Congratulations to Katy (katytweety/Kathy)! You are the winner of the 4 tickets to the Women’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Sunday, Dec. 21.
Check your inbox so we can work out the best way to get your tickets to you!
Thanks to everyone who entered our contest. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!
Alaina reached a momentous occasion in her life this month — she had an eye exam and was found to need glasses. The poor kid really never stood a chance. Both Matt and I wear glasses and have since we were kids.
We weren’t expecting Alaina to need glasses for her vision when we took her to a pediatric ophthalmologist. We had noticed that her right eye seemed to wander sometimes and we were concerned that she had a lazy eye. Well it turned out that her eye doesn’t wander enough to worry about BUT she has a pretty serious astigmatism in that eye. She is also a little near-sighted, but not nearly as much as the doctor expected with that astigmatism.
The diagnosis: Alaina needs glasses AND she’ll have to wear them all of the time.
The doctor recommended we invest in a good set of frames but cheap lenses since kids tend to get a new eye prescription every few months when they are as young as Alaina is.
So we went glasses shopping. Or rather, Matt and Alaina went glasses shopping and Matt texted me pictures of the various frames. On the second day of shopping, they found a winner.
Aren’t her little frames just precious? She looks so grown-up!
We went with a wire frame so it would be more flexible. We didn’t want her glasses breaking at the hinges.
Ahh, the best laid plans.
Those cute little frames lasted about three days at school. Then on Monday, Matt calls me from the eye doctor to tell me that Alaina’s glasses were broken. She had taken them off and somehow they got “crunched.” One endpiece was completely gone, a lens had popped out and the rest of the glasses were mangled beyond repair. Luckily, they were still under warranty and could be replaced at no charge.
But what about the next time, I asked Matt. He responded that the no-replacement cost was a one-time deal.
So we asked if there were any glasses that are considered unbreakable. And what do you know, the woman came out with these rubber glasses, complete with a strap.
Luckily, Alaina thinks these glasses are super cute! Which is a good thing because these are the ones she is going to be wearing to school every day. Her other glasses, which I still think are too stinking adorable for words, are being saved for church and special occasions.
Maybe in a few years she can go back to grown-up looking glasses. But for now, the rubber glasses are a winner!
How about you guys? Have any of your kiddos needed glasses at a young age? How did you keep them from constantly being broken? Any tips would be much appreciated!
Calling all college basketball fans — Little Rock Mamas is giving away 4 tickets* to the Women’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge on December 21 at Verizon Arena.
In the first match up, Texas will face off against Texas A&M at 12:30 p.m.
Then at 3 p.m., the Lady Razorbacks will take on Oklahoma.
And you can be there for all of this great basketball! Just leave me a comment by midnight Monday (Dec. 15) telling me why you want to go to the Women’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge. I’ll randomly draw a winner on Tuesday.
* Many thanks to the Angela Rogers Group for providing us with tickets to give to our awesome readers.
I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! My little family celebrated twice — first with my parents, my sisters, my brothers-in-law and my nephews, my aunt and uncle, my cousin and her kiddos and second with Grandpa Glen and crew. Phew, what a day!
One of the things I love about the holidays is it gives me a chance to take lots of pictures of everyone. While we were celebrating with my extended family I snapped this little gem of Alaina and her cousins. I just love this picture!
Note: This is a compensated post; however, all opinions are mine. Heidi (Margarita Mama) and I picked out all of the items for this gift guide. — Yavonda, aka Lucky Mama
It is that most wonderful time of the year again — where we all rush to the stores and wonder what in the world to give our loved ones for Christmas. Well, the Little Rock Mamas and The Promenade at Chenal are here to help. Behold, our 2014 Christmas Gift Guide with items around $25, $50 and $100* from a few of the stores at The Promenade.
* All the prices listed are full price.
I love shopping at Crazy 8 for my daughter. The less expensive cousin of Gymboree, the clothes at Crazy 8 are good quality (key when it comes to lasting more than 5 seconds on my 5 year old), really cute and affordable!! It is this mama’s trifecta for kids’ clothes!
What about these adorable party dresses?
And I’m not forgetting the boys here! Crazy 8 also has great clothes for the boys on your shopping list. I just love that little spiky hat!
Does the little girl/tween in your life love all things sparkly? If so, Justice is the shop for you. Get ready for some glitter, sequins and all around awesomeness!
Justice also has great small gift items — some of these would be great stocking stuffers!
Looking for something for the technology lover on your shopping list? Check out these goodies at the Apple store.
Is there a outdoorsman (or woman!) on your Christmas list this year? If so, Gearhead Outfitters has got you covered, whether you’re looking to spend a little or a lot!
Mrs. Polka Dot
Mrs. Polka Dot is the newest store on our list — it only opened last month. And it is a great place to pick up monogrammed items! Ladies, you might want to direct your spouses to Mrs. Polka Dot to find your Christmas gift. Or maybe you should just pick something up for yourself — after all shopping is hard work!
If you’re wondering what makes the O key ring so great, check out what Oprah has to say about it — it is one of her favorite things!
Finally, what is a gift guide without a little jewelry?
I hope this gift guide gave you some ideas for your loved ones! Happy shopping!
If you haven’t yet read the post by Heidi, aka Margarita Mama, on our recent Saturday afternoon at Cajun’s Wharf Christmas Camp 2014, please check it out here. As she said, we and about 2 dozen Arkansas Women Bloggers spent the afternoon with the Cajun’s Wharf crew, eating, drinking and having a grand ole’ time.
First up was a wine tasting with Dan, the manager at Cajun’s Wharf.
Dan let us sample A to Z 2013 Oregon Riesling, Yali Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, Adelsheim Pinot Noir, also from Oregon, and St. Francis Merlot from California’s Sonoma Valley. My favorites were the Riesling, which was very refreshing and not nearly as sweet as many Rieslings are, and the Merlot, which was rich and lush — everything a Merlot ought to be.
Next up was lunch. Just in case you didn’t know it, Cajun’s Wharf is now open for lunch Monday through Friday. And their lunch menu is quite varied — think seafood, salads, soup, sandwiches and burgers, plus appetizers and desert.
First up were the appetizers. The table I was at couldn’t decide what appetizers to try, so our awesome server brought a little bit of everything. It was all so good, especially the Oysters Bienville, which Heidi had to convince me to try by promising it would be as good as the last oyster she talked me into eating in Gulf Shores! It was! I think I’ll definitely order the Oysters Bienville again.
As far as the other appetizers, the artichoke dip at Cajun’s Wharf has long been a favorite of mine. Oh, and I can’t leave out the shrimp and crawfish cakes with the slightly spicy cream sauce — I could have eaten the entire plate of those!
After the appetizers, it was a wonder I had room for lunch. Ha, who am I kidding — of course I had room for lunch! My pick was the Shrimp Enchiladas, a dish that combined shrimp, cheese and sour cream. It’s like they wrote that recipe just for me!
Somehow I failed to get any good pictures of desert (sorry!) but we sampled chocolate ganache Key lime pie, coconut cream pie, white chocolate bread pudding and chocolate creme brulee and a pumpkin pie. Everything was good, but my heart will always belong to chocolate creme brulee.
After all of this deliciousness, it was time to get cooking, err, cooking tips, that is!
Mary Beth Ringgold, the co-owner of Cajun’s Wharf, Capers and Copper Grill restaurants, was our teacher for the afternoon. I was thrilled to see that the recipe she was cooking for us was Mussels and Clams in Tomato Broth. Mussels are a dish that my husband makes for us occasionally, so I was excited to take him home a recipe that adds in clams!
Mussels and Claims in Tomato Broth
- 2 lbs. Mussels
- 30 each Little Neck Clams
- 2 TBS Olive Oil
- 2 TBS Butter
- 1 Shallot, minced
- 1 each Red, yellow and green bell pepper
- 1/2 Medium yellow onion — you can use leeks instead
- 4 each Garlic cloves
- 6 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1 cup White Wine***
- 1 each Lemon juiced
- 2 cups Chicken broth
- 2 TBS Clam juice
- 1 can Rotel
- Pinch of Red pepper flakes
- 1 Fresh tomato
- 1/2 cup Rough chopped parsley
- 2 TBS Butter for finishing
- Salt and pepper to taste
*** Don’t cook with any wine you wouldn’t drink. — Mary Beth Ringgold
1. Rinse and scrub the mussels and clams.
2. Discard any that have opened or have broken shells.
TIP: If a shell is just partially opened, gently tap it on the side of the stock pot or counter. If it closes back on its own, it is still alive and fine to cook. If it does not, it is dead and you need to toss it!
3. Heat oil and then butter in a stock pot.
4. Saute the onion, shallot, garlic and thyme — do them in this order, especially the onion first.
5. Add the wine, chicken stock, lemon juice and red pepper flakes.
6. Add the clam juice and the Rotel.
7. Bring to a light boil.
8. Add the Clams, bring back to a boil and cook for 3-4 minutes.
9. Add the mussels and cook until the shells start to open.
10. Add the reserved butter, parsley and fresh tomatoes.
TIP: Discard any mussels and clams if their shells do not open!
11. Serve with plenty of garlic bread or toasts.
Next on the agenda was a whiskey tasting. Now I know what you’re thinking — You don’t like whiskey. I admit, I’ve often been sitting right there next to you on the “It tastes Yucky” bench. But apparently, we haven’t been drinking the right kind of whiskey!
What we tried were four types of sipping whiskey. All four were made in Nashville in small batch distilleries. And I liked three of the four, especially when I diluted them slightly.
Both the Collier & McKeel Tennessee Whiskey and the Belle Meade Bourbon Whiskey had a little bit of a sweetness to them, which really surprised me. I’ve NEVER thought that whiskey could have vanilla and maple syrup notes in it, but the Collier & McKeel did.
And being born in Kentucky, I’m glad to say I can now drink at least one type of bourbon, even if it is made in Tennessee.
I can’t quite describe the Rye Whiskey, other than to say it was very smooth and I liked it. Did you know that Ryes are considered an Old World whiskey, while the Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon are New World ones — largely because the latter two are made with corn, which was plentiful in the United States, but not Europe.
Sadly, the one I wasn’t a fan of is Corsair Artisan’s Triple Smoke Single Malt, which was named Whiskey Advocate‘s “Artisan Whiskey of the Year.” The grains in the Triple Smoke had been smoked over three kinds of wood or fuel, including peat, which is pretty cool. Unfortunately, all my novice palate tasted in the whiskey was smoke.
Our last whiskey treat was a Tennessee sipping cream by Whisper Creek. Oh my word, it was good! If you like Bailey’s, you would like this. I think this would make an excellent treat on a cold winter’s night!
Many thanks to Cajun’s Wharf for inviting us to spend the afternoon with you. I had a blast!
“Mary, Did You Know?” is one of my favorite “newish” Christmas songs. According to the always-reliable Wikipedia, it was written in 1984 by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene and first recorded by Michael English in 1992.
I heard English’s version when I was in high school and have loved the song ever since. Since then, tons of people have covered the song, including my all-time favorite version from Acappella. But now you can add a second a capella rendition to the list — this time by Pentatonix. Their version of the song gave me goosebumps — really gorgeous!
While it is still too early for me to listen to Christmas carols, this is one song I can make an exception for. Enjoy.
So apparently, police officers in Winter Haven, Fla., held an active shooter drill at a middle school on Thursday. Unfortunately, students (and their parents) were not notified in advance, so the terror that the children displayed during the drill was all too real.
You can read the full story from The Washington Post here.
I wanted to highlight one particular quote from the school district:
“Unfortunately, no one gets an advanced notice of real life emergencies,” Polk County Public Schools spokesman Jason Gearey said in an e-mailed statement to The Washington Post. “We don’t want students to be scared, but we need them to be safe.”
And have I mentioned that the officers were armed?
Stacy Ray told WTVT that she received a text from her seventh-grade daughter Lauren Marionneaux after two armed officers burst into her classroom. Winter Haven police told The Post that one of the officers had his duty firearm – a handgun – drawn. The gun was loaded,
as required. The other officer was carrying an unloaded AR-15. According to Ray, one of her other children texted: “I thought he was going to shoot me.”
Now most of y’all know that I’m a journalist and I rarely comment publicly about news events because of that fact. But I’m pretty livid about what went down at this school.
When I was a kid, we didn’t need to simulate a tornado to do a tornado drill. We didn’t need to set a classroom on fire to participate in a fire drill. So I’d like the police and school officials in Winter Haven, Fla., to answer this — why do you need to scare children to death in order to conduct an active shooter drill? Why couldn’t there be a PA announcement before the drill started? Why couldn’t parents be told a day or two in advance so they could prepare their children for the drill?
I know that our children go to school in a different world from the one I grew up in. I recognize that schools can be the target of violence and evil. I am eternally grateful to the teachers and administrators who protect and educate my child on a daily basis. I am thankful for the police officers who would run into my daughter’s school to protect her should that ever be necessary.
But what happens when the school and the police are the one terrifying our children? When they are the boogeyman?
Is it really necessary to sacrifice their innocence and scare them to death in the interest of keeping them safe? I think the answer is no. What do you think?
Matt snapped this wonderful picture of Alaina last week. I love the joy on her face.
Welcome to Part 4 of the 2014 A Haunted Blog Hop! If you’ve hopped over here from Minivan Momma, Desperately Seeking Gina or Our Everyday Dinners, thanks so much for visiting me!
If you haven’t read the first three parts of the story, you’ll want to start here and work your way through the links to get back to me!
The cookie was heavenly. She quickly finished it, licking the crumbs off of her lips. Eli handed her another one, which she devoured. Eli laughed and said, “Good, right?”
Then he grabbed her hand and pulled her into the crowd.
She followed, taking two steps for his one, as she was pulled along with Eli and the dancing girls toward the lights and the music. Suddenly, she stopped as she realized that she wasn’t limping. Her feet didn’t hurt. She wasn’t falling. Her body wasn’t betraying her. She felt whole.
She looked at Eli with questions in her eyes. He smiled and pulled her toward the carousel.
They climbed aboard and each mounted a pony. Ruby smiled because her pony had emerald eyes, just like papa. “Just like papa,” she thought and the smile vanished from her face.
Her sadness was quickly dispelled when the carousel started spinning, slowly at first, then faster, and faster and faster until the outside world was just a blur of lights and it seemed like they would be thrown off and dashed into a thousand bits. As Ruby opened her mouth to scream, Eli whispered in her ear, “Hold on. It will all be over soon.” Ruby couldn’t understand how he was whispering when he was on another carousel horse and they were spinning faster than a top.
But his words calmed her. And just like that, the spinning stopped.
As Eli helped her down from the carousel, she looked more closely at her surroundings. To her left was a Master of Ceremonies in a coat and tails with his top hat rakishly perched atop his head. In front of her were the dancing girls, laughing at something the Strong Man had just said. And to the right was Eli — handsome, perfect Eli.
“Eli, what is all of this? I don’t understand,” Ruby said.
Eli just smiled, “Just enjoy,” he said, as he pulled her further and further into the carnival.
And enjoy she did. Hand in hand, Eli and Ruby rode rides, played games and feasted on cotton candy and funnel cakes. Finally in the hallway of mirrors, Eli kissed her. Ruby thought she might die of happiness right then and there.
Hours later, Ruby hugged a teddy bear that Eli had won for her at one of the game booths. ‘This night is perfect,’ she thought to herself.
“It certainly is,” Eli said as he brushed his lips over her hair.
She jumped. “Wait, I didn’t say that out loud,” she protested.
“You didn’t have to,” Eli said. “Here, in this place, we are connected. I can hear your thoughts. I can feel what you feel. I live, I breathe because you live and you breathe.”
“This can’t be real,” Ruby said. “No wonder this seems perfect. It isn’t real,” she said, as she started to cry.
“But it can be,” Eli said. “If …” and his voice trailed off.
“If, what?” Ruby asked.
“If you’re willing to pay the price,” Eli said, as he grabbed her hand and pulled her toward another tent, one she hadn’t even noticed. As they neared the tent, she tried to read the sign by the door, but it wasn’t in English. Actually, it didn’t look like words at all — rather, it looked like some sort of runic inscription or hieroglyphics.
“Eli, what is this place? What price?,” Ruby said, her voice becoming more shrill with each word out of her mouth.
“Shh,” Eli said, as he held her tight. “All will be explained.”
What is the price? And will Ruby agree to pay it? Read the thrilling conclusion to our Haunted Blog Hop on Thursday at JunQue RethunQue.