Good Gossip: Celeb engagements, awards and favorite kids’ books

Eric Dane

Hope your holiday weekend was a good one, mamas! Here’s the latest installment of “Good Gossip” — a special guilt-free gossip column found only on We filter out all the nasty rumors moms always warn their kids not to spread around, leaving you with only the good stuff on movie stars, celebrities, famous athletes and other names in the news. Enjoy.

There’s an adorable picture of McSteamy (Mark Sloan on Grey’s Anatomy) in the latest issue of People magazine. Actor Eric Dane is pictured with his 14-month-old daughter Billie in Beverly Hills this month. “I like watching her laugh,” says Eric. “She owns me.” Awwwwww.

Kim Kardashian recently got engaged to NBA player Kris Humphries. To pop the question, Kris spelled out the words “Will you marry me?” in red rose petals on a white rug in Kim’s bedroom. There were no cameras present for the proposal. Kris said he wanted it to be private and at home. The whole Kardashian family wore fake glowing engagement rings during a celebratory dinner after the proposal. The real engagement ring is a 16-carat emerald cut diamond with 2-carat trapezoid diamonds on either side. Check out the latest issue of People magazine to see a photo of the HUGE rock.

Isla Fisher

Celebrity parents including Tina Fey, Isla Fisher and Rainn Wilson recently recommended some of their favorite books to read to their kids. Tina Fey is reading the Little House on the Prairie books to her daughter and a picture book called Marveltown, by Bruce McCall. Isla Fisher said she loves all the Dr. Seuss books but her overall favorite is Slinky Malinki by Lynley Dodd. It’s about a cat who pilfers everything in town. And Rainn Wilson said he thinks it’s important to read the books you loved as a kid, so he has started reading The Hobbit to his son.

James Franco, who recently starred in the movie 127 Hours, just graduated from New York University with a master’s degree in film. Franco has also written a book, been nominated for an Academy Award, exhibited his artwork and taught college courses. He is currently working on a Ph.D. at Yale. And all the mamas said… “Wow.”

Mary Tyler Moore is recovering nicely after undergoing surgery to remove a benign tumor from the lining around her brain. Moore is 74.

Blake and Miranda

One wedding guest called it “probably the most fun wedding I’ve been to” after partying with Blake Shelton and his bride Miranda Lambert on May 14th. Lambert wore her mother’s wedding dress, and all the guests received mason jars full of sangria before the ceremony. After the kiss, the couple toasted with their own mason jars. At the reception, quesadillas with deer meat (which the bride hunted) were served and then Lambert, Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson all sang karaoke.

Mike Myers, 48, and wife Kelly Tisdale, 34, are expecting a baby. The couple said they are overjoyed.

Speaking of funny men, actor Will Ferrell will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this October. It is the nation’s top humor prize. Other recipients include Steve Martin, Bob Newhart and Whoopi Goldberg.

Sources: People magazine, May 30, 2011 issue; People magazine, June 6, 2011 issue

Good Gossip is a bi-weekly feature sponsored by RingO’s Chicken Rings, which is a USDA Child Nutrition Certified food. RingO’s (original flavor) have only 3 grams of fat per serving and NO trans fatty acids. Click here to read more nutritional info about RingO’s. Click here to see what parents are saying about the product on Facebook!



Teens & Tweens: Texting and Driving

Tweeting, blogging, texting. Remember when we just talked to each other? Author Unknown

Welcome to the May edition of Teens and Tweens. Before we go further, I’m going to admit something: I have texted while driving, not just once, but on numerous occasions. But now it’s over. I’ve done some research into the topic for this month’s article, and the research is beyond convincing. If you need help convincing your teenagers that texting while driving really is a big deal with life-altering consequences, show them — with facts, photos, studies, videos and news stories — what can happen when somebody behind the wheel sends a quick text message that he or she thinks is “no big deal.”

As a parent, your own level of focus behind the wheel will also set expectations for your kids. If you’re distracted while you’re driving, chances are they will be, too, when it’s their turn to get behind the wheel.

I happened across a study that was conducted over an 18-month period in which cameras were used to catch people texting while driving. This was then compared with automobile accidents, etc. The results showed that the collision risk was 23 times greater if the drivers were texting.

In another study conducted in Virginia, 46% of 16 and 17-year-olds admit to text messaging while driving, with AAA indicating that the risk for a car accident increases by 50% for those who text while driving.

While many states have outlawed texting and driving, some states have actually had an increase in automobile claims by young adults since that law went into effect. While nobody can say for sure, one person speculated that since texting and driving was against the law, the person would put their hands in a position that was even lower than normal so he or she could text and not be seen, which, of course, only served to slow the reflexes and distract the driver even more.

In an article published in 2010, Reuters indicated, “Drivers distracted by talking or texting on cell phones killed an estimated 16,000 people from 2001 to 2007.” This is an astounding and frightening number to be sure.

It’s even more frightening when you hear the real-life stories and see the photos of the people who have died as a result of texting and driving (these pictures and information were obtained via Google and the website

Bailey Goodman, 17, was killed along with four of her fellow cheerleaders when she swerved into oncoming traffic, hit a tractor-trailer and her SUV burst into flames.

Five days earlier, the five teenagers had graduated from high school. Two minutes before the crash was reported, her phone was used to send a text greeting to a friend.

Ashley D. Miller, 18, (far right) veered into oncoming traffic and hit another car head-on while she was texting. She and the other driver, a 40-year-old mother of 1, were killed instantly.

Dana Trammell, 17, (right) was texting someone on her way to her first day of school of senior year when she crashed and was thrown from her vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The following You Tube video is a Public Service Announcement created in the United Kingdom to show teens the dangers of texting and driving.  It has been shown to scores of high school students throughout Great Britain and is graphic for a reason.  Texting can be dangerous and there is no doubt about it when you see this video.

WARNING: This is very graphic and, although it is a simulation and not a real accident, it really gets the point across. After viewing it, many high school students have said that they will no longer text and drive, so it does seem to be working. Let’s hope they were being honest. Some teens also said that, if they are in a car where the driver wants to send a text, they will offer to send the text for the driver so that his or her eyes can stay on the road.

Here’s the video:

If this video does not convince you, then I’m not sure what will.

Until next month, be safe while you’re driving. I know I will.


June Calendar: Northwest Arkansas Events + Summer Camps!


First Fridays – Bentonville

Activities, food and live music for the whole family! Held on the Bentonville square March through November.

Date: Fridays

Time: 11:30am

Location: Downtown Bentonville Square

More Info:

First Thursdays – Fayetteville

First Thursday Fayetteville is a monthly event held on the Downtown Fayetteville Square. It features various works of art, live music, outdoor movies, and other cultural arts representations.. This year the event has expanded onto Mountain Street and includes a Kids’ Zone! Terra Studios will sponsor the kids’ activities. Free and open to the public.

Date: First Thursdays of the month

Time: 5-8 p.m.

Location: Fayetteville Square

More info:

Fayetteville Farmers’ Market

For the last 37 years, the downtown square market has offered the finest in locally produced vegetables, fruits, flowers, plants, meats, baked goods, honey, eggs, jams, crafts, and  fine art from the NWA area. Each market day is a feast for the eyes, ears and palate, with a riot of color, aromas, and sounds — street performers, tourists, and the residents of Northwest Arkansas visiting with over 60 vendors around the beautiful square gardens.

Date: Saturdays

Time: 7am – 2pm

Location: Downtown Square (Fayetteville)

More Info:

Fayetteville Farmers’ Market Kid’s Day

The Fayetteville Farmers’ Market is hosting a special Kid’s Day Thursday morning, June 16, on the downtown square.  Puppet Shows, Farm Animals,a Fire Truck, and activities from the Rogers Historical Museum, Audubon Society, and the Montessori School. Fresh produce, blueberries and crafts available. (SNAP/EBT accepted this year.)

Date: Thursday, June 16

Time: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Location: Downtown square

More info:

Little Sprouts

Join the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks for a short nature-based activity, weather permitting. Activities include a story, game or a take-home craft.

Date: Wednesdays

Time: 10am

Location: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (Fayetteville)

More Info: Tickets – Kids over 13 are $5, Ages 5-13 are $2.50 and Kiddos under 5 are free.

Tom Chapin at Bentonville First Fridays

Beloved singer/songwriter Tom Chapin will perform a concert for the whole family!

Date: Friday, June 3

Time: TBD

Location: Downtown Bentonville Square

More Info: Free and open to the public.

First Friday Flicks – The Blind Side

The Bentonville Parks & Recreation department will host a family-friendly movie on a 25 foot inflatable outdoor screen at Lawrence Plaza. This event will be in conjunction with the First Friday events on the Bentonville Square. Bring your blanket and popcorn!

Date: Friday, June 3

Time: 8pm

Location: Lawrence Plaza (Bentonville)

More Info:

Kids Workshop – Home Depot

On the first Saturday of each month, the FREE Home Depot Kids Workshops offer useful projects like building toolboxes, fire trucks and mail organizers, as well as more educational projects, such as window birdhouses, bughouses or a Declaration of Independence frame kit.

Date: Saturday, June 4

Time: 9am – Noon

Location: Your local Home Depot (Fayetteville or Rogers)

More Info: Great for ages 5-12. or CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

Cane Hill Kite Festival

This will be the 10th Cane Hill Kite Festival to be held at Springfield Ranch in downtown Cane Hill. Free to park and watch.

Date: Sunday, June 5

Time: 12 – 5pm

Location: Springfield Ranch (Cane Hill)

More Info: To fly – $1 for kids, $2 for adults. Free to military families. 479.824.8109 for more information.

7th Annual Bentonville Artsfest

A festival of the arts in all forms. This event brings together the visual arts, theater, live music, culinary arts and film into a great weekend of talent from around the region. This year Artsfest will be a week-long festival!

Date: June 3 thru June 11

Time: 6pm

Location: Downtown Bentonville Square

More Info:

Studio Leilani Summer Art Classes

Children and adult classes with artist Leilani Law. A native of the Colorado Rockies, artist Leilani has claimed her home base as Fayetteville Arkansas for the past 17 years. She regards herself primarily as a painter but her creative investigations have involved printmaking, sculpture, and mixed-media. Among intriguing summer classes: Farmers’ Market Inspired Still Life Art.

Date: Starts June 7

Time: Varies

Location: Center Street, Fayetteville Square

More info:

Gulley Park Summer Concert Series

Date: Thursdays (Next concert June 9)

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Gulley Park, Fayetteville

More info:

Ozark Natural Science Center Summer Camps

The Ozark Natural Science Center offers innovative, age appropriate field programs for learners of all ages. All summer camp programs are educationally based. Ozark Natural Science Center’s Summer Science Program offers campers a unique learning and recreational experience outdoors. Camps are designed to allow progression from our younger camps through our more advanced offerings. However, anyone may attend regardless of previous summer camp experience at ONSC. Age-specific recreational and educational activities in each camp are designed to develop appreciation for our natural world.

Date: First camp (Ozark Field Expedition) starts June 12. Camp through end of July.

Time: Varies

Location: Ozark Natural Science Center, Huntsville

More info:


Arts Live Theatre – Summer Camps

Northwest Arkansas’ only dedicated children’s and youth theatre company will begin its summer camps June 13. Camps available for grades K-12 including Musical Theatre, Theatre Production, Theatre Dance, Stage Makeup, Stage Combat and Comedy Improv. Camps are one week each and offered monthly.

Date: Starting Monday, June 13. Continues through the summer.

Time: 10am

Location: Arts Live Theatre (Fayetteville)

More Info: For a complete schedule of camps, fees and downloadable registration form, visit

Imagine Studios Summer Camps

Date: Camps start June 13

Time: Varies

Location: Imagine Studios, Village on the Creeks

More info: Imagine Studios Summer Camps

NWA Community Creative Center Summer Camps

With nine adult classes and over 30 kids classes to choose from, add some art to your summer. They claim to have the cure for the “I’m Bored” Gremlin!  Weekly classes available at the Community Creative Center, better known as Nadine Baum Studios.

Date: June, varies

Time: Varies

Location: Nadine Baum Studios

More info: NWACCC Summer Camps

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks Mini-Camp

Camping at the Garden: Explore@BGO, a nature and gardening camp for ages 7-8 and 9-10, comes to the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks from June 14 through August 9. Sign-up deadline is May 31.

Date: Starting June 14 through Aug. 9

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Location: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

More info: E-mail Judy Smith, or call 750-2620, extension 26.

Digging Up Arkansas

It is Arkansas’ 175th birthday! To celebrate, the Washington County Historical Society and the Walton Arts Center will be presenting the play “Digging Up Arkansas”.

Date: Wednesday, June 15 (Statehood Day!)

Time: Shows at 4:45 and 6:15pm

Location: Owl Creek Elementary School (Fayetteville)

More Info: Please pre-register with the WAC box office due to limited seating, but families are welcome to attend free of charge.

37th Annual Kid’s Day

Special activities for children at the Fayetteville Farmers Market. Face painting, fire engines, balloons, community organizations around the beautiful downtown square.

Date: Thursday, June 16

Time: 7am – 1pm

Location: Downtown Square (Fayetteville)

More Info: Admission is free.

Community Cookout!

Bank of the Ozarks will be serving hot dogs, burgers, chips and water for FREE. Chick-fil-A will also be there with games and a special appearance by the cow!

Date: Friday, June 17

Time: 11am – 1:30pm

Location: Bank of the Ozarks – Pleasant Grove Road (Rogers)

Tri-Sport Club Kids & Family Triathlon

A kids triathlon, plus a parent/guardian division. Ages 7-14 boys and girls who want to try their first triathlon or for the “seasoned” young person who is wanting a challenge.

Date: Saturday, June 18

Time: 8am

Location: Fayetteville Athletic Club (Fayetteville)

More Info: Each competitor will receive a t-shirt and all participants completing the race will receive a USA Triathlon finisher’s medal.

U of A College of Engineering Summer Camps

For kids in the 6th grade or above next school year. Programs offer hands-on engineering activities tailored to different ages and interests. Find the program right for you by checking out the link below. Deadline is May 30.

Date: Starts June 20

Time: Varies

Location: University’s Bell Engineering

More info: U of A summer camps

Cancer Challenge Run/Walk

Cancer Challenge Run/Walk 10K, 5K and 1-mile courses. Registration includes entry fee, t-shirt, backpack to the first 1000 registered.

Date: Saturday, June 25

Time: 8am

Location: Orchards Park (Bentonville)

More Info: Registration is $25 for adults, $15 for teens (ages 13-17), $10 for youth (ages 2-12) and free under 2.

Rodeo of the Ozarks

67th Annual! The Rodeo of the Ozarks brings the best cowboys and the best stock together for four nights of rodeo action! Nearly 500 contestants, professional athletes will compete in seven PRCA and WPRA sanction events – Tie Down Roping, Steer Wrestling, Barrel Racing, Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Team Roping and the ever popular Bull Riding. Bring the entire family out to celebrate our nation’s birthday and our western heritage.

Date: Opening Night – Wednesday, June 29

Time: 6:30pm (Parade at 3pm!)

Location: Parsons Stadium (Springdale)

More Info: Following the rodeo Easton Corbin will perform a FREE concert with your purchase of a Wednesday night rodeo ticket!

Family Sundays – Arvest Ballpark

Families rule on Sunday at Arvest Ballpark! Kids 12 and under Eat Free and can run the bases after the game. Stop by and visit our face painter and balloon artist!

Date: Sundays, June 5, 12, 19

Time: Varies

Location: Arvest Ballpark (Springdale)

More Info: For ticket info,

Northwest Arkansas Community College Summer Camps

NWACC will hold summer camps for youth, age eight or older, as well as pre-college. The summer program will feature day-long or half-day courses. Participants may reserve a spot in advance through registration at the Shewmaker Center for Workforce Technologies at the Bentonville.

Date: Classes start July 5

Time: Varies

Location: NWACC

More info:

Rogers Athletic Center Summer Camps

Date: Varies

Time: Varies

Location: Rogers Athletic Center

More info: Rogers Arkansas Center

Trike Theatre Summer Camps

Fine arts and performace camps for students ages 4yr-12th grade. Three locations: Fayetteville, Bentonville and Bella Vista.

Date: Varies

Time: Varies

Location: Fayetteville, Bentonville, Bella Vista

More info:

Devotion in Motion: Worth the Risk

26 ¶ Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” ~ Genesis 1:26  (NKJV)

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

The toys that kids play with now aren’t nearly as cool as the ones I grew up with. There’s an important reason for this. All the toys I loved so much as a child have been banned and removed from the market by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. They’ve been deemed as just too darn dangerous for kids to play with.

My favorite childhood toy was my Creepy Crawler machine, made by Mattel. Every kid on my block had one. My grandmother bought me one when I was 5-years-old, before I ever started school. It was tremendous fun because you could use it to make all sorts of plastic toys. (They were sort of like the jiggley plastic worms that your father takes fishing.) It was the coolest toy ever made.

The Creepy Crawler machine (also known as a “Thingmaker”) was also the most dangerous toy every designed. You filled little stainless steel molds with various colors of  a thick, petroleum-based liquid. The fluid was known as “Plasti-Goop,” and it gave off a noxious odor when it was heated. (My mother made me play with my set on the back porch so our house didn’t smell like a paper mill.) You had to be careful not to spill the Plasti-Goop on anything, like the styrofoam box that the Thingmaker came in. Plasti-Goop ate right through Styrofoam. No joke.

The Thingmaker had a little square electric burner — just like the “hot plate” you may have used to boil water on in your dorm room. It heated up to probably about 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. It had no safety features whatsoever. You could plug the thing in and then lay your whole hand on the 4-inch by 4-inch heated surface that got as hot as a blast furnace. But, of course, you weren’t supposed to put your hand on it. You were supposed to put the goop-filled stainless steel molds on it. This was so that they, too, could become as hot as a melting-down-nuclear-reactor.

After the Plasti-Goop had cured (and before the mold began to give off acrid smoke) you had to attach a rickety handle to the mold and snatch it off the burner. You then plunged the fiery metal form into a small plastic tray filled with water. As the steam rose toward the ceiling, it made the same sizzling sound as when a blacksmith dips a molten horseshoe into a watering trough.

Did we ever get burned while playing with the Thingmaker? Of course we did. But back then, if we told our parents that we’d burned a finger on the Creepy Crawler machine, they all said the same thing: “Well, that thing gets really hot. You have to be careful with it and watch what you’re doing.” But for the most part, I don’t think we even told our parents if we burned our fingers. We were having too much fun making Creepy Crawlers.

And I don’t remember ever hearing about a lawsuit being filed against Mattel for the dangers involved with using a Thingmaker. Back then, people accepted more responsibility for their actions without blaming others. Parents and children alike could take one look at the situation and see that this toy was full of things that you wouldn’t want to dump in your lap. It involved a large element of risk — but it was risk that could be managed if you acted with care. We were having a wonderful time making Creepy Crawlers. We believed it was worth the risk. Back then, we recognized that you can’t have anything that’s worthwhile and joyful without dealing with risk.

Did you ever think about the risk our Heavenly Father took when he gave “free will” to the humans He created? Because we are free moral agents, we can make our own choices. We can choose to love God and obey Him, or we can choose to hate Him and reject Him. In giving mankind freedom, the Lord created creatures that could turn against Him.

Why did He take this enormous risk? I think it’s because true love can only exist where there is freedom. And that’s why love is such a beautiful virtue. Somebody met you, they had a choice to make — and they decided to love you. It’s wonderful when someone makes that choice. And because God has given us the ability to choose, some will recognize His worthiness and choose to love Him. That’s His ultimate plan in time and eternity. God is populating a kingdom with those who have chosen to love Him.

God loves you with an abiding and everlasting love. Will you choose to love God this week and to show it by the way you live? He’s worthy of the risk.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” 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 20) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher also once owned a set of Giant Lawn Darts when he was a little boy. ) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to

The Rockwood Files: Love Stinks

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

As reported in an earlier column, we had to say goodbye to one of our dogs recently who was so ill that we made the tough decision to euthanize her at the vet’s office. Obviously, her backyard roommate, E.J., didn’t know why his constant companion of 14 years was suddenly gone. For a few days, it was obvious he was waiting on her return. The vet cautioned us that dogs mourn, just as people do, and that E.J. would need extra love and attention to get through it.

So we’ve spent nearly a month now catering to E.J.’s every need. He’s a black lab mix who was rescued as a puppy 14 years ago. When he came to us, he was missing one ear which the vet said was probably cut off by a previous owner. The skin around his eye was also mangled and scarred. We’ve always said that E.J. (short for Earless Joe) is “cosmetically challenged” but has one of the best-looking spirits you’ll ever see in a dog.

After the loss, we decided to let E.J. stay inside with us full-time, going out only for bathroom breaks and walks to the bus stop to get the kids after school. For the first week or so, things were working out fine. But lately, he has developed a bad case of separation anxiety, which they say is pretty common in dogs who’ve experienced a big change in their lives. E.J. was what they call the “follower dog”, which basically means that our other dog was the one who wore the four-legged pants in the relationship. She led. He followed.

Now that she’s gone, E.J. needs a new leader. And he has decided that Tom and I are the new leaders. Fortunately, we both work from home so E.J. curls up beside either Tom’s desk or mine and sleeps contentedly most of the day. When we feed the kids, he sits at their feet hoping one of them drops a bite. When we watch T.V. at night, E.J. is right there with us. If we get up for a glass of ice tea or even to walk across the room, E.J. slowly clambers up and follows us – a built-in shadow wherever we go.

But here’s the problem: E.J., a bona fide doggie senior citizen, snores loudly when he sleeps and is extremely gassy. I’m not exaggerating even a little when I tell you that this dog emits odors that smell like a hundred rotten potatoes stuck inside an overflowing sewer pipe. The smell sneaks up on us like a deadly gas, and if we try to get up and escape it, the offender follows us with his trail of green funk trailing close behind. Sometimes I even hear E.J. audibly pass gas while he is snoring, which makes me feel like I’m living in some kind of fraternity house where good manners get dropped at the door.

If we put him outside so as to spare ourselves the agony of the smell, he sits by the door making this pitiful, heart-wrenching sound that’s a combination of a whine and a howl. When we see his sad, black face, which has become framed with gray hair in his old age, we have no choice but to let him back in and try to hold our breath when the wave of paint-peeling odor strikes. We love him. So what else can we do?

I think of it this way. One day, I, too, will be old and gray and will snore and have less than ladylike control over certain bodily functions. Perhaps I’ll be missing someone and need the comfort of companionship, just as E.J. does now. I would hope someone would extend the same kindness to me, even if it meant he or she had to hold their nose to do it. Let’s face it. Sometimes love stinks.

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

On Your Mind: ADHD – Life doesn’t have to be this hard!

By Deborah Dawes, PhD, Ozark Guidance

Until very recently Attention Deficit Disorder was considered to be a problem of childhood that kids grew out of. Now it is becoming clear that it is a neuropsychological disorder that persists, but that many sufferers have developed coping skills or struggle without knowing what the real problem is.

One book addressing this for adults is called You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo. The very title points to the importance of early diagnosis, so that people with the disorder do not have to struggle with believing themselves to be at fault for essentially a biophysical brain problem.

To prevent lifelong problems caused by ADHD, the dedicated staff at Ozark Guidance work to assure that children are correctly diagnosed and receive the appropriate care. These children are thus equipped to have a successful life undamaged by problems with ADHD.

What is ADHD?

According to the Mayo Clinic: “Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often persists into adulthood. ADHD includes some combination of problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school.” The Centers for Disease Control (the CDC) reports that: “People with ADHD have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (might act without thinking about what the result will be), and in some cases, are overly active.”

While ADHD isn’t cured by treatment, the problems it causes can be significantly reduced and coping abilities developed such that children with ADHD can flourish.

ADHD Diagnosis

The National Center for Mental Health (NIMH) sums up the diagnostic process in the following paragraphs:

Children mature at different rates and have different personalities, temperaments, and energy levels. Most children get distracted, act impulsively, and struggle to concentrate at one time or another. Sometimes, these normal factors may be mistaken for ADHD.

ADHD symptoms usually appear early in life, often between the ages of 3 and 6, and because symptoms vary from person to person, the disorder can be hard to diagnose. Parents may first notice that their child loses interest in things sooner than other children, or seems constantly “out of control.” Often, teachers notice the symptoms first, when a child has trouble following rules, or frequently “spaces out” in the classroom or on the playground.

No single test can diagnose a child as having ADHD. Instead, a licensed health professional needs to gather information about the child, and his or her behavior and environment. A family may want to first talk with the child’s pediatrician. Some pediatricians can assess the child themselves, but many will refer the family to a mental health specialist with experience in childhood mental disorders such as ADHD. The pediatrician or mental health specialist will first try to rule out other possibilities for the symptoms. For example, certain situations, events, or health conditions may cause temporary behaviors in a child that seem like ADHD.

As the Mayo Clinic points out: “A diagnosis of ADHD can be scary, and symptoms can be a challenge for parents and children alike. However, treatment can make a big difference, and most children with ADHD grow up to be normal adults.”

ADHD Treatment

Most often the treatment with the best results includes medication and behavioral therapy. This is a brain dysfunction, and medication allows the brain to function appropriately, permitting the attention and focus needed to accomplish both daily and developmental tasks. Behavioral and psychological treatment helps the child develop the coping skills that support focus and organization, and to deal with any of the self-esteem or disruptive problems that the condition caused.  The mental health professional also helps build the necessary understanding that parents and teachers need to help the child in their care develop optimally.

From NIMH:

How can parents help?

Children with ADHD need guidance and understanding from their parents and teachers to reach their full potential and to succeed in school. Before a child is diagnosed, frustration, blame, and anger may have built up within a family. Parents and children may need special help to overcome bad feelings. Mental health professionals can educate parents about ADHD and how it impacts a family. They also will help the child and his or her parents develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other.

Ozark Guidance stands ready to answer your questions and provide the appropriate services for the needs of your child. If you have reason to be concerned that this may be a problem for you child, as it is for almost 10% of the children in America according to the CDC, don’t hesitate to call us for help. 479-750-2020.

Resources on the web:

Mamas on Magic 107.9 on Fridays!

It’s time to talk manners, mamas! If you agree with us that teaching and enforcing good manners is a BIG deal, we’d love it if you’d join us for a radio chat on this topic this morning (Friday) from 7:25 to 8:30 on Magic 107.9 with radio hosts Jennifer Irwin and Guy Westmoland.

This goes way beyond a simple “please” and “thank you.” We’ll talk about why manners are so important, even in today’s casual society, and how to keep practicing them at home with your kids.

Either tune in to Magic 107.9 or click on the graphic below to listen to the radio live on your computer.

Do you love the sign pictured on the right? You can actually buy one of these if your kids need a visual reminder around the house. It’s a graphic print by artist John Golden. I ordered some of his prints from Here’s a link where you can see more artsy reminders about using good manners. Click here for info on the artwork.

Here’s a list of links to articles we’ll be talking about on the air. Click on the title of each article below to read it in full.




5 Minutes with a Mom: Bryanna Lenan

Note from the mamas: In memory of her baby, Swan Grace, Bryanna has hand-crafted swan figurines to raise money for SHARE. SHARE is a support group that serves those whose lives have been touched by the tragic death of a baby through early pregnancy loss, stillbirth or in the first few months of life. You can buy the swans – which are signed and numbered — through Bryanna’s Etsy shop HERE. Bryanna is really talented and the swans are uniquely beautiful (they all have sweet little crowns on their heads!).

Bryanna planned to give the swans to guests at her baby shower, but sadly, that event never happened. She wanted to use the figurines (or Bryanna can add a string to make them ornaments) to help others in Northwest Arkansas who have their own Swan stories.

Click here and here to read Bryanna’s blog posts about when she found out about Swan and the subsequent delivery. She also talks about it in her answers below. Most importantly, she wants moms to know about the RhoGAM immunization.

Click HERE to read Bryanna’s post on her website about the swan figurines. Remember: You don’t have to purchase a swan to make a donation to SHARE. Any amount of donation is appreciated! Also, there are only 40 swans, so buy soon or they’ll be gone.

Name: Bryanna Lenan

Son’s name and age? JJ (John, Jr.) 3 1/2 years old

We know you recently lost your baby. Can you tell us how you’re doing? I’m feeling more up than down.

Can you tell us what happened? At 17 weeks my midwife couldn’t hear a heartbeat, even though we heard a heartbeat at 10 weeks and 14 weeks. Needless to say, I had an emergency ultrasound and the baby, Swan, was no longer living. I did not have any trauma (extra stress, sickness, fall) or cramping or bleeding… I just didn’t feel pregnant any more. This feeling came to me about 5 days before my appointment with my midwife.

I did not receive the RhoGAM shot after delivering JJ, nor did I know anything about the RhoGAM immunization. (Click here to find out more about who should get this immunization.)

In my heart of hearts, I believe that this is what caused Swan’s life to cease. After receiving the autopsy and finding no birth defects or chromosome defects I have to believe that is what happened. However, because it happened in the 2nd trimester and not the 3rd when it is more easily diagnosed and unfortunately more common, the autopsy report is inconclusive.

What is helping you get through this painful experience? I had the opportunity to hold Swan and spend several hours with her after delivery. She was so beautiful and just perfect. She had all her sweet little fingers and toes… she was in the same position that JJ sleeps in at night and so… it was just… peaceful. And although the experience was life altering and very difficult, I am truly blessed that I had that time with her. I got to share this time with my Mom, as my husband was not able to come home from an out of town job, so it was especially meaningful because I had my Mom with me and it was definitely a time for mothers and daughters.

Ironically it wasn’t confirmed until we actually got the autopsy several days after delivery that Swan was in fact a female. But I always knew in my heart that she was going to be the little girl I had always wanted. I think it is amazing how my mother’s intuition knew that she was a girl.

How long have you lived in NWA? We moved to NWA in October 31, 2009.

Where are you from and what brought you to the area? Originally I was born and raised in Ohio. However, I haven’t lived in Ohio for many years. I was a flight attendant for United Airlines and moved around depending on where I was based. I happened to be living in Los Angeles when I met my husband, John,  got married and had JJ. We lived in Los Angeles up until the day we moved to NWA.

Can you tell us about your blog/Etsy shop? The Canary’s Cupcake is a collection of my artwork. I dabble in mixed media and altered art forms. I have a hard time keeping items in my shop as I sell and give away a lot of my work from home and to friends and family that know me and the meanings behind a lot of what I do.

Currently in my shop I am selling Swan figurines that have been decorated by me with vintage touches,  in memory of my baby Swan. All the donations will go to SHARE. (Buy swans at Bryann’s Etsy shop HERE. They are $20 apiece with no shipping costs.) SHARE is a support group serving those whose lives have been touched by the tragic death of a baby through pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or in the first 2 years of life. I am hoping to make a nice donation in the memory of my baby, Swan.

Does the name of your business have special meaning? Easily enough, I love cake… especially cupcakes (white cake/butter cream frosting!!) and I am very fond of birds. The Canary’s Cupcake was just a cute little friendly name that I thought sounded enticing enough to get attention!

Have you always been a “creative type”? Yes! Most definitely!

Where are your favorite places in NWA?

  • Bliss Cupcake Cafe
  • Cheap Thrills
  • Daisy Exchange
  • Hugo’s
  • Hobby Lobby!!
  • I also love all the green lush landscape, such a pleasant discovery after the concrete jungle of LA.

If you could have a vacation anywhere this summer, where would it be? Australia. I love Australia and I would really love to show my husband and son some of the beauty that Australia has to offer.

Tell us about how you met your husband. He’s cute! Long story but with a fairytale ending!

What are some of your favorite things about your son that make him so adorable? JJ is amazingly loving. He loves to snuggle and kiss and it warms my heart to see him so sweet. I also love seeing how fearless he is… in the same breath his fearlessness can be frightening as he dives off the back of the couch! LOL! I just think JJ is an amazing child and I am so proud of him.

One word to sum me up … Flawed.

Beauty Product Award Winners

Attention fellow product junkies! The Cosmetic Executive Women’s organization (CEW) recently released its annual list of “Beauty Insider’s Choice” Awards. If you like to try out new products that have been tried out by industry experts, you’ll want to check out this list.

Here are a few of the winning beauty products included in this year’s list. Click the link at the bottom of this list to see the complete list of CEW product winners.

Anti-aging products:

  • Aveeno Ageless Vitality Elasticity Recharging System — Day SPF 30
  • Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector

Acne Treatment

  • Zeno Heat Treat Blemish Prevention Treatment

Eye Treatment:

  • RoC Brilliance Eye Beautifier

Eye Product:

  • CoverGirl Liquiline Blast Eyeliner

Lip Product:

  • Loreal Infallible Le Rouge
  • Fresh Sugar Plum Tinted Lip Treatment

Sun Product:

  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 60

Moisturizing Product:

  • Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir

Hair Care Product:

  • Bumble and Bumble Mending Masque

Hair Coloring Product:

  • Samy Fat Foam Hair Color

Hair Styling Product:

  • Ojon Volumizing Brush-On Mousse

Click HERE to see the complete list of CEW Beauty Insider’s Choice Awards for 2011.



First Security Bank accepting food for Snackpacks for Kids program

First Security Bank will hold a special food drive during the summer months to benefit the Snackpacks for Kids program at Samaritan Community Center. You can donate money or non-perishable items during May, June and July.

Snackpacks for Kids is a nutritional support program that provides healthy snack food during the school year to more than 3,300 children who have been identified by school personnel as being at-risk for hunger or food insecurity on the weekends. The program is currently being offered in over 70 schools throughout the Northwest Arkansas area.

Food items needed for this vital program include the following (must be peanut free):

  • 100 percent juice in single-serving unbreakable bottles, boxes or pouches
  • Small boxes or bags of nutritious cereal
  • Fruit cups
  • Small boxes of raisins or dried fruit
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Nonperishable single-serve microwave kids meals
  • Individually packaged crackers (peanut butter, cheese)
  • Pudding cups
  • Canned soup
  • Canned vegetables

“Many children in Northwest Arkansas go hungry when other resources, such as school lunches and after-school meals or snacks, are not available,” said Jim Taylor, president of First Security Bank Northwest Arkansas. “Fortunately, the Snackpacks for Kids program is available to provide nutritious snacks to children who are at a greater risk for hunger.”

According to Shannon Green, Snackpack Coordinator for Samaritan Community Centers, over 35,000 snack items are purchased each week at an annual cost of about $150,000.  “Food drives like our summer partnership with First Security is a great support. We are truly thankful,” she said.

The Snackpacks for Kids Drive is being held on the heels of a very successful coat drive for the Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Arkansas and Peace at Home Family Shelter. “The response received during the coat drive and last summer’s canned food drive for LifeSource International and Salvation Army was tremendous,” Taylor said. “We live and work in a very giving community.”

For more information:

Annette King, First Security Bank, 479.527-7013,

Shannon Green, Samaritan Community Center, 479.636.4198,

Giveaway: Music, dance, theatre or Kindermusik classes, your pick!

All moms want their kids to learn something special as they grow up — something that sparks their creativity, their passion and a sincere appreciation for the arts. This week’s giveaway will give one Motherlode reader the opportunity to get her child started on that journey, with a $200 gift certificate which can be used to pay for private lessons, workshops, classes or a Kindermusik course at MDA Central Casting Studio (located in the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville).

We recently interviewed the executive director of MDA Central Casting Studio, Michelle Scott-Chiodo, and were amazed to find out that the studio offers instrument lessons on ANY musical instrument you can think of (even the harp!), along with voice lessons, acting lessons, dance classes, and Kindermusik classes, too. Many of the studio’s teachers are also affiliated with the University of Arkansas music department and have extensive experience teaching children. And the studio is located in the Northwest Arkansas Mall, which makes it the perfect location for moms who need to multi-task. Your kids can take a piano lesson while you shop for that birthday gift or summer play clothes.

One of the things that jumped out at us during our visit at MDA was how very careful they are to protect the learning atmosphere in the studio. They have a strict dress code in place as well as a policy that allows for absolutely zero bad language, teasing, etc. If you want your kids learning in a place with solid values, this is it.

We especially liked how Ms. Michelle was quick to point out that their studio is not the kind of place that promises fame and fortune to any aspiring singer, musician, dancer or actor. Their goal is to teach and foster a deep appreciation for the arts and to prepare students for future success. They even allow their students to use their professional recording studio so that they have real-life experience in this type of setting.

Denice Pugh, a local mom whose two kids take music lessons at MDA, said this about her family’s experience:

“My name is Denice Pugh and I have two children who currently take music lessons (guitar and drums) from MDA Central Casting Studios in the NWA Mall. We first noticed the studio in the summer of 2009, researched it, and dropped in for a Q&A session. Our children have taken piano for 3 and 2 years, respectively, elsewhere and love music. They both have been begging to take guitar and drum lessons.

During the Q&A, we talked with Ms. Michelle and Dave Chiodo (a.k.a “Papa Dave”) for a couple of hours. My family and I felt right at home. We were clueless about instruments, so Papa Dave offered to go with us to buy a guitar. We started lessons last July with Mr. Corey for guitar and Mr. Matt for drums. We loved our experience right away. Once the school season began, we had to switch our lesson days which meant switching instructors. At first, I was nervous about switching but love our new instructors, Papa Dave (guitar) and Mr. Quam (percussion). As with all the instructors, they are encouraging and praise at the appropriate time. They challenge them and offer support. Unfortunately, Mr. Quam was not able to attend the Studio Concert held during the Christmas season. He had a work conflict but asked that we come by the music store where he works to tell him how our son, his student, did on stage. Of course, we did. Mr. Quam was so proud of our little drummer! My son beamed for hours!

Most importantly, Ms. Michelle makes you feel like you are one of her kids (me) and grandkids (the boys). When we were gone for a month, she hugged me as if I had been gone a year. There is such warmth and love in the studio…it is the PERFECT environment for any child ages 2-102! There is something for everyone. When MDA began teaching Kindermusik for young kids, I offered to spread the word and have. I do not give testimonies lightly…I believe MDA Central Casting Studio is a wonderful family business where everyone is family.”

HOW TO ENTER: To throw your name in the hat for this random drawing, just click the big orange comment button below and tell us what type of lessons you took as a child and what you liked about it. Or you can tell us what your own kids would like to learn how to do. Play a guitar? Rock out on the drums? Post your comments below or email your answer to

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES: To increase your chances of winning the $200 gift certificate, just send an email about the giveaway to your friends and be sure to put on the CC line of your note. We’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell!

Good luck in the giveaway. If you’d like more info on class availability at MDA Central Casting Studio, give them a call at 479-251-8088 or click HERE to visit them online.


Help Joplin victims, drop off supplies at Mercy Health System today

Mercy At Work: Joplin Relief is an opportunity for us to help our Joplin, Mo., neighbors. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today (Tuesday, May 24), there will be a JB Hunt truck parked on the Mercy Health System campus in Rogers (JB Hunt will bring more trucks if needed). Let’s help fill them with supplies!

The event is sponsored by Kix 104, Magic 107.9, 93.3 the Eagle and Hot Mix 101.9. The trucks will be parked at the Emergency Department employee parking lot. Clothing and household supplies are not being accepted right now.

Items needed: diapers, wipes, baby formula, water, blankets, tents and other new camping gear, blow-up mattresses, batteries, battery-operated radios, flashlights, toiletries, canned goods, can openers.

A blood drive is also scheduled at Mercy NWA at the hospital this Thursday from 9am to 3pm on the terrace. All the blood collected will go to victims from Joplin.

Below is a photo taken at the front entrance of St John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, which was damaged extensively and evacuated. It’s a part of Mercy Health System.  The tagline states, “the only item left standing”. It’s the Mercy Cross.

Click here to read the latest news on Mercy response to the Joplin tornado. Click here to donate to the tornado relief fund.

Mealtime Mama: ‘Get the Girl’ Lasagna

By Shannon Magsam

Hey, mamas, I ran across a very special recipe (to me) recently. It was for the first meal my now-husband ever made for me. I sometimes tease that I married him for his lasagna and his mad skilz in foot rubbing.

I thought I’d share the lasagna recipe here today. For best results, ask your husband to make it while you read Cosmo on the couch and eat a bag of baked potato chips (which is what I used to do while John was cooking for me, pre-kid).

Below is the recipe, taken from an email John sent over when I was in the mood to make it myself one day. I left out a few of his saucy margin notes since this is a family show. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Just remember you have to add a big dollop of cheesy love before baking.

John’s ‘Get the Girl’ Lasagna


1 lb. ground beef

Italian seasoning

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 cloves crushed garlic

Can of your fave spaghetti sauce

1 package lasagna noodles

Fresh mushrooms, sliced

Italian sausage (optional)

Pepperoni slices (optional)


Parmesan cheese

Ricotta cheese

Mozzarella cheese slices

Directions: First, cook up your ground beef. Use some of the spices in the cabinet, maybe some Cajun stuff and the Italian seasoning. Meanwhile I’d dice up the onion really fine and saute it in butter along with those sliced mushrooms. I’d crush some garlic and put it in while they saute. Once that’s done I’d put the whole mess in with one can of spaghetti sauce in a pot and let that simmer. (If you’re adding pepperoni or Italian sausage, toss it into the pot before simmering.)

Meanwhile, put a big pot of water on to boil. Once it’s boiling, throw in your noodles and let the cook for 10 minutes or so. I’d put in 12 if you’re using the big pan. Take out some butter and coat the pan. Get the oven preheated to 325. Once the noodles are cooked, dump them in the strainer and run cold water over them. Take the sauce off the burner to cool just a smidge. Works best if the sauce is still a bit warm.

Now it’s time to layer.

Put a layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan

then Parmesan cheese

then a layer of noodles

then ricotta cheese

then mozzarella cheese

then sauce

then Parmesan


Try to end up near the top of the dish with the Parmesan cheese being the top layer. Put foil over the lasagna for the first half hour of baking and off for the final 15 minutes. Take it out and let it cool. Watch out for flies if the back door is open.

Photo by MJW Photography

Devotion in Motion: Meet the parents

1 ¶ Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Acts 11:26  (NKJV)

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

For over a year now, Spencer has been dating a girl named Madeline. Everyone in our family adores Madeline. (Even Seth is very fond of her, and he is pleasantly grumpy like an 80-year-old man a large part of the time.) She is a lovely girl. She’s intelligent, has nice ways, and is present at the Methodist church pretty much every time the doors are open. These are very good things. My mother, the boys’ grandmother, says Madeline is a “Georgia Peach.”  I don’t know what that means—because Madeline isn’t from Georgia—but I’m sure it means something good. I’m guessing that “Georgia Peach” is probably a phrase that was cool to say back in the 1940’s when my mom was a teenager. (Personally, I’m especially fond of Madeline because she reads my column every week and sometimes forwards it on to other people. :-))

Back around Christmas, it was time for all of us to “meet the parents.” So, Madeline’s parents graciously invited us all to their house for dinner. (Please notice that this was the “Meet the Parents, Our Kids Are Going Steady Meeting”, and not the “Meet the Parents, Our Kids Are Engaged, Home Edition.”  Big difference.)

I must admit, although I was greatly looking forward to dinner, I was also very nervous at the prospect of it all. I wanted to get the visit exactly right. I didn’t want to do or say anything that would embarrass my son. I didn’t want to talk too much and be a “conversation hog.” But then again, I didn’t want to be a phony and sit like a bump on a log and not say anything—because that’s not the real me. So, I just said a prayer and endeavored to do my best.

We had a wonderful dinner with Madeline’s parents. They are a wonderful family. And when the evening was over, the first thing I asked Spencer in the car was, “Well, did I do all right?”

I was so thrilled with his answer. He said, “Dad, you did great. The way I look at it, you couldn’t have done any better. You didn’t talk too much. You didn’t fly off on any strange tangents. But, you were pleasant, and you were yourself. I think you and Mom did great!”

Later on that evening, Madeline sent Spencer a text that he shared with his mom and me. When the evening was over, the first thing that Madeline’s dad did was to ask her, “Well, did we pass?”

(And Madeline assured them that they did.)

Now I think there’s a lesson in here somewhere. Although kids usually don’t see it or believe it, parents really don’t want to embarrass their kids or mess up their lives. You see, in this story, both sets of parents are sweating bullets, wanting to do things exactly right for the benefit of their children. I can’t express how much parents want to do good things for the children. It just flows out of a parent’s love. And I don’t know anything on earth that’s any stronger than parents’ love for their child. It’s so strong that it is simply indescribable.

Now if this is how earthly parents love their children, what kind of love must our Heavenly Father have for His children? Today’s Scripture lesson (at the top) gives us a big clue: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”

Live a life of love for your Heavenly Father this week, and teach your children to do the same. You know we will meet Him some day.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” 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 20) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where we are looking forward to meeting Seth’s new girlfriend soon.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to

The Rockwood Files: Insights from the kids

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

I pulled up to the computer keyboard today feeling refreshed after a relaxing Mother’s Day weekend. This year I received – in order of importance – a long nap, time to read a novel in a quiet room, and flowers to plant in the front yard. But the best part of the day was opening the handmade cards and art projects the kids gave me. Because a mother can learn a lot about herself from a handmade card.

Four-year-old Kate goes to preschool three days a week, and she brought home a Mother’s Day information sheet she filled out about me, with some help from her teacher. The teacher read the questions aloud, Kate said the answers, and the teacher printed Kate’s replies on the form.

First question: “My mom is (blank) years old.” Kate’s answer? 19.

Good girl! We were definitely off to a flattering start. When Kate’s older brothers filled out this same questionnaire during their preschool years, they both said I was in my eighties. So you can imagine my delight in seeing that I’d turned the clock all the way back to 19. Just wish someone would send a memo to my thighs about being 19 again.

Next question: “My mom likes to (blank).” Kate’s answer? “Work”.

Ugh. Ouch. I felt a little guilty stab to the heart. Does this mean I work too much? Or does she think I like to work because I work from home and she sees me working more than other kids whose parents have jobs away from home? Does she think I like work more than playing with her? Or is this a good thing? Maybe she’s learning that work can be something you like to do versus drudgery that you dread doing. At least that’s what I’m hoping for.

Next question: “While I’m at school, I know she (blank).” Kate’s answer: “still loves me.”

Awwwww. She nailed that answer. One of the other kids in Kate’s class answered that one by saying that her mom “goes to Wal-Mart.” The mom joked that the answer was accurate and that she was glad the kid didn’t say “drinks heavily” instead.

Final question: “My mom gets mad when I (blank).” Kate’s answer? “fight with my brothers.” So true. So very, very true. Sibling fights make me nuts.

Speaking of siblings, 6-year-old Jack made me an oversized card out of construction paper, and the outside was decorated with two large words: “Mom Rocks”, with little hearts glued inside the “o”’s and the “c”. Inside the card was a questionnaire similar to the one Kate brought home. One of the lines reads: “My Mom can do many things. I think she’s best at (blank)” which Jack filled in with the words “cooking hot dogs because she puts cechup (ketchup) and muster (mustard) on it.”

Sadly, this is an accurate report on my cooking skills. I hang my hat on the ability to apply condiments to processed meats in just the right way. A proud moment for me, no doubt. Jack also noted that he likes it when I play the board game “Sorry” with him, which helps me remember that it’s the little moments kids seem to remember most. All those little moments add up to a whole childhood.

Finally, my firstborn Adam pulled something out of his backpack that he’d made for me in his 3rd grade class. He’d neatly wrapped it in blue construction paper, so I carefully pulled the tape from the creases and folded back the wrapping to find a square photo frame he’d made from painted popsicle sticks. His school photo was in the middle of the frame, and a big butterfly dusted with gold glitter perched on the top left corner. On the back he’d written his own take on a classic rhyme: “Roses are red. Violets are blue. Out of all the Moms in the world, I love you.”

And those simple lines sum it up, if you ask me. There are millions of moms in the world. People have or adopt babies every day. But we are all made special and completely unique by the love of the kids we are blessed to raise. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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