Home Design: Kitchen and patio tips


By Lori Homstad, business owner and mother of two

Whether you love football season or not, it’s easy to love spending time outside now that the hot temperatures are fading into a comfortable fall. If you’re cooking on the stove or manning the barbecue grill, you can easily make both the kitchen and the patio area more stylish and functional. Here are some tips to make it happen:

For the kitchen, focus on convenience, comfort and control. Some window blinds are either hard-to-reach or large and heavy. When you’re choosing window treatments for the kitchen, consider some of the motorized varieties because they can be opened or closed with the touch of a button. This is especially helpful if you’ve got a hard-to-reach area over the sink. Motorization creates a cordless environment that’s safer for kids and pets, too.


The blinds can either be battery-powered and WireFree or can be wired or remote1.jpgplugged in. You can control the movement from a wall switch, hand-held remote or an automatic timer, (all of which are backed by a five-year warranty.) Check out the demo in the YouTube video below. Your kids would appreciate the high-tech “cool factor” here.

If you or your husband like to barbeque this time of year, make sure the patio looks as good as the food! Often the patio is the most neglected area of the house when it comes to decorating and comfort. We do lots of free in-home consultations with clients who ask about outdoor solar shades for the patio, and they’re always surprised at how much style they add. (And yes, they’re affordable, too!)

woven-wood-shades.jpgSolar shades reduce glare and block UV rays which helps protect your furnishings from sun fading. They come in lots of rich colors and fabric styles. Regardless of whether your personal style is contemporary, traditional or elegant, there’s definitely an option that fits the look you want. I’ve seen these types of shades used in just about every type of home décor you can imagine. And these blinds do help lower your air-conditioning bill, so everybody wins.

Home design is so much more than furniture and accessories. Remember that the way you finish off your windows can pull the whole room together and take the room’s sense of style to a whole new level.

Related article listed below. Click on the title to read more:

The Home Design category is sponsored by Budget Blinds of Northwest Arkansas. (Click here to read more about this local company.) For a free in-house design consultation, call their office at 479-751-6655. They bring their mobile showroom to your home, which is SO much easier than trying to remember what your windows look like. Click here to visit their website.

Click the play arrow below to see a demo of motorized blinds.

Beauty Buzz: Andi on Buyer’s Remorse


By Andi Douglas, nwaMotherlode.com beauty editor

Time is precious to a mom, especially when your kids are in tow and at least one of them has to tinkle NOW! So, when I spend 15 minutes in the drugstore staring at all of the beauty products available (and there are a lot) and end up leaving with nothing because of a deep-rooted fear of Buyer’s Remorse, it irks me to no end.

Make-up counters in the mall cause similar anxiety with the tempting, and breakable, goods always within reach of little hands, even with the restriction of a 5-point stroller harness. So, in desperate need of some updated products, I agreed to a consultation at the home of a Mary Kay sales director, Dawn Stanford.

Even though Lexi, 17 months old and never still, managed to empty everything out of my diaper bag including an entire bowl of Goldfish, I felt relaxed and able to try out some great new products.

tintedmoisturizer.jpgFinally, I was able to get the tinted moisturizer I have been craving. I have been putting off buying any from the store because the color choices seemed vague and, unlike foundation, most moisturizers come in opaque tubes so it is hard to compare. The Mary Kay Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20 ($18) went on smooth and evened out my skin tone without the weight of foundation. The best part, all of the Mary Kay products are guaranteed so if a month goes by and I a find that the lotion is not compatible with my skin, Dawn will help me find something else that works.

founcation.jpgIf you want more coverage and are a fan of mineral foundations, Mary Kay Mineral Powder Foundation ($18) is definitely a great value and has all of the oil-absorbing properties mineral foundations are famous for. Personally, it did not work on my super dry skin, but when winter rolls around and I lose my summer tan, I am going to try out some of the other liquid foundations that are available.

My favorite part of the makeover process is always the eyes and a beauty tip I picked up from Dawn: Always do your eyes first, so if you have any flakes or blink while your mascaras wet (hate that!) you won’t mess up the rest of your face.

I tried out some of the electric colors that beauty editors have been raving about and found that I’m a big dud when it comes to eye shadows, and migrated back to my standard smokey eye. But I did update the look with Navy Eyeliner ($10) and smoked it up with Mineral Eye Color in Midnight Star ($6.50). coloreyes2_hero.jpgIt came out gorgeous and one of my friends commented that they had never noticed I had brown eyes before, a real testament to the rule of opposites attract when it comes to eye makeup. I looked a little made up for lunch at Chick-fil-a but who’s judging?

I was a little nervous about the one-on-one aspect, but with a friend along for the ride, it made for a really fun morning and I have a mile long wish list of things to try next. I’m also officially addicted to the comfort of a guarantee…no more Buyer’s Remorse for me!

img_4828b.jpgHave a question for Andi, beauty blogger and fellow mama? 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.

Inside His Head: Husband not excited about baby


Dear dads,

I’m pregnant with my first baby and my husband really doesn’t seem excited. I’m having a hard time with his reaction. We discussed having kids when we were dating, so that’s not it. He says he’s happy, but I don’t really believe it. Any advice on how to handle this situation?

johnthumbnail.jpgMAVERICK: More than likely he’s happy and excited, just not the same way you are.

In general, men don’t think much about being parents until they are, or are about to become one. It’s not something we talk about with our pals over beers or daydream about while we fish. Women have a big head-start on us in that regard.

So, even if he wanted to be a dad and all, he has a lot of catching up to do regarding the whole parenthood gig so don’t judge him for not reacting the same way you are to the news and the different stages of the pregnancy.

peasout_pink_bodysuit__77426_std.jpgAlso, for those of us cavemen types out there, the responsibility of being a dad might just now be sinking in. He’s seeing the next 20 years, and then some, filled with doctor bills, braces, bikes, clothing, and college that he’s gonna have to figure out a way to pay for. He could be trying to get his head around a serious reality check.

So, don’t read subdued as uninterested and don’t register him as not excited if he’s not giggling about baby showers or happily zooming out on trips to the store to by onesies.

You’ll likely see his enthusiasm pick up once the baby is here, then again when the baby becomes more mobile and then even more when the baby can talk and play games with him and stuff.

Parenthood is a team effort. It helps if we bring different skills and emotional strengths, and reactions to the process.

So remember, he’s a dad to be, not a mom to be, don’t expect his reactions or emotions to always mirror yours. Who wants to be married to a clone?

greg1thumbnail.jpgGRAY: My first recommendation is hormones. How are you dealing with things? A little emotional perhaps? Remember, your body’s getting hit with a ton of stuff right now. When my wife got pregnant she couldn’t stand chocolate anymore – yeah, chocolate – so something as relatively minor as your husband not being excited ought to rank pretty far down on the totem pole.

My second recommendation is taking another look at when you “discussed having kids.” When he said “Sure, I’d like to have kids” you probably could have substituted “kids” for “a house,” sandwich.gifor “a grilled cheese sandwich,” or “socks.” In the real world, you don’t really understand what having kids is about until you’re in the thick of things.

So go take another look at your less-than-excited husband. Is he just less than excited or does he have that glazed, bewildered expression usually reserved for lottery winners? Getting hit with news about becoming a father can clobber your mind. And it doesn’t mean he’s not excited, he just has to figure out how on Earth he got to this point in his life.

My final recommendation is to believe him when he tells you he’s happy. Asking him again and again will probably just make him think you’re hormonal (see first recommendation). If that doesn’t cut it for
you, then engage him in talks about what he plans to do when the baby arrives. Sometimes you can tell how excited a guy is by listening to him talk about what he sees his future as being now that he’s a dad to be.

To read more Inside His Head, click here. Or you can send a question to our anonymous panel of husbands to mamas@nwaMotherlode.com. 

Sponsor Spotlight: New cancer treatment clinic just for women


Mamas, we’d like you to help us welcome a new sponsor to nwaMotherlode, Dr. Joseph Ivy. Dr. Ivy has a new clinic on the Willow Creek Women’s Hospital campus in Johnson and we’re really impressed with the technology he uses to make various cancer treatments less invasive.

We asked Dr. Ivy some questions about his new practice and the special technology he has at Ivy Women’s Cancer Care.

As a gynecologic oncologist, what types of cancers do you treat?

a: To become a gynecologic oncologist, you must first complete a residency in OB/GYN. From that experience, I learned to perform surgeries on general conditions that women may face, such as basic hysterectomies and the removal of non-cancerous ovaries.

I still perform these surgeries on a regular basis. To become a gynecologist, I trained for an additional three years at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN. During this training, I learned how to perform cancer-staging surgeries on the female reproductive organs. Specifically, I operate on cancers of the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina, vulva and of the abdominal wall lining. Through my fellowship training, I am able to offer these surgeries through minimally invasive techniques that allow most patients to be discharged the following day and experience less pain and scarring. I am one of the few gynecologists in the nation that are certified to perform and teach these highly advanced surgeries on the da Vinci Surgical System, which is a robotic surgical technique.

Where is your new office located?

a: Our office is located on the Willow Creek Women’s Hospital Campus. The address is 5501 Willow Creek Dr. Suite 202, Johnson, AR 72741. Click here to visit the center’s website.

Tell us more about the “da Vinci robot” to help with various procedures. Does it help make surgery less invasive?

da-vinci-resized.jpga: I trained on the da Vinci Surgical System for three years during my gynecologic oncology fellowship at the University of Minnesota. I use it almost exclusively to perform cancer staging surgery for cervical and endometrial cancers. The da Vinci robot (pictured at right) offers the patients a rapid recovery and return to their normal activities that other open cancer surgeries do not. My patients typically are well enough to be discharged the day after surgery with minimal pain and scarring. Whereas routine open surgeries require a full six weeks of recovery, my patients are able to return to their routine and activities usually within one-to-two weeks and can go back to work within three weeks if desired.

Which procedures can you use the robot for?

a: I use the robot for all of my non-cancerous surgeries as well as surgeries for cancer of the uterus, and early stage ovarian cancers.

Why do you have such a passion for helping female cancer patients?

a: Nothing is more rewarding than helping someone who is facing a life threatening disease. Women deal with a lot, emotionally and medically, and I have established our practice to make the entire treatment process as patient friendly as possible. Fighting cancer is a terrible time in a woman’s life and we want to be a practice that understands that and does everything we can to help them. I’m really glad to be in Northwest Arkansas and to provide a level of care that previously was not available in the area.

What is the most common cancer among women?

a: Endometrial cancer affects more women each year than any other gynecologic malignancy. Fortunately, if caught early, surgery alone can cure the disease. And again, I use the da Vinci robot to perform the surgery, so most women are able to be discharged the day after surgery and recover more rapidly than traditional open surgery.

What kinds of screenings do you offer for women who are concerned about cancer?

a: Breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers have family connections and I offer office evaluations to determine your risk of developing these forms of cancer. If the risk is great enough, I would recommend a surgery to remove the risk associated with the familial condition. Furthermore, women with estrogen or progesterone receptor positive breast cancer are candidates for these adjuvant surgeries as well and I would be happy to see them in my clinic for an educational office visit.

Are there any new medical advances in the field that women might not know about?

a: The advances in gynecologic oncology come quickly. The ones I feel are most applicable to the general population currently are the HPV vaccine, use of minimally invasive techniques to treat gynecologic conditions, recommendations for familial cancer screenings, and new developments in the way we deliver chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancers. I would recommend patients contact their doctor or my office to discuss these topics.

Where are you from and how long have you been living in Northwest Arkansas?

a: I am a native Arkansan. I was born in El Dorado and I lived there until I graduated high school and moved to Little Rock, where I completed college and medical school. From there I spent seven years in Louisiana where I completed an OB/GYN residency and practiced pelvic surgery. I then moved to Minnesota for three years to complete my gynecologic oncology fellowship after which I moved to Northwest Arkansas to begin practice.

What led you to the area?

a: I moved to Northwest Arkansas to be closer to my family and to develop a Da Vinci cancer program. Northwest Arkansas is one of the few areas that has a Da Vinci robot that I would able to have full access to for two-to-three days per week. This would allow me to give more patients the benefits of the robotic surgery and the freedom to pursue my passion for less invasive surgical options. I truly believe in the benefits of minimally invasive techniques for patients and surgeons alike and I have set up luncheons and seminars to help patients within the community understand the benefits they obtain through these surgical techniques.

mountain-bike.jpgTell us a little about what you like to do when you’re not seeing patients.

a: I have a 9-year-old son who lives in Tulsa, OK, so much of my time is spent around his activities. When I am not spending time with him, I enjoy fly-fishing for trout in the waters of Northwest and Central Arkansas. I also enjoy playing golf, riding mountain bikes and collecting wine.

Read more about Dr. Ivy and the cancer care clinic by visiting his website, www.ivycancercare.com.

Mealtime Mama: These babies are delicious!


One of my dear (unfortunately, former) neighbors, Kim Vollendorf, was known for her frugal, quick dinners. She had one particular recipe that all of us neighbor girls really liked, so she shared, of course. She called the recipe “chicka-babies” and they now serve as the centerpiece to my daughter’s favorite meal.

Here’s the very simple recipe.


creame.jpgPackage cream cheese

4 cups cubed chicken

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 cans crescent rolls

Cook chicken and cube. Blend cream cheese in butter until smooth. Add salt, pepper, milk and onion powder; mix well. Separate crescent rolls into four triangles and press together to make a rectangle. Spoon mixture into center of crescent roll and pull sides up to the middle. Pinch together. (It ends up looking like a little bundle.) Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 25 minutes at 350.

We also love these No-Bake Cookies at our house. They’re yummy and so easy to make. I remember sending these to my brother when he was in the Navy.


hersheys_cocoa.jpg2 cups sugar

4 tablespoons cocoa

1/2 cup milk

1 stick butter

1/2 cup nuts (we leave these out)

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 to 2 1/2 cups minute oats

2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix together sugar, cocoa, milk and butter. Boil for two minutes, remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter, then oats, vanilla and nuts. Drop onto wax paper, 1 teaspoon at a time. Don’t burn your tongue. When they cool, enjoy!

spicycow2.jpgMamas, we know you appreciate Chick-fil-A as much as we do on those days we just DON’T want to cook! And if you’re watching your weight, we love that they have a nutrition guide that includes a meal calculator, diabetic exchange and more useful information. CLICK HERE to go that section of the national website. We’ll see you near the play area!

Fashion Mama: 2010 Fall Fashion Trends!

By Michelle Thompson

Hooray for Fall Fashion! One of my favorite and hottest trends of the season is everything GRAY!!!  This is one trend that you will definitely want to embrace, and here are some affordable, local  and online options to get you wardrobe-ready to step into fall.

1. This belt was actually a birthday gift given  to me earlier this month from a dear friend. It is from Francesca’s Collections at Pinnacle Promenade. Add this versatile belt to a tunic, or dress to give your go-to basics a fun new look.


2. These boots are so darling and easy on the pocket book. They are from Newport News, and are on sale right now for $59.


3. Oh, this is such a gorgeous shoe. It caught my eye from across the department store.  This is a statement shoe, so show it off when you wear it.  This shoe would look great paired with a dress, skinny jeans, or leggings. These ruffled beauties are from Dillard’s.


4. This boot is also two trends in one. The lace-up bootie will be everywhere this season. There are all kinds of different options, but this one is the perfect color for the season.


express.gif5. This sweater (click here to see this beauty) is gorgeous and flattering on…perfect for everyone. It’s also darling belted for a more figure-flattering silhouette. It is at Express for $79.

hdr_logo.gif6. This mixed chain necklace (click here to see this great necklace with four unique vintage brooches) is a bit of a splurge, but makes a bold statement. It will truly take a plain outfit to a WOW outfit. It is from Stella and Dot for $198.

One other fabulous find I have recently stumbled upon is Belle Boutique in Rogers. They follow all the great clothing trends at affordable prices. I just bought these $20, fabulous shoes for a Girl’s Night. They were half off, but even the items that aren’t on sale are priced well. They also have great handbags, jewelry and great men’s lines as well. Their denim line is also wonderful; I just bought a pair of boyfriend jeans that are sure to be my favorite this Fall.


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.

Devotion in Motion: No pain, no gain

8 “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8

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

In my years of being a schoolteacher, I’ve taught a wide variety of ages and subjects. In the 1990’s, I taught a class called “Technology Discovery”. The federal government gave us a grant to build a state-of- the-art classroom that was housed in a laboratory. Over a quarter-million dollars was spent at our school to provide our students with this wonderful program—which included the latest computers and gleaming scientific equipment. We had an industrial robot, a television studio and different kinds of lasers. However, after teaching the class for a few years I realized that the two most educational pieces of equipment in my lab cost less than 5 dollars apiece. My students learned the most valuable and lasting lessons from: 1) a pair scissors and 2) a hot-glue-gun.

In one module of study, my pupils built suspension bridges out of balsa wood and sheets and sticks.  This made it necessary for them to cut with “grown-up” scissors—a skill I soon learned that few scissors2.jpgyoung people possess. It may have been a long time ago, but I’m fairly certain I knew how to cut with a pair of scissors by the time I was in 9th grade. When I was a kid, young people did things that actually required you to use a pair of scissors. When you went to visit your grandmother, for example, she didn’t have a Nintendo to keep you occupied. So, if you got bored, she’d mix up some flour-and-water paste, give you some brown paper that she cut from a grocery sack, and let you cut pictures from the Sears catalogue to make yourself a “scrapbook”. So, back in the day, we learned to cut with scissors.

(An elementary-teacher friend of mine told me that little kids still do cut with scissors in the early grades. But they use elementary scissors with rounded points that won’t cut hot butter. And since the kids are crummy at cutting with scissors because they rarely do it, the teacher’s assistant takes the scissors away from the kids and says, “Here, honey, let me do that for you. I can do it faster. You’re going to hurt yourself.” But I digress….)

So, during every semester when my freshmen were cutting with scissors, there were always kids who got hurt. Sometimes they sliced through layers of skin with the blades, and other times they got puncture wounds from jabbing themselves with the pointed ends. The principal’s office just learned to expect this. If “Technology Discovery” was working with scissors, well, somebody was going to the emergency room.

The second miraculous teaching-aid was the hot glue gun. My ninth graders were constantly giving themselves 2nd degree burns from touching the searing metal tip to their bare skin or from dribbling molten plastic glue on their fingers. When they complained to me of their injuries, I always spoke with them sympathetically. I told them, “Look, sweetheart, these things are dangerous. They heat up to gluegun.jpg400 degrees and squirt melted plastic. Let’s look at the words that describe this thing: ‘Hot.’ ‘Hot glue.’ ‘Hot glue GUN.’ See, that gives us a big clue. You’ve got to be careful.”

I found that my 9th graders tended to reinforce this lesson with each other. I laughed aloud one day when I heard a young lady tell her lab partner, “Homer! If you bump me with that hot glue gun ONE more time, I’m going to slap the TASTE out of your mouth.” I’m pretty sure Homer didn’t bump her again. :-)

I think there’s a spiritual principle in this somewhere. The Scriptures and our own experience show us that often our best learning doesn’t happen during the easy times but rather when we face times of pain. God uses trials and rough days to teach us to depend on Him by faith.

Today’s Scripture text (at the top) is remarkable to me. It says that even though Jesus was God’s Son, He still had to learn the lessons that trials and suffering teach us. If the Lord Jesus learned obedience “by the things that He suffered” why should we think we’ll have lives free from discomfort?

Dear mama, are you puzzled by the “sharpness” and “heat” of the daily trials you often face? Looking at things from the perspective of eternity helps us have a proper view of the lives we’re living now. Realize that our loving Heavenly Father is at work in your life, molding you into the image of His Son—so give thanks to Him as you draw near to Him for grace!

babies-2.jpgDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” (That’s him pictured at right with one of the babies in his congregation.) He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years 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 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the youth group once made a hospice-craft that educated them in the wonders of  the hot glue gun.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to extramailbox@juno.com.

Click here to read more of Brother John’s devotions.

The Rockwood Files: Rookie mistake


By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

When you’re a mother of three with a little experience under your belt, you should really know better. But last night I made a classic rookie mistake. I didn’t get around to shopping for the kids’ school supplies until the night before said supplies were due at school orientation. Dumb. Very dumb.

There I was in an aisle swamped with desperate shoppers, just like me scrambling for a few packs of No. 2 pencils and Elmer’s glue. The scene looked much like a crowded toy store on Christmas Eve, minus the “peace on Earth and goodwill to men”.

When you wait until the night before to shop for school supplies, you not only have to wade through throngs of people, you also have to deal with shortages. Last night I needed a certain type of red folder folders.jpgspecified by the kids’ school. It was supposed to have pockets and metal prongs to hold the paper inside. But all the smart parents who’d planned ahead had already bought all the red folders with metal prongs, leaving me with boxes and boxes of no-prong folders to sift through in shame. I and my fellow procrastinators searched through the leftovers hoping perhaps one or two pronged folders would magically surface.

All around me there were irritable fathers on cell phones talking to mothers who were dictating the school supply list. “No, they don’t have any red folders with prongs left,” I heard one say.  “I’ll just get the kind without prongs. What? Why can’t I get the kind without prongs? It’s still a folder! Well, they don’t have any. What? Red pens? No, they’re all out of red pens. I’ll just get red crayons. Well, why not? They’re still red!”

By the time I left the store, the school supply aisle was a shambles. A bin of folders without prongs spilled out on the floor and hurried shoppers dodged the mess as they continued their futile quest. I left the store two supplies short of a completed list which meant I had to make a last-ditch attempt to find them at another store first thing this morning. I berated myself all the way home and swore I’d never wait until the night before ever, ever again.

There’s a saying that goes “When you know better, you do better.” And experienced parents learn, often the hard way, that there are a few mistakes you just don’t want to make more than once. Along with shopping for school supplies the day before school, here are a few other rookie mistakes that make my list:

  • poop-happens-onesie.jpgLeaving the house with a baby and no backup baby outfit: When you make this mistake, cruel fate will step in and give your baby a terrible poopy diaper “blow-out” which will inevitably travel all the way up the baby’s back and between his small shoulder blades, soaking through his clothes and onto yours.
  • Forgetting to buy batteries on Christmas morning: There’s nothing quite like kids thrilled by new presents which they have no chance of trying out until the stores open the next day. Fun times.
  • Thinking you can potty train your kid when you are ready: There’s absolutely no such thing as parents who potty train kids. The truth is that the kid is going to do it when the kid is darn good and ready, and the parent will simply provide the potty, the Scooby Doo underwear and heaps of praise whenever that time comes. You know that old phrase about how you can “lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”? Same applies to toddlers and their bowels. Parents are just along for the ride, bumps and all.

The good news is that I did find those blasted red folders with the all-important prongs. I spotted one this morning in a pack of 10 other folders (which I absolutely did not need), so I snatched them up before another desperate parent could get them first. Sure, I had to pay for the unnecessary nine extra folders, but I finished the list and learned my lesson – even parents who should know better still have a few things left to learn.rockwoodheadshot2010compressed3.jpg

Got any more “rookie mistakes” to add to my list? Click the word “comment” below and post your additions. :-)

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.  

Giveaway: Procter & Gamble basket of goodies for a cause!


Mamas, it’s giveaway time and you’re gonna love this one! You can win a basket filled with top-selling Procter & Gamble beauty and health brands — think Cover Girl, Olay, Pantene, Crest, Gillette, Secret … !! It’s a $200 value, girls

pink-pouf.jpgAnd this giveaway is especially awesome because it’s tied to a wonderful event that helps women who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment. Please note that you don’t have to donate hair to put your name in the drawing for the gift basket, but we wanted you to help us spread the word about Procter & Gamble’s Pantene Beautiful Lengths event on Wednesday, Sept. 8. The event will be held during the P&G Beauty Northwest Arkansas LPGA Championship.

If you – or your daughter – have long hair, you can help by donating your locks! If you’ve been considering a cut, this is the perfect opportunity. As a thank-you for donating your hair, you’ll receive a free hair style by some of NWA’s most talented stylists. And LPGA players will be there to support the cause! Sign up to donate your hair at the Sept. 8 event by emailing nwaBeautifulLengths@yahoo.com.

The donated hair will be used to craft beautiful wigs with P&G’s partner, HairUWear. It takes at least SIX ponytails to make one Beautiful Lengths wig, and the wigs are given free of charge to women who have lost their hair during cancer treatment.

A few key facts about donating your hair:

  • Donated hair must be a minimum of eight inches long (measure your hair just above the elastic band of the ponytail to the ends).
  • Hair may be colored with vegetable dyes, rinses and semi-permanent dyes. It can’t be bleached, permanently colored or chemically treated.
  • Wavy/curly hair is fine!
  • Learn more at www.beautifullengths.com or by calling P&G at  479-571-5400. If you know you want to donate your hair, sign up by e-mailing nwaBeautifulLengths@yahoo.com. They’ll let you know when to be there!

Now, on to the giveaway details!

frizz_control_shampoo.pngHOW TO ENTER: Throw your name in the hat to win the $200 health and beauty basket from Procter & Gamble! It’s simple to enter — just click on the orange comment button and tell us about your own personal battle with cancer or about someone you know whose life has been touched by this disease.

You may also enter via e-mail at giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR ODDS: As always, we reward those mamas who help spread the word about our giveaways. And since this one is linked to SUCH an important cause we’d love for you to tell your mom friends and their daughters about the Beautiful Lengths event.

Send your friends an e-mail about the $200 basket giveaway (and the Sept. 8 Great Lengths event) and we’ll give you an extra chance to win for every friend you tell. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your note so we can give you proper credit.

Thanks in advance for helping us spread the word about this important event, mamas! Good luck winning the great basket of health and beauty products from Procter & Gamble!



Techno Mama: Get your Groupon on!

By Sarah Martin Hood

groupon-logo.jpgWhat the heck is a groupon? Only the fastest growing company in the history of the internet! Groupon is a new twist on coupons. It all started in Chicago, but Groupon is now available in about 100 cities across the US. The well-organized, sleekly-designed website offers irresistible deals in the spirit of “group discounts”.

How it Works:

1. Each day Groupon features something cool to do in your designated city at an unbeatable price.

2. If enough people are interested, the Groupon is activated… so invite your friends! (If not enough people express interest in a particular offer, no one gets it and no one is charged.)

3. Get your Groupon via email, print it out, and enjoy!

4. Check back the next day for another awesome Groupon!

WHY it Works:

  • Businesses get traffic. And SMALL businesses can really benefit from the exposure.
  • YOU get deals. By ensuring a certain volume of “buyers”, Groupon gets a deep group discount and passes the deals on to YOU.
  • Only buy the ones you want. You pay nothing until something catches your eye!

piggy-bank.jpgUnfortunately, Groupon isn’t available specifically in NWA — but Tulsa is on the list! And with enough retailers located in both places – and up to 90% discounts! – a FREE registration with Groupon.com might just be “worth” it! For example, in the last week Groupon offered a $50 Groupon for GAP for only $25! The site went wild! 

Groupon.com offers an email list that will keep you updated with the deal of the day — so you don’t miss the fun! And like everybody who’s anybody these days — you can find them on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Mamas on 107.9 Thursday mornings!

kezaad3.jpgIt’s Thursday, which means we’re stopping by KEZA Magic 107.9 for our weekly Thursday morning chat with radio hosts Jennifer Irwin and Guy Westmoland. We’ll be on the air around 7:45 a.m. until around 9 a.m. (Click here or on the graphic at right to listen to the radio live on your computer.)

We’ll be talking about parenting issues that have been “in the news” during the past several weeks and months. We’d love it if you’d call in and join the conversation and give your thoughts on some of these stories that have made national headlines.

Below are links to some of the news stories we’ll be discussing. Click on each title below to read story in full:

  • Kindergarten walks 8 miles to find his mother after school bus drop off in wrong place.

Tweens & Teens: Teaching responsibility


If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, then you need to put some responsibility on their shoulders ~ Abigail Van Buren (a.k.a. Dear Abby)

Hello all and welcome to the August edition of Tweens and Teens. Gwen and Shannon asked me to respond to the recent attention drawn to Robert Rausch, a father in Texas who punished his 16-year-old daughter for missing curfew. For those of you who don’t know, he punished her by placing an ad in the local newspaper offering 30 hours worth of free babysitter service from her.

For further details, here’s a link:  http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/38788084/ns/business-media_biz/

You may remember an earlier article we did on Tweens and Teens which says that the purpose of punishment is to decrease behavior (reinforcement is used to increase behavior). Since this father babysitting.jpgwanted the behavior of “missing curfew” to decrease, then he should have punished her, which is exactly what he did. NICE!  So far…

When I first heard about this punishment, I thought, “Wow, that was very creative!” However, I must go on to say that placing an ad in the newspaper might be not have been the best idea. (Yes, I have an alternative, but you’ll need to keep reading).

Several thoughts about this punishment come to mind, though everyone must understand that none of us (I don’t think) know this man or his family nor do we know a lot about the town (Southlake, Texas). According to Wikipedia and the Southlake Chamber of Commerce, Southlake is an affluent suburb of Dallas/Fort Worth and has about 25,000 people (plus or minus). The school system is supposed to be quite good and the average home cost is about $450,000. It was noted by Forbes in December 2008 to be one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country based upon average median family income, which was reported to be approximately $140,000. I have actually been there on one occasion while visiting a friend who lives in the area…it is VERY nice and I enjoyed my time there immensely.

So, the question becomes: Is it okay for him to punish her the way he did? Hmm, let’s explore this situation, both positive and negative.

thumbs-up.jpgFirst, the positive thoughts that I have…this was exceptionally creative and I like the way he was thinking outside the box. The daughter has also said that she doesn’t intend on breaking curfew again, which shows the discipline was effective, assuming she’s not going to change her mind anytime soon.

I also like the idea of pairing irresponsibility with responsibility. She was irresponsible, so she must make up for it by being responsible. Assuming she’s not SO irresponsible that she cannot babysit and that she’s not so angry that she is going to do something crazy with the kids, then her father pairing her irresponsible behavior (missing curfew) with responsible behavior (babysitting) makes sense and is brilliant.

Finally, I think the punishment of babysitting is quite appropriate given the offense. In fact, very appropriate. Not too hard and not too easy. Again, very nice on the father’s part to make the punishment commensurate with the offense in terms of severity level.

thumbs-down.jpgBut, there are some negative so let’s address them, as well. While I’m sure that Southlake is a great place to live (and apparently work), I imagine there are a few families in Southlake that are, how shall I say, not the family I’d want to have my teenage daughter babysitting. You don’t know who will respond to this ad nor do you know that they’ll keep your daughter safe. While everything will likely be okay, and it’s easy to assume this to be the case, especially in this town, the fact is…you never know. I’d be unwilling to take this chance with my daughter (or yours).

I also wonder about his daughter. She’s probably a wonderful and caring person, but are you sure?  What other incidents have happened with her in the past, and do I want her babysitting my children? If she’s a responsible teenage who made a simple mistake, then why didn’t he just talk to her? Or ground her? Could it be because she has done other things and the father knows that talking to her won’t do any good? Is it possible that other punishments have been tried and found to be unsuccessful? Again, we don’t know the details of the family enough to make a valid and educated decision. So I ask again…are you willing to take a chance with a teenager that is PROBABLY going to provide safe services for your child, or do you want a teenager that you KNOW will provide safe services for your child? What if you have an infant?

So…is there another option that can teach her the same lesson and yet avoid any of the possible classified-ad.jpgpitfalls? I think so. I would suggest doing exactly the same thing EXCEPT for placing an ad in the newspaper. What about having her do 30 hours of babysitting for your neighbors, friends, and people at your work? That way, you know whose family she will be babysitting, and they will know who they’re getting. They’ll also know why they are getting her services for the low, low price of…free. Safety for both parties has been taken into account while the purpose of the punishment remains intact.

Finally, this is pretty embarrassing and shameful for her. Teens and Tweens will try whatever they can to avoid embarrassment, and I imagine her schoolmates and all her friends are talking, talking, embarrassed3.pngand talking about what happened. They are also laughing, laughing, and laughing. Though this is not always a bad thing, the purpose of the punishment was to decrease her missing curfew, not embarrass her. Some may say that if her embarrassment results in her coming home on time, then everything is okay; however, I’m wondering whether his daughter is being placed in a position so that she will not trust him enough to come to him for future issues/problems/discussion for fear that he may do something like this again. That will really depend on his relationship with her…let’s hope it’s a good one.

I have to give the father credit for what he has done and the fact that he has decided his daughter cannot shirk her responsibilities; however, I wish he would have changed just a little bit about how he did it.

As you all know, this is a HOT topic of conversation, so let’s keep it going for just a while longer. I’ve shared my thoughts, both positive and negative, about how I feel, but I want to know how you feel. Was this okay and, if not, what should her father have done instead.

This is a great time for us to talk openly about how we punish our children in order to teach them responsibility. Please post your comments and opinions by clicking the big orange button below to add to our discussion.

See you next month.



Life with Ladybug: Probing questions

By Shannon Magsam

My husband and I have some of the best conversations while we’re driving. There’s just something about being trapped in a car together to get you to Talksville.

On one long trip to Texas while we were dating, I made up scenarios about our future life together (God forbid on pretty much all of them) and asked him to share his reaction. For example:

“We have just caught our daughter climbing out her bedroom window at age 13. What do you say to her?”

“Our 16-year-old daughter is caught shoplifting. What’s her punishment at home?”

“Our 10-year-old son gets into a fist-fight at school. How would you handle that as the dad?”

The truth is, I love asking “deep” questions and finding out what people really think about things. I once thought I’d like to be a counselor, but never followed that path. Instead, I just torture friends and family with my endless questions.

animated-staff.gifThe other day my husband and I were driving home from dinner and I started asking him to name songs for certain categories that I was making up as we drove along. I named mine as well. Here were my answers. I’d love to hear yours! (This isn’t TOO deep, now).

Song you play when you’re sad and want to wallow: Two out of three ain’t bad, Meatloaf

Song that always take you straight back to your youth within the first three notes: The time of my life, Dirty Dancing

Song that always makes you want to dance: What I like about you, The Romantics

Saddest.Song.Ever: Wildfire (from my tween horse phase). When I was pretty young my older cousin played Ode to Billie Joe over and over and I thought that was terribly sad, too.

Song that never fails to lift you out of a funk: Walking on Sunshine, Katrina & the Waves

Song that makes you LOL: The most beautiful girl [in the room ], Flight of the Chonchords

Song that fills you with romance: Faithfully, Journey (Also Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton)

Song that represents convertibles and freedom: Sister Christian, Night Ranger

Best break-up song: Could Have Been So Beautiful, Tiffany

Song you hate to admit you like: Wild Thing, The Troggs

Song that makes you think of being a mom: In My Daughter’s Eyes, Martina McBride

shannonsmthumbnail.jpgShannon Magsam is mom to 8-year-old Ladybug, married to Ladybug’s dad, John, and co-creator of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of Life With Ladybug, click here. Leave a comment if you’re so inclined. I’d love to hear your deep thoughts!

Shopping for charity? Yes, you can.


When we heard about the “Bloomingsales” fundraiser being organized by Saving Grace, we thought it was pretty genius. The concept is simple: Get teams of women together and tell them to go shop at shopping-bags.jpgseveral different stores in the Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers. The participating stores give the teams points for each purchase they make, similar to the points you might get if you were playing 18 holes of golf. Those shopping points turn into dollars donated to the charity. The more strategic shopping your team does, the more you help out a great charity. This event actually turns shopping into a generous thing to do. Brilliant idea.

And the money couldn’t be going to a better place. Saving Grace is a Northwest Arkansas non-profit created by a local mom, Becky Shaffer. (Click here to read more about Becky, who spent part of her youth in foster care.) This organization helps young women who are aging out of foster care and need help in making the transition into self-sufficient life on their own. Keep in mind these are teenage girls who don’t have a mom or dad to call for help and often have nowhere to go. Becky and her team at Saving Grace have created a beautiful home for these young women and are teaching them the life skills they need plus providing bloomingsales2.jpgemotional support that’s critical in this stage of life.

If you have three girlfriends who also like to shop, you can create your own team for the Bloomingsales event which will be held Saturday, September 18th at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers. Shoppers will get special discounts, an entry for door prizes, and access to the party on the 19th hole!

If you’re interested in this event, click HERE to get more info on signing up a team of four shoppers. If you sign up by September 1st, your name goes into a drawing for FOUR $100 GIFT CARDS from the Pinnacle Hills Promenade. So get on the phone or e-mail and round up your team members by next Wednesday. If you have any questions about registration, call the Saving Grace office at 636-1133 or e-mail them at info@savinggracenwa.org.

Happy shopping!


Pet Parenting: New ‘Haute Dog’ Shop!


Molly Meredith is the owner of a brand new website just for canines: Haute Dog Inc. We asked her a few questions about how the business came to be and how the new online store is “giving back” to doggies who need it most.

molly1.pngHow long have you had the Haute Dog shop?

a:  Haute Dog just launched THIS month! However, it has been in the works full-force since January this year (and in my head for quite some time!).

Do you have a storefront or is the shop online only?

a:  Haute Dog is an online web store only: hautdogshop.com. We do wholesale our products to retailers with storefronts –coming soon to NWA!

What inspired this new business?

a: Dogs (animals, really) are my biggest passion in life, always have been. I craved a creative outlet and really desired it to involve what I love most. I said from the beginning, I wouldn’t do this if I couldn’t find a way to make it benefit dogs. Being able to provide people with fun and healthy products for their dogs, while having charitable giving programs just really makes my heart smile. :)

Tell us about your own furry “babies”:

a: Oh goodness, I lovingly refer to our house as “the zoo”.  We have two Chihuahuas, Mackenzie Jo and Taber, they’re the “first born” babies of the house, then there’s Nyla, a Pitt Bull mix and she’s a pretty fantastic big sis. Can’t forget the cats- there’s Savannah, Cleopatra, Bentley, Tig, and Sophi.  The first four were adopted as adults from the Fayetteville Animal Shelter, and Sophi, my husband found in a parking lot when she was just 5 weeks old. I love the crazy dynamic all the animals bring to the house, it’s kind of amazing how everyone gets a long, but they’re very individual with their own personalities. Animals make my life complete, I certainly wouldn’t feel whole without them.

You mention in your ‘about’ that you were in the medical field of skin care for humans for years. How did that translate into canine care?

a: Professionally speaking, the health and beauty field is my familiar stomping ground. I really love the mix of chemistry to creation and applying it to each individual, so it was quite interesting taking that from the human aspect to dogs. Probably the most interesting thing is that it’s all so similar. And that being the case, why would we use sub-quality products on our dogs?

The biggest difference in translation is pH balance and ingredient knowledge.  That, and the common conditions that need attention: For example, I’m not worrying about patients with acne, instead I’m figuring out how to naturally combat fleas! But still, it’s really just an applied science. It’s fun. Saying that probably makes me a geek, but it’s true.

What makes your products unique?

haute.jpga:  Haute Dog products are 100% vegan and all-natural. Yes, if you do some searching, you can find other natural, vegan products, but you can’t find the expansive collection that Haute Dog offers! People like choices and variety is the spice of life, no? It’s also important to know that our ingredients are selected from high quality (human) spa suppliers here in the USA. My experience in researching the field of dog grooming products is that you either get cute packaging but crappy ingredients, or great ingredients but limited selection. Haute Dog is committed to never cutting corners!

What are some of your best-sellers?

a:  Since we just launched, it may be TBD. But, based on the events, samples and surveys we’ve done, people really enjoy the Puppy Love and Yin & Yang collections (shampoos and aromatherapy tonics). Their scents are captivating. Also, the Between Bath Powders (in Fresh, Flea Free, or Brilliant Blanc) have been a hit because they’re super easy!

Tell us more about how you “give back”?

a:  My favorite part!  We have two charitable giving programs. “5% for the animals” gives 5% of Haute Dog proceeds to non-profit animal charity. “Forever Home First Bath” gives a shampoo to every dog adopter at the Fayetteville Animal Shelter, ensuring their dog’s first bath to be the best ever! I am really so excited about these programs. On a different note, I think it’s important to mention that we only provide carbon neutral shipping and use recyclable packaging- let’s give back to the earth, too.

I couldn’t help but smile at the “facial & pedicure” category on your website menu. I bet you’ll get a lot of clicks on that one!

a:  It’s fun, right? But, here’s the deal, some people say, Oh, I don’t have the time or money to indulge in silly things like that for my dog”. I get it, I totally do. When something is ridiculously expensive or difficult to use, it kinda sucks the fun out of it. Haute Dog is about being accessible to everyone. The reality is, some dogs require special eye, ear or paw care, and we want to make sure we provide that, at a user-friendly, reasonable cost.  Why not make it fun while we’re at it?

Is running this business great fun or what?

a:  TONS of fun. Seems like “fun” has been the theme of this interview, but it’s so true. I get to do all the things I love. I research and get inspired in so many ways, channel my creativity daily, and hopefully make a difference for dogs and their people. Running a business has challenges that I wasn’t aware of until I faced them, but it’s really empowering at the same time. I’m fulfilled and happy. So are my dogs. Couldn’t really ask for more.