the comment button below and write your wish or wishes. You can also e-mail your wishes to giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

As always, we’ll give you an extra chance to win for every friend you e-mail about the giveaway. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your e-mail so we can give you proper credit!

Good luck in the random drawing! We can’t wait to read about what our fellow moms have their eye on this year. For more info on the Staxx ring and other accessories from Kate Austin Jewelry & Gifts, click here to visit their website.

Tweens & Teens: Dealing with the drama

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Back by popular demand, the Tweens & Teens doctor is in! Motherlode’s newest monthly feature is designed to help moms navigate through the tween and teen years. Dr. Billy Jones, a child psychologist with Mercy Health System in Rogers, is our resident expert and go-to guy for answers moms need to know.

We all know how tweens and teens sometimes have big, emotional reactions to not-so-big things. And typically, it’s the mama who’s on the receiving end of all that drama.

In the video podcast below, Dr. Jones gives us a lesson in how to use the “Problem Solving Ruler.” It’s a technique he developed while working with kids to help them respond appropriately to problems and learn to deal with them.

Dr. Jones has used this strategy with his own son as well. This method can be used with kids as young as 8 or 9. Click the “play” arrow below to see the video.

Devotion in Motion: Bake, take and teach

Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord.

Philemon 1:20 (NKJV)

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

Well, here we are on the Sunday sandwiched between Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Christmas season. Most of us are feeling thoroughly thankful, and we’re beginning to feel the tugs of the “Season of Giving”. So we should give something to a person we’re thankful for. Yes, it’s time to bake a cake for a soldier or a missionary!

picture1.jpgpicture1.jpgTrust me, if you’ll do this, it will make your soldier or missionary very, very happy. I’ll even provide the recipe. This is a very easy cake to make, it travels well, and it’s bound to be a pleasant surprise to anyone who lives far away.

Easy Hershey’s Syrup Cake for a Soldier or Missionary

1 Stick of Butter

hersheys_syrup.jpg16 ounces of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

1 Cup of Sugar

1 teaspoon of Vanilla flavoring

1 teaspoon of butter flavoring (optional)

4 eggs

1 Cup of All-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon of salt

Disposable aluminum pan for shipping

Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs, chocolate syrup, vanilla and butter flavorings. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) and mix them together well. Then mix the flour mixture with the wet mixture. Pour into a well-greased 8” pan. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour. Cool it completely.

Tips: Bake in a regular, heavy 8 inch pan, not the disposable aluminum pan, and it will hold up better. Put the pan on a cookie sheet in case it runs over. After the cake is cool, run a knife around the edges to loosen it, and dump the whole thing on a large sheet of good plastic wrap.

Wrap the cake well and place it in the aluminum pan, and then wrap it well again. You may want to use some bubble wrap, too. You can enclose a can of frosting, paper plates, napkins, and utensils if you like.  It may help to put each food item in a separate zipper plastic bag, so things won’t leak if they get smushed.

(Now here’s a beautiful thing: The post office will give you a wonderful UPS flat rate box for free! The whole thing will mail for about $12, no matter how much it weighs. You can mail as many goodies as you can pack in the box at no extra postage charge.)

Dear mamas, St. Paul in today’s Scripture (at the top) says that we can bring joy to those who are doing jobs of service. Through our kind acts, we can refresh their hearts. Why not bake a cake this week, and get your kids — even the littlest ones — to help you? You know they’ll have a blast, and you’ll be teaching them at a tender age how to live out the Gospel by little acts of kindness.

sibley.jpgDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” * He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is enjoying his 25th year 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 15) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher this week mailed a cake to his dear friend, Sgt. Jeff Sibley pictured here, who is stationed in Iraq. Jeff, the canned peaches are to put on the cake if it’s dry!) You should write him at extramailbox@juno.com.

The Rockwood Files: How bad times make good times better

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By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

When I’m not writing for the newspaper (or driving carpool, or doing dishes, or staying way too busy to exercise even though I swear I’m going to), I’m writing every day for a website. And last week on the website, we asked an audience of mostly women and mothers to answer a simple question: “What are you thankful for this year?”

Of course, I anticipated some of the answers – family, friends, good health, etc. What I didn’t expect was the sincerity and the bounty of those “thank you’s” and how those thanks were directed toward the source of all of it – God. Even in what are obviously hard times for many of those answering the question, people acknowledge and appreciate that God is taking care of them. (Click here to see those posted comments by local moms.)

Some of the women mentioned serious illnesses that either they or people in their families are facing – swine flu, cancer, recovery from an accident. Some of them mentioned job losses that they or their spouses (or both) have suffered through this year. Many of them mentioned that they are waiting and praying for a military spouse to come home from overseas. One or two of them even said that they had lost their home this year because of a job loss and a terrible economy.

Given all the hardship, it would have been understandable if people felt a little low in the thankfulness department. But they weren’t low at all. Despite the tough times, they seem to be more thankful than ever.

They happily listed their blessings – their husbands, children, parents, a home, a good job, their health. They focused on the big things – the things that matter most in tough times. One woman who lost her job and is struggling financially said she’s thankful to have working legs that enable her to get up and go look for a job every day. She knows that not everybody can do that.

Seeing those comments reminded me that, like it or not, we all need a point of comparison. Good times wouldn’t be nearly as good if we didn’t know the difference between good times and bad. They would all blend together with no distinct highs or lows.

Even though times are hard for so many people right now, the adversity serves as a contrast and highlights our blessings even more.

If you’ve ever had the stomach flu or food poisoning, you know how sincerely thankful you are when it’s finally over, when you feel good again. Suddenly, feeling good goes to a whole new level and you’re able to appreciate it so much more than you did before.

Mothers, in particular, are given a good sense of contrast. It truly is a blessing to carry a baby, but pregnancy does often have some unpleasant side effects – bloating, heartburn, nausea, hemorrhoids, back pain, anxiety. And then you go into labor and it feels like a Cadillac with elbows is passing through a small hole in your body.

But all that hard stuff sets you up for the most joyful of moments when you see the tiny face that has been growing inside you for nine months. I remember telling my husband that I’d give birth every single day as long as it was followed by that supreme moment of blessing at the end of it. There is nothing like it.

I sincerely hope that hard times haven’t fallen on you and yours this year. But if they have, I hope you overcome them and I hope the experience serves to heighten your joy in the good things that remain.

From my family to yours, have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend.

Want to read previous installments of The Rockwood Files? Click HERE.

Hair: “Help Me Rhonda” on thinning out hair

Hi Rhonda!

thinning-shears.jpgI have a hair question. I have A LOT of hair, and I like to keep it thinned out. How do you feel about thinning hair out? I know some hair stylists hesitate to thin out very often.

Dear Lisa,

Well, honestly I’m on the fence about this one. It really depends on your hair type. If you have thin, fine hair, the hair really SHOULD be thinned. If however, you have course, curly hair…..client BEWARE!!

You should always make sure your stylist understands the concept of taking bulk out of your hair. There are several ways to achieve this. Using the thinning shears is great but can often take more out than you want. Again, if your hair is curly, you have to be careful because thinning too much out at the scalp will cause curly hair to stand up and actually be bigger!

The second technique to consider is “point cutting.” This basically takes out bulk but not length. It gives a cut movement and swing, and it’s a great way to personalize a cut and make it fit your style.

Talk to your stylist about thinning your hair or point cutting. If you like what you hear and feel confident, go for it. But if you are hesitant, talk a little more specifically about the look you want to achieve. Thinning is one of those tricky things, and you definitely want to be comfortable with it and KNOW that your stylist can do it correctly to get the look you want.

Thanks for the great question!

rhondapic.jpgRhonda Moulder, pictured right, is a mama to two beautiful daughters and is also a stylist at Blue Door & Co. in downtown Bentonville. E-mail her a hair question at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com or call for an appointment at the salon at 479-273-9944. Have a happy hair day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Motherlode mamas hope you have a happy Thanksgiving! We’re thankful for our friends, families, turkey & dressing and our loyal readers. Thank you!

Cooking or Traveling? We’ll help!

During the days leading up to Thanksgiving, most moms fall into one of two categories: 1) traveling to somebody else’s house for the holiday; 2) staying home and cooking for the holiday.

carclipart1.jpgSo that means you either need to figure out how to keep your kids entertained during a long car trip or you need all the help you can get in the kitchen. Either way, we’re going to try to be here for you. We mamas gotta stick together.

If you’re in the very lucky, very rare third category of people who don’t have to travel long distances OR cook much for Thanksgiving, just know that we’re insanely jealous and we hope you enjoy your good fortune.

ON THE ROAD:

If you’re traveling, you’ll want to CLICK HERE to read some of the handy tips we collected from roll-of-quarters.jpgNorthwest Arkansas moms about how to keep kids entertained and happy during a long car ride.

Be sure to check out the tip from Stacy about giving each kid a roll of quarters before the trip begins. If someone misbehaves during the trip, he or she has to hand over one quarter without complaining. At the end of the trip, each kid gets to keep the leftover quarters to use how they like. I tried using the “car coins” during my last trip and it worked GREAT to help keep my kids mindful of their behavior on the road.

IN THE KITCHEN:

If you’re cooking this week, we’re going to help by publishing a few cooking tips and recipes that might come in handy. Here are a few tips we found recently in a booklet from our local Williams-Sonoma store:

Basting tips: Baste the turkey with panh drippings, stock or melted butter about every 30 minutes baster.jpgduring roasting. This helps ensure moist, juicy meat and a crisp, golden-brown skin., A bulb baster is the best tool for the task.

To prevent overbrowning, drape the turkey with buttered cheesecloth before putting the bird in the oven. Alternatively, tent the turkey with alumiinum foil if the skin begins to brown too quickly.

Roasting tips for an unstuffed turkey: Some cooks roast the turkey breast-side down for the first one-third of the cooking time. This increases the rate at which the thighs cook, so they will be done at aboout the same time as the breast.

Roasting tips for a stuffed turkey: Loosely cover the breast with a double-thick piece of aluminum foil for the first two-thirds of the cooking time. This slows the rate at which the breast cooks, so it will be done at about the same time as the thighs.

For more tips on cooking the “mother” of all holiday meals, check out the Williams Sonoma website’s section on thanksgiving by clicking HERE. 

Great tips from the Moms Money Makeover Forum!

By Shannon Magsam, nwaMotherlode.com mom

We had a great time at the Moms Money Makeover Forum last week. It was a super cold night, but we warmed up fast with good conversation, yummy treats and coffee.

Rhonda Porter of Merrill Lynch started the evening off with this hilarious Saturday Night Live sketch with Steve Martin and Amy Poehler:

That broke the ice! I LOVE that skit — it always makes me laugh. Most likely because I can see myself in Steve Martin’s character. “Sounds confusing.”

I won’t be sharing any specific comments from the women who attended (we all agreed: “Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”) but were some great take-aways that I know you can appreciate.

Rhonda, our on-call financial advisor for the evening, got the ball rolling by noting that women are surpassing men when it comes to being the country’s top wealth holders. But with great power comes great responsibility, right?

There were a few websites that came up during the conversation that really interested everyone. DebtAnalyzer.com is a cool site because you can plug in your specific credit card figures, payment dates, etc.., the analyzer will tell you when to make payments and how long it will take you to pay everything off. If you have a goal — and a clear path to getting there — sticking to a plan is much easier.

As Rhonda said, it’s easier to race faster when you can “see the finish line.”One mom said she uses Mint.com, a website that reminds her when bills are due. It also shows her how much she’s spending on food, eating out and all the other various expenses that are trackable. I think we’d all be surprised by how much we’re really spending. Do you dare? We’d save some money, I bet!

Rhonda suggested MoneyStrands.com to see how much you spend compared to others, for setting up budgets and other money management “made fun and easy”.When we talked through some of our best ways to manage finances, one woman said she took her mom’s advice and began to “round up” when she wrote down info in her checkbook. So if a purchase was $6.86, she’ll round up to $7 in her register. This leaves a little “slush fund” at the end of each month.

Communication was a topic that almost everyone weighed in on. Rhonda noted that communicating with your spouse or significant other is vital to managing money. If the wife doesn’t pay the bills or manage the family’s finances, she admonished them to: understand the family’s cash flow; know the family’s balance sheet (that includes assets and liabilities); maintain access to all financial documents (including bank account info, insurance policies, tax returns, etc…); build your action plan (for saving, getting out of debt, etc…); and communicate.

She said couples should sit down and talk about what they’ve spent and do some money evaluation at least once a month. Several of the moms said they HATE talking to their spouse about money — it’s so uncomfortable! One good tip: agree with your spouse to always discuss it first before spending money on something above a specific dollar amount. For one mom it was $100 while another said $50 was their watermark.

Along the communications lines, Rhonda noted that both partners should share the stress of money concerns and affairs. It not only keeps the one handling the money from feeling like it’s all on their shoulders — it also keeps the one not seeing the balance from spending money the family doesn’t have.It was a great conversation (so great that we couldn’t get to all the topics). We all left with a few good money ideas and a feeling of being “heard” I believe.

For more info about managing your money from Rhonda, you can e-mail her at rhonda_porter@ml.com or call her at 479-254-3137. Motherlode sponsored the money forum, but it was essentially the second meeting of the new Fayetteville Mothers’ Center. If you want to get involved in the Fayetteville Mothers’ Center, their next meeting will be on Dec. 10 at Pages of Parenting, 388 E. Sunbridge, Fayetteville.

For more info about Mothers’ Centers, contact Catherine Wright-Dilbert at 479-935-3389 or e-mail her at catherinew@motherscenter.org.

Kids getting restless yet?

When your kids are used to being busy at school all day, sometimes it’s hard to keep them entertained when they’re out of school for the holidays. So, we thought you might want to know about an indoor play option. jumpzone1.jpgRemember that Jumpzone, our bounciest Motherlode sponsor, is open two days this week. Click on the graphic at right to see pictures of some of their giant, inflatable slides and bouncy houses.

They will have open play time today (Tuesday) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 5 to 8 p.m. On Friday, November 27th, they are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You and the kids can go run off some of that turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie! Take the visiting cousins or grandparents with you! There are benches to sit and watch and even free wi-fi access.

Jumpzone is great for toddlers, too, because they have a dedicated area where the little ones can bounce around in Sesame Street without fear of getting run over by bigger kids. Sondee, the owner, is a fellow mama so she knows how important it is to keep the little guys safe.

Cost for open play is $7 for kids ages 6 and up. It’s $5 for kids ages 2 to 5. Kids under 2 are free with one paid admission, and parents are always free. Remember that everybody will need socks to play at Jumpzone. Happy bouncing!

Guess who’s going to the spa!

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Congratulations to Jessica Harbour, the lucky mama who won a day at the spa!

Jessica cracked us up when she wrote this in comments:

So many reasons I need some relaxation:

1. Crazy toddler

2. Mom-obsessed baby

3. Just bought a duplex, which was a foreclosure and needs ALL the work

4. Crazy dog ran away this morning and I had to chase her around the block

5.Husband had a wreck two days ago, causing us to be a one car househol for who knows how long

6. Did I mention the duplex and the work?

Jessica will be pampered in the Barefoot Spa Room with a hot stone foot massage, then she’ll luxuriate with a full body brushing and body wrap. Then she’ll enjoy a 50-minute facial and a waxing of her choice.

She’ll also be treated to lunch at the spa from The Little Bread Co., a quaint little restaurant just a few steps down from I.M. Spa on Block Street in downtown Fayetteville. That includes a delicious dessert: Crème Puff, freshly-baked at The Little Bread Co., filled with sinfully delicious cream and covered with chocolate.

Enjoy it Jessica, before the hard work begins on the duplex. Or maybe you should wait ’til after…

Youth Bridge’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Gala!

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On Tuesday, Dec. 1, Youth Bridge will host its Second Annual “Its a Wonderful Life” Gala.

It’s a toast to Shirley “Peaches” Peterson, Fadil Bayyari, and Dick Johnson for their impact on youth in Northwest Arkansas.

  • December 1, 2009 at the Fayetteville Town Center.
  • 6:30- 8:00 – RECEPTION and SILENT AUCTION
  • 8:00-10:00 -  DINNER and LIVE AUCTION

Tickets are $75 a person or $800 for a VIP table of 10 and the money goes to a GREAT cause. Youth Bridge is a non-profit, for impact agency that serves teens and their families in the areas of abuse, neglect, addiction, homelessness, mental health issues and behavioral problems. They accomplish this through outpatient, residential, outreach and emergency services.

Please call 479-575-9471 or visit  www.youthbridge.com to purchase tickets or for more information on the event.

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Beauty Buzz: Giving thanks is beautiful

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! With the holidays finally here (and before Black Friday hits and I completely lose focus of the “Reason for the Season”) I thought I would make a list of a few things that I am grateful for this year.

In no particular order:

My navy-blue nail polish (Revlon Midnight Affair) because it makes me feel a little bit rock ‘n roll in my “wheels on the bus” world.

The ladies at Spoiled Salon who wax my wild eyebrows and the person who looked in the mirror one day and thought “I wonder how I would look if I ripped a bunch of my hair out”…Genius! They call eyebrow waxing a 10-minute facelift for a reason.

perfume31phtzqjmcl_sl500_aa250_.jpgJuicy Couture Perfume because it smells so yummy and is the closest I will ever get to “couture”.

Maybelline Superstay 24hr Concealer for hiding what used to be my freckles and “beauty marks”, but my dermatologist now refers to as “age spots”. That’s just cruel!

My mom who once gave me the beauty advice: “You can’t cut your hair…It’s your identity!” (Although, she swears she never said that). She gave me the self-confidence to try new things (hot pink highlights, for one) and not worry that I would look stupid…even though I did!

My kids, who make me feel young, no matter what the mirror is telling me. It’s hard to feel your age while sitting on the floor playing Candyland and you’re pumped that you just drew the lollipop card.

This year, take a minute to be thankful for the little, superficial things, because sometimes when you have had a long night followed by a longer day, a spritz of your favorite perfume can really lift your spirits and help hide the fact that you didn’t get a chance to shower!

Have a great week,

Andi

Who won the free fridge?

Happy Monday, moms! Thanks to all the heart-felt comments you posted on the refrigerator giveaway, I think we’re all in a more grateful state of mind leading up to Thanksgiving.

Even in the midst of a tough economy, with loved ones fighting overseas, even with deaths of those held dear, Northwest Arkansas moms are still finding so much to be thankful for. One of those was Springdale mom Elizabeth Dietz, who said in an e-mail: “I am thankful for my son, hwhirlpoolfridgegiveaway1.jpgusband, and all of my family. Life is wonderful when you are surrounded by loved ones!” She also e-mailed news about the giveaway to friends and family, telling them, “If you don’t need a new fridge … pay it forward to someone who does.”

Well, today she’s thankful for something very tangible: a brand-new STOCKED refrigerator from Metro Builders Supply! Congratulations to Elizabeth, our fridge winner!!!! Elizabeth heard a message on her answering machine at home that said something like, “This is Shannon with nwaMotherlode.com and I have great news. Give me a call back when you get this!” She didn’t hear the second part of the message, however. When she heard the name Motherlode, she ran outside and screamed to her husband of 19 years, Pat: “I think I won the refrigerator!!!”

She came back in, called, and her suspicions were confirmed. She could hardly believe her good fortune.dietz22.jpgElizabeth and her husband have a 6-year-old son, Brayden, a sports enthusiast who’s a first-grader at Hunt Elementary School in Springdale. She works in accounts receivable at Mailco USA in Fayetteville. This is a picture of the Dietz family in Cancun in September.

Elizabeth has lived in Springdale all her life and has five sisters. Her parents just moved in with them and her old fridge is falling apart.

“This is great timing with the tough economy,” she said.

Everyone’s coming to Elizabeth’s house for dinner, so she’ll be able to stock the refrigerator to the gills with the $200 gift card from Harps and $100 for the freezer side from Tyson. And she’ll have plenty of room for the leftovers in the new Whirlpool side-by-side from Metro, of course!

Our many thanks to Metro Builders Supply, Tyson and Harps for this awesome fall giveaway! We want to give a big shout-out to all those who brought non-perishable food out to Metro for the young women at Saving Grace, too. Your generosity is a blessing to the girls and the non-profit organization’s founder, Becky Shaffer. Here’s a short video postcard so you can see all the food you helped collect for this non-profit.

The Nutcracker: A tradition in the making

nutcracker.jpgThe year Mike Walker’s daughter, Adeline, turned 5, he took her to see The Nutcracker for the very first time. A father-daughter tradition was born.This holiday season marks the third year they’ll share this magical production together.”I just thought there aren’t many things we get to do together that she really likes, so this is something we can do every year,” Mike said, adding wryly, “Before she gets too old for me.”Addie loves the mice battle scene and Mike enjoys the music.”I really just enjoy being able to sit with her,” he said. “It’s a day we both look forward to. It’s our main tradition that’s just the two of us. No matter how busy it gets, we take the time to get dressed up and go.”Mike’s wife, Christy, stays behind with their younger daughter Caroline, 3. Addie’s little sister will be able to go, too, when she turns 5.

Families can start their own traditions this weekend with a visit to Walton Arts Center for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. With the help of a local children’s cast, the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company will perform the show four times over Thanksgiving weekend: Friday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 28 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 29 at 2 p.m.

wac_nutcracker_motherlode.jpgThe ballet company ventured to Fayetteville in August to audition local boys and girls ages 5-17 for the 68 extra roles in the production. After a local cast from 25 area dance studios was selected, they immediately began rehearsing. Twelve-year-old Peyton Etzel from Rogers has been dancing in productions of The Nutcracker since she was six years old. She is excited to finally get to perform as Clara with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and says, “It’s a dream come true!” She is currently with Classical Ballet Academy in Bentonville and one day hopes to dance professionally.

Vice President, Learning and Engagement at Walton Arts Center, Laura Goodwin, explains that “performing in The Nutcracker is not only a chance for the cast to refine their technique but also polish their acting skills. That’s a very different experience than most young dancers have in a studio recital and Walton Arts Center is proud to be able to provide this unique opportunity.”

Perhaps the most popular of all ballets, The Nutcracker has been delighting audiences for generations. A fairy tale-ballet consisting of two acts and three scenes, The Nutcracker is the story of a young girl who dreams about a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a multi-headed Mouse King. Adapted from a well-known book by E.T.A. Hoffmann and set to music from legendary composer Peter Tchaikovsky, this romantic era story is brought to life by lavish sets and jaw-dropping choreography performed by the expert dancers of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

This is the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company’s third visit to Walton Arts Center, and Northwest Arkansas audiences have cherished every visit. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has developed into one of the largest presenters of dance in the United States and become internationally recognized as a leader in the world of ballet. Called “an engaging and spirited troupe” by the Newark Star-Ledger, they have become highly-sought after by audiences and choreographers alike.

Tickets range from $28.50-$52.50 and can be purchased by contacting the Walton Arts Center’s Box Office at 479.443.5600 or by visiting waltonartscenter.org. Click here to buy your tickets!

Head’s up! Holiday Market Opens Friday, November 27:

In the spirit of The Nutcracker, Walton Arts Center will open a Holiday Market from Friday, November 27 to Wednesday, December 16. Vendors will be selling jewelry, books, soaps, pottery, stationery, painting, Christmas décor and other festive gifts in McBride Studio one hour before and after each performance, as well as during intermissions.

Last week to win pizza and movie passes!

We don’t want you to miss your chance of winning FOUR free movie passes to any Malco movie theatre plus a gift certificate to any location of Guido’s Pizza, but this will be your last week to throw your name in the hat. We’ll draw for winners AT RANDOM on November 30th. Here’s what you need to know about this giveaway:

bizflower1.jpgAs you may have already heard, we’re in the process of building our very own “Mom’s Choice Business Directory.” We got the idea for it when we kept getting e-mails from various moms with questions that start like this: “Where’s a good place to buy a ….” (You fill in the blank.)

Since moms do most of the shopping, it’s good to have a directory of local businesses that are recommended by fellow moms and known for great products and/or service. So we’re asking you to tell us about your favorite mom-friendly businesses. You can list one or 10 or more than that, if you like. Here is a list of categories that we’re interested in, but feel free to list any favorite business that might not fall into one of these boxes:

  • bakeries
  • dermatologists
  • gift stores
  • carpet cleaners
  • restaurants
  • dry cleaners
  • eye doctors
  • furniture stores
  • chiropractors
  • birthday party places
  • handymen services
  • painters
  • realtors
  • travel agents
  • veterinarians
  • maternity shops
  • baby/kid furniture stores
  • consignment shops
  • child care
  • plumbers
  • electricians
  • movers
  • housecleaning services
  • play places
  • frame shops
  • banks
  • women’s clothing
  • caterers
  • dentists and pediatric dentists
  • lawn services
  • car repair
  • florists
  • spas
  • salons
  • shoe stores
  • toy stores
  • bookstores

tickets2.pngIn addition to two winners of the movie passes and free pizza, we’ll also draw six names at random and give them one of our new, super-cute nwaMotherlode.com t-shirts. There’ll be lots of winners on this one, so be sure to throw your name in the hat and help us build a great directory. We plan to unveil it around the first of the year.

HOW TO ENTER: Click the comment button below to list your suggested businesses or e-mail us your list at giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com. As always, if you send an e-mail to your friends to let them know about the giveaway, we’ll give you an extra chance to win for every friend you tell. Just be sure to CC us on your note so we can give you credit for helping spread the word.

Thanks in advance for your input on the new directory!

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