NWA Calendar of Events: June 2013

Fayetteville Public Library Summer Reading Kick-off Celebration

THIS SATURDAY: Get ready to kick off summer with FPL on Saturday, June 1st from 10am to noon with the largest party ever … bounce houses, a Dig for Treasure play area, a magician, balloon animals, face painting, and music with Shawn James & The Shapeshifters.

Date: June 1

Time: 10 a.m. to noon

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

More info: Click here

Summer Reading kickoff

CLICK HERE to sign up for the FPL’s Summer Reading Club and to see a full listing of the library’s events for the entire summer for families, preschoolers, elementary-age children and tweens/teens.  Dig Beneath the Surface is a fun way to keep the entire family reading this summer with chances to win amazing prizes, including an iPad mini, a specialized bike from HighRoller Cyclery, or cool cash for for the kids, and even iPad Minis and Google Nexus tablets for the adults.

Music from The Pop Ups

Enjoy Grammy-nominated The Pop-Ups at the Fayetteville Public Library and also at First Thursday Fayetteville. The Pop-Up boys are gearing up for their second tour with Yo Gabba Gabba Live, and have released their second album titled “Radio Jungle” which won a Parent’s Choice Award in 2012.

Date: June 5

Time: 2 p.m.

Location: FPL

More info: Click here

The pop-ups

The Pop-Ups!

First Thursday Fayetteville

Fayetteville’s Downtown Square transforms into a hub of live music, artists, performers and children’s activities for one evening each month. There will be an outdoor walk and charity beer garden for visitors to enjoy. It’s family-friendly fun and free to the public!

Date: June 6

Time: 5 p.m.

Location: Fayetteville Square

More info: Click here

First Friday Bentonville (Art Walk)

On the first Friday of every month, between March and November, the Bentonville Square is transformed into a huge block party filled with live music, great food and lots of fun for an entire day. Several of our First Friday events have grown so much in popularity that they have become three day to month long festivals!

Date: June 7


Location: Downtown Bentonville Square

More info: Click here

Petting Zoo with Barnyard Buddies, FPL (Preschool/toddler)

Date: Tues., June 11

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

More info: Click here

Art of Wine Festival, Walton Arts Center

13th Annual Art of Wine Festival June 13, 14 & 15 Arkansas’ premier wine festival benefiting Walton Arts Center programs Celebrate the fruit of the vine with three unique evenings of food, friends and the world’s finest wines at Arkansas’ premier wine festival, benefiting Walton Arts Center programs. TICKETS ON SALE NOW Visit waltonartscenter.org, or call the Walton Arts Center Box Office at 479.443.5600. All events take place at Walton Arts Center *Must be 21 or older to purchase tickets

AOWuncorkedDate: June 13-15

Time:  Varies

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Moonflowers & Mojitos

Enjoy the most beautiful cocktail party of the summer with a night of mixing and mingling while nibbling on hors’doeuvres. Try the evening’s signature cocktail, Mojitos, and listen to Got it Covered while you stroll through the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. There will be an art show of local artists Greg Moore and Kathy Snodgrass. We will be serving complimentary wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages. Event time: 5:30-8:00pm. Admission: $20 for members and $25 for non-members. For more information or to make reservations, go to www.bgozarks.org or call 479-750-2620.

Date: June 13

Time: 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Location: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

More info: Click here

The Balloon Man

Marty Boone is back  with his fun-filled program featuring music, magic, and lots of balloons! (All Ages)

Date: June 13

Time: 10 a.m.

Location: Springdale Public Library

More info: Click here


Area restaurants go head-to-head to see who has the best Chicken Wings. Restaurants compete for the title of “Best Buffalo,” “Most Exotic,” “Best Overall–Peoples Choice,” and “Best Overall–Judges Choice.” For only $10 the public gets to sample and vote while listening to live music.

Date: June 15

Time: 6-8 p.m. wing sampling

Location: Northwest Arkansas Mall, Fayetteville

More info: Click here for pricing and times for other events

FPL stuff

Magician Scott Davis, FPL

Date: June 15

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

Gulley Park Summer Concert Series, Sarah Hughes Band

Fayetteville Parks and Recreation brings to you the 17th summer of concerts at Gulley Park. Last summer was one of our best yet, with six shows featuring some of the best music the region has to offer. Best of all, they’re FREE! The Gulley Park Summer Concert Series includes six concerts in all. Concerts are on Thursday evenings at 7:00pm. Thanks to the bands, sponsors, and fans who make the Gulley Park Summer Concert Series what it is.

Date: June 13

Time: 7-9 p.m.

Location: Gulley Park, Fayetteville

Teddy Bear Picnic to benefit Family Network, Inc.

Featuring live music by The Kiddos and a boxed picnic lunch and mini teddy bear for each child

Date: June 20

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Location: Mount Sequoyah Retreat Center, Fayetteville

More info: Advance tickets are $10 per person. To order, call 479-927-3659 or visit www.FamilyNetworkNWA.com.

Artosphere Festival Orchestra: An Evening of Beethoven

The Artosphere Festival Orchestra (AFO) is comprised of 80+ premier musicians from major symphonies and distinguished music programs around the world. Led by the acclaimed Maestro Corrado Rovaris, on Friday, June 21, these fine musicians (from 17 countries and 28 states) will perform “An Evening of Beethoven” at 7pm at Walton Arts Center. Tickets start at $10. More than a dozen classical music events are scheduled during the AFO’s two-week residency. Visit www.artospherefestival.org for the complete lineup.

Date: June 21

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

artosphere ad

Artosphere Festival Orchestra – Russian Masterpieces

The Artosphere Festival Orchestra (AFO) is comprised of 80+ premier musicians from major symphonies and distinguished music programs around the world. Led by the acclaimed Maestro Corrado Rovaris, on Friday, June 28, these fine musicians (from 17 countries and 28 states) will perform “Russian Masterpieces” at 7pm at Walton Arts Center. This concert will feature iconic works from Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. Tickets start at $10. More than a dozen classical music events are scheduled during the AFO’s two-week residency. Visit www.artospherefestival.org for the complete lineup.

Date: June 28

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Old Crow Medicine Show

After nearly fifteen years since forming in Nashville, Old Crow Medicine Show has toured the world, sold more than 800,000 albums, become frequent guests on A Prairie Home Companion, and played renowned festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. In November of 2011 Old Crow’s classic single, “Wagon Wheel”, received the RIAA’s Gold certification for selling over 500,000 copies. Described as everything from old-time and bluegrass to folk and alt-country, the band has four studio albums to their name, three of which were released by Nettwerk Records – O.C.M.S and Big Iron Worldproduced by David Rawlings, and Tennessee Pusher produced by Don Was. On their newest album, Carry Me Back, Old Crow continue to craft classic American roots music while pushing themselves in new directions. Carry Me Back, released by ATO Records and produced by Ted Hutt, represents a new stretch of road in the timeless journey of a rambling string band.

Date: June 23rd

Time: 6-10 p.m.

Tickets: $32.00 – $47.00

Location: Arkansas Music Pavilion, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th Century American Art

Admission Adults $5 per person | Free for Museum Members Admission is sponsored for youth ages 18 and younger Tickets will be available May 1, 2013 In the aftermath of the Civil War, the American girl seemed transformed—at once more introspective and adventurous than the previous generation. Although the culture still prized the demure female child of the past, many saw a bolder type as the new, alternate ideal. Girlhood was no longer simple, and the complementary images of angel and tomboy emerged as competing visions of this new generation. For the first time, girls claimed the attention of genre artists, and girlhood itself seized the imagination of the nation.

Date: June 28-Sept. 30

Time: Varies

Location: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

More info: Click here

Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody

SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody is the hilarious new musical that brings all the naughty fun of the best-selling book to life. Your inner goddess will be laughing out loud with this new imagining of the characters as they come to life with sharp-witted comedy, musical numbers, steamy and fun performances from the hunky leading man, plus lots of surprises! Get there early for pre-show cocktails, then stay to meet the cast after the show, and pose for a photo with the fetching star himself. Grab your girlfriends and don’t miss the funniest and most exciting girls’ night out of the year! SPANK! is not associated with, nor authorized by, author E.L. James or Vintage Press.

Date: June 29th

Time: 8-11 p.m.

Tickets: $20.00 – $45.00

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

How-to: Make a Matchbook Seed Card

seed finished

Guest post by Shawnna at Small Talk Mama

If your kids are already out of school and you’re looking for something fun to do together, we have a super cute idea to share today via Shawnna, who blogs over at Small Talk Mama. You can keep them current on their math and reading skills while having fun at the same time ;)


3 sheets of coordinating decorative paper – 6 x 6” or larger

1 sheet of coordinating cardstock – 8.5 x 11”

1 package of spring seeds – traditional size only

stapler and staples

paper adhesive of your choice

liquid glue



paper cutter

decorative edge scissors or punch

small spring greeting stamp or rub-on

3 ft. of scrapbook floss, thin ribbon or embroidery thread

scoring tool of your choice

colored inkpad for stamping and inking the edges of your paper (optional)


1. Let’s begin by cutting all of our paper to size.

For this project, I am using three decorative papers from Teresa Collins’ Everyday Moments 6×6 pad and a simple yellow cardstock.
Cut the cardstock to 3 ½ x 11”
Cut the large front piece to 3 x 4 ½”
Cut the paper that will be scalloped to 3 ½ x 2”
Cut the first larger banner paper to 1 ½ x 3”
Cut the smaller banner paper to 1 ¼ x 2 ½”
Seed 1

2. Next, let’s score and fold our cardstock.

Score from the left short edge at 4 ¾” and again at 10”
I use my paper cutter with the blade up and an embossing pen. I run the ball of the pen down the grove in my cutter to create a nice clean score. But believe me, many objects will work for scoring. Use what you have – I’ve used screws, bone folders and stickpins.

Fold along those two scores and you should get a large matchbook shape.
seed 2 use

seed 3

3. Next use your decorative edge scissors or punch and cut a design along one long edge of the paper measuring 3 ½ x 2

4. Cut the two smaller remaining papers into banners by cutting a triangle out of one of the short sides. I just freehand this step for a cute imperfect look.

seed 4

5. Ink the edges of all your papers, including all the folded edges of your cardstock (optional).

Inking your paper covers the white cut edges and adds another bit of dimension to the finished project.

 6. Next place the paper with the cut decorative edge over the smallest flap of your cardstock so that only about a half to three-quarters of the cardstock is peeking out under the scalloped edge of the decorative paper.

Now fold the decorative paper over the small cardstock flap and adhere it to that flap on the inside only.

seed 5

7. Place your package of seeds inside your cardstock where matches would typically go.

With the front of the scalloped paper out of the way, staple the seeds into the card with two staples going through the small cardstock flap, the seed packet and the back of the matchbook. Then adhere the scalloped paper down, covering the staples completely. (If your scalloped edge has trouble staying down, try a dab of liquid glue.)

seed 6

8. Next adhere the smaller banner to the larger banner with the top edges lining up. Then adhere the banners to the last piece of decorative paper you cut with the top edges lining up and a bit off center.

Staple all three pieces together with one staple about a half inch from the top of the papers.

9. Adhere this grouping to the middle front of the matchbook cover (the bottom of the largest paper should line up with the bottom of the matchbook cover flap).

seed 7

10. Next trim the cover flap so that it fits into the small bottom flap of your card, just like a matchbook works. This trim will be different for everyone, depending on where you stapled in your seeds. Check to make sure everything fits nice and flat.
seed 8

11. Open the flap again and stamp, rub on or write a cute spring greeting on your smallest banner below the staple. I’m using a “just for you” stamp from my collection.

12. Now wrap your floss, thread or ribbon around the front flap of the card (banners, staple and all) approximately three times and tie with a bow. Add a drop of glue under the bow to keep it tied and in place.

seed 9

13. After the glue dries, use the edge of a pencil to roll the top of the banners and the tails of the banners just a bit to give it a little dimension. You can also curl up the scalloped edge of your bottom flap if you choose/

14. Insert your large matchbook flap back into place and you are finished.

You now have a cute (and useful) spring greeting card for a special friend or family member.
seed 10

Life with Ladybug: Living beyond the screen

Life with Ladybug logo

By Shannon Magsam, nwaMotherlode.com co-founder and Ladybug’s mama

Lately, I keep hearing the admonition that life can’t be lived behind a computer. That to write words people want to read, you have to get out there and actually live a life worth reading about.

Of course, this concept has always been whispering in my ear, but recently it’s much louder. Because now it resonates with me. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear?

Throwing the Mom Prom earlier this month was something that pulled me out of my comfort zone. It doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal to you, maybe, but I was worried. You see, I’ve always joked that I have “bad party karma”.

Also, I was worried about stretching my time too thin when I’m already sleep and me-time deprived. But along with my trusted business partner, Gwen, and our new Motherlode sales phenom, Angela, we tackled the prom with gusto.

It was hard work, and it did take tons of time to plan and execute, but the reaction we got from moms and women across NWA (and beyond!) made it all worth it. We started Motherlode as a place to encourage mamas and make life better for them — and they told us over and over on Prom Night that they needed a girls’ night out just like this. That made my year.

I was also relieved to see that my bad party karma had been reversed.

computer screenWe’re already planning next year’s prom and we’re still busy, but now that summer is fast approaching, this is a good time to do what my husband is often imploring me to do: Step Away From The Computer.

Sometimes I feel like Wilson on that old show Home Improvement. Except the lower part of my face is partially hidden by a computer screen, not a fence.

Too often, I see life over my keyboard. My “desk” is on the kitchen table (even though I have a whole room that’s supposedly my office), so I often look out at my family as they watch television, interact and hang out. I hear a joke on television, laugh with them from a distance, then jump back into my work, email, Facebook or Twitter.

So, a declaration: This summer I’m standing up, I’m stepping away. I’m getting “out there”.

The Mom Prom was a good reminder that when I step away from the computer good things can happen. And sometimes that involves dancing so hard you throw out your hip (a different story for a different day).

Blue dress, blogShannon Magsam is mom to 11-year-old Ladybug, married to Ladybug’s dad, John, and co-founder of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of Life With Ladybug, click here.

2013 Mom’s Choice Awards winners announced!


When we launched the first-ever Mom’s Choice Awards, in partnership with Kid’s Directory of Northwest Arkansas, last year we had lots of votes. This year, we DOUBLED that number. That means you have TONS of wisdom in this huge collection of “best” 2013 Mom’s Choice Award winners.

In this list you’ll find a winner and a runner-up from Washington County and from Benton County  in 38 categories, as determined by votes submitted by the readers of Motherlode and of Kid’s Directory.

Be sure to save this link or print out the list so you can refer to it year-round. That way you’ll always know which business to check out when you need a mom-friendly company in Northwest Arkansas. We’ll be writing about several of these Mom’s Choice Award winners during the next few months so you can learn more about them and what they offer.

Without further adieu, here’s the list. Congrats to all the winning businesses!

Best Vet Clinic

Washington County

  1. rose resizedStanton Animal Hospital
  2. Wedington Animal Hospital

Benton County

  1. Rose Animal Clinic
  2. All Pets Animal Hospital

Best Family Practice Clinic

Washington County

  1. FirstCare Family Doctors, A MANA Clinic
  2. Fayetteville Diagnostic Clinic, A MANA Clinic

Benton County

  1. FirstCare Family Doctors, A MANA Clinic
  2. WellQuest Medical & Wellness


Washington County

  1. Parkhill Clinic for Women
  2. HerHealth, Washington Regional

Benton County

  1. Women’s Health Associates
  2. Lifespring Women’s Healthcare

Best Martial Arts Studio

Washington County

  1. ATA Martial Arts
  2. Mid-America Karate Academy

Benton County

  1. ATA Martial Arts
  2. Inferno Fitness & Mixed Martial Arts

Best Private School

Washington County

  1. The new schoolThe New School
  2. Shiloh Christian School

Benton County

  1. Life Way Christian School
  2. Providence Classical Christian Academy

Best Tutoring Service

Washington County

  1. KumonKumon Math & Learning Center
  2. Sylvan Learning Center

Benton County

  1. Old Tyme Tutors
  2. LearningRx

Best Art Lessons

Washington County

  1. The Art Location
  2. Painting with a Twist

Benton County

  1. Imagine Studios
  2. Crafty Cottage

Best Spa

Washington County

  1. ReviveRevive Day Spa
  2. LaVida Massage

Benton County

  1. The Spa Esthetiques
  2. Reflections Salon & Day Spa

Best Photographer

Washington County

  1. Maliah Pinkleton Photography
  2. Erica Erck Photography

Benton County

  1. Kim Durham Photography
  2. Lisa Mac Photography

Best Family Law Practice

Washington County

  1. The Atwell Law Firm
  2. Taylor Law Partners, LLP and Deborah Sexton Law Office (TIED)

Benton County

  1. Bryan Vernetti, Williams Law Group PLC
  2. Kelley Law Firm

Best Hair Salon

Washington County

  1. freshair 2013Freshair Salon
  2. Shag Hair Salon

Benton County

  1. Brieshi Salon & Spa
  2. Cabin Red, A Salon

Best Music Lessons

Washington County

  1. InsideOut Music & Arts Studio
  2. Suzuki Music School of Arkansas

Benton County

  1. Arkansas Musicworks
  2. Children’s Music Academy

Best Daycare

Washington County

  1. Butterflies and frogsButterflies & Frogs
  2. First School of First United Presbyterian Church

Benton County

  1. The Children’s Hour
  2. Little Sunshine’s Playhouse & Preschool

Best Toy Store

Washington County

  1. Toys R Us
  2. Melody’s Choices

Benton County

  1. Dilly Dally’s
  2. Melody’s Choices

Best Mother’s Day Out

Washington County

  1. First School, First United Presbyterian Church
  2. Cross Church, Fayetteville

Benton County

  1. Grace Point Church of NWA
  2. Cross Church, Pinnacle Hills Campus

Best Date Night

Washington County

  1. bordinos21Bordinos Restaurant
  2. Theo’s

Benton County

  1. Fred’s Hickory Inn
  2. Copeland’s of New Orleans

Best Birthday Place

Washington County

  1. Boingo Bounce
  2. Fun City Pizza

Benton County

  1. jumpzone 2013Jump!Zone Party Play Centers
  2. Chuck E. Cheese’s

Best Dessert Cafe

Washington County

  1. Bliss Cupcake Cafe
  2. Rick’s Bakery

Benton County

  1. Bliss Cupcake Cafe
  2. Meridienne Dessert Salon & Cafe

Best Children’s Clothing

Washington County

  1. 3 Monkeys Children’s Boutique
  2. Bella Jack’s Children’s Boutique

Benton County

  1. Justice
  2. For The Monster

Best Dance Lessons

Washington County

  1. Williams Center Dance & Gymnastics
  2. The Art of Motion

Benton County

  1. All That Dance
  2. Kaleidoscope Dance Academy

williams center 2013Best Gymnastics Lessons

Washington County

  1. Williams Center Dance & Gymnastics
  2. Hopes & Dreams Gymnastics

Benton County

  1. INFiNiTi
  2. Aspire Gymnastics Academy

Best Pediatric Clinic

Washington County

  1. NWA Pediatric Clinic — A MANA Clinic
  2. Best Start Pediatrics

Benton County

  1. Mercy Clinics Pediatrics
  2. Harvey Pediatrics

Best Pediatric Dentist

Washington County

  1. Pediatric Dental Associates & Orthodontics
  2. Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Jeff Ward

Benton County

  1. My Village Pediatric Dentistry
  2. Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Brent Caple

Best Orthodontist

Washington County

  1. Northwest Orthodontics, Dr. Jesse Gray
  2. Dr. Richard Roblee, Roblee Orthodontics

Benton County

  1. Arkansas Orthodontics (Razorbraces)
  2. Dale M. Remerscheid, DDS

Best Furniture Store

Washington County

  1. Ashley Furniture Homestore
  2. Hank’s Fine Furniture

Benton County

  1. Hank’s Fine Furniture
  2. Ashley Furniture Homestore

Best Appliance Store

Washington County

  1. Lowe’s Home Improvement Store
  2. Sears

MAM_Springdale_NWABenton County

  1. Tucker’s Furniture & Appliances
  2. Metro’s Appliances & More

Best Gift Store

Washington County

  1. Melody’s Choices
  2. Bella’s Gifts

Benton County

  1. The Perfect Choice
  2. Kate Austin Jewelry & Gifts

Best Plumber

Washington County

  1. Johnson Plumbing, Farwell Plumbing, Clayburn Hvacr (TIED)
  2. Allied Plumbing and Jeff Edge Plumbing (TIED)

Benton County

  1. Carr Plumbing Inc.
  2. 1st Plumbing Services

Best Optometrist

Washington County

  1. McDonald Eye Associates
  2. Henry Eye Clinic and Mertins Eye Care & Optical (TIED)

Benton County

  1. Derrick Pierce, O.D. at Bentonville Eye Care
  2. Hurst Eye Care Center

Best Preschool

Washington County

  1. First School, First United Presbyterian Church
  2. Butterflies & Frogs

 Benton County

  1. The Children’s Hour
  2. Little Sunshine’s Playhouse & Preschool

Best Electrician

Washington County

  1. Mister Sparky
  2. Clayburn Hvarc and Beaver Electric Corp. (TIED)

Benton County

  1. Mister Sparky
  2. CJ’s Electric Inc.

Best Family Outing

Washington County

  1. Devil’s Den
  2. NWA Naturals baseball game

 Benton County

  1. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
  2. Golf Mountain Mini Golf

Best Consignment Sale

Washington County

  1. rhea lana logoRhea Lana’s Consignment Event
  2. Once Upon A Child

Benton County

  1. Rhea Lana’s Consignment Event
  2. White Elephant Exchange

Best Consignment Store

Washington County

  1. Nine Months Later
  2. Plato’s Closet

 Benton County

  1. Check My Closet
  2. From Mom to Me

Best Party Rentals

Washington County

  1. Eventures
  2. Intents

Benton County

  1. Epic Inflatables
  2. Sky Jump

Best Car Dealership

Washington County

  1. Fayetteville Autopark
  2. Lewis Ford

 Benton County

  1. Landers-McClarty
  2. Everett Maxey

Best Bank

Mom's Choice Award Badge, Winner FINALWashington County

  1. ARVEST Bank
  2. The Bank of Fayetteville

Benton County

  2. Bank of America

Best Dermatologist

Washington County

  1. Ozark Dermatology Clinic
  2. Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center

Benton County

  1. Premier Dermatology & Skin Renewal Center
  2. Hull Dermatology & Aesthetics

Mamas on Magic 107.9: Northwest Arkansas Summer Activities

A few of the school districts in Northwest Arkansas are already out for summer break and the rest of them will be by the end of this week. And we all know what that means. Without school to take up much of the day, there’s a much higher likelihood of hearing this phrase around the sunshinehouse: “MOM, I’M BORED!”

Of course, we don’t think our job as mothers is to act as cruise ship director all summer. A little boredom often helps kids dream up their own fun things to do. But if you’re in desperate need of a good way to get out of the house and make some fun summer memories, we have a few ideas for you and that’s what we’re talking about this week during our Mamas on Magic 107.9 radio segments. (Tune in at 7:45 a.m. weekdays to hear it.) We also have the new Summer Fun Printable that you can download and/or print out to keep on your fridge. It’s full of ideas for fun places to go and things to do this summer in NWA.

Monday, May 27, 2013 radio segment

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 radio segment

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 radio segment

Thursday, May 30, 2013 radio segment

Friday, May 31, 2013 radio segment


Have a safe and memorable Memorial Day!

Note from the mamas: This story originally published on Motherlode two years ago, but we thought it would be fitting to have Jade remind us what Memorial Day is all about. Be safe out there today and we’ll see you back here tomorrow.

By Jade Stone

Happy Memorial Day!!I hope everyone had an awesome relaxing day spent with the ones they love.I also hope that everyone took just a few moments to remember the very reason we have this holiday and just how important it is.

Like many of you, I grew up saying the pledge of allegiance daily, and singing the “Star Spangled Banner” before ballgames.Today, our kids will grow up in school never knowing that the pledge is something more than a bit of literature that is recited once a week as part of the “Monday routine”.Yes, there are a few schools, mostly elementary, that continue the tradition.

However, in high schools the pledge has become something that we do “if we want to”.  As a high school teacher, I am asked to respect the rights of those who do not wish to participate in the pledge and while I have no problem respecting those who refrain for religious purposes, or even cultural reasons, the basic, “I don’t care” or “what’s the point” reason simply infuriates me!!

 flagIt’s all I can do to continue my duty as an instructor, respecting the beliefs of those around me when those same individuals don’t respect the very foundation of the country I was raised to love and defend. Yes, I suppose I’m a bit touchy, knowing how much my family has sacrificed for generation after generation over the last century or more. Regardless, I do so without a word.Instead I have vowed to teach my child everything I know about the wonderful things our country has to offer others, and that when he sees an American flag, we are to place our hand over our heart to honor those who have fought so bravely for it.

Since Jess was 2 he has been saluting our flag and saying “Mommy, we do wike dis when we see da fwag, wight?” Bless him! At that age he already respected the red white and blue more than many 16-year-olds today. And now that he is 5, one can actually see how respectfully he looks at our nation’s symbol and how he really does set it above the rest. 

Nonetheless, I find the general lack of patriotism exhibited by our nation’s youth somewhat disturbing.I have often wondered what has happened that they would come to hate this country so much and then it dawned on me.Kids, while they should be held responsible for their own actions, are still a product of their environment.If their parents don’t instill a sense of “love of country” in them then, it’s likely they won’t be able to learn it anywhere else.

Our school systems are so overwrought with the politically correct notion to not offend others that they don’t have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to teaching patriotic principles.We’ve simply lost too much of the “American” in trying to accommodate other nationalities.Again, I absolutely respect the rights of the culturally diverse population but I find myself wondering, what happened to the rights of the “American”?So, the last line of defense in educating our youth about what it really means to be an American is our nation’s parents.

Do you remember how it felt as a kid when someone didn’t say the pledge with the rest of the class, or didn’t stop and pay attention to the flag during the Star Spangled Banner?It’s the same feeling you get when you watch a funeral procession drive by and see another car fly unyielding through an intersection because they either didn’t notice or didn’t care. Either way, the procession went completely unnoticed, much like our patriotic spirit goes unnoticed in general…except on major holidays where we might buy napkins, plates, and cups in red, white and blue but otherwise pay little mind to why we do it other than it’s fashionably correct.

I don’t know about you but I was nearly mortified and embarrassed for that person.Is it possible that I’m the only one that noticed?Surely not.I refuse to believe that I could possibly be the last patriot on earth.Of course I’m not, but in today’s society, I am beginning to feel like that may, in fact, be true.Last Veteran’s day, my dad was invited to attend an a elementary school concert at a local nursing home, along with all other veterans in the area.

As our nation’s colors were presented, an announcement was made to please stand if you like and sing our National Anthem.Of course, Dad stood and looked around the room to see the a sprinkling of patrons in the crowd haphazardly stand as though they were being forced to drink prune juice, and then he noticed the front row which was filled with WWII veterans, all of which were wheelchair bound.

As the music began to play, he noticed a bustling of nursing home attendants running to the aid of several men in the front row. To his amazement, every one of them was struggling with all his might to stand and salute the flag and the nation that they so gallantly fought for, only to see many members of the crowd still sitting.

It just goes to show that our nation has lost its meaning.So many of us didn’t have to earn anything in our lives to be members of this country because of men and women like them, and many of us won’t even make the effort of take the time to acknowledge that very fact.

If you happen to share my thoughts and concerns in anyway, I challenge you to make a change for yourself and your family.Talk to your children about why paying homage to this great nation and the flag is important and that it is a symbol of our freedom and a representation of all things good in this country.

Yes, there are horrible things in our world that need to be dealt with like politics, and the economy. However, our nation was founded on the belief that it’s people should be able to live freely in religion and politics and not have to agree or be on the same side of opinion but rather agree to disagree and still be respected for such ideals.

The United States of America is a pile of multicolored clay on a potter’s wheel, waiting to be molded, yielding only to the water and force applied by the potter.  While it can become something amazing or be destroyed, like clay, it can be rebuilt to reveal its original beauty once more.We have that opportunity right now to begin rebuilding our own patriotic identity but it’s up to us to teach our children what it means to be an American, to understand and respect others for their own individuality, and to learn from our differences.

However, if we fail in this regard to build a better American, our futures will be filled with a truly country-less population, yearning to find hope, independence and unity in another country, much like our forefathers before us…however, the problem for us will be that there is no other place to go.

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

Devotion in Motion: Non-toxic antidepressants

10 ¶ The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy.  ~ Proverbs 14:10  (NKJV)

Being born at the beginning of the 1960s, there weren’t as many things for kids to do as there are now. So, to pass the time, we made up things to do. The person I am today was largely shaped by the things I did back then to end my boredom.

On one particularly monotonous afternoon (on which I was trapped inside because of a rainstorm) I decided to rummage through the drawers in my mother’s kitchen. To my delight, she had an entire library of  full-color glossy-printed cookbooks. Each one had been produced by a famous food company, and she had probably received each one a “prize” for buying a specially marked package of the particular product.

7upbakingOh, how happily I passed those long hours looking at the pictures in those beautiful volumes! My favorite was entitled “Cooking With 7Up.” As you might guess, every recipe in that one contained at least one bottle of the sparkling citrus beverage, and I’m not just talking desserts here. I wondered why my mother never made homemade 7Up corndogs for my sister and me. All she needed was a package of frankfurters, some 7Up to stir into a box of pancake mix, and enough oil to fry them in. Seemed simple enough to me….

My favorite recipe from the Campbell’s cookbook was for “Soup Milkshakes.” The recipe said to combine a can of  Campbell’s Cream-of-Chicken, Cream-of-Celery, or Tomato Soup with a can of ice cold milk. (Or 3/4 a can of soup shakes 2milk if you like THICK soup shakes. I’m not making this stuff up.) My favorite line from this recipe says, “You’ll be surprised, too (and so pleasantly), with the flavor of the Cream-of-Mushroom Soup Shake.”  Yeah, buddy, you betcha. I guess I’d better go to the hardware store and look for a box of  HUGE drinking straws.

I’m not sure why I liked these booklets so much. Maybe because the pictures inside were of people living in a world where every day is a sunny day. Maybe because the recipes were made from products so good that they were applicable to every recipe and situation in life. Maybe because they presented a universe where people thought that a Creamy-Hormel-Bacon-Cheesecake was a great idea. At any rate, I thought they were grand. And now, even as a middle-aged man, when I see these things my heart is filled with an unexplainable lightness and joy. That’s a good thing.

Today’s Scripture verse (at the top) tells us that each person’s heart is moved to joy by things that only that person can understand. Because there is so much sadness in the world, we ought to surround ourselves with the little things that fill our hearts with light.

And we ought to strive to understand our loved ones so can encourage them by bringing to them the things that mean so much to them. These are the non-toxic anti-depressants of life. They cost no money, have no side effects, and are created by our Lord for us to enjoy. Let’s use them to bring sunshine wherever we go.

john and susan cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 27 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, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher’s wife often says she heard a song from the past that caused  “all of her endorphins to fire.”)  The Cashes have two sons, Spencer (age 22), and Seth (age 18), who live in the parsonage, too, except when they are away at college.  He would love to hear from you in an email sent to countrypreacherdad@gaggle.net.

Beauty Buzz: How to get the fashionably full eyebrow look

By Andi Douglas, nwaMotherlode.com beauty editor

I’m not sure how you go about nominating a person for the Nobel Peace Prize, but I know my vote would go to the wonderful designers who have brought the full eyebrow back into fashion.

Lord knows my tortured brows (and forehead and eyelids…really thick brows here) are grateful for the next step in the natural beauty movement. If you are not blessed with a hairy forehead (haha), or you are a tweeze-aholic, you can still get the look:

Step away from the tweezers and wax: It takes six weeks of tweezing abstinence for your eyebrows to complete a full growth cycle and reach their full potential.

bbuzz artFake it: If you have been plucking since your teens, then you may have  a few stragglers show up over time, but some of the follicles will be permanently damaged and will never grow back  in.

I personally have an inexplicable bald spot in one brow that appeared after I had my first child. Aren’t hormones fun? To cover any gaps or fill in sparse brows, fill in with a powder shadow one shade darker than your hair color. I love the NYC Browser Brush-on Brow Kit (about $3 at Walmart and Target). The wax that comes with it adds a richer tone to the powder and helps to tame longer hairs.

Seek Professional Help: Always good advice, but specifically, treat yourself to a brow shaping session at a spa or boutique. Let the pro’s show you what FULL brow shape best suits you. It should be easy to maintain once you have seen it done, since it takes very little tweezing. Take a picture to save as reference or even trace a template if you can’t  trust your tweeze-happy self.

Okay, that’s it! How often does being considered “high fashion” actually require less work…jump at this opportunity! And just imagine all of the quirky eyebrow waggling facial expressions you will be able to do now instead of always looking surprised and shocked.

Andi, 2014Have 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. This post originally published on nwaMotherlode in May 2013.

The Rockwood Files: What’s your shoe mood?

rockwoodfiles2-205x300By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Today I saw a little girl in Target have a meltdown while her mother and grandmother tried desperately to talk her out of it. I felt bad for them because, as a fellow mom, I’ve been on the receiving end of a toddler tantrum so I know how it feels.

I even felt a little sorry for the wailing 3-year-old because I understand her longing. She wanted shoes – red and white polka dot shoes with Mickey Mouse on the toes, to be exact. She didn’t just want them, as she told her mom loudly over and over again. She was convinced she NEEDED them. She’d plopped down in the floor to try them on and they fit – thus triggering her own fit to have them.

She isn’t alone. The majority of women, at least once in our lives, have fallen head over heels in love with a pair of heels – or comfy flats, or strappy sandals, or cute wedges, or riding boots, or tennis shoes or all of the above. Some of us are more obsessed than others, but most are on a continual quest for our next favorite pair of shoes.

i heart shoesI don’t make these kinds of statements without first doing the proper research. That’s what I told Tom and the kids I was doing last Saturday when I left them at home working in the yard. “I need to do some research for my next column,” I said. “Be back later.” I didn’t mention I’d be trolling a department store in search of the perfect shoe, as that was strictly “need to know” type of information. We serious journalists will do nearly anything to hone our craft.

My research proved that shoe shopping has attracted a cult-like following primarily because of something I call the “shoe mood.” Women are known for our keen ability to process feelings and emotions, and the shoe store is a great place to indulge a few feelings. Feeling athletic? There’s a cute pair of neon pink running shoes ready and waiting. Feeling flirty? Fiery red pumps are perfect. Feeling earthy? Slide into a pair of Birkenstocks. There’s a shoe for every mood and thousands of variations of each.

Shoes are also wildly popular because they don’t hold us accountable for falling off the diet wagon. Whether you’re training for a marathon or eating a Chili Cheese Coney at Sonic, your feet don’t judge. Feet don’t have fat days or cellulite or crow’s feet. They are our most forgiving body part, so we reward them generously with as many cute shoes as our overstuffed closets and weary wallets can handle.

lucky miller 2 sandalsDuring my field research, I bought a fabulous pair of platform cork wedges with nude-colored sheer straps and nail head accents – perfect for dressing up on a summer night out on the town. But who am I kidding? I don’t dress up much. Most days I shuttle the kids around town and wipe down the kitchen counters for the millionth time. I need a shoe that can keep up with all that, which is why I also bought a comfortable pair of Mary Jane slide-on shoes that will be great for grocery stores, amusement parks and carpooling. That pair was on sale so, technically speaking, I almost HAD to buy them. (That’s how shoe shopping math works, you see.)

As we mature, we learn to reign in our passions and not throw a fit for new shoes like a temperamental toddler. But there will always be something that calls to us on a primal, deep level any time “the shoe fits.”

gwen rockwoodGwen 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. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Author Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

Sneak peek at the new Rogers Aquatic Center opening this weekend

Tomorrow is OPENING DAY for the Rogers Aquatic Center! Do you have your discount admission punch card yet? If not, do it by tomorrow because that’s the last day to get one, and the discount punch card means that each visit to the Aquatic Center is only $4.20 per person. Woo-hooo!

We got a special sneak peek at the Rogers Aquatic Center last weekend when they invited bloggers to take a tour and ride the slides. Click HERE to read the first part of our review.

wet willy logoHere are some other important things to know about this new attraction in Northwest Arkansas.

Hours of operation: The Center will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; Open Sundays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

General rules: Click HERE to see a listing of the rules governing the Aquatic Center.

Parties: We mama types are always looking for new, fun places to host kids’ birthday parties or family reunions, etc. The good news is that the large, covered cabanas at the Rogers Aquatic Center will be available for rentals. Price is $250 but includes admission for 12 people as well as a beverage ticket. The hours of use on the rented cabanas are limited to 2 1/2 hours, but party-goers can stay and play at the Aquatic Center all day. Officials are already taking reservations for the four covered cabanas, and more cabanas may be built in the future.

Nightly light shows: Things get really interesting after dark at the water park. Each slide lights up in different colors. In addition to the special effects, there’s another good reason to check out the center in the evenings. There’s a lower admission price for those twilight hours between 4 and 8 p.m.

learn to swimSwim Team and swim lessons: The Rogers Aquatic Center will also be offering swim lessons and a swim team this summer! Whether your child is new to swimming or is ready to learn new strokes and race in swim meets, there’s probably a class offering that will fit your needs. The Swim Team name is the “Ballistic Bullfrogs,” and they’ll be practicing three days a week (although you don’t have to attend each session) and swim meets will be held in the evenings or on Saturdays.

If you need swim lesson information, click HERE.

If you want swim team information and a practice schedule, click HERE.

Lap pool: The competition lap pool at the Center is really nice! And there will be times that the pool is reserved for those lap swimmers. (It will also be used for swim meets and general free swim periods.) Fitness/lap swimmers can buy a monthly membership card for $35 per month and use the lap pool daily between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

menuFood:  One of the things we like best about a day at the waterpark is that it includes LOTS of physical activity — something we and our kids really need. All that swimming and splashing and sliding and climbing steps to the slides along with water basketball, rock wall climbing, and balancing on floating lily pads is going to make your kids HUNGRY. So you’ll be glad to know that there’s a special Wet Willy’s Kitchen on site that has things like pizza, popcorn, ice cream, nachos, burgers, juice, soft drinks, chips, candy, salad, Italian ice and more. The prices are very reasonable, with most items costing $2 or less. And there are plenty of covered tables so you can get a break from the sun while you have a snack.

Handicapped access: We noticed that there are several chairs specially built to allow handicapped people to enjoy the pools at the Rogers Aquatic Center. There’s one by the rock climbing wall and the competition lap pool. Many older waterparks don’t have the same level of accessibility that newer ones do.

One last note: We heard a few moms worrying about taking their little ones to the waterpark because they know the kids will need a naptime, and they didn’t want to spend too much on admission only to cut it short when a toddler gets tired. We found out via the Center’s Facebook page that, if you get your hand stamped before leaving the park, you can return that same day for more swimming without having to use another “punch” on your punch card and without paying another admission price. Good news!! Just be sure to get your hands stamped before you leave!

5 Minutes with a Mom: Cassie Webster

Cassie Webster's family

Name: Cassie Webster

Kids’ names and ages:  Izayah 10, Skyler 8, Alexi 6, and Kaydee will be 2 in July.

Where are you from and how long have you lived in NWA?  I grew up in Fort Smith, but moved to Rogers after re-connecting with my now husband in 2009. It is a glorious place to live. I love it here!

What’s one movie you could watch over and over again? Moulin Rouge. I absolutely adore musicals.

Tell us a little about your big family: My family consists of my husband Michael, me, 2 boys, 2 girls, 1 boy cat, and 1 girl cat. We joke about having a balanced household. My husband works for Glad, which allows me to stay at home and care for our 4 children. I have 3 in elementary school and one at home, so I’m constantly busy.

What’s your work background? I have worked as an Assistant Director in child care facilities in the past. I was head teacher for the toddler class and the baby class before that. I loved what I did for many years, but once my husband said I could quit, I jumped at the chance to be a stay at home mommy to my babies.

Tell us about some traditions you’ve started with your kids: I love to take the kids to the farmer’s market. We talk about all kinds of subjects as we walk around. The kids each get to choose a fruit and/or a vegetable. I encourage trying new foods, due to the fact that I have picky eaters. I love seeing them get excited about healthy food and carry their produce proudly home.

Where does your family love to play in NWA? Horsebarn/Metro park is our favorite park, picnic and play at Bentonville Splash Pad,  and  Fast Lane Entertainment . We love to have fun but keep costs down.

Do you have any special hobbies? Singing at all times, playing Dance Central with my kids, Girl’s Night Out or In with my girlfriends, and family movie nights. Note from the mamas: See a pic of Cassie and her friends (below) just before they attended a HUGE GNO recently, the NWA Mom Prom! Cassie is second from the left — and BLONDE now :)

What’s something your friends might not know about you? It may appear that I’m very outgoing and social, but really I’m feeling very self-conscious and awkward. So, I tend to ramble on to seem “normal”.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this summer where would it be?  I am dying to go to an island where the ocean is a crystal turquoise, you can sip on fruity drinks all day long, go swimming, and just be completely lazy while enjoying a luscious view of your surroundings.

Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life? Emma Stone. We both have that awkward humor thing going on, as well as, the pale skin.

What’s something you have always wanted to learn? Multiple languages. I adore accents and languages, but I have no memory to retain what I learn. (haha!)

What are three things you always have with you?  Carmex, baby wipes, and my cell phone (for the photo ops always present when you have children.)

How do you wind down at the end of the day? I grab a snack, a glass of Stella Rosa wine, and watch some of my favorite shows.

One word to sum me up … Blessed

Cassie's laundromat pic

NWA mom shares info about scary food allergies, FPIES

Guest post by Carrie Summers of Cradle Rocking Mama

Next time you stop by your child’s school, take a peek in one of the classrooms.

As you look over the 25-30 children lined up in their desks, think about this: at least two of them have food allergies.

Current statistics show that approximately 1 out of every 13 children has a food allergy (8% of all children). Of those afflicted, 30% are allergic to multiple foods.

Carrie Summers' kids

Carrie’s adorable boys!

Little known facts like those are one of the reasons FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) began FAAW (Food Allergy Awareness Week) back in 1998. They realized that most people truly had no idea of what food allergies were, how they affected lives, and the number of people living with food allergies.

This year FAAW was last week with the campaign of “stop food allergy bullying”. That is a worthy goal, and one that I’m sure we can all support. But for me, it’s a little too early to worry about that. My children are only 3 and 1 years old, and are not yet of an age to be bullied for anything!

For my family, our focus was on a different sort of allergy: FPIES.

FPIES stands for Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome. It is a rare non-anaphylactic allergy that affects the gastrointestinal system with delayed reactions. Within a few hours of eating a trigger food, an FPIES child will begin to experience a wide variety of symptoms, including profuse vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and, if left untreated, can lead to shock requiring hospitalization.

Our youngest son has FPIES, which we learned after he was emergency helicoptered to Arkansas Children’s Hospital last July at 7 weeks old.

So little is known about this rare, mysterious disease, that I quickly discovered the best source of information to help our family came from reading blogs written by FPIES Mom’s. Because of the amazing help these blogs were to my family, I began blogging our own families story almost immediately, in hopes that it might help even one family help keep their child healthy.

Through my blog and frequent contact with other FPIES Mom’s, I became involved in the FPIES Foundation, a non-profit whose “mission is dedicated to overcoming the challenges of Food Protein- Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome by offering tools for education, support, and advocacy to empower families and the medical community”.

This year, the FPIES Foundation chose as their theme for FAAW “Awareness is Action”. I was honored to write the kick-off post for their week of awareness building, in which I explained why awareness matters, and what the FPIES Foundation hoped to accomplish during FAAW.

For my personal efforts, I blogged about awareness issues and made a video showing my son, Zac, doing something I’m sure most of your children have done many times – and that most of you take for granted. For the first time in his 11 months on earth, he was able to walk around the play area of a Chick-fil-A! I was overjoyed at this display of normality for my child, and sad because it likely will not happen again for a very long time.

With FAAW this month, I would like to encourage you to take some time to learn about food allergies. They affect so many people – maybe even people you know and interact with daily!

Make yourself aware so you can help your children’s friends feel normal – and safe. Make yourself aware so you understand how hard life can be when you walk the path of the food allergic. Please, for my children, I ask you to make yourself aware.

I dream of a life for my sons that is not limited by food; a life where they will never feel left out, where they will never eat something that will sicken the just to feel normal. You can help me achieve that dream by being aware, and teaching your children to be aware, too.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about food allergies and FPIES!

Carrie, croppedCarrie Summers is the lone source of estrogen in the male dominated Cradle household; chief cook and bottle washer, medical advocate and diaper changer. The married mother of two also earns her kibble as a Flight Attendant. She lives in NW Arkansas with her husband and sons, and blogs about Real Food, FPIES, Fructose Malabsorption, Family, and life with her two AMAZING little boys at www.cradlerockingmama.com.


Life With Ladybug: Chicken farmers

Life with Ladybug logo

By Shannon Magsam

So I mentioned recently that we’ve become chicken farmers.

Yep [chews tobacco, spits].

We have three little hens: one black, one red and one speckled. They’re only a few months old, so don’t start asking for any free eggs yet. It shouldn’t be long, though.

Ladybug has been wishing for chickens for at least two years. That’s apparently how long it takes to wear us down. So for her birthday (and with some help from Christmas gift cards), we bought a fancy coop kit and Ladybug and her dad built it in the backyard. It took them all day and John’s back was destroyed by the end of it, but it was awesome. A sight to behold. See?

chickens, coop resized

On the first day of March, my mother gathered some fertilized eggs (when you live in the country, you have sources for this sort of thing) and put them in the incubator. Twenty-one days later, while Ladybug was visiting my parents, the baby chicks hatched. Only one didn’t make it. The rest started growing like weeds.

This is what they looked like at Easter (the blue one belongs to my niece, Avery, and lives at Mimi’s house):

chickens, as babies, resized

We let them get a little bigger then brought them home on Mother’s Day weekend. Dot, Tessa and Shawnna are very happy with their new digs and this is what they look like now, a few weeks later:

chickens, at feet, resized

They are spoiled rotten. They especially like to eat apples.

Life with chickens is kind of fun, except I worry about them. I mean, who doesn’t like chicken? To eat. We close them up in their little top bunk at night and let them out in the little fenced yard during the day. I check on them often to make sure nothing has slithered in — or reached through the chicken wire — to hurt them.

The cats love bird watching.

Chickens, with cats resized

It’s like Green Acres around here.


Blue dress, blogShannon Magsam is mom to 11-year-old animal lover Ladybug, married to Ladybug’s dad, John, and co-founder of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of Life With Ladybug, click here.

Sponsor Spotlight on ARTS: So what does a speech therapist do?

ARTS building

We met Kristy Brown, co-founder of Arkansas Regional Therapy Services, soon after we started Motherlode in 2008.

We were immediately impressed with her bubbly personality and passion for her vocation as a speech therapist. When one of our kids received services at ARTS for a while we were able to see Kristy and her business partner, Tara Call, in action. They rock at making learning and “work” seem like one big party for their clients — kids and adults.

We are thrilled to introduce you to Kristy and Tara through a quick-read Q&A:

What prompted you to start Arkansas Regional Therapy Services:  We’ve been friends since early on in our undergraduate studies. After graduating with our masters we both began as Speech Language Pathologists in the public school system. After gaining valuable experience in the schools we both decided to pursue practicing as a speech therapist in private practice.  Tara began practicing privately in 2006, and Kristy joined her in 2009.  Both Tara and Kristy have a strong desire to provide the highest quality services in their clients.

What are some of the unique services you offer at your offices? The therapy world is always changing. As therapists we are always furthering our education and skills. Our clinic is able to cater to the following speech and language needs:

All language delays, articulations delays, hearing impairments, feeding and swallowing, tongue thrust, reading and writing deficits and social skills.

We use techniques from the following methods:  applied behavior analysis (ABA), TEACCH, PROMPT, Pivotal Response Training (PRT), and Bechman Oral Motor Method.

We also offer beginning sign language coaching lessons for parents and caregivers, including child care providers. After school hours, we offer social skills groups and programs to encourage social development in children and teens.

We also have a reading/writing specialist and academic tutor on staff.

Tell us about the ARTS therapists: Our therapists are so wonderful and such blessings! We select therapists that have proven their skill level by providing direct treament under the supervision and guidance (of Tara and Kristy).  It is actually part of the interview process for us.  Each therapist has been supervised to ensure the highest quality treatment is overed to each individual we serve.

 ARTS is also affiliated with the University of Arkansas in accepting interns to train under us to help our community gain qualified and experienced Speech Language Pathologists.

Do you test for autism and offer therapy at the clinic? A speech pathologist/ therapist  is part of a diagnostic team that can diagnose Autism. As the Speech Language Pathologist on the team we are responsible for evaluating the many aspects of language for an individual who may be diagnosed with Autism. These areas include: receptive and expressive language, pragmatics (social language), inferencing and perspective taking.

Once diagnosed with Autism, we  treat the symptoms. Language (expressive, receptive, and social language) is an area that is crucial to address with Autism. We like to say “we don’t treat the diagnosis, we treat the child”.

Many times we see a child months or a year or so before they are diagnosed with Autism. The diagnosis does not change our plan of treatment, it just broadens the horizon when looking for funding that is helpful to the child and family.

Do you have any free screenings coming up? We are always doing something for the community in regards to screening and testing. Any parent is welcome to call and speak to us about their concerns! After that initial conversation it is often determined if the child needs to come in for further evaluation. We also offer free hearing screenings throughout the year to anyone in the community. Please check our Facebook page and webpage/blog for the announcements!

artsadTell us what a speech therapist actually does: Of course I will give you the long answer, sorry (from ASHA.org)!

A speech-language pathologist is responsible for the diagnosis, prognosis, prescription, and remediation of speech, language, and swallowing disorders. A speech-language pathologist evaluates and treats children and adults who have difficulty speaking, listening, reading, writing, or swallowing. The overall objective of speech-language pathology services is to optimize individuals’ ability to communicate and swallow, thereby improving quality of life.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Speech-language pathologists, as defined by ASHA, hold the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP). Minimal criteria to become an SLP include:

  • Master’s, doctoral, or other recognized post-baccalaureate degree. from a program accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA);
  • At least 25 hours of supervised clinical observation and 350 hours of supervised clinical practicum involving evaluation and treatment of children and adults with communication disorders;
  • Successfully passing a national examination in speech-language pathology; and
  • Completion of a clinical fellowship after completion of the graduate degree that consists of at least 36 weeks of full-time professional experience or its part-time equivalent.
  • Demonstration of continued professional development is mandated for the maintenance of the CCC-SLP. Where applicable, speech-language pathologists hold other required credentials (e.g., state licensure, teaching certification).

You treat adults, too, right? Our clinic does treat adults and we help with a wide range of speech language needs. Currently, we are offering the following therapy for adults: accent reduction, feeding and swallowing, exective functioning and socials skills.

What are some red flags that might prompt parents to bring their children in for testing? We are big fans of developmental checklists to give a parent a guideline. ASHA.org is a great resource for these. A few guidelines to keep in mind:

Age one: should be saying several one word utterances and able to attempt to repeat words after adults. They may not be clear and have all of the sounds right, but an attempt is great!

Age 2: they should start to put two words together and be labeling everything, using inflection to ask questions such as “daddy go?”.

Age 3: your child should be speaking so that you can understand him/ her and strangers as well.

Remember, ages listed means “through that age”….give your child time. We offer classes for parents that feel their child could use a boost but don’t qualify for therapy.

If I could tell parents one thing, it would be to not be reactive but proactive when it comes to speech and language. An evaluation is harmless and the children love the one on one play time!

On a side note, qualifications for therapy will depend on the realm of your provider. For instance, to qualify in the public sector (school system), your scores have to be within a qualifying range and affect their education. In the private sector we are able to accept scores that are even just one point below normal and this allows us to be very proactive in treatment. Please, always seek a second opinion from a private therapist if the public system feels you do not qualify.

Tell us a little about your family:

Tara: I am the mother of 3 active boys ages 19, 5 and 16 months. I’m married to my best friend who is a teacher in the public schools and a college basketball official. We enjoy spending time together, alone away from the hustle and bustle, just relaxing. We all pitch in with the chores, gardening and cooking to keep our household organized and happy while both of us enjoy our full time jobs serving our community.

tara call's family May 2013, resized

Kristy: I am married to Greg Brown, an attorney, and we have one son, John Lleyton, who will be turning five this summer. We have pets and love to spend time as a family together generally just relaxing. My husband is an avid hunter so I am famous for being a “Hunter’s Widow” in the fall and winter. I do enjoy wild game cooking and eating of course! As a family we also enjoy gardening, local entertainment/events, and traveling.

Kristy Brown's family May 2013, resized

When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?

Tara: I enjoy spending time with my husband and boys taking care of our home. We love experiencing the outdoors in Northwest Arkansas.

Kristy: I enjoy gardening, camping, traveling, reading,the farmers market, and research (I know, nerdy). A girls’ night out is fun too! Most of all I enjoy FAMILY TIME!

We know you love your job. What’s your favorite thing about it?

Kristy: I would have to say my absolute favorite part of the job are the personal rewards I get every day. This may be a child giving me eye contact for the first time, watching a child sign “more” to ask for more tickles, hearing a child say Mama, or teaching a child to answer, “what is your name?”. I also can’t forget the fact that I feel like I am making a difference in someone every day!

Tara: Seeing progress in my clients, most definitely!

Click here to visit the ARTS website and learn more about services that are available to children and adults in Northwest Arkansas. Or call 479-283-4637 for more info! Kristy and Tara are happy to chat with you.

Good Gossip: Engagement, vow renewal, Broadway and new movies!

good gossip celebrities

Welcome to another edition of “Good Gossip,” the only guilt-free celebrity column in Northwest Arkansas. We scour your favorite magazines for interesting celebrity news, but we filter out all those nasty, negative rumors so you can enjoy your gossip entirely guilt-free.

As always, this feature is sponsored by Great Day Farms, a national brand based right here in NWA. Look for their products at the Walmart Supercenter. Click HERE to like them and get coupons on their Facebook page.

Thank you to Great Day Farms for being the presenting sponsor for the NWA Mom Prom, held earlier this month. With more than 300 women in attendance, the first Mom Prom was a huge hit and we thank Great Day for helping to make it all happen. Click HERE to see photos from the Mom Prom.

jane lynch

Attention Sue Sylvester fans: Our favorite tracksuit-wearing coach from Glee will be hitting Broadway soon, starring as Miss Hannigan in Annie. Jane Lynch said she never thought she’d be on Broadway and was scared to death when she was first offered the role. She said while growing up, her family was very into musical theater. Her parents would sit at the table drinking Manhattans and harmonizing together.

pistol anniesAre you a beauty product addict? So is Miranda Lambert, country star and one of the members of the Pistol Annies band. Miranda’s bandmates, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe said that Miranda goes to Walgreen’s in every town she plays in. When asked whether or not they share all those beauty products, Ashley said “We share everything except for our men.”

savannah guthrieToday show co–anchor Savannah Guthrie just got engaged. The 41-year-old journalist got engaged to Michael Feldman on Mother’s Day weekend. Feldman is a political consultant and has been dating Guthrie for four years. When asked about her big news, Guthrie said “He’s the best person. He knows me inside and out, and we just adore each other.”

despicable me 2Some of our favorite animated celebrities will be back on the big screen this summer with new movies. Here’s a list of upcoming kids’ films: Epic on May 24th; Monsters University on June 21st; Despicable Me 2 on July 3rd; Turbo on July 17th; and The Smurfs 2 on July 31st.

mariah carey nick cannonLast month, Mariah Carey and husband Nick Cannon renewed their wedding vows at the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. The couple, along with their two-year-old twins, arrived in a horse-drawn carriage. After the ceremony, there was a reception in Fantasyland for 250 guests, complete with fireworks and rides.

julia roberts2Julia Roberts has signed on to support Chime for Change, a Gucci-sponsored campaign to raise money and awareness to empower young girls and women. Roberts said her 8-year-old daughter Hazel is her inspiration. “She hasn’t allowed herself to be shaped by popular opinion. She is her own person in every way — loving, tenancious and hilarious. The world is full of joy, wonder and openness to her.”

girl wiggle2Have you seen the new female Wiggle? Emma Watkins is the first girl Wiggle and has joined the guys to sing about hot potatoes and cold spaghetti.

sarah chalkeSitcom star and fellow mother Sarah Chalke, who stars in “How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of  Your Life)”, said that she and her friends went out recently and had old-school sundaes that had everything on them. “I believe dessert is a very necessary part of life and guilt is a useless emotion, so combining the two would be wrong.” We couldn’t agree more, Sarah!

Source: People magazine May 20 and May 27, 2013 editions

Good Gossip is sponsored by CCF Brands, a Northwest Arkansas company which makes Great Day All Natural Eggs. These eggs are produced by happy hens who are fed premium vegetarian diets with no animal fats, animal by-products, or antibiotics. Great Day Farms also offers hard-boiled eggs, which you can find in the deli section of the Walmart Supercenter. (Love the hard-boiled eggs because they’re peeled and ready to eat! Perfect in salads.)