Giveaway: 60 minutes of tension-melting massage!

Note from the mamas: Congratulations to Tracy Byrd, winner of the massage at Pilates Plus!

Just thinking about getting a massage makes us relax.

But this giveaway will take one lucky mama past the thinking (dreaming, wishing, hoping) stage. We’re giving away a 60-minute Swedish massage from Linda Bryant, the therapist at our favorite workout spot, Pilates Plus.

We have been on Linda’s massage table and can tell you from experience that she is GOOD. You will leave refreshed and relaxed.

Linda says, “Your massage can be as gentle or deep as you would like and for whatever time frame works into your schedule.”

HOW TO ENTER: What mama doesn’t need a massage? We hold tension in our shoulders, have headaches from gritting our teeth and we are constantly working our bodies HARD. To win the much-needed massage, click on the orange comment button at the bottom of this post and just vent. Tell us why you need a massage today, if not sooner. We’re guessing that just saying it out loud will help reduce your stress. And, hopefully, you’ll win the massage to help get rid of the rest.

ABOUT THE THERAPIST: Linda offers massage therapy in a room just off the Pilates studio floor. She helps soothe tired muscles before or after a butt-kicking Pilates workout or for anyone who walks in the door looking for a great massage. Linda is a licensed massage therapist who also holds accreditation for direct and indirect techniques for head, back, neck and TMJ relief.

Linda was called into this profession following a terrible traffic accident. During her rehabilitation she underwent extensive therapies including massage. It was the healing touch of massage that propelled her to helping others as she had been helped.

About Pilates Plus: This is a great facility on Main Drive in Johnson that’s equipped with certified instructors in dance, personal training, yoga, and Pilates. It has a mat studio as well as a Pilates equipment studio.  Mats, rings, balls, towels and more are available to clients.

Pilates Plus offers group mat classes and private, semi-private, and group instruction in pilates, yoga, and personal training.  Pole dancing classes are also available at Pilates Plus through The Pole Place. CLICK HERE for more info from the mamas about why we love Pilates Plus.

CLICK HERE to see a video of Pilates equipment in action!

If you want to learn more about Pilates Plus, call 479-287-4519. For a massage appointment, call 479-713-0982.

Crafty Mama: Turning trash into treasure

Guest post by Lindsay McGarity

It’s the latest trend…turning thrift store finds into fun accessories for your home! It’s something anyone can do and it’s a great craft for those eco-conscious mamas out there, like me.

We’ve all seen the repainted, restored, and reused furniture items around town, but I’m going to show you how to get started with some smaller items that can be found as close as your local thrift store.

Step One: Go Shopping!

Cross "before"

Now that I have your attention…Go scouting for fun home accessories at your local thrift store, Salvation Army, Helping Hands, etc. This is half the fun! Keep your eye out for figurines, frames, lamp bases, decorative wall plaques or sconces, candle holders, or anything that would look great or be useful in your home.

Keep in mind that you want the item to have good “bones.” This simply means that it’s structurally strong and unbroken. A small chip might be unnoticeable once it’s painted, but larger cracks or dents will certainly show and might end up breaking or looking poorly. There’s plenty of great stuff out there just waiting to be found and rescued!

Step Two: Gather Supplies and Clean It Up.

Decide what purpose your item will serve in your home and what color you want it to be. Purchase spray paint, keeping in mind if you want it to be glossy, matte, or able to withstand the outdoors. Gather some cardboard or newspaper to place the item on while spray painting. Gloves and a mask are optional…just make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area outdoors to paint.

Cross "after"

Since most thrift store items are old and dusty, you’ll want to wipe down (or sometimes scrub or sand!) the item first. Let it dry completely and then give it one to two coats of spray paint, letting the paint dry in between coats. The paint dries fairly quickly, so you shouldn’t be waiting long.

Step Three: Embellish and Enjoy!

If you want to take it a step further, you can always add some decorative details such as bling, stenciling, distressing, gluing on a fabric flower, or simply tying a bow around your item! Place it in your home and enjoy telling all you friends you turned that trash into treasure!

Here are some thrift store items I “upcycled” over the last few months…I think you’ll agree that the “Befores” are a little scary!

1. Owls BEFORE:  I was so excited when I found someone’s adorable collection of owls on the shelf at my local thrift store. Ok, so they’re stuck in the 70′s, but not for long!

Owls AFTER:  Whooooo you calling stuck in the 70′s?

2. Letter Sorter BEFORE: I knew this metal letter sorter had potential, but it was rough! I sanded and painted and distressed this thing until I could no more!

 

Letter Sorter AFTER: I little elbow grease and some paint went a long way!

3. Frame BEFORE: I paid 50 cents for this ornate frame!

Frame DURING: Being painted on newspaper after popping the glass out first.

Frame AFTER: I printed a picture off my computer, and ta-dah!

About Lindsay McGarity: I’m a Rogers native. I’m married and a stay-at-home mom to two wonderful kids, a boy and a girl. I enjoy volunteering and am a member of the Junior League of NWA. I love to paint, scrapbook, make crafts with my kids, and I take way too many pictures!

My “crafty stuff” blog: Daily Chrysalis www.dailychrysalis.blogspot.com

My business blog: Fiddlesticks Art & More www.fiddlesticksart.blogspot.com

I can also be found on Facebook at Fiddlesticks Art & More. I also consign my original artwork, frames, ribbon wreaths, and more at the fun boutique store Vintage Glam & Junque, located at 718 N. 2nd St. in Rogers. They can also be found on Facebook.

Devotion in Motion: Why You Need to Go to Church

12 That is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.  ~  Romans 1:12 (NKJV)

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

Sometimes when I give older folks an invitation to a church service they say, “I get my church on the television.” I don’t tell them this, but I don’t think “getting your church  on television” is possible. Certainly you can hear a good sermon on television. You can probably hear a much better sermon than the sermons I preach. But hearing a sermon is only one of the reasons we go to the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day. We also go to church to encourage the faith of others.

Over a dozen years ago, my father, whom I adored, was dying of cancer. My family was watching him die by inches as the doctors gave no hope and he got worse each day. It was the most horrible thing I’d ever been through up to that point in my life. I’m ashamed to admit it,  but at that time in my life I was furious at God and doubted everything I had ever believed about Him. Some people would say “my faith was failing me.” But that wasn’t it at all. I was failing my faith.

One morning I left the ICU where my Dad was spending his final days. I went down to the chapel at the cancer hospital to try to pray and hid in the back corner of the room in the shadows where no one entering the sanctuary could see me. I looked at the cross and the stained-glassed window at the front of the room and tried to frame a petition to God. But there was no faith in my heart to form the words, and there was no prayer in my heart to be prayed.

I sat there — not praying — for a long time. Then someone slipped quietly into the chapel. I could see her, but she couldn’t see me. It was an older woman who mopped the floors in the hospital, pushing a bucket of water. She knelt down behind the second pew and began to pray aloud as she looked at the stained-glassed picture of Jesus. I felt a little guilty eavesdropping on her prayer. But I was drawn in because she spoke to Him like she knew Him and He knew her.

And at that moment, I experienced a sort of miracle. I thought to myself, “You know, if the cleaning woman can believe in Jesus, well, a preacher ought to be able to do that, too.”  And although at that time I was faithless, her words of faith rekindled the faith that was dying in me. You see, the cleaning lady didn’t just come to church that morning for her. The cleaning lady came to church for me.

Make sure to go to the Lord’s House this week. You know you need to. And somebody else probably needs you there, 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 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 21) and Seth (age 17) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the folks are mutually encouraged by one another’s faith.)  He would love to hear from you in an email sent to countrypreacherdad@gaggle.net.

 

The Rockwood Files: The Sissy Versus the Snake

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

The snake sighting in our yard had been haunting me. Every time I stepped outside, I scanned for signs of it – the way wary beach goers check the water for signs of a shark fin.

Then two weeks ago I was home alone with the dogs. Our beagle Charlie got restless so we headed out to the backyard for his potty break. As we hit the bottom of the steps, Charlie ran off to the left and I went right. That’s when I saw it – and froze. Another two steps forward and I would have been right on top of a 3-foot-long snake.

The beast was black with red and yellow stripes. As I sprinted for safety, my mind flashed back to that rhyme about how “red and yellow kill a fellow”. I scooped Charlie up and flew up the stairs and into the back door, shrieking the whole way.

Instantly I knew there was an even bigger problem than the 5-foot snake sprawled out in the flower bed. If he slithered away, I’d never, ever go into the backyard again. I couldn’t call Tom because he’s always conveniently away on business when threatening wildlife comes calling. So I called my dad, who would surely rescue me.

When Mom answered her cell phone, I yelled “SNAKE!” And she said, “What? What are you talking about?” (FYI: When a hysterical woman yells the word “snake,” it always means she has seen one and needs help right this instant. It’s not a conversation starter. It’s the same as yelling “Fire!” But I digress.)

I told her about the 7-foot long snake. She said they were at a restaurant eating lunch but would come as soon as they could.

Eating lunch? While your daughter is in mortal peril from an 8-foot snake? I urged them to finish and race to my house as fast as their Buick would bring them.

I waited by the window forcing myself to stare at the 9-foot snake so I’d know exactly where he was when Dad showed up to kill him. When he slithered into the grass, I was afraid we’d lose him. But the snake seemed to know I was watching. He made a large loop and headed back onto the stone patio directly beneath the window where I stood frozen in fear. He was taunting me, torturing me with his slow, menacing slither.

He lifted his head up and flicked his forked tongue out over and over again. As he crawled, so did my skin. The hair on my arms stood on end as goose bumps spread over me. Everything in me wanted to look away. But I couldn’t. I wouldn’t because then he’d get away. When he was just a few feet from the window, I felt it – a tongue on my bare ankle. I screamed and jumped straight into the air, certain the 12-foot snake had slithered into the house to kill me.

But then I realized the wet tongue belonged to the dog, who’d wandered over to see what all the fuss was about. When I shrieked, Charlie yelped and ran to hide behind the sofa. I wanted to go with him.

After what felt like eternity, Mom and Dad showed up. Mom stood beside me and we watched as Dad grabbed a shovel and met the beast on the patio. He delivered a death blow to the snake’s head and then flung him over the back fence into the woods, which I’m sure was tough because by then he was at least 15-feet-long. I’m lucky to be alive.

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

 

Fashion Fairy Godmother: Tips from a local jewelry designer

Dear Fashion Fairy Godmother,

I love long “statement” necklaces, but I’m not sure what to wear with them sometimes. Do you have some tips for a great pulled-together look, maybe a day look that I can transition into the evening?

Dear Necklace-Loving Mama,

Yes! I do have some tips for building an outfit around a necklace. Below, I have looks I pulled together from The Mustache Goods & Wears, and Mayapple Boutique. Both carry my jewelry!

Here are some considerations when it comes to jewelry:

Choose a top or dress that has an appropriate neckline for the necklace you are wanting to wear. If you’re working with a longer necklace, you’ll want to be sure the neckline hits in such a way that your necklace isn’t falling into your cleavage – not a good look! Scoop neck & boat neck blouses look great with long necklaces, while shorter necklaces decorate your decolletage and can draw the eye up from a revealing v-neck.

If there are colored gemstones or beads in your necklace, you’ll want to make sure your outfit doesn’t conflict with those colors. I style a lot of my designs with complementary colors – oranges accented with blues & purples, coral with a pop of turquoise, and so on. If you’re wearing jewelry with a lot of different colors, it’s best to pick one of them to feature prominently in your outfit for a cohesive look.  If you want the colors in your jewelry to really stand out, choose a neutral top or dress (think black & white) that will be sure to showcase your treasured jewels.

An easy way to transition a necklace from a casual daytime outfit to an evening cocktail look is to dress it up with more jewelry. A pair of complementary earrings, a set of bangle bracelets and a pair of heels can carry you effortlessly into the evening.  Be careful not to over accessorize, however!  A good rule of thumb (one I almost always follow) is to take one accessory off before heading out the door.  An armful of bracelets, multiple rings, a long necklace, earrings and a scarf may be overkill…

I follow these rules any time I’m styling my jewelry for a photo shoot, a fashion show, or myself!

Below, Jessica models a casual look:

Dress: The Mustache Goods & Wears (www.shopthemustache.com)

Necklace: From the Old Rio collection by Lauren Embree Jewelry (www.laurenembree.com)

Photographer: Celi Birke (www.celibirke.com)

And Jessica’s evening look:

Top & Skirt: Mayapple Boutique (www.mayapplesalon.com)

Necklace & Earrings: From the Old Rio collection by Lauren Embree Jewelry (www.laurenembree.com)

Photographer: Celi Birke (www.celibirke.com)

Lauren Embree is an internationally recognized jewelry designer. These pieces are from her Old Rio collection. Of these designs, she says: Spring & Summer 2012 is all about bold design & bright colors, and what better inspiration than the vibrant life & people of Brazil! My friend Fletch recently visited this gorgeous country & graciously collected vintage treasures for me throughout his adventure. From Brazil to NYC to my tiny studio in Fayetteville, I was mesmerized when these one of kind pieces made their way into my hands.  

 

Picture Mama: Springtime in Northwest Arkansas

It’s the perfect time of year to get outside and shoot pictures of the kids. And after you do that, attach a few of them to an email and send ‘em our way. We love to show off cute kids in Northwest Arkansas, and all the snapshots can be seen in our photo gallery. Thanks to the Motherlode mamas who shared these great snapshots with us. Keep ‘em coming!

Sunshine, flowers and a smile for Mama.

 

Hey, Mom! Watch this. Wheeeeeeeeee!

"Hello, you've reached the offices of Cuteness, Incorporated. How may I help you?"

Share your snapshots with us by sending them to gwen@nwaMotherlode.com.

Five Minutes with a Mom: Amy Hickman

Name: Amy Hickman

Son’s name and age: Zayde- 5

Where are you from and what brought you to NWA? I was born and raised in Fayetteville!

What’s your favorite thing about being an elementary school teacher? The kids this age are still so sweet, the hours and the schedule!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I have no desire to ever live anywhere else!

If you went back to college what would you study? I’m really not sure. I’ve known since I was 5 years old that I wanted to be a teacher.

If you had a whole day to yourself what would you do? Ha! Does that even happen in our dreams? :) I would lie around, watch chick flicks, do some crafting and scrapbooking.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do but can’t seem to get around to it? Organize my pictures.

What traditions do you hope to pass on to your son? Prayer time in the morning and before bed. Birthday breakfasts. Singing happy birthday to Jesus on Christmas. Once a week breakfast for dinner- ha!!

What’s a make-up essential you couldn’t live without? All of it- I’m a Mary Kay rep!! :) No really, mascara for sure!

Do you have time for any hobbies/after-school activities? I wish!

What was the best parenting advice you received? Never spank out of anger- calm down and talk/explain to your child first.

The worst? Don’t spank

If someone wrote a book about your life right now, what would a good title be? I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Think I Can…

One word to sum me up… blessed

Life with Ladybug: Y’all, she found my blog

MouseWell, it finally happened. I’d been a little worried about it through the years.

Busted.

The lady in “Ladybug” stumbled across nwaMotherlode, and of course she clicked on the blog title she knew was about her.

I know I’ve left some things out of posts, this concern evident just around the edges of my words, worried (in the back of my mind) that when she stumbled across this blog, she would feel marginalized or embarrassed.

I hoped, when that day came, that she’d see the blog for what it really is: a public, online diary that helps me remember our reality, in all its charm and chaos. That, maybe someday, when she became a mother, she’d know that motherhood is not easy, but it’s oh so worth it.

Some of the work was sanctioned. I sometimes ask if I can share a certain story, for example. Some of it was even commissioned (she really loves it when I share her art). But some of it? Well, we might call those the unauthorized posts. I sort of applied that I’dratheraskforgiveness strategy.

So when she came home from a friend’s house – after some Internet surfing – she blasted me.

“Thanks for telling the whole world about my first pimple, mom,” she said, hands on new hips.

My mind immediately flipped through the virtual pages, all those posts I’ve written here, and tried to remember which ones she might have found offensive. Then I started wondering about other topics on the site.

It turns out she saw the Tweens & Teens post about “The Talk”. Wowza. I KNEW that one had some R-rated content. Then I thought about this one and this one and this one.

Luckily, they didn’t read any of the stories all the way through, just the first paragraph teasers. Yes, THEY. It was my kid and two friends. So now I’m worried about my own website corrupting other people’s kids. Great.

“Motherlode is a website for MOMS,” I told my 10-year-old. “It has grown-up topics which are not intended for kids your age.

“Some of the stuff is OK for kids to read, but not all of it.”

And then I reminded her that while she’s the topic of Life with Ladybug, it’s really about me and how I deal with motherhood. It’s about wanting to hang on to these years through my words so when she’s all grown up I can look back and remember with better clarity.

But I also write for her. So she can have some context for when she’s on the therapist’s couch one day (I joke) or when she wonders why she can’t seem to keep her house clean.

So, Ladybug, if you’re reading this right now, first off, you’re busted. Remember, mom topics, not kid topics (mostly). BUT, since you’re already here, there are a few things I want you to know:

  1. I’ll never intentionally embarrass you (At least not here on the blog. While we’re out in real public, I might do it intentionally. It depends on how rude you become as you transform into a teenager.)
  2. All my words are coated with an intense mama-bear love for you.
  3. My lips are sealed on that thing you asked me never to post about. Promise.
  4. I am acutely aware that you will someday grow up and likely have a blog of your own. And that it might be called something like “Life with my Mother, Who’s Just a *tinybit* Crazy”
  5. And, finally, that  moms generally blog as a way to get their thoughts/feelings “out there” on paper or online so they don’t feel so alone in the mothering process – and to help other moms who may stop by and read those words and not feel so alone, either.

Love you, Ladybug. Now go click on something educational. Or about kittens.

Shannon Magsam is mom to 10-year-old Ladybug, married to Ladybug’s dad, John, and co-creator of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of Life With Ladybug, click here.

*Photo by elycefeliz via Flickr

Inconceivable Mama: Mind Games, Superstitions, Weird Math and RESOLVE

By Inconceivable Mama

2012 CalendarThe longer you struggle with infertility the more mind games you tend to play with yourself.

You begin to question your every move to the point it becomes obsessive.

I find myself wondering if the caffeine in my coffee kept me from getting pregnant. Did that huge sneeze I had last Thursday that made my ovary hurt send all of my eggs into oblivion? Am I eating too much dairy? Am I exercising too much? Am I exercising too little? Should I have taken that antibiotic when I was sick last month?

One question leads to another, leads to another, leads to another….The mind games lead to superstitions and I find myself bargaining with God and making deals with the devil.

  • “God, if I promise to go to church twice a week for the rest of my life will you just give us a baby?” 
  •  If I can go five days without seeing any pregnancy announcements on Facebook then this will be the month I get pregnant.  
  • “God, if I promise to read my Bible every day will you just give us a baby?”
  • If I wear the same necklace everyday for a whole month it will bring me good luck and we will get pregnant.
  • “God, if I just…(fill in the blank)…will you just give us a baby?”

Sure it’s irrational and likely counterproductive. It’s obsessive and probably gives me added stress that I don’t need but I can’t help it.

Next comes the weird math. In my head I am constantly calculating.

If I got pregnant today, then my due date would be…

Then I try to rationalize why it wouldn’t be a good day to get pregnant. The baby would be born during a really busy time of the year at work. The baby would be born when we usually travel to visit family. The baby would be born on Christmas.

Then recently, I realized that I’m getting really close to the point where, if I’m not  pregnant today, the baby would likely be born in 2013.

I wanted to have a baby in 2010. I expected to have a baby in 2011. I needed to have a baby in 2012. Where does that leave me? What if 2013 passes us by, too?  Then what? Can I keep going on with this?  When do I stop? Is stopping giving up?  Is giving up losing faith?  Is losing faith preventing this whole thing from happening in the first place?

It’s a vicious cycle.

I don’t tell you this so you’ll feel sorry for me. That’s not what I want. I tell you this so you KNOW.

I hope you NEVER have to deal with infertility but the sad fact is that likely many of you reading this have dealt, are dealing or will deal with infertility in yourself or an immediate family member at some time. We can study facts and statistics but numbers on paper don’t tell you anything about what real women and their partners are dealing with.

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) and the theme this year is “Don’t Ignore This Week.” RESOLVE , the National Infertility Awareness Association, has come out with a list of several things YOU can do to help bring awareness to infertility. I hope you will consider at least one thing on this list.

  • Don’t ignore opportunities to talk about infertility. Do you blog? Tweet? Teach a health class? Have a book group? Take advantage of opportunities in your daily life to share information about or bring attention to the cause of infertility.
  • Don’t ignore legislation affecting infertility patients. Several pending and existing laws encroach upon the rights of the infertile to freely build their families. Help change policy and protect your rights by writing to your representative or attending RESOLVE’s Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. on April 25.
  • Don’t ignore infertility support available. Infertility is a lonely road, but no one has to travel it alone. Join an online infertility forum or local support group to find a warm, welcoming environment.
  • Don’t ignore people struggling with infertility. Reach out to friends or family members struggling with infertility. Ask how you can best support them in their journey.
  • Don’t ignore the impact of making a donation. Every cent donated donated helps bring needed programs and services to women and men with infertility. Sign up for the Walk of Hope or create your own fundraising event in your location.
  • Don’t ignore family building alternatives. You can build your family through many paths. During this week, open your mind to options that you had not previously considered.
  • Don’t ignore your own strength. If you’re engaged in the fight against infertility, take a moment to recognize your courage and determination, as well as that of the sisters and brothers fighting alongside you.

This list was excerpted from http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/don-t-ignore-this-week.html.

If you would like more information about infertility or RESOLVE please check out their website http://www.resolve.org.

If you do anything to help bring awareness to infertility we would love for you to share your endeavors with us. You can do so by leaving a comment on this post. Thanks for taking the time to read another part of my story.

Dr. Oz: Lose Weight in Just 7 Minutes

off the hookHave you ever taken the Real Age test?

It calculates your body’s “health age” and was created by various doctors, including Dr. Oz. We’ve taken the online test and occasionally receive emails from Real Age. You can’t help but click on an email with the subject line Lose Weight in Just 7 Minutes, can you? Well, we couldn’t.

The idea is that if you want to lose some weight, first calm down. Next, try this: Spend 7 minutes a day meditating. The Real Age docs say 7 minutes can help you control cravings, eat less, and get thin.

The article, written by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen, shared this scoop: Meditation helps with sleep, stress, fighting inflammation, and concentration. (Dr. Roizen apparently does quick deep-breathing sessions when he’s stuck in long, slow elevator rides.)

One of meditation’s benefits is its effect on cravings. The article recommends spending about 7 minutes meditating each day and you’ll naturally have fewer food cravings.

Here’s how to do it: “Find a quiet place (the bathroom is fine), get comfortable, close your eyes, and breathe in and out at a natural pace. Notice whether your breath feels warm or cool. When other thoughts and sensations butt in, acknowledge them, and then refocus on your breathing. After 7 minutes or so, open your eyes and re-enter the world slowly.”

They claim bonus benefits, too.  “A few minutes of daily mindful meditation can also counteract aches, stress, and memory loss. It helps control your alpha rhythms (a type of brain wave that boosts your ability to focus and tune out distractions), including pain signals, which mess with your memory. That helps you recall important stuff, such as where you put your cell phone, or what your spouse just said.”

One of the women who commented on the article advised that when you take deep belly breaths, try “breathing in” your favorite color and just keep that color as constant as possible for the seven minutes.

OK, cobalt blue, follow me to a quiet place and let’s do this thing.

*Photo by khrawlings via Flickr

Beauty Buzz: Eat your way to beautiful skin

By Andi Douglas, nwaMotherlode beauty editor

One of my favorite NWA activities to do with the kids is picking fresh berries every spring, something I never would have done if we still lived in Dallas.

So, when I saw that McGarragh Farms in Pea Ridge is now open for picking, it went to the top of my to-do list (thanks for the heads-up, Motherlode). Not only does picking our own berries encourage my kids to eat more fruit, but the antioxidant rich fruit works wonders on my post-winter, nutrient starved skin.

The antioxidants found in fruit, like our delicious locally grown strawberries, work as a tiny army against the free radicals that deplete healthy cells and lead to inelastic skin, wrinkles, and breakouts, according to Amy Nadine of www.thebeautydepartment.com.

Keep your mini army well supplied by chowing down on berries, cantaloupe, plums and tomatoes (yes, they’re a fruit) at least twice a day.

Do you like the idea of eating your way to healthy skin? Me, too! Fruits rich in vitamin C can delay and even reduce wrinkles. The best suppliers are kiwi, oranges, grapefruit and guava. I have no idea what guava is, but if it will undo this crease in the middle of my forehead it sounds delicious!

Now that I have officially rationalized Fruit Pizza as a health food, I’m off to the farm.

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 mamas@nwaMotherlode.com. Click here to read more about Andi.

 

Time’s almost up. Vote for your fave local businesses and you could win a HUGE Mother’s Day package!

It’s almost time to choose the BIG winners!

Local businesses will win, based on the votes from moms like you. And one very lucky mom will win a HUGE Mother’s Day package  just for voting. It’s simple. Just click fill out the survey and cast votes for your favorite Northwest Arkansas businesses relevant to moms.

As you know, we’ve teamed up with Kid’s Directory Northwest Arkansas magazine to present these Mom’s Choice Business Awards. By taking time to choose your top business picks, you’ll not only help fellow shoppers with your collective wisdom, you’ll also reward your favorite companies.

Just fill out the survey (CLICK HERE TO SEE IT IN A POP-UP WINDOW) you’ll automatically be entered in a huge Mother’s Day Giveaway, which includes:

  • a $100 shopping gift card
  • a $100 gift card at Elite Spa
  • a $75 gift certificate at Bordinos Italian Restaurant
  • Free Heaven’s Best Carpet Cleaning (whole house!)
  • a Free House Cleaning
  • Closet Organizing Session from a professional organizer.

You’ll be picking a business or service in each category, and we need to have those completed by May 5, 2012. The winner will be chosen at RANDOM on May 10, 2012.

The results will be posted on nwaMotherlode.com in May and will be published in the June edition of Kid’s Directory. We’ll also provide a downloadable listing of the winners and their phone numbers that you can print and keep as a handy reference.

We can’t wait to see your top choices and to announce the BIG WINNER. Thanks and good luck.

Take me out to the ballgame (for Teal in the Park!)

This is the perfect time of year to take the kids to a baseball game — not too hot, not too cool. And the Arkansas Naturals have one of the most kid-friendly ballparks around. On Saturday, May 5, 2012, the Naturals will take on the Tulsa Drillers at 7 p.m. Ozark Guidance is partnering with the Naturals for this game for their annual “Teal in the Park Night”, which marks May as Mental Health Month.

Come to the game a little early (around 6:40) to watch the pre-game ceremony. Ozark Guidance CEO Tom Petrizzo — who also writes the “On Your Mind” column here on nwaMotherlode — will make some remarks at home plate and release “brain squeezes” to the crowd, which will symbolize the more than 110,000 people in Northwest Arkansas who will deal with a mental health challenge this year alone.

There will be special activities planned for kids during this event, so if you only go to one Naturals game this season, make it this one. The players will be wearing teal game jerseys with the mental wellness logo on the sleeve to support this cause, and fans will be able to purchase the limited edition jerseys.

Tickets are on sale now for $8 in advance and half of the proceeds benefit Ozark Guidance. To purchase advance tickets, click HERE To go to the Ozark Guidance website. Then just pick up your tickets on game day at the Ozark Guidance “will-call” table at Arvest Ballpark.

Please note that ALL proceeds from this event will stay in our area to provide counseling services for men, women and children.

Ozark Guidance is a local non-profit mental health center that helps more than 14,000 people in Northwest Arkansas (including 4,800 kids). You can get help from Ozark Guidance at clinics located in Bentonville, Berryville, Huntsville, Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale and Siloam Springs.

Mealtime Mama: “Recipes to Remember”

We love collecting cookbooks from local churches and organizations.

Our newest collection of recipes is from Phillips Chapel Free Will Baptist Church in Springdale called Recipes to Remember. Thanks for the gift, Christy!

It’s a small, paperback volume packed with delicious recipes from ladies here in Northwest Arkansas. (We love that we recognize some of the recipes from church potlucks past, especially anything that calls for Rotel or Velveeta.) From appetizers to side dishes to main dishes and desserts, it was hard to choose just three.

The below recipes look easy, kid-friendly and inexpensive, three biggies that mean a lot to moms.

Enjoy and we hope you have a great week filled with delicious food and family you love.

Summer Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bag of Fresh Spinach
  • Fresh Strawberries, sliced*
  • Grapes
  • Crisp Bacon, crumbled
  • Walnuts or pecans

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

Arrange the spinach and fruits in a large bowl. Mix the dressing and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. Just before serving, pour dressing over salad. *Mandarin oranges can be used instead of strawberries.

~ Ora Faye Chamlee

Yummy Breakfast Rolls

  • 2 Cans Crescent Rolls
  • 2 (8 oz) Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 stick Butter, melted

Directions:

Unroll 1 can crescent rolls into the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan (don’t press the seals together!). Mix cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla. Spread over the rolls. Place second can of crescent rolls on top. Pour melted butter on top. Mix the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

~ Danielle Henderson

Slow Cooker Lasagna

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 29-oz Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 8-oz pkg Lasagna Noodles, uncooked
  • 4 cups Mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups Cottage Cheese

Directions:

Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Brown ground beef in a skillet and drain. Stir in tomato sauce and mix well. Spread 1/4 of meat sauce in the bottom of slow cooker. Arrange 1/3 of uncooked noodles (break up noodles to fit) over sauce. Combine cheeses in a bowl. Spoon 1/3 of cheese over noodles. Repeat these layers twice. Top with remaining sauce. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. If you have a large slow cooker, ad an additional 1 lb ground beef and another 15 oz can tomato sauce to the recipe.

~ Mary Williams

What’s fresh right now at Ozark Natural Foods? Springtime vegetables! They have green, red and romaine lettuce heads; bulk spinach and spring mix; bags of spinach, green onions, mint, tarragon, oregano, mushrooms, chard, kale, parsley, cilantro, flowers, potted herbs, radishes, asparagus, and sugar snap peas.

Spring time is salad time!

Devotion in Motion: The Need for Kindness

32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32  (NKJV)

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

I try not to give unsolicited suggestions about how other people should raise their children. But today I’m going to make an exception. Here’s my advice: “Teach your kids to be kind to everyone — but especially to other kids.”

Lately, every time I pick up a newspaper I read accounts of the aftermath of the unkindness of young people. Elementary school students are being treated for depression because of  the aggression they’ve faced from classmates. Teens have taken their own lives because of the way that they’ve been treated at school and online.

The media tends to put other names on the problem — labels like “bullying” or “cyber-bullying”—but in the long run it all boils down to a lack of Christian kindness. We all need to be kind to everybody because everyone is fighting a hard battle.

Whenever there’s a school shooting, there’s always someone on the news saying that these things never would happen if we still had prayer in the schools. I’m not sure I agree with that. First of all, as long as there is algebra (and final exams) there will always be prayer in the schools. There’s nothing in the world that can stop any of us from praying to God at any time because He knows our hearts and our minds. 

It’s true that a disaffected student who is well-on-his-way to becoming a “school shooter” might have a change of heart if he saw a group of  students having a public prayer meeting. But, truth be told, there’s an effective tactic that’s less dramatic and controversial.  What if some students went to the boy who’s all alone in the lunchroom and said, “Hey, why don’t you come to our table? No pressure, but we’d love to have you. And if you don’t want to today, well, the offer still stands….”

I’m not sure how we actually go about teaching our children to be kind to others. We probably need to talk about it with them a lot; I’m sure a lot of unkindness is really just thoughtlessness — we just didn’t stop to think about the feelings of others. (It doesn’t help that we spend so much of our time “inside our heads,” using tech devices rather than talking face-to-face with real people.)

But I suspect our most effective lessons will come from what we model in the way we live. Did you hear about all the Easter egg hunts that were canceled this year because of the parents who were pushing and shoving as they snatched up the eggs? Children may not always believe what we say, but they never doubt our actions — whether they be good or evil.

Also, we need to pray that our loving Heavenly Father will work in us (and them) to help us be more kind. Kindness isn’t something we can perfect on our own — but God can change us and perfect us by His grace.

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 21) and Seth (age 17) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the children still hunt Easter eggs, without being tackled by any exuberant parents.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to countrypreacherdad@gaggle.net.

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