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THE LIFESTYLE MANUAL FOR THE MODERN MOM

MARCH 2017 · THESAVVYMOMS.COM

Join the Mom Club 5 LOCAL WOMEN DISH ON MOTHERHOOD

MEET NEW MOM SHERRA ON PAGE 30.

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HOMEBUYER'S GUIDE

ADVICE FROM LOCAL EXPERTS

SPRING BRUNCH RECIPES

KID-FRIENDLY & YUMMY, TOO!


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MARCH 2017 MODERN MOM 14 MAMA SAID SHOULD WE TALK TO OUR KIDS ABOUT POLITICS?

16 MIND, BODY & SOUL MAKE YOUR JOB WORK FOR YOU

25 SAVVY MOMS CLUB FIVE LOCAL MOMS DISH ON MOTHERHOOD

SAVVY FAMILY 18 SAVVY STYLE SPRING GARDEN PARTY

20 SPRING BRUNCH FIT FOR A KID BRUNCH RECIPES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

37 TWO MOTHERS, ONE GOAL

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THERAPY IS A SUCCESS FOR TWO FAMILIES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

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40 TEACH A KID TO GARDEN SEVERAL LOCAL PROGRAMS ENCOURAGE KIDS TO GET DIRTY

IN EVERY ISSUE 6 EDITOR’S NOTE 10 NEWS & NOTES CALENDAR, CRAFTS & MORE!

46 BAG CHECK LENNIE DUSEK

SPECIAL SECTION

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42 HOMEBUYER'S GUIDE TIPS FROM LOCAL EXPERTS TO GET YOUR DREAM HOME

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MARCH 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

ON THE COVER: (FROM LEFT) VONTIFANY SMITH, ZARA ABBASI WILKERSON, LENNIE DUSEK, KAT HILLS AND SHERRA ARMSTRONG. PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW MARTIN.


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THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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This March issue of Savvy is packed with wonderful ideas to get you in a springtime state of mine. The weather has been unseasonably warm and the gardens are coming alive a bit early to celebrate! There’s nothing more therapeutic than spending an afternoon in the sun with your hands in the dirt. Getting started in the garden at an early age is great to help kids learn about nutrition and where our food comes from. What better way to show that food doesn’t come from a plastic package or a tin can at the grocery store than to guide kids through the process of planting, caring for and enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables! There are several schools and programs around Central Arkansas that are encouraging kids to learn in the garden. Get a look behind the scenes at what’s growing at Forest Park Elementary, Dunbar Garden and Access Academy on page 40, and find some tips on getting your own school garden growing. Take kids from the garden to the kitchen with Kerry Guice’s kid-friendly brunch ideas on page 20. With spring break on the horizon, there will be plenty of mornings to fill with activities. Why not spend a leisurely morning creating a Bacon-Egg-andCheese-In-a-Hole and enjoy it al fresco with a homemade yogurt parfait. This month we also introduce the “Savvy Moms Club,” a new feature at highlighting the motherly accomplishments of a group of strong, creative and admirable women. Meet five local moms who share their stories and bits of knowledge they’ve picked up along the way. We hope you get out and enjoy the spring weather and find inspiration in this issue of Savvy! Amy Gordy Editor, Savvy @SavvyAR

CHECK IT OUT!

If you and your kids love spending time in the garden like we do, then check out our Garden Butterfly Feeder! In the spring and summer the butterflies swarm our flowerbeds at home, so we created a feeder to keep them happy. When my stepkids saw me setting up the crafting area, they both jumped right in to help create this colorful craft. See how ours turned out, and how to make your own, on page 12!

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MARCH 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

PHOTOGRAPHY: LILY DARRAGH

SPRING IS IN THE AIR


BRUSH TO THE BEAT.

Listen to your favorite song and don't stop brushing until it stops!

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Call 844-LEAPKID today to make an appointment for a free wellness checkup! James L. Bevans, DDS, MS Bryan K. Angel, DDS Lowell Williams, DDS, MS Blake H. Chandler, DMD Charles K. Morin DMD, MSC Robert C. Goldtrap, DDS

LEAPKIDSDENTAL.COM THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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501-315-4414 PUBLISHER BLAKE HANNAHS | blake@arktimes.com EDITOR AMY GORDY | amy@arktimes.com

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MARCH 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


contributors

KERRY GUICE is a food blogger and photographer living in Little Rock with her husband, two kids and their dog. When she’s not sharing her latest meal on Instagram, Kerry is planning her family’s next Arkansas adventure or crafting with her creative tots.

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KD REEP is a writer and public relations practitioner in Little Rock. She owns Flywrite Communications, Inc., a public relations agency, and is the PR director for Mass Enthusiasm, a full-service marketing communications firm in Little Rock.

DWAIN HEBDA is a writer and editor living in Little Rock. He and his wife, Darlene, are the parents of four grown children. The emptynesters spend their time traveling, working out and spoiling their two dogs.

LILY DARRAGH is a photographer in Little Rock. She studied photography at Parsons the New School of Design in New York. Currently working out of a photography studio in downtown Little Rock, Lily loves to shoot people and places unique to Arkansas.

MATTHEW MARTIN is a photographer based in Little Rock. When he’s not behind the camera or on a film set, Matthew spends his time traveling, enjoying the Little Rock music scene and spending time with his dog, Deltron.

• OCCUPATIONAL • SPEECH-LANGUAGE • DEVELOPMENTAL • PHYSICAL THERAPY • APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS (ABA) • MENTAL HEALTH / COUNSELING • Autism Diagnostic & Treatment Center, REACH Serving children & families across central Arkansas #501-481-8930 artherapyoutreach.com THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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march

1-31

Stroll through a literal field of flowers at the 39th annual Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival. It's seven acres filled with more than 20 varieties of daffodils, jonquils and narcissus, which makes for a perfect family photo op! You’ll also find arts and crafts, concessions and barbecue on the weekends. Admission is free. 23300 Hwy 113 South. wyemountain.org.

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3National Day of Unplugging

Join in the run at the 15th anniversary of the Little Rock Marathon. Run the marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K or watch the kiddos in the Little Rockers Kids Marathon. The race winds through the scenic streets of Arkansas’s capital city, and provides tons of activities for participants. littlerockmarathon.com.

10April 2 “Fancy Nancy the Musical” at the Arkansas Arts Center's Children's Theatre features Nancy and her friends who audition for their first show. Nancy isn’t cast as the mermaid, and has to learn that anyone and anything can be fancy with a dash of imagination. In addition to regular performances, look for spring break daytime shows March 21-24. arkarts.com.

11-Dec. 31 Explore this collection of fascinating artifacts from around the globe at the Old State House Museum’s new exhibit, “Cabinet of Curiosities.” Items range from dinosaur bones to Ming Dynasty pottery to a machine gun taken from Bonnie and Clyde’s car. Admission is free. oldstatehouse.com.

20-21

Bring the kids for a meet-and-greet with beloved characters at the Museum of Discovery. Family Fun Days with AETN presents Daniel Tiger on March 20, and Curious George along with The Man With the Yellow Hat on March 21. Snap some pictures and enjoy a day at the museum. museumofdiscovery.org.

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Celebrate Irish heritage at the 18th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade beginning at 1 p.m. at the corner of Third and Rock streets in Little Rock, and ending at Sixth and Main streets in North Little Rock. The parade route will feature decorative floats, Irish dancing, Irish Wolf Hounds, candy, music and more. irisharkansas.org.

12Daylight

Saving Time Begins

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April 1 Get April started off right at Springfest, a day packed with family fun at Riverfront Park. Enjoy acrobats, art projects, food trucks and flying dogs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free. riverfestarkansas.com/springfest.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF VENDORS

news & notes


CHECK IT OUT!

BIG ROCK FUN PARK

Big Rock Fun Park's Amazing Aerial Adventure is set to open for spring break. The park will also host extended hours, opening at 10 a.m. each day (except Sunday at noon) so everyone can get in on the high-in-the-sky fun! Look for a giant scavenger-hunt maze with a hex aerial high ropes course with 12 elements above it. bigrockfunpark.com.

BOLOGNA JOE'S

Bologna Joet’s, a trendy children's boutique in the Heights, opens its doors March 1. Owner Mollie Yoder is a local entrepreneur and mom of two kids who love helping out with the family business. The boutique offers boys’ and girls’ clothing sizes 2-14, along with an exciting array of accessories, gifts and more to infuse a little creativity in your kids’ wardrobes. Bologna Joe’s is all about quality as 70 percent of the store’s collection is made in the U.S.A. 5915 Kavanaugh Blvd., facebook.com/shopbolognajoes. THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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HANGING BUTTERFLY FEEDER

Nothing adds life and color to the garden like butterflies! They are easy to attract if you plant a few of their favorites like butterfly bush, zinnia, allium and purple coneflower. Sweeten the deal for your winged friends by creating a homemade butterfly feeder with a few things from around the house. Kids will love this project! It’s fun, and easy, and the more colorful you get, the better!

YOU’LL NEED:

•• An empty glass jug or bottle with a screw cap •• Rope or twine •• Paint •• Adhesive stencils •• Hammer and nail

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HOW TO:

1. Wash the jar and lid. Butterflies are drawn to bright colors, so choose your most colorful paints. Stick adhesive stencils (we used Martha Stewart brand) to the jar and paint them. Peel off stencils while paint is still wet, then wipe down the stencils before the paint dries or you’ll have gunky stencils. Cover as much of the jar as you can. 2. To set the paint, either let the jar dry for a few days in the sun, or set the painted jar in the oven, bring the temperature to 350 degrees, then turn the oven off and let the jar sit while the oven cools down. 3. To create your rope net, tie a shorter string around the neck of the bottle loosely. Leave the ends of the loop about 5 inches long. Cut four lengths of rope at least six times the height of your bottle. Double them all over and loop them through the rope at the neck and space out evenly. Begin to join the four sections by knotting the outside string of one section to the section beside it. Continue this to the bottom of the bottle. Flip the bottle upside down and knot all the rope together in one big knot. 5. Hammer a nail to puncture the lid of your bottle to a size that is just large enough for the two 5-inch strings from the top rope to stick through. The nectar will soak into the strings and feed the butterflies.

TA-DA!

To make the nectar mix 1 part sugar with 3 parts water. Fill up your bottle, secure the lid making sure there are no leaks, and hang your feeder!

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501.223.4929

4822 N. HILLS BLVD. / NORTH LITTLE ROCK

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THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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mama said...

SHOULD WE TALK TO OUR KIDS ABOUT POLITICS?

W

hen it comes to kids, the adage “all politics is local” is definitely true. And when they come home repeating views heard at school or a friend’s house, it can sometimes hit a little too close to home. Last November, my middle child came home crying after hearing a presidential candidate was going to take away Oreo cookies. Oreo cookies! He’s 5, so concern about a favorite food instead of the economy or foreign policy is understandable. But what about older kids? Their little ears home in on adult conversations and news segments. In hot political climates, how do we talk to them about what they hear? How do we assure them they are safe, and help discern the truth in a world full of “alternative facts?” Should we parents discuss politics and news with our kids, or should we shield them from it entirely? In my house, the kids seem to hear everything, especially the things they aren’t supposed to. Maybe in generations past, children were excluded from “grown-up” conversations, but now, with everpresent access to television and social media, keeping them in the dark is nearly impossible. Kids ask questions. Besides blatantly ignoring answers, it’s what they do best. Why? Yeah, but why? Whyyyy? It’s so easy to say, “Don’t worry about that now,” or “You’ll understand when you’re older.” But, parenting experts say, kids do worry. They are influenced by us, by their friends, by the news and even by advertising. They may not understand some of the things they’ve heard (Oreo import ban), and have questions. And as much as we would like them to, worries and concerns don’t just disappear. What should we do, then, with alert kids who need answers to their questions about the world around them? The short answer: talk to them. But how? How much is too much? What if we don’t have all the answers? What if they disagree with us? This seems a good time to offer a disclaimer: I’m no parenting expert or child psychologist. But I am a parent of three kids in middle America. I stumble my way over Legos and through parenting every day. It helps to talk about our struggles, to know we are not alone. “It takes a village,” you know. One suggestion I have read to help kids understand the difficult topics they encounter is to talk about issues rather than politics. More meaningful discussions can come from fleshing out issues than name-calling and generalizations. Who knows, we parents might even learn something along the way. We know too well that kids parrot what they see and hear, so it’s important for us to set the tone. My kids are very far from angels,

and I definitely slip up, but we do talk a lot about kindness and empathy and respect. Another suggestion is to make laws and issues relatable to kids’ lives—a local angle. Talk on the news about national public education can inspire discussions about central Arkansas schools. Travel bans seem to me an excellent catalyst for lessons on loving our neighbors. Of course, attention span and comprehension will vary. Experts say to offer reassurance of specific fears and answer questions as best you can, and then let kids lead discussions. We can gauge how much detail to offer by reading their interest levels—if they change the subject or stop listening, let it go. In my house, we save the more difficult topics for when the kids are out of earshot. They tend to think in black and white. They can’t understand nuances, and issues that have no moral black and white are confusing and distressing. I love the spirit and urgency with which kids approach life’s problems. If they don’t like the way something’s done, they want to change it. Now. That same Oreo-deprived child raced breathless into the kitchen a few months back. “Elephants are dying! Mom, we have to do something right now. Right now!” A fundraising plea on an animal or Discovery Channel had broken his little heart. I was speechless for a moment. Navigating around squashing his enthusiasm and exposing him to cynicism was difficult, I admit it. So what can kids do if they resolve to change the world? What can families do? The best way to change something, of course, is to get involved. Does that mean we’re moving to Africa to combat poaching? Ah, no. But I tried to make it relatable to his life, to bring it closer to home. We talked about being kind to pets and supporting local animal shelters. Though we haven’t tried it yet, I do know some families who hold family meetings about hot issues or special concerns. It makes the kids feel involved and that they have a say in what’s going on around them. Family votes help them understand the democratic process and, just maybe, worry less. This parenting thing is hard, right? Sometimes I envy the days before television and internet. But, I truly believe we are raising wellinformed and compassionate kids who absolutely have the power to make the world a better place. Until they do, though, we can do our part to help them understand the world’s challenges, the hard topics, and the best way to make a difference. MOTHER-DAUGHTER TIME AT THE WOMEN'S MARCH.

Jen Holman is determined to be a voice of reason in the cacophony of reality TV and mom-judgment-gone-wild. She is often irreverent and frequently imperfect. But she’s happy, by God, and that ’s what matters. She lives in Little Rock with her husband and three (im) perfect children.

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Classes begin in July Baptist Health College Little Rock does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, creed, physical challenges, gender, marital status, race, national origin, or religion. Gainful employment and consumer information can be found at bhclr.edu/outcomes BHCLR-Schools of Allied Health are licensed by the Arkansas State Board of Private Career Education. BHCLR-Schools of Nursing are licensed by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing.

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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mind, body & soul

MAKE YOUR JOB WORK FOR YOU Everyone wants to be challenged and fulfilled in their work. For many moms, flexible hours in addition to that feeling of fulfillment are a must. There are tons of great options that allow for a balanced home and work life. Maybe it’s time to take the plunge! BY KD REEP

D

o you wake up each day and feel like your life is the equivalent of oatmeal—good enough, but gray and nothing special? Welcome to the middle-age of your work life. In addition to a family, you have to manage a career that may have been fulfilling at one time, but now is the last thing you want to do every day. If you find yourself living for 5 p.m., and dreading Monday morning with the same loathing as your kids, it could be time to switch jobs. While that all seems fine and good for others, you may be thinking that taking on one more thing is beyond your ability. However, seeking a new career and pursuing something that really energizes you will improve every aspect of your life. “The United States Department of Labor notes that American mothers make up 40 percent of the sole or primary breadwinners in this country,” said Dr. Brittney Schrick, assistant professor and family life specialist with the UA Cooperative Extension Service. “That’s a more

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than 30 percent increase since 1960, when only 11 percent of mothers were providing for their families. With this many women in the workforce, it’s vital for the health and well-being of their families, employers, communities and selves that their work is fulfilling.” Subconsciously, you know when you are ready to move on. However, Forbes magazine reports that these signs are certain indicators a career change is right for you. First, you are chronically exhausted. This means high stress, lowgrade illnesses and no energy. “We spend a huge amount of our time working, so if we are under lots of stress or we dread our work, it can have an impact on our overall health and wellness,” Dr. Schrick said. “Aches and pains, stomach or other gastrointestinal problems, sickness, headaches or back pain are all common responses to chronic stress.” Like everything in life, your skills and responsibilities evolve from


“THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR NOTES THAT AMERICAN MOTHERS MAKE UP 40 PERCENT OF THE SOLE OR PRIMARY BREADWINNERS IN THIS COUNTRY.” when you enter your career. What you never thought you could do when you first began has now become commonplace and boring. If you find you want more of a challenge in your work, moving to a different career will help. But one of the biggest reasons moms don’t switch positions is money. If you have become accustomed to the amount of salary you earn or the benefits your workplace provides, it can be hard to rationalize why you should leave what you have for what you want. “Security can be difficult to let go of,” Dr. Schrick said. “As a parent, the last thing you want to do is upset your family’s way of life; however, changing careers can be worth the risk. Stress, anxiety and other negative emotions affect your family no matter how hard you may try to hide them. If you’re concerned about how a potential job shift will affect things like health insurance, do some research on what may be available to you in another line of work. If you are considering starting a small business, contact local organizations to see what resources are available. When you are happy, your kids will see it and feel it, and the life lesson you and they learn is invaluable.” Which leads to another profound truth: The career you have could be unfulfilling now because you chose it for reasons other than following your heart. “Maybe you wanted to be a writer, but your parents told you to pursue a more solid career like accounting,” Dr. Schrick said. “Pleasing them, trying to do the ‘right’ thing or soothing a fear of failure will eventually lead to dissatisfaction. If you find yourself yearning for what could have been, know that there is still time to pursue what you love and be able to provide for your family and yourself.” What’s the first step in changing a career? Do a little research, then take a test or two. “You need to be honest with yourself and determine what you want to do as a career and what you’re willing to do to make it a reality,” Dr. Schrick said. “Look at your expenses and determine what you must have—groceries, mortgage or rent, care—and what you can do without—cable television, gym membership, eating out every weekend. A little financial freedom will help you entertain more work opportunities.” If starting your own business is what you want to do, the UA Cooperative Extension Service has resources available for budding entrepreneurs. For assistance, visit UAEX.edu and select the Business and Community tab. Regardless of how you decide to change careers, know that guidance and support are available each step of the way.

BEFORE YOU TAKE THE PLUNGE Here are a few popular jobs for second career moms, according to Monster.com. Many have flexible hours, higher pay or necessary benefits—all things that may guide a mom’s decision to make a career leap: DENTAL HYGIENIST Median Annual Pay: $67,300 This position is appealing for the high pay as well as the flexible hours. Many dental hygienists work part-time hours, making it possible to pickup after school and make it to practices. WEB DEVELOPER Median Annual Pay: $55,400 This career offers the opportunity for independent contracting and creating your own work hours. Control your own workload with how many clients you choose to take on, plus the creative aspects can be very fulfilling! FITNESS TRAINER Median Annual Pay: $43,600 If you have a passion for fitness, becoming a trainer is a great way to share your knowledge with the public and get in that extra time at the gym. Trainers usually schedule directly with clients so they can create their own work hours. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER Median Annual Pay: $40,600 If you already love being around children and can’t see yourself ever tied to a desk job, teaching can offer a fun workplace where there’s never a dull moment. Teachers also get to keep roughly the same hours as their own school-aged kids with summers and holidays off.

ALSO THINK ABOUT… REALTOR Median Annual Pay: $49,720 Real estate agents do enjoy flexible hours, but generally have to put in time on nights and weekends. If you have a spouse that works 9-5 weekday hours, then real estate agent may be a good option. REGISTERED NURSE Median Annual Pay: $59,889 If you have a natural inclination to help people, nursing may be a good option. Positions are available in hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes or through in-home care. The options and the flexibility are endless. Baptist Health College Little Rock is a great local resource. INTERIOR DESIGNER Median Annual Pay: $45,563 With a flair for decorating, an eye for trends and an entrepreneurial spirit, you can launch your own interior design company. Start with friends and family and gain some word-ofmouth. This career allows you to make your own hours and set your own pricing. THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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savvy style

3

SPRING GARDEN PARTY

Infuse some lovely spring flora into your life with these accessories and essentials from local boutiques.

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1. The cherry blossoms will always be in bloom with this wooden laser cut necklace by Unpossible Cuts. Available at Esse Purse Museum & Store, essepursemuseum.com. 2. Rifle Paper Co. is the leader in stationery floral design. Each nature-inspired illustration is hand-drawn in a whimsical, feminine style. This purse-sized botanical journal has ruled pages ready to be filled. Available at Moxy Modern Mercantile, facebook.com/moxymodernmercantile. 3. Add retro appeal to your wardrobe with this 1940s celluloid flower and leaf dangle bracelet. Delicate charms hang from a brass bookchain. Bracelet and matching necklace found at Orbiting Debris Vintage inside South Main Creative, southmaincreative.com. 4. Buzz around all day with this lovely handmade bee brooch. It's made of brass with detailed, netted wings and naturally shaped pearl body and eyes. By Sarah Cavender Metalworks. Available at Esse Purse Museum & Store, essepursemuseum.com. 5. Carry the essentials in this Wonderful Mum zipper clutch by Ta-Daa House of Disaster. An abstract floral design with gold lettering really pops. A teal leather tassel and interior lined with hot pink stars add a burst of color. Available at Esse Purse Museum & Store, essepursemuseum.com. 6. Take a relaxing soak with this Lollia lavender and honey foaming bath. Treat yourself to the fresh floral fragrance as you wash the day away. Available at Bella Boutique, facebook.com/bellaboutiqueintheheights.

Spring is nature’s way of saying let’s party —Robin Williams

COME AS YOU ARE, TRAIN WRECK OR NOT. There will never be more than twenty four hours in a day. Time is the one thing that we cannot make more of. In a world that seems increasingly busy, the pressure to keep up keeps us moving from predawn to “end of the day collapse.” It wasn’t many years ago that “after school” was a time for the day to wind down. Now it is the second beginning of the day. Kids are running on adrenaline, parents are running on fumes and our central nervous systems are working out of a response previously reserved for the short bursts of energy (panic) necessary to handle emergencies. We were never designed to live this way. Blue Yoga Nyla has become a sanctuary for those needing a one hour escape. For those that wish several times a day that they could just press pause on life, we offer a welcoming, nonjudgmental, “leave the ego at the door” yoga practice. We are a different kind of space. If you are going to take an hour out of your life, drive through traffic after leaving cranky kids at home and put other obligations on hold, we are going to give you the best experience we can. We also understand that just getting there is half the battle so feel free to roll in on two wheels, hair a mess, wearing non matching yoga clothes with toes in desperate need of a polish change.

Our philosophy is “Come as you are, train wreck or not.”

What we do with our time and with whom we spend it is more important that we can ever imagine. Since there will never be more hours in a day, we have to be mindful that every decision will either add to or take from our cup. It is the mission of Blue Yoga Nyla to help fill your cup so you can go out and do the things you love, spending more energy with the ones you love, while also finding a kind way to love yourself. —Stacey Reynolds

3702 John F Kennedy Blvd. | North Little Rock 501-753-9100 | blueyoganyla.com BYN OFFERS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE… ● Beginner level /Strong level classes offered ● Early morning classes before work ● Yoga body bootcamp ● Private yoga therapy and private yoga classes ● Kids yoga camps ●● 11 “Pay what you can” classes each week ● Affordable monthly unlimited packages THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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STRAWBERRY SAUCE ½ cup strawberry jam 3-4 tablespoons warm water

Whisk the water and jam together until thinned and pourable.

SPRING BRUNCH FIT FOR A KID

Spring has sprung! When the weather gets warm enough to eat outside, you won't find my family inside during mealtime! There's just something about a slow Sunday brunch outside that really gets me in the spring spirit! STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KERRY GUICE

S

hare these great, kid-friendly recipes with your little ones while you enjoy some fresh air together. The Build-YourOwn Yogurt Parfait is always a hit! Set up a bowl of vanilla yogurt, a bowl of homemade granola, a tray of all kinds of cut-up fruit, and some jam thinned out with water or juice for a sauce. Kids love the independence of creating their own parfait, and you can feel pretty good about what goes in it! The Egg-and-Cheese-In-a-Hole is a great twist on the classic, but with added protein from the bacon and creaminess from the cheese. The pancake stacks have always been pretty famous in my house. It depends on the season for the topping. Sometimes it’s strawberry, sometimes it’s apple, and today it’s peaches! A little drizzle of good maple syrup on top makes it quite the brunch treat. Give your kids some lasting memories this spring with a thoughtful outdoor brunch just for them!

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HOMEMADE MAPLE HONEY GRANOLA 16 ounces old-fashioned oats 2 tablespoons flax seed (optional) 2 tablespoons canola oil ½ cup good maple syrup ½ cup honey Pinch salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon vanilla extract In large mixing bowl, stir together the syrup, honey, canola oil and vanilla extract. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to coat oats evenly. Pour onto baking sheet and bake in a 300-degree, preheated oven for up to 40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Store in airtight container up to one week.

BACON-EGG-AND-CHEESEIN-A-HOLE 3 eggs ¼ cup shredded cheese ¼ cup chopped, cooked bacon Butter 6 thick slices of bread In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, ¼ cup shredded cheese and ¼ cup chopped cooked bacon. Using a cookie cutter, create a hole in the bread. Butter the bread on both sides, then place on a preheated mediumlow pan. Let toast for 60 seconds, then add a spoonful of the egg mixture to the middle of the toast. Let cook another 60 seconds, then carefully flip to cook the other side for 3 more minutes. Butter and toast the cut-out bread pieces and place on top of cooked toast. Serve hot. THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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MINI PANCAKE STACKS WITH CINNAMON PEACHES 1¼ cup flour ¼ cup sugar ¼ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon cinnamon ¾ cup milk ¼ cup canola oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Scant ¼ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt 1 egg For peach topping 5 peaches, sliced 2 tablespoons maple syrup 1 tablespoon butter ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

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In large bowl, sift together dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to the dry and whisk just until combined. Ladle onto a preheated and greased pan set on medium-low. Cook for 3 minutes on one side and another minute on the other. In another pan, add peach slices, maple syrup, butter and cinnamon and cook until softened and warm. Serve the pancake stacks topped with the peaches, adding more syrup if desired.


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#1 Zoo Drive / Little Rock, Arkansas

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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Building Brighter Futures – Together Pulaski Technical College has joined forces with the University of Arkansas System. And now, we’re stronger than ever. Discover the diamond that is you at University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College, and shine brighter than ever.

Brighter Than Ever pulaskitech.edu

Yes, recovery may take 12 steps… But The BridgeWay has always been the first. As the first psychiatric hospital in the state of Arkansas, The BridgeWay has helped thousands of Arkansans recover from addictions. From legal to illegal substances, we have treated them all.

Under the care of a certified addictionologist, The BridgeWay was the first to offer two treatment options: n Abstinence-based treatment n Medication-assisted treatment with Suboxone Whether you need inpatient care or outpatient treatment, The BridgeWay has always been the first place to call. We provide services that treat addictions for adults, ages 18 and older, within a medical setting: n Medical detoxification n Outpatient n Yoga n Crisis stabilization n Support by AA and Al-Anon n Nutritional guidance n Dual diagnosis n Pet-assisted therapy n Computer access n Rehabilitation n Art therapy n Visitation n Intensive Outpatient For over thirty years, The BridgeWay has been the first and only program with a dedicated program for the treatment of substance abuse. Let The BridgeWay be your first call.

The BridgeWay may be reached toll-free at 1-800-245-0011 Our assessment and referral staff is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Assessments are provided at no charge and are always confidential. The BridgeWay is an in-network provider for Medicaid, up to 21 years of age, and all other insurance companies in Arkansas including Medicare and Tricare.

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www.TheBridgeWay.com |


Kat Hills

Shot on location at the Junior League of Little Rock.

Vontifany Smith

Lennie Dusek

Sherra Armstrong

Zara Abbasi Wilkerson

Savvy Moms Club

Every mom needs a ‘club’ of friends in her corner. It’s absolutely essential to make time to connect with other moms to swap war stories, get advice, offer comfort, laugh, cry and let it all out. We chose a group of five local moms—including rookies and veterans—to join our Savvy Moms Club and share their unique journeys through motherhood. BY AMY GORDY, PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW MARTIN THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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Savvy Moms Club

Mom In Action

Kat Hills is a career woman, a mom and an advocate. She does the balancing act each day of raising her three kids—Nate, 8, Nora, 5, and Niko, 6 months—with her husband, Karl, and maintaining her public relations job, which she does part time so she can be there to take the kids to school and pick them up every day.

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THE INSIDE SCOOP with KAT

Hills was 27 when she had her first child, and learned the lesson that life doesn’t wait for your plans. The couple had planned for a hospital birth with a midwife to be present for labor support, but Nate decided he was ready to enter the world with little warning. “The time came and I felt like I was in labor, so my husband called the midwife, who told us to try and wait a little bit before heading to the hospital—two hours later we had a baby at home. My husband was on the phone with the midwife telling her ‘There’s no time!’ I was standing up trying to get in the shower in our tiny bathroom and he just came out. The midwife got there five minutes later and he was breathing and everything was great. I never even went to the hospital,” Hills said. The Hillses planned to have their second child at home, and, much to their surprise, ended up delivering Nora on their own as well. “Nora was super rapid fire. The midwife missed that one, too. For Niko, our youngest, we decided to get some support and have him in the hospital, and it was wonderful.” Hills has worked to find the balance in her life between keeping her career and being there for her kids. “What I struggle with most is never feeling like I can ever give 100 percent to kids or work. It’s my day-in-day-out struggle,” she said. Before kids, Hills worked full time at Arkansas Business Publishing Group. After her first child, she went back full time for a year and had to take off again due to a family health situation. She then began work part time at a public relations firm, where she’s still employed, and also works as a freelance web designer and content creator. “I’ve been working with this firm for seven years and it’s really great. I planned to go back to work full time when my daughter went to kindergarten, but then we had Niko and had to readjust those plans. It was my choice and one I don’t regret at all, to have both a career and be able to get them to school every day and be here when they get home,” she said. Hills balances home and work while still making time to advocate for gun safety with the organization, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. For the past three years she’s been a part of the local chapter of this national organization that started in the wake of Sandy Hook. Hills discovered her passion for the issue during a book club meeting with a group of her friends. “A friend of mine brought up guns in our meeting, and I just didn’t realize the varying degrees of opinions there would be. I assumed that we were a group of 30-something-year-old moms, so of course we would all agree on gun issues. It was a really heated, taboo topic, and I decided then that I really wanted to make a difference,” she said. “It’s not an anti-gun organization, it’s a gun violence prevention organization. We work to take the stigma out of talking about gun safety, and work to support common sense gun safety laws to help keep our kids safe. I’ve met a whole other community of moms through it, and that’s really cool, too.”

IF YOU HAD A DAY FREE FROM ALL OBLIGATIONS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? (Insert laughter) At this point in my life, an obligation-free day seems unimaginable, but if all the stars aligned I would spend the day curled in bed with coffee and a good book. WHICH QUALITY DO YOU MOST HOPE TO INSTILL IN YOUR CHILDREN? Self-sufficiency. My highest hope for all of my children is that they will be hardworking, kind and functional adults! WHAT DO YOU WORRY ABOUT MOST? I spend the most time worrying that I am spreading myself too thin and not giving enough attention to any one thing. When I’m volunteering or working, I worry about the things I need to do at home, and vice versa. It can feel like a struggle to remain present at any or all of these places. WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY BALANCED? I have to give credit for all feelings of balance to the team approach my husband and I take. On Sunday nights we sit down with our shared phone calendar and go over our week. Since our schedules are so hectic, keeping track of who does what, when and where is an integral part of keeping me feeling calm and balanced. WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL TO PREPARE THAT MAKES EVERYONE HAPPY? Take-out pizza. WHAT’S YOUR IDEAL GIRLS NIGHT? My ideal girls night would be similar to the ones I have right now with my book club. We have a core group of about 10-12 ladies that have been meeting monthly since 2009. I’m pretty sure we could solve all the world’s problems. WHAT’S YOUR IDEAL DATE NIGHT? My ideal date night is pretty simple—dinner and drinks somewhere local. Generally, we geek out and talk about technology, apps we could build or ideas to use technology to solve existing problems. WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING ABOUT PARENTING? Parenting is not for the weak! My children teach me patience day in and day out over the smallest of things. I’m constantly trying to slow down more and not rush them so much. WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER HAD THAT YOU WANT FOR YOUR KIDS? I want my kids to experience adventures through traveling. I had wonderful family vacations growing up, but I’d really love for my kids to experience cultures far and wide. WHICH OF YOUR OWN QUALITIES DO YOU SEE IN YOUR CHILDREN? Not always the ones I want to see! My oldest and I are both stubborn and competitive, and that sometimes causes tension between us. Positively, I see them picking up on my passion for reading as well as being a good friend. WHAT MAKES YOU MOST PROUD OF YOUR CHILDREN? It makes me proud to see them work hard and realize the hard work they are putting in is a part of their successes. THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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Savvy Moms Club

The Little Sacrifices We hope Lennie Dusek is serious about one day writing her memoir. It would be a story of ups and downs, great love and disappointment, strength, selfdiscovery and a great lesson on how to be an amazing mom. Dusek is mom to Corinne, 15, and Vincent, 13. She chose to have a home birth for both of her children—her first at age 29. “With Corinne, my pregnancy was so great. I’ve never taken such good care of myself in my whole life. It was the picture-perfect delivery. Vincent was a whole other story. He was over 9 pounds, and came out with the cord wrapped around his neck. He was ultimately healthy, but ripped his way into the world, and I decided that was my last pregnancy,” Dusek said. She was a stay-at-home mom to her babies for the duration of their early childhood. “My then-husband ran for governor in 2006, which was huge for our family. In the years prior he was campaigning, and we were also being filmed for a documentary by a professor at UCA. It all filled up a good chunk of our time.” Dusek’s husband was not elected and the two divorced in 2011. Up to that point, she had modeled locally and worked part time at the Museum of Discovery, but after her divorce she began working full time at the museum where she is now the volunteer coordinator and early childhood specialist. As a single mom, she’s discovered new obstacles in her parenting journey. “My kids were 9 and 7 when I divorced. After the divorce, I had a four-year, longdistance relationship that really opened my eyes to

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how my personal life can affect my kids. The relationship was serious to the point that the kids and I were going to move to another state. We had chosen a house and school district. He had moved into that house, then on Memorial Day weekend of 2015 he sent me a Dear John email and just broke it off. It was such a ‘sudden death,’ it took me a year to get over that.” Two years out from that. Dusek has recovered and is in a new relationship that turned into an engagement on Valentine's Day. “For the first time, it’s just easy, and I’m really excited about it.” Dusek said one good thing that came out of the breakup is that it taught her a big lesson in being a single parent. “It’s a lesson in what not to pursue, and to listen to the red flags. I understand the decisions I make in my personal life can really affect my kids. More than anything, I don’t want my decisions or anything I do to affect them negatively,” she said. Dusek’s kids had always shared a room in her two-bedroom home. Part of the excitement surrounding the family’s intended big move was the promise that each would finally have his and her own bedroom. Dusek kept her promise by giving her bedroom to her daughter, and setting up shop in the living room. “I found a beautiful vintage sofa that folds out into a bed!” she said, laughing. When asked if it’s comfortable the answer was, “Meh.” “It’s the little sacrifices you make as a mom. You figure out how to make things work. Same thing with my divorce—I didn’t have a job at the time, but I had exhausted all the avenues of making that relationship work and I did what I had to do.” Dusek described making the choice to be a stay-at-home mom as a luxury. “When they were young, I chose to let go of financial luxuries to have the luxury of being with my kids. They know I can’t afford to take them on big vacations or weekend getaways, and they get it and appreciate the bigger things more. They appreciate what I do for them, and I love our relationship. Especially now that they are teenagers, some parents complain that it’s hard to talk to their kids. Thankfully, I don’t feel that way. I have a really good relationship with my kids.”

THE INSIDE SCOOP with LENNIE IF YOU HAD A DAY FREE FROM ALL OBLIGATIONS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? I'd go for a hike. Get a massage. Have lunch with a friend. Sleep in! Make a fire in the pit. I'd write. WHICH QUALITY DO YOU MOST HOPE TO INSTILL IN YOUR CHILDREN? Empathy. Also, as Joni Mitchell sang, “A heart of humor and humility will lighten up your heavy load.” WHAT DO YOU WORRY ABOUT MOST? Whether I can maintain, day after day. WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY BALANCED? I exercise my body and mind. I value good rest, though often don't get adequate sleep. I laugh it off. I feel love and gratitude every single day. WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL TO PREPARE THAT MAKES EVERYONE HAPPY? Having one vegetarian kid and another who could live off meat and potatoes makes meal planning tough, but I've found fried tofu and vegetable egg rolls strikes a happy chord for both. WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL GIRLS NIGHT? Gathering on a front porch with a cocktail when the weather's nice is the best. WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL DATE NIGHT? Cooking with my fiancé, then eating together. Et cetera. WHAT'S THE HARDEST THING ABOUT PARENTING? Mom guilt. I worry if certain decisions I make will negatively affect my kids. WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER HAD THAT YOU WANT FOR YOUR KIDS? The confidence to talk with me about anything, without fear of retribution, dogma or disinterest. WHICH OF YOUR OWN QUALITIES DO YOU SEE IN YOUR CHILDREN? Courage, forgetfulness, tenderness, diplomacy and wonder. WHAT DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH MOST AT THIS STAGE IN YOUR CHILDREN'S LIVES? Knowing how much leeway to give my teens. WHAT MAKES YOU MOST PROUD OF YOUR CHILDREN? When they exhibit thoughtfulness through their words and actions.

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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Savvy Moms Club

A New Flight Path Sherra Armstrong and her husband, Eddie, were used to a life of spontaneous trips, social engagements and busy work schedules, all of which slowed with the arrival of their 10-month-old son and first born, Edison.

30 MARCH 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


THE INSIDE SCOOP with SHERRA “I heard a lot of pregnancy horror stories, and I was expecting to be sick and uncomfortable, but I got lucky and didn’t have any of that. I stayed active and still went out to events. I can’t say enough about how much fun being pregnant was for me,” Sherra Armstrong said. She works in marketing and advertising for a few local organizations. A lot of Armstrong’s work can be done from home, which makes it easier to care for Edison, but on days when she needs to be on set for a commercial shoot, you’ll find Edison right there with her—getting out of the house now just takes a little more planning. “I shot a commercial for Shorter College and Edison was there with me in the studio in his stroller when he decided it was time to use the bathroom—all up his back. We had to say ‘cut,’ and let me take care of that. Sometimes I have to make arrangements for him, but usually if I’m there, he’s with me. I just have to have a place for naps, and now I have to do a lot more thinking and planning before I leave the house.” Armstrong is finding the biggest challenge to parenting is adjusting to the newness of it all, and the changes that come with becoming first-time parents. “So far the biggest challenge is just the newness of it all. We were a single couple with no kids for three years, and now everything is all about how to move best for the family as a whole with Edison involved. I can’t rush out of the house anymore, I have to have a backpack and a plan at all times. We used to be the kind of people when on a Thursday we might decide to just grab a bag and drive to Dallas for the weekend—now we have a son who does not like to be in a car seat for more than 30 minutes,” she said. The Armstrongs both work part of the time in Chicago, which puts them flying back and forth quite a bit. “We’ve taken Edison probably five times or more, and he’s good on a plane, but we have a ridiculous amount of things to bring!” Being a mom has brought about quite a few changes personally for Armstrong. She’s learned to become more flexible, to live off very little sleep and to roll with the punches. “I used to be the kind of person that said there was a lot of stuff I wouldn’t do. I wasn’t real big on cleaning up all the time. I would live on plastic ware to avoid dishes. I would opt for dry cleaning instead of doing laundry. There were just things I wouldn’t do—waking up early was also one of those things. All of that is out the window now. My son tells me when to wake up. I clean and sanitize his bottles constantly. That old me is gone, and it’s amazing how fast it happens!” The couple has also shifted their path for the future from plans of extensive traveling to thoughts of budgeting and tuition costs, and being there to shape Edison’s future. “For me, the next five years will really be about building a place where we become a family. I read that you are who you are by the age of 6, so I want to make sure the next five years are about building a kid who has integrity, knows to do the right thing and gives back to his community. I want those first five years to be structured properly, and for him to have a good spiritual basis. That’s more important to me than anything else.”

IF YOU HAD A DAY FREE FROM ALL OBLIGATIONS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Go to Barnes & Noble and get a good book to read (I still like hard copies). WHICH QUALITY DO YOU MOST HOPE TO INSTILL IN YOUR CHILD? Integrity. I want him to do the right thing even when no one is looking. WHAT DO YOU WORRY ABOUT MOST? How our social, political and environmental footprint will impact future generations. WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY BALANCED? I pray and meditate. I also do Zumba. WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL TO PREPARE THAT MAKES EVERYONE HAPPY? Pan-seared salmon and asparagus. WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL GIRLS NIGHT? Watch a good play in a great city, eat at a fabulous restaurant and spend the night in a hotel suite (old-school sleepover style). WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL DATE NIGHT? A quiet night at home with Eddie cooking me dinner. WHAT'S THE HARDEST THING ABOUT PARENTING? Hardest part of parenting to me is when my baby is sick or uncomfortable and I can't fix it. WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER HAD THAT YOU WANT FOR YOUR KIDS? The opportunity to learn the importance of community outreach at a younger age. WHICH OF YOUR OWN QUALITIES DO YOU SEE IN YOUR CHILD? The quality that I see of mine in my son is his uninterrupted cool nature. WHAT DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH MOST AT THIS STAGE IN YOUR CHILD'S LIFE? We are most focused on making sure that he is clearing milestones, and that we don't spoil him too much. WHAT MAKES YOU MOST PROUD OF YOUR CHILD? He is so close to perfect in our eyes—I couldn't begin to share it all—I mean he sleeps all night, he eats well, he is such a sweet and funny baby and he is so stinking cute!

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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Savvy Moms Club

A Single Mom

(Determined)

Vontifany Smith, organizational development trainer at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, has raised two “only” children. With her kids 13 years apart, and having had very different motherhood experiences with each, she feels like her daughter, Cordnie, 23, and son, Chase, 10, both grew up much like an only child. Vontifany Smith was a very young mother the first time around. The summer after she graduated high school she unexpectedly became pregnant. “I had plans to go away to college and had a scholarship. My plans changed and I went to school and work locally. I was very determined. My family was skeptical thinking everything was going to be ruined for me, which drove me to say, ‘I’m not going to be a statistic,’” Smith said. She attended Philander Smith College and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She went on to Pulaski Technical College to get an associate’s degree in early childhood education, and finally a master’s in human resources from Walden University. “I finished Philander Smith in four years, and I pride myself on that. I worked two jobs some of that time.

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THE INSIDE SCOOP with VONTIFANY I have always been a single mom—I’ve never been married—and there are unique challenges you face as a single mom,” she said. “I was 19 when I had my first child. I was nervous and scared. She was two weeks behind schedule and ended up being 8 pounds, 14 ounces, and I was a little bitty thing. It was scary for me being so young and unprepared. My son was much easier. I was 33 when I had him. I did Lamaze and got to do all the planning for him. It was a really fun experience.” Smith’s life took another unexpected turn when her son became very sick at age 4. “Chase suddenly got sick with fever, became lethargic and wouldn’t eat. I took him to a physician at another hospital and they sent him home saying it was a fever virus and to let it run its course. I felt like they just brushed it off,” she said. Her son got worse. His belly expanded, and Smith decided to take him to Arkansas Children's Hospital where they discovered in the ER that he had a tumor on his chest and his liver and spleen were enlarged. He had a very aggressive form of leukemia. Chase began treatment immediately and Smith, who was a human resources trainer at another facility, took a year off of work to be with her son. A selfproclaimed “talker,” Smith filled her time at the hospital by reaching out to other parents to form support groups and caught the eye of a hospital social worker. “The social worker asked what I do for a living. Some time later, she told me about a job available at the hospital, and said I’d be a good asset. She didn’t know in 2002 and 2006 I had applied for this job and never got a call back. I guess I just needed that referral and my foot in the door.” Smith got the job and has been with Children’s since 2011. Her son has been in remission for six years and is doing well, playing sports and taking acting classes. “Chase is a really relaxed, mature kid. He takes out the trash without being asked. His dad is very involved in his life,

and we co-parent well,” Smith said. Her parenting role with her daughter, who has her own apartment, is proving more challenging than Smith expected. “Now that I don’t have my hands on her, now that she’s grown, I’m more worried about her. You don’t really know what they are doing. Don’t have control over them. That’s nerve wracking. And I worry about her dating. It’s a struggle for a single mother when the dad isn’t there to set an example. Boys need their dads but girls need their dads, too. Thankfully she’s strong and independent,” she said. Smith’s five-year plan involves growing both her career and her personal life. “I’m single right now by choice, but I really need to be looking for someone. I see myself married. I see myself merging more into my own consulting firm and doing more things independently to grow my brand and my businesses.” Smith has her hands full not only as a mom and career woman, but as an entrepreneur as well. She has her own consulting firm, is an independent distributor at Works Global, and operates Chasing Possibilities, a support network for families, named for her son.

IF YOU HAD A DAY FREE FROM ALL OBLIGATIONS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Stay at home in my PJs watching “Criminal Minds” all day! WHICH QUALITY DO YOU MOST HOPE TO INSTILL IN YOUR CHILDREN? I equally wish to instill in them the continuous need to love, trust and honor God; the courage to face any challenge that life throws at them; and the humility to realize things could be worse—but aren’t! WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY BALANCED? Pray, travel, enjoy family time and live life! WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL TO PREPARE THAT MAKES EVERYONE HAPPY? Tacos! WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL GIRLS NIGHT? Hanging out at each other’s house in leggings and T-shirts with wine, laughter and no kids! WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL DATE NIGHT? A surprise invite for a weekend get-away with dinner, dancing and great conversation. WHAT'S THE HARDEST THING ABOUT PARENTING? Parenting is never easy! You’re responsible for the life of a whole other person outside of you. Consistently we are ensuring that values are instilled, ideal role modeling is displayed, being firm but fair, healing when they are sick, guidance when they are lost and confused. Parenting isn’t being perfect, just trying your very best and loving with everything you’ve got! WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER HAD THAT YOU WANT FOR YOUR KIDS? I want for my kids to develop confidence and character early in life. I want them to dream big and go for it! I didn’t explore these options until later in life. I don’t regret that, but I could only imagine where I would be if I had started much earlier. WHICH OF YOUR OWN QUALITIES DO YOU SEE IN YOUR CHILDREN? Strength, passion, confidence and a great sense of humor. WHAT MAKES YOU MOST PROUD OF YOUR CHILDREN? My kids are the absolute coolest! My youngest, Chase Marshall, recently celebrated six years of remission from leukemia! He is such a strong kid and very brave! My oldest, Cordnie, is such a “mini-me”! She is very talented with hair and makeup—such a fashionista! My kids make me proud because they are confident and capable!

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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Savvy Moms Club

Miracle Baker

When Zara Abbasi Wilkerson was 19, she was told she could never have kids. She had gone in for a routine checkup and received a call back from her doctor delivering the upsetting news. “I was at work, and got this call from my doctor who said he needed to send me to a specialist, but that my tubes didn’t work and I could never have kids. I was absolutely devastated. I had always wanted lots of kids, and to have a big family,” Zara Wilkerson said. “I was so devastated. I remember thinking ‘No one is going to marry me.’ I wanted kids so bad, and how would I break the news to whomever I marry? I hate to place so much importance on a woman’s role to procreate, but it was so important to me. Luckily, my husband, John, didn’t care. He said, ‘We’ll adopt or figure it out.’ He was wonderful about everything.” Because of Wilkerson’s low chances of conceiving, the couple chose to forgo birth control, and were thrilled and surprised to discover she was pregnant at age 28 with their now 8-year-old son, Razik. “When I found out I was pregnant I was just so elated. That’s why my friends say I didn’t have any negative pregnancy symptoms—I was just so happy, none of it mattered. I was so ecstatic every day to see my stomach getting bigger and know that this is real,” she said.

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THE INSIDE SCOOP with ZARA Wilkerson was surprised again three days before Razik’s first birthday to find out she was pregnant with now 6-year-old Amila, whom she sums up with the word “sassy.” After Amelia’s birth, the Wilkersons were heartbroken to lose two babies. “I had two miscarriages—one was last year, and the other the year before. So now I wonder that maybe the doctor was right, maybe Razik and Amila were just my two miracle babies,” she said. Wilkerson was in law school while raising the two little ones. She and her husband were intending to move to California and were waiting for her license to practice to come through, but her career path took a different turn. “I had both of my kids while I was in law school, and the plan was to be an attorney. I was in a weird limbo waiting for the results from California, I couldn’t sign on with a law firm, and a law clerk job wouldn’t cover the cost of daycare. John suggested I stay home with them, and let his dad watch them a few hours a week so I could try a job I liked,” she said. She had always loved to cook, so Wilkerson approached the owner of Natchez restaurant, which is now closed, to apply for the job of pastry chef. She got the job and quickly gained a name around Little Rock for her exquisite desserts. She was hired to consult with several restaurants including 109 & Co., The Afterthought, The Faded Rose, Heights Taco & Tamale Co., and the other Yellow Rocket Concepts restaurants. “What I would do is come in and meet with the owner, then develop a dessert menu and create the desserts. My motto was ‘Say yes, and learn later,’ and I said yes to the point that I ended up taking on too much work.” Wilkerson was taking private orders and filling orders for seven local restaurants when she finally had to step back. “I finally said, ‘Hey I gotta stop. My kids are suffering and I’m suffering. Until I can get a bakery opened, there’s no way I can handle all this and be a mom.” While this “miracle baker” is taking a step back now to focus on her family, she teases with something “secret” in the works. “Hopefully I see myself in five years owning my own business and continuing baking in some form. I’ve become much more involved in the legal sphere because of the recent political transition. I’m getting lots of immigration legal questions. People are saying, ‘Hey, I know a Pakistani lawyer,’ and reaching out, and it’s been a great experience for me to use my education to help people.”

IF YOU HAD A DAY FREE FROM ALL OBLIGATIONS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? I'd sleep in, then have a leisurely breakfast that I'd make for myself. I'd go to the gym and get a massage/facial. I'd go watch a movie and shop, and I'd end the day with a nice dinner and an extra long shower. I might even read a book! WHICH QUALITY DO YOU MOST HOPE TO INSTILL IN YOUR CHILDREN? Ambition. I want them to truly reach for the stars and believe anything is within their grasp. WHAT DO YOU WORRY ABOUT MOST? That I'm not doing enough for my kids, the world, for humanity. WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY BALANCED? Hang out with family. My parents and brothers keep me laughing. My kids and husband keep me hopeful and positive. WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL TO PREPARE THAT MAKES EVERYONE HAPPY? Unfortunately, everyone has different likes, but everyone is also easily pleased. The closest thing would be a roast chicken with vegetables and mashed potatoes. WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL GIRLS NIGHT? I'm lucky enough to have an amazing group of girlfriends. We love meeting up for brunch or dinners and just talking. It's a great break from our schedules. WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL DATE NIGHT? Depends on the mood. If we've had a rough week, then homemade ribeyes and a good rental movie. If we're in great spirits, maybe going to South on Main for a show. WHAT'S THE HARDEST THING ABOUT PARENTING? Having patience and consistency for the kids. It's all about balance and it takes a lot of time to juggle your instincts with discipline and creating a positive atmosphere. WHAT DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH MOST AT THIS STAGE IN YOUR CHILDREN'S LIVES? Keeping up with their messes! They have entirely too many toys and things and it becomes overwhelming to sort and clear them away. I feel like a hamster on a wheel cleaning the same things over and over again. WHAT MAKES YOU MOST PROUD OF YOUR CHILDREN? I love their hearts. They are truly caring kids and have a genuine innocence I'd love to preserve. They are observant of their surroundings and absorb things quickly, and it makes me proud to know they use those things in a positive way.

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

35


PUBLIC EDUCATION: PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES

Pulaski County Special School District

Choose PCSSD schools for– Certified teachers with advanced degrees Test scores higher than other local districts Millions awarded in college scholarships Talented and Gifted programs State-winning sports teams 1;1 tech program providing iPads, Chromebooks Facilities upgrades and new schools underway pcssd.org RUSSELL CARLTON, KEYSTONE RESORT

36 MARCH 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

501.234.2000


TWO MOTHERS, ONE GOAL

Determination and intuition lead to successful therapy for two families with special needs. BY DWAIN HEBDA

C

Cristin and Gray Goodner.

ristin Goodner takes a deep breath and apologizes for what’s about to come out. It’s been a long road, the one she’s traveled with her 5-year-old son, Gray. Talking about it gets her revved like a preacher in the pulpit. “At 18 months, [Gray] was saying two words and I knew that that wasn’t OK,” she said, the words pouring out at the memory of it. “And, of course, you hear, ‘Oh, he’s a boy, he’s your first kid.’ But, I’m a nurse and I was like, ‘Well, there are milestones for a reason and something’s not right.’” Suzanne Guerra’s mannerism is more subdued but no less intense describing her experience with her daughter, Maizy, age 6. Like Goodner, she knew something was amiss with her second child. And one day, she finally got fed up with being told that there wasn’t. “With Maizy, it was really the verbal skills and not really being able to connect with her,” she said. “She was just in her own world, just wanted to play and do her own thing and when I thought she was going to start talking, it just didn't happen. “I told my husband, ‘OK we’re at, like, 18 months; I have to call, I have to find out where to go, who to talk to and get some help.’ At the time we were living in Hot Springs Village and I just remember going back and forth to Little Rock and seeing this kid’s therapy place on the Interstate. I'm going to start there; I'm going to call. Five years later, and we’ve been there ever since,” Guerra said. The business Guerra saw, and which Goodner also discovered, was KidSource Therapy in Benton, which for nearly 20 years has provided occupational, speech, developmental and physical therapy through six locations across the state. For the two moms, finding a source of help and understanding was like finally walking out of a fog into bright sunlight. “I say all the time that without these people, my kid would not be anywhere near what he is,” Goodner said. “They are the reason he is where he is.”

Suzanne and Maizy Guerra. THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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Gray was diagnosed with multiple developmental delays, sensory processing disorder and apraxia, which is a brain disorder that makes speech difficult. Goodner said the straightforward approach of his therapists, as well as the ongoing support and takehome strategies, made dealing with Gray’s condition much easier. “It would have been very easy for them to say, ‘Well, this is what we did in therapy, see you next week,’ but it’s never been like that,” she said. “We developed close relationships. I feel like I can, on an appropriate level, call them with anything. In fact, I have.”

“They are like our second family. They love our children as much as we do, and they love to see them learn, and to change and grow,” Maizy was diagnosed with autism, speech delays and sensory processing disorder, a condition where the brain has difficulty cataloging and prioritizing stimuli, making her easily overwhelmed by new places and experiences. Her mother watched as each condition was addressed categorically, at a pace the child could handle. “The approach that they take, the floor time approach that the occupational therapists take at this therapy center, is basically child-led learning and teaching,” she said. “We're trying to go off their cues to find an interest. We're just trying to find anything, any small thing, that the child might be interested in and we play off of that,” Goodner said. Like Goodner, Guerra was also impressed by the personal investment she saw from Maizy’s therapists and firmly believes it’s one reason her daughter has advanced as far as she has as quickly as she has. “They are like our second family. They love our children as much as we do, and they love to see them learn, and to change and grow,” she said. “I have constantly asked for extra things. ‘Tell me what this is; tell me how I can do this at home to help her. Can I read a book? Is there a book you recommend?’ They've always gone above and beyond to try to help.” As much as Guerra and Goodner value the approach and are pleased with the results, neither would describe therapy as anything approaching easy, or the time and expense anything short of a sacrifice. But they continue to bring their children—Maizy’s older brother, Rayce, and Gray’s younger sister, Elliott, also receive therapy through KidSource—in the unshakable belief that such an investment is, and will continue to be, worth it. “We drive a four-hour round trip, three days a week. Both kids,” Guerra said. “Ultimately the therapists would like for the children to get to a point where I can just help them at home, and maybe one day we won't need therapy because we all will have progressed so much that we can handle life on our own.” “From what I understand, Gray can catch up and get on the same playing field as everybody else and that is our goal, obviously,” Goodner said. “The earlier you catch [apraxia] the better your prognosis is going to be. Apraxia is—I hate to say fixable, because it's always there and his sensory stuff is always there. But he can catch up. He will just have to do things a little differently.” On the other hand, both women were very pointed in their assertion that therapy only works if one seeks it out. Their advice is simple for other parents who might suspect something is out of the norm concerning their child’s development. “Follow your gut,” Goodner said. “That is your job and you don't take ‘no’ for an answer. If you feel like something’s going on, you look further into it. If you don’t get the answer you want from them, then you say, ‘OK; I want a second opinion.’ You are your kid’s advocate.”

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CHAMPIONS for children

archildrens.org

At Arkansas Children’s, we have an unyielding commitment to making kids better today and healthier tomorrow. Most importantly, we’re not just pediatric specialists, we’re specialists in kids! That’s what makes us champions for children. archildrens.org

Join us Saturday, April 1, for a special day packed with food, family, fun and sun on the banks of the Arkansas River. Admission is free and there’s fun for all!

Visit RiverfestArkansas.com/Springfest for details.

• Food Trucks • Arts & Crafts • Springfest Pooch Parade • The Jesse White Tumblers • Hero Zone • Construction Zone • Super Retriever Series • Community Performances • Bounce Zone • Trout Fishing in America • Much More!

FREE ADMISSION Saturday, April 1 10am – 6pm Downtown Little Rock THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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TEACH A KID TO GARDEN

Studies show that teaching children to garden can encourage healthy eating habits down the road. There are several programs and schools in central Arkansas that are encouraging kids to get dirty and learn life lessons outside of the classroom.

F

BY DWAIN HEBDA

orest Park Elementary and Dunbar Garden of Little Rock are, in many respects, worlds away from one another. Forest Park resides in a picturesque, manicured enclave where the Heights neighborhood melts into Cammack Village. Dunbar Garden is a shock of green in the middle of a blue-collar urban neighborhood south of Interstate 630. But what both of these places have in common is the near-constant presence of school children and youth throughout the week, digging in the dirt, watering plants and discovering the basic building blocks of where food comes from and how to nurture the very earth that supports it. “There’s a nutritional side to it. There are so many kids who had never tried a radish until they planted the seed, saw it grow and come out of the ground and then picked it,” said Kerry Guice, a writer and mother of two who helped get the Forest Park garden off the ground last year. “Then there’s the environmental side of it. We have a compost bin, we have a recycle center where we recycle not just paper, but also small electronics, ink cartridges and things like that. “I think it’s rewarding for parents to know that their kids are learning so much more than what regular school can teach a child,” Guice said. “Everybody says it now, but it's real: People just do not know where their food comes from,” said Damian Thompson, Dunbar Garden program coordinator. “We’re getting [kids] to learn that at an early age. You start that early and you've got a much longer lifetime of nutritional knowledge, and it can only increase health through better diets. “Also, if you know where it comes from, then you want to take care of the soil. You want to clean things up. You think twice about littering and using chemicals,” he said. Dunbar Garden is flanked by Gibbs Elementary and Dunbar Middle School, of which Thompson is an alum, but the two-acre garden’s reach extends well past that, providing a steady stream of students to

40 MARCH 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

experience the outdoor classroom on a regular basis. For some, it’s a radical ecological awakening. “There are so many kids who live in apartments. They don't have yards,” Thompson said. “Something we teach them is how to grow things on your windowsill or in pots. They start their own seeds out here. In February or March we'll start tomatoes, and then whoever can will take their tomatoes home and grow them over the summer.” Most of Forest Park’s kids grow up surrounded by greenspace. In fact, it’s that very environment that inspired the garden in the first place. “All of us parents realize [gardening’s] important for so many reasons,” Guice said. “It’s always been a sore spot for us that our kids don’t get the time in recess that we think they should. [Gardening] gets the kids outside, gets them some Vitamin D and fresh air, instead of being cooped up inside all day.” Another impressive school garden is found at Access Academy, a learning community for children with special needs, which has incorporated gardening at some level in its educational activities since it was founded in 1996. “It just makes sense in a variety of categories,” said Tammy Simmons, co-founder and executive director. “It’s hands-on learning. When you have a garden, you’re designing the beds and determining how many square feet it is. If we’re going to have two inches of mulch, how much would we need? If the plant needs so many inches around it, how many will go in a certain space? It’s really practical applications.” Simmons said the kinds of lessons learned outside can also be a great equalizer for children, particularly those who have difficulty with traditional classroom methods. “It puts everybody at the ground level, literally,” she said. “Everybody gets to the ground level and it's not about your ability in a textbook anymore, where many of our kids struggle. It’s about your ability to take what you've learned and apply it. We see so many kids who may not excel in the classroom setting really excel in the garden setting.” The program has grown large enough across its two campuses to occupy two greenhouses and support an annual on-site plant sale that raises money for the school. The growth has also allowed the school to branch out into companion garden products including its “worm tea,” an all-natural liquid fertilizer made from worm casings. Simmons said that beyond the money raised, gardening pays substantial dividends for the student body and staff alike, starting from the top down. “I know that I crave to garden,” Simmons said. “And I know that I love it because I love the beauty, but I also probably crave it for the physical activity. Everything’s right with the world if I’m out there working in the garden.”

PHOTOGRAPHY: RETT PEEK AND KERRY GUICE

(From left) Student holds a chicken at Forest Park Elementary garden; Access Academy student works with a horticulture expert to plant herbs in the soil-free, aeroponics growing system; and gardens blooming at Forest Park Elementary. (Opposite page) Forest Park students get a lesson on growing herbs.


FAMILY GARDEN GARDENING IS ELEMENTARY A garden program is not only educational, it’s one important weapon in the ongoing battle against childhood obesity, said Emily English, and she should know. In her dual roles as program director for both the Arkansas GardenCorps and Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Program, she’s helped develop school- and community-based gardens across the state. “There is evidence that shows that nutrition education can increase fruit and vegetable consumption,” she said. “We also know that when you add a garden component to nutrition education you will see a greater increase in nutritional knowledge, preference or willingness to try fruits and vegetables and a behavior change, that is, consumption.” Given that gardening is one of the simplest and least-expensive extracurricular activities to start at a school, the return on investment in lasting healthy habits is substantial. To help get a garden off on the right foot, she recommends: Have a person in charge. Whether assigned to a member of the faculty or plucked from the ranks of parents, make sure there’s a designated point person. “The thing about gardening is someone ultimately has to be responsible,” English said. “Successful gardens have a school champion both on the ground and at the administrative level.” Spread the work, share the love. Ideally, garden projects are administered by a committee of individuals. This helps spread around responsibilities and encourages wider participation and advocacy. “A committee can troubleshoot problems, spread the good word of the garden and figure out how it integrates in the institution and the culture of the school.” Leverage outside resources. There are lots of organizations dedicated to helping get gardens off the ground and their websites provide a wealth of information. Some of English’s recommended sites: ArkansasFarmtoSchool.org ArkansasGardenCorps.com Foodcorps.org University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service - UAEX.edu

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A SPECIAL SAVVY ADVERTISING SECTION

SAVVY FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERʼS GUIDE

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments a family can make. There are many factors that go into the purchase. Navigating the loan, negotiating the price, settling on homeowner’s insurance and signing the closing paperwork can be a daunting task—especially for a first-time homebuyer. Here are a few tips from the experts: It’s springtime and houses are beginning to flood the market. If you are interested in taking the plunge to buy a home, it’s a great idea to get a head start by getting pre-approved for a home loan. If you find yourself in a bidding war, being pre-approved can give you an advantage over another buyer. “There are so many loan options available to fit your specific needs, some programs don’t even require a down payment. If a down payment is required, you may have additional options, such as down payment assistance programs. In some circumstances, the seller may pitch in on closing costs. I always recommend talking to your loan officer to get prequalified and make the process smoother,” said Amanda Herman, Corporate Marketing Director at Bank of England Mortgage.

What Type of Loan is Best for You?

Answered by Regions Mortgage:

A down payment of 20 percent has been the industry standard for a new mortgage. However, there is a big difference between an industry standard and a set-in-stone requirement. In fact, there are several ways you can buy a house with less than 5 percent down. Each loan product has different aspects that might be more attractive than others. Here are four of the most popular low or no down payment loan options: • The Regions Affordable Loan is a specialty “niche” product created by Regions. It is an in-house loan with zero down payment. In order to qualify for this loan, the borrower has to make less than 80 percent of the HUD median income for the area (approximately $50,240 per year in central Arkansas), or they have to be purchasing a home in a HUD designated LMI census tract. If the borrower meets the income requirements, has at least a 680 credit score and does not own another property, then they are prime candidates. • The FHA loan is a great product to use if you had a lower credit

42 MARCH 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

score (580-640), and still need a minimum down payment loan. It requires a 3.5 percent down payment, with an upfront mortgage insurance premium of 1.5 percent that is added to the loan amount. • If you are a qualified veteran, you might qualify for a VA Loan that can finance up to 100 percent of the purchase price at a very great interest rate, and accommodate credit scores ranging from 580-800. Some veterans would also have a Funding Fee that is added to the base loan amount. • The USDA/Rural Housing product is a flexible, zero down payment, government-guaranteed program that is designed to promote homeownership to residents in rural communities with low to moderate incomes. If the property is located in an eligible area as defined by the USDA Eligibility website, and the customer meets the income requirements as well, this is a great loan product.

For more information log on to regions.com/mortgage.


How Do You Narrow Your Search and Find the Perfect Home?

Answered by Crye-Leike Realtor Staci Medlock:

Front Porch Living New Homes for Sale

Homebuying is an emotional process. It may seem impossible, but ideally a buyer should set aside all their emotions when evaluating a house. Instead, make a checklist of your must-haves, nice-to-haves and other essentials, then print copies of this checklist. Every time you visit a house take the checklist along with you, and take photographs so you can cross each item off your list. If you fall in love with a house, and your checklist shows that the house has none of your must-haves, it will at least help you to pause and think.

Also, think long-term and think resale. Are you planning to have kids? Will you be taking care of elderly relatives? These are questions that will drastically affect your long-term plans. You might be planning to live in your first home for only a few years. In that case, who is your target audience when it comes time to sell the house? If you buy a house in a very bad school district, or a house on a very busy street, when you are ready to sell the home, most families with children will be out of your list of potential buyers. And, finally, make sure you are comfortable and can trust your realtor. Your agent should be able to guide you through the entire process, and look out for your best interests.

For more information log on to stacimedlock.crye-leike.com.

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Multi-Million Dollar Producer CRYE-LEIKE Realtors 501-975-2100 (Office) 501-944-8687 (Cell) stacimedlock1@yahoo.com LIKE my PAGE on Facebook!

www.HALL-ENGR.com THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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Make the Heights or

Hillcrest Home

Allison Pickell, Realtor Recognized as Best Real Estate Agent

1501 N University, Ste. 800 Little Rock, AR 72207 501-920-2392 allisonpickell.com

How Do I Negotiate?

Answered by realtor Allison Pickell, GRI, ABR, SRS, with Coldwell Banker RPM Group: There are many different scenarios that come into play when purchasing a home. Having a realtor in your corner can make a big difference! If a home is priced right, in the current market, it tends to sell quickly. When a home has just come on the market and has lots of interest, the sellers are unlikely to reduce their asking price. If a home has been on the market for a long time, the sellers may be more likely to lower their price. Realtors can use many negotiating tactics to get the buyer close to the price they have in mind. When a buyer doesn’t have enough money to pay his own closing cost, he can offer a higher price for the home and ask the seller to pay closing costs. Other concessions a seller may entertain with the right offer would be for the seller to pay for a home warranty or a survey. And, after a home inspection, if there are repairs that need to be made, a seller will in some cases reduce the price of the home in lieu of repairs. Then the buyer can have the repairs done after closing. The type of loan product a buyer is using will determine whether or not repairs can be done after closing. For the seller, it is all going to come down to what her net proceeds will be. If a buyer has sincere interest in a property, the buyer has nothing to lose in having his realtor present an offer. And if the buyer and seller don’t agree, then the buyer can move on to another property. I have found that when buyers didn’t get the first or second home they made an offer on, when they finally had a house under contract, they tend to realize they will actually be happier with the house they purchased, than the one they previously made an offer on!

For more information email apickell@cbrpm.com.

How Can You Reduce Homeowner’s Insurance Premiums?

Answered by Pryor Robertson with Farmers Insurance:

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to provide insurance in all states. Coverage is not available in all states. Restrictions apply. Discounts may vary. Not available in all states. See your agent for details. Life Insurance issued Farmers New Life Insurance Company, Ave SE, Mercer companies. Visitbyfarmers.com for a World complete listing of companies. Not all 3003 insurers77th are authorized

Island, WAto98040. insurance in all states. Coverage is not available in all states. companies. Visitprovide farmers.com for a complete listing of companies. Not all insurers are authorized Life Insurance issued by Farmers New World Life Insurance Company, 3003 77th Ave SE, Mercer to provide insurance all states. Coverage is not available in all states. Island, WAin98040. Life Insurance issued by Farmers New World Life Insurance Company, 3003 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

1. Raise your deductible, especially the wind and hail deductible. Wind and hail are the primary causes of claims for homeowners. The higher deductible you can afford, the less homeowner's premium you will pay. For homes under $150,000, I recommend a 1 percent of dwelling value deductible. For homes over $150,000, I suggest you start out with a $1,500 deductible and raise the deductible by $1,000 for every $100,000 of dwelling value. 2. When you replace your roof, get with your insurance agent. Here at Farmers, we give a very nice discount for newer roofs. Make sure you have the documentation to prove the age of the roof, or when it was installed. If you are purchasing a home, ask the previous owners for a copy of their roof receipt. 3. For older homes that have been renovated (before 1970), provide documentation in the form of electrical, plumbing and HVAC receipts. All these renovations can give you more discounts and make your home safer. 4. Get home security. Many companies offer a discount for a monitored home security system. Your security provider can give you the documentation to get this discount. 5. Sign up for online access to your policies. At Farmers, we give a 2 percent discount for this. 6. Bundle your policies. At Farmers, we offer discounts of 15 percent off your homeowner's insurance for having your auto insurance with us as well. Additional discounts come into play when you have your life, boats, ATVs, second home or business insurance with Farmers as well.

For more information email probertson@farmersagent.com.

44 MARCH 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


BUILD YOUR DREAM HOME

What if you can't find your dream home in a sea of real estate listings? If you have a very specific floor plan or style in mind and want something brand new, you might consider building. Fiser Development LLC offers a breakdown on what to expect when building your dream home:

REGIONS 100% FINANCING OPPORTUNITIES

1. Always start with a budget and pre-approval from a mortgage lender. 2. Pick a location or lot. 3. Choose a house plan, or use an architect to draw custom plans. 4. Find a reputable builder. 5. Work with the builder and vendors to choose paint colors and finishes. 6. Be ready to make many decisions throughout the process. 7. Keep open lines of communication with the builder from beginning to end.

For more information log on to fiser.com. REGIONS AFFORDABLE 100 PROGRAMS allow up to 100% financing with no mortgage insurance for borrowers who have managed their credit obligations and fall within certain income thresholds. There are no income limitations when the property is located in an LMI census tract.

CONTACT ONE OF OUR LOCAL MORTGAGE LOAN ORIGINATORS TODAY! DOWNTOWN LITTLE ROCK

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regions.com THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2017

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bag check THESE MALA BEADS WERE THE FIRST GIFT FROM MY FIANCÉ. I CARRY THEM IN CASE I NEED TO GET ZEN FOR A MOMENT.

LENNIE DUSEK IS THE VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR AND EARLY CHILDHOOD SPECIALIST AT THE MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY. SHE THROWS SCIENCE AGAINST THE WALL EACH WEEK TO SEE WHAT STICKS IN A PRESCHOOLER'S MIND WITH HER PROGRAM "WIGGLE WORMS." HER DAUGHTER, CORINNE, 15, AND SON, VINCENT, 13, OFTEN HELP TO PREP PROGRAM MATERIALS OR OFFER INTERESTING MORAL SUPPORT. THEY LAUGH A LOT IN THEIR FAMILY, BUT NOT UNTIL HOMEWORK'S DONE. I’VE BEEN WEARING THIS SEBASTIAN SIGNS FRAGRANCE FOR SEVEN YEARS. IT’S MY FAVORITE!

THIS IS MY FIRST PAIR OF REALLY NICE SUNGLASSES!

I’VE BEEN CARRYING THIS GORILLA AROUND AS A GIFT TO MY NEPHEW.

46 MARCH 2017 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

YES, THOSE ARE MEALWORMS!

WE JUST MADE THESE BAGEL BIRDFEEDERS AT THE MUSEUM. A KID LEFT THIS BEHIND AND I COULDN’T RESIST TAKING IT HOME.

at

PHOTOGRAPHY: LILY DARRAGH/STYLING: AMY GORDY

I LOVE THESE COUPONS MY DAUGHTER MADE FOR ME LAST MOTHER’S DAY. I NEED TO START CASHING THEM IN!

I ONLY WANT TO CARRY ONE BAG SO I CHOOSE BIG ONES THAT CAN CARRY LOTS OF THINGS.

LENNIE DUSEK


Celebrate Spring Break!

Daniel Tiger on Monday, March 20, and Curious George and The Man with the Yellow Hat Tuesday, March 21 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. in partnership with

500 President Clinton Ave, Ste 150

Little Rock, AR 72201

www.museumofdiscovery.org

501.396.7050


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SAVVY | MARCH 2017