A new year usually brings to mind one thing…new year’s resolutions. For us at Kid’s Directory, we approach the new year a bit differently. It’s our opportunity to salute the organizations who resolve to make a difference all year. These non-profit agencies fight tirelessly for their cause usually with very small budgets. This special issue dedicated to non-profits is our way of saying THANK YOU and recognizing their efforts. Please take a moment to learn more about the work they’re doing in the spotlight feature on pages 34-41. You may find one that provides a service you need or prompts you to give back.
We also offer sincere thanks to Arkansas Virtual Academy for sponsoring this issue. ARVA is a publicly-funded online charter school that provides an education that meets or exceeds state standards using the world-class K¹² curriculum and allows you to be an active participant in your child’s education. ARVA families receive a complete set of curriculum, lesson planning programs, books and instructional materials, the use of a computer for qualifying students, subsidized Internet access for qualifying students, and the guidance of a highly-qualified, licensed teacher. Visit their website at arva.k12.com or call 866.339.4951 for more information.
One final thank you goes to The Billings Family for allowing us to photograph Piper Josie for the cover. Her joy and love are contagious. And that smile! It melts your heart every time. We first learned about Piper from Sunshine School & Development Center where she is a student. Their services encompass programs for disabled to “typically developing” individuals through special education, therapy (physical, speech, occupational & outpatient), preschool enrichment and after school care. Learn more at nwasunshineschool.org or 636.3190.
If you are expecting a little one or have one or two already, you’ll want to pick up our Baby Guide coming in February brought to you by Harvey Pediatrics! It’s the perfect resource for any parent, grandparent, or child care provider of newborns to preschoolers.
We’re thrilled to share another year with you! Thanks NWA!
Writing the last letter of the year is a surreal feeling. Knowing that another year has come and gone makes me pause to reflect on what I’ve done with it. Did I waste time? Did I serve well? Was I a person worthy of being called friend, wife, mom or daughter? What impact did I make? Tough questions but in need of asking.
It does seem that every year goes by faster than the one before. Some days I wish I could slow down time but in the everyday moments of life, I find myself wanting the day to hurry up and be over already. Today though I did what I proclaim to never have time to do. I sat. And rocked. And held my little boy while he slept. He wasn’t sick or having a hard time going to sleep. He just wanted his momma. It felt good and precious and I’ll never regret spending my time with him.
During this season where everything seems especially hurried, I hope you’re able to slow down and enjoy the gifts you’ve been given–health, family, friends and jobs and that you’ll experience peace and joy not only now but throughout the new year. We hope this simple resource, the Holiday Gifts and Events Guide, will help you do that by simplifying holiday shopping and giving you the information you need to find special holiday events perfect for your family. We all need time savers and stress relievers!
We had an absolute blast meeting you at the NWA Boutique Show last month. Some of you really rocked the photo booth and we’re happy to know you enjoy a good cup of coffee as much as we do! Look for our float this month in the Rogers (Dec 4th, 7pm) and Bentonville (Dec 12th, 11am) Christmas Parades. We’ll have some super cute “toys” greeting you and sharing candy. We look forward to seeing you.
We’re grateful for another year serving NWA and wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our families to yours!
Can you believe we’re in November already? It’s hard for me to imagine that Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner though my kids keep reminding me that Christmas is NOT coming soon enough for them! Since we know many of you are planners, we are bringing you our Holiday Gifts and Events Issue in November. But if you need more time, don’t worry. It’ll be featured in December too. These guides provide unique gift ideas for all the special people on your holiday list and fun events that are sure to become family traditions.
Since we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, I have an experiment for you. Keep a record the entire month of how many times in a day you thank someone. This would be fun to do with your kids too. Don’t force a “thank you” but genuinely mean it. Total your results on the 30th then determine if you need to express gratitude more often. Thanksgiving Day is an easy day for us to say “thanks” but shouldn’t it be the norm rather than the exception? Let’s practice true appreciation more than once a year. I think Ralph Waldo Emerson said it well. “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
With that being said, we thank Rhea Lana’s for sponsoring this issue and for continuing to provide the best children’s consignment event venue in NWA. We are honored by their partnership. Their fall sale is November 8-12 at 1106 N. Old Missouri Rd, Springdale (previously National Home Center). Take your Christmas list…you’ll find fabulous clothing, toys, baby equipment, furniture and more all in one location! Holiday shopping made easy.
For more fun and convenient shopping, plan to attend the NWA Boutique Show, November 6th & 7th at the NWA Convention Center in Springdale. They’ll have over 150 one-of-a-kind boutiques including home and holiday decor, clothing, gifts, gourmet food, children’s items and much more. While you’re there, be sure to stop by our booth so you can register for our giveaways and take fun pictures at our photo booth provided by Oh Snap!
Happy Thanksgiving NWA!
The NWA Boutique Show is coming soon, November 6th and 7th at the Springdale Convention Center. Shop over 150 merchants featuring thousands of one-of-a-kind and custom items! So, who needs a Girl’s Night Out? We have an awesome giveaway and we will be selecting 3 winners to each recieve 2 Girls Night Out passes ($30 value), 4 general admission tickets ($20 value), plus a $15 gift certificate to one of our merchants!
A little more about Girl’s Night Out:
Join the NWA Boutique Show as the lights go down and the fun goes up! Win amazing prizes from the show merchants, shop to tunes from D.J. Brian, grab a beverage and sample delicious treats from local favorites like JJ’s, Slim Chicken’s, Ozark Natural Foods and Nestle Waters!
Tickets are just $12 in advance online, through 11/5/15, or $15 at the door with a portion of proceeds benefiting Junior Civic League!
Make it an overnight girls trip! The Springdale Holiday Inn has a special rate of $89 per night for NWA Boutique Show shoppers. (That’s about $40 off the regular rate!) As a special thank-you for advance booking, guests will receive two complimentary breakfast vouchers per room per night AND two complimentary general admission tickets to the NWA Boutique Show at will call. Reserve your room by calling the Holiday Inn directly at 479-751-8300. Simply request to be put in the “Boutique Show” Block. Or, for online reservations, just make sure to enter BOU as the group code!
To enter like Kid’s Directory Facebook page, like the NWA Boutique Show Facebook page and tell us why you need a girl’s night out in the comments below!
It’s almost time for the NWA Boutique Show, the premier shopping event of the year, happening November 6th and 7th at the Springdale Convention Center! We are giving away 2 VIP passes ($50 value) which allows you to shop first, 4 general admission tickets to pass out to your friends ($20 value), and a $15 gift certificate to one of the merchants! Plus, we are giving this to THREE winners! To enter, like Kid’s Directory and NWA Boutique facebook Pages and tell us the hardest person on your list to shop for in the comments below! We are sure you can find something unique at this show to help you out!
Arkansas is known as the Natural State as well as the Diamond State. Well, let me tell you, we found an Arkansas diamond this summer – a diamond in the rough!! My family likes to go on adventures and explore hiking trails. We don’t get to do it as often as we’d like, but we had time to do some exploring this past Fourth of July weekend. So we set out to find a hiking trail to a waterfall. We Googled, we surfed, but we really couldn’t find anything with an, “Easy” trail and a waterfall. Our next option was to try an adventure app, and I found this cool app called, “All Trails”. It’s free in the Apple App Store, so I started searching their database and found Kings River Falls. It’s southeast of Huntsville and about a one hour 45 minute drive from Bentonville. It sounded interesting, and we knew from the app that there was a waterfall, so we loaded up and headed to Kings River Falls.
After arriving at the trail head (and I use that term loosely), we ate a quick picnic lunch before heading down the trail. The hike itself takes about 20 to 30 minutes, but what we found was something so unexpected – not only a waterfall but an amazing swimming hole, too!! It felt like we stumbled upon God’s hidden water park; although, we weren’t the only ones fortunate enough to check out this place that day. We weren’t prepared to get wet, but that didn’t stop us. The kids swam in their shorts, and we used our best Bear Grylls skills to dry off when we got back to the car.
This spur-of-the-moment trip was so worth it, and we’ll definitely be going back next summer if not sooner!! Things to remember for our next trip include swimsuits, towels, more food, and maybe a football. Next time, we’ll picnic at the swimming hole. If you have found a similar, “Diamond” in our Natural State, let us know – we want to check it out! ☺
Blog & pictures provided by Nicole Pawlaczyk, Capture Me Photography by Nicole www.cmpbynicole.com or facebook.com/capturemephotographybynicole
What’s the best way to celebrate 13 years in business? Bring you the best family resource for planning your next BIRTHDAY BASH of course! This issue has it all. Looking for a Princess, Ninja Warrior, Art, Train, Bowling, Clown, Gymnastics, Pumpkin Patch, Pirate, Nail or Laser Tag party? It’s all right here at your fingertips. What about the perfect gift? Make a one-of-a kind art piece, give a cute tutu for a special dancer, purchase a photography session, handmade soaps & bath products or a gift certificate to the mall. This resource will make planning & hosting a snap! Not to mention that many of these great businesses are offering discounts. Yes, we’ll have our cake & eat it too!
Special thanks this month to Fast Lane Entertainment for sponsoring this issue & to the owners, Christopher & Katherine Moore, for allowing us to photograph their children for the cover. Fast Lane has some exciting changes coming soon…watch for the BIG announcement!
If you haven’t visited our website lately, be sure to stop by www.nwakidsdirectory.com soon. Our blog is filling up with posts from our awesome advertisers & local mom bloggers. We also are hosting contests through the web, so while you’re there, sign up to receive emails to keep you in the loop.
Lastly, I want to recognize one of our team members who goes above & beyond what’s expected of her. Nicole Pawlaczyk of Capture Me Photography by Nicole is a delight to be around & work alongside. She has an engineering degree (too smart for me) but left that career to pursue one in photography. Last month she got to try her hand at the cover & she nailed it! We adore you, Nicole, & thank you for all you do for Kid’s Directory!
We’ll be at the NWA Boutique Show on November 6th & 7th at the NWA Convention Center in Springdale. We’d love to meet you AND we’ll have lots of fun giveaways PLUS a photo booth from Oh Snap! so you can capture all the fun you had! See you there!
So, who has started doing something to become more active this month as we have focused on Health and Wellness? If you haven’t, READ THIS! 2 years ago, Lynn Hancock, left her great corporate career to teach yoga and be a personal trainer. She wanted nothing more than to make an impact in someone’s life. She has not only impacted one person but MANY and is an integral part of our local fitness community. Today she shares with us some inspiring words about overcoming your obstacles and getting started on your health and wellness journey. Enjoy!
One of the most common obstacles that I hear from people regarding their health and well-being is, “I don’t have time.” If being healthier and increasing your level of fitness is a goal you are falling short of, the obstacle is not that you don’t have time. The obstacle is not managing your time and energy. If all your time and energy is going to your work, the only passion in your life is work (and we know that’s not your only passion!). If all your time is going into your family, then your only passion is family. None of these things alone are “bad.” But your family life will suffer if all your energy is sucked into work. Just as your health will suffer if no energy or time is devoted to it. Don’t make yourself a victim to “I don’t have time.” Your energy will flow to where intention goes. Learn to say no to things that are sucking up precious energy – it’s one of the hardest things you’ll learn how to do! Saying yes is so easy! But if those asks are not part of your priorities or are taking time from a goal you just can’t seem to accomplish – redirect! Just like a child who is focusing energy on a temper tantrum or something they cannot have – redirect!
Don’t know where to start? If you don’t know what to do to start your health & fitness journey, the second most common obstacle I hear, enlist help! A friend or a trainer who will hold you accountable – not someone who will let you skip workouts! A support system is one of the key items to hitting a goal. Explain to those around you that your goal is important to you and as key people in your life, you need their support to help you meet your goal. If you don’t find support with those close to you, enlist someone that it is their job to keep you accountable.
Some of my most successful clients are the ones who made the time, changed their habits over periods of time, and had friends and family to support their journey.
Above all, just start! Start somewhere, anywhere. You are worth it. You are so worth it.
Thanks, Lynn, for your contribution!
For more inspiration you can follow Lynn on
her Facebook page, Small but Fierce Yoga and Fitness.
To continue our focus on Health and Wellness during the month of September, we are excited to share some great family fall outdoor activities to get you out and moving. Jessie Koller, is a local homeschool mom of two boys and an Ozark adventure blogger. We can’t wait to start incorporating some of her great fall ideas with our families! Enjoy!
As a mom of two boys, I have always put a lot of emphasis on keeping my family physically active, and I certainly feel blessed to live in an area where there is never a lack of options for fun outdoor activities! Every Fall, we sit down and make a fall bucket list of things we’d like to do before Winter arrives such as camping, s’mores, pumpkin carvings, bonfires, and jumping in big piles of leaves. I’d like to share with you some other ways our family stays active:
- “The Greening Hour”: We have always been an outdoor loving family, but a few years ago I started to incorporate what I call, “the greening hour,” into our daily life which is simply a commitment to spending at least an hour outside together each day. I fully believe in the power of nature and both the cognitive and physical benefits of spending time outdoors- whether that’s in our own backyard, hiking, going to a local event, or spending time at one of our local parks. This commitment has definitely benefitted our family and has led to some wonderful explorations of Northwest Arkansas as well!
- Geocaching: In case you’ve never heard of this fun outdoor pastime, Geocaching is a fun and FREE outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy! It’s basically a real world outdoor treasure hunt in which you use your phone’s GPS to seek and find hidden containers or special locations at specific coordinates all over the world! There are millions hidden around the world and hundreds of Geocaches hidden in Northwest Arkansas. These containers usually contain a log book, and small trinkets such as stickers, toys, geo coins, etc. My boys have so much fun finding these and it’s a great outdoor activity to encourage teamwork as a family! Visit www.geocaching.com to learn more and start treasure hunting!
- Cobblestone Farm in Fayetteville: Cobblestone Farm is a Cobblestone Project Initiative that focuses on hunger relief in NWA. This farm is largely driven by
community volunteers and the food they grow there is distributed to local shelters, soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, etc. You can spend your time there as a volunteer farmer with many different opportunities to help around the farm. Fall is an especially fun time to volunteer at the farm because it’s harvest time! We started volunteering at Cobblestone last year as I was seeking an outdoor volunteer activity that the whole family would love. It quickly became a place near and dear to our hearts. To learn more about Cobblestone Farm and how you and your family can become volunteers, visit www.cobblestoneproject.org.
- SWEPCO Eagle Watch Nature Trail in Gentry: Most people in NWA will associate Gentry with it’s most popular attraction, the Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari Zoo, and while we certainly love it there it’s also home to one of our favorite kid and stroller friendly trails- the Eagle Watch Nature Trail. This trail will take you on a leisurely, but very pretty stroll leading to an observation deck overlooking SWEPCO Lake. The trail has a great little climbing tree, and in the Fall the trail is littered with Osage Oranges, or “horseapples,” which my kids always love to find (and we usually end up taking home a few-or dozen!), but it’s most notable feature is the reason behind it’s name-it is a very popular Fall and Winter destination spot for Bald Eagles! There are picnic tables at the observation deck, so you could bring some sack lunches and binoculars and spend some time looking for Eagles. If you don’t see an Eagle, there are plenty of water fowl, and other wildlife to spot at the lake and along the trail. For more information and directions to the trail, visit http://www.adventuresintheozarks.com/2013/07/swepco-eagle-watch-nature-trail-in.html
- Fish Hatchery: The Ozarks are home to a few really great fish hatcheries which we have always found to be great outdoor family fun with little to no expense! Apart from the fun of watching and feeding the trout, most hatcheries have an indoor nature exhibit as well. The Charlie Craig Fish Hatchery located in Centerton contains 16 large ponds on their vast 116 acres which you can drive through or walk around to see at your leisure. The hatchery’s gates are open to the public 7 days a week from daylight to dusk. It’s a beautiful place and you’re sure to see lots of wildlife! Visiting in the Fall can be especially fun because the hatchery is a temporary home to many migratory birds! Another wonderful hatchery is located at Roaring River State Park in Cassville Missouri, just about an hour north of Bentonville. Also free of charge, the expansive outdoor facility is stocked full of trout which you can walk around to view in cement troughs. Bring some quarters for feed for even more fun! At Roaring River you can also visit the nature center, hike one of the many trails, and in the Fall it is a very likely place to spot a Bald Eagle. In fact, every time we have visited Roaring River in the Fall and Winter months, we have seen Eagles!
Thanks, Jessie, for sharing! For more ideas for fun family adventures around NWA and the Ozarks, visit Jessie’s blog at www.adventuresintheozarks.com!
September’s Kid’s Directory is focused on helping families get healthy and maintain good health. Today we have a special Monday Mom’s Edition to share! We interviewed local mom, Hannah Carter, to learn how she has incorporated health and wellness into her lifestyle as a stay-at-home AND work-from-home mom of two busy little boys! We are so inspired by her journey!
- When did you first start your fitness journey?
- I started my journey in January 2014. Baby steps in the beginning.
- Why did you start your journey?
- I was tired all of the time and wanted more energy to be able to keep up with our two little boys. Plus, I didn’t feel good in my own skin.
- What is your favorite exercise?
- I LOVE to run! I never would’ve imagined in a million years that would be me, but I love it best when I get to run with my hubs or a few friends. I also love strength training and have a favorite class at my gym that keeps me motivated to come back for more!
- What did you do to stay motivated when you wanted to quit?
- Well, it can be so discouraging in the beginning when weight doesn’t fall off super quickly. I remember thinking “this is just NOT working” and then I’d suddenly be down another pants size! So, fitting into new clothes and shopping in fun boutiques I’d not been able to shop in before was huge for me! Plus, getting the energy to actually outrun my two boys is super fun too! I guess the best piece of advice I’ve got is just to stay the course. Changes are being made. The longer it takes weight to come off–the less likely it is to come back because hopefully that means real changes are being made in your lifestyle.
- What is the biggest piece of advice you can share to other parents looking to start their own health and wellness journey?
- Find someone to support and help you through your journey. For me, I enlisted professional help to keep me accountable and guide me through what I needed to do. I still workout with my trainer (the fabulous Lynn Hancock) once a week because she keeps me sane and gives me perspective and attainable goals. I remember that’s one thing Lynn always talks about. Your goals need to be smart. They need to be real, attainable, and probably most importantly, measurable! Small changes add up to big changes over time!
- How did you balance working out while raising two kids?
- I’m so thankful for a gym with amazing childcare provided by my husband’s employer for a minimal cost. Plus, my husband and I work our schedules around time with kiddos.
- I hear you got your husband to join you in the journey; how has that helped or changed your relationship?
- It has definitely impacted our relationship for the better! We are both on the same page as far as getting healthier and generally keep each other on track. I won’t lie and say that I’ve never been jealous of how easy this seems for him and it took him no time at all to lose weight! Ha!! Probably just a guy thing though.
- What’s your favorite new food or snack?
- Well…this is tricky! Before, I was a “junkfoodaterian.” I mostly ate junk and was super picky. Part of my journey has been changing EVERYTHING about how I eat! I do really enjoy just simple grilled chicken with salads. It’s easy and tasty!
- What were your original goals, what have you accomplished, and what are your new goals?
- My original goals were pretty small. I think it was to lose 30 pounds and I wanted more energy. I’ve lost 60 pounds and have SO much more energy. It’s not easy–always a struggle! My ongoing goals are to maintain my current weight (at a minimum)–since this is more about lifestyle changes, I’ll never be “finished.” There’s always room for improvement! And, I would like to be able to do pull ups! That’s one thing I cannot do!