Arkansas’ Summer Fun Place

Lazy River at Wild River Country

This is a sponsored post by Wild River Country. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

As a new teacher, I’ve relished in my first summer break since I was in college (long, long ago). My kids and I have just been hanging out, having playdates, visiting family, and enjoying lots of pool time. So for my last week of freedom (my school starts mid-July), we decided to go to Wild River Country again. Quinn, Maya, Lucy (Maya’s friend) and I hurried out the door, and we were the first in line to get in when the gates opened at 10 a.m.

Wave Pool at Wild River Country Continue reading “Arkansas’ Summer Fun Place”

Sounds of Summer

playing in wave pool

This is a sponsored post by Wild River Country. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

child playing in poolWhat does summer sound like to you?

  • Crickets chirping while you camp under the stars?
  • A boat motoring across the lake?
  • The beeps and booms of video games?
  • The crunching of grass and rocks under your feet as you hike a state park?

Continue reading “Sounds of Summer”

Arkansas Soybean Month

Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board

Governor Hutchinson proclaims November Arkansas Soybean Month, recognizing the impact of the state’s top row crop, soybeans.

Ranked 10th in the nation for soybean production, the 3.1 million acres harvested last year in 41 of Arkansas’s 75 counties yielded 145.7 million bushels valued at $1.4 billion. Grown in more than 50 percent of the state, soybeans are the largest row crop in Arkansas, covering more acres than rice, corn, sorghum and wheat combined. “The miracle bean” is found on almost every aisle of the supermarket and hardware stores, in biodiesel and more.

Continue reading “Arkansas Soybean Month”

Soybean Industry in Arkansas: New Documentary and Website Launches

Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board
The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board (ASPB) released its Arkansas soybean documentary this week. The documentary covers the 91-year history of the soybean industry in the Natural State. Viewers will learn how Arkansas received a top-ten ranking in the U.S. for soybean production and more about Arkansas’s largest row crop.

Continue reading “Soybean Industry in Arkansas: New Documentary and Website Launches”

Family Camp

hikers

Fellowship North hosted it’s first “Family Camp” last Sunday – Wednesday at Castle Bluff in Newton County, Arkansas. For as long as I can remember, the church did a snow camp in Colorado, but this year, it was decided to stay closer to home and utilize our beautiful camp in the Ozark Mountains. There were 13 families there — including mine.

family camp

The weather was beautiful until the last half day. We hiked, played GaGa Ball, ziplined, rappelled, sat in rocking chairs and visited with friends old and new. It was very relaxing, and the kids ran and played until they collapsed in their beds each night.

It was a fun 72 hours with great people! Hopefully this will become a spring break tradition.

Hot Chocolate, Christmas Lights and Making a Difference

peppermint hot chocolate

FTC disclosure: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s of Central Arkansas. I am one of their brand ambassadors, but all opinions here are my own.

It’s December: my favorite time of the year. I’m not sure if it’s the holiday lights, the upcoming days off from school and work, or the chill in the air, but everyone seems lighter, happier, jollier.

It’s cold nights like we’ve had recently when I feel like bundling up the kiddos and heading out to see all the Christmas lights and decorations around town, so that’s exactly what we did the other night. I surprised them all with a “Grab your heaviest coats, kids, and get in the car for a big surprise!” They obliged with only a few grumbles. Those grumbles soon turned into smiles as we drove through our neighborhood McDonald’s drive-thru for Peppermint Hot Chocolates for everyone. (A small one is only $2.) Then with warm “December in a cup”, we drove to the “Inflatables House” just a few miles away. hot chocolate and Christmas

The “Inflatables House” is a North Little Rock Christmas institution. I’m not sure how many years this family has done it, but it’s huge. Even Little Rockians (who think crossing the river to North Little Rock is worse than a trip to the dentist) will come to see this spectacle of Christmas blow-ups, decorations and lights. The owner of the house sits out at his curb dressed as Santa handing out candy canes to all who come. (Donations are welcome, but not required.) My kids and I sipped our Peppermint Hot Chocolate from McDonald’s as we wondered around the maze of inflatables taking in all the details that this family puts into their annual display. It’s really a sight to behold. peppermint hot chocolate

Another awesome tradition around this holiday season is how people are more willing to give back. McDonald’s does this, and not just in December. Through their Values in Action program, McDonald’s is on a journey towards good. They are committed to doing the right thing – from making quality food to being good stewards of our planet. It’s important to them, and as a parent, it really makes me feel better about being a loyal customer and feeding my children there.values in action

Here are just a few of the ways McDonald’s is making a difference:

Sustainability Priorities values in action

Nutritious Food Choices

Responsible Food Sourcing

Positive Impacts for the Planet

Investing in their Employees

Giving Back to the Community

I wish all my readers a glorious Christmas season. Take time to be present with your family – especially your children. They grow up so fast, and these memories you make now will hold a special place in their hearts for years to come. And find a way to give back to your community. There are many worthy organizations making a difference in your community. They need you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Stacey

 

Family Roadtrip to Bentonville



Last Friday, anemia Anthony, viagra Kennedy, artificial Maya, Quinn and I loaded up the car and drove to Bentonville for the day. I had wanted to take the kids to the Scott Family Amazeum since it opened, and we finally got a free day to go. Our 12-year-old Madison was at church camp, so unfortunately she missed out this time.

amazeumAmazeum lives up to it’s name! We all had such a great time. Even though it’s geared toward kids ages 4 though 9, it has two play areas for toddlers, as well as managed to peak the imagination of our teenager. Anthony and I enjoyed watching our daughters have so much fun.

We had lunch at Crepes Paulette, a food truck in downtown Bentonville — not too far away from the Amazeum. There was a long line, but the wait was worth it. Maya got a strawberry and Nutella crepe.

Crepes PauletteAfter lunch, we went back to the Amazeum. We had 2:15 passes to the Hershey Lab. I thought we would get to play with chocolate (as in EAT chocolate) in the Hershey Lab, but instead it was an experiment about weights of items. This was my only disappointment of the day because I WANTED CHOCOLATE of course.

After we left the Amazeum, we drove back to downtown Bentonville and parked near the square. We walked to the Walmart Museum and did a quick tour through there, then walked over to Onyx Coffee Lab for a pick up me before the drive home.

It was an awesome day. We definitely want to spend more time in Bentonville — and spend the night next time; maybe even a whole weekend. There is so much to do in this bustling, little town.

Maya and Quinn conked out on the drive home. I call that a sign of a good day. asleep in the car

Please share your favorite family town to visit in Arkansas. I want to do more of these family roadtrips and welcome your suggestions.

Gymboree Sale On Now!

Family Fun Days: June 4-5

Disclosure: I received free admission to Playtime Pizza in exchange for promoting AR Family Fun Days. However, prostate all opinions expressed her are my own.

Playtime PizzaThere’s a lot of good research out there about the benefits of families spending time together – how it builds confidence in kids, dysentery encourages a healthy lifestyle, breast etc.  The goal of Arkansas Family Fun Days is to create an opportunity for families to get out of the house and experience something new and fun together. Several Little Rock area attractions offering special deals for families this weekend (June 4-5):

Plus all locations are also offering two for one ice cream, courtesy of Hiland Dairy!

Playtime Pizza

I spent yesterday celebrating my birthday at Playtime Pizza, one of the participating attractions. Playtime Pizza is a 70,000 square foot indoor family entertainment center. My parents, my brother and his family, and my family were there for the fun — and we all had a blast! Not only does Playtime Pizza have a great selection of pizza, pasta, salad, desserts and more, it has games that appeal to kids of all ages. (And I got to act like I’m 8 instead of 48!)

Please take advantage of the savings this weekend and go enjoy some family time. These are memories that you and your kids won’t forget. And it’s the perfect way to start off your summer!

Big thanks to Tiffany, Playtime Pizza general manager, and all the Playtime Pizza staff for their hospitality yesterday. You were so kind and made my birthday party a smashing success. Thank you!

Walk for the Waiting is tomorrow morning (rain or shine)

Walk for the Waiting is tomorrow morning (rain or shine).

There are now 4, website like this 800+ kids in Arkansas’s foster system, human enhancement 600+ of which need an adoptive family today. Over 200 foster youth will age out this year because they were not adopted or did not find a permanent family.

The funds from Walk for the Waiting will go to The CALL, viagra Project Zero and Immerse Arkansas who are working hard to make sure each of these children get the family and care they deserve.

If you’ve already signed up to walk or give – THANK YOU!

If you haven’t participated yet, can you help to make sure every kid in Arkansas has a family? You can give at https://www.walkforthewaiting.org/staceyvalley

Here are my two precious girls that were in the Arkansas foster system, but are now part of a forever family — my family. They are my treasures, and I thank God that I get to be their mommy. meandmygirls

May Events at Clinton Presidential Center

FTC disclosure: I am a social ambassador for the Clinton Presidential Center, unhealthy and do receive a small compensation for promoting the Center.

American Champions: The Quest for Olympic Glory continues through September 11

Bridge to the Future – May 21 (see info below)

Conversation with author Garrard Conley – May 24 (see info below)

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Bridge to the Future Festival

bridge to the futureOn May 21, 2016, the Clinton Center, along with partners Hippy Arkansas and Special Olympics Arkansas, will host the Bridge to the Future Festival, a free community festival that encourages students to read throughout their summer break and will include fun activities for kids, and literacy, health, and safety resources for parents. The free festival is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Clinton Presidential Park

According to extensive research, all students experience some level of “summer learning loss” or “summer setback” while on summer breaks.  Some students are more effected by the summer break than their peers.  Some quick facts:

  • Students score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do at the beginning of summer vacation.
  • Students who see the biggest drops in test scores are already in higher-risk low-income groups.
  • “Summer setback” has a cumulative effect and can follow students through high school.
  • Educators, on average, spend four-to-six weeks re-teaching material that was lost during the “summer setback.”

Activities for families:
–Free books from the Reading Is Fundamental “AR Kids Read” program
–Crafts and coloring activities, including making a book
–Appearances by Cookie Mouse and Curious George
–Story time
–Central Arkansas Library System library card applications
–Writing activities with Foreign Tongues Poetry Troupe
–“Commitment wall” encouraging students to commit to reading throughout the summer
–Puppet shows
–Fire safety demonstrations
–Flag Football and the Young Athletes Program
–Face painting and bounce houses
–Free vision screenings for children provided by North Little Rock and Little Rock Founder’s Lions Clubs

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Arkansas Author Returns Home for Book Tour

Garrard ConleyThe Clinton Center is proud to host a conversation with Garrard Conley, author of the soon-to-be-released memoir, Boy Erased, on May 24 at 6 p.m. The son of a pastor in Arkansas, Conley writes about his experience at a church-supported conversion therapy program to be “cured” of his homosexuality after he was outed to his parents at the age of nineteen.

Go to the Center for more information and reservations.

Clinton Center