Activities

Rocking the Promenade

Posted by on Apr 6, 2014 in Activities, Featured, Margarita Mama, The Promenade at Chenal | 2 comments

The kids loved The Promenade at Chenal’s Family Health and Wellness Fest on Saturday and had an absolute blast on the climbing wall. We ended up starting and finishing the trip there. Even Daddy joined in the fun!

Family climbing fun!

Family climbing fun!

The twins gave it a shot, too, but didn’t get very far.

Kayla, gingerly creeping up

Kayla, gingerly creeping up

 

Kendall, getting a little boost from big sis

Kendall, getting a little boost from big sis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheese!

Cheese!

Right off, we caught up with Ronald McDonald, who was kind enough to hand out stickers with a smile.

Then we grabbed a super delicious and heathy mini-meal from the light menu at Bravo! Cucina Italiana. I must admit, it’s one of my favorite restaurants to take the kids because it’s so family friendly yet elegant enough that it feels like a little bit of an escape. Whole Foods had healthy eating handbooks nearby, and Arkansas Rice Depot offered grab-and-go snacks for a good cause.

The Bravo! booth

The Bravo! booth, serving up healthy free food

 

chopped salad, pasta Amatriciana and my fave, balsamic onion, portobello and gorgonzola flatbread

chopped salad, pasta Amatriciana and my fave, balsamic onion, portobello and gorgonzola flatbread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This robot even talks!

This robot even talks, thanks to help from its handlers

Another cool feature of the festival was the Waste Management recycler robot. Kids were totally loving it!

There were a ton of booths with all kinds of health information — fitness, heart and prostate health , urgent care and even helmet safety. And on top of all that, there were a few fun ones too, including the Belle and Blush booth, one with weight-loss wraps and those trendy Plexus drinks. Most of the booths offered some kind of giveaway or contest to register for, which I greatly appreciate.

Wellness Revolution's Crossfit for kids

Wellness Revolution’s Crossfit for kids

 

St. Vincent, keeping us all aware of heart health

St. Vincent, keeping us all aware of heart health

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belle and Blush's booth

Belle and Blush’s booth

The kids dug these chompers from Dental Solutions

The kids dug these chompers from Dental Solutions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, but I think the skink is creepy

Sorry, but I think the skink is creepy

I much prefer the chinchilla, even if it does bite.

I much prefer the chinchilla, even if it does bite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Museum of Discovery brought out a few friends to examine, as well.

 

Wear your helmets, knee pads and be safe so you don't end up like this!

Wear your helmets, knee pads and be safe so you don’t end up like this!

I tried to get the kids to check out this guy at the injury prevention booth, but they wanted no part of it. I heard later that one of Ava’s friends was pretty interested in him, though.

And for us, no visit to The Promenade is complete without one stop in a kids store like the Children’s Place, even if it’s just to browse around for a little fun. See ya there soon!

These girls LOVE accessories

These girls LOVE accessories

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This is a compensated post. However, all opinions are my own, of course.

promenade ad

Searching for summer camps?

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in Activities, Featured, kid stuff, vacation, work | 0 comments

The passing of spring break has set off the alarm bells that summer will be here before we blink. There’s not that much time left in the school year. And that means a mad rush to figure out what to do with the kids all summer.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of summer camps and programs in the Little Rock area — more like a starting point. However, I was certainly overwhelmed as Ava was entering school and I desperately would have appreciated some help in figuring these kinds of things out. So if any of you out there know of other summer camps and activities, PLEASE post them below.

Wildwood is offering a summer Academy of Music and the Arts.  Their website doesn’t have a lot of information besides the application and costs, but the latest edition of Life in Chenal has a good article on it.

I’m a big fan of River City Gymnastics, which offers full-time care during the summer. They’re also peanut free and take a field trip each week. http://www.river-city-gymnastics.com/

I’ve also heard really great things about Ferncliff day camp, which offers Bible study and worship along with outdoors activities. They have week-long camps and family camps, as well.

There’s no information up yet for this year, but Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department has previously held a Summer Playground Program at select schools with field trips to places like the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Clinton Library and the Museum of Discovery. They also offered a “teen camp” for 11- to 15-year-olds last year.

The North Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department is holding multiple sessions of summer camp for incoming first through eighth graders. That program also offers field trips and plenty of recreational activities.

The Arkansas Arts Center holds a Junior Arts Academy that’s apparently somewhat crowded and hard to get into. But they also hold kids and teen classes throughout the year in ceramics, portraits and other subjects that might be an option for those who don’t need all-day care.

For budding young chefs in fourth grade or higher, the Clinton Library has culinary camps that I’ve heard are quite fabulous. They even get to make their own lunches and snacks.

The Little Rock Athletic Club has week-long Lil’ Joey and Ironkids camps for (potty-trained) kids ages 3 to 12. The North Little Rock Athletic Club has offered summer camp before, as well, for ages 5-12 although its website still shows 2013 information.

Space is often limited in these programs, so check them out as soon as you get a chance if you’re interested. Summer is on its way!

Family Health and Wellness Fest

Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in Activities, Health, Margarita Mama, The Promenade at Chenal, Uncategorized | Comments Off

A fun family event to mark on your calendar is The Promenade at Chenal’s Family Health and Wellness Fest, coming up on Saturday, April 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

My kids really dug last year’s event, and this year’s should be even bigger, with fitness classes and several kids activities in addition to various health and wellness booths. We’ve been enjoying going to the gym together as a family this year on the weekends and meeting up with many of Ava’s school buddies and their families for fitness, so further exposing our kids to healthy choices and activities is something I’m looking forward to.

Lululemon is hosting a yoga class demo from 11 a.m. to noon, and all you Zumba mamis out there — me included! — will want to check out the 10 Fitness Zumba class from noon to 1 p.m.  The little ones should also enjoy Wellness Revolution’s Family Fit class from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Nearby will be a grab-and-go healthy snack station and free samples from Bravo! Cucina Italiana’s super delicious light menu. (Yay!)

A couple of other things I know my kiddos are going to love — especially Kayla and Kendall — are the Museum of Discovery’s animal exhibit and climbing the rock wall that should be set up in the parking lot. Ava goes purely gaga for climbing walls.

I have a feeling that this robot is also going to be a huge hit. Who doesn’t love robots?

Waste Managment's recycler robot — so cool!

Waste Managment’s recycler robot — so cool!

There will be plenty for mom and dad to take in, too, because St. Vincent West will have booths set up for all kinds of things like car seat safety, bike and helmet safety, sleep and sports medicine with D1 Fitness. Plus, the Red Cross bloodmobile will be there if you can take a few minutes to stop in and donate.

I hope to see you there! Click below for the event map and further information:

Health-Fest_Web_728x90

 

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Note: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own, of course.

Gently used books needed

Posted by on Feb 26, 2014 in Activities, Book Nook, Giveaways, guest post, Uncategorized | 1 comment

March is the perfect time to get excited about books —  it is National Reading Awareness month, and March 2 is Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

Springtime is also a prime time to think about donating gently used hardbacks and novels to Goodwill Industries of Arkansas. Huntington Learning Center in Little Rock is making it easy and fun to donate with a Book Drive from March 3-22.

 

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When you donate a book at Huntington, you can enter to win fun prizes from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Little Rock Zoo, the Wonderplace and Museum of Discovery. Simply take your books to the Huntington Learning Center located in the Pleasant Ridge Town Centre at 11525 Cantrell Rd.  (You get one entry per book.)

For additional information, call Rebecca Brockman of Goodwill at (501) 372-5100 or Bryan Redditt of Huntington Learning Center at (501) 223-2626.

 

Wordless Wednesday

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in Activities, Ava, kid stuff, Margarita Mama | 5 comments

What age do sleepovers start? I deeply disappointed Ava last week by ruining my kindergartener’s and her older friend’s big plans (mostly because I didn’t know it was a plan in their minds and haven’t yet gotten to meet her friend, naturally). Sounded like it was well thought out, though!

photo-24

 

New Year, New You giveaway

Posted by on Jan 20, 2014 in Activities, Giveaways, Health, Margarita Mama, The Promenade at Chenal | Comments Off

Still working on your New Year’s resolution, or is it time to refresh that mindset again a bit with new fortitude now that it’s been a few weeks?

For my part, I’ve been hauling my rear to the gym, and eating healthier by chowing down on way more veggies and fish instead of cheese, chips and hamburgers. But clearly, there’s more work to be done.

To help keep us all motivated, the Promenade at Chenal’s got a New Year New You contest going on for a $500 prize package that features:

  • $100 Nike gift card
  • $100 Gearhead Outfitters gift card
  • $50 Promenade at Chenal gift card
  • 10 free CrossFit classes at Wellness Revolution, courtesy of Lululemon
  • 3-month premium membership to 10+ Fitness
  • one free custom airbrush tan from Indulgences by Body Bronze

It’s pretty fantastic motivation to get you on your way to a new, fit  you! To enter to win, just print off the entry form found HERE and take it into either Lululemon, Nike or Gearhead Outfitters before Jan. 31.

And while you’re out there, you can walk the new St. Vincent West mile, which is a trek around the interior of the shopping center. Or if you really want to get in a good workout, hit up the 2-mile path around the whole Promenade. (See the map HERE.) That way, you can get in a workout and grab a bite to eat or dash into one of the stores to get yourself a motivational present for keeping yourself on track, too. (Am I the only one who does that?)

promenade ad

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Note: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own, of course. And I LOVE the Promenade. I’m there a lot!

Monster Jam WINNER

Posted by on Jan 18, 2014 in Activities, Giveaways | Comments Off

And the winner is Melissa Holden!

Melissa and her kiddos will be heading to Verizon Arena on Friday, Jan. 24, for Monster Jam in all of its glory! I hope you guys have a great time!

Thanks to the Angela Rogers Group for providing the tickets to give away!

Incinerator

Incinerator

ASO, Bohemian style

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 in Activities, guest post | Comments Off

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, with conductor and music director Philip Mann, will present the fourth installment of the Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series  — Bohemian Rhapsody — on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 26 at 3 p.m. in the Robinson Center Music Hall.

Bohemian Rhapsody is sponsored by American Airlines and features a special appearance by pianist Norman Krieger.

Single tickets are $14, $30, $47 and $53; active military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Robinson Center box office; or by phone at (501) 666-1761.  Primary school students grades K-12 are admitted to Sunday’s matinee free of charge with purchase of an adult ticket using Entergy Kids’ Ticket, downloadable at the ASO website.

Program

Johannes Brahms.: Concerto for Piano No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83

i.                    Allegro non troppo

ii.                  Allegro appassionato

iii.                Andante

iv.                 Allegro grazioso

Norman Krieger, piano

Intermission

Antonin Dvorak:  Slavonic Dances, Op. 46/72

                                    Op. 72, No. 2 in E minor: Allegretto grazioso

                                    Op. 72, No. 5 in B-flat minor: Poco adagio-Vivace

                                    Op. 46, No. 8 in G minor: Presto

                                    Op. 72, No. 7 in C major: Allegro vivace 

Antonin Dvorak: Scherzo capriccioso, Op. 66, B. 131

Program notes:

Johannes Brahms began work on his Concerto for Piano No. 2 in B-flat Major in 1878, the same year as his Violin Concerto.  Brahms chose a very busy time to work on the piece—so busy that three years passed before its premiere.  Brahms himself was the soloist at the first performance, in Budapest on November 9, 1881, with Hans von Bülow conducting.

Antonin Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances had its beginnings as a piece commissioned by Berlin publisher Fritz Simrock.  Simrock apparently was eager to have more of the same style of music from the composer after hearing the first installment, but Dvorak took his time—noting that “to do the same thing twice over is damnably difficult.”

Monster Jam giveaway

Posted by on Jan 11, 2014 in Activities, Giveaways | 6 comments

Monster Jam is headed back to Verizon Arena on Jan. 24 and 25. And thanks to the Angela Rogers Group, we’ve got 4 tickets to the Friday, Jan. 24, show to give away!

According to Monster Jam’s website, some of the trucks scheduled to be at the North Little Rock shows are Hotsy driven by Mike Miller, War Wagon driven by Andy Hoffman, Rap Attack driven by Dave Rappach, Fatal Attraction driven by Jeff Murphy, Incinerator driven by Ryan Rice and Robo Machine driven by Shane Phreed.

Do you want to win the 4 tickets to the show? Please leave a comment below (not on our Facebook page) telling me why you or one of your planned guests is crazy for Monster Jam! I’ll randomly pick a winner on Friday, Jan. 17.

Hotsy

Hotsy

Rap Attack

Rap Attack

  IncineratorIncinerator

Hello, 2014

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in Activities, chores, family, Margarita Mama, Uncategorized | 3 comments

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not good at resolutions. But I’ve spent the first week of 2014 thinking about what I’d like to do this year.

Mostly, my goals are things I should be doing anyway — and that’s fine. More power to those who resolve to study a foreign language or to lose the 75 pounds that I need to lose. On any given day, I’m just a slightly haggard mom trying to stay afloat, not superwoman.

But these are the things I’m giving a shot:

Return to a healthier path

From vacation until the end of the year last year, I really just let it all go.

When I’m watching what I eat, I’m fairly crabby. And when I’m cutting back on caffeine, I’m extremely crabby. Particularly at the end of the day, when I’ve just gotten home from work and am rushing the girls into bed. So, in an effort to curb snapping/yelling at my babies, I just said screw it, ate whatever I wanted to and let myself have a drink or two each night to boot. And slept in instead of going to the gym.

The flip side is that now my pants are getting way too tight, and THAT’s making me crabby, too. It’s most definitely time to return to moderation and to get my rear moving.

I’ve made a few gym dates, and that’s most definitely helped get me there. Plus, Aunt Nerd has been working out like a maniac with a trainer recently and has given me some extra motivation.

On the food side of things, this NYT article about sustainable diet resolutions seemed reasonable. I’m going to give it a go. Plus, I finally have a beautiful new stove now that works great. And we’re having fun putting it to use!

My happy birthday/anniversary/Christmas present off eBay. (Saved $600!!)

My happy birthday/anniversary/Christmas present off eBay. (Saved $600!!)

Parental dates

I could count on one hand the number of times Daddy and I have left the girls with someone to go out and do something. I just feel guilty shoving them off on someone else. And I am a bit of a control freak, so I spend the entire time we’re gone worrying about them. But when they’re at school/daycare, this is not an issue for my crazy brain. So lunch is the answer. I’m going to try to find at least one day a month where we can connect at lunchtime — just like we used to pre-children when I worked nights and we didn’t see each other as much.

Doing good while keeping the clutter clear

Again with my nutty OCD brain, I cannot rest amid clutter. A twitch inside me is not satisfied until everything is back in its place. We recently bought a few shelves to store toys and games in the living room, which made a huge difference. But with Christmas brought in a huge slew of things there was no room to put up.

To help remedy this, I rounded up all the toys the girls have outgrown/lost interest in and took them to Goodwill along with some clothes they’ve outgrown. Not quite in time for a 2013 tax deduction, but I’ll save my receipt for next year’s taxes. And I recently got a tour of Goodwill’s distribution facility, where the people I met seemed to genuinely care about working toward changing people’s lives. I generally take a few loads per year, but I’d like to do better.

Off to a good home!

Off to a good home!

Bye bye, puzzles and blocks

Bye bye, puzzles and blocks

Find ways to have more family fun

 

If we spend too much time out of the house each weekend, we get woefully behind on laundry and there’s no clean underwear come Wednesday. I genuinely would like to take the kids out more often to the library, the zoo, the park, etc., and find a way not to let the house completely go to hell in the meantime. Easier said than done, especially when I’m doing great on weeknights to get home in time for dinner and bedtimes. But now that potty training is largely through, it’s getting slightly less insane when we hit the road — unless it’s to the grocery store. You don’t want to know what fresh hell that is. Perhaps this will be the year things fall into place a little better.

Who could deprive these faces?

Who could deprive these faces?

And that’s it. Nothing fancy. Nothing off the wall. Just trying to live life in slightly less crazed fashion. Wish me luck!