Beauty Buzz: DIY lip stain

By Andi Douglas, nwaMotherlode beauty editor

The only thing better than finding a new product you love, is finding one that is under $4!

I’m sure I have mentioned my codependent relationship with Lip Medex; I need it to survive and it needs me to keep it in business. The point is, no matter how many different lipsticks and glosses I try, I always end up putting my Lip Medex on top, which nullifies the color. So, when I saw an ad for Maybelline’s Tinted Lip Balm SPF 20, I thought it looked promising as an alternative.

I stumbled upon a BOGO ½ off sale at Walgreen’s, so I decided to try two different colors (so cheap, love it!) and went with Cherry Me, a bright reddish-pink hue, and Grape Vine, more of a plum color.

First of all, they both smell delicious but with little taste so I’m not tempted to lick my lips (yes, I’m a child and can’t resist). The Cherry Me resulted in a really fun pink color but was a little bright for me. However, in a pinch one day I put some on my cheeks and rubbed it in for a 7 second make up job, and loved the natural, rosy glow I ended up with.

Grape Vine complemented my natural lip color beautifully and has even replaced my lipstick for evenings when I try harder. I just put on a couple of extra coats so the color is more saturated.

I have also discovered that Lexi, my almost 3-year-old, will relinquish her pacifier if I let her wear mommy’s lipstick, so I can put a little dab of the subtle color on and you can’t tell but she feels very special.

Now, I’ve been down this road before, and it usually ends with me being weak and going back to my Lip Medex. I saw a DIY lip stain on Pinterest by Cara of Maskcara using Hawaiian Punch Lemon Berry Squeeze Drink Mix and Vaseline and decided to try it out using Lip Medex instead.

I mixed one packet of Lemon Berry mix with a little water until dissolved, then added it to a glob of my Lip Medex. I used a Squinky ball to hold the mixture since that is what I had handy and I didn’t want to use a whole tub of Lip Medex in case I didn’t like it.

The color was pretty light; I can see it being much more effective if you have very pale lips, but it didn’t make much difference on mine.

Cara warns that it will tingle at first as the lemon reacts with your lips and plumps them up, and I am here to say, she wasn’t kiddin’. I had about 30 seconds where I almost panicked and wiped it off but it passed almost as quickly as it started and the result was more color than Lip Medex alone and I still had the cool, tingling sensation that I crave.

I realize this post ended up sounding a little obsessed, but I would like to point out that when my lips started feeling a little parched (since I’ve been eating pretzels the whole time I wrote this) I put on my Baby Lips instead of the Lip Medex that was sitting right by me…see, I don’t have a problem. I can stop if I want to. Maybe. For now.

Have a question for Andi, beauty blogger and fellow mama of three? Andi welcomes your questions and feedback to Beauty Buzz. E-mail her at


Northwest Arkansas Calendar of Events: February 2012

February NWA Calendar of Events

Upward Sports: Soccer Sign-up

Sports are a great way for children to learn about teamwork, respect for authority and sportsmanship. With an Upward sport, these key essentials are included to create the best sporting experience for every child that participates. Each Upward Sport is designed to reveal the winner in every child. Every child plays. Every child learns. Every child IS a Winner! The emphasis is placed on having fun and good sportsmanship, not the scoreboard and standings.

Date: Sign-up now through March 4. Season is March thru May.

Location: First Baptist Rogers

More Info: For children 5 (by 4/1/2012) through 5th grade. Call 479.636.3451 or email with questions.

Dial M for Murder

There is no perfect crime….and this classic mystery proves just that!  First a stage play, then a Hitchcock film, Dial M for Murder is full of the twists and turns that make great theatre.  When an ex-tennis pro marries for money and then decides to murder for money, he seems to have everything in place for the perfect murder.  But things do not work as planned. And his brilliant plan B develops a problem too.  Love, betrayal, innocence and guilt— a thriller you won’t want to miss.

Date: February 3,4,5 & 11,12

Time: Friday/Saturday 7:30pm. Sunday 3pm.

Location: Arts Center of the Ozarks (Springdale)

More Info: Tickets are available for purchase on the website and range from $9 to $20. Student discount available.

Art exhibit: Golden, Kling & Wiseman. Approaching the sacred.

Cindy Wiseman, Jackie Golden, and Budhi Kling’s work reflects the ways that they manifest spiritual practice in their art. Mixed media and abstractions are used to express the sacred rhythms they perceive in nature. Artwork shown here by Jackie Golden.

Date: February 1-24

Time: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Saturday 9am-3pm.

Location: Arts Center of the Ozarks (Springdale)

More Info:

Art exhibit: Autumn Brown. Dichotomy: Perception versus Truth.

Fiber artist Autumn Brown explores the contradiction of truth and the perception of truth she faces in everyday life. Her “roles” in life seem to be at a constant state of tension, always warring between who she is and who she feels she should be. Brown has found some solace through her art work, where she mixes soft fiber materials, representing the sweetness of life, with hard metal materials, representing the harsh reality of life and ourselves. Brown hopes the viewer will connect with her on some level while viewing her collection of art clothing and art quilts.

Date: February 1-24

Time: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Saturday 9am-3pm.

Location: Arts Center of the Ozarks (Springdale)

More Info:

Mark Morris Dance Group

Under the artistic direction of legendary dancer, choreographer and director Mark Morris, this Brooklyn-based dance company collaborates with leading orchestras, opera companies and musicians to produce a high-energy dance and live music experience. The Mark Morris Dance Group returns to Walton Arts Center to perform their classic Grand Duo and Festival Dance, which debuted in March 2011.

Date: Thursday, February 2

Time: 7pm

Location: Walton Arts Center (Fayetteville)

More Info: Tickets $10-25.

Time for Three

This groundbreaking, genre-defying musical trio transcends traditional classification, with elements of classical, country western, gypsy and jazz idioms forming a blend all its own. When performing, the ensemble – Zachary De Pue (violin), Nicolas Kendall (violin) and Ranaan Meyer (double bass) – display equal passion and skill for improvisation, composing and arranging.

Date: Friday, February 3

Time: 8pm

Location: Walton Arts Center (Fayetteville)

More Info: Tickets $10-25.

Romeo & Juliet

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the classic Shakespearean romantic tragedy, Romeo & Juliet will be performed in Classic Readers Theater style.

Date: Friday, February 3 – Sunday, February 12

Time: Feb 3, 4, 10 & 11 at 7pm, with a Matinee performance, Sunday, Feb 12 at 3pm.

Location: Sager Creek Arts Center (Siloam Springs)

More Info: General admission $10. Students $8. (Membership discounts available.

Arkansas/Arkansaw: A State and Its Reputation

A traveling exhibit from Little Rock’s Old State House Museum, exploring the evolution of Arkansas’s hillbilly image.

Date: Weekly on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, starting February 6

Location: Shiloh Museum of Ozark History (Springdale)

More Info:

Bring It On: The Musical

This new musical comedy combines an exciting fresh sound, gravity-defying choreography, and a thrilling story to create a show worth cheering for. It’s “guaranteed to be everything you wished for, nothing like you expected, but exactly what you will love” ( Game On!

Date: Tuesday, February 7 – Sunday, February 12

Time: Check website for showtimes each evening.

Location: Walton Arts Center (Fayetteville)

More Info: Tickets $49-59.

Willy Wonka Jr. – Musical Performance

Date: Tuesday, February 7 – Saturday, February 11

Time: Tues-Fri 7pm. Saturday 2pm.

Location: Benton County School of the Arts (Rogers)

More Info: Adults $10 ($12 at the door). Children/Students ages 3-17 $5 ($7 at the door). Under 3 FREE.

Daddy/Daughter Dance

The Daddy Daughter Dance is a chance for dads and their daughters to spend an evening dancing and spending one-on-one time together. Friday night is open for girls up to the 4th grade and Saturday night is open for girls 5th – 12th grade.

Date: Friday, February 10 and Saturday, February 11

Time: 6:30-8:30pm

Location: Community Building, downtown (Siloam Springs)

More Info: $12 per couple.


RLT will be the first community theater in Arkansas to present Hairspray, which has delighted audiences by sweeping them away to 1960′s Baltimore, where the 50′s are out–and change is in the air. Loveable plus-size heroine, Tracy Turnblad, has a passion for dancing, and wins a spot on the local TV dance program, “The Corny Collins Show.” Overnight she finds herself transformed from outsider to teen celebrity.

Date: February 10-12, 16-19, 23-26. Valentine’s Spectacular on February 14th.

Time: Thurs-Sat 8pm. Sunday 2pm.

Location: Rogers Little Theater (Rogers)

More Info: Tickets $10-45.

8th Annual Chocolate Lovers Festival

Yum! Chocolate and more chocolate! Bring your sweetie for a day of delicious fun sampling chocolate of all kinds.

Date: Saturday, February 11

Time: 9am-3pm

Location: Best Western Inn of the Ozarks – Convention Center (Eureka Springs)

More Info: Admission $10. Kids under 6 $6.

Sweethearts Weekend – Hobbs State Park

Spend a day in nature with your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day Weekend. Take an eagle watch cruise on beautiful Beaver Lake, guided by one of our park interpreters. Afterward, continue to the nearby War Eagle Mill for a delicious lunch. Then head to the park’s visitor center for a hike along our newest nature trail followed by a tour of the center.

Date: Saturday, February 11 – Sunday, February 12

Location: Hobbs State Park Conservation Area (Rogers)

More Info: Limited to the first 10 couples or 20 individuals. Contact the park for reservations. Admission: $30 per person.

Loretta Lynn

“To make it in this business, you either have to be first, great or different,” says country music Hall of Famer Loretta Lynn, “and I was the first to ever go into Nashville, singin’ it like the women lived it.” And for more than a half century, Loretta Lynn has been “singin’ it” proudly! Since her 1960 debut single “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” and on through scores of other hits like “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Rated X,” and “Dear Uncle Sam,” Lynn’s instantly recognizable voice and honest lyrics have created legions of diehard fans around the world. After recently receiving the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, Lynn is back on tour and ready to showcase her extensive catalog of chart-topping hits.

Date: Thursday, February 16

Time: 7pm

Location: Walton Arts Center (Fayetteville)

More Info: Tickets $49-79.

Fleet Feet’s Heart and Sole Fashion Show

The event will spotlight active wear, lifestyle wear, athletic apparel and shoes, as well as Pilates, yoga etc. apparel from Fleet Feet Sports for men and women. American Heart Association Sweethearts as well as other NWA local personalities will serve as models. Laura Underwood will emcee for the evening and models will be wearing John Hardy and Razorback jewelry from Underwood’s Fine Jewelers.

Dead Swanky will provide sporty hairstyles for the models. The Fleet Feet Heart and Sole Fashion Show will be held at Mermaid’s beautiful new restaurant on College Avenue. Guest will be dining on a delicious dinner by Chef Todd. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the American Heart Association. Tickets on sale at Fleet Feet Sports and American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Event. Tickets are $25.

Date: Saturday, Feb. 25

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Mermaid’s Restaurant (College Avenue)

More info: Click here to visit the Fleet Feet Sports website or call 479-571-URUN.

NWA Soup Sunday

Sample soups, breads and desserts from more than 30 local restaurants. Benefits the Northwest Arkansas office of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.

Date: Sunday, February 26

Time: 4-7pm

Location: NWA Convention Center (Springdale)

More Info: Adults $20. Children 5-12 $5.

TAO: The Art of the Drum

In this brand new production for North America, elite athletes and contemporary costumes meet explosive Taiko drumming and innovative choreography in a show that has critics going wild. Called “powerful, dynamic and unique” by Time Out, TAO: The Art of the Drum showcases extraordinary precision, energy, and stamina, offering a young and vibrantly modern take on a traditional art form.

Date: Tuesday, February 28

Time: 7:30pm

Location: Walton Arts Center (Fayetteville)

More Info: Tickets $10-25.


Fayetteville – for a full calendar.

Bentonville – for a full calendar.

Springdale – for a full calendar.

Rogers – for a full calendar.

Fayetteville MOPS

A faith-based fellowship for mothers of preschoolers age birth to 5. The group meets regularly to share breakfast, share support, to learn from guest speakers and to celebrate Jesus Christ.

Date: 2nd Monday of every month

Time: 9-11am

Location: Trinity United Methodist Church (Fayetteville)

More Info:

Rogers MOPS

A faith-based fellowship for mothers of preschoolers age birth to 5. The group meets regularly to share breakfast, share support, to learn from guest speakers and to celebrate Jesus Christ.

Date: 1st and 3rd Friday mornings

Time: 9-11am

More Info: Contact Summer Manzo,


An extension of MOPS, our group is focused on K-6th grades.

Date: Wednesdays

Time: 6:30-7:30pm

Location: Rogers 1st Nazarene Church (Rogers)

More Info: Contact Ginger Larsen,

Snow Day Activities! (Just in case!)

Boingo Bounce

Fayetteville’s very own indoor inflatable bounce and party house!

Location: Fayetteville

Schedule: Toddler Time (5 & under) — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 10am-1pm. Open Bounce (public) — Tuesday-Thursday 3pm-8pm, Friday 10am-3pm, Saturday 6pm-9pm, Sunday 5pm-8pm.

More Info: $6/Child Ages 2 – 5. $8/Child Ages 6 – Up. Children under 2 are FREE with one paid admission. Parents/Guardians are always FREE. Signed waiver and socks required!

Jump Zone

Indoor, Inflatable FUN!!!

Location: Bentonville

Schedule: Open Play and Private Parties. Check the website for daily schedule.

More Info: $6/Child Ages 2 – 5. $8/Child Ages 6 – Up. Children under 2 are FREE with one paid admission. Parents/Guardians are always FREE. Signed waiver and socks required!

The Jones Center

Swimming | Ice Skating | Youth Center | Track & Gym

The Center is proud to provide a place where “all are welcome” in the heart of Northwest Arkansas. In keeping with Mrs. Jones’ wish that no one be turned away, it offers facilities and services at minimal or no cost to everyone regardless of age, race, gender, religion, or economic status.

Location: Springdale

Schedule: Closed Mondays. Tuesday – Thursday 8am-8pm. Friday – Saturday 8am-10pm. Sunday 1-5pm.

More Info:

Fast Lane

Arcade | Laser Tag | Bowling Alley

Location: Lowell

Schedule: Mon – Thu 11:00 am-12:00 am, Fri 11:00 am-2:00 am, Sat 10:00 am-2:00 am, Sun 11:00 am-12:00 am

More Info:

Chuck E. Cheese

Arcade Games | Pizza!

Locations: Fayetteville, Rogers

Schedule: Sunday – Thursday 9am-10pm. Friday – Saturday 9am-11pm.

More Info:

Fun City

Arcade Games | Pizza!

Location: Springdale

Schedule: Sunday – Thursday 10am-9pm. Friday – Saturday 10am-10pm.

More Info:

NWA Area Movie Theaters: Check below sites for showtimes.

Fayetteville: Malco Razorback, AMC Fiesta Square

Springdale: Malco Sunset

Rogers: Malco Pinnacle Hills, Malco Rogers Towne Cinema

Giveaway: Tickets to see Bring It On on stage at Walton Arts Center!

This week’s giveaway is really going to “bring it”. Grab your pom-poms, mamas, because we’re sending one lucky mama to an amazing dinner at Bordinos Italian Restaurant followed by tickets to the opening night performance of Bring It On at Walton Arts Center on February 7th at 7 p.m. Treat it as a date night with your sweetie or an awesome girls’ night out with your bestie. Either way, it’s gonna be FUN.

Retail value on this package for tickets plus dinner is more than $160!

ABOUT THE SHOW: If you’ve seen the movie Bring It On on television, you know it’s a high-energy show — lots of flips, tricks, dance plus a little teenage drama thrown into the mix. What we love about this show is how it takes us right back to high school — minus the acne and the bad 1980s hair. :-)

And if you have a tween or teenage daughter or son interested in cheerleading, then you’ve just GOT to take them to this show. (Please note that the recommended age range for attending this show is age 11 and up.) The stage version is a fun musical comedy about an over-the-top high school rivalry in competitive cheerleading.

ABOUT THE FOOD: The food at Bordinos is so worth cheering about. In fact, every time we send a mama to dine at Bordinos we usually get an email back from her afterward with rave reviews about how good the food and the service was. (Click here to see their menu.)

Plus, Bordinos has such a hip, metropolitan atmosphere that’s fun and upscale without ever being stuffy or pretentious. The winner of this giveaway package will have a $50 gift card to enjoy at Bordinos. Woo-hoo!

HOW TO ENTER: To throw your name in the online hat, click the big orange comment button below and tell us about something in your life that makes you want to cheer. Your kid aced the spelling test? Your toddler finally pooped in the potty for the first time? Got an awesome promotion at work? Your teen got accepted into college? You finally got caught up with the laundry? Big or small, we want to hear about what’s got you cheering.

You can also email your answer to

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR ODDS: Send an email to your friends/family about this giveaway and we’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell. Just be sure to put on the email so we can give you proper credit!

If you’d rather take lady luck out of the equation and confirm your tickets to Bring It On, call the Walton Arts Center box office for ticket information. The number is 479-443-5600. Or check out ticket availability online by clicking HERE.

Good luck in the giveaway! Winners, as always, are chosen at random.

Giveaway: Tickets to see Hairspray at Rogers Little Theater!

Even if you’ve never used actual hairspray, you’d be crazy not to see Hairspray on stage in February at Rogers Little Theater. If you like music, dancing and laughing, you’ll love this show. It was a HUGE hit on Broadway. And we’ve got two tickets to give away to one Motherlode mama.

ABOUT THE SHOW: This show takes you to Baltimore in the 1960s, when change was in the air. Tracy Turnblad, the lovable plus-sized heroine, loves to dance and wins a spot on a local TV dance program called “The Corny Collins Show.” Overnight, she finds herself transformed from an outsider to a teen celebrity. (At right: That’s John Travolta, in drag, who played Tracy Turnblad’s mother in the movie adaptation of this musical!)

Zachary L. Denison, a New York City performer, is the guest choreographer for this production of Hairspray. Denison grew up performing at the Rogers Little Theater and graduated from Rogers High School. He attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and has appeared in productions including the Broadway tour of Cats and The Music Man. He has also performed with numerous New York City dance companies.

The show will also feature a special performance by Emmy Award winner Brad Reed of Fox 24, who joins the cast as a TV reporter. Reed will record a voice-over to be used nightly for the show and will appear for an onstage performance on February 18th.

HOW TO ENTER: To throw your name in the online hat for this giveaway, click the big orange comment button and tell us your favorite kind of hairspray or hair product! And if you don’t need hairspray or hair products to make your hair look awesome, then go away because you’re already too lucky to win show tickets and dinner out on the town. :-) Not that we’re jealous or anything…

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR ODDS: You can increase your odds for winning the tickets by telling your friends/family about the giveaway. Just send them an email and be sure to put on the CC line of your note and we’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell.

If you’d like to guarantee that you’ll have great seats for this show, you can purchase tickets by calling the Rogers Little Theater box office at 479-631-8988. Click here to order tickets online or get more info from their website.  Prices for dinner plus the theater performance are $45 per person and balcony seating is $16 per person.

Hairspray performances will be held on February 10-12, 16-19, 23-26. The theater is located at 116 S. 2nd Street in downtown Rogers.

The Making of a Playhouse — Part 2

"Hey Hayden! Can we come play in your cool new playhouse?"

Remember last Monday when we took a look at the planning, design and the beginning of construction on a Fayetteville family’s backyard playhouse? (Click HERE if you missed Part 1 of the story.) Well, the playhouse (designed and built by Josh Hart) is finished and the Werner family is already logging some serious play hours in it, on it and around it. That’s 5-year-old Hayden in the photo above, racing around his custom-built playhouse, which was designed with his wildest dreams in mind.

Here is Part 2 — the “rest of the story” — from the designer and builder, Josh Hart of Natural State Treehouses:

What a great week it has been!  Our careful planning on the design and placement of the structure paid off. It was a perfect fit beneath the large shrubs and really looked like a natural, organic part of the yard.

The tinted polycarbonate panels on the roof and half walls were perfect too, complimenting the natural wood and letting just the right amount of light in without blocking the view of the yard and the sky.

(Here’s a picture of the roof and walls on the right.)

Hayden was a great helper all week. He helped dig, measure, and supervise the construction, even adding great last-minute ideas such as putting horizontal treads on the ramp to make it easier to climb.

And of course, he tested the twisty slide, fireman’s pole and swing thoroughly when it was finished.

In the end, we were all very happy with how the project turned out, and I know I had a blast working on it. Randy and Melissa were great to work with and had so many terrific ideas that we were able to incorporate into the design.

And they were terrific hosts, even inviting our family to come see the final structure and play the day after it was finished. A big thanks to the family for a fun week!

Note from the mamas: Our thanks to designer and builder Josh Hart of Natural State Treehouses and to the Werner family of Fayetteville for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a playhouse. What a wonderful addition to a backyard! For more info on custom-built playhouses, swing sets and tree houses, call Josh at 479-387-0701 or click here to visit his website and see photos of more playhouses and tree houses in Northwest Arkansas.

Devotion in Motion: Are you a thermostat mom?

9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; It shall rejoice in His salvation.

Psalm 35:9 (NKJV)

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

Well, this may be the last column I ever write for nwaMotherlode. It may be my last column because it’s probably going to get me fired. You see, what I’ve got to say today is not going to be politically correct. It’s not the sort of thing people are used to reading, now that the world is made up of all the liberated ladies of the new millennium. I’m afraid what I have to say today may even be considered a tad chauvinistic. But I think there’s a lot of truth in it, so here goes:

 “Mothers are the people who set the atmosphere for the home.” 

That sounds very old-fashioned when you say it out loud. But we firmly believe it at the country church down here in the Deep South. In fact, we even have our own version of the adage. Perhaps you’ve read it on a bumper sticker:

If you don’t believe me (or the people of The Magnolia State) just ask any dad about the most frightening days of his married life. If he’s honest, he’ll tell you about the time when mom came home from the booster club meeting  at 8 p.m. and discovered that nobody had bathed, done their homework, or had supper yet.

Or maybe he’ll relate the saga of how Mama found out that Daddy was an accessory to the crime when the Third-Grade-Science-Exam-Study-Sheet got left in the other vehicle the night before semester exams. Ask Dad about these things, and maybe he’ll tell you about them. But don’t count on it. Most people don’t like to talk about things that are so painful to remember.

Now anybody can have a bad day sometimes. But the way I see it, there are two kinds of mothers. Some mothers are thermometers, and some mothers are thermostats. Thermometer mothers just react to the atmosphere that’s already present; in a hot-tempered situation, their temperature (and blood pressure) rise to match their combative surroundings.

But thermostat mothers are different. If a situation is too hot, they try to dial the temperature down with patience and kindness. And if a situation is too cold, they strive to warm up the room with love and compassion. The most wonderful thing of all is this: Each day you get to make a new choice about which type of mother you’ll be.

So this week, ask the Lord to help you throw out the thermometer and become a thermostat mom. Because when Mama is happy, the whole household is happy, too.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 26 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he has a desk-job at a public school and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 20) and Seth (age 17) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the mamas says that men need to be thermostats, too.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to

The Rockwood Files: Live up to your labels

 By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Labels can be powerful. And I’m not talking about symbolic labels like “geek” or “diva” or the generalizations we assign to people. I’m talking about real labels. The sticky ones. The kind with words in capital letters that tell you where things go.

For years, I’ve wanted an electronic label maker, and – yes – I’m well aware that longing for a label maker earns me the label of “super nerd”. I don’t care. I like labels.

I’d been hinting and even outright asking for the label maker for the past 5 years.

But I never got one, mostly because no one thought a label maker could actually be on a person’s wish list. Maybe they thought I was being sarcastic, as in “Oh yeah, I really want a fruitcake for Christmas.”

But I was serious. And this past Christmas, it finally happened. I unwrapped my very own DYMO LetraTag label maker, given to me by my mother, and I was giddy about it. I was even happier when it spit out my first label. I used it to label the storage boxes once it was time to take down the holiday decorations and return to life as usual.

But the new label maker has turned life as usual into a much more ordered and clearly marked affair. Tom thinks I’ve gone too far, but I can’t help myself. Suddenly, everything seems to cry out for a label.

The new gadget even inspired me to tackle the long-overdue chore of cleaning out our pantry. It was an unruly mess, with bags of corn chips cascading off shelves and marshmallows co-mingling with mayo jars. It was anarchy, I tell you. Armed with the label maker, I was determined to turn it into something that even Martha Stewart would approve of.

Purging the pantry wasn’t easy. I had no idea how much stuff had been pushed into deep recesses and for how long it lingered there. There were several boxes of raspberry Jell-O mix that were dated the same year as the last presidential election. And for reasons I still don’t understand, I had three opened boxes of graham cracker crumbs. I don’t even know what to do with graham cracker crumbs, so I’m not sure why we had three boxes of them in the pantry. But I digress.

After a thorough cleaning, the pantry was much less crowded. I organized the foods that “made the cut” into groups: canned goods, condiments, chips, baking, snacks, crackers, etc. When each group had a home, I typed the group names into the label maker and smiled as it began to hum and whir and print out those perfectly neat little names.

Later when the boys came home from school, they opened the pantry to retrieve their usual after-school snacks. Seven-year-old Jack saw the rows of lined up cans and the new labels stuck to the shelves and gave me a sincere “ooooh” and “aaaaah” of approval, and I was proud that he could appreciate how awesome my labels are. Perhaps nerdy apples don’t fall far from the nerdy, anal retentive tree.

But the best part about the new labels is how they take on an authority all their own. It doesn’t feel right to just open the pantry and shove something in, the way I did before. Because the labels are there — watching me, admonishing me, judging me. So I comply. Cans go to the canned goods shelf, and syrup goes to condiments and never the two shall meet. The labels say it must be so, and so it is.

Long live the labels!

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.

NOTE: See the photo above with those cute pantry and household labels? If you don’t have a label maker but would like some awesome labels of your own, I found these labels online at a site called Mabel’s Labels, and this particular kit is called the “Custom Neat Freak Combo.” (LOVE that name.) Click HERE to check out the labels you can buy online. (They come in fun colors, too!)


Free Child I.D. Kits from New York Life

Hey, mamas! We LOVE it when businesses offer a free service like this one to local moms. Two local agents from New York Life — Adam Wheeler and Brandon Shumard –  will be giving away free Child Identification Kits this Saturday, January 28th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fun City Pizza in Springdale. (That’s located at 5320 West Sunset, in the Center Point shopping plaza.)

You’ll appreciate having this information (including your child’s digitally-scanned fingerprints) compiled into one I.D. card, and your kids will REALLY appreciate the trip to Fun City to get it.

Please note that this is NOT a sales pitch of any kind. It’s just a service being provided to local families, and New York Life has been doing events like these in communities across the nation for the past 3 years.  As moms, we know there’s a certain peace of mind that comes from knowing you have ALL of your child’s most important information right at your fingertips, if (God forbid) you should ever need it in a hurry.

The Child Identification Kits include your child’s photo, their digitally-scanned fingerprints and emergency contact information. The I.D. is designed to be distributed to members of the family and placed in your wallet or some easy-to-find place in your house so that you can have it in an instant if your child were to suddenly go missing.

Our thanks to New York Life for providing such a useful, free service to families in Northwest Arkansas. We’ll see you at Fun City on Saturday where we plan to get our kids their free I.D.’s!

For more information about this event, call Elyse Tarver at 479-251-1077.


Shoe and handbag sale is this Saturday!

Don’t forget that the huge shoe and handbag sale is happening tomorrow (Saturday, January 28th) at the Arvest Ballpark in Springdale. The sale kicks off at 8 a.m., and you’ll want to get there early and snag the really cute stuff. (Early birds get the deals!)

When they say sale, they mean it. ALL the shoes and handbags will only be $10EACH! The selection of more than ONE THOUSAND shoes includes NEW and gently used shoes (men’s, women’s and children’s) which were donated from the best stores and closets in our area. The fundraiser is organized by Ozark Guidance Center, one of our nwaMotherlode sponsors, and the sale will continue only as long as the shoes and bags last.

At this year’s event there will also be a raffle which will include a fur jacket and a Chanel purse, among other goodies!

This is definitely a worthy cause. Proceeds from the fundraiser, which is called “Walk a Mile in My Shoes … Sale for Mental Wellness” (Click here for more event details) are going to fund counseling services for kids and adults in Northwest Arkansas.

Because mental illness is not discussed as often as other illnesses, most people don’t realize that it affects more people than cancer, heart disease and diabetes. So the money from this fundraiser is incredibly important for our community.

Happy shoe shopping, ladies! We’ll see you at the sale!

Columbia coats on sale!

I’ve been to two different stores in Northwest Arkansas this week where I spotted really cute, high quality Columbia coats for kids on sale, so I thought I’d spread the word. I saw the coats on sale at Dillard’s as well as Academy Sports in Rogers. I snagged 3 of them for my kids and each one cost about $29. That’s a great deal, considering that one of those coats was originally listed for $90 and the other two typically sell for more than $50.

Here’s a pic of the one I got for my 5-year-old daughter. Kids seem to really like this style of coat because it’s warm without being bulky. (And moms know what a hassle it is to try to buckle a kid wearing a bulky coat into a car seat.)

Now might be a good time to pick up any type of coat because it looks like stores are getting rid of them to make way for new spring items coming in soon. Happy shopping!



2 AWESOME Valentine’s Day Deals you’ll love from!

Do you love getting flowers as much as we do? It’s just downright uplifting to see a vase full of fresh-cut flowers on the kitchen table — or on your desk at work.

Well, has a fantastic deal on flowers today. Customers can get $40 worth of fresh flowers from The Enchanted Florist for only $20!  The Enchanted Florist is a broker for FTD and uses local florists to source their orders, so everything’s super fresh and available for delivery. Your order will be delivered to any home or business in the United States.

You can use the voucher to order a gorgeous bouquet for your mom, friend, sister or grandmother. You could also send the link to your boyfriend or husband to give them a very obvious hint that you might want some flowers very SOON (maybe even for Valentine’s Day!) But you don’t have to order them for the holiday. The voucher will be good through August, so you’ll be able to order flowers for any occasion. In addition to romantic Valentine’s-themed arrangements, The Enchanted Florist has flowers for events like weddings, birthdays and graduations. Mother’s Day is another perfect occasion to give — or  receive — flowers.

CLICK HERE to jump over to the site and buy this LOVE-ly fresh flower deal!

We also wanted to share some insider news about an upcoming deal we know you’ll want to pounce on, too!! It’s a Date Night Deal just in time for Valentine’s Day! For just $32, you can get TWO VIP movie tickets good at ANY of the four NWA Malco theaters plus TWO $50 gift certificates!

Your TWO $50 Gift Cards can be redeemed at LOTS of great restaurants. And get this: this deal never expires so you can save your movie passes and restaurant gift cards for the next special occasion, whether that’s Valentine’s Day or an anniversary, birthday, or a Moms’ Night Out!

Once again, you can email the link to your significant other or just nab the deal yourself for future fun. The deal won’t officially launch until Monday, but the great guys at Localiter said Motherlode friends can go ahead and buy now!

CLICK HERE to buy this fabulous Date Night Deal!

Tweens & Teens: Losing my religion

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, is of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” ~ C. S. Lewis

Welcome to the January 2012 edition of Tweens & Teens. I tell you what, readers of this column don’t hold back with their questions and Gwen and Shannon do pass them on. So, if you have one of your own, please email it to and perhaps we can help answer it for you.

Here is this month’s question:

My 15-year-old is really questioning issues of faith and told me last week that he’s not sure he believes in God anymore. We have raised our kids in church, and this is just killing me! He doesn’t even want to go to church with us anymore, and I don’t know whether or not this is something I should force him to do. Any advice on how to handle this?

Okay, let’s take this one part at a time and work through it together. First, notice that the adolescent is 15 years old. That means that, developmentally, he is learning how to think for himself and is also trying to test limits and establish his boundaries and independence.

With that being said, he is probably questioning a lot of things, not just religion. For example, who his friends should be, should he smoke (cigarettes and/or marijuana), should he drink alcohol, when can he have sex (not if because they all want to have it), etc.  Just thinking about this gives me a headache and heart attack at the same time, as my son is almost this age. By the way…everyone reading this article knows that they were asking themselves the same questions around this same time in their life and we were giving our parents heart attacks, as well.

It is interesting how we, as parents, want our children to grow up and think for themselves, become independent, and start asking questions that will help them mature.  Then, when they do, we back up and wonder how they got to this point so fast. Being an adult is hard. Being a parent is harder. Being a good parent is just plain exhausting.

It’s very natural for adolescents to start questioning their faith and asking questions such as “Is there a God?” or “How could a loving God send people to hell”? Logic versus faith, if you will. Their answer will shape their future and you need to be there to help guide them. You also need to make sure that you reinforce that you love them regardless of their faith or the decision they make about their faith.

Additionally, you must realize that teenagers don’t have the life experience that we have. They’re just now learning to live. They’re seeking FUN, FUN, FUN and may feel that Christianity, or any religious belief(s), will keep them from having fun. When I was in my teens, I wanted to play doctor with the girls and then I became a doctor. But not because of the girls. As a teenager, and into my early twenties, my primary goal was catching the cuties. Breathing and food was a distant second and third, respectively.

Also, adolescents want to have control over their life and may believe religion takes that from them. After all, if we have to follow a set of beliefs, then we can’t do what we want. We have to live spiritually rather than earthly and, as a teenager, or any age for that matter, who wants that? Certainly not teenagers. At our age, we have, hopefully, come to realize there is more to life than fun and control. Both are good, but only up to a certain point.

You must also recognize that if you’re judgmental and begin to lecture them, they will shut down and be hesitant about approaching you again with other questions. By talking to them, you may be surprised at how insightful your teenager actually is. You will most certainly find out that you do not have all the answers, which is okay. If you don’t know the answer, then please tell your teenager the truth, which is, “I don’t know the answer but let’s try to figure this out together.”

In terms of MAKING them go to Church, I would do so, but only until about age 15-16 years. At that point, I have to (big gasp) let go and let them make their decision about whether they want to go, or not. My thought is that if you have brought them up in a God-centered household, then the roots are there for them to eventually want to go on their own. Maybe not now, but somewhere down the road.  Also, you do not want to alienate them into hating and resenting the Church. As for now, I’ll stick with my decision to allow them the choice at around age 15-16 years. Until that time, they will attend whether they want to or not. I know that many of you would disagree and that is okay. In fact, my wife, who previews the majority of these before they are posted, emphatically stated, “I can’t believe you wrote that our kids can make their own decision before they are 18 years old!  They will ABSOLUTELY go to Church because they are not yet adults and still live under our house!”

At that time I used all of my professional knowledge and experience to say the only thing that could be said…”Yes dear.” This is certainly a topic you can discuss with your teenager, and wife, when you are talking about religion. I have now had that conversation with my wife, though not resolved completely, and will later be having with our two sons, I am sure.

Finally, I have many friends who are atheists. I, however, am not. I am a Christian. I have done a LOT of research, read books on biblical archeology, read the Bible, read books on evolution, etc. to reach my decision. My parents did not help guide me to my decision, though I wish they had. I wish they had allowed me to ask them questions and have them answer me honestly about their beliefs. I wish we could have had a real conversation about religion, but we did not. You, however, have that opportunity now…don’t let it pass you by.  Talk to your teen and, equally, if not more important, LISTEN to them. THEY are searching for answers, not you.  You need to know what they believe, what they don’t believe, and what they are seeking. Only then can you give them the advice and support so they can make an informed decision about what their faith and what they believe (notice I did not say an informed decision about what YOU believe).

Hope this helps because this is a tough one. Please feel free to comment and let us know how you have handled this situation for your family.

P.S. Husbands, talk to your wife, as well. It will save you from sleeping on the couch.

Until next month,


Click here to read previous articles on Tweens & Teens. Got a question for Dr. Jones, a child psychologist for Mercy Health? Send it to us (we won’t use your name) and we may feature it in an upcoming installment of Tweens & Teens.


Fun video: “Goodnight Gadgets!”

Can your preschooler beat you at a game of Angry Birds? Is your house buzzing with gadgets like our homes are? Between our two families alone, there’s an iPad, an HP TouchPad, an iPod Touch, a Kindle, a Nook, an ancient iPod, a couple of iPhones, a Blackberry, two GPS devices and probably a few others we’ve forgotten about. So… in this age of electronic everything, the video below is perfect. Enjoy this very modern twist on an old classic. It made us laugh. :-)

Military Mama: Let the countdown begin

By Jade Stone

It’s official! The countdown to deployment has begun.

Today we received a tentative training schedule. Jay leaves tomorrow for the first stint of a long stretch of training segments that will occur at various intervals. The first one will be 2 weeks with a 4-day break followed by a 6-week session which will focus strictly on the technical skills that he needs as a crew chief.  This will most likely end with a week off.

At that point we will begin the serious soldier training which will take a month and most likely be in Montana.

Then it will be a downhill slide that will last roughly 50 days in Ft Hood and then he’s off to Afghanistan. As I mentioned before, everything is tentative and will most likely change. It always does, but it is so nice to have a rough draft! Believe it or not there is a tiny bit of excitement in the air in the house today, just knowing that we are no longer in a “holding pattern” so to speak.

I have spent the night re-budgeting and preparing for the gap in pay that always occurs between the time Jay leaves his civilian job and finally gets paid for active duty service. Believe me, it’s not an easy task and sometimes takes a little creativity but we will make it work…mostly because we just have to.

I think I have worked out childcare, bill payment, and possibly even a rotation of dental appointments, haircuts, and oil changes that will need to take place between now and the time that school is out. I have even managed to budget the 4 free weeks that are left for summer vacation after various conferences to be able to take Jess on mini vacations or better yet possibly to run wherever and visit Jay should the opportunity arise. I am officially exhausted but at least I have the peace of mind in knowing everything will fall into place when the time comes.

I think the scariest part for me now is the gap in pay that will inevitably show up in the next few weeks. I can handle just about anything life throws at me. There isn’t much that a deep breath and a moment of silence to think won’t help. However, the idea that I might not actually have the funds to pay what needs to be paid when it needs to be paid stresses me beyond belief.

You see, we don’t know if he will get paid within the two weeks of beginning the training or whether or not it might take a full month to get him on the payroll. For a family on a tight budget, this can be problematic. We have been blessed with a beautiful family, a cute (I stress cute over large) home that fits the 3 of us just fine for now, and a means to provide exactly what we need.

We aren’t the type of people who have many wants and are perfectly content with what we have. To be truthful, if someone were to ask me what I wanted for Valentine’s Day or even my birthday, I couldn’t even begin to tell you because it’s just not something I think about.  Our only concern is that we have money for food and plenty for bills so that credit cards are not necessary.

This is a situation where there are just no guarantees. I suppose I will just hold my breath for two weeks and pray…a lot! In the past, while things may have been close, God has always given us everything we needed, just in time and I have to have faith that He will no doubt meet our needs in the near future. I tend to be a bit of a control freak so this is not an easy task but one that is certainly worth working on for my own sanity’s sake!

Next time I’ll fill you in on his new unit’s responsibility and what his job will entail. He is now a part of what is called a Dustoff unit and to my dismay it had nothing to do with cleaning! Bummer! I’m sure by then I will know a whole lot more about it myself.  Have a great week!

Jade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.


Good Gossip: A vampire and Betty White, Ryan Gosling, yoga, new babies and Drew gets a ring

We’re of the opinion that not all gossip is bad gossip. That’s why, when we launched this website more than 3 years ago, we started regularly posting “Good Gossip” — the only guilt-free gossip column in Northwest Arkansas. Let’s face it. We all like to hear a little celebrity news now and then, but it doesn’t have to be the nasty, mostly untrue stuff that so many magazines and websites spread around. So we’ve rounded up the best of the best and left out the rest. Enjoy another helping of our one-of-a-kind “Good Gossip.”

Ever seen a vampire get cozy with Betty White? Well, take a look at the latest issue of People magazine, and you’ll see Robert Pattinson (aka vampire Edward Cullen) smiling right next to the beloved Betty White, who just turned 90-years-old. The two actors sat next to each other at the People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles on January 11th. (FYI all vampire fans: Edward Cullen will be back in action in Breaking Dawn Part 2 this November.)

Maybe things are getting a little more serious between Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling. He introduced her to his mother, Donna, and the three of them rang in the New Year together by watching a movie. Like Ryan, Eva was also raised by a single mother and is very close to her mother as well. Eva and Ryan got to know each other when they were both working on the film “The Place Beyond the Pines”.

Drew Barrymore is engaged to Will Kopelman. Kopelman is an art consultant with clients including Ben Gibbard and Robert Pattinson. He proposed during a ski trip in Sun Valley, Idaho. The engagement ring is a colorless, radiant-cut almost 4-carat diamond sitting on top of a diamond-covered band. Drew and Will have been dating since last February and she said she is “super happy.”

Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks have a new movie called Sparkle, due to hit theaters this August. The movie is a remake of a 1976 musical based on the Supremes. Whitney and Jordin play mother and child in the movie. Whitney said she could identify with playing a single mother in the movie since she is one in real life and said that the movie cast felt like one big family.

Kelsey Grammer and his wife Kayte Walsh are expecting twins. Kelsey made the announcement backstage at the Golden Globes earlier this month. He said he is looking forward to meeting the new arrivals. The babies will be the first for Kayte and the fifth and sixth for Kelsey.

Speaking of babies, country star Jo Dee Messina, 42, and her husband Chris Deffenbaugh recently welcomed a new son to the family. Jonah Christopher was born on January 11th. Messina writes a blog called The Fumbling Mom, which offers advice to busy moms. Messina is also mom to son Noah, who is 3.

Kate Hudson said that her mom Goldie Hawn‘s best mama advice to her is to sleep and to meditate. She said her travel essentials include diapers, wipes, about 20 burp cloths and 10 pacifiers for son Bingham. She said her second pregnancy was different than her first with son Ryder, in which she gained 68 pounds. The first time she ate Haagen Dazs and the second time around she ate Caesar salad and frozen yogurt from Yogurtland. She said she gained about half the weight during her second pregnancy as she did with the first.

Here’s a huge endorsement for yoga. Actress Kate Beckinsale (remember her in the movie Serendipity?) says that she rarely goes to the gym, only going occasionally to do the treadmill. She said that she has completely converted to yoga at least five or six days a week and will even Skype with her yoga teacher when she is away. (Now where’s my yoga mat? Bring on the downward dog!) Kate is married and a mom to 12-year-old Lily.

Sources: People magazine, January 23rd and January 30th issues

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!