Devotion in Motion: Are you boiling yet?

1 ¶ “Judge not, that you be not judged.

2 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. ~ Matthew 7:1,2 (NKJV)

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

I’m sure by now your preacher has told the story about how to boil a frog. If you want to boil a frog, you don’t throw him into a pot of boiling water. He’ll figure out what is about to happen and he’ll jump out. Instead, to boil a frog, you put him in a pot of cold water. Then you set the pot on the stove and heat the water very slowly. Since the frog is a cold-blooded animal, his body temperature will gradually adapt to his surroundings. He won’t realize that the temperature is rising degree by degree, and he’ll sit at the bottom of the pot until he is boiled to death.

And I’m sure you recognize the point of the illustration. We are the frogs, and the water is the culture in which we live. Little by little, unclean things are allowed to come into our lives. Maybe we don’t embrace them at first, but we tolerate them. Soon we are all living in a society that is “boiling” with uncleanness, and we didn’t even see even see the changes taking place. We painlessly adapted because the change was so gradual.

This principle presents some challenges in our daily lives. Since we’re immersed in American culture, how can we see how it is changing? One of the best ways I have found is by asking missionaries when they come home on furlough. Usually, the missionary has been immersed in another culture for 3 to 5 years. When they come to the U.S. for a visit, the changes that have transpired in their absence are very obvious to them.

Last summer I asked a foreign missionary what changes he saw since his last U.S. visit. He said, “People don’t do as much. They spend a lot more time watching other people do things that they should be doing themselves. People aren’t cooking, but they are watching the Food Network. Instead of being outside playing games with their kids, they are inside watching ‘Wipeout.’ And Americans spend a lot more time judging the works of others instead of doing good works themselves. They never sing a song for Jesus, but they can tell you how the singer on American Idol messed up. They never teach a Bible lesson, but they are laughing at the Sunday school teacher on YouTube who made a mistake. The whole country is made up of evaluators who feel it is their task to pass judgment on the quality of everything they see. They are expert judges. But they don’t—or can’t–do much of anything themselves.”

There is a lot of truth in what the missionary said about us. And most of these changes are brought about by our widespread use of technology. Even though we aren’t always accomplishing anything in our time spent in “virtual pursuits,” our electronic devices make us feel like we’re being productive. But we must break away from this illusion of usefulness and realize that the smallest deed is greater than the greatest thought or intention. This week, let’s remember what the Scriptures command of us. We’re called to be “doers of the Word, and not hearers only.” James 1:22 NKJV

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. The Cashes have two sons, Spencer (age 21), 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

The Rockwood Files: Car conversations with a 6-year-old

rockwoodfiles2-205x300Have I mentioned that one of the best places to talk to your kids is in the car? It is. Maybe it’s because they’re strapped in and they can’t run off to play. Maybe it’s because they’ve got time to fill while the road slips by outside the car windows. Who knows? All I know is that it works.

Yesterday while we were on our way to the grocery store, I asked the kids what they wish grown-ups understood about being a kid. It was 6-year-old Kate who spoke up first, and three of her tips are good advice for parents but also wise words to live by, no matter who you are.

Number 1: Do what you say you’re going to do.

Kate explained it this way. “You know when you say to your kid that you’re going to go do something, and then the kid gets really, really excited about it? And sometimes if you change your mind and say that you’re not going to do that thing kateanymore, the kid might get upset because she has been so excited about doing that thing for a really, really long time? It might make the kid mad or sad. Parents shouldn’t do that.”

To be fair, the “really, really long time” that Kate was talking about can be as short as a couple of hours when it comes to a 6-year-old’s perception of time, but her overall point is still valid. In a world where flakiness has become epidemic, standing by your word makes you different in a good way.

Call when you say you will. Show up when you’ve promised. Follow through on what you begin. And most of all, mean what you say. (And never ever change your mind about taking little kids to the park. That’s just not cool.)

Number 2: Don’t be harsh.

Kate said it exactly that way, “Don’t be harsh with your kids.” It was one of those cringe-worthy moments when I wondered what harsh words I’ve spoken to her that I wish I could take back.

The truth is that almost all of us are unnecessarily harsh sometimes. We forget that inside each of us – no matter what the age – is a 6-year-old child whose spirit will be wounded by harsh words and reactions. A child doesn’t blow off our temporary bad mood or outburst as “no big deal.” All they know is that it hurts. In everything we do and say, our mantra should be “don’t be harsh.”

Number 3: Sometimes things will get messed up.

Kate’s version of this rule went like this: “You know when kids are little, they don’t know that they shouldn’t break stuff. So you’ve got to put away stuff so they won’t accidentally break it. But if they do find it and it gets broken… well, you should tell parents that sometimes their stuff might get messed up.”

Excellent point, sweetie. And it goes way beyond fragile trinkets around the house. In any kind of life, things will get messed up. Sometimes it’s things, and sometimes it’s plans, hopes, dreams, jobs, health or relationships. There’s no foolproof way around life’s messes. They’re inevitable. Even kindergartners know it.

So you protect what you can and deal with the rest, realizing that “stuff might get messed up” from time to time.

By the time we reached the grocery store, I felt like I’d just had a chat with a pretty good little therapist who’s clear on some of life’s basics: Do what you say you’ll do; Don’t be harsh; and know that sometimes things will get messed up.

Who needs a self-help book when you’ve got a kindergartner to show you the way?

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

Calendar of Events: July 2013

Fireworks/Independence Day Events in Northwest Arkansas!

cross6th Annual Fireworks at the Crosses

Date: Sunday, June 30

Time: 5-10 p.m.

Location: The Cross Church at Pinnacle

More info: Click here

Bella Vista Independence Day Fireworks

Date: July 3

Time: 9:30 p.m. (dusk)

Location: Loch Lomond Dam

More info: Click here

City of Rogers Fireworks Display

Date: July 3

Time: 6:30-9 p.m.

Location: Veterans Park

More info: Click here

Freedom Fest at Lokomtion

Come down to Lokomotion (4520 N College Ave Fayetteville) to join us in a night of FREE Family Fun! Live music, free food, bounce houses and much more! Join us to benefit LifeSource and Youth Missions from Trinity Fellowship.

Date: July 3

Time: 7-10 p.m.

Location: Lokomotion, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

bottle rocketsAn Evening at Orchards Park – Bentonville

Date: July 4

Time: 7-10 p.m.

Location: Orchards Park

More info: Click here

Uptown Fayetteville Freedom Fireworks Display

Daytime activities include a fashion show and an ice cream eating contest inside the mall. Boom Kinetic! and Singing Men of Arkansas will perform outside the mall beginning at 6 p.m., and a fireworks display will begin at around 9:15 p.m.

Festivities will feature:

Indoor Sidewalk Sale – July 3 – 4 (Common Areas)

Summer Fashion Show – 2 p.m. (Center Court)

Ice Cream Eating Contest –  Afternoon, following the Fashion Show (Center Court)

Performance by Boom! Kinetic  7 p.m. until dark  (Upper JCPenney parking lot – top of Mall Avenue)

(Best Viewing:  The Upper and Lower JCPenney Lot and the Sears Lot)

Date: July 4

Time: Varies

Location: Northwest Arkansas Mall

More info:

Fourth at the Field Fireworks Spectacular, NWA Naturals

The Naturals have added even more to the event while still making sure to put on the largest July 4th fireworks show in all of Northwest Arkansas. Gates will open at 4:45pm, numerous inflatables will be available all around the concourse as well as three additional courtesy of the Coca-Cola Family Fun Festival, our concessions stands will be open all throughout the night and an exhibition baseball game between two teams from the M.I.N.K Collegiate Baseball League, the Joplin Outlaws and the Nevada Griffons, will begin at 5pm. Following the ballgame, the Wes Hart Band is scheduled to perform live for an hour from 8-9pm with our Fireworks Spectacular starting at approximately 9:05pm to conclude the night.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for kids 12 and under. Seating for this special event is general admission and one ticket will get you into all of the action. Tickets can be purchased at the Arvest Ballpark Box Office, online at, or by calling our toll free ticket hotline at (877) 444-2637.

Date: Thursday, July 4

Time: 4:45 p.m.

Location: Arvest Ballpark

More info: Click here

38th Annual Devil’s Den Games

Celebrate this special American holiday by making unforgettable memories! Devil’s Den State Park will be hosting family fun events like a horseshoe toss, egg toss, kids’ obstacle course, softball tournament, patriotic parade, and ice cream making. So grab your spoon and sack-race partner for an explosive day of fun! 

Date: July 4

Time: Varies

Location: Devil’s Den State Park, West Fork

More info: Click here

Turpentine Creek’s 16th Annual Independence Day Celebration

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge will hold it’s 16th annual Independence Day celebration Thursday, July 4, from 7:30 p.m. to midnight with an awesome fireworks display, concessions, and live entertainment featuring the Skillet Lickers. The refuge requests a per-car donation which can be applied to a 2013 Family Membership pass.

Date: July 4

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs

More info: Click here

12th Annual Ventris Trail’s End Resort Fireworks Display

Be awed when you fireworks 2watch the thousands of fireworks light up the night’s sky, while listening to patriotic music. This show is to be seen by boat only. Just South of marker “8″ on Beaver Lake. You will see the banners.

Date: Friday, July 5

Time: 8 p.m.

Location: Ventris Trail’s End Resort

More info: Click here

69th Annual Rodeo of the Ozarks

Date: Saturday, July 3-6 (fireworks will be on Saturday, July 6, after 7 p.m. rodeo)

Time: Varies

Location: Parsons Stadium

More info: Click here

Prairie Creek Marina and Cabela’s Firework Display

Date: Saturday, July 6

Time: Dark (around 9 p.m.)

Location: Prairie Creek Marina

More info: Click here

July Events:

Opera in the Ozarks Presents Cinderella

The amazing cast from Opera in the Ozarks brings the fairy tale to life. Introduce your family to opera with these talented artists.

Date: July 3

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

More info: Click here

First Friday Flicks at Lawrence Plaza, Bentonville

Date: July 5

Time: Sunset at Lawrence Plaza First Friday of each month:

  • July 5 – The Lorax
  • August 2 – Dolphin Tale
  • September 6 – The Express
  • October 4 – Hotel Transylvania

More info: Click here

University Baptist Church Summer Music Camp (Summer Camp)

Join in with children all over the Northwest Arkansas community in this week-long, gospel-centered camp! Children will learn a musical in a week (this year’s musical is Esther-Ordinary Faith) and perform it Friday night of camp week (July 12th at 6pm). Activities include singing, acting, dancing, crafts, snacks, games and meeting new friends! The cost is $25 for one child, $40 for two and $60 for three or more. Sign ups will be available at

Date: July 8-12

Time: 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM

Location: 333 West Maple Street, Fayetteville, AR 72701

More info: Click here

Kanakuk Kampout at Mt. Sequoyah Conference Center (Summer Camp)

Day Camp Adventure hosted by Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville. 5 days of life-changing fun for kids age 5-12. Staffed by professional Kanakuk staff. Features climbing wall and zipline!Register at

kanakukDate: July 8-12

Time: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Location: Mt. Sequoyah Conference Center, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

Farmer Jason performance, FPL

Farmer Jason has performed several thousand concerts in venues ranging from rural fairs on the Alaskan tundra to posh European performance halls. The highly acclaimed live show involves sing-alongs, dancing, and discussions about nature appreciation, ecology, and farm animals. Farmer Jason performs solo with just his acoustic guitar (no backing track gimmickry), which adds to the spontaneous, high energy nature of his concerts. Farmer Jason draws his musical influences from folk, country, and rock ‘n’ roll with a dash of DIY punk rock.

Date: July 10

Time: 1 p.m.

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

More info: Click here

Beach Bingo Bash to benefit the Elizabeth Richardson Center (Fundraiser)

The Elizabeth Richardson Center is celebrating 50 years of enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities in Northwest Arkansas. Join us for a night of casual fun to benefit this amazing organization. Enjoy dinner, live music, and Bingo. For tickets or sponsorship information, contact Kate Lunsford at (479) 872-1800 or Purchase tickets online at

Date: July 12

Time: 6:30-10:00 PM

Location: UARK Bowl 644 W. Dickston St., Fayetteville

More info: Click here

Firefly Fling, Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

The annual Firefly Fling is Saturday, July 13th. This year’s entertainment will include Still on the Hill, Shaky Bugs, Fairy Willow, Night Blossom and Merrily Spins. Other activities around the Garden will include activity stations by Cox Communications, Crystal Bridges, Ozark Natural Science Center and others. The grand finale will include the beautiful lantern launch.

Tickets are $8 for individuals; family of 4, $7 each; groups of 6 or more, $6 each.

Date: July 13

Time: 6-10 p.m.

Location: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

More info: Click here

Wild Goose Chase Puppet Theatre

Poetry springs hilariously to life as soon as expressive shadow puppets hit the screen. In A Wild Goose Chase!, puppeteer Matt Sandbank takes the audience to a world filled with dancing pants, lovesick witches, mischievous spaceships and many more whimsical images with his handmade puppets.

Date: July 17

Time: 1-2 p.m.

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

The AMP, Summerland Tour 2013

SummerlandTNEWAlternative Guitars Starring Everclear, Live, Filter, Sponge

Date: July 24

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: AMP at the Fairgrounds

More info: Click here

Family Concert with 3 Penny Acre

Local folk band 3 Penny Acre will tune up their acoustic instruments for a family concert performed in the children’s library. The band’s ozark sound has been described as universally appealing by critics, with great attention paid to lyrics and harmonies. The band’s familar sound should appeal to both children and adults alike. The concert is free and open to the public. To learn more about the band, visit their website.

Date: July 25

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

More info: Click here

Trout Fishing in America

Four-time Grammy nominees Trout Fishing in America will be bringing their infectious brand of music to the library for children and adults alike to enjoy.  The duo has been performing in the area for over two decades, singing both humorous and touching songs.

The concert is free and open to the public.  For more information on the band, visit their official website.

Date: July 31

Time: 2 p.m.

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

More info: Click here

Love it: Appliances that know how to blend

If you’re like me, you probably spend a LOT of time in the kitchen which means you have plenty of time to daydream about how you’d renovate it — one of these days. I really do like my kitchen but there are a few things I’d do differently if I could.

I’d make the kitchen island bigger, since that’s where the kids congregate for snacks, homework, art projects, etc. And I’d definitely improve the lighting.

But one thing that’s driving me nuts lately is all those fingerprints on the stainless steel appliances! Is it just me or do you feel like you’re constantly wiping down the fridge doors to get all those little fingerprints off so it’ll look at least somewhat clean?

I love the look of stainless steel but it really is tough to  keep it shiny when there are kids getting in and out of the fridge all day. I’ve noticed lately while watching HGTV that appliances with cabinet door fronts are really coming into fashion. They make the appliances blend in seamlessly to the kitchen cabinetry and they reduce those annoying fingerprints on the stainless steel.

This photo that I found on the Houzz website makes me absolutely swoon. See?

I love this one, too. See how hard it is to spot the fridge? The ice maker is the only clue.

I asked our friends over at Metro Appliances & More if it’s tough to get the cabinet door look on appliances. Dave Wicklund, manager of the Springdale Metro location, told me that putting cabinet faces on the front of your appliances actually reduces the cost of the appliance itself — since you’re not paying for the  finished stainless steel front. That being said, there is obviously a cost to getting a cabinet maker to make a cabinet front for your refrigerator and dishwasher so that they’ll blend into the look of your cabinetry.

Most people who do cabinet front refrigerators order the “built-in” style which means they are counter-depth and about 84 inches tall. There are, however, a few freestanding French door refrigerators that are “panel-ready.”  (KitchenAid and JennAir both make a model like this.)  And if you’re getting a new appliance soon and you plan on getting cabinet fronts on them, be sure to let the salesperson know so they can quote the price accordingly and get you the “panel-ready” version.

For more info on getting this look for your kitchen appliances, call anyone on the staff of Metro Appliances & More and they can help. (The sales staff there is seriously AWESOME.) The number is 479-750-2200, and the enormous showroom is on U.S. 71 Business between Springdale and Lowell.

metro appliances and more

Travel Blog 66: Things to do in Cumming, Georgia (near Atlanta)

blog66It’s vacay time! Where’s your family headed?

For over a year now, we’ve enlisted the help of fellow mamas across the blogosphere to give us the low-down on their hometowns — places you might consider visiting.

Next up is blogger Mandi Holcombe, an awesome mama who runs the hyperlocal website (like nwaMotherlode!) called Cumming Local and lives with her family in Cumming, Georgia, near Atlanta. She shares the scoop about Cumming here on Blog 66:

Q: Tell us all about your hometown, Cumming …

Cumming is just north of Atlanta. We get to enjoy the perks of a big city but are far enough away from the hustle & bustle!  We’re also near Lake Lanier, Amicalola Falls, and the North Georgia Mountains.

Q: Are there any cool annual festivals/activities?

The Cumming Country Fair & Festival is held every October – it’s an annual tradition you don’t want to miss!  Fair food, carnival rides, and lots of entertainment!  The city also holds an annual 4th of July Fireworks Show and Parade,along with special events for Christmas too.

Q: If folks want to visit Atlanta, is Cumming a good place to stay? How close is it to Atlanta? 

Cumming is about 30-40 miles north of Atlanta.  But Atlanta is known for having traffic, so Cumming is not convenient if you’re only coming to visit Atlanta.  However there’s lots to do OUTSIDE of the city.

Cumming FairQ: When I’m in Cumming, I should definitely plan to eat at …

A personal favorite is Dutch Monkey Doughnuts – hand made doughnuts from fresh, and local ingredients – yum!!

Q: The best shopping can be found at …

The Collection at Forsyth is an outdoor shopping center with retail, dining, AMC Theatres, and more.  We also have Lakewood 400 Antiques Market – open the 3rd weekend of every month.  You never know what you’ll find there but it’s a great place to stop if you’re visiting when they’re open.

Q: You do NOT want to miss seeing …

Sawnee Mountain is a great place to visit and spend the day with your family.

Q: Be sure to take your kids to …

  • In Cumming: The Aquatic Center, Sawnee Mountain, or Poole’s Mill Park
  • In Atlanta: Georgia Aquarium

cumminglocal_logoQ: An awesome thing about Cumming is …

Cumming and Forsyth County is a great place to raise a family. I love that we’re close enough to Atlanta that we can take advantage of all Atlanta has to offer – the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta Zoo, the World of Coca-Cola, plus lots of great concerts and events that include Atlanta in its tours.  BUT we’re also just far enough out to not actually live in the city!  We’re close to Lake Lanier and the North Georgia Mountains and also not a long drive from Savannah, great cities in Florida and even Disney World!

Mandi Holcombe Bio Pic, resizedMandi is Wife, Mother of 2, and Blogger of all things local in Cumming GA and Forsyth County.  Through her website,, Mandi keeps families in the loop of things to do, places to go, & ways to support small businesses.

What to expect on delivery day

healthy mama

Hello! I’m Dr. Matthew Steed and I work at Mercy. I’m also a husband and dad. A couple of weeks ago, Gwen and Shannon asked me to do an article on what a first-time mother should expect on delivery day.

Although I will never understand the “urge to push” or how it feels to look at a doctor and say “Did I just…?! I am so sorry, but you told me to push!” I have delivered hundreds of babies and remember a conversation my wife Kim and I had around the 37th week of her first pregnancy about what to expect on “delivery day.”

On multiple occasions we discussed things that were important to her: 

  • wanting to feel contractions, but not be overwhelmed with pain;
  • to remain informed as labor progressed and be involved in decision making;
  • not getting an episiotomy or foley catheter unless absolutely necessary;
  • what is going to happen to her body during delivery;
  • does she need an epidural and is it ever too late or too soon to get one; 
  • what if she wanted to have a natural delivery or to walk around after her water broke;
  • what if she could not manage her emotions or gave up or “just wanted to have a c-section….NOW!” and,
  • after the delivery does everything go back to the way it was before pregnancy?

Having been to all of her prenatal visits, I remembered her obstetrician going over most of these questions, but like any doctor-slash-husband would do, we started at the top of the list and talked through the delivery details.  Yes, sometimes “that” happens just before delivery. It’s okay. It really is. Doctors and nurses expect it and are ready for it.

If you want to have low intervention delivery, your nurse and doctor will be supportive. My wife’s obstetrician told her that, anytime after she dilated 3 centimeters, and as long as the baby was not “about to deliver,” she could get an epidural and would only need a foley catheter if and after she got an epidural.

dr matthew steed familyWell, Kim’s delivery went well and, after pushing for a few hours, Matthew Glyn Steed arrived. We both cried and I delivered our first child. (It went so well that 26 months later we did the whole thing over again. As you can see in the pic on the right, Kimberly and I are very proud of Glyn and Araceli.)

So what advice would I give to a first time mother-to-be? Be happy! You’re about to be a mom. Identify your delivery support system before the 35-week visit and make sure your delivery team knows your plans. If there is someone you would like to keep out of the room during delivery, your team can help “limit the number of people in the room” without making it obvious you requested it. (Sorry, mother in-laws.)

Bring a new inexpensive set of PJ’s, house shoes, your pillow, camera with new batteries, makeup, and other personal hygiene items. These items will be very helpful after delivery when taking pictures. The baby will need a couple of blankets, a few pair of clothes, car seat and always keep the receipts. (Let’s not forget that sometimes ultrasounds and doctors do get it wrong!)

If possible, visit labor and delivery, see a delivery room, meet the staff and if you want to score big, bring the nurses chocolates. :-) Bring your birth plan and understand that your baby cannot read and might not follow all 100 steps. Plan to stay in the hospital between 24 and 48 hours after delivery and remember healthy babies and happy moms make the world go around.

Your perfect delivery awaits.

To schedule a visit with Dr. Steed, call the Mercy clinic at 479-338-5555. His office is located in the Mercy Physician’s Plaza just off Interstate 540 in Rogers. does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about a medical condition. Don’t delay getting professional medical advice because of something you read online. This website doesn’t necessarily recommend or endorse any specific tests, doctors, products, procedures or opinions discussed on the site.

Radio chat: Mamas’ How-to Guides

As you know, mothers learn SO much when we’re “on the job.” And some of the best tips we pick up along the way come from our fellow moms. So this week we’ve compiled a few of our favorites to talk about during the Mamas on Magic 107.9 radio segments.

How to GuideWe’re covering things like:

  • How to get a kid to take his medicine
  • How to teach a kid to tie her shoes
  • How to teach a teenager to drive
  • How to make a long road trip with kids go smoother
  • How to teach little kids to sit still and be quiet when needed

You can hear them at 7:45 a.m. each weekday morning on Magic 107.9. If you miss one, no worries. We’ll have them here on the website, too. Just click the links below to hear each day’s how-to guide tip.

Monday, June 24, 2013 radio segment

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 radio segment

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 radio segment

Thursday, June 27, 2013 radio segment

Friday, June 28, 2013 radio segment


Beauty Buzz: Is your makeup making you sick?

By Andi Douglas, beauty editor

Is your makeup making you sick? Or the cause of the mystery pimple that just popped up? Unfortunately, that just might be the case. Here are a few tricks to clear your makeup bag of repeat offenders:

  • As your makeup brushes layer on that magical glow, they are also picking up layers of dirt, dead skin and all kinds of germs left behind by little kisses. Washing your brushes once a month with shampoo or a mild bar soap will wipe away the grime.
  • origins lipstickYour lipstick seems like a prime candidate for spreading colds, but that virus dies quickly and you have already built up the antibodies, so there is no threat of reinfection. That’s the good news. Bad news, strep throat is another story. The strep causing bacteria live longer, so throw out the lipstick to avoid reinfection.
  • I know it seems like a shower puff should be self cleaning, but leaving it in a moist shower to drip dry is like a day spa for bacteria. Hang a hook outside your shower where your puff can dry in a more ventilated environment. Or, if you are particularly ooked out by germs, microwave it for 30 seconds between uses.
  • Eyeliner could be the cause of an irritating eye infection, especially if you line the inside of your eyelid. Germs grow and thrive inside that little cap, so sharpen your pencil after application so it is stored germ free. If you fall victim to a full-blown eye infection you should toss is altogether just to be safe (that goes for mascara, too).
  • Say your little one runs into your bathroom wailing about a painful splinter…what luck, your tweezers are right there! You remove the offending splinter and go right back to tweezing your brows like the Super Mom that you are. Small problem, whatever bit you just pulled out of Junior’s finger can harbor bacteria or fungi (shiver) that can cause irritation if deposited elsewhere. So clean tweezers after a first-aid task by boiling them for a few minutes and clean with alcohol between grooming sessions.

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

remix (4)Note from the mamas: The Summer Remix symbol appears on posts previously published on nwaMotherlode that were noted as a “reader favorite”. If you missed the original publication date, we hope you’ll enjoy this encore performance. Happy summer!

Inside His Head: How can I ditch my in-laws for this year’s vacation?


Have you ever wondered, or said aloud: “What was he THINKING?!Well, so have we! That’s why we started this feature on Motherlode — to find out what men are thinking, delivered straight from the “horse’s” mouth.

Here’s this month’s dilemma:

Dear Inside His Head Husbands,

My husband and I usually go on vacation with our kids — and his parents, sister, etc. — every summer. I like his family, but our kids are getting older and I’d like for us to go on a vacation that’s just “us,” our immediate family. Any advice for making that happen this year without coming off as the bad guy with my husband — or my in–laws?

Thank you!

MICHAEL: I’ve been in that exact situation.  When we were younger and our kids were small we did a lot of trips together with my in laws. Eventually we just kind of started going on our own vacations.

It’s about choosing priorities. At some point your immediate family takes precedence over the extended family. It doesn’t make you the evil daughter-in-law just because you don’t want to make every trip a family reunion. It’s time for you to start making your own memories. Your in-laws have had their turns.

What I would recommend is taking longer vacations with just you and the husband and kids. Then take smaller weekend trips with extended family if that’s something you really want to do. 

That should be a reasonable compromise and make everyone’s scheduling and planning a bit less hectic. Good luck!

MAVERICK: Your idea of starting your own family traditions regarding vacations is valid. Now getting your husband to see that — while not hurting anyone’s feelings –  is going to be the trick.

sand-dollarsFirst, do some actual research and present a viable option for the vacation trip you’d like to see your family take.

Don’t tell your husband you don’t like the current situation and then task him with finding the perfect vacation locale that meets all your needs, desires and price point.

Also, don’t go for a dramatic change. If you traditionally ski, don’t shift to the beach in one go.

Then be ready for some slight push back. It’s likely his family has vacationed at the same spot for years. For him, standing on a certain beach or catching the scent of a favorite restaurant might signal he’s free for a week. Point out you’re in the process of making memories for your own family and how sometimes change can be good.

Finally, your in-laws are likely going to be upset at first, as this move likely breaks with tradition. A good compromise might be to rotate vacation locales – one year you go on your own, the next your go with the larger family unit. Maybe you’ll be surprised and the family will embrace your decision to vacation separately. Sometime too much togetherness can be, well, too much.

GRAY: When I was growing up my mother insisted I always eat every single bite on my plate at each meal. It was a pointless rule that had me sitting at the dinner table for many a useless hour and neither endeared me to her cooking nor put any meat on my scrawny bones.

brocI assume your husband feels the necessity to visit his family each year, but when it becomes a habit or, worse yet, a dreaded obligation it’s like having a staring contest with that mushy glob of overcooked broccoli.

Family should always be a priority and I can understand why spending time with one part can feel like neglecting the other. And children ought to see their aunts, uncles, grandparents and other relations, but it should also be fine for you to spend time making your own family memories without anyone else begrudging you.

You may ask your husband who’d be offended by skipping a year. From my perspective, I can’t imagine anyone reasonable holding it against you. It’s not like you’re ditching them so you can have a week on the couch channel surfing.

I also realize that there are unreasonable families who, like my mom, simply won’t be appeased by anything short of absolute compliance. They may pull the guilt card out by saying grandpa could die before your children see them again or that Aunt Sally will be heartbroken if she doesn’t see little Meg. My advice: go anyway.

Getting together with family should be an act of love, not dogmatic insistence. In this scenario you may have to be the bad guy, but in my opinion it’s for all the good reasons. Besides, variety is the spice of live and even broccoli goes down easier with a little zest.

If you have a question for our anonymous panel of husbands, email it to us at mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com. We’ll pass it along and find out together what’s going on Inside His Head.

Devotion in Motion: A minister and father’s take on tattoos

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. ~ Luke 9:23 (NKJV)

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

I am going to reveal a prejudice of mine today. Tattoos are not my favorite things. I have a great number of friends and loved ones who have chosen to decorate themselves in that way, and I love them with all my heart. But I’ve just never wanted a tattoo for myself. And I didn’t want my sons to get any either.

You have to understand that a lot of my bias has to do with the fact that I was born in the Deep South over 50 years ago. Also, I was raised surrounded by older people. I’m a product of my generation. One of the local girls told me that the night she came home with her first tattoo, her step-dad (who is my age) took one look at it and quietly said, “You know, Grandpa always said if you got a tattoo you’d go straight to hell.” He didn’t condemn her, mind you. He just quoted what Grandpa said. But admit it. If you were raised with that mindset, it might put a damper on things.

I bet you can already figure out where this story is headed. Yes, both of my sons have tattoos. When they were little, I used to tell them, “If you ever get a tattoo, I’ll take my pocketknife and cut it out.” Of course, everybody knew that this was bluster and bluff. But it worked. At least I thought it was working. It seemed like it was working until they had birthdays and were no longer minors. Something that I didn’t take into account is that when your kids turn 18 they can get as many tattoos as they want, and you can’t do anything about it.

And to be truthful, if my boys have to be tattooed, their choices of body-art are not that bad. On his shoulder, Spencer has a tattoo of a sailing ship. The ship has a cross on the main sail. He had the artist copy this picture from Luther’s Shorter Catechism, where the theologian uses the ship as a representative symbol of the Church. Spencer told me, “I told the tattoo artist not to make the ship too fancy or pristine. The Church is a ship that has been through a lot of storms. But the Church is a good ship—and she will carry us safely across to the other shore.” It’s hard to argue with that.

Later on, Spencer got another small tattoo over his heart. This one consists of three words: “Here I Stand.” These were the words that Luther said when he was told to burn the books that he had written that said that the Bible is all-sufficient. He was told if he did not recant, he would be put to death. Instead he said, “ I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.” Again, if you have too get a tattoo, that’s not too bad of a one to get. In my book, it’s a lot better than a “Peace Frog.”

Two weeks ago, Seth got a tattoo on his shoulder. It’s a picture of an Arkansas Razorback. I think there are a number of virtues associated with getting this particular tattoo:

1) It is coverable with a T-shirt, which makes for easier employment by a picky boss. (Spencer’s tattoos fall into this category, too.)

2) I take it as a compliment to our family. Seth was born and raised in Mississippi. The only Razorbacks he knows are his mother and me, our loved ones and friends. His loved ones from Arkansas must have impressed him as being a good class of people.

3) The tattoo artist really did a nice job with the artwork.

4) Last but not least, having a Razorback tattooed on one’s back seems like a nice thing to do for the Hogs. They can probably use a friend or two right now.

I’ve been raising kids for over 20 years, and my views have changed quite a bit with the passing of time. I guess what I want more than anything else is for my sons to love the Lord. So if there is love for Jesus in their heart, I can overlook the ink that is on the skin that covers that heart. And I’m not so worried about the pictures on my sons’ shoulders either. I just hope they will use those same shoulders to take up their cross daily to follow their Saviour.

john and susan cashDr. 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 18) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the holes in the [previously] pierced ears of the Preacher’s sons have also grown up.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to

Go meat-free on Mondays at Tropical Smoothie Cafe

My husband thinks this is weird, but sometimes I’m just “not in the mood for meat.” Do you ever feel that way? Even though I’m not a vegetarian, there are many days when I could be. He, on the other hand, never met a  greasy burger he didn’t love. But sometimes meat just makes me feel way too full and then I spend all afternoon wishing I’d had something lighter for lunch.

feel better favoritesSo I’m excited about this new “Meatless Mondays” offering they have now at Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Sounds like it’s right up my alley. They have chicken strips minus the chicken! The strips contain no meat, no gluten and no GMOs. You can have them put in any wrap, flatbread or a salad. (Those of you with kids on a gluten-free diet might also want to check this out.)

Check out the full menu by clicking HERE. And if you are watching your calories this summer, click HERE for a list of “Feel Better Favorites,” which are meal options that start at 380 calories and actually sound really good.

If you’re in the mood for something cool and sweet, I’d order the Jetty Punch smoothie. I had one on National Flip  Flop Day at Tropical Smoothie Cafe and it was delicious — tasted like strawberry and banana mixed with a little fruit punch. My 6-year-old loved it, too.

Happy Summer!

smoothie meat free slider

The Rockwood Files: Put some pants on

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

I’m beginning to question that old saying about how we all “put our pants on one leg at a time.” Because lately, I’m noticing plenty of people who have stopped putting pants on at all.

This weekend Tom and I went to a Laundromat to wash a king-size comforter in one of those high-capacity washing machines. While we were there, I saw a man sitting on the back of his pick-up truck. He was staring down into his smartphone’s screen and he was wearing a white t-shirt and pajama pants with the Harley Davidson logo printed all over them. It seemed a little strange, but I figured he was probably washing his real pants and wasn’t too worried about appearances during the spin cycle at the Laundromat.

Later that day I ran by Wal-Mart to pick up milk, bread and other essentials. In the parking lot I noticed a woman about my age walking ahead of me, and she, too, was sporting the “just rolled out of bed” look – even though it was two in the afternoon. She was wearing a t-shirt and a pair of pink Hello Kitty pajama pants – in public.

Let me go on record as saying I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with pajama pants. I love ‘em. If you show up at my house unannounced, there is a 99 percent chance you will see me wearing mine. I hope they bury me in them one day. There’s nothing more comfortable on the planet.

That being said, I always thought pajama pants were a home-base type of apparel. They’re for watching movies on the sofa. They’re for slipping into after a big dinner at home when your jeans feel too tight. Maybe you could wear them out to the end of the driveway to check the mail or put the garbage cans out.

hello kitty sleep pants2 But Hello Kitty pajama pants in Wal-Mart? Murphy’s Law dictates that the minute you go to Wal-Mart with no make-up on and your hair a mess while wearing your oldest, ratty t-shirt, you will definitely run into several people you know who will all be looking awesome that day. I’ve tested this theory and been burned every single time. So I can’t even imagine how I’d feel if I were caught in the dairy aisle wearing my fuzzy pajama pants. I’d want to crawl into the frozen pizza section and die.

As odd as it is to see people in stores, restaurants and other public places wearing their jammies, I suppose we should be glad they’re at least covered. At my favorite breakfast diner, the cook told me a story a few weeks ago about a customer who called in an order for waffles to go. Ten minutes later, she called to see if her order was ready and the cook said it was on the counter waiting for her. But the customer said she couldn’t come inside to pick it up and asked if it could be brought out to her car in the parking lot, even though this diner doesn’t offer “curbside service.”

Though the request was odd, the cook agreed and walked the order out to the customer’s car, assuming that perhaps the woman was injured and couldn’t walk easily. But when she looked into the car, she found the waffle lover behind the wheel wearing a t-shirt but no pants. As in, none. She explained to the cook that she’d had to drive her husband to work and didn’t stop to put on pants first. Then on her way home, she decided she wanted waffles.

WHAT? I’ve been in a hurry before and I’ve been hungry for waffles plenty of times, but I have never once left the house without my pants on. There are some lines that just shouldn’t be crossed. If that makes me a conservative prude, then so be it. Perhaps those signs that say “no shoes, no shirt, no service” should be amended to include a note that says, “And P.S.: Put some pants on.”

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

Wood floor looks with tile practicality

wood tile3

We are LOVING this new flooring option we heard about from our friends at Flooring America. It’s tile that looks like hardwood floors. Genius!

Most of us love how warm and natural and upscale hardwood floors look. But let’s face it. Wood and water don’t always mix. And there will always be spills in a busy kitchen — especially one with kids.

wood tileSo this new flooring option seems to be the best of both worlds — the practicality and easy-to-clean features of tile combined with the beauty of hardwood floors. (And did we mention that tile floors are less expensive? Yep, there’s that point, too.)

For more info on these new types of ceramic tiles, call Flooring America at 479-750-0117. Better yet, swing by their location in Springdale to see the tile for yourself. (They are located in Springdale, behind Lighting Emporium and beside Metro Appliances & More, right off U.S. 71 Business.)

There are a lot of different colors and textures to choose from in the faux wood tiles. You will be AMAZED at how hard it is to tell the tile apart from the real wood. (See that photo at the top of this post? Believe it or not, that’s actually tile!)

For more proof, check out this article comparing hardwoods to the faux wood ceramic tile on the Roomology website by clicking HERE. It gives a great description of the perks of going with tile that looks like wood.

flooring america

Funny Friday: Have you seen this video?

Happy Friday, mamas! Anybody with toddlers can relate to today’s video. You think it’s hard to keep up with little ones in an amusement park or an airport or even the grocery store? Check out what this mama duck has to put up with on a windy day. (No worries. All the ducks escaped unharmed.)

Jumpzone Summer Schedule and Special Offers

We all have a few tricks up our sleeve for those days when the kids are bouncing off the walls and it’s a zillion degrees outside and too hot to play. One of my best tricks involves a few hours at Jumpzone in Bentonville — a place that offers kids a potpourri of huge inflatables for JumpzoneJack3sliding and jumping. Jumpzone was recently voted “Best Birthday Place” in Benton County in the Mom’s Choice Awards.

(Pictured here are a few of my favorite snapshots taken of my kids at Jumpzone. We’ve logged a lot of jumping hours there over the years.)

Most of us have been to birthday parties at Jumpzone, and those are always fun, but don’t forget that there are plenty of “open play” times when you can go and let your kids burn off some energy, get some exercise and not get sunburned or overheated in the process. Jumpzone is air-conditioned (and they have free wi-fi for parents — yay!) so the kids can be active and rambunctious without tearing your house apart.

It’s also a great place to meet up with friends for an indoor playdate. My kids always love the giant pirate ship slide and my youngest likes the Nemo inflatable a lot, too.

It really pays to know which specials are being offered at Jumpzone because you’ll save money on your visit. For example:

  • Jump-ZoneThursdays are “Thirsty Thursdays” and each paying child gets a free slushy. (You know the kids are going to ask you for one anyway, right?)
  • Fridays are “Friends Fridays” and each paying child can get 1 friend into Jumpzone for FREE. (Woo-hoooo! Love this idea.)
  • Saturdays are “Silly Socks Saturdays” and you’ll get $2 off the cost of admission if your kids wear a silly mixed matched pair of socks. (Remember that you must have socks to play at Jumpzone so leave a few pair in the car  in case your kids wear sandals and forget.)
  • Sundays are “Savings Sundays” which means that ALL open play admissions only cost $5 each.
  • T-shirt discount: If you wear a Jumpzone t-shirt (they cost $10) then you’ll get $2 off the admission price every time you come, so it’ll pay for itself quickly!

Regular Jumpzone admission price for Open Play times is $8.50 each for kids age 6 and up. (Parents are always free.) But if you buy one of the 6-Visit Pass, the cost is $40, which offers some savings.

If your kids are ages 2 to 5, open play admission is $6.50 per child. (Kids under the age of 2 are free with one paid admission.)

And here’s one thing we LOVE about Jumpzone. It’s owned and operated by a bonafide mama. And we like some of the special features and rules she has in place, like this:

Special Needs Night: On the first Wednesday of every month, children with special needs and their families can come play at Jumpzone from 5 to 7 p.m. for FREE. (The next session is scheduled for July 3rd.)

Separate times for little ones: We all know how nerve-wracking it is when your toddler is in the same bouncy house with BIG kids. It’s easy for them to get hurt. So Jumpzone has a special Toddler Open Play time — only for kids ages 2 to 5 — every Wednesday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. You won’t have to worry about your 3-year-old getting mowed down by a 10-year-old.

Rules: To protect younger kids in the inflatables, Jumpzone also has a rule that states that kids who are over the age of 13 can slide at Jumpzone but aren’t allowed to jump because of the weight and size differences between them and younger kids. This rule will help keep all the kids safer while they play.

Here’s a list of times when you and the kids can head over to Jumpzone — no birthday party invitation required — and enjoy some summer fun while staying cool. Click HERE to see the latest calendar of events and play times on the Jumpzone website.

Jumpzone1KateSundays: Open Play from 3 to 7 p.m. (Rate is only $5.)

Mondays and Tuesdays: CLOSED

Wednesdays: Toddler Open Play from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Thursdays: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.

Fridays: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.

Saturdays: 5 to 9 p.m.

For more info, call Jumpzone at 479-202-4476. They’re located at 805 SE 22nd St. in Bentonville.