Don’t forget to try the Chick-fil-A sandwich this week for FREE!

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If you haven’t done it yet, sign up to try a FREE Chick-fil-A spicy chicken sandwich starting today through Saturday, June 5. Yay for Spicy Premiere Week! The brand new sandwich will be available in restaurants on June 7.

Here’s how to try it free before then:

  • First go to the website, GetSpicyChicken.com
  • Select the Chick-fil-A location where you’d like to try the Spicy Chicken Sandwich.
  • After selecting a restaurant, choose a date and time to come in for your free sandwich. Reservations will be available at all restaurants during Premiere Week Monday May 31-Saturday June 5 (dine-in only).
  • Once you select your preferred date and time, fill out a form that asks for your email address. Shortly after, you’ll receive a personalized email with a link to a personal invitation.
  • Just print our your personal invitation and take it to your chosen location during the reserved time.
  • Enjoy!

100518_spicy_chicken_spicy_chicken.gifOn the day the spicy sandwich is available in restaurants for the first time (Monday, June 7) the Razorback Road Chick-fil-A in Fayetteville will have a special Kids’ Night with the Fayetteville Fire Department from 5-8 p.m. The kids will be able to explore fire trucks outside and visit with firemen inside. Some of the firemen will be wearing their fire gear so kids can see what they would look like in case of a real fire. There will be coloring books and information available for the kids and parents.

See you there!

Cocktails for a Cause, June 10

Cocktails for a Cause benefits the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County. The mamas are Women In Networking members and it’s a great group of ladies. If you want to get out and network with other women while helping others in the community, we’ll see you there!

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. on June 10 at Aloft Hotel in Rogers. You can buy tickets at the door. Hors d’oeuvres provided by Southern Hospitality Management and live music by the pool!

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Devotion in Motion: The Master Pharmacist

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)

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

sick-dog.jpgWhen I was a little boy in Arkansas, my best friend’s dog got sick. Back then, medical treatment was a lot more basic than it is now. My friend took his dog to the veterinarian, and the doctor told him the sad news that his pet was dying of heart worms.

However, the doctor said that there was one treatment that they could attempt as a “last ditch effort.” The vet would weigh the dog on a very accurate scale to see how many pounds the dog weighed. Then he would consult his medical textbook to find the proper dosage of arsenic for an animal that size. The doctor would use a balance to measure out the tiny amount of toxic powder to the very gram. Then the dose of poison would then be mixed with a dish of food and fed to the dog.

The doctor said that there were three possible outcomes to this treatment. Too small a dose of poison would be ineffective, and the dog would die of heartworms. Too large a dose of arsenic would kill both the dog and heartworms together. But the perfectly calculated and measured dose would bring about a complete cure. The tricky part was finding and preparing the right dosage—one that would kill the parasites without harming the host.

scale1.jpgMy friend rightly realized that he had nothing to lose by agreeing to the treatment. Without treatment, his beloved pup was certain to pass away. Fortunately, the dose of poison was exactly right. The heartworms were killed, and the dog was cured. And the dog went on to live many happy years in good health. His poison had become his remedy.

Today’s Scripture lesson (at the top) teaches us that God Himself allows His children to go through times of trial and temptation. And, because the testing of our faith is not pleasant or easy, we might be tempted to say that the Lord is trying to poison us! But this is never the case. St. Paul says that God will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear. He will always uphold us and provide a means of escape. He is the Master Pharmacist—and He individually prescribes the remedy that will cure each of His children. And His prescriptions (though sometimes bitter tasting) will never harm us, but will surely make us whole!

Dear mama, don’t be discouraged about your difficulties this week. God is with you to strengthen you, if you only remember to ask Him.  Put your faith fully in the Saviour as He works in your life to conform you more fully into the image of  His Son!

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. (On week days he works at a public school.)  He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 15) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where Walter, the Preacher’s dog will swallow a pill right out of your hand, because he’s not smart enough to figure it out .) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to extramailbox@juno.com.

The Rockwood Files: Show and Tell

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By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Every Thursday night, my son Jack cruises slowly around the house, inspecting everything around him with a contemplative look on his face. I’ve seen this happen lots of times during the past eight months, so I know exactly what he’s doing. He’s thinking about what he should take to school the next day for kindergarten “show and tell,” one of his favorite parts of the week.

Over the course of the school year, Jack has taken lots of things to show and tell and I’m almost always surprised by what he chooses. (The teacher’s only stipulation is that the item must be small enough to fit in a backpack.) He has taken a ball, a dollar-store flute, favorite books, a plastic dinosaur, soccer ball stickers, a toy truck that makes obnoxious sound effects, and most of the stuffed animals he deems worthy of a spot on his bed.

Sometimes he asks me for help in choosing something to take to class, and I offer up my ideas based on what I think might entertain or intrigue his kindergarten audience. But Jack almost always shoots down my ideas and goes with his own. And I think I’ve finally figured out why.

When I was cleaning out his backpack a few days ago, I found his most recent choice for “show and tell.” shrek.jpgIt was a small plastic figurine of Shrek, which had been used as part of a birthday cake topper two years ago when Jack turned 4-years-old. When I held it in my hand, I could imagine Jack standing in front of his class talking about this figurine. The Shrek figure would make him talk about the new Shrek movie hitting theaters this month. And that would lead into even more excited talk about how he’s going to see this new movie during his upcoming birthday party. And that would lead to talk of a birthday cake, which is one of Jack’s favorite foods.

All this time I’ve assumed that “show and tell” is something teachers do to help kids learn to express themselves, talk in front of a group, listen carefully and ask questions. And maybe that is a big part of why they do it. But Jack has helped me see a deeper meaning behind show and tell. Because he always chooses to show things that tell who he really is. That’s why my suggestions don’t always work. I’m not him, and he has to tell his own story.

If you lined up all the stuff Jack has taken to school this year, the array of items – which seemed totally random at the time – would fit him perfectly and show him as a sweet, simple, tender-hearted boy who likes dinosaurs, soccer, teddy bears, loud sound effects, birthday cake and movies starring green ogres and wise-cracking donkeys. He doesn’t choose things based on what he thinks other kids would like or be impressed by. (Kindergartners are wonderfully unpretentious.) He chooses things that mean something to him. And that’s good because “show and tell” should be less about showing off and more about self-discovery.

Jack’s simple, honest choices made me think about how, even as a grown-up, what I “show” the world is very telling of who I am. So it shouldn’t be about what I have or whether or not the people around me are impressed with it. It’s about what things mean to me and why. Whether we’re aware of it or not, we’re always showing people what we value, what we love – both of which tell them who we are.rockwoodheadshot2010compressed2.jpg

So I’ve gotta ask you: What are you taking to “show and tell” this week? And, more importantly, why? We could all learn a lot from kindergartners, don’t you think?

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

Tweens & Teens: What teens fear most

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“Like all parents, my husband and I just do the best we can, hold our breath, and hope we’ve set aside enough money for our kid’s therapy.” ~ Michelle Pfeiffer

By Dr. Billy Jones, child psychologist for Mercy Health of Northwest Arkansas

Welcome to the May edition of Tweens & Teens. I took a month off…BIG YAWN…but it is sooo good to be back.

This month I want to talk about what tweens and teenagers fear most. After scouring the internet universe, textbooks galore, and listening to my family, friends, and children, I have come to what I think is the right answer…BUT, you’ll have to wait just a few minutes before I reveal the answer.

A poll conducted from a major university shows that 81% of teens feel that marijuana is their worst temptation while 32% think that illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine, etc.) are the biggest problem they face growing up.

Poll or no poll…university or no university…I think they’re wrong.

In searching the GREAT AND MIGHTY GOOGLE, I found some comments made by teenagers about their fears. I’m listing some of them below for your enjoyment (and mine, of course). The second is my favorite:

  • I think the biggest fear of teenagers today has to do with the loss of their peers and social status.
  • Honestly, I can’t speak for all teenagers. But I think most of them don’t really have a big fear of anything.
  • My personal biggest fear is never finding love, but I think most kids are scared of not fitting in nowadays.
  • I think that the biggest fear in teens is their sexuality and finding their identity. They don’t know who they are and become afraid that others may make fun of them.
  • I think the biggest fear is not meeting expectations, whether their own or somebody else’s.
  • I think that kids and teenagers today are most fearful of school shootings, terrorists, and bomb threats because of news reporting in these scary subjects.
  • I think that the biggest fear of kids and teenagers today is the death of a loved one. If you die yourself, you’re not around to mourn.

Notice that none of the responses above had anything to do with drugs, as the study from the above mentioned university suggested. I certainly would have included one if I had found it.  Hmmm…maybe fancy, schmancy mathematical equations are not the way to answer this question. Perhaps some common sense would suffice.

So, let’s give common sense a try, shall we? When you take the core of many of these responses, couple them with the research from the University of Iamsosmart, you have your answer. The number one embarrassed.jpgthing a teenager fears the most is…(drum roll, please)…embarrassment. Notice I didn’t say the ONLY thing a teenager fears is embarrassment, but the number one thing. For example, school shootings, the #6 statement above, are scary for all of us. And very real in this day in age. This has nothing to do with embarrassment, so I certainly don’t assume that there aren’t other possibilities.

But before we go further, let’s reword their number one fear to their number one goal: The number one goal of a teenager is to NOT be embarrassed. The reason I changed it to a negative (i.e., using the word “not”) is because I think teenagers would rather avoid embarrassment over being cool. Not that they don’t want to be cool…any parent knows this to be true; however, if given a choice, avoiding embarrassment might be just a wee bit more important.

For example, my 11-year-old son was just in a production at his school and the theme was on 50’s music.  So all 5th graders had to dress up like they were in the 50’s. He slicked his hair back, wore an old white tee shirt, and put on some old jeans. BUT…he refused to wear a leather jacket, or even a letter jacket (you know, the one you get from playing sports), because he didn’t think that was cool. Give me a break! Of course it would have been cool. But I let it slide because in his mind, it was potentially letterman-jacket.jpgembarrassing.  Please notice…instead of taking a chance and wearing the leather jacket to look cool, he chose to avoid wearing it because he was more afraid of being embarrassed. So I let him make his own decision about what to wear and what not to wear. After all, I was trying to promote independence.

With that said, we can see, almost on a daily basis in my family, how embarrassment can come into play with our own teens. I’m sure that you have MANY examples of “Dad, don’t do that. It’s just not cool” or “Mom, don’t kiss me in front of my friends.” (We’d love to hear some examples, so click the comment button below and share!)

As we wrap up, please take a look back at the responses above for a moment. Loss of peers and social status (embarrassing), uncertain about your sexuality (potentially embarrassing), and not meeting another person’s expectations (embarrassing). Each of these has their own degree of embarrassment, and certainly there are other factors involved (e.g., uncertainty about what is to come). But the majority of them seem to focus on some level of embarrassment. And especially avoidance of embarrassment.

Remember, it doesn’t matter that a certain behavior or action may or may not cause embarrassment. It only matters that the teen thinks it will. Teens (and everybody else for that matter) behave and respond in a manner that is consistent with what they believe to be true, whether it is or not. This is why their decisions are so annoying to us. We know that what they are doing is not really going to be embarrassing, but they don’t. So they act in a manner that is more conforming to their peers. Why do you think they follow fads so easily? For the record, I have seen them do some pretty outlandish things in an effort to be really cool, so this avoidance of embarrassment issue does have some exceptions.

Now that we finally have our answer, we need to think about what we can do to help. Perhaps the best way to deal with your teen’s embarrassment is to give them the space they need to grow. Once they begin to gain their own sense of independence, it’s time for parents to back off and accept that their teenagers are starting to mature. This doesn’t mean we can’t keep an eye on them (even both eyes). But, it does mean we need to let them learn, grow, fall, and learn some more. As parents, we will always be there to pick them up and encourage them onward to adulthood. Sigh…our babies are growing up and we have to let them.

See you next month!

billy

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Fashion Mama: Summer Vacation Wear

By Michelle Thompson, nwaMotherlode.com fashion editor

It is here…SUMMER!!!!!!!

This is the best time for fashion in my opinion. Bright colors, fun patterns and bold textures are all abound during this season. People feel freer with their fashion and might even show a little skin. Also, as the school year is coming to an end, we moms are planning fun Summer activities for our fams.

Whether it be outings to the neighborhood pool, or an exotic tropical retreat the fashion options are fun, fresh and endless. My family and I are changing it up a bit this year and joining another incredible family for a cruise through the Caribbean. Seven nights, six kids and four adults on a massive ship, could really make for an interesting Summer vacay. Since we booked the cruise my mind has been reeling with outfit ideas for all the festivities we will take part in. While I might be a little more fashion focused than most, I did discern that if I was pondering my fashion choices months before the actual departure date, then possibly there are others out there that are also doing the same. So here are some easy go-to fun, flirty ideas for you to wear whatever life brings you during the carefree days of Summer:

  1. swimsuit-fashion.jpgYes, I am delving in with a bathing suit! I know it is bold, but our kids do actually like when we swim with them, not just watch them from afar and wave or give a thumbs up. This darling suit is on sale at Old Navy right now for $19.00.  What a steal!!!  Let me just add, that the reason this suit was chosen, (besides the insanely great price) is that I actually tried it on in the ON dressing room and liked it. Yes ladies, I actually liked it in the dressing room with all of the unforgiving lighting and institutional surroundings.  I knew that if I loved it there, then when I got home it would be one of my favorites of all time. Sure enough, I was right. The other aspect I love about this suit, is that it is a one-piece, but still fun and sexy with the deep V, which has a little strap in the middle so you don’t feel like you are going to flop out at any moment. The illusion of the sandal1.jpgbutterfly and bright colors are also so much more fun then just a plain black one-piece that a lot of women find themselves wearing.  Pair this suit with these yummy orange Tory Burch sandals, some bold earrings, a white flowy skirt, your favorite glamour glasses and you are on your way to a fashion-filled Summer.  The most important idea to remember when picking a swimsuit, is truly comfort and support.  Make sure that you feel confident in it, so you won’t feel the need to hide under your monster beach towel. 
  2. maxi-dress.jpgMy next vacation find is also another Old Navy steal.  This is a long black maxi dress that has the best fit, and incredible on all body types. I know it seems a bit plain, but it’s all in the way you accessorize it. What I love most about a dress like this is that you can put it on over a swimsuit and head to the beach or pool, but when the day is done you can add a earringsfashion.jpgfunky pair of earrings like these turquoise and coral pair from Francesca’s collections with gold gladiators from American Eagle (link). Or, for a different look you could choose these WHBM (White House Black Market) black gladiators with metallic studding and this chunky silver bracelet from Francesca’s Collections. That is three different outfits for one simple dress!  More bang for your buck with this one! You can do this with any solid color sundress you have waiting for you in your own closet. 
  3. 570005207_046.jpgEvery vacation deserves an elegant night out, and on my upcoming cruise there is a designated cocktail night. This WHBM dress is so beautiful, but still has a fresh, relaxed vacation feel to it. I love this beautiful red ring as well. It really makes the red detailing just pop! 
  4. This is my SPLURGE Summer item! I couldn’t pass up sharing it with _6024517.jpgyou! It is so in-demand right now, that only the Sun Patent color is available. The white patent is my absolute fav, but the sunny color of this one is actually just perfect for Summer vacations. It is the Michael Kors Charlton Braided Grommet Bag from Nordstroms. It is just delicious! 
  5. I just figured this groovy Summer idea out when cleaning out my closet, and a new scarf I recently picked up at Old Navy fell off the shelf. As I picked it up, it occurred to me that it is really wide, so much so that I find that it is a bit bunchy when I on732508-01vliv011.jpgwear it around my neck.  Well, a lightbulb went on, and I realized the scarf would actually make a great sarong. Well, with it’s cute little pom-poms it was perfect and so affordable.  They are on sale right now at Old Navy in several colors. 

michelle-thompson-fashion-editor.JPGMichelle Thompson is mom to two beautiful daughters, Macy and Brooklyn, and is nwaMotherlode’s 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.

Getting Healthy for Good: Who needs a plan?

By Laurie Marshall

belt.jpgI’m no expert at this, so I hope you haven’t made that assumption. If you’ve been reading my posts for a while you probably already have this figured out… I’m certainly no Jillian Michaels. Nor do I want to be, actually. I’m okay with having hips – cuts down on the need for belts.

That said, I am still very keen on being able to buy a belt in a smaller size should I require one. This endeavor to write about getting healthy has definitely been a learning experience, if not actually a shortcut to weight loss. I’ve learned that reading labels is vital to keeping “bad” stuff out of my shopping cart. I’ve learned that there is always a fitness or diet choice that’s better than the rest – even if it’s not the ideal one. I’ve also learned that I’m way too easy on myself when it comes to making time to exercise. At least I’m able to be honest, right??

weights.jpgSo, I was considering putting some money aside to hire a trainer to help me get a fitness plan in place. I checked out the cost of a personal trainer, and decided it isn’t much when compared to the benefits I’ll gain by being healthier for the rest of my life. I decided that I could pay for a few sessions and then take it from there once I got the hang of the proper way to use the equipment and such.

But then, I learned that good things come to those who wait. (Or those who procrastinate… call it what you will.) Serendipity came to me in the form of a note on Twitter about the SummerFit program at the University of Arkansas. It lasts for eight weeks, and provides participants with two one-hour sessions each week with a trainer.

I’m no math whiz, but I can smell a bargain!! Sixteen sessions with a trainer for only $100.00!? When compared with the cost of trainers at one Fayetteville club, that’s an $860.00 difference!! I was on the phone before you can say high fructose corn syrup. I am taking the pre-tests this week and can’t wait to get started! [Editor's note: All 12 spots have already been taken for SummerFit]

Rest assured that I will be passing along all of the info I get in my sessions to you all in future blog posts. I’m also going to start walking in the evening. Now, I realize I’ve said that before, but this time my incentive is different. My daughter is expecting my first grandchild around the first of August, and needs to be getting some exercise in the meantime… so I’m going to do it for her. I’ll just be the lucky recipient of some positive side-effects of my altruism. I love it when a plan comes together – even despite my failure to make one.

laurie-marshallthumbnail.jpgLook for Laurie’s fitness tips and updates on her personal health-focused journey every other Friday on nwaMotherlode in Mom Blogs. Send questions or input to her at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com. Or click on the comment button below and share your thoughts right now! To see previous installments of Getting Healthy for Good, click HERE.

What We’re Reading: Favorite parenting books

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Most women are good about “doing our homework.” If we’re having a tough time with something, we find help, often in the form of parenting books recommended by our fellow moms. So we thought we’d ask a few of the smart mamas who read nwaMotherlode to suggest some parenting books they’ve read and found especially helpful. Hope one or more of these books helps you out, too. Click on the photo of each book to get more info or purchase it online at Amazon.

If we’ve missed mentioning one of your favorites, please click the word  “comment” below and let us know what it is.

healthy-sleep-habits.jpgHealthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child, by Marc Weissbluth

“This was the book that finally helped me get a handle on my firstborn’s sleep problems. The author helped me understand how to take advantage of those times when a baby gets sleepy on his own. It was a real lifesaver for me at a time when I was so desperate and sleep-deprived. I used the methods with my second and third kids and had far fewer sleep issues.” ~ Gwen Rockwood

girlfriends-guide.jpgThe Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy, by Vicki Iovine.

“I loved this book because while it is hilarious it is also SO true! She talks about all of the “taboo” things that happen to your body during pregnancy and reassures you that all of that weird stuff happening to your body is totally normal!” ~ Molly Bender Morgan

Bringing up Girls, by Dr. James Dobson

bringing-up-girls.jpg“Dr. James Dobson’s latest book, Bringing Up Girls, gives parents invaluable insights on our daughters’ formative years and how to manage the environmental influences that surround them. Dobson immersed himself into writing this book for over three years and his dedication shows in every written page. He writes about peer pressure, pop culture, dating and numerous other topics that he then intermingles with real life accounts and the latest research. It’s a must-read for those mothers looking to help their daughters navigate and prepare for life’s journey.” ~ Amie Throndson

babywise.jpg“Babywise” book series (8 books total), by Gary Ezzo, M.A., and Robert Bucknam, M.D.

“I have a favorite parenting book series. The authors are Gary Ezzo, M.A. and Robert Bucknam, M.D. and the books start with “Babywise” and go all the way through “Teenwise.”  There are 8 books in the series.  The best thing about these books is that they’re scripturally-based parenting books. They are very practical and consistent. The “Babywise” one helped me get all three of my sons to sleep through the night by 9 weeks. Each book has very practical, common sense advice for parents who want to raise their children according to the Bible, but in today’s world. These books are excellent” ~ Lindy Kern

The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children, by Wendy Mogel

book_cover.jpg“My favorite – well, ONE of my favorites – is “The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee” by Wendy Mogel. Although I am not Jewish, I try to read this book yearly. The most important assurance I’ve gleaned from it? “Sometimes good enough is good enough!” Your child doesn’t have to be an overachiever in every area – a bit of wisdom that has been forgotten in this era of high-pressure, ‘have-’em-ready-for-a-career-by-age-8′ parenting!“  ~ Rebecca Golden Janes

hs3375533.jpgSmart Medicine for a Healthier Child, by Janet Zand

“I still use this one …for the oldest, the youngest and sometimes myself.” ~ Wendy Finn

And here are a few more titles mom Emily Jacks suggested:

I’m Pregnant! A week-by-week guide from conception to birth, by Lesley Regan

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer

Drama for Mama: Parenthood

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By Cara Cleek Ogden

Last night was the final episode of the season and the Braverman family had a lot of ground to cover to get to a place where I didn’t have to worry about them all summer.

Hanging in the balance is Camille and Zeek’s marriage, Crosby and Jasmine’s future, and the whole issue between cousins Amber and Haddie. And Sarah’s so stressed out by everything that she’s thinking of moving with Drew and Amber and going somewhere where she won’t interfere with everyone’s lives, since we know that Sarah is the root of all the family’s troubles (at least in her mind).

At Adam’s house, Haddie has dyed her hair jet black. Max thinks she looks like a panther or a vampire. Kristina and Adam are just wondering what’s gotten into her. What with the new hair color and reported school-ditching, they hardly recognize their once predictable daughter.

As far as Sarah’s kids go, Amber’s been ditching school too. And Drew wants to try out for baseball and wants to ask Adam to help. Sarah is understandably hesitant to ask Adam for anything right about now, since he and Kristina are still pretty irritated about the Amber/Haddie/Steve mess. But Sarah bucks up and goes to Adam’s house, where she’s greeted with the cold-shoulder from Kristina. Adam agrees to help Drew, however, which doesn’t go over well with his wife.

Sarah talks to her former love, Amber’s teacher, Mr. Cyr. She’s worried about Amber “unraveling” and tells Mr. Cyr about her plan to move away. All it takes is puppy-dog eyes and a few kind words from Mr. Cyr, and Sarah is dissuaded from leaving town. Never underestimate the puppy-dog eyes.

When Adam bails on helping Drew, Sarah tries to help by lobbing a baseball at the ground near Drew’s feet. Or maybe she was trying to play catch with him. I’m not sure, but either way it’s a fiasco. When Amber and Sarah get into an argument, the fiasco gets worse (is there a word for something that’s worse than a fiasco?). Sarah accuses Amber of bringing everyone down. Nice. Amber gets mad and, in the typical TV show fashion of teenage rebellion, runs away. I bet Sarah’s gonna feel really guilty and blame herself. Just a guess.

Sarah tries to find Amber and goes to Adam’s house to get Steve’s phone number. Kristina grudgingly gives it to her, along with a big dose of attitude. Adam tries to help, though, and goes with Sarah to search. But they don’t find Amber at Steve’s, or at ex-boyfriend Damien’s. They’re beginning to get really worried when Amber finally calls from a truck-stop diner and begs her mom to come fetch her. Adam calls Kristina, who offers to go get Amber, and Haddie tags along. As they drive, Haddie tells her mom that the reason she dyed her hair was just to have a change, and to do something unpredictable. Kristina gets it, and tells Haddie she thinks it’s cute. When they arrive, Haddie is the one to go into the diner to talk to Amber. Adam and Sarah drive up and the grown-ups huddle together in the rain to watch through the window as Amber and Haddie hug it out.

Meanwhile at Julia’s, she’s invited Timm (with two m’s) to come over for dinner with Zeek and Camille to offer some suggestions about the financial crisis. Zeek thinks Timm’s being condescending and trying to use the situation to benefit himself. So Zeek storms out, prompting a worried Julia to put it all out there and she yells at him that he’s risking everything…. his home, his wife, etc… But Zeek tells her he’s got it under control.

With all the craziness going on in the family, let’s not forget about Crosby, who has just found out that Jasmine’s moving to NYC for a dancing job and plans to take Jabbar with her. Jabbar has just started calling Crosby “Daddy” and Crosby’s pretty worried about his future role in Jabbar’s life. When Zeek and Crosby get drunk together and sing a bunch of bar songs, they end up having a pretty good drunken conversation and Zeek encourages Crosby to stand up for himself and for his relationship with his son.

Crosby helps Jasmine and Jabbar pack up their things. The taxi arrives to take them off to their new life in NYC. But wait! Crosby makes a Hail Mary play and tells Jasmine that he wants to go with her and Jabbar. She asks him about leaving his family and he says, “You are my family!” She smiles. He smiles. It’s all good.

Back at home, Drew tosses the ball with Adam, who’s decided to help with baseball tryouts after all. Camille, Amber and Sarah come out of the house right about the time that Zeek drives up and gets out of the car with his bag. Is he going to make a Hail Mary play too? Let’s hope so! He approaches Camille as Julia and Joel drive up. It looks like the whole family’s going to be watching, which is kind of awkward. Zeek tells Camille that he wants her back, but Camille seems unwilling to bend and tells him it’s not that easy. She doesn’t know who she is anymore, she lost herself somewhere along the way, blah, blah, blah.

But Zeek stands strong and fights for his family by pulling a ukulele out of his bag and singing a really bad rendition of “Something Tells Me I’m Into Something Good.” Herman’s Hermits couldn’t have played with more heart, however, and somehow the family all manage to keep a straight face. Apparently Zeek’s little trick works, because the final scene closes with the whole family – minus Crosby – cheering Drew on at his baseball tryout.

We’ll see more from the Bravermans in the Fall, as Parenthood has gotten solid ratings among adults 18-49 and has been renewed for a second season. I’m anxious to see what happens next year!

cara-cleek-ogdenthumbnail.jpgCara is a working single mom of a very energetic 10-year-old daughter, Ibby. Cara says, “At the end of my day, I often have just enough strength left to operate the remote control. Thankfully, my personal life is fairly calm. So in order to up the drama quotient, I keep up with my favorite TV shows. I may feel differently in a few years when my daughter hits puberty. But for now, I’m glad to have some ‘Drama for Mama’.”

nwaMotherlode mamas on 107.9 today!

kezaad2.jpgWe expect to be on 107.9′s Magic in the Morning around 8-ish Thursday morning and we’re talking about how wives and husbands go about splitting household chores. A fun topic, no?

Click here or on the ad on the right to listen to Magic in the Morning on 107.9.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about how you and your husband decide who does what around the house. Call in and tell Guy and Jennifer whether you split your household chores and which one you’d pass off to someone — anyone — else if you could.

Do you hate to clean the toilets, so your honey does the honors? Do you love mowing the lawn so you take that job off his hands? Does he do the grocery run every week? What about childcare duties? We toilet-brush.jpghate it when dads say they’re “babysitting” their own kids. Ugh. And are you good about delegating some chores to your spouse, or do you tend to suffer in silence or “play the martyr”?

(Yes, that really is a Pinnochio toilet brush you see pictured on the right, which just goes to show you can find just about anything online.)

We know it’s hard not to “keep score” of who’s doing what or get resentful when your household “to do” list is a mile longer than his. So how do you get your sweetie to pitch in a little more? If you have good suggestions, post them below so the rest of us can learn a thing or two. :-)

We read a study recently about how divorce rates are lower in families where the husbands help with shopping, childcare and housework. Granted, it was a study of British families, but we gotta think it makes good sense here, too.

You can also post a comment on the Magic in the Morning Facebook page. Click here to go there right now.

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All Akimbo: Navigating the independent playdate

By Kim Blakeley

lego-blocks.jpgMojo has just entered the world of playdates without his mama. And a couple of his friends have started hanging around at our house without their mamas, too.

Are there any good reference books out there to tell me how to navigate this unfamiliar territory?

I’m just not sure I’m handling things just the way I should.

I have lots of questions, like, for starters, is 5 an appropriate age for this kind of thing? It seems like lots of kids his age are doing it, so I’m assuming it’s all good.

It’s just that Mojo is still pretty much a baby in my eyes, albeit an increasingly gangly … err, independent and sociable one.

I’m not sure I’ll ever feel entirely secure about him going to the homes of people I don’t know very well. I mean, I would never leave him with someone I don’t think is responsible – but how do you know what someone is like when you’re not around? What kinds of things do you ask/look for before you allow your child to go on a playdate without you?

And what about kids who come to our house to play?

I’m never sure if I should stick close to the kids or leave them be. Come up with activities or just let them do what they want. Make them play together or wait for them to sort out their own interactions. Ugh.

There’s one who rummages through cabinets and closets, and he seems to find closed doors irresistible. I try to keep an eye on him but sometimes I have to go upstairs to put Moxie down for a nap – and sometimes I just have to go to the bathroom – leaving our belongings vulnerable to his curiosity.

apple1.gifI try to provide healthy snacks, but one rejects my offers and asks (and not so gently) for other options.

All this, though, I can muddle through. I think I’ll figure it all out in time. By the time Moxie grows her social butterfly wings, I’m going to have this down.

But one thing has me really stumped: One of the mamas of Mojo’s friends sent an email a few weeks ago asking my husband and me if we would let Mojo go to his friend’s birthday party – at a venue in a town about 45 minutes away. In their van. Without us. And then they are coming back for swimming at their neighborhood pool.

I have yet to respond.

I know that seems rude, but I just can’t bring myself to agree.

I hate to deprive Mojo of an opportunity to hang around with his friends at a big celebration/adventure like this. I don’t want to turn him into a social outcast. But I’m just not sure it’s a good idea. What would you do?

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Drama for Mama: The Good Wife

the-good-wife-promo_557x8253.jpgLife is just a confusing mess for Alicia Florrick.

Should she support her (formerly cheating) husband who claims to have turned over a new leaf and is committed to being a great state’s attorney if she agrees to be on board when he re-enters the political arena?

Or should she explore a relationship with her old law school friend and current boss, Will Gardner?

One intriguing point in all this is whether Will is any more ethical than Peter. Little things keep coming up that make Alicia — and the Good Wife audience — wonder. Maybe she’ll end up telling them both to go fly a kite.

But for now, she’s torn. And there’s another small complication: Giada, the young law student who’s smitten with Will. I have a feeling he’d drop her in a second if Alicia crooked her finger his way, though.

There are, of course, complications with other characters, too. (And we’ll have to wait until it starts back up again in the fall to see how they resolve, since this was the final episode.)

Kalinda is being pressured by a female FBI agent to testify against Peter and the current state’s attorney (Glenn Childs) in an ongoing investigation. A difficult situation for K., since she and Alicia are friends. Speaking of Kalinda and the female FBI agent, there was a bit of a shocking scene last night. The two were at a storage unit tracking down some evidence when they got into a little bit of a tiff. Although the audience wasn’t privvy to the scene, there was a clear suggestion that the two women settled the dispute with a kiss (or two or three). So is Miss Kalinda a lesbian or does she just use all the tools at her disposal?

Also a problem for Kalinda is that her cop lover is now furious with her for believing that he might be corrupt. The possibility that Tony might not be on the up and up came out in a case Kalinda was working on at Lockhart and Gardner.

He seemed to be exonerated by the end, but he seems shady, so we’ll see.

At the beginning of the show, Eli Gold told Alicia that Peter doesn’t want to run for political office again for four years because he’s concerned about the “seductive lure of power”. Alicia seemed pleased by this. But when Eli went to see Peter’s mother, Jackie, she was strongly opposed. In fact, Jackie stalked Peter’s new pastor, Isaiah, to tell him to steer clear of Peter. She clearly felt the pastor’s influence was behind Peter’s decision not to run.

Cary showed up at Lockhart and Gardner this last episode working for Childs. He was really confrontational with Alicia while deposing her client. In fact, he told Alicia, “You know what I’d do Alicia? I’d prepare for a season of losing.” He’s clearly out for blood since Alicia got the job and he was let go.

In the end, Peter decides to run again. But right before going up to the podium to make the announcement to a room full of press, he tells Alicia that he can’t do it without her. Alicia seems to agree to his terms, telling him she doesn’t want the kids involved and she still wants to work.

So Peter goes up and speaks again of his personal failings, about how he betrayed his marital vows. Alicia’s phone rings right about then and it’s Will, who starts talking to her about being “clear” about his feelings. She cuts him off, asking him to show her the “plan” for how things might work out between them.

“I get the romance,” she says.

Alicia then notes that she has two kids, is surrounded by press that would love to get a whiff of controversy and a husband. “Poetry is easy,” she tells Will. “It’s the parent-teacher conferences that are hard.”

Will seems to back down and the two hang up.

Then Peter makes his big announcement that he’ll run for state’s attorney again. He looks over into the wings and holds his hand out to Alicia, expecting support from his Good Wife.

But she’s looking at her phone, which is ringing again. It’s Will. She hesitates and Peter’s broad smile falters when it becomes clear that she’s weighing her options. The cameras are rolling.

And that’s a wrap! Now we wait. 

Drama for Mama: American Idol Finale Performances

By Gwen Rockwood

amer-idol.jpgI predict it’s going to be a close one, mamas! Going into the final night of competition on American Idol, I really felt like Lee DeWyze was going to walk away with the title. Last week he hit his stride and seemed to be bringing a lot of momentum into tonight. Crystal has been strong throughout the season but her growth trajectory on the show hasn’t been as exciting to watch as Lee’s.

But tonight Lee seemed… nervous? In his head too much? I don’t know exactly. He still sounded amazing, of course, but he didn’t seem to have the same raw fire he had last week. Crystal, on the other hand, left it all on the stage. She seemed much more comfortable than Lee did tonight, and it was as if she decided she was going to go out by delivering all her best vocal gymnastics in full glory. Vocally, she won the night.

This leads me to a tough decision — who to vote for? Do you base it on who had the best last night vocally? Do you base it on who has been your favorite all season long? I’ve decided to base it on this: If I was scanning radio stations and Lee was on one station and Crystal was on the other, which one would I lanmicrophone.jpgd on and stay on for the duration of the song?

So I’m voting for Lee — which doesn’t mean I don’t think Crystal is incredibly good because she is (especially tonight). At this point, it just comes down to a taste preference, and I’m digging Lee’s current, raw, rock vibe a little more than the other option. But I do think this will be an incredibly close vote — maybe even as close as the famous Reuben and Clay vote in Season 2. I’m looking forward to the final night because I hear they’re going to do more duets between well-known artists and the Idol finalists. Should be entertaining.

Who did you guys vote for, and who do you think will win the title? Click the big orange button below and make your predictions.

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Good Gossip: Babies, movies and celebs favorite chores!

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Who’s ready for little gossip? Good. So are we. Our bi-weekly gossip column is full of the good stuff — literally. Because we mamas don’t think you have to tell lies or be vicious in order to enjoy a little celebrity news. So have as much as you want because this good gossip is totally guilt-free.chris-daughtry.jpg

Here’s some baby news straight from Hollywood: Amy Adams and her fiance had a baby girl named Aviana this month. Adams said the pregnancy was good for her. Claudia Schiffer had her third baby, a girl, but hasn’t revealed the name yet. Chris Daughtry and his wife Deanna are expecting twins via surrogate soon. Congrats all around! (Source: People magazine, May 31, 2010)

Matt Lauer says his favorite household chore is vacuuming the carpet. “When I get to see the symmetric tracks I’ve made, I feel good about it.” Renee Zellweger said her favorite is laundry. “I love the laundry. It’s warm, it’s fresh. It’s an immediate thing. You get it done — fresh beginning.” (Anybody besides me want to invite Matt and Renee to come over and do all your vacuuming and laundry? Anyone?) (Source: People magazine, May 24, 2010)

toy-story-3-peas-in-a-pod.jpgHere’s some scoop you can impress your kids with. There are a few new characters in Toy Story 3, due out June 18th. The voice of the Ken doll belongs to Michael Keaton. There’s a toy named Mr. Pricklepants, who is voiced by Timothy Dalton. And the Peas-In-A-Pod toy that is like three kids arguing in the backseat of a car. The grandfatherly, Southern bear is named Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear and has Ned Beatty‘s voice. (Source: People magazine, May 24, 2010)

For those of you heading to Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando this summer, you’ll be able to check out the new Harry Potter Theme Park. It opens its doors on June 18th and features three rides, shopping, food and lots of other fun details from the movies. Admission is $79/day for adults and $69 /day for kids. (Source: Entertainment Weekly, May 28, 2010)

louboutin.jpgFor all of you die-hard Sex and the City fans, there’s a new book out about the movie sequel called Sex and the City 2: The Stories. The Fashion. The Adventure. (Costs about $20 at Amazon.com.) The book details every item worn by Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte during the movie. FYI: Jimmy Choo gives way to Christian Louboutin shoes. And four of Carrie’s 42 outfits are from the line Halston Heritage, for which Sarah Jessica Parker serves as president and chief creative officer. (Source: People magazine, May 31, 2010)cloverleaf-necklace.jpg

Oh, one more Sex and the City tidbit: In the movie, Carrie wears a designer lucky charm clover pendant necklace which cost about $20,000.  If you love the necklace but not the price tag, you can get a similar look with the Cloverleaf pave necklace, available soon at Payless.com. The necklace was designed by costume designer Patricia Field. And if you fall in love with Charlotte’s cupcake printed apron, it’s available at anthropologie.com. (Source: People magazine, May 31, 2010)

Once again, a Northwest Arkansas couple was featured in the most recent issue of People magazine. Jim jim_bob__michelle_duggar.jpgBob and Michelle Duggar gave readers an update on how their daughter Josie is doing. Born prematurely and weighing 1 lb. 6 oz., Josie is now 5 months old and up to 6 lb. 9 oz. The baby is having some digestive problems and may face surgeries in the future. Michelle sometimes stays at the hospital with her up to 15 hours per day. You know the Duggars get asked this next question all the time, but when People magazine asked if Michelle might already be pregnant again, she responded by saying “I don’t know… it’s possible.” If she is, this would be the 20th child for the Duggar family. (Source: People magazine, May 31, 2010)

Beauty Buzz: Cold Sore Concerns

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

My cell phone rang Saturday morning, and a patient I know well was calling distressed. She had been, in her words, “loving on her grandchild,” and had later begun to develop a cold sore on her lip. She was very concerned that she might have passed the virus on to her grandchild and had in some way harmed this child. I gave her some advice that included washing her grandchild’s face with soapy water, frequently vaseline.jpgwashing her hands when around her grandchildren, and applying a greasy ointment like Vaseline to provide a barrier. That phone call gave me inspiration for this article!

Fever blisters or cold sores are tiny, clear, fluid-filled blisters caused by the Herpes Simplex virus. The lesions most often occur on the face. They can be very annoying as they may reappear periodically and can be painful and unsightly. There are two kinds of infections — primary and recurrent. Although most people get infected when exposed to the virus, only 10 percent will actually develop sores. The sores of a primary infection appear two to twenty days after contact with an infected person and can last from seven to ten days.

Before the blisters appear, a person can have symptoms including skin that itches, stings, burns or tingles. The blisters tend to break, allowing the fluid inside the blisters to ooze and crust. Eventually, crusts fall cold-sore.jpgoff, leaving slightly red healing skin.

The sores from the primary infection heal completely and rarely leave a scar. However, the virus that caused the infection remains in the body. It moves to nerve cells where it remains in a resting state. People may then have a recurrence either in the same location as the first infection or in a nearby site. The infection may recur every few weeks or not at all. Recurrent infections tend to be mild. They can be set off by a variety of factors including fever, sun exposure, a menstrual period, trauma (including surgery), or nothing at all.

If a person has a tendency to develop cold sores, treatment recommendations include moisturizing one’s lips to avoid cracks in the skin and wearing zinc oxide containing chapstick when out in the sun. Sunlight lowers the immune system of the skin, and, if a sunburn occurs, it can reactivate the virus. Most importantly, when a person first notices signs of a recurrent eruption, treatment with a prescription antiviral medication, such as acyclovir, valacyclovir or famciclovir, helps. The antiviral medication can lessen the length of the outbreak and can decrease the number of outbreaks.

If you have concerns about cold sores, be sure to see a dermatologist to get more information about treatment and how to prevent transmission of the virus. This virus is manageable and having the right information is a huge help.drhull.jpg

For more info on 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.

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