Drama for Mama: American Idol Recap

Okay… I love this show, but c’mon, people. Really? You send Didi Benami home instead of “Teflon” didi-benami.jpgTim Urban? Are ya kidding me?

But apparently Ryan Seacrest was not kidding Wednesday night when he sent poor Didi packing, and the judges were not feeling generous with the infamous “judges’ save.” There was no saving Didi, which is too bad because I dig her voice. I say she could have a successful singer/songwriter album one day — hopefully soon.

Granted, Didi was not at the top of her game Tuesday night when she sang “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted“. It was a little bit pageant-like and not true to the singer/songwriter vibe where she shines most. But I thought it was still way better than Tim Urban’s take on a classic Anita Baker song, “Sweet Love.” The third member of the bottom three was Katie Stevens, and this is the secoamer-idol.jpgnd week in a row that she’s been in the bottom three and been the first sent back to safety.

This might not be a popular thing to say, but I did NOT get Siobahn Magnus’ performance Tuesday at all. I was half-expecting her to be in the bottom three because there were notes during her performance that were downright painful. I cringed. Yeah, sure she can hit the high notes, but it gets kinda screamy sometimes, if you ask me. She’s cute and quirky and odd and genuine, and I guess that’s enough to keep the votes coming in for her, but she’s not one of my faves.

Speaking of faves, hurray for Lee Dewyze! He’s finally in the zone. His performance of “Treat Her Like a Lady” Tuesday was, by far, his best song of the season. I hope he can do something like that again next electric_guitar.jpgweek. I also really like Casey James, and my 5-year-old son thinks he’s the best because he plays the electric guitar which makes him automatically cool. I’m betting he is polling well with the teens and tweens, as well.

Andrew Garcia was much better this week with a cool version of a Chris Brown song, and he really needed to step up his game. Michael Lynche also turned in a really strong performance. Aaron Kelly did “okay,” but it didn’t blow anybody away. Crystal Bowersox left the guitar behind and played piano while singing “Midnight Train to Georgia,” which was great. I agreed with Simon that it would have been cooler without the back-up singers. And Katie Stevens sang Aretha’s “Chain of Fools,” and it proved she can really sing but it just didn’t sit quite right for some reason. Maybe it was too old for her innocent girl-next-door looks. I don’t know.

So… what do you guys think? Entertainment Weekly called this season of Idol the weakest in terms of vocal talent. Were they right? And, if not, who are you tuning in to watch this season and why? Click the big orange comment button to post your thoughts.

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nwaMotherlode now has an app!

We love new accessories, and we’re especially proud to show off our new website accessory. We’ve got our own nwaMotherlode app, mamas! Here’s how it looks on an iPhone. How cool is that?

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What would be even cooler is if our new app could make it on to your iPhone. If you deem us app-worthy, we’d be honored to have our signature blue daisy on your iPhone or iPod Touch. And if you’re a Blackberry mama, then this app will work on your phone as well.

HOW TO DOWNLOAD: Just open the Safari browser on your phone and go to this url address: http://www.nwamotherlode.com/iphone. Once you’re there, you’ll see a sentence that says “Install our iPhone Web App.” Click on that sentence and then it will tell you to do three simple steps: Click the + symbol, then click on “Add to Home Screen,” and then click on “Add.” Presto, whamo… it’s loaded. The whole thing took me about 10 seconds.

If you have any trouble at all, send us an e-mail and we’ll help you fix it.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, it will connect you instantly with the newest articles we’ve published on nwaMotherlode.com, and they’ll be displayed in an easy-to-read format made to fit your phone screen. There will also be a button that says “Go To Site” for those times you want to jump over to the website and enter a giveaway or place a comment or finish reading a particular article.

Hope you love the new app. If you do, tell your mama friends about it!

You gotta see this dog video

Typically I don’t open things that look like they’ve already been forwarded around the world. But my friend Donna sent me a link to the video below, and I’m SO glad I watched it. It’s really touching. If you like animals or kids or both, you’re going to love this video, too.

I wanted to share it with you because I think it contains such an important message for us as mothers. It reminds us to look for and nurture our children’s natural talents instead of forcing them into an area that might not be best suited for their individual strengths or personality.

Watch and enjoy!

All Akimbo: Boys and their sports

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By Kim Blakely, soccer mama

When I learned I was carrying a son, the thought that my presence might be required at a few sporting events did cross my mind.

I’m not a big sports fan. I like to go to the occasional Razorback game, and I enjoy a good game of hoops, but really, I just don’t get it. I didn’t grow up watching sports – no one in my family watched sports, actually – and I don’t even have a good feel for all the rules.

But I married a sports fanatic, so I knew this would be my life.

I did not realize, however, that we would be double-booked. I especially did not realize we would be double-booked before Mojo even started kindergarten.

My husband has signed us up for baseball (T-ball) and soccer this spring and there is a good bit of overlap.

How, I’ve asked, are we supposed to get from baseball practice at 5:15 to soccer practice at 6? And how is Mojo supposed to find the energy to play in an 8:30 a.m. soccer game and then go immediately afterward to baseball practice without falling over?

And what about the days when we’re scheduled to play in soccer games and baseball games AT THE SAME TIME?

I’m still waiting for the answer – a shrug just does not count.

I know many moms have gone before me in this and survived. I’m sure I, too, will live through the sports years.

But will I make it through without rushing onto the soccer field and giving the coach that says to one his tiny players, “Are you playing soccer or messing around?” Thankfully (for him) it was not my tiny player he was addressing. I don’t know that I could have been a good sport about that.

And will I make it through this without [severely] admonishing the father standing on the sidelines next to us about telling his son that the other players are better than him? I can’t imagine what kind of father thinks that kind of thing would motivate a kid to play better.

Baseball season hasn’t started in earnest yet – we’ve only had a few practices so far. (I say a few … but I have to clarify that there have been a “few” in just a matter of a week. Who knew there was so much practicing involved in T-ball?!)

I hope Mojo will choose one sport or the other next year, just so his sports-illiterate mom can focus on learning the rules of engagement for one game at a time. (Maybe I can focus so hard on this that I will be able to tune out the parents/coaches who are behaving badly.)

I do think he enjoys all the activity, if only because it helps him bond with his dad. He seems to have fun, and to be honest, I enjoy watching him as much as he enjoys playing. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be a sports convert!

This morning, Mojo woke me up at 5:30 a.m. He’d had a bad dream, he said, about a dragon shooting white gumballs at him. (Pitching machine, anyone?)  He wasn’t sure if this was a good thing, he went on, so he asked me to call the police. The gumballs were everywhere – there were so many you couldn’t even move without stepping on them – and he didn’t know how we were ever going to clean them up.

I quickly gathered my [bleary] senses and said, ‘Ooooh, I know how we can clean up all those white gumballs!”

His curiosity was piqued.

“We can eat them!” I said.

(If he starts chewing on the baseballs at the next practice, will they kick him off the team? I’ll keep you posted …)

Kim Blakely is mom to baby girl “Moxie” and 5-year-old “Mojo”. She’s also a freelance writer who works from home. To read previous All Akimbo posts, click here!

Beauty Buzz: On crater-sized pores

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By Dr. Cheryl Hull, dermatologist and owner of Hull Dermatology

288px-meteor.jpgMost women are concerned about the visibility of their facial pores. There are three main things that cause pores to enlarge: genetics, age and sun damage. People who have thick, oily skin tend to have large pores as well. With age, pore size changes because of changes in the skin.

Of these changes, decreased moisture is a big factor. There’s a lot of research in dermatology focusing on estrogen and the skin. Evidence shows estrogen is important for maintaining the skin’s moisture and thickness. As women age, estrogen levels decline, resulting in the reduced ability to maintain moisture. Reduced moisture seems to affect pore size.

Lastly, chronic sun damage destroys elastic tissue and this causes pores to dilate. When the pores dilate, debris and keratin clog the pores and accentuate their appearance. 

To minimize the  appearance of pore size, it’s important to moisturize daily with a facial clarisonic3.jpgmoisturizer with a SPF of at least 30. Exfoliation to remove the keratinous debris twice a week is important. I highly recommend the handheld Clarisonic for daily use. 

To actually decrease pore size, I have several recommendations for patients. I try to start as many of these patients as I can on a topical retinoind cream every night before bed. Regular and long-term use of retinoinds minimize pores. This class of medications can be very drying and irritating, so proper education of how to apply the creams is important. I also recommend daily use of an alpha-hydroxy acid wash, such as a glycolic acid wash. Glycolic wash helps to exfoliate and has been shown in studies to help shrink pore size with long-term use. 

In addition to the nightly application of a retinoid cream, daily use of a glycolic acid wash, at least twice a week exfoliation with a mild scrub, and daily use of a facial moisturizer with a SPF of at least 30, there are other options to help minimize pore size. A series of Microdermabrasions or chemical peels reduce pores. To maintain the results achieved with these procedures, I recommend a daily regimen using a glycolic acid wash, tretinoin cream before bedtime and daily application of a moisturizer with SPF. 

Also, to shrink pores in our practice we use a pneumatic (“vacuum”) assisted laser treatment referred to as Isolaz. Isolaz uses a combination of photo pneumatic energy that combines a gentle vacuum with broad-band light. Isolaz removes blockages in the pores, including blackheads, dirt, oil and dead cells. The light destroys bacteria and shrinks oil glands.

Skin is purified from the inside out. Treatments are safe, painless, effective and require no downtime. All skin types can be treated, including those with darker skin.

How does it work? The treatment tip gently pulls up the skin and vacuums pore impurities. The light energy then destroys the acne-causing bacteria. Oil glands shrink, and blackheads/debris deep in the pores are removed. Treatment takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the area treated.

For more info on pores or other dermatology-related issues, contact Dr. Hull by calling her office at 479-254-9662. “Beauty Buzz” is sponsored by Hull Dermatology, with offices in Rogers, Bella Vista and at the Eureka Springs Hospital. Dr. Hull has published several scientific papers and has received numerous awards and honors for her work in dermatology. For more info, click here to visit the Hull Dermatology website.

Northwest Arkansas Easter Egg Hunts

easter-eggs.jpgHere comes Peter Cottontail… hopping down the bunny trail!

If you and your little ones are looking for good places to hunt for Easter eggs, you’re in luck. Here’s a list of some places around Northwest Arkansas where you’ll find plenty of colored eggs and treats.

Bentonville

Arvest Bank will be holding an Easter Egg-Stravaganza on the Bentonville Square for kids age 10 and under on April 3, 2010 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Registration begins 30 minutes before each hunt in the Arvest Conference Room on the Bentonville Square. Activities will be provided by Faith Lutheran Church.

Fayetteville

University Baptist Church will host its Annual Community-Wide Easter Egg Hunt and Picnic at Wilson Park in Fayetteville on Saturday, April 3, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bring your Easter baskets, neighbors, friends and family, along with lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Prizes for toddler, preschool and elementary divisions of the egg hunt. There will be game booths, a photo booth, music and the Gospel presentation.

First Christian Church in Fayetteville will be holding an Easter Egg Hunt on church grounds on Saturday, April 3rd at noon. Children should bring a dozen Easter eggs. Adults should bring a side dish or dessert to share. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be served. The church is located on North College Avenue. Call the church office for more info.

Rogers

Central United Methodist Church in Rogers, located on New Hope Road, will be holding their annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 3rd at 2 p.m. on the church grounds.

Rogers First Church of the Nazarene will be holding an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, April 3rd from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Call the church office at 636-1050 for more info. We hear there’s going to be bouncy houses, face painting, food and more. The church is located on Pleasant Grove Road in Rogers.

Attention all mamas! If you know of other area Easter egg hunts that are open to the public, click the big orange comment button below and let us know about them! We’d be happy to add them to our list. Happy hunting!

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Good Gossip: A Guilt-Free Dish

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Time for more celebrity gossip, delivered totally guilt-free because we don’t do the nasty stuff that’s probably not true anyway. Enjoy a little “good gossip.”

danica-mckellar.jpgRemember “Winnie” from The Wonder Years? Well, she’s all grown up now. Actress Danica McKellar who played Winnie on the popular show is 35 now and is three-months pregnant with her first child with husband Mike Verta. “I’m so excited — I feel like I have a glow,” says the actress and author of the upcoming book Hot X: Algebra Exposed. Danica said she is craving apple pie and can’t get enough. (Source: People magazine, March 29, 2010 edition)

Rob Lowe will be leaving the show Brothers & Sisters and joining the sitcom Parks and Recreation. He’ll play a state employee brought in to help with a big budget problem. (Source: Entertainment Weekly, March 26, 2010 edition)

beezusandramona.jpgAttention all fans of “Beezus and Ramona” books: This summer, plan on seeing the Beverly Cleary books come to life on the big screen. John Corbett will play the dad who is caught between his at-times warring daughters. Selena Gomez plays older sister Beezus and Joey King will play Ramona. (Source: People magazine, March 29, 2010 edition)

David Schwimmer, 43, who played Ross in the sitcom Friends, is engaged to marry photographer girlfriend Zoe Buckman, 24. This is the first marriage for both. No date has been set. (Source: People magazine, March 29, 2010 edition)

Steve Carell and Tina Fey star in the upcoming comedy Date Night, which is about what happens to a steve-carell.jpgmarried couple caught up in a case of mistaken identity during their date night. The movie will be in theaters April 9th. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Carell was asked about his reputation as being one of Hollywood’s “really nice guys.” Carell said “…I had the pleasure to meet Tom Hanks, and he makes me look like a complete jerk. He’s a really, really agressively nice guy. He knows and remembers everybody. It’s not fake. It’s not a put-on at all. He is that person.” (Source: Entertainment Weekly, March 26, 2010 edition)

mario_lopez.jpgMario Lopez and his actress girlfriend Courtney Mazza are expecting their first baby this fall. Lopez, who competed on Dancing with the Stars, said “I am so excited. I’m fired up. I’m like a little kid waiting for Christmas.” (Source: People magazine, March 29, 2010 edition)

We LOVE this season’s new hit drama, The Good Wife, starring Julianna Margulies. julianna-marguiles.jpg(You can check out our recaps of the show by clicking here.) In a recent interview with People magazine, Julianna says she is an avid knitter and made a few baby sweaters for her son, Kieran, who is now 2. She once had a celebrity crush on James Taylor and wrote a letter to him and Carly Simon, offering to be their nanny when she was 13. Her favorite chore is using her Dirt Devil Hand Vac. “It’s easy, quick, and it does the job. There’s something very satisfying about vacuuming,” she said. (We agree.) Her guilty pleasure is getting massages. “If I lost all my money and could only afford one thing in the world, it would be spent on a massage. There is nothing like a full body massage,” she said. (We say, “Amen to that, sister.”) (Source: People magazine, March 29, 2010 edition)

Custom NWA Boutique Show Items: 10 Mamas Will Win!

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NWA Boutique Show is a spring and fall event featuring some of the cutest, locally made boutique items in the region. We’re talking thousands of items made by the hands of NWA designers and artists!

I love, LOVE shopping this event and I’m always amazed at the great items these talented women have dreamed up for the show. Admission is free and there are door prizes!

This year the boutique show is on Saturday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Springdale (I-540 & Highway 412). Over 70 unique boutiques will be represented there, including nwaMotherlode! We’re very proud to be a sponsor of this year’s show and to help spread the word about such a great event. We won’t be selling anything, but Gwen and I would love for you to stop by our booth, say hello and sign up for an awesome giveaway (more details to come later)!

Speaking of awesome giveaways, today we’re happy to announce that we’ve got 10 custom items from the show to give away on nwaMotherlode!  So 10 moms will each win ONE of the following items:

heather-hill-130.jpgHeather Hill Clothing: Terrific Tie Dress (at right). Turquoise background with large white & red flowers, A-line style, cinches along neckline for a perfect fit, can be worn all year… just add a shirt & pant underneath. Value $34.99 www.heatherhillclothing.com

Lulu’s Tiles: Custom monogram scrabble tile necklace “good to be queen” necklace (pictured below). Value $25 http://www.etsy.com/shop/lulustiles

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Make It Initial: Shocking Pink-Silouette Princess with shine! 0-3 mos onesie and burp rag. 4″ matching bow. Value $25 http://www.makeitinitial.com/page/page/7098173.htm

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The BlueBonnet Art Co.: 4×4 personalized frame with wording, design and colors. Value $30 http://www.thebluebonnetartcompany.com/The_Bluebonnet_Art_Company/Home.html

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peacock-gardens-davis-the-microbus-print.jpg Peacock Garden: “Davis the VW Microbus” by Cari Humphry. 11×14 print of an Original Oil Painting.  Print is titled & signed on front below image. Printed on satin professional paper with a 1/2 inch border. Value $27.50  http://peacockgarden.com/

Scrappy Chic: Two Candy Tins and $15 Scrappy Chic Gift Certificate for use at NWA Boutique Show. Reusable window tin with 12 chocolates. Each chocolate is covered in colorful patterned paper. Box is wrapped with cardstock and topped with a theme from Scrappy Chic. Value $27 paula_grage@cox.net

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Jax of All Trades: PSA Self-Inking Stamp. Add a fun and stylish touch to mailings and belongings with this personalized self-inking stamp – a great alternative to labels and traditional address stamps. Personalize with one initial and a name in the center and name and/or address featured circular around the design. Value $35 http://www.jaxofalltrade.blogspot.com/

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 Meagan Lee Designs: Custom Made Personalized Ribbon Tote Bag. Personalized tote bag made to order with name or an embroidery design of your choice. Choose from eight different bag colors and any combination of fabric and ribbon colors.  The top of the tote is covered in yards and yards of colorful and fun ribbons to create a unique one-of-a-kind piece! Size approximately 14 x 14 x 3. Value $20. http://www.etsy.com/shop/meaganleedesigns

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debra-jordan-minkie-blanket.jpgMinkee Baby Gifts: Chocolate Brown Damask Smooth Minky and Pink Plush Swirl Blanket with Satin Ruffle. Snuggly softness in abundance! This amazingly soft blanket in soft minky chenille on one side and super plush pink rose swirl on the other. It is perfect for a baby girl! This one is unique because of the beautiful satin ruffle that adorns it. Machine Wash/Tumble Dry, polyester, measures 36 x 36 inches. Value $39.50 http://www.etsy.com/shop/minkeebabygifts

cookie-lee-bracelet.jpgCookie Lee: Blooming trellis bracelet. A fun, feminine bracelet for spring. Genuine crystal daisies add a touch of sparkle to glam up your style.  7½–8″ adjustable toggle. Also includes a “Girls Night Out with Cookie Lee Jewelry.” Value $42 http://www.cookielee.biz/esuite/home/jillwitt

How to enter: Isn’t this fun? We love being able to have 10 winners and each of the items is crafted by local hands, making it even better! To throw your name in the giveaway hat, just click on the big orange “comment” button below and tell us whether you’ve ever shopped a spring or fall NWA Boutique Show event and, if not, why you’d like to make it to the April 17 show! We’ll choose 10 winners at random on Friday (April 2), so check your in-box!

As always, e-mail your friends and family about this giveaway (and don’t forget to CC us) to increase your chances of winning: giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

About NWABoutique Show: With more than 70 unique boutiques, this show is absolutely brimming with fabulous finds, including potential Mother’s Day gifts! In addition to the items mentioned as giveaway goodies, there’s also (to name a few): furniture; hand-painted pottery; backpacks; beads; funky mirrors; home decor; chalkboards; lunchboxes; magnet boards; photo albums; pillowcase dresses; teacher’s gifts; and wall letters.

Click on this link to see a slide show of last spring’s show items (created by Kimberlea Bass Photography): http://kkbphotography.com/slideshows/nwashow/

Good luck winning one of these custom creations and we hope to see you at the show on April 17! And our thanks go out to the 10 talented women who donated the above items!

Note to crafty mamas: If you’re interested in becoming a vendor for the fall show, e-mail the Boutique Show girls at info@nwaboutiqueshow.com for details.

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Great Date Giveaway winner!

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Congratulations to Jody Dilday, winner of the Walton Arts Center South Pacific tickets and dinner at Bordinos.

Jody is mom to three kiddos (the Dilday crew is pictured above): Gracie, 13, Ethan, 11, and Genna, 8. She’s also executive director of the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas.

She says of SPSF, “We are a community supported effort creating BETTER, BRIGHTER futures for single parent families by offering ENCOURAGEMENT and ACCESS to higher education. Apply online at www.spsfnwa.org!”

Jody is also a founding member of Womenade NWA, a group of volunteers that raise awareness and support for various causes in NWA like the Glass Slipper Project at Fayetteville High School.

Note from the mamas: If you have any jewelry, purses, shoes or gently worn prom dresses taking up space in your closet, there are girls at FHS who would love to wear them to prom on April 17. The girls will be able to “shop” this Saturday (April 3) so act fast if you have a donation!

In comments, Jody wrote, “Italian food is my hubby’s favorite and going to the WAC is my favorite so this would be a perfect date night. I’ll spare you the gory details but will simply say the my husband DESERVES a night out!”

Jody said her husband was laid off from his job of 17.5 years in February.

“We’ve been living on a VERY limited income ever since,” she added. “He is in commercial construction and the entire industry is suffering in NWA, so the job prospects have been slim.

“Thankfully, Mark is being called back to his company in April and we can CELEBRATE his new/old job with dinner and a show! Thank you to the Walton Arts Center, Joe Fennel and staff at Bordinos, and NWA Motherlode for this fantastic giveaway!”

We at Motherlode second that, Jody!

Mealtime Mama: Pasta Mama recipe!

The other day I was folding clothes while watching a show called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on the Food Network on TV. I love the Food Network, but it makes me crazy hungry! This particular episode was all i-love-pasta-bib1.jpgabout breakfast foods, and one chef described a breakfast pasta dish called Pasta Mama from a restaurant called Hugo’s in California.

It’s pasta, eggs, parsley, garlic, oil or butter, and a collection of dry seasonings. It sounded so good that I found myself at the computer just minutes later, scouring the Internet for the recipe. I found the recipe and a cooking demo video on the restaurant’s website! (So nice of them to share!) Click here to see the video.

I whipped up my own batch of Pasta Mama that night using some leftover cooked pasta we had in the fridge. We LOVED it! If you like pasta, I bet you’ll love this dish, too. It’s fast and easy. Enjoy!

PASTA MAMA

Ingredients:

5 oz. of pasta (about 1/3 lb. fresh or dry)

2 eggs, beaten

2 cloves minced garlic

2 tbs. chopped parsley

olive-oil.jpg1 tbs. olive oil (or butter)

1 tbs. water

1 tbs. of fresh grated parmesan

1 tsp. dry seasonings

Dry seasonings mixture is 1/4 tsp each of the following: garlic powder, oregano, seasoning salt, onion powder.

Instructions:

1. Pull out, set up and prepare all ingredients for the dish.

2. Prepare pasta. Fresh takes 2 to 3 minutes; follow directions on packaging of dry pasta. (Leftover pasta can also be used. Add at same time as it is added below and warm in pan with 1 tbs. hot water before adding eggs.)

3. Turn on medium flame. Pour oil (or melt butter) in 10-inch saute pan.

4. Add minced garlic and 1 tsp. mixed seasoning; saute together 1 to 2 minutes.

5. Add parsley; add pasta with 1 tbs. hot water. (Make sure leftover pasta or cold pasta is hot before adding parsley or eggs.)

6. Add beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly.

7. Add parmesan, cook through and serve.

Variations: Pasta Mama has as many variations as you can imagine. Add any vegetables you would put in an omelet — other cheeses, sausage, bacon, chicken; adjust seasonings to taste.

Enjoy!

Devotion in Motion: The Gospel According to Mother Goose

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6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7 (NKJV)

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

Profound truth turns up in the most unusual places. I ran across a rhyme from Mother Goose not too long ago, and it gives advice that leads to great peace when I take the time to live by it.

For every evil under the sun
There is a remedy or there is none.
If there be one, seek till you find it;
If there be none, never mind it.

Really, that little rhyme shows a wonderful way to handle all the troubles and problems that arise each day. When faced with a trial, seek diligently to see if there is a remedy. If there is a remedy, put that solution into practice, and the problem is solved.  Sometimes the answer to our quandary is right there, but we just need the willingness and courage to put it into practice.

But, if you’re in a situation that has no remedy, then follow the advice in the adage and just “never mind it.” Don’t spend your emotional energy worrying about something that doesn’t have a solution. There is no point in “crying over spilled milk” or “sawing the sawdust.” Don’t bemoan what can’t be fixed, but use everything within your resources to improve upon the situation you have.

Dear mamas, won’t you put this little rhyme into practice this week? And when you’re seeking a remedy, don’t forget to ask our Heavenly Father for His help. He’ll provide the strength to bear your burdens, until He opens a door to a brighter day.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is in the middle of 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 Spring has surely “sprung” down in the Deep South.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to extramailbox@juno.com.

The Rockwood Files: Bug strikes again

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Having kids is great – as long as you can stand all the bodily fluids. Because you’re definitely gonna see some, smell some and clean up way more of them than you ever suspected.

Tom and I are coming off an ugly weekend which was besieged by a stomach bug that crawled through cartoon-bug.jpgthe intestines of three-fifths of our family. Three-year-old Kate was the first to go down. She woke up Friday in the middle of the night crying. By the time I reached her bed, it and she were partially covered with a mangled mush of what was once her lunch. Disgusting, I know, but it happens. So Tom and I shifted into “sick-kid management mode” – I clean up the kid and he cleans up whatever the kid threw up.

(Note to young, single women everywhere: If you’re smart, you will look for a good, kind-hearted man with a stomach strong enough to enable him to perform this highly valuable service. It might not sound important right now, but, trust me, it is. A man who will strip a bed and scrub carpet in the middle of the night is a man who truly loves his family.)

The great thing about toddlers is that, most of the time, they bounce back quickly. As soon as I’d cleaned her up and changed her pajamas, Kate was fast asleep on my bed and snoozed peacefully until morning. It was as she’d been cured by the simple act of shifting her stomach into reverse for just a moment or two. By daybreak, she was up and asking for chocolate milk and Saturday morning cartoons.

We kept her quarantined in our bed with a cup of 7-Up and dry toast so we could make sure the7-up1.jpg virus had run its course. Tired from the interrupted sleep, I forced myself to get up and get ready to take the boys to a birthday party at an indoor play center. They were both eager to go and had a great time while we were there. But on the way home, I started to feel a little – off. I couldn’t quite pinpoint it, but something didn’t feel right. I was queasy and tired and a little cold. And, though I’d barely eaten all day, I wasn’t hungry at all – a fact which certainly confirmed illness.

So I crawled into bed for a nap with a heating pad. Tom and 5-year-old Jack joined me, and we snoozed on and off for a few hours while Kate and Adam played nearby. When we got up later, Jack felt better and Tom seemed fine. But I was worse. Every muscle in my body ached, and I had a taste in my mouth that can only be described as week-old roadkill. No amount of teeth-brushing would shake it, either.

We skipped church that Sunday because I figured spreading a pestilence like the one we had wouldn’t be the Christian thing to do. By Sunday afternoon, I was finally beginning to get some relief. I even managed to make and eat some macaroni and cheese, which is one of Jack’s favorite meals. Jack, on the other hand, was suddenly disinterested. Not hungry, he said. “Uh-oh,” I thought.

By nightfall, the bug was closing in on poor Jack. A hot bath and a dose of ibuprofen did nothing to scare it off. Around 1 a.m., I heard a cough and then a loud cry from the bedroom. I shook Tom awake and said “It’s Jack,” and we both shifted back into our familiar “clean up kid, and clean up mess” roles.

Judging by the length of time it took Tom to clean up the mess and the foul smell coming from that room, biohazard.gifI knew it was particularly bad, and I was grateful Tom was able to be our one-man Haz-Mat crew. I have one of those sympathetic stomachs that would probably force me to add to the mess if I’d entered the area. Since I’m great at cuddling a sick kid, I focused on that instead.

Just like his sister two days prior, Jack fell asleep again quickly and rested well all night with no fever. I kept him home from school today to be sure we were past the puking, and he was. We both began to feel better as the day wore on.

But then Tom walked into the room a few moments ago and said something dark and foreboding: “I don’t feel so good.”rockwoodheadshot2010compressed1.jpg

Uh-oh.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. 

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Fashion Mama: The 6 Must-Have Shoes

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By Michelle Thompson, nwaMotherlode.com fashion editor and lover of shoes

When I was first asked to take on the quest of finding the perfect six shoes you must have in your closet, I said “Surely you mean six shoes for each season.” Yes, I’m a bonafide shoe-horse, so I knew this would be a tough assignment.

As I started to really study the idea of the perfect six shoes, it actually became easier and more obvious to me than I expected; however, it also made me realize I seriously have way, way too many shoes. But, what’s a girl to do when she finds the perfect shoe for the perfect outfit? Sometimes it’s just too hard to walk away.

So, girls I hope this helps you in your quest to have a put-together, completed look when you step out your front door in the morning to experience whatever adventure comes your way. (If you fall in love with any of the shoes pictured below, just click on the photo to get more info about it.)

Six Basic Shoes You Must Have in Your Closetboot.jpg

1.  High/Low heel Tall boot:

These are a must from Fall to early Spring. You can dress these dollies up for church or a Girl’s night, or slide them under your favorite boot-cut jeans for a more casual, fun look.

2.  An Evening Shoe

silver-pump2.jpgClassic shaped and a neutral color. When an event comes your way, if you have the perfect sparkle showstopper you’ll be ready to go. If you lean towards the “little black dress” when an event comes along, I would definitely choose a black beauty; however, if you like to shake things up with a blast of color, then definitely go for silver. It’s a go-with-everything color!!!!

3.  A fun and flirty pair of flats

flat.jpgI am all about solid color flats; however, if you are going to just have one pair of flats in your closet, pick something fun. Go for a great animal print or an interesting texture with jewel embellishments. Metallics are great in this category as well. There’s not much out there you couldn’t wear with leopard flats. They will really sass up a seemingly boring outfit.

4.  Dressy black heel or pump

heelpump.jpgThis one is a must for all the moms working in offices out there. These are gorgeous with the perfect pair of black pants or a black sheath with a cardigan. Also, these are a perfect choice for a date night with the hubby. A beautiful heel elongates the leg and adds shape as well. If you have a hard time tolerating a heel, just do a kitten heel which is sleek-sneaker.jpgmuch shorter but still has the same elongating benefits as a higher heel.

5.  Sleek Fun Fabulous Sneaker

This is not your plain old running shoe girls. This shoe needs to be in a fun color and sleek with slim lines. Sneakers are a must for every moms arsenal!!! You have to have a shoe like this to chase the kiddos around and still look fashionable.sandal.jpg

6.  Metallic Sandal

This should be your summer staple. There are so many really cute options out there. Have fun with this sandal. It really will go with just about everything.

Michelle Thompson is mom to two beautiful daughters, Macy and Brooklyn, michelle-thompson-fashion-editor.JPGand is nwaMotherlode’s new Fashion Mama editor. Look for new articles from Michelle on the last Friday of the month. To read more about this local fashionista/mom/marathon runner, click here. To read her previous articles, click here.

Techno Mama: At Your Fingertips

By Sarah Hood, lovin’ technology

You know there are articles, websites and blogs out there just calling your name – but you don’t know how to find them. Until now. Below are two free methods that will help you find the information you’re interested in so you can start browsing and stop searching. Welcome to the new wave of “surfing” the net.

google_logo1.jpgGoogle Alerts: One of my favorites. And very easy to use. Perfect if you want to know what people are saying about your blog. Or about your school or your favorite singer.

Set up a Google Alert and all that information is gathered and sent to you in one easy email.

Like this:

  • http://www.google.com/alerts
  • Tell Google what you want to monitor
  • Select how often you want the alert (I recommend “Once Daily”) and what types of info you want pulled (I recommend starting with “Comprehensive” – it will pull everything from blogs to news to videos, and you can always adjust it later if your needs change)
  • Done!

Yep. THAT easy. And you can monitor all of your “alerts” on one page, delete old ones if necessary and adjust timing and scope of current ones. It’s like a personalized Google search – on a regular basis. Instead of you typing in “highchair product reviews” every day for a month as you’re shopping around, or constantly Googling “recipes with peanut butter” – let Google do the work for you and simply read through your email for the info you need.

A few suggestions to get you started:

  • Is there a current news story you want to follow? Type “Haiti Relief Effort” or “Healthcare” into the search field and stay on top of all the blogs and videos and news articles on the net.
  • Is entertainment your thing? Type “Oscar Fashion” in and enjoy every last “Best and Worst Dressed” List the internet has to offer. Or type in “Twilight Fans” to find other members of Team Edward.
  • Are you in business for yourself? Type in the names of your competitors to see what they are up to and what people are saying about them. You should also monitor your own brand this way, too — you can leverage any good press that’s out there about you!

You can have up to 1000 alerts, so don’t worry about how many – just get started! Go ahead and type in a few of your interests – things you’d like to follow or monitor – and see how it goes. And if you change your mind about it later, it is REALLY easy to revise or delete alerts straight from your email.

StumbleUpon: If you’re looking for something new, check out StumbleUpon. It requires a few more steps to get started, but essentially asks you to select your interests and then provistumbleupon-logo.jpgdes you “randomized” content that matches those interests.

You can participate at Stumble on a few different levels.

  • To get your feet wet, try filling out your interests and clicking Discover. By clicking through Recent, Top Rated, etc. you’ll get a taste of what kind of content was drummed up by your answers to the interest survey. (Top Rated is my favorite. You get the cream of the crop.)
  • If you’re feeling braver, click over to Favorites. This tab requires a little more commitment. You’ll need to download the toolbar to participate in rating different sites with either a thumbs up or a thumbs down. The toolbar is low profile and no biggie, and when you rate other sites you are contributing to the overall database of StumbleUpon. The site uses your preferences to determine ratings and to ultimately give you (and other Stumblers) more relevant site suggestions. As you surf the net and you Stumble something (give it a thumbs up or thumbs down rating) you are “recommending” that site back to StumbleUpon and letting them know whether they should suggest that site to other Stumblers with the same interests.
  • Ok – here’s the doozy. Click Stumblers. This is the social networking angle of the site that allows you to connect with other Stumblers and build a network of friends. You can find your friends that already use StumbleUpon, invite your current Facebook/blogger friends to join you, or make new StumbleUpon friends!

So, like I said. A few more steps involved in StumbleUpon, but a great tool if you’re looking for some fresh new sites. It can be a great tool for bloggers with writer’s block looking for some inspiration and, if used correctly, can drive new traffic to your blog or business website.technomamamugshot.jpg

Have fun!

Technology blogger Sarah Hood would love to hear from you with questions or feedback regarding gadgets, technology, or blogging. You can also stop by Sarah’s personal blog, Musings of Mother Hood to say hello. To read previous installments of Techno Mama, click here!

Hair: Help Me Rhonda on taming those curls!

Dear Rhonda,

I have a 14-month-old daughter with naturally curly hair, and it’s REALLY hard to fix and take care of it jenn-and-addison.jpgeach day. I’ve been told to use conditioner on it and not to wash it every day. I’ve bought several products at Wal-Mart and one from a salon, but I’m wondering what tricks you might have up your sleeve. I know her hair will be beautiful once it grows out, but right now it’s a curly mess! Any help for a mom with a daughter who has curly hair? (That’s us in the pic on the right!)

Dear Curly Girly,

First of all, congratulations on your daughter! She’s beautiful! Kids are a lot of fun at 14-months-old. If she will let you do it, curly hair is easiest when you can pull it back with clips or a barrette. The secret to naturally curly hair is to keep the curls intact. One way to do this is with a light gel like Redken’s CONTOUR. I know it’s hard to get a 14-month-old to be still for very long, so this could be a bit of a challenge.

Here’s the scoop on curls: The wetter they are, the more curls stick together, which is good. As the curls get separated, you tend to see only frizz, which is… not-so-good. As for shampooing, it never hurts to shampoo hair every day, especially for children, since food anredken-outshine.jpgd other fun things can end up there!

Besides gel, a finishing cream would make the hair less frizzy. Apply the finishing cream to wet or dry hair for smoothing. It’s light and doesn’t make a mess. It’s also something you can keep in your bag for “on-the-go” styling. Redken has a fantastic finishing creme called OUTSHINE. It’s lightweight and has a great, clean smell. I think you and your little one would love it.

I know this is a “difficult hair time” for you right now. Just enjoy and make the best of it. She won’t have that “curly mess” forever. And when it’s gone, you’ll surely miss it!

rhondapic1.jpgRhonda Moulder, pictured right, is a mama to two beautiful daughters and is also a stylist in Bentonville at Estella Studio. E-mail her a hair question at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com or call for an appointment at 479-586-5100. Have a happy hair day.

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