Mamas on Magic 107.9: Time-saving tips and tricks

time saver sliderIf there’s one thing moms are almost always short on, it’s time. We’re constantly wishing for a few more hours in the day to help us conquer the mountain of things we’d like to get done.

So we spent a week during our radio show talking about some of the best time-saving techniques we could find, using our own experience as well as insights we gathered from all over the Internet. Click the LEFT side of each audio bar below to learn a few new time-saving tricks to make your own daily routine run a little smoother.

(And don’t forget to join us in the mornings for the Mamas on Magic 107.9 radio segments! They’re on the air at about 7:45 each morning on Magic 107.9.)

Saving time for spontaneous summer fun

Saving time on email and how to get out of the house faster.

Saving time in the morning

Saving time when filling out school forms or registration forms

Saving time in the kitchen

On Your Mind: 4-year-old power struggles with Mom

onyourmindThe question below reached us through our “online hotline” button which lets anyone send a question to Lauren Levine, a local counselor — completely anonymous. The email comes in with no email address and no identifying information. We set it up this way so women would feel free to write about anything on their mind.

Question from reader:

My 4-year-old son and I have a difficult relationship. We fight so often about so many different things, from picking his room up to simple things like apologizing to his little brother. I try not to make it a power struggle, but where is the line between discipline and creating power struggle?

He is potty trained but he has started having accidents during the day. I’m beginning to wonder if this is him trying assert his control or could it be something more, and how would I know? I want a loving and more stress-free relationship but I don’t know what else to try.

Dear Mom,

“Parenting is easy” said no one EVER!!

Yes. Once a parent grabs the bait and engages in a power struggle, it’s game over. There is no “winning.” You sound like a thoughtful and caring mom. Your sense of your son having accidents as a way to exert control may be accurate. (Before making this judgment, however, I would  check with primary care physicians to rule out any physical causes.)

Many moms believe that overpowering “authoritarian parenting” is the only way. This style of parenting often includes yelling, shaming and scolding and often results in a diminished sense of self and ability to feel confident in one’s own decision making. There are many more thoughtful, respectful methods of parenting. Here are some ideas:

peaceful parentsInstead of seeing child’s ability to “push back” as bad behavior, try to understand it as a positive healthy sign of his development. Consider finding ways to support your child in feeling empowered. When he doesn’t always feel overpowered, he won’t feel the need to engage in a battle as often.

So how does one do this? Always consider offering reasonable choices — choices that you are willing and able to follow through on. Rather than dictating orders ask “this or that.” Rather than saying “Pick up all those toys now” change it to “Which toys would you like to pick up first?” Or “Which shirt would you like to wear today?” instead of “Here are your clothes. Get dressed.” Children who feel respected will disengage from the need to battle.

I often comment that when we parent by the seat of our pants we resort to punishment, but if we have a plan in place we can offer opportunity to work towards reward. And who doesn’t respond better to positive reinforcement?

This is a very short response to huge and ongoing questions.

Make sure to use resources that are available to you. Www.mommybites.com is a wonderful online resource which offers free parenting classes and advice as well as many helpful articles. Many community centers and schools offer parenting support . I often recommend a book called Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids:  How to stop yelling and start connecting , by Dr. Laura Markham. It offers practical tools for parenting without a power struggle.

Don’t try and do this alone. Remember It takes a village.”

Sincerely,

Lauren

photolaurenCLICK HERE to read more about therapist Lauren Levine. If you’d like to ask Lauren a question about something on your mind, click the butterfly icon below and submit your question. The form is NOT tied to your email address or any other identifying information, therefore your question will be submitted anonymously. You can read the answer to your question by reading the therapist’s response here on nwaMotherlode.com.

Click HERE to read other questions and answers in the On Your Mind category.

on your mindlauren info

NWA Fairs & Festivals Guide, Summer/Fall 2014

fairs and festivals guide 2014

Tontitown Grape Festival

grape festival logoFree admission, free parking, free nightly entertainment. Grape stomp, carnival rides, spaghetti dinners.

Dates: Aug. 5-9

Time: Varies

Location: Tontitown.

More info: Click here for a schedule of events

Benton County Fair

Date: Aug. 12-16

Time: Varies

Location: Benton County Fairgrounds

More info: Click here

benton county fair 2

Washington County Fair

Date: Aug. 26-30

Time: Varies

Location: Washington County Fairgrounds

More info: Click here

washingotn county fair

30th Annual Frisco Festival

Date: Aug. 22-23

Time: Varies

Location: Downtown Rogers

More info: Click here to see the schedule of events.

Fayetteville Roots Festival

Date: Aug. 28-31

Time: Varies

Location: Various venues, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

roots festival

63rd Annual Clothesline Festival, Prairie Grove

Date: Aug. 30-Sept. 1

Time: Varies

Location: Prairie Grove Battlefield Park grounds

More info: Click here

clothesline fair

37th Annual Ozark Quilt Fair

Date: Sept. 13

Location: Shiloh Museum, Springdale

More info: Click here

Terra Studios’ 7th Annual Fall Music Festival

bluebird of happinessDate: Sept. 14

Time:  Noon to 5 p.m.

Location: Terra Studios, Durham

More info: Click here

Oktoberfest

Date: Oct. 4

Location: Frisco Park, Rogers

More info: Click here

5th Annual EurekaPalooza Outdoor Festival

Date: Oct. 4

Location: Lake Leatherwood, Eureka Springs

More info: Click here

Ozark Folk Festival

Date: Oct. 7-11

Time: Varies

Location: Eureka Springs

More info: Click here

Good Gossip: Sexy wedding, first job and celeb pets!

good gossip celebrities

Yes, we do love a little celebrity gossip but we also know it’s not cool to do something we teach our kids NOT to do. It’s never okay 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.

adam levinePeople’s “Sexiest Man Alive” is now a husband to model Behati Prinsloo. She and Adam Levine tied the knot on July 19th in Mexico. The wedding weekend was complete with a beach bash fiesta with margaritas and lots of music. There were 275 guests at the wedding, including some famous  names like Robert Downey Jr. and Jason Segel. And get this — the person who officiated the 20-minute ceremony was Jonah Hill! Adam and Jonah have known each other since childhood. Singer Stevie Nicks was also at the ceremony and performed her song “Landslide” for the couple’s first dance. The newlyweds are now said to be honeymooning in South Africa.

US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHURCHDoesn’t this sound like a cool summer job? The President’s daughter, 16-year-old Malia Obama, did an internship as a production assistant on the set of Halle Berry‘s new TV show called Extant. It has been reported that she has an interest in film-making.

cake bossSpeaking of the President and his family, Buddy Valastro — who is better known as the Cake Boss on TLC Channel — said that the cake he really wants to make one day is a cake for a President. Ï just want to go to the White House and say, ‘Mr. President, I made you this cake.’ I would do a replica of the White House and I would have the President and his family standing on the front lawn.” (And we bet it would be delicious, too.)

miranda_lambert_dogs-210x280If you’re an animal lover who also happens to love a little celebrity good gossip, check out the latest issue of People magazine because there’s a feature story that includes LOTS of celebs and their pets. We love the shot of Miranda Lambert (who was rocking out at the Northwest Arkansas AMP not long ago) with her collection of six rescued dogs. She calls them her babies and says that there is a plaque in her house that says, “There is always room for one more dog.”

Source: People magazine, August 4, 2014 issue

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.)

See who won the NWA Mall Shopping Spree!

cori fryar

Congratulations, Cori Fryar!

Cori, mom of two, won the shopping spree to the NWA Mall after being chosen at random among all the folks who voted in our annual Mom-Approved Awards. We’ll announce the businesses who won soon. Be looking for that post!

In the meantime, we asked Cori a few questions so we could all get to know her a little better:

Tell us a little about your family:

I am a 5th grade teacher at Lee Elementary in Springdale. My wonderful husband, Matt, is a lawyer at Cypert, Crouch, Clark, and Harwell, PLLC, in downtown Springdale. We have two beautiful daughters – Katie (4) and Anna (3).

Tell us about a typical day in your life:

Well, it depends on what time of the year it is! During the school year, I wake up around 5:30 to get ready for school, get my girls up around 6:45 to get them ready for school, and I leave the house at 7:15! My husband takes the kids to school at 7:45 and then goes to work. I spend most of my day with my wonderful 5th graders and come home and spend my evenings playing baby dolls and watching Doc Mcstuffins, Sofia the First, and Dora with my two daughters and husband!

During the summer, we wake up whenever, lounge around in the morning, play outside, go swimming at the Elks Lodge, get sno cones, and usually play outside in the evening! Totally different than during the school year, but I love both times!!

What do you think you’ll buy with your gift certificates?

Definitely back-to-school clothes!

Which businesses are you really rooting for to win Mom-Approved Awards? My girls go to Oak Grove Montessori School in Springdale, so I’d love to see them win!

How long have you lived in NWA? I have lived in NWA my entire life and even managed to stay here after marrying a boy from Hot Springs!! I love NWA and am so glad that I get to raise my girls here.

We’d like to say thank you to everyone who voted in the Mom-Approved awards. This list will come in handy for moms who are looking for the best of the best NWA mom-friendly businesses.

Mom-Approved Certificate 2014 USE THIS

Devotion in Motion: The still, small voice

12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19: 12 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash
Editor’s note: This column follows a previous post about the Desiderata (Latin for “the things to be desired.”) The following line is taken from this beautiful poem, and an analysis follows.

“Speak your truth quietly and clearly;”

Sooner or later, all schoolteachers are asked to babysit somebody else’s class for an hour or two. Finding myself in that situation, I’ve often given the following introductory talk to the class. “Students, your teacher had to leave the building suddenly, and I have been left in charge of you with no lesson plans. Therefore, I will allow you to talk quietly, as long as it doesn’t get too ridiculous. And I want you all to be aware of a profound belief that I have. It is called ‘Cash’s Law of Classroom Conversation.’

Cash’s Law states that, if you are speaking or telling a story, and you find yourself having to get louder, and louder, and LOUDER in order to be heard, there’s a strong possibility that nobody is interested in what you’re saying.”

Believe it or not, that statement often begins a discussion that will take up a good portion of the class period. Young people love to discuss (and argue), and they love truth. The dialogue this statement starts is always a quiet and civil one, too. After all, if a student finds himself becoming too boisterous and loud, he quickly realizes that the others have grown tired of him monopolizing the floor, and he should give others a chance to express their opinions. In conversation, quietness really is a wonderful thing.

I have a beautiful Bible story for you to read this week. It is found in 1 Kings 19, and it’s about how God strengthened Elijah the prophet when he was run-down and depressed. The Lord fed the prophet, gave him water to drink, and allowed him to catch up on his sleep. Then He told Elijah to go to the mountain while He revealed Himself to the man of God. First there was a mighty wind. But the Lord was not in the mighty wind. Then there was an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then there was a still small voiceblazing fire. But God was not in the blazing fire.

And finally, there was a still, small voice. And this time it was different — because the Lord revealed Himself in the still, small voice.

So, this week, turn down your volume when you’re talking to your children. Then turn down the volume of the world around you. Listen for God’s still, small voice and He will restore your soul.

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 country mornings are very peaceful and quiet.) Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

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!

The Rockwood Files: Refrigerator shame

rockwood files colorBy Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

My refrigerator made a fool of me today. This morning when I came downstairs to the kitchen, it was croaking – loudly. It sounded like an elderly frog was frog in rocking chairinside it, sitting in a creaky rocking chair that got louder each time he rocked back. I could hear it across the room.

So I did what most of us do when a complex piece of machinery starts to make a weird noise we don’t understand: I smacked it. But it went right on croaking at regular intervals, completely undeterred.

Having exhausted all my repair expertise with that unsuccessful smack on the side of the fridge, I called our appliance repair guy, Steve. I told him about the loud croaking noise and asked if he could swing by to check it out. With an out-of-town trip on the horizon, I wanted to make sure we didn’t come home to a dead fridge full of spoiled food.

A few hours later, Steve showed up at the door holding his appliance doctor bag, ready to inspect the refrigerator that sounded like it was croaking, both literally and figuratively. He followed me into the kitchen and we both sidled up to the refrigerator and listened – to nothing.

It had gone completely silent. All we could hear was the occasional clink of an ice cube falling into the freezer tray below.

“Just give it a minute. It was definitely croaking this morning, and it was loud. Tom heard it, too,” I said, hoping that an ear witness would make me seem less crazy.

So we waited. And waited, enveloped by the sound of silence. Embarrassed that I’d made a big deal out of what was turning into nothing, I did the only thing that can make this kind of situation even more awkward – I did my best impression of the croaking sound and asked what might make that kind of noise.

Steve did some official-looking diagnostic things, hoping to prove I wasn’t as nuts as I sounded. He laid down on the kitchen floor with his flashlight and peered underneath the fridge. Then he took a long screwdriver and scraped something out from under it which turned out to be the largest grey dust bunny I’ve ever seen. It was more like a dust bear. I think I even saw it move once.

With no croaking and no answers in sight, Steve pulled the refrigerator out from the wall so he could get a look behind it. That’s when I learned something I’m guessing is universally true, no matter how clean you think your kitchen is. Behind the refrigerator, we’re all slobs. All of us. It’s a nightmare back there. I’ve seen things I can’t ever un-see.

“Steve, is it this bad behind most people’s refrigerators?” I asked, ashamed of the dead dust bear at his feet and the wasteland of dust balls, crumbs, bread twist ties, and unidentifiable food fragments under the fridge.

“Oh, sure,” he said in the most non-judgmental way. (And that’s how you know you’ve got a good repair guy because he will reassure you that you’re not disgusting even when it’s obvious that you are.)

Steve let me clean a few things behind the fridge before pushing it back toward the wall, where it will likely gather another nine years’ worth of God-knows-what. He packed up his bag and said the loud croaking could possibly be the refrigerator’s fan on the fritz. It’s hard to know for sure because the fridge played a game of “quiet mouse” as soon as Steve showed up, so we’ll have to wait it out.

When it starts croaking again – and you know it will – I’m going to record it so I’ll have proof. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and I’m getting a new fridge.

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

Blog 66: Things to do in Denver, Colorado

blog66

Shannon and Gwen dreamed up this nwaMotherlode feature during a looong drive to a blogger conference in Nashville a few years ago. They interview bloggers across the U.S. (and beyond), looking for tips from the people who know their cities best. Most recently we chatted with bloggers a little closer to home in Little Rock. Twice!

This month, we head over to beautiful Denver with blogger Emily Vanek of Colorado Moms as our guide:

When you’re in Denver, you should definitely plan to eat at …

Casa Bonita! Where else can you see cliff divers and get endless sopapillas? Also Little Man Ice Cream or Sweet Cow Ice Cream are great places to beat the heat.

You do NOT want to miss seeing …

Denver-Mountain-Parks-Logo_smallRed Rocks. A park, hiking trails and the world famous amphitheater. Views of the city are just a hike away!

A few “hidden gems” that only the locals know about …

The splash pad at the Westminster Promenade. Hidden behind the hustle and bustle of the shopping area is a great wade pool area with tons of shade. There is also a great indoor play area at Cherry Creek Mall, perfect to let the kids run around when it’s cold or raining outside.

The most kid-friendly hotels are …

Omni Interlocken has a great kids program. Also the Curtis Hotel Downtown has themed floors and just steps away from the 16th Street Mall.

For couples-only excursions, stay here …

Cheyenne Mountain Resort just 90 minutes south in Colorado Springs. Great views, heated outdoor pool that can be enjoyed year round and great restaurants are nearby.

Cheyenne Mountain Resort

Cheyenne Mountain Resort

If you visit when it’s cold, you can enjoy …

Summit County. Just 90 minutes west to great Ski areas like Keystone, A-Basin, Copper Mountain and Breckenridge!

If you visit in the summer, you’ll like playing here …

water worldWaterWorld! A huge water park with tons of thrill rides, kiddie pools and fun for the whole family!

One of the most awesome things about Denver is …

You are only less than 90 min away from the best ski areas, great outlets malls and many other adventures!

I would describe the “vibe” in Denver as …

Laid back. Don’t be in a hurry, just find a great place to sit and stare at the Rocky Mountains.

Denver is a good vacation choice because …

There are tons of things to do all around Denver and into the mountains. Catch a game at Coors Field, visit the Museum of Nature & Science, take a hike around Bear Creek Lake.

emily vanek, blog 66Emily Vanek is the owner and editor-in-chief of ColoradoMoms.com. Her work is also featured on 5minutesforSpecialNeeds.com, SavvySource.com and TimetoPlayMag.com. She and her husband live with their three sons near Denver. Her youngest child is on the Autism Spectrum, so she is passionate about connecting with parents with special needs. In her spare time, she knits, shops, and reads. She is also a master tortoise wrangler and expert in getting water out of various electronics (don’t ask).

Life with Ladybug: Back to life. Back to reality.

shan at the beach

On our way back from Panama City Beach in Florida, we stopped by my parents’ house to spend the night – and to pick up a chicken.

No, not KFC. Against my better judgment, we were bringing home one of the chickens from my mom’s flock to join our lone chicken survivor, Tessa (we lost our other two chickens recently).

That morning, as we visited over my mother’s homemade waffles, she commented, “Well, vacation is over. Back to reality.”

I groaned at her words, but as I took another sip of my hot tea, I realized that the thought didn’t actually make me sad. I pondered over why that was and came to the conclusion that I love my work, my community, my life.

My reality doesn’t bite. So heading back wasn’t a bad thing.

Sure, there are plenty of things I’ll miss about vacation. Things like:

The food. No cooking! No clean-up! One of my favorite meals was at Great Southern Café (my daughter also gave this restaurant the Best Lemonade Award from along all the places we ate along the Panhandle). We also had fun seeing the alligators and eating crab legs at Bayou Bill’s Crab House. I’m not typically a sushi fan, but we also had a great experience at the restaurant FireFly. Our waiter was amazing and had actually lived in NWA for a time a few years back. I tried my husband’s Bubba Roll and it was gooooood. It was cooked, so I didn’t get all ooged out about raw fish. I also loved my Caesar salad with blue crab.

Great Southern Cafe salad

Great Southern Cafe salad

The sunsets. Wow, those Florida sunsets. Gorgeous.

sunset

The ocean sounds. I love the sounds of waves lapping against the shore. I even have a sound machine so I can hear the beach anytime, right here in Northwest Arkansas. Granted, it doesn’t sound exactly the same, but it still has a calming effect.

view from our balcony

The view from our balcony

Endless fun without the interruption of work. I didn’t say “Hang on! Just let me answer this one last email” even once. My daughter noticed.

The awesome pillows. Seriously, I miss my Holiday Inn Resort bed pillow. That was a first.

Riding bikes at Rosemary Beach. We had a great time riding around the little town. It’s so pretty!

That eclectic book store. We loved visiting Sun Dog books while we were visiting Seaside. It’s so adorable and we bought a few new beach reads (as if we didn’t already have a stack to mow through).

Sun Dog Books, Seaside

Sun Dog Books, Seaside

But, truthfully?

I’m glad to be back home where reality is doing laundry from the trip, jumping with both feet back into my work groove, setting up lunches with friends and enjoying Game of Thrones marathons with my husband (where I can mostly be found with my eyes shut tight, my fingers in my ears and humming so I can’t see or hear what’s on the screen).

That said, I do believe vacations – or even staycations where the whole family is out of their routine together – is a balm for the soul. It’s nice to be pampered and to experience the bonding that naturally happens when you have fun together as a family unit. And the beach is my happy place (my husband’s, too).

As I took my dishes to my mother’s sink after breakfast, I remembered that the day before we left Florida, my daughter expressed regret at having to come back home.

And I told her: “It is better to have vacationed and departed than to never have vacationed before.”

Au revoir, Panama City Beach. Hello, realistic {lovely} life.

shan, blue dress, circleShannon Magsam is mama to Ladybug (a salty/sweet tween girl who still likes things like superheroes and unicorns, thank goodness) is wife to newspaperman/entrepreneur John and is co-founder of nwaMotherlode.com.

Check out Mercy’s new mobile health bus!

mobile unitWe all know people who are reluctant to go to a doctor’s office, right? And some people live so far out in the country that a trip to the doctor is a real challenge. So what if the doctors and nurses come to you?

Mercy has a new mobile health bus valued at $650,000 that will be used to reach rural communities and under-served patients throughout Northwest Arkansas and beyond. The 40-foot long bus is 8-feet wide and can provide everything from mammograms to heart screenings, giving people immediate test results. The bus may also be used for charity care services.

The bus is part of a $1 million dollar investment Mercy is making to reach more patients in need.

If you’d like to see the bus in person, you can get a tour of the new motor coach next week on Tuesday, July 29th at 10 a.m. at the General Mills office, which is located at 3605 Southern Hills Boulevard, Suite 300, in Rogers. (If your kids or teens are interested in the medical profession, this would be a cool experience for them to see this kind of mobile medical facility in person.)

Beauty Buzz: I’m too young for wrinkles!

beauty buzz, nwaMotherlode.com

Dear Andi,

I’m trying to be realistic about the aging process, but I feel like I’m getting wrinkles much earlier than my friends the same age. Is there something that could be causing this?

Barring basic genetics, where my understanding falls somewhere around “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree,” there are habits you may have picked up over the years that are causing you to get more wrinkles than your contemporaries.

Unfortunately, some of the damage may have been done years ago and can’t be undone, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late.

Smoking, for one, even “socially” is notorious for causing the fine lines around the mouth that plague many women. (This of course is a superficial side effect, but we all know the spiel on smoking. If you’re not sure, ask your 3rd grader who will be brutally honest with you.) If you’re still a smoker, it’s not too late to stop and work on reversing the damage.

tanning bed gogglesTanning is more commonly associated with skin discoloration and age spots but still attribute to the new and unwanted texture that is aging your skin. Even if you have finally started listening to the warnings and applying the SPF, those baby oil days by the lake have a delayed effect that can take you by surprise.

The way you rest your head on your pillow can cause wrinkles to form on the dominant side, no matter how soft your pillow. I’ve heard plastic surgeons say they can tell which way a person sleeps just by looking at their face…yikes. Sleeping on your back is the best way to avoid the repercussions of your “beauty sleep”. Strategic placement of pillows can help you retrain your natural sleep position.

The same trouble can arise if you regularly lean on your left hand while working at a desk or rub your eyes and forehead in exasperation when you have told little humans TO PUT ON THEIR SHOES for the hundredth time.

Although it is almost unavoidable, pulling on your eyelids to put in your contacts or apply eyeliner can slowly reduce the elasticity of the delicate skin around your eyes. Try using your less dominant ring and pinkie fingers to pull the lids since they will be weaker.

So, what’s a mom to do?

Laser treatments, chemical peels and retinal treatments can help erase surface wrinkles and injections like Botox and fillers can root out some of the deeper wrinkles. But, none of these are permanent and can’t improve your overall skin quality on their own. That can be achieved by always using sunscreen on your face and hands (yup, unless you are a true southern belle and wear gloves everywhere, your hands are being constantly exposed to the UVs) and drinking plenty of water, as well as the changes I listed above.

I want to clarify before I go, there is nothing wrong with aging gracefully and loving the laugh lines you earned listening to endless knock-knock jokes, or the crows feet brought on by squinting into the sun at hundreds of baseball games.

I will never not have the freckles I earned at my many summer camps but the fact that my skin no longer bounces back after I apply eyeliner really bums me out. Embrace what makes you unique, including the steps you take to feel confident and beautiful.

One last thing: I recommend not watching videos of people getting injections online unless you are a healthcare professional or want the heebie-jeebies the rest of the day. (Shudder)

AndiAndi Douglas is the mama of three little ones and when she’s not playing house, reading them a book or trying to get them to go bed on time — adores playing with makeup. She loves to answer your beauty questions (including those about hair) so send ‘em on over! Just email them to mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com.

Mealtime Mama: Italian Style Roasted Peppers

mealtimemama-ONF

If  you love bell peppers (we do!), below is a unique recipe from the Ozark Natural Foods website to try this summer.

If you’d like to see other recipes on the ONF site, click here.

Italian Style Roasted Peppers

onf bell peppers4 large green bell peppers

1 large red pepper

2 large cloves garlic

3 Tbsp olive oil

Black pepper to taste

Directions: Wash and dry peppers. Place on greased baking sheet under broiler. Broil and turn peppers until skin gets black on all sides. Or, use tongs and hold over gas flame. Wrap in kitchen towel and allow to cool to touch (or place in paper bag and close) at least 10 minutes. Peel off charred skin, remove stem and seed. Cut into thin strips. Mix pepper strips with garlic, olive oil and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

ONF storeOzark Natural Foods is Northwest Arkansas’ natural-foods Co-op, owned by a community of more than 10,000 investors, most of whom live in Northwest Arkansas. ONF has been an essential part of the community for more than 40 years, growing with Fayetteville and the surrounding area.

Devotion in Motion: Be a peacemaker

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

Matthew 5:9 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Editor’s note: The following is part of a series of posts on the “Desiderata,” (which is Latin for “the things to be desired,”) The following two lines are taken from the poem.

Editor’s note: This column follows last week’s post about the Desiderata (Latin for “the things to be desired.”) The following two lines are taken from this beautiful poem. – See more at: http://nwamotherlode.com/nwacontent/devotion-in-motion#sthash.3ep8F6p9.dpuf

“As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.”

If you’ve got a household repair you need to do quickly, it’s awfully nice to have one of those cheap screwdriver sets. You know the set I’m talking about — it comes in a plastic box and has a handle with a bunch of interchangeable fittings. I wouldn’t want to put together a jungle gym with one, but for little jobs it can’t be beat. It’s nice to have one screwdriverhandle that works in so many situations.

My teachers have given me words of advice that are just like that screwdriver handle. A high school English teacher told me something I’ve found to be fascinating because it’s almost always true: “If you look, you can always find one more of anything.” Try this one out the next time you need one more hanger, one more Band-aid, or one more dime. You can’t always find two, but you can almost always find one more of anything.

My New Testament Theology professor, Bro. Robert H. Smith, gave me a word of advice that has guided my life ever since I heard it. He said, “John, don’t ever ‘burn a bridge behind you’ on purpose. You’ll do enough of that already on accident.” Whenever I’ve left a job or a situation, I’ve tried to remember what he told me. And as a result, I’ve been able to return again to previous employers, duties, and settings. It’s wonderful to cross back over a bridge you had the foresight not to burn.

In every circumstance in life, there are bound to be misunderstandings, friction, and aggravations. On “your way out,” it’s tempting to comment on injustices, explain the moral correctness of your actions, or take a parting shot at settling the score. But when you do that you always wind up looking like a small, petty person.

When my boys were tiny, Spencer was pestering Seth at the supper table. I told him, “Stop it, Mr. Troublemaker.” Spencer’s reply to me was both humorous and illuminating: “Okay, Mr. Peacemaker.”

I know my son was just making a joke, but I hope I can always find real ways to be a peacemaker in this broken world. The Bible tell us that “peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:18) That’s the reward for building bridges — instead of burning them behind you.

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 Autumn is in the air.) Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

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!

The Rockwood Files: Are you crazy busy?

rockwood files colorBy Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

A few years ago, I got a phone call from a friend and, as soon as I said hello, she said, almost apologetically, “Hey! It’s me. I hate to even call you because I know you’re extremely busy so I’ll make this fast…”

It was a light bulb moment that woke me up. Sure, I was busy. But was I so busy that I’d begun to miss out on the things I want most? Like conversations with good friends? Non-hurried time with family? A sense of calm? Because if I was, I needed to get a lot less busy – and fast.

Since that phone call, I’m more careful about how I answer the question, “How have you been?” Before, I might have rattled off a list of projects I was working on or how many loads of laundry I had piled up or how many times a week I drive the kids from here to there. I thought being busy was a sign that you were not only a productive member of society but also important, goal-oriented – necessary.

We Americans wear “busy” as a badge of honor. We mention how few hours of sleep we’re surviving on lately. We’re bone-tired but also confident that the constant flurry of activity is proof that our lives are not only full but meaningful.

But “busy” can become a beast – one that grows bigger and hungrier before we notice how much it’s eating us up. The beast cons us into thinking we’ll have time to slow down later – when things aren’t so busy. But the beast lies.

crazy busyI just finished reading an insightful book about busyness, which I spotted during a rushed trip to the store. It jumped out at me because there on the book’s green cover were two simple words that describe so many of the people I know: “Crazy Busy.”

As a recovering busy-aholic, I knew I should read it. (If you’re often slave to a beastly “to do” list, you might want to read it, too. It’s a short book, so it won’t become one more thing you’re “busy” doing.)

The author, Kevin DeYoung, admits he might be “the worst possible person to write this book.” As a minister, husband, father of five, author, speaker and blogger, the guy is about as busy as they come and struggles to not let his own busyness become crazy.

One of my favorite parts of the book is a passage about how much our own sense of pride factors into our busyness. Maybe we don’t always have to run in a zillion different directions, but we choose to because we’re afraid of missing out on something. Maybe we sacrifice the kind of life that’s important to us so we can keep up with the hustle and bustle of a life that just seems important. The author also points out how we often use technology to ensure that we’re never truly un-busy.

“Sometimes I wonder if I’m so busy because I’ve come to believe the lie that busyness is the point,” he writes. “And nothing allows you to be busy – all the time, with anyone anywhere – like having the whole world in a little black rectangle in your pocket.”

He doesn’t recommend ditching your iPhone and sitting on a yoga mat all day, and he’s careful not to make work sound like a bad thing. We’re supposed to be busy but not at the expense of things (and people) that make life truly worthwhile.

I don’t think busy is always bad. It’s a way of life for most of us. But it’s not the meaning of our lives. It’s not the whole point. And it would be a shame to miss out on life’s blessings just to keep feeding the beast we call “busy.”

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

Gardening: When, how long and how to water

By Tiffany Selvey, Master Gardener and mama of 1

We have had a really pleasant beginning to summer with warm days and plenty of rain. It’s very rare to make it to the beginning of July without having to occasionally break out the sprinkler system for the vegetable garden. This year has been the exception, which makes me happy because I have yet to set up my rain barrels, and am not excited about a significant increase in my water bill. Because I know dryer days are coming, I am prepared to water the garden when it’s needed. Here are a few tips for watering your garden.

When do I Water?

Containers and raised beds dry out faster than in-ground gardens, so they require more frequent watering than in-ground plants. The rule with watering anything — houseplants, outdoor containers, in-ground plants, etc. — is to water when the soil is dry one inch below the surface

How Long do I Water?

The duration of watering depends on your watering method; drip irrigation systems will water more slowly than an overhead sprinkler. Making sure you water thoroughly will take some trial and error. Water for 30 minutes, then dig a hole and see how deep the water has penetrated. Adjust your timing as needed to make sure water reaches the plant roots at 4 to 6 inches deep. Water after dusk or before dawn to keep evaporation to a minimum. Mulching well also prevents evaporation.water sprayer

What is the Best Method?

There is no one-size-fits-all method of watering. For small gardens and containers, a hose end sprayer works well. For large gardens, an overhead sprinkler is a frugal option, while a drip irrigation system offers an efficient use of water. For gardens close to the house, a rain barrel provides the best solution for free, biologically active water which is the best option for a healthy soil environment. Think about your budget and the size of your garden before deciding on an irrigation system. A combination of systems may work well for a large yard; consider a rain barrel for a small garden close to the house and a large overhead sprinkler for the veggie garden.

Dry spells are hard to anticipate but we almost always have at least six dry weeks in the summer, sometimes a lot more. Have your irrigation plan in place before the hot, dry days get here so you are prepared to keep your plants happy and healthy.

Tiffany Selvey, Master GardenerTiffany Selvey is a Master Gardener who writes about her passion for growing, cooking, and living naturally at www.Songbird-Gardens.com. When she’s not elbow deep in soil, she enjoys raising a very active son, laughing with her husband, and wrangling their pets. Follow Tiffany’s gardening adventures on facebook, instagram and on twitter.

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