What We’re Reading: Great Books for Mothers Day Gifts!

Here are two books that would make PERFECT gifts for Mother’s Day which is coming up soon. But you certainly don’t need a special occasion or a holiday to buy either of these books. Both are more than worthy of a spot on your nightstand.

The first one, a debut novel titled Wait til You Hear What I Heard, will have you laughing by the pool or on the beach this summer. I giggled all the way through this novel, except for those beautiful moments that brought tears to my eyes. You’ll remember these characters long after you read the last page. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next novel this author publishes.

And the second book mentioned here, Everything That Makes You Mom, allows you to be the writer of your own special story about your mom. (Or get one for yourself and ask your kids to start answering the questions!)

wait til you hearWait til You Hear What I Heard

by Jan Freeman Hixson

Living in a small east Texas town is taking its toll on twelve-year-old Carol Ann Lawson. Love-ins and sit-ins grace the national news while sew-ins and revival meetings make front page news in Lake View, Texas. Carol Ann is bored to tears living in the Bible Belt but that is about to change.

Her life is turned upside down when a girl from California arrives and challenges small town, Southern customs from the top of her straightened hair to the bottom of her go-go boots. Carol Ann discovers there is more to life than she knew and it isn’t as boring as she thought. Grab your lava lamp and a glass of sweet tea and return to 1971.

This is a five-star reader review rated book written by a Northwest Arkansas author and mom! Click here to see the reviews.

everything that makes you momEverything That Makes You Mom: A Bouquet of Memories

by Laura Lynn Brown

You’ve known your mother all your life. Show her you were paying attention with this keepsake book, which allows you to reflect what you’ve seen back to her, one memory at a time. The book is structured with vignettes about the author’s mother, each followed by thoughtful and playful questions to serve as a springboard for your own memories. Quotations about moms add reflection and wit.

This is another five-star reader review rated book by an Arkansas author and mom. Click here to see reviews.

 

May 2014: Northwest Arkansas Calendar of Events

calendar-ad

Craft fairs:

Frisco Station Mall Arts & Crafts Fair

Dates: May 2-4

Time: Varies

Location: Frisco Station Mall, Rogers

More info: Click here

Ozark Regional Arts & Crafts Fair

Dates: May 2-3

Time: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Location: Holiday Inn Convention Center, Springdale

More info: Click here

Spanker Creek Farm Arts & Crafts Festival

Dates: May 2-4

Time: Varies

Location: Bentonville

More info: Click here

 Spring Celebration at the (War Eagle) Mill

Dates: May 2-4

Time: Varies

Location: War Eagle Mill, Rogers

More info: Click here

Other events:

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY at FPL, Saturday, May 3

Sat, May 3 10:30am

Come celebrate Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 3 at your Fayetteville Public Library! From 10:30 to noon in the Wal-Mart Storytime Room, children can enjoy all kinds of superhero-themed fun!  Free comics, face painting, superhero crafts, super snacks, balloons, games, and cartoons on the big screen!

TEEN COMIC BOOK DAY EVENT:

free comic book daySat, May 3 from 12pm to 2 pm

Teens can receive a free comic and snacks as well as play superhero-themed video games, participate in a “take a comic, leave a comic” swap table, take in a free screening of The Avengers, and enter a drawing to win tickets to see Marvel’s new summer blockbuster, The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Comic & Graphic Novelist – Nate Powell:

Sat, May 3 at 2pm

FPL will host a special appearance by comics artist Nate Powell. Powell will discuss his work on the Coretta Scott King Honor Book March as well as titles such as the Ignatz Award and Eisner Award winning Swallow Me Whole and the soon-to-be released graphic novel adaptation of Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero.  An autograph session will follow and Powell’s books will be available for purchase.

CLICK HERE for more May events at FPL!

Touch-A-Truck

Date: May 3TAT_logo

Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Location: Pinnacle Hills Promenade Mall (JC Penney parking lot)

More info: Click here

Humane Society of the Ozark’s Annual Dogwood Walk

Date: May 3

Time: 9 a.m. to noon

Location: Gulley Park, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

dogwood walk 2014

Fayetteville Foam Fest (21 and over)

Date: May 3

Time: 5 – 9 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center parking lot on Dickson St.

More info: Click here

The Adventures of Alfred Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, WAC

WAC_Alvin_266x375Date: May 13-15, 7 p.m.; May 17, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Time: See above

Location: Walton Arts Center (Starr Theatre)

CLICK HERE to see all Artosphere events for kids and families

Chalk Fest at Crystal Bridges Museum

Date: May 18

Time: Noon-4 p.m.

Location: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

More info: Click here

Block Street Block Party

block street partyDate: Sunday, May 18

Time: Noon to dark

Location: Block Street, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

Spring Carnival, Springdale

Date: May 22-25

Time: Varies

Location: East Emma, Springdale

More info: Click here

NWA Vintage Market Days

Date: May 23-25

Time: Varies

Location: Pauline Whitaker Arena

More info: Click here

vintage market days

 Monster Trucks

Date: May 30-31

Time: Varies

Location: Rodeo of the Ozarks, Springdale

More info: Click here

If we missed a calendar event that you’d like to see listed — or you want to submit an event for future calendars on nwaMotherlode — email us at mamas{at}nwamotherlode{dot}com.

Beauty Buzz: How to be gorgeous through pollen season

By Andi Douglas, nwaMotherlode.com beauty editor

bumblebee-flowerI woke up yesterday about to claw out my itchy, puffy eyes.

Allergy eye drops and two Claritin later, I ventured outside (to go to Rhea Lana, of course) and saw the culprit: a thick layer of yellow pollen covered my car. Ah-choo! And there went my make-up and any hope I had of looking like a normal, functioning human being.

Ideally, I would close myself up in a bubble for a couple of months, but the kids insist on playing outside, participating in group sports, getting fresh air, yada-yada-yada…all things I suffer through with a smile on my face and a pocket full of kleenex (mostly unused). 

There are a few tricks and tips to surviving this bloomin’ season with your dignity intact.

If your main complaint is:

Puffy Face: Brace yourself because my advice is two-fold and both suggestions suck.

Dunk your face into a bowl of ice water in the morning or use a wet washcloth that has been chilled in the freezer to calm and depuff your skin. To avoid puffiness altogether, you might want to avoid alcohol consumption. Yes, that means no more wine on the patio.

When I started having crazy reactions every time I imbibed, Dr. Hedberg of Hedgerg Allergy told me I was not, in fact, allergic to wine (whew!) but the alcohol caused my pores to relax and open up, allowing all of the airborne allergens to invade. Basically, everything you usually feel in your eyes, ears and throat, was happening directly on my skin. And it was itchy…really itchy. I believe I have an extreme case brought on by having my third baby (another great hormone mystery), but the pore thing is real. There, that’s me being all science-y.

Itchy, watery eyes: If you haven’t already, now is a good time to try waterproof mascara. Yes, it can be drier than traditional formula and can flake. It helps to replace your mascara every 3 to 6 months (which you should do anyway) or you can add a drop of saline to rehydrate your mascara to buy a little more time.

If you’re hesitant because it is hard to remove, a hot shower usually does the trick or sitting with a hot, moist washcloth on your eyes before bed. Harsh makeup remover or tugging at your lashes is going to do way more damage than sleeping with a little mascara on. And since it’s waterproof you don’t have to worry about mascara ruining your pillowcases!

Dry, red nose: Aquaphor is the greatest all-purpose moisturizer I know and a dab around your sore nose will put you on the road to recovery.

But, you will sneeze again, and blow again, and oh my gosh, when will it stop! so, to cover the redness around your nose, apply a green color concealer with your finger to the problem area. Then continue with your normal foundation routine. 

If you suffer from all of the above: I feel your pain, and we may want to revisit that whole bubble idea.

AndiAndi Douglas is a mama of three and loves to play with makeup. She shares her advice and real-life adventures with makeup and makeup accessories here on Motherlode. To ask her a question, just email it to mamas{at}nwamotherlode{dot}com.

On Your Mind: Helping a child help a grieving friend

My daughter, who is in 2nd grade, has a best friend who just lost her dad in a car accident. Obviously, my daughter’s friend is devastated and my daughter is very upset, too, since she has spent time at their house and also knew the dad. I’m trying to help my daughter learn how to be a good friend to someone who is hurting, but it’s hard even for adults to know what to say or do in these situations. How should I advise my child? Any direction you could give would be helpful.

The death of a loved one can be upsetting for all those involved, children and adults alike. Especially with a tragic death, a range of thoughts and feelings may be experienced upon such unexpected and sad news. Talking about these difficult feelings is important for everyone involved.

griefChildren’s thoughts and feelings about a death need to be acknowledged, expressed, and validated. Young children typically follow the lead of a trusted adult in regards to what to do when a death occurs. Children are great observers and imitators and their concrete and literal thinking can be overwhelming and cause fear.

The need for reassurance that they are safe and that their family is safe after a tragic death or any death is important to minimize their fears. It would help to educate your daughter about what happens when someone dies, ask her about her thoughts and feelings about the death, and answer her questions as honestly and simply as you can.

Offer some suggestions on how she can help her friend at this time (ie., share her thoughts and feelings with her friend in words or make her a card, help cook and bring a meal to her family, and offer a play date to her friend). Allow your daughter some choices about what she may like to do to support her friend and then help her do it.

Times of sadness can be a teachable and learning moment for all involved. An adult who can model “the gift of presence” in listening, caring and sharing with others is teaching the value of empathy – one of the most important parts of being a good friend.

methodist family health logoThis “On Your Mind” segment is provided by Methodist Family Health’s Counseling Clinic, 74 W. Sunbridge Dr., in Fayetteville, where the phone is (479) 582-5565. Methodist Family Health is a nonprofit organization that provides behavioral and mental health services to children under 18 and their families all across in Arkansas. The organization has been serving families and youth for more than 114 years, beginning as an orphanage in 1899. Today, Methodist Family Health has all levels of care, ranging from outpatient counseling clinics to residential treatment centers to an inpatient behavioral hospital and an extensive staff of trained therapists and mental health professionals. To find out more about Methodist Family Health, call 501.661.0720 or 501.866.3388 toll free or visit www.methodistfamily.org.

Devotion in Motion: Spiritual solitary confinement

2 The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.  Genesis 39.2  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

The Bible doesn’t sugarcoat the stories of the Old Testament saints; it presents their lives “warts and all.” And to be truthful, the heroes of the faith had some very grievous sins. Abraham was a liar. Moses was a murderer. King David was adulterer. Their iniquities—and the sins of many others–are recorded for everyone to see for all history.

But there is one Old Testament character that is never recorded as “messing up.” That exemplary young man was Joseph—the one who received the “coat of many colors.” Now, clearly, he wasn’t “perfect”, because the Bible teaches us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And, of course, we know that Jesus was the only sinless person who ever lived.

But while the other Old Testament characters royally dropped the ball at least once in their lives, we don’t read that about Joseph. His life is an example and pattern of consistent obedience to the Lord.

Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit, and sold into slavery, but he never hated his siblings. He was propositioned by the beautiful wife of solitary_confinementPotiphar but told her he could not sin against his God, against his employer, against her, and against himself in this way by committing adultery. He was falsely imprisoned, but never lost faith in his Saviour.  And even when his cellmate forgot to deliver a message that would have meant his freedom, Joseph never became bitter—even though the error resulted in his being imprisoned for an extra two years! Truly Joseph was a hero of the faith.

Now, here is the most amazing thing of all: Joseph remained a faithful follower of the Lord even though he was the only believer in all of Egypt. Think about it, he was never able “to go to church” for over a dozen years, and for decades had no Scriptures to read. Yet, in his heart and in his behavior, he was steadfastly righteous. He remained faithful, even though he had no fellowship, no instruction, and no encouragement.

This week, let’s strive to be as faithful as Joseph. But don’t live your life in solitary confinement as he was forced to do. Use every spiritual resource within your reach to encourage yourself (and others) as you live your life for Jesus.

 john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 28 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 until recently taught 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 is the chairman of the Mississippi Christian Service Camp (www.ilovechurchcamp.com),  a wonderful Bible Camp for young people.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

 

Poopsy Pets: Something stinks in the toy aisle

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

My favorite humor writer, Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry, is famous for the line “I am not making this up.” He uses it when writing about things that are so absurd that any sane person would assume he’s taking creative liberties with his description when, in fact, the description happens to be ridiculous AND true. I thought of Dave’s famous line when my daughter spotted a toy recently and brought it over to the shopping cart to show me.

“Mom, this is kind of weird… and gross,” she said, holding it up for inspection.

The toy is called “Poopsy Pets,” and it’s part of the Moxie Girlz line of dolls made by the MGA Entertainment company. The package includes a doll holding a leash attached to a small pet. In the upper left corner of the package, there’s a speech bubble near the pet that says, “I poop JEWELS!” If that’s not quite descriptive enough for you, there’s also an up-close photo of the pet’s behind where you can plainly see small pink jewels protruding from said pet’s plastic poopsy petsanus.

“Kate, where did you get this?” I asked, wondering if this might be some kind of practical joke doll. She pointed to a low shelf, and, lo and behold, the Poopsy Pet had friends. Another doll had a bunny that said “I poop GLITTER!” The third one was a unicorn pet who proudly proclaimed: “I poop RAINBOWS!”

Now I’m not above a little gross humor. As the mother of two boys and a girl all under the age of 13, I’ve heard and enjoyed my share of funny bathroom jokes. But glitter-pooping bunnies? Unicorns defecating rainbows? Have toy-makers lost their collective marbles?

To be fair, I have heard of actual dogs pooping out jewels in the form of engagement rings that were accidentally gobbled up like treats. But I can guarantee they didn’t look as pretty coming out the back end as they do in those Poopsy Pet photos. And are rainbows still special if they come squirting out your pet’s behind? I think not.

But what amazes me most about these unusual poopers is that they made it all the way from the “crazy idea” stage to actual store shelves. Maybe it happened like this: Desperate product engineer walks his dog one day and stops to pick up the dog’s “deposit” in a pet poop bag. He thinks to himself, “Wouldn’t it be great if the dog pooped diamonds instead of this crap? Wait a second…EUREKA!”

Then that same guy sits in a brainstorming meeting at work and says something like this: “So what if we make a line of dolls with fantasy pets who poop jewels, glitter and rainbows? Wouldn’t that be awesome?” And then, in an equally stunning turn of events, the other people around the table say, “Oh my gosh, YES! That would be freaking awesome and not the least bit gross or disturbing. Feces is the new frontier of toy-making!”

It takes a relatively long time for a new toy to go from concept to product launch. How is it possible that Poopsy Pets made it through so many stages with no one slowing down to say, “This is kind of weird… and gross”? My 7-year-old knew it at first glance.

And let’s not forget how literal young kids can be. At this very moment, some of them are digging through poop piles in the backyard and the cat’s litter box, searching for the “jewels, rainbows and glitter” that must surely be hiding there. Imagine how disappointed and disgusted they and their parents will be when the search turns up nothing but a big pile of poo.

Sure do wish I was making this up.

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.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

NWA Mom Prom happens tomorrow, April 26th!

momprom logoWow, we can’t believe the NWA Mom Prom is tomorrow night! Our site host was having some technical difficulties yesterday, but we have a FEW tickets left if you want to join the prom party!

Click here to buy a ticket!

If you already have your ticket, woo-hoo! We can’t wait to see you!

Here are a few things to remember:

Where to park! When you arrive at the Springdale Holiday Inn, park in the main lot and head in through the entrance facing the parking lot (not the covered entrance on the side.)

Check-in! Once you’re inside, you’ll see the red carpet stretching toward the Prom check-in desk. We have a check-in list containing the names of people who purchased tickets. You can bring your email ticket purchase confirmation with you, but don’t worry about it if you forget. We’ll have a record of your purchase. Sponsors will check in at the Sponsor/VIP check-in desk.

Food! We’ll have appetizers and desserts at Mom Prom, but, if you’re starving, you may want to eat dinner before you come. You’ll need energy for all that dancing. :-)

Raffle tickets 2014Raffle packages! Don’t forget to check out the raffle tables at the Prom. We have 8 themed packages of items, and one of those package is a new Maytag washer and dryer from Metro Appliances & More!! Raffle tickets are only two dollars each and you can buy extras at the event, if you like. Throw as many tickets as you want into the various buckets to increase your chances of winning the packages you like best. (Raffle money goes to a local charity called Laundry Love.) We’ll announce raffle package winners starting at 9:30 p.m., and you’ll need to be there to get your prize so you can take it home.

Cash or not?! Should you bring money with you? Yes, bring some money in case you want any of the following: extra raffle tickets for the amazing prizes (see above); a drink from the cash bar; or a super cute Mom Prom t-shirt for $15. We can take credit/debit cards and cash but not checks.

Free pics! You’ll have your photo made at the “red carpet arrival” area and also in the photo area, sponsored by Lisa Mac Photography. Lisa and her husband Glen will be there snapping photos, and ALL photos will be available for free download after Prom. Instructions for how to download your pics will be in your swag bag. For instant photo gratification, you can also climb into the Photobooth sponsored by Mercy Sisters Women’s Health Boutique.

Glam Squad! This year we have a “Glam Squad” at the Mom Prom to touch up your hair and make-up before you have Prom pictures made. Professional stylists from Brieshi Salon & Spa will be stationed near the Professional Photo Shoot area, so stop by and get the celebrity treatment at no charge.

Lounging! Be sure to check out the Mom Prom Lounge area and get a free pampering service from our Lounge Sponsor, Theraderm Clinical Skin Care. The Lounge is the perfect spot to take a breather from dancing and have a snack and a drink. :-)

Swag! Pick up your free Swag Bag as you leave Mom Prom. They’ll be waiting on you at the same place where you checked in. Just give the attendant your name and she’ll hand you your bag. Enjoy your bags and goodies, sponsored by Pinnacle Hills Promenade Mall.

swag cropped

Slumber party? If you want to stretch Prom night into a slumber party at the hotel, just book a hotel room by calling 479-751-8300 and mention the Mom Prom to get a discounted room rate.

Song requests! The DJ’s name is Frankie, and he takes song requests. Just jot down the name of the song on a piece of paper and put it into the song request bucket on the edge of the stage.

Tag! Socialize with us before, during and after the Mom Prom on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The hashtag is #nwaMomProm. Be sure to like the NWA Mom Prom page on FB by clicking here. Post a shot of you and your friends getting ready for Prom Night!

If you have questions, send us an email at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com.

See you soon!

Visit Ozark Natural Science Center at an Open House on May 1!

onsc pic

If you want to see some beautiful scenery and check out Ozark Natural Science Center, you’re invited to come on down on Thursday, May 1.

ONSC is having an Open House from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 1.  In addition to school programs and excellent summer camps, the center has unique and beautiful conference and event facilities. If you’re looking for a unique place to hold a retreat, workshop or school event, this is a great place.

ONSC also has nearly 8 miles of maintained hiking trails, along with overnight (heated and air conditioned) lodges.

Expect a quick demonstration of what they do at ONSC, followed by a tour of the facilities and a short hike. Bring your water bottle and a reusable container so you can take advantage of the “Build Your Own Trail Mix Bar.”

You can RSVP here.

call of the wildWe also wanted to tell you about ONSC’s Call of the Wild event! It’s a gala-that’s-not-a-gala for the whole family. With live music, great food and beverages, the Wild Bunch kids’ area, a knock-your-socks-off live auction and more, this is going to be a great event. All net proceeds go to scholarships for local NWA 5th grade students.

The event is Saturday, June 7, 5:30-9 p.m. at Bentonville 21c Hotel. CLICK HERE to read more about the Call of the Wild.

Note from the mamas: We also wanted to remind you about ONSC’s summer camp options. There are SO MANY great choices for kids (and families)! CLICK HERE to read more about the camps.

Inside His Head: Husband doesn’t care about his appearance anymore

insidehishead, 500

Welcome back to Inside His Head, a monthly feature on nwaMotherlode which offers women an opportunity to take a little spin inside the minds of men.

From time to time, all women ask themselves this question: What was he thinking?!

In this space, our panel of anonymous husbands answer questions from local moms like this one:

Dear Husbands,

My husband doesn’t seem to care about his appearance anymore and it drives me crazy. I don’t think he’s depressed or anything; he just seems to be fine with being sloppy, like he doesn’t need to impress me anymore. I feel shallow about being bothered by it, but I can’t ignore the fact that it does. How do I bring up/talk about this topic without coming off as mean?

GRAY: Has your prince charming gone the K-Fed route, exchanging his swagger for fat-covering sweatpants? Do you find yourself looking at photos from a couple years ago and wondering what the heck happened? Well, welcome to being an adult when our metabolism slows down and we’re too stressed out between mortgages and work to find time to go on those 5-mile runs every day.

Speaking as a man, I’m not a physically glamorous specimen, nor am I a keen dresser, nor am I the most fastidious housekeeper; however, I wasn’t aware part of a husband’s responsibility was to keep their wife impressed in that manner.

If I’m going to be impressive it’s going to be by doing something like getting our taxes done and still making it to my daughter’s softball practice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the wave of obesity our country seems struck with. Health issues are serious things and making an effort to eat in a healthy manner and stick with an exercise program.

It’s easy enough to talk a guy into taking evening walks or a bike ride…maybe even join a fitness club together to give each other some support. And if he’s just suddenly become slovenly, then make him pick up after himself. It shouldn’t be a spouse’s responsibility to clean up after their mate as they would for a child.

At the end of the day you need to ask yourself if you’re concerned about him because you love him or if the real issue lies elsewhere. It’s never meanness when a conversation comes from the heart and because of compassion for another.

MAVERICK: You say he doesn’t care about his appearance anymore, which indicates he once did. So what has changed since then?

If you’re still making the same efforts you did to impress him, it seems like he’s had some sort of disconnect.

Barring some passive aggressive stuff, I think it really boils down to falling back into old bad habits or establishing new, bad ones.

You use the term sloppy, which doesn’t seem to mean he’s let himself go physically, more like he’s just not concerned much about his overall appearance, so that means clothing and/or haircuts.

Haircuts are simple. Tell him to go get his haircut when he looks scruffy.

Good example: “You’re looking a little scruffy. Why don’t you stop by and get a haircut on the way home tonight and then we can go out to a movie.”

Bad example: “You look like a freaking hippie. Don’t come home tonight without getting a haircut. I didn’t marry the wolf-boy from the circus.”

Next, I’d suggest taking him shopping to get some new shirts, pants and shoes. Something nice but not super pricey unless either he or you can afford it. Guys can get into a clothing rut pretty easily and we tend to stay in said ruts far longer than women. Once he has some new stuff he’s much more likely to wear something less grungy.

Try letting him know that some of his clothing choices are not particularly appealing to you and likely by extension most of polite society, but do it nicely. When  he opts to wear a ratty t-shirt, maybe suggest something different, but don’t be hyper-critical.

Good example: “I really wish you’d wear that nice shirt you got last week. I’m wearing some of my nicer stuff -  we’d match a little better.”

Bad example: “Oh, my God, I can’t believe you’re wearing that crappy ‘I’m with Stupid’ t-shirt again! You look like a hobo for crying out loud.”

What ever you do don’t ditch his stuff. We guys get attached to some of our clothing, t-shirts in particular. Just help him add more acceptable stuff to his wardrobe. The older stuff will eventually be worn out, eventually.

I’ve needed new shoes for months now and I keep either forgetting or balking at price.

If my wife bought me some new ones, I’d say thanks and wear them. My money says your husband will do the same thing.

MICHAEL: First I’ll assume that you take care of yourself. You’re not shallow to want your husband to look his best for you.

When we get married we’re making a commitment to each other to do our best for each other. Part of that commitment is to take care of our appearance to maintain a level of attractiveness that keeps our spouse interested. Having said that, I don’t think it’s unusual for a person’s level effort in this area to fluctuate at times due to things like fatigue or stress.

To address the issue, you need to approach it in a positive way.

If your husband isn’t  dressing well comment on ads that you see with clothes that you’d like him to wear. Ask him to go shopping for some clothes. If he needs to work out, ask him to go on a walk with you or suggest he go to them gym for his health. If none of those things work, you’ll simply have to ask him why he doesn’t put forth the effort that he used to.

Good Gossip: Cute couple and Voice replacements?

good gossip celebrities

Okay, we admit it. We love a little celebrity gossip but don’t want to do something we teach our kids not to do. It’s never good to indulge in stuff meant to humiliate or hurt another person. That’s why we came up with the concept of “Good Gossip,” which is celeb news minus any mean stuff. Have as much as you want because this “dish” is all 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.

Did we mention that Great Day Farms is once again the lead sponsor for the NWA Mom Prom? It’s scheduled for April 26, 2014. Get the details at www.nwaMomProm.com. Tickets are on sale now!

emma stoneIsn’t it great when celebrities seem to find what appears to be a pretty normal, loving relationship despite their superstar status? In the most recent issue of People magazine, there’s a cute profile of actors Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, stars of the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie, which hits theaters early next month. Emma and Andrew have been dating for nearly 3 years now but seem to be going strong. They met when she auditioned for the first Spider-Man movie in 2011. Andrew has said that she was the last person to audition and that, despite being really tired, he “woke up” when she came in and sparks began to fly shortly after that. They are both close to their families, tend to avoid Hollywood nightlife and pay special attention to their youngest fans. During the recent press tour, Andrew visited an after-school club for disadvantaged kids and showed up as Spider-Man carrying a pizza. The organization’s chief executive said the kids were “completely dazzled.”

gwen stefani 2014A recent article in USA Today suggests that Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams might be filling the empty seats in those huge, spinning red chairs on The Voice. The chairs are left behind by Cee Lo Green, who’s not returning to the show and Christina Aguilera, who will be on maternity break when the next season starts filming in June.

victoria beckhamHere are a few things you might not have known about Victoria Beckham: Despite plenty of photos that suggest otherwise, she says she actually laughs a lot. She likes to bake brownies and also wants to run a marathon one day. Before her Spice Girls fame, she worked as a part-time “perfume girl” at a department store. Her favorite celebrity meeting was with Sarah Jessica Parker and her favorite TV show is still Sex and the City. She confesses to being a terrible driver. As for dream dinner dates? She says Hillary Clinton would be at the top of her list.

jamie-foxxJamie Foxx knows how to enjoy an occasional “cheat day” from healthy eating. He says his favorite indulgence is Shake Shack. “I got a triple ShackBurger, fries with the cheese and grape soda. I’ve had it a couple times, and I just had to go get it again.”

Source: People magazine, April 28, 2014 issue and USA Today

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.)

Giveaway: 2 Tickets to Mom Prom April 26th!

We’re SO EXCITED about the NWA Mom Prom which happens THIS Saturday, April 26th from 7 p.m. to midnight at the Springdale Holiday Inn Ballroom. We’re in the last few days of ticket sales, so we’re kicking off this final week by giving away TWO tickets to Mom Prom to one Motherlode reader. If we draw your name (at random), you and a friend can come party until the stroke of midnight at the “ultimate girls night out” event in NWA. This awesome party is made possible, again this year, by presenting sponsor Great Day Farms.

laughHOW TO ENTER: To throw your name in the online hat to win two tickets to Mom Prom, just click the words “post a comment” below and tell us at least one reason why it’s so important to hang out with your girlfriends now and then. (For us, it’s all that laughing! Sharing good chocolate is a big plus, too, and we’ve got an incredible dessert table lined up for the Prom.) What do you love about a night out with the girls?

We’ll choose a name (AT RANDOM) on Wednesday and notify you via email, so please watch your inbox. We want the winner to have a few days to make plans  to attend.

WHAT IS MOM PROM? Just in case you don’t already know, the NWA Mom Prom is a massive girls’ night out, intended for women and mothers age 21 and up. (You don’t have to be a mom to attend, but you do have to be female and 21.)

It looks and sounds just like a real prom, except we ditched all the teenage drama and angst and left only the fun stuff. This is the PERFECT opportunity to dress up, go out with your friends, eat, dance, laugh, have professional and photo booth photos made with your buddies, AND possibly win one of the amazing raffle prizes featured at Mom Prom.

There’s no other event like this one in NWA. Although Mom Proms happen across the country in various cities, this is the ONLY one in the state of Arkansas. A portion of proceeds go to support a local non-profit called Laundry Love, which partners with laundromats throughout NWA to clean the clothes of those living in poverty. Laundry Love is an initiative of The Cobblestone Project.

Mom Prom Are You InWE WANT YOU THERE! As moms who watch our pennies, we completely understand that many moms are reluctant to spend money on themselves and might not buy a $40 ticket to Mom Prom for that reason. We’re careful with money, too, so we get it. But please keep in mind that this is one of the least expensive charity fundraisers in our area and it offers a huge return.

Not only do you get five hours of entertainment with friends, you also get free professional photos, photo booth pictures, amazing food and desserts, and you’ll leave with a really cute Swag Bag, sponsored this year by Pinnacle Hills Promenade Mall and stuffed full of goodies. In short, this is a DEAL, ladies. The cost of the ticket is likely the same or lower than what you’d spend on dinner, drinks and a movie with friends, and the money raised goes to a wonderful non-profit which helps families in our area.

And yes, you really DO have something to wear to Mom Prom. We guarantee that something you have in your closet right npinnacle-hills-promenade-logoow will work. Last year there was a wide range of dresses represented at Mom Prom — everything from casual summer maxi dresses to formal floor-length gowns. Anything goes! Just wear something you feel great in. Click HERE to get your ticket right now.

Here are a few of the highlights about this year’s prom:

DANCING QUEENS, REPORT TO THE DANCE FLOOR: We happen to think dancing is pretty good for the soul and a seFlooring America logorious stress reliever. We had so many women dancing at last year’s Mom Prom that we ran out of dance floor and spilled over onto the carpet. So this year we’re bringing in a larger, seriously cool LED dance floor to kick the party up to the next level. The high-tech dance floor is sponsored by Flooring America by Carpetsmart.

LADIES LOUNGING Theraderm Clinical Skin Care is sponsoring the gorgeous lounge area at this year’s Mom Prom. The lounge is full of beautiful white sofas and is the perfect spot to sit with friends, have a drink and snacks, and take a little breather from all the dancing. There will also be ladies from Theraderm there providing some free pampering services like hand massages. (No need to buy a thing! This is all complimentary, thanks to our awesome Lounge Sponsor.)

theraderm

first bankBEST FOOT FORWARD: First Bank is sponsoring the “Shoe Bank” again this year! Woo-hoo! That was such a hit last year as moms “deposited” their sparkly shoes in the cubbies. After dancing the night away, Prom attendees could “withdraw” their shoes.

brieshiGLAM SQUAD AT YOUR SERVICE: The “Mom Prom Glam Squad” is a new addition this year and we KNOW you’re gonna love it! Stylists and make-up artists from Brieshi Salon and Spa in Rogers will be at the Prom, located near the photo areas, to touch up your make-up and fix any fly-away hair for you — free o’ charge! Haven’t you always wanted your own glam squad, just like the celebrities use? Well, now you do.

You’ll want to let the Glam Squad get you all fixed up before you visit the Photo Shoot Station, which will once again be sponsored and hosted by our favorite local photographer, the amazing Lisa Mac of Lisa Mac Photography. (Remember all those incredible shots she took last year? We’re SO PUMPED she is back for this year’s Mom Prom.) Once again, all photos will be available for free download a week or two after Prom night.

A PHOTO BOOTH MACHINE, TOO! Because the Prom photos were SO popular last year, we’ve added an additional photo area to this year’s Mom Prom. (You can do both areas!) There’ll be the Photo Shoot station, just like last year. And there will also be a traditional Photo Booth Machine that you climb into with a few friends. The photo booth will print your picture card immediately so you’ll have a memory to take home and put on your fridge immediately. The new Photo Booth is sponsored by Sisters Mercy Women’s Health Boutique.

sisterslogoNEW PROM QUEEN PERKS! The 2014 Mom Prom Queen will truly feel like royalty when she’s crowned and then presented with a sash, crown, flowers and a $500 First Security Bank Visa card! First Security’s signature color is teal, so the Prom Queen sash will be that color as well. The Prom Queen is chosen at random from among all ticket holders, so anyone can win!

First Security bank betterRAFFLE REVELRY: One of this year’s raffle items will blow your mind. It’s a brand new washer and dryer set from Metro Appliances & More! For a $2 raffle ticket, you might end up with appliances that normally sell for over $1,000, delivered to your laundry room. Sweet, huh?

TheMustache_Fay-Bent_CS5_TMNEW CELEBRITY DATES! The celebrity guys were a HUGE hit last year. Those hunks were hauled from one end of the ballroom to the other (and visited at least one hotel room before coming back downstairs to party!). Sponsored by The Mustache, we’ll have some new dates for you to dance with and snap pics with this year!

A BALLROOM FIT FOR A QUEEN: If you want to stretch Prom night into a slumber party at the hotel, you can! Just book a hotel room at the awesome Holiday Inn by calling 479-751-8300 and mention the Mom Prom to get a discounted room rate. This hotel staff went above and beyond to help make last year’s prom amazing and they’re already making sure we have everything we need to make this one spectacular Prom Night! Once again, Metroplex Even Center will turn the hotel ballroom into a work of art worthy of so many pretty women. We have some new decor ideas that we know you’ll love. The Party Place is helping us out with some special plans this year as well. Back by popular demand, the awesome Dancenhance DJ at last year’s Mom Prom is coming back for this year’s party! His name is Frankie, and he takes song requests. :-)

Socialize with us before, during and after the Mom Prom on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The hashtag is #nwaMomProm. Be sure to like the NWA Mom Prom page on FB by clicking here. We’re making room for about 100 additional women at this year’s Mom Prom, so please tell your friends who might not have come last year.

Questions? Email us at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com. And be sure to check in often at nwaMotherlode.com and nwaMomProm.com for news about additional Mom Prom surprises. Can’t wait to see you all at the Mom Prom!

Giveaway: If you’re a blogger or want to start blogging, you’ll love this!

Sofabcon save the date

If you’re a blogger and would like to step up your game — or if you’d just like to dip a toe into the blogging world — the Social Fabric Conference is a great place to start.

And the best part is we’ve got 2 SoFabCon tickets to give away so you can check it out for ZERO dollars with another friend who might be interested in learning more about ruling a little corner of the blogosphere :)

ABOUT SoFabCon: Think of it as a retreat from the day-to-day, and a focus on the big picture. SoFabCon is a unique experience between bloggers and industry professionals. One that gives both parties a seat at the table to build true relationships and learn from one another. It’s a time to have fun, be enlightened, be inspired and get to know bloggers from all over.

The idea of SoFabCon originated as a place where Collective Bias’ Social Fabric community members could meet face-to-face, build relationships with clients they’ve worked with and continue their education as a Blogger Professional. It quickly morphed into an event for all bloggers and influencers interested in learning some new skills, meeting new people and learning more about Collective Bias and Social Fabric.

Collective Bias® is a publisher of high-quality, user-generated content that creates conversational relevance for brands at scale. Social Fabric®, is CB’s proprietary community of influencers — a.k.a. bloggers who have interests and blogs about all sorts of topics.

Here’s a video recap from last year, which should give you a little insight:

HOW TO ENTER: Just click on the comment button below and tell us the name of your blog (and feel free to add a link!) or what you’d like to write about if you ever started one.

Would you blog about fashion, motherhood, a specific struggle?

You may also email your answer to us at giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING: If you’d like to increase your odds of winning these 2 conference tickets, just share! Email friends and family about the giveaway and CC us so we’ll be sure to give you credit. We’ll give you an extra chance to win for each person SoFabCon_2014_Badges-21you tell. The email is giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

(You can also earn an extra chance to win by signing up to receive the free email newsletter we send once a week. The sign-up box is at the top right of this page.)

BE SOCIAL: You can also earn extra chances to win by commenting on our Facebook page, following us on Twitter or following us on Pinterest. If you do any of those, just mention it in your comment or email so we can give you proper credit.

TICKET INFO: If you don’t want to take any chances on winning these tickets, CLICK HERE to buy one or to find out more about the event.

Good luck! We’ll choose a winner on Friday and email you on Monday (AFTER Mom Prom! HA!)

 

Devotion in Motion: The Beauty of Faith on Easter Morning

6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.

7 “But go, tell His disciples–and Peter–that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” Mark 16:6,7 (NKJV)

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

My favorite preacher of all time is Dr. Martin Luther. If you were paying attention in school, you’ll remember that he started the Reformation back in Germany over 500 years ago.

At first glance, that such an ancient author is my favorite constant companion sounds incredibly boring. But the writings of Brother Martin fill my heart with spiritual light and unspeakable joy because his writings are so very real; He is humble and yet profound, deep and yet earthy and humorous.

Though he lived so long ago, he understands the blessings and struggles of the Christian life—which are the same now as back then. (Believe it or not, Susan and Spencer have begun to share my love of this pastor after stumbling upon my books—after thinking me to be somewhat of a crackpot for so many years. I’m expecting Seth to jump on the bandwagon next.)

Throughout my adult life, the volumes of Luther have always been on my nightstand and are my nightly devotional reading before I turn out the light. Susan always says, “You love Martin Luther more than you could ever possibly love me.” I always give her the same answer: “Not more, honey. Just different.” You see, in my estimation, no one understands and expresses the beauty of our faith better than Martin Luther.

Every Easter I find myself at a loss for words—I just don’t have words good enough to express what I feel about what God did for us on that happy resurrection morning. Since I can’t find the words I need, I’m borrowing them from Martin Luther’s prayer on Easter Sunday, 1533. I hope his words make you as happy as they make me. (The formatting and emphasis is mine.)

Almighty God,

Who through the death of Thy Son hast destroyed sin and death,

And through His resurrection hast restored innocence and eternal life

That we, being delivered from the power of the devil,

May live in Thy kingdom,

Grant that we may believe this with our whole heart

And steadfast in this faith, ever praise and thank Thee,

Through Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grant, dear Lord God,

That the blessed Day of Thy holy advent may come soon,

So that we may be redeemed

From this bad, wicked world

(The devil’s dominion)

And freed from the terrible plague that we must suffer

From without and within

(From wicked people and our own conscience.)

Do Thou dispatch this old maggot sack

That we may finally get a different body,

Which is not full of sin,

Inclined to unchasteness and to everything evil

(As this present one is)

But one that is redeemed from all bodily and spiritual misery

And made like unto Thy glorious body, dear Lord Jesus Christ,

That we may at last come to our glorious redemption.

Amen.

(From our house to your house, have a wonderful Easter. Take time to feel the joy. Jesus Christ is risen, indeed! Allelujah!)

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 28 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 until recently taught Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church. Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

The Rockwood Files: A Tale of Two Dishwashers

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

I’ve heard horror stories about how some spouses constantly butt heads with their in-laws. And I’m lucky because I don’t have those war stories. I love my husband’s family and he loves mine, and we’re blessed to get along the way we do.

But there’s one tiny bone of contention between my husband and my mother, and I land squarely in the middle of the debate. Perhaps you can be the judge. The question revolves around the proper loading of a dishwasher, and the issue comes up after we have Sunday lunch together and start the clean-up process.

In this corner is my mother, who has never once loaded a truly dirty dish into any dishwasher – hers or mine. She washes and rinses the dishes first and then puts them into the dishwasher for what she calls “sterilization.” In her mind, the dishwasher is an dishwasher2extra safety check to ensure the dishes have received “a good scald” and are therefore germ-free.

But rest assured you could safely eat from any plate she puts into the dishwasher well before she runs the wash cycle because it has already been scrubbed, rinsed and examined with a careful eye. She treats forks and spoons like a surgeon treats scalpels and retractors.

In the other corner is my husband, who has never once loaded anything resembling a clean dish into any dishwasher. He, like many men, takes the name “dishwasher” literally. If the machine is supposed to wash the dishes, then by all means, “let’s let it wash the dishes!” he insists. After all, there are other things to do and Sunday afternoon naps to be taken. Why waste time scrubbing lasagna remnants off of plates when we’ve invested in this expensive piece of machinery that’s supposed to do it for us?

But the debate doesn’t end there. When my mom loads the dishwasher, she’s careful to leave plenty of perimeter space around each and every dish and utensil. She worries that if the plates and bowls don’t have enough breathing room, they’ll be blocked off from all that hot, sanitizing water.

Tom, on the other hand, has a theory about how many dirty dishes will fit into the dishwasher. It goes something like this: “The number of dirty dishes in the kitchen is the same number that will safely fit into the dishwasher at any one time.” In his mind, the dirty dishes of two people or 20 people can and will fit into the dishwasher, if you just put your mind to it and pack them in there efficiently.

Remember that old commercial about how there’s “always room for Jell-O”? Tom applies that same logic to cups and plates, too. I must admit he is a master when it comes to finding that one last nook or cranny of available space.

A few weeks ago, as Tom squeezed yet another cup into what my mother deemed an overly full dishwasher, she actually put down her scrub brush, shook her head and said, “I just can’t watch this.” She had to avert her eyes from the horror of all those cups packed into the top rack like so many dirty sardines.

My philosophy is simple. Don’t criticize the cleaning method of anyone – mother or husband – who helps with the dishes because that criticism might dampen their willingness to help in the future.

But I can tell you this: When I unload the dishwasher, I can always tell which one of those two people loaded it, and I’m reminded of the opening line to that famous Dickens novel: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

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.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

Mealtime Mama: Truffle eggs for Easter brunch

ceri's recipe for easter

Our foodie friend, Ceri Wilkin (who blogs at Recipe Doodle) sent us this awesome recipe for truffle eggs. Aren’t they beautiful?

Ceri said these adorable eggs are fun (and easy) to make — plus they taste delicious!

Truffle Eggs

1/4 cup cream

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons nutella

1/2 pound white candy coating disks

5 to 6 drops of blue food coloring

1/2 to 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Directions: In a saucepan, bring the cream, butter and corn syrup to a boil. Add chocolate and nutella and remove from the heat (do not stir). Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until combined.

Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for 45 to 60 minutes or until thickened, stirring every 15 minutes.

Shape 1 tablespoon of chocolate mixture into an egg. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. Refrigerate until firm, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt candy coating, stir until smooth. Stir in food coloring. Dip eggs into cane coating, allow excess to drip off. Return to baking sheet and immediately sprinkle with coffee granules. Let stand until set.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home, Easter Recipe Cards, April 2012

ceriMore about Ceri: I am a wife, mother and recipe follower. For years I have tackled one new recipe a day – some are fabulous, some are not. In a past life I was an Occupational Therapist, Rugby and Netball player, Belly Dancer, lesson taker of golf, tennis and wine appreciation. My Husband owns Pizzerias, my Father was a butcher, my Mother a caterer, my older Brother makes the absolute best birthday cakes and desserts you will ever taste, my younger Brother owns restaurants in New Zealand and my kids love to eat. (Find more of Ceri’s great recipes at Recipe Doodle)

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