Military Mama: To applaud or not to applaud

 By Jade Stone

iwo-jima-1.jpgIf you have a Facebook account, you know how easy it is to be sucked into reading the news feeds of your friends and family members, as well as the random individual you barely know now but vaguely remember sitting next to in 3rd grade and felt obligated to accept the friend request any way.

Well, I am no different.

Once in a while I catch myself reading the random facts about other people’s lives. However, something caught me off guard this past week. I realized I was reading a negative post about our military and then after a second look, I realized that it came from a fellow educator.

His comment was: “I think that applauding the military passengers on a civilian flight is a little silly”. And worse yet, this individual’s friends agreed and went on to discuss the negative “crimes” that select members of our military have committed against others and therefore applauding simply condones that sort of behavior. Stunned… I suppose that there are a few members who do not deserve to wear the uniform, certainly the 4 star general that was recently dismissed for conduct unbecoming of a soldier is one of them. However, I don’t think that is the point or the message conveyed by civilians when they applaud service members on a plane. 

I believe that applause is the simplest, easiest way to convey the message of “thanks” to the soldiers who represent the idea of sacrifice and commitment to something greater than themselves.

When the soldiers came home from Vietnam, they were treated horribly, spat upon and called baby killers by civilians. Ironically, those soldiers were fighting so that the very individuals who hurled insults at them had the freedom to do so. In light of that fact, many people may be trying to make up for not thanking the Vietnam veterans in the first place and are committed to not allowing our Iraq veterans to endure feeling as though they had sacrificed everything for a country who hated them.

Furthermore, Civilians are not necessarily applauding those specific soldiers for things they have done, but rather all soldiers for the vigilance and unwavering bravery in an ever changing time of conflict. They don’t know if those soldiers are returning from a deployment, coming home for R&R, or are serving as escorts for a fallen soldier and are guiding that soul home with the honor and dignity only a true soldier can understand, never leaving his or her side until they reach their final destination. 

That’s what I think, but I passed the comment on to another friend who is serving in Afghanistan now. The following are his remarks:

“It really shows how small his world is. I would imagine that he has never been to a third world country, has never been thirsty without a water fountain, faucet or refrigerator with bottled water nearby. We are not over here for him. We are over here for our children and our families’ children. We are here for each other so we can all come home together. We are here to make sure there is never a suicide vest at your school, and that car bombs are not a daily threat at the mall.

“I personally get embarrassed when I have to walk through the airport and have people applaud me. I prefer to be the quiet professional. I think he is embarrassed that he has nothing to show for his life and that to show support to the military lets him see how little he has sacrificed for his country. We appreciate the gratitude when it’s expressed. In short, I think he is silly. It just goes to show how simple his world view is, which is sad, considering he is educating our children”.

He makes a great point. While we may or may not agree with war, our soldiers carry out the orders given without question because it’s the way it has to be. While no one wants to lose a single life to war, these brave individuals who make up only 1% of our nation’s population signed up freely, willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good. And quite frankly, without people willing to do just that, we wouldn’t have a military, and worse yet, we would no longer be the America that so many of us love and call home, and our first language would certainly not be English but rather the language of the first country to come along and decide to take over.

There would be no one to stop them. So the next time you are in a place where you find those around you applauding and you are faced with the decision on whether or not to follow suit, think about the family that soldier left behind to do a job you would not, so that you may fly freely about the country, eat and drink anything you choose as you see fit, and go wherever you wish without fear of suicide or car bombers. Then decide: do they deserve a simple thank you?

Special note from Jade: A tremendous thank you goes out to LTC Lutsky and his soldiers who are currently serving in a faraway place taking care of business. My heart goes out to you and your families. I pray for your safe return every day. Thank you for allowing me to use your comment. Please know your words do not fall on deaf ears!

k-and-j-heads1thumbnail.jpgJade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at akajadestone [AT] yahoo [DOT] com. To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.

Good Gossip: Celebs dancing, Grease singing and more!

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Good Gossip is a round-up of interesting celebrity tidbits, compiled from various entertainment magazines. But what makes our gossip “good” is that we don’t print the mean-spirited rumors our mamas always told us to avoid. So go ahead and indulge in this gossip column while knowing that it’s absolutely “guilt-free.” Enjoy.

katie-holmes.jpgKatie Holmes, 31, is involved with a new charitable foundation called Dizzy Feet, which has partnered with Angelina Ballerina, to spread dance education to kids across the country. When asked if she and husband Tom Cruise dance at home, she said “Oh, all the time. We’re constantly showing each other moves, and we break out into a dance on occasion if a good song comes on, sure!” She also said that daughter Suri loves singing and dancing and performing, too. (Source: People magazine, June 28, 2010 edition)

grease-stars.jpgParamount is releasing Grease: Sing-A-Long, which is an audience participation screening of the film. It premiered at the Hollywood Bowl on June 25th and was hosted by Didi Conn, who played Frenchy in the film. When interviewed about meeting John Travolta the first time, Olivia Newton-John said “The first thing I noticed about John were his eyes. They were a beautiful color. And there’s a sweetness about him. When he played Danny, you could see it.” To request that the sing-a-long version of the movie be played in Northwest Arkansas, click here to submit your vote or to see a list of cities where Grease: Sing-A-Long is scheduled to appear this summer. (Source: Entertainment Weekly, June 25, 2010 edition)

bikini.jpgVictoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr shared some tips for looking more confident in a bikini. Tip No. 1 is “Tilt your hip to one side.” She says  kicking our a hip and tilting the top of the torso forward a little gives the illusion of a smaller waist. Tip No. 2 is “Put a  hand on your hip.” It creates a stronger pose, she says. Tip No. 3 is “Accessorize!” She says a more relaxed wedge shoe gives you extra height and also suggests wearing a sarong so part of your leg is showing but not all of it, to retain a sense of mystery. (Source: People magazine, June 28, 2010 edition)

toy-story-woody.jpgToy Story 3 is getting rave reviews! A review published in Entertainment Weekly gave it a grade of “A” and called it “a salute to the magic of making believe.” According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the movie had a strong opening weekend, making about $109 million in one weekend, and some experts say it could make more than $200 million in just 10 days. Way to go, Woody!

denzel-washington2.jpgDenzel Washington recently won a Tony award for his lead role in the drama revival “Fences.” When accepting his award, he said “My mother always says, ‘Man gives the award, God gives the reward.’” Sounds like he’s got a smart mama! (Source: Entertainment Weekly, June 25, 2010 edition)

Beauty Buzz: Make-up tips for ‘extreme heat’

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By Andi Douglas, nwaMotherlode.com Beauty Buzz editor

I keep hearing this phrase “extreme heat” on the news anytime the temperature gets in the mid-90s and it makes me laugh.

Having just returned from a trip to Texas, where it feels like you are vacationing on the surface of the sun, I couldn’t wait to return to the cool mountain breezes of Northwest Arkansas. In fact, I drove everyone crazy talking about how it is usually 10 degrees cooler and longing for the beautiful shade trees in Arkansas.

Regardless of how good we’ve got it up here, the heat and blazing sun have made for a few uncomfortable trips to the park lately and I think we are all in need of some tips for staying cool.

cool-it-caddy-zebra.jpgIf you are like me and apply your makeup on the go (at stop-lights and in parking lots, of course) your overheated makeup bag can make for some goopy mishaps. Enter the Cool-it Caddy ($40, cool-itcaddy.com). This insulated travel size bag has built in reusable coolant inside the case that, once frozen, will keep your cosmetics (or annoying must-refrigerate antibiotics) cool for up to five hours. Don’t want to splurge, use your kid’s icepack from their idle lunchbox in your regular makeup bag.

For a cool pick-me-up in the morning or a moisturizing splash when you come in from the pool, keep your skin care products in the fridge. This works great for eye creams and pads, because the de-puffing will be that much more effective. Also, stash your sunscreen in the cooler at the lake and prevent that runny mess that comes from overheated lotion.

moisture.jpgAs a naturally dry person, I really have to lather on the face lotion during these dry days to keep from looking like a flaky mess, but I get sick of the heavy feel of my normal moisturizer. Garnier Nutritioniste Moisture Rescue gel-cream ($8, Walgreens) moisturizes like a cream but feels as light as a summertime sundress. Okay, that was a little cheesy, but you feel cooler already, don’t you?

andi-douglasimg_7324.jpgHave a question for Andi, beauty blogger and fellow mama (that’s her in the picture at right)? E-mail it to mamas@nwaMotherlode.com.

“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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Drama for Mama: The Bachelorette

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By Cara Cleek Ogden

The first 20 minutes of tonight’s episode was full of drama, drama, drama!  It’s not that I didn’t see it coming…. but somehow I was still surprised. Read on for a full account of what went down while the group was in Istanbul, Turkey:

SOMEONE’S NOT HERE FOR THE RIGHT REASONS:
The episode started out with Ali receiving a phone call from a girl named Jessica, who alleges to be Justin’s current girlfriend. She tells Ali all about how Justin planned to go on the show to further his entertainment career, hoping to make it to the final three. According to Jessica, Justin promised that he’d return to her after dumping Ali, and they’d marry. However, after Justin left for the show, Jessica found out that he also had yet another girlfriend waiting in the wings. So, an understandably ticked-off Jessica decided to warn Ali of Justin’s three-timing ways.

Ali confronts Justin in front of the other guys, and Justin grabs his things and makes a quick exit. Ali chases after him and lets him have it. He doesn’t exactly confirm her claims, but doesn’t deny it either. I guess all of those declarations that he was there for the right reasons were as fake as they seemed. I’m not sorry to see Justin go, and Ali doesn’t seem sorry either. She seems mad, but not sorry. No tears. See ya, Justin.

ONE-ON-ONE WITH TY:
Ty, the cute divorced southern-boy from Tennessee, gets the first date of the week. Ali takes him to a Turkish bath, which was supposed to be romantic but just looked like a place to get really sweaty. After some sticky looking massaging and a little kissing, Ty and Ali talk over dinner. Ty tells Ali that part of the reason he got divorced was because his marriage didn’t meet his expectations of a traditional relationship (i.e., man works, woman stays home). He thinks he’s grown, though, and can see different ideas now. Seeing that Ali is a career girl, I’m curious how this will go over with her. But, she takes it in stride and gives him a rose.

GROUP DATE:
The group-date card arrives, and Craig is hoping that his name isn’t on it. He’s the only guy left who hasn’t gotten a one-on-one date, and he’s wanting to get his time in with Ali. However, his name is indeed on the card, along with Roberto, Kirk and Chris. The men meet Ali at a fortress that was built in the 1400′s. Ali surprises the guys by arranging a competition – wrestling while wearing black leather pants and covered in olive oil. I’m thinking this is the Turkish version of Jello wrestling. Maybe? But, no, it’s actually a national sport, and Ali brings in four professionals to wrestle with her four dates.

After the men all get their butts kicked by the pros, it’s time for them to wrestle each other. The winner gets alone time with Ali. Somehow, Craig is able to beat everyone and he wins. He’s excited, and he and Ali have an evening alone. He’s funny and cute, and makes Ali laugh. I never saw kissing, but Craig thinks their time went well. He’s excited and keeps telling Ali that he’s never met anyone like her. There’s no rose to hand out tonight, but no doubt Craig’s feeling pretty secure. He’s definitely falling for Ali.

ONE-ON-ONE WITH FRANK:
Frank and Ali are both concerned about recapturing the magic they felt during their Hollywood date. Things have been rough between them since then. Frank’s been getting bent out of shape every time he sees Ali giving attention to another guy. And Ali didn’t feel like Frank gave her enough attention during the group dates. So on this date, they needed to get back on track.

After shopping at a street bazaar, Ali and Frank have a difficult talk over dinner. Ali feels scared by their relationship. Frank says he’s ready to trust his heart. He kisses Ali and suddenly her fears disappear. Frankly, all I heard was a bunch of stammering and some confusing stuff about how Frank feels. I didn’t hear anything that should have made Ali feel better. But, then, I’ve seen the previews for the next few weeks. And I’ve also read the book “He’s Just Not That Into You.” So, although I do think that Frank wants Ali’s attention, I get the feeling that he just likes getting attention. Period. Not necessarily Ali’s.

Nevertheless, Ali gives him a rose. Maybe she hasn’t seen the previews for the next few weeks yet.  :)

THE NON-EXISTENT COCKTAIL PARTY AND THE ROSE CEREMONY:
Ali knows what she’s planning to do, so she tells Chris Harrison that she’s ready to head straight to the rose ceremony. She doesn’t want to put the guys through the “last-ditch effort” party. Chris explains this to the guys, who are noticeably nervous.

At the ceremony, Craig is the odd man out. No rose for him. Ali walks him out and he cries a little. I felt bad for the guy. He seemed genuinely nice and sincere. Not to mention very funny. Funny guys rock.

PREVIEWS:
Next week, we’re promised an interview with the recently-split up Bachelor Jake and his controversial pick from last season, Vienna. And we’re also teased with some scenes of Ali’s hometown dates in the coming weeks, and some tears in Tahiti. Lots of tears.

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’.” 

Want to take a photography class with me?

We’re looking for a few good moms… to take a photography class! It will be hosted at my house in Rogers, camera1.jpgand the teacher is Melinda Worthington of MJW Photography, who also happens to be the sponsor for our awesome photo gallery here on nwaMotherlode. (Click here to see the snapshots sent in by local moms.)

The class size is limited to 8 people total, so the first 7 people to e-mail me will get a spot in the class. Cost is $50 per person, and that will get you a 3-hour class in a small setting with one of the best children’s photographers in Northwest Arkansas. (Plus, I’ll make sure the snacks are awesome.)

The best part is that you’ll be asked to bring your camera (it should be a digital SLR, any brand), and Mindy will show us how to get the most out of our cameras with info on lighting, shutter speed, aperture and more. (I still don’t know what half the buttons on my camera actually do, so I’m looking forward to finding out!)

I’ve been wanting to take a hands-on photography class for years now, so I’m hoping a few of you picture-lovin’ mamas out there will want to join me. Mindy is lots of fun to be around, and I know we’ll all come away with some great tricks and tips that will result in better snapshots of our kiddos.

To join the class, e-mail me at gwen@nwaMotherlode.com. Once we have a group of 8 people, we’ll set a date and time for the class. Thanks!

Doc Talk: Info on Gardasil vaccine

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This video feature allows moms to listen to the opinions of local doctors, nurses and specialists about a variety of topics. We took our video camera to Mercy Health System of Northwessmallelizabeth-thompson-pa.jpgt Arkansas and asked some of the questions moms are most interested in, and we taped the answers so we can share them with you.

This week Elizabeth Thompson, a board-certified physician assistant, gives us some additional information about the vaccine for HPV called Gardasil. She discusses the vaccine schedule as well as possible side effects. Elizabeth Thompson, P.A.-C, is currently working with Dr. Randall Feezell at the Northwest Arkansas Gynecology clinic, located in the Mercy Physician’s Plaza in Rogers.

Click on the play arrow below to hear her thoughts on Gardasil and the disease it’s designed to help prevent. Click on the photo at right to hear more about Elizabeth Thompson’s background and training.

To reach the Northwest Arkansas Gynecology clinic, call 479-338-3080 or click here to visit their website.

Devotion in Motion: “Of Rice and Men”

“But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:16

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

Last Saturday afternoon I performed a June wedding, and we had a wonderful day. I’ve noticed that throwing-rice.jpegthere have been some changes in wedding customs since I was a little boy. When I was a kid, people always threw rice at the bride and groom as they ran out of the church. Sometimes now we blow bubbles as the newlyweds run by. But the most common custom today is to throw birdseed. We threw a lot of birdseed last Saturday. The groom’s older brother poured about fifty pounds of it down his little brother’s pants.

I always comment at weddings that nobody throws rice after a wedding any more. And the bystanders always make the same sort of comments: “It’s so we don’t kill the birds. Birds eat the uncooked rice, and they can’t digest it. It swells in their stomachs and then they explode.”

The first time I heard that several years ago, I took the statements at face value. It sort of even made stuttgartricebirds.jpgsense—we really shouldn’t throw rice because it kills the birds.  It sounded scientific. But then one day it dawned on me that it probably wasn’t true at all. After all, I grew up in Stuttgart, Arkansas, “The Rice and Duck Capital of the World.” Two things that we always had plenty of were (number one) RICE and (number two) BIRDS. (The high school mascot is the “Stuttgart Ricebird.”)

I grew up watching birds eat raw rice all the time. And there were never piles of dead birds everywhere. When I was a kid I always walked to school, and I just walked right down the street. I never had to be careful not to step in the entrails of all the rice-eating-birds that had exploded.

So, I would venture a guess that the whole thing is an urban legend—a modern day myth. We probably need to write a letter to “Mythbusters” and have them look into it all. (Click here to read about this urban legend on snopes.com.)

In retrospect, I think the wedding customs have changed to save people aggravation. Some brides give bubbles-wedding.jpgeveryone little jars of bubbles because they prefer running through bubbles versus being ambushed with pellets of cereal grain. And people switched to birdseed because you don’t have to sweep it up. The birds do the cleanup for you.

Did you know that myths, urban legends, and “old wives’ tales” are nothing new? The Apostle Paul indicates that they existed back in Bible times. Although they are kind of fun when they only touch on everyday matters, Paul teaches us that they can be poisonous when they touch on religious matters that affect our eternal destiny. In today’s Scripture text (at the top) he tells us that we should stay away from “profane and idle babblings” and stick to what we know is true. Jesus made it easy for us to know how to find the truth. He prayed to his Heavenly Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”  (John 17:17) That’s very clear, isn’t it? Jesus said the Bible is Truth.

Dear mama, search for God’s truth in His Word this week. And have a happy week! Don’t worry if you see birds eating rice off the sidewalk. (But run out to stop them if you see them eating Mentos and drinking Diet Coke!)

Click here to read more devotionals by Brother John.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” (Sing that to the title to the tune of “Secret Agent Man”) He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is about to celebrate 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 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the birds STILL haven’t eaten all of the birdseed from last week.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to extramailbox@juno.com.

The Rockwood Files: “Shave and a haircut…”

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Sometimes, in an effort to save money, we take on things we have no business messing around with – things best left to trained professionals. We put on our practical “do it yourself” hats and say stupid, fate-tempting things like “How hard could it be?” And then we find out.

thermometer2.jpgWhen temperatures hit 90 degrees last week, I told Tom we’d have to make an appointment to get our dogs, Holly and E.J., shaved for the summer, as we do every year around this time. He agreed, hesitantly, because he knew the trip to the doggie salon for two large dogs usually runs around $150.

But there was no question it needed to be done, especially for Holly, who has more fur than your average polar bear. Thirteen years ago, we adopted her as a puppy from a local shelter. All we knew about her was that she was a sweet, tiny, blonde ball of soft fur. The people at the shelter told us she was a Newfoundland breed, and we smiled and said that sounded nice because, at the time, we had no idea that Newfoundland puppies grow up to be roughly the size of a Volkswagen.

When I took her to the veterinarian for shots, I stroked her soft fur and explained to the vet that she was a Newfoundland puppy we’d just adopted. An older man who’d seen his share of puppies, the vet chuckled and told me I had not just adopted a Newfoundland dog. “Well, then what kind of dog is she?” I asked.

“A little yellow dog,” he replied, making it clear she was simply a mixed breed true to her pound-puppy heritage.

As our little yellow dog grew up, we were relieved when she didn’t get too enormous. The vet was right about her mixed breed status, but I believe she definitely has a Newfoundland somewhere in her gene pool because her fur is impossibly thick and starts shooting out of her skin in huge tufts of wispy hair about this time of year. If we didn’t shave her in this heat and humidity, I’m afraid she might self-combust.

So Tom decided to solve two problems with one trip to Wal-Mart. He came home with a forty-dollar set of electric dog clippers, which he said would allow us to shave the dogs and keep more than a hundred dog-clippers.jpgdollars in our pocket. Brilliant plan, right?

The electric clippers came with an instructional video on how to trim your dog’s hair. We watched the first five minutes of the video but then turned it off because the script sounded like it had been written for idiots. It talked about how the proper use of this excellent grooming tool could even improve our dog’s self-esteem. Geesh! We didn’t have time to hear about dog psychology. We were ready to get the job done.

So we set up lawn chairs in the garage and brought in Holly, our first victim, assuring her it wouldn’t hurt a bit. And we didn’t physically hurt her during the hour-long shaving debacle, but, if the poor thing sees her reflection in a rain puddle anytime soon, her self-esteem will go right in the toilet. She looks – how should I say it – rough. Real rough. It turns out that shaving a dog is not nearly as easy as it looks on the instructional video.

On the bright side, there are a few areas of her hair I’m proud of – smooth, wide swaths of short hair that look almost like a professional’s work. The problem is that those few smooth spots are surrounded by clumps and lumps we couldn’t quite get to as well as naked divots where we were a tad too aggressive with the clippers. In short, she looks like she was shaved by a hay thrasher. A frustrated, misguided hay thrasher who did not watch the instructional video.

We didn’t finish the haircut completely. After more than an hour of shaving, we knew Holly was tired of our amateur grooming attempt and we were exhausted and covered in enough dog hair to create an additional dog. The dog’s legs were still kind of shaggy but we’d managed to get the bulky hair off her body and she did look a lot cooler.

Before the haircut, she weighed about 70 pounds. She must be considerably lighter now, though, since it seems like we shaved off at least 15 pounds of hair – most of which is still rolling around the floor of our garage like Texas tumbleweeds.

We were too tired to tackle shaving the second dog that same weekend, so we’re putting it off until next Saturday. But after the second dog sees the job we did on the first, there’s a fair chance he might run away before the weekend. Who could blame him? I hope he gets a professional haircut before he comes back home.

rockwoodheadshot2010compressed1.jpgGwen 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.

What We’re Reading: Books becoming movies

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By Gwen Rockwood, book-loving mama of 3

There are a few movies coming out soon that began as books. It’s kind of fun to see a book you love come to life on the big screen. Here are a few books-turned-movies to check out and read before you buy your movie tickets. Click on the book jacket of each book to read more about it (or order it) on Amazon.com. eclipse.jpg

Twilight Saga: Eclipse, by Stephanie Meyer

Love, love, love this book! For me, it was the most intense page-turner in the four-book Twilight series. The movie comes out next Wednesday, June 30th. Get your tickets early for this one! It’s going to be mega popular with the Twi-hards.

beezus-and-ramona.jpgRamona and Beezus, by Beverly Clearly

Read this one with your kids because it’s perfect for young readers ages 9 to 12. This story is especially good for big brothers or sisters who know what it’s like to have a little brother or sister to contend with, particularly one with an imagination as big as Ramona’s.

The movie comes out July 23rd and stars Selena Gomez and John Corbett (who played Aiden in Sex and the City!)

eat-pray-love.jpgEat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Julia Roberts will star in this movie, which comes out this August. This book is about a woman in her early 30′s and the soul-searching and self-discovery she experiences after enduring a nasty divorce. The author has already written a follow-up to this wildly successful book. (That second book is called Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage.)

water-for-elephants.jpgWater for Elephants, by Sara Gruen

This story is told in flashback form by the main character, Jacob, who tells about a period in his life when he joined the traveling circus and cared for the elephants. He also fell in love with one of the circus’ star performers, who happened to be married to the circus boss. On the Amazon website, this book had nearly 2,000 reviews and rated as four and a half stars.

This movie is in production now and will star Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. There is no specific release date yet, but it should be in theaters sometime in 2011.

“What We’re Reading” is sponsored by Witherspoon Optometry, owned by Dr. David Witherspoon and Dr. DeAnne Witherspoon. Their practice is located at 5212 Village Parkway in the Village on the Creeks plaza in Rogers. You may also call 479-464-9702 to ask questions or schedule an appointment. Click here to visit them online.

Cute, versatile warmer from Scentsy!

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We love this new Candy Shoppe warmer from Scentsy. And they have a special going on right now that makes it the perfect Independence Day accent.

A decorative item that shouts patriotism and smells awesome, too? Works for us!

Local Scentsy director Melanie Markley tells us that in the month of June you can receive two warmer dishes as a bundle. When you just want a candy shop look, go for the red dish on top — and when it’s close to July 4th, top it with the navy-and-stars dish.

scentsy.jpgIt’s a special package price of $35.

We think there are a few great Scentsy bars that you could melt in your new warmer to celebrate the upcoming holiday.  Baked Applie Pie, Blueberry Cheesecake and Cherry Limeade come to mind!

Give Melanie a call at 479-285-1467 if you’d like to order one of these new warmers or any others in the collection. She’s super nice and has lots of items in stock!

Scentsy County Fair! This is fun: Scentsy has created a “county fair” where they’re leaving scent creation up to fans like us. Mix and match your favorite Scentsy fragrances to create your own blue ribbon recipe and submit it to Scentsy’s County Fair. It could possibly end up in the Scentsy Recipe Book or you could be named Best in Show!

CLICK here to go see some of the recipes that Scentsy enthusiasts have created already. Or submit one of your own!

Getting Healthy for Good: The Boss of Me

 By Laurie Marshall

treats.jpgRemember when I said that my husband was on board with the “high fructose corn syrup is the Devil” concept?  Yeah… well… somehow he seems to have lost his way. I came home the other day to find a case of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats on the counter.  Sometimes exaggeration is a tool utilized by creative writers to enhance the humor of a story… or to emphasize a point.

I’m not exaggerating.

A CASE OF RICE KRISPIE TREATS!!!!  Eight boxes. Each box containing 16 full-sized, individually wrapped treats. 128 Treats of the Devil on my counter, reminding me that I am not able to control other people’s choices.  Luckily, I am not terribly susceptible to sugary treats.  If Hubster brought home six cases of sausage kolaches from Rick’s Bakery, it would have been a black day for sure.  As it was, I just grumbled under my breath and talked about him behind his back with my co-workers… because, while I am trying to get healthier, Hubster is not making any real changes in his lifestyle or diet.  I worry about him, but he doesn’t worry about himself. 

But I have been making progress, and that’s all I can really control, right?  I made it through week two of my Summer Fit program without passing out, folding myself into a fetal position and weeping, or faking a serious injury to a major muscle group.  In fact, I’m feeling pretty good about how I’m doing.  I have never been terribly athletic (president of the drama club… ‘nuf said) so the fact that I can run on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes at a 15 minute mile pace right off the bat makes me want to wink at myself whenever I pass the floor-to-ceiling mirrors in the gym.  So I do.

This week was a little more challenging. It was harder to run, the machines mistreated me a little more, and I just didn’t feel as good at the end of my workouts.  I think I didn’t get enough sleep the nights before my workouts.  My body was letting me know that 5-6 hours of sleep is not quite enough.  My adorable trainer, Melissa, had me increase my repetitions this week, and she gave me a head’s up that next week we are increasing the weight.  Definitely need to get to bed on time from now on

On those days when I work out first thing in the morning, I find it is much easier to make good food choices the rest of the day.  I don’t want to sabotage the good start to the day, so I am more likely to choose something light for lunch and skip opportunities to eat sweets.  I think it works for me to get up early to work out, rather than doing it at night, so that’s something I’m going to continue to do after the program has ended.  I also find it easier to get up if I have someone to be accountable to, so I’ll be looking for a workout partner.  Give it some thought, people!  I’ll bring juice!

What are some of your tips for keeping yourself on track with your health and fitness routines?  Partners?  Time-of-day?  Food diaries?  I know you know something I don’t know.  Let me hear it!

 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.

Cure the “Mom, I’m bored” summer syndrome

kezaad3.jpgIf you’re reading this before or during the 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. hour on Thursday the 24th, turn your radio on to Magic 107.9 or click HERE or on the graphic at right to listen to the radio live on your computer.

We’ll be stopping in for our regular Thursday morning chat with hosts Jennifer Irwin and Guy Westmoland, and the topic of the day is all about fun summer activities for kids in Northwest Arkansas.

Call in to the show and tell us what your favorite summer activities with the kids are.

If your kids are already using the old “Mom, I’m bored” line on you, this radio segment should give you some good ideas for things to keep everybody busy and happy this summer.

Here are some other links to articles with more ideas for summer fun. Click on the name of each article below to read it:

5 Minutes with a Mom: Amie Throndson

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Name: Amie Throndson

Daughter’s name and age: Raquel, 13 months

First off, this photo is stunning. Who took it and where was it taken? A family friend took it. We were in Austin and the photo shows the infamous Texas bluebonnets. Every spring these flowers bloom and parents pull the family car off the road and snap photos of their kiddos.

Where are you from? Ohio/Austin, TX. We’ve lived in NWA almost 2 months.

Where did you meet your husband? We met via mutual friends at an Irish bar celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

Was it love at first sight? I don’t know if it was love at first sight, but there was intense chemistry.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? It’s a tie between Paris and the Andalucia region of Spain.

If you went back to college what would you study? Corporate Social Responsibility

What’s your work background? High-Tech Marketing & Social Media

If you had a whole day to yourself what would you do? I would explore the Buffalo River.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do but can’t seem to get around to it? Learn Spanish!!

What are some of your favorite things to do with Raquel?I love reading to her and doing anything artsy. At her age, art is mostly coloring and hand paints.

What traditions do you hope to pass on to your children? We’re really looking to start our own traditions with our family. We hosted a Halloween Party last year for Raquel and five of her six-month old friends. I know that we’d like to continue that tradition as she gets older.

What’s a make-up essential you couldn’t live without? Blush

What would you do with an unexpected infusion of cash? Depending on the amount of this infusion, I would open an eco-resort in an amazing place.

What was the best parenting advice you received? Just do the best you can every day….

The worst? I’m sure I’ll hear it, but my daughter is still so young that my inexperience is showing with this question.

If someone wrote a book about your life right now, what would a good title be? One Day at A Time

One word to sum me up … focused

Razorback Relief: Help package 2 Million Meals for Haiti!

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The University of Arkansas Athletics, Acumen Holdings, and Numana are partnering to host a 2 million meal packaging event starting this Friday night for the people of Haiti. (See a promo video below — and check out the cute baby in a hair net!)

This is a great opportunity not only for moms to volunteer, but to teach our kids about the importance of helping others.

The event will be an assembly-line process that requires thousands of volunteers to participate. They’re asking for people to take two-hour shifts in the 24 hours. If the 2 million market is met, this event will break a world record for the number of meals packaged in a 24-hour period.

Each of those meals will be distributed to Haitian people within 7 days of the event. The event will provide an opportunity for the people of Northwest Arkansas and the surrounding states to supply the starving people of Haiti a pre-packaged meal.

They’re also collecting canned foods for the NWA Food Bank at the event.

WHO:  People of Arkansas, The University of Arkansas Athletics, Acumen Holdings, and Numana

WHAT: 2 million meal packaging event for the people of Haiti

WHEN: Friday, June 25th – Saturday, June 26th (24 hours)

TIME: Starts 7 PM, Friday – Ends 7 PM, Saturday

WHERE: The Randal Tyson Indoor Track (University of Arkansas Campus)

WHY: The need is great to save the starving people of Haiti

soup.jpgHOW:  Thousands of volunteers are needed to make this a success – an opportunity to pack­age meals with Razorback Athletes that will make a difference

ADMISSION: One canned food item – helps fill the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank

HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE: Show up and volunteer for a 2-hour shift, or longer if desired, during the 24-hour packaging marathon

Find additional and up-to-date information at:

www.razorbackrelief.com

Facebook.com/razorbackrelief

Twitter: razorbackrelief

Giveaway: Treats to celebrate Dairy Month!

Note from the mamas: Congratulations to Stephanie Truitt, winner of the Midwest Dairy Council goodies and Cold Stone gift certificates! 

Did you know June was Dairy Month?

Well, the Midwest Dairy Council sure does and they want to celebrate by giving away the following goodies to one winning mama in Northwest Arkansas:

  • One Cuisinart hand blender (valued at $55.00)
  • blender.jpgDairy Makes Sense recipe cards with new tasty recipes to try out with your family
  • Dairy Makes Sense apron
  • Hot pad
  • Cheese knife
  • Grocery pad
  • Refrigerator magnet

And since we think of ice cream when we think of dairy (especially in this heat!) we’re also throwing in gift certificates from Stone Cold Creamery! Thanks to Rachel at Cold Stone in Fayetteville for giving us FOUR FREE “like-it” create-your-own ice creams!

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How to enter: To win the bundle from the Midwest Dairy Council – plus four free ice creams from Stone Cold Creamery — just click on the orange comment button at the bottom of this post and tell us your favorite recipe or food that includes milk.

You may also enter via e-mail by sending a note to giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com. (Tell your friends via e-mail and copy us and we’ll give you extra chances to win for each friend you tell.)

Mamas know that milk and other dairy products are great sources of vitamins and minerals. For years, we’ve heard milk “does a body good,” but the MDC shared with us some facts about its nutritional value that we didn’t know.

Some interesting info you might not know about dairy:

  1. bessie_sweet_circle_th.gifIt goes beyond just calcium for strong bones – each serving of dairy provides 8 other essential nutrients, including:
  2. Vitamin D: Vitamin D (“The Sunshine Vitamin”) promotes calcium absorption and helps strengthen bones. Milk is one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D and just one 8-ounce glass provides 25% of your recommended daily value.
  3. Protein: Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue while giving you a boost of energy! The protein in milk, cheese and yogurt builds and repairs muscle tissue and can help you feel full.
  4. Potassium: Did you know that milk and yogurt contain as much potassium as a banana? Potassium regulates the body’s fluid balance and helps maintain normal blood pressure.
  5. Vitamin B12: Milk and yogurt are also excellent sources of B12, which helps maintain healthy red blood cells and nerve tissue.
  6. Three daily servings of dairy (including low-fat/fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt) deliver exceptional nutrition (for an awesome value) and can contribute to your family’s plan for a healthy diet and lifestyle.

For information about more of dairy’s nutritional benefits — and some great recipes — visit the newly updated http://www.dairymakessense.com .

Good luck winning these treats!

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