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THE LIFESTYLE MANUAL FOR THE MODERN MOM

MARCH 2015 路 THESAVVYMOMS.COM


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MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


Babies love to play and need your attention. They also need time on their own for discovery.

Frequent play and conversation help babies begin to understand communication and establish their place in the world. Babies also need independent play. In quiet times, babies can explore their bodies and objects in their surroundings. Babies develop hand-eye coordination and learn cause and effect through play with objects. At the same time, they are learning about shapes and colors. Independent play helps babies develop selfcomforting techniques. When it is time for sleep, babies put to bed awake, fed and dry are able to relax and sleep. This skill will be helpful throughout life and especially in the toddler years. Talk to your child care provider about giving your baby quiet time for independent play. Visit our website to download

7 tips for making the most of play time

www.ARBetterBeginnings.com • 1-800-445-3316

Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education


MARCH

ON THE COVER: HEATHER COLLINS AND HER DAUGHTER MAGGIE WITH ONE OF THE FAMILY’S SIX RHODE ISLAND RED HYBRID CHICKENS. PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA BLANCETT REEVES.

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WE FELL IN LOVE WITH MARSHMALLOW

SARA BLANCETT REEVES

DEPARTMENTS 4

MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

12 nest

READY OR NOT? OPERATION SLEEP

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SO FRESH, SO CLEAN HAVE BAG, WILL TRAVEL HOOP DREAMS DENTAL HEALTH GUIDE

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LETTER FROM THE

EDITOR

SARA BLANCETT REEVES

PET SOUNDS

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve had the hardest time writing this note. You see, it’s a snow day so I’m working from home. And Watson, my 3-year-old beagle, is having absolutely none of this computer time. He thinks he’s a lap dog, so every attempt to start writing in earnest has been thwarted by 40 pounds of squeaky beagle trying to crawl into my lap. Meanwhile, Ceili, our 14-year-old lab, is sitting in the window barking at this kid sliding up and down the sidewalk in cowboy boots. We adopted Watson last Valentine’s Day. We had lost our 16-year-old lab, Bailey, several months before, and wanted to see if Ceili was ready for someone new to boss around. We went to a couple of adoption events one Saturday, and eventually wound up at PetSmart. There were so many dogs to meet that day, so you can imagine our surprise when we noticed Ceili had settled down next to this silly little beagle while we chatted with one of the foster parents. My husband and I shrugged and decided to see how they got on. We walked them together, took them outside and around the store…and then eventually we picked out a collar and leash for our new friend and took him home for a trial weekend. It goes without saying that all was well and Watson is a part of the family now. He’s a sweet little guy who has definitely energized Ceili, who we have raised from a puppy. I never ever thought we’d adopt a beagle, but I guess it’s really true that they choose you. I can’t imagine not having these guys around. They are so much fun and have the most distinct personalities. Ceili is the boss of everything. Watson is everyone’s little baby. Without a doubt, I could go on and on (and on) about my dogs, but I have to stop myself and tell you about the other pets in this issue. Our cover feature, “Happy Homestead,” will introduce you to the most fantastic family. Heather and Brant Collins have a sweet mini farm just outside of Little Rock, where they and their two youngest kids, James and Maggie, tend to a bunch of chickens, a goat named Marshmallow and a quartet of rescue dogs named Rocket, Jolene, Lola and Louis. We spent a couple of fun, rambunctious hours photographing the family and their farm, as well as their pets. I think we all left that afternoon with visions of our own little farms in our heads. In the end, we were pleased to just enjoy the fresh eggs and jam that Heather sent us home with! This issue is definitely excited for spring to get here. We’ve got a great guide to what to do around Arkansas during spring break, as well as some chic totes to pack your stuff in for a road trip. You’ll also find some of the best planet-friendly cleaning products to help you get your spring clean on. And when you’re finished with all that, check out what’s on the menu at Three Fold and Local Lime—the kids are sure to love every bite. Cheers!

Adoption day: Ceili and Watson became fast friends.

MEL JONES, EDITOR MELANIE@ARKTIMES.COM

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MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


W New parent? You probably have many questions! • What foods should I avoid during pregnancy? • At what temperature should my hot water heater be set to prevent burns? • When is a fever an emergency? • If my baby is premature, where do I turn?

hen you need answers to your new parent questions, turn to Arkansas Children’s Hospital for answers from the experts! From how to access the best medical care to making your home safe for your baby - the New Parent Planner covers all the bases for new parents. Start your parenting journey with Arkansas Children’s Hospital and we’ll be there for you with every baby step!

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AN EDUCATION WITH EXPECTATIONS PUBLISHER REBEKAH HARDIN | rebekahhardin@arktimes.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR MANDY KEENER | mandy@arktimes.com EDITOR MEL JONES | melanie@arktimes.com ADVERTISING DIRECTOR ELIZABETH HAMAN | elizabeth@arktimes.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES SALEE BLACK | saleeblack@arktimes.com JEFF DELONEY | jeffdeloney@arktimes.com BONNY GREGORY | bonny@arktimes.com LESA THOMAS | lesathomas@arktimes.com ADVERTISING TRAFFIC MANAGER ROLAND R. GLADDEN | roland@arktimes.com ADVERTISING COORDINATOR ERIN HOLLAND | erin@arktimes.com

A SCHOOL AND A THERAPY CLINIC At the Academy at Riverdale, teaching methods and curriculum are designed to recognize the individual needs of our students from Kindergarten – Age 21. We are committed to on-going collaboration between parents, teachers, and therapists. Our only goal is to provide the instruction and encouragement students need to work toward realizing their full potential.

Reading & Writing • Math & Science • Literature Social Studies • Character Education • Social Skills

IF YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH A DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDER: Autism Asperger Syndrome Pervasive Developmental Disorder Down Syndrome Apraxia Other Language Disorders Sensory Integration issues

DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCER BRYAN MOATS SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR LAUREN BUCHER | laurenbucher@arktimes.com GRAPHIC DESIGNERS BRYAN MOATS | MIKE SPAIN | KEVIN WALTERMIRE PHOTOGRAPHER BRIAN CHILSON PRODUCTION MANAGER | CONTROLLER WELDON WILSON IT DIRECTOR ROBERT CURFMAN ACCOUNTS PAYABLE KELLY LYLES BILLING/COLLECTIONS LINDA PHILLIPS CIRCULATION DIRECTOR SUSIE SHELTON

Contact us today for more information or to schedule an evaluation for your child.

(501) 663-6965 · 1600 Riverfront Drive Little Rock, Arkansas 72202 We work with a variety of private insurance providers as well as ARKids 1st, Medicaid, TEFRA and TRICARE.

www.academyatriverdale.com

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MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

PENDING

ALL MATERIALS ARE HANDLED WITH DUE CARE; HOWEVER, THE PUBLISHER ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR CARE AND SAFE RETURN OF UNSOLICITED MATERIALS. ALL LETTERS AND PICTURES SENT TO SAVVY™ WILL BE TREATED AS INTENDED FOR PUBLICATION AND ARE SUBJECT TO SAVVY'S™ UNRESTRICTED RIGHT TO EDIT OR TO COMMENT EDITORIALLY. 201 E. MARKHAM ST. SUITE 200, LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201 501-375-2985. ALL CONTENTS ©2015 SAVVY™


contributors MARCH 2015

KD REEP

we

here for your family

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 empty-nesters spend their time traveling, working out and spoiling their two dogs.

With warmer weather just around the corner, it’s time to get ready for some good, old-fashioned family fun. “Whether your family enjoys swimming, hiking, bike riding or just visiting the neighborhood park, make sure to use healthy habits in the great outdoors,” said UAMS primary care physician Chuck E. Smith, M.D. The Center for Primary Care at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has a few tips for keeping your family healthy and safe this summer: Remember the sunblock — Everyone age 6 months and older should use sunblock that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure it’s SPF 30 or greater and reapply often. Stay hydrated — Drink plenty of water or sports drinks before, during and after outdoor activity. Avoid soda and other caffeinated drinks that don’t hydrate your body. Enjoy nature’s bounty – Stock your fridge with fresh fruits and veggies. Healthy foods are in ample supply in the summer, and it’s a great time to introduce your family to new choices.

CALLIE STERLING

is a local photographer and co-owner of Sterling Imageworks. In addition to photography she has always loved to write. She received a journalism degree from the University of Central Arkansas. Originally pursuing broadcast, Callie has since found that print journalism is more of her passion. She enjoys playing with her two dogs and traveling with her husband.

SOCIALLY

If your summer fun is interrupted by illness or accident, remember that UAMS has convenient locations across Little Rock offering primary care for all ages. Find out more at uamshealth.com/centerforprimarycare.

F I N D For an appointment, call 501-686-8000 UAMShealth.com/centerforprimarycare

10 MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

U S

O N


we

here when you need us

As the state’s only adult Level 1 Trauma Center, UAMS is on a mission to create a better state of health — for you and all of Arkansas. At UAMS, you’ll find treatments for complex conditions that no one else in the state can offer. You’ll receive care from medical professionals who also teach, which means they deliver medicine based on the most advanced practices. With our convenient clinics and centers of excellence, you can feel confident that we are here for a better state of health.

UAMShealth.com THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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NEST PARENTING | FAMILY

READY OR NOT? Adopting an animal is a great responsibility and commitment. Consider these factors before you add a furry friend to your family BY CALLIE STERLING

“Can we get a dog?” At some point, a parent will most likely be faced with a similar query. Regardless of the type of animal, adopting a pet can teach children responsibility. Of course, many factors should be considered before answering that question. First and foremost parents should consider what type of pet is right for their child. Turning to your local veterinary clinic for advice is a good place to start. “Asking a vet is a great way to determine what animal will make the right pet for your family,” Dr. Sara Jennen of Pine Street Animal Clinic in Cabot says. “We can help you determine historically which breeds and types of animals have certain personalities. Try and match the personality of the child with the pet.” Visiting your local animal shelter is another great way to figure out what kind of pet is best for your family. “Take a tour of the facility and see all the different animals that they have. That way you have a better idea of how the child reacts to dogs and cats,” says Sherwood Humane Animal Shelter employee Faith Baldwin. “If you see something you and your family are interested in, then you can go through the proper protocol to adopt the animal.” The size of the animal should also be taken into consideration before adopting. “Space could be a major factor when a parent is deciding which pet is right for their family,” Dr. Blair Hauk of Baeyens-Hauk Veterinary Hospital says. “For example, a large dog will require a large yard to run and play. Some apartments or rental properties only allow dogs up to a certain weight, and some places do not allow pets at all.” If a parent anticipates a move in the near future, adopting a pet should be postponed until stable, pet-friendly living conditions are underway. “Every parent should make sure that their housing will allow pets and that they won’t have to get rid of the pet,” says Jennen. “Children never understand why sometimes you have to give away pets when you move and it can be devastating to them.”

12 MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

Whether you choose a cat or a dog, a ferret or a hamster, remember that there is a significant financial commitment to owning an animal. “It’s important to be aware of the yearly costs of owning a pet,” Jennen says. “This would include spay and neuter costs, heartworm and flea preventatives, and other routine care.” And don’t forget food, treats, toys, training, grooming and other incidentals. The ASPCA estimates the first year of owning a medium-size dog at around $1,500. The first-year cost for a rabbit is just over $1,000, while a small mammal is about $350. Many pets also require extensive training and coaching. “Training a pet to behave properly takes a lot of time,” Hauk says. “Some don’t realize how hard pet owners have to work to get their dogs or cats to behave a certain way.” Local professional training classes are available to pet owners who are interested. “It is fine to start with a basic pet training class at Petco or PetSmart,” Hauk says. “Your local veterinary clinic can also point you toward other training classes in your area.” If a parent decides that adopting a pet is the right choice for their child, the amount of responsibility placed on the child should be limited. The pet is ultimately the responsibility of the parent. “The survival of the pet should not be dependent on the child,” says Jennen. “Some responsibilities that are practical for a child to handle could be playing with the pet, exercise and entertainment.” Although children may assist with feeding pets, as a precaution the parent should monitor the feedings to ensure they are being carried out properly. “A pet should never suffer due to a child’s irresponsibility. The parent should be responsible above all, to make sure the pet is being taken care of,” Hauk says. “The child can always help with feedings but usually less crucial chores are more appropriate to practice responsibility. The parent should list the child’s petrelated chores on a list or poster. If something doesn’t get done it should always fall back on the parent though.”


TO THE RESCUE

Check out these central Arkansas organizations to find your newest family member. To find more adoptable animals in your area, visit Petfinder and search by zip code, type of animal and more.

WHEN YOU HAVE TWO TEEN DAUGHTERS IN ONE TEENY HOUSE.

WE’RE HERE.

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nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE

OPERATION SLEEP SIMPLE STEPS FOR BEDTIMES WITHOUT BATTLES

YOU’VE BUCKLED YOUR HELMET, COVERED YOURSELF IN FULL BATTLE GEAR AND ARE NOW IN SEARCH MODE FOR YOUR TODDLER. BEDTIME BATTLE HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN. BEDTIME CAN INVOLVE MANY CHALLENGES, DRAINING ENERGY FROM PARENTS. IT CAN BE EASIER— USE THESE SIMPLE STEPS TO ELIMINATE THE NIGHTMARE. EVERY HOUR COUNTS Healthier sleeping habits lead to healthier toddlers, as suggested by The National Sleep Foundation—“Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development.” The NSF website (sleepfoundation.org) gives parents access to a tool suggesting sleep time that is most beneficial to your toddler’s development. Including naps, toddlers should be getting 11 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Have a talk with your childcare provider about your toddler’s daytime napping habits to help plan your nighttime routine.

HAVE A ROUTINE Establishing and maintaining a nightly routine is essential. Consistency helps develop healthy sleeping patterns, so set a specific time to go to sleep and vow to ensure it stays the same. Once your toddler picks up the pattern, she will start getting prepared for bedtime on her own. When you notice bedtime approaching, some experts suggest giving your toddler an option can serve as a useful tool. One simple option: “Would you like to go to bed now, or in five minutes?” Allowing your toddler to have a choice will make her feel involved in going to bed, rather than being ordered to do so. Pre-bedtime activities, such as reading or singing to your toddler, can help set a calming tone. Bedtime is a time for winding down, and a routine will help your child understand the importance of going to sleep. Encourage a stuffed animal or sleeping aid, as suggested in Arkansas Better Beginnings’ resource sheet, 7 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep. If your toddler wakes up during the night the stuffed animal acts as a soothing aid, making him feel at ease with falling back to sleep on his own.

EARLIER IS BETTER THAN LATER While starting to wind down, you see your toddler rubbing her eyes and yawning. You ask if she is tired, but the immediate response is “no”. Often, toddlers want to stay awake with parents or older siblings. The NSF suggests that a deeper, more peaceful rest begins by starting the bedtime routine before your toddler is sleepy. If your toddler has trouble going to sleep, remain calm. The atmosphere created by emotional frustration can be disruptive to your routine, only making situations worse. Talk with your child about the importance of sleep and set a bedtime routine together. Bottom line, know how much sleep your toddler should get, set and maintain a routine, and avoid tantrums caused by waiting too long. Feel secure with putting your heavy armor away tonight, by trying these tips for a successful bedtime without battles. Visit ARbetterbeginnings.com for more information.

2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM 14 MARCH 14 MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


Walk-in Clinic Most co-pays under $35

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THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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THRIVE Fashion | lifestyle | health

SO FRESH, SO CLEAN Everything you need for a squeaky clean spring

Stock up on handy little bar cloths from Fresh Market. Durable, bright green gloves from Williams-Sonoma are a must.

Stash your stuff in a galvanized pail from the hardware store.

16 MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

PRODUCED BY MEL JONES PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA BLANCETT REEVES


PLANET-FRIENDLY CLEANING ESSENTIALS

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1. FRESH AIR Method’s new Air Refresher delivers a heavenly scent in a revolutionary way—pressurized air technology. These planet-friendly products surpass traditional petroleum-based aerosols with a continuous spray powered by compressed air. Choose from beach sage, wild poppy, sweet tangerine, French lavender or fresh clover, shown here.

It really smells like clover— amazing!

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2. PUT THE LEMON IN THE COCONUT Say goodbye to your weird-smelling dusting spray. Seventh Generation’s natural Wood Cleaner is nontoxic and produces no harsh fumes—instead, the biodegradable, USDA Certified Biobased Product (95%) is fragranced with essential oils and botanical extracts of lemon and chamomile. The organic, non-yellowing coconut cleans, hydrates and restores, and is safe for treated wood and hard, non-porous surfaces. 3. GOOD SCENTS Naturally formulated with essential oils—choose from lavender, lemon or aloe & green tea (shown here)— Minnesota-based J.R. Watkins’ room freshener will infuse your home (your car, your office) with a crisp, long-lasting fragrance. Although petite in appearance, each four-ounce bottle has more than 600 sprays.

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4. OLD SCHOOL ESSENTIAL When elbow grease alone just won’t cut it, reach for the Bon Ami powder cleaner. Since 1886, Bon Ami has used feldspar and limestone as gentle, effective abrasives. Vegan and plant-based cleaning agents made from corn and coconut oil are combined with soda ash and baking soda to create a natural cleaner that won’t scratch any surface. Even better, the six-ingredient product is hypoallergenic and free from perfume, dye and other irritants like chlorine.

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You can even clean the dog with this stuff!

5. GARDEN VARIETY We have loved Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day for a very long time, and the Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner is an absolute must-have! Available in nine scents— including the unexpectedly amazing radish, shown here—it’s a naturally fresh spray for all non-porous surfaces such as finished wood and tile floors, countertops, walls, porcelain, bathroom fixtures and more. 6. HONESTLY GOOD Co-founded by actress Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan, former CEO of the nonprofit Healthy Child Healthy World, The Honest Company’s offerings are eco-friendly and safe for the entire family. Their range has grown from baby products to include everything from vitamins to cleaning products, like the Honest Dish Soap shown here. Non-toxic, ultraconcentrated, biodegradable and cruelty free, this all-purpose soap can be used virtually anywhere on anything (even the dog!), and is available in white grapefruit, lemon verbena and lavender.

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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30 Year

Anniversary

SUMMER OF 2015 3 NEW THRILLING RIDES

2015 Season Pass Sale!

BUY YOUR 2015 SEASON PASS ON SALE NOW FOR $54.99 BEFORE PRICES GO UP! 6820 Crystal Hill Rd · North Little Rock 501-753-8600 • wildrivercountry.com


nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE

HAVE BAG, WILL TRAVEL Whether you’re taking a day trip or a weekend jaunt, these totes will hold all of your essentials and then some

PRODUCED BY MEL JONES PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA BLANCETT REEVES

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE

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1. This classic tote from Chester Wallace is constructed of durable,100-percent cotton duck canvas, and boasts two exterior pockets and two interior pockets. Fill it up and carry with the sturdy nylon top handles, or rock the yellow shoulder strap and use it as a fold-over bag. Available at Domestic Domestic in Little Rock. 2. From Bella Boutique in Little Rock, this oversized jute tote by Two’s Company features an open-top design that means you can pack everything you need for a night or two out of town. Available in a variety of blue-hued patterns, the bag also includes an interior pocket and soft but strong handles. 3. Eco-friendly and made in New Orleans, the HADAKI coated cool duffle is all about organization and style. The trippy Arabesque pattern is eye-catching and fun, not to mention water-repellant both inside and out. There are three outside storage pockets with flap covers and magnetic closures, and within the roomy interior you’ll find six more pockets to keep all your stuff organized. Available at The Full Moon in Little Rock. 4. A stylish combination of striped natural-fiber fabric and leather accents—not to mention that sweet tassel embellishment—this Splendid bag from Tulips in Little Rock certainly lives up to its name. With pockets both on the outside and inside the spacious, bright-pink interior, this fab bag has a place for keys, gadgets, clothes and more. 5. The sizeable Driver bag by Chester Wallace is packed with enough pockets and storage for an overnight excursion, but it’s equally handy as an everyday bag. Made of gray and black waxed canvas—it’s also water repellant—the bag has three pockets on the outside and two large inside pockets, and a heavy duty clasp to keep it all safe. Bridle leather handles and a nylon strap with a leather shoulder pad make it easy to carry your belongings. At Domestic Domestic.

20 MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


We take your child’s education With quality public schools like Cato Elementary, the education you want for your child is close at hand. Choose PCSSD schools with: • Test scores higher than other local districts • Millions in college scholarships awarded • Teachers with advanced degrees • Talented and gifted programs • State-winning sports teams

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BRAVO IS OUR BRAND NEW DAY SUPPORT PROGRAM. The goal of BRAVO is to utilize a wide range of community-based activities to encourage positive, emotional, social, physical and cognitive changes in individuals. • The program includes OFF-SITE group activities including shopping, theater, and trips to the park, library, museums and so much more!

• Our ON-SITE programs include internship opportunities in real stores and classes such as art, money management, health and fitness, cooking and life skills instruction.

1525 Merrill Dr., Ste. 100 • Little Rock | 501-228-0063 | www.icm-inc.org THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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I AM THE AEA social studies and oral communications teacher at Westside Junior and Senior High School, Caudle began as a special projects teacher for the elementary school summer program, Rockin’ Rebels. Johnson County Westside is a public school district in the Arkansas River Valley. Consolidated in 1983, the Westside Elementary campus is located in Hartman, and the Westside High School is in Coal Hill. The district serves a total of about 625 kids. Westside’s junior and senior girls’ basketball teams recently won games that will send them on to conference championships, and Caudle has taught many of the players in his classroom over the past four years. “The thing I enjoy most about my career is when I know I have made a difference in a student’s life,” he said. “I enjoy the fact that my existence now has a positive impact on the lives of others. Although the confirmations that a difference has been made are rare, when they occur, I know that not only have I done my job, but I also, in that moment, have upheld my calling as a teacher.” Caudle has taught a myriad of subjects, including seventh grade world geography and Arkansas history, ninth grade civics and economics, and ninth through twelfth grade oral communications and drama. Today, he teaches ninth grade civics and economics, eleventh grade U.S. History, eleventh and twelfth grade personal finance, and ninth through twelfth grade oral communication and drama. “I also sponsor the chess and drama clubs,” Caudle said. “The chess club has an annual tournament, and the winner gets a trophy as well as a chance to play myself and the principal, Chase Carter. The drama club performs an annual play for the student body each spring, and also hosts an Open Mic Night and Breakfast with Santa for the community.” As if Caudle didn’t have enough to keep him busy, he also is an active member of the Arkansas Education Association. The AEA is the professional public education membership organization dedicated to improving the quality of education offered to students and making it attractive to teach in Arkansas public schools. To do so requires learning and working environments where teachers and support professionals are equal partners with the board and administration.

Brian Chilson

Daniel Caudle has been a Westside Rebel in Johnson County since 2011.

“I am a member of the AEA for many reasons,” Caudle said. “I was advised while in college by a few of my professors to join the professional association, and they often cited the benefit of the legal services or the various other financial advantages such as discounts on insurance or travel.” He continues, “When I began my internship, I signed up for the student AEA membership. Once I received my first teaching assignment, I was reminded by my mother-in-law, a 35 year kindergarten teacher, and my wife, a middle school teacher, to join the AEA. Initially, I joined because of the advice of the people I trust, but as my involvement with the AEA progressed and I became more involved with my local association, I found a whole new meaning for being a member of the AEA. AEA is the only organization working on the state level to protect my interests as a professional educator. I now know that the AEA works tirelessly to lobby on the behalf of all public school employees.”

1500 W. 4th St. Little Rock 501.375.4611 aeaonline.org


nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE

The custom platform bed, built by Brandon Parsons, is flanked by built-in nightstands and shelves, which are an ideal spot for Trip to display his ever-growing collection of trophies and memorabilia. In lieu of a headboard, the room features a magnificent striped design that winds its way across the ceiling and adjacent wall.

HOOP DREAMS

This 8-year-old’s room combines traditional décor, sports memorabilia and a few artistic accents for a truly unique space BY MEL JONES

When decorating her 8-year-old son Tripp’s room, Little Rock mom Amanda Patterson turned to interior designer Larry West of Interiors West. Amanda is the president of the Miss High School America Organization, so she definitely knows a thing or two about style. For Tripp’s room, a traditional color palette and a fun sports theme was the perfect combination. Designed to grow with Tripp, the room features a custom platform bed with built-in nightstands and shelves that almost reach the ceiling. An adjacent seating area includes furniture from Cleo’s and accessories from Urban Pad, both in Little Rock. The traditional, neutral color palette of the furnishings and accessories allows for the room’s artistic features—a series of multicolor stripes that swoop around the room, and a high-tech digital wallpaper of a basketball player going in for the big dunk—stand out in this sports-lover’s dream room.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA BLANCETT REEVES THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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(facing page) A neutral color palette for the seating area lets the custom wallpaper graphic take center stage.The custom wallpaper mural, designed by West and produced by graphic artist Scott Anderson of Fort Worth—and installed by Roll’n Wrapz of Little Rock—features a basketball player going for a slam dunk while the crowd goes wild. (clockwise from above) A nook at the opposite end of the room is the perfect spot for the drum set Tripp got for Christmas. Photos of Tripp’s older brothers Drake and Brett decorate the wall. The multi-stripe design, painted by Aric Phippins of Phinality Designs in Little Rock, ties together all of the room’s colors and adds movement throughout the space. The stripe makes its way from the ceiling and down the wall that’s across from the bed, and serves as a stylized background for the storage lockers and Tripp’s collection of old-school basketballs.

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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G U I D E

T O

DENTAL HEALTH

DENTAL HEALTH MILESTONE Start dental education early, maintain through all stages of childhood B Y D WA I N H E B D A

Dr. Michael Kitchens, of Kitchens Pediatric Dentistry in Little Rock, has a simple message for parents looking to start and maintain good dental habits in their children: Start early and remain consistent in stressing dental health. “I think when kids get to be probably 2 or 3, that’s a good age to start,” he says. “Kids can begin to understand the “why” of what you’re doing, you know, ‘This is why we’re not eating that food, this is why we’re not drinking that, this is why we’re brushing.’” Kitchens says that dental health should be discussed in the same breath as any other health topic and he favors a comprehensive approach to the subject. Don’t just talk about sugar or junk food as being exclusively harmful to teeth, but address such matters in terms of the impact on overall health and then practice what you preach. “I think it’s bigger than just teeth,” he says. “The conversation has to go more into just taking care of your body, and making healthy decisions. There’s a lifestyle that I think you have to model as a parent so they appreciate not only what you’re saying but then see what you’re doing. I think that goes a long way toward helping them value having a healthy mouth.” Kitchens says parents can impact their child’s behaviors even before they develop the ability to communicate or understand language. As babies start teething around six months, parents should step in with preventative dental care—brushing babies’ teeth, replacing juice with water in naptime bottles and having a firm end date for getting children off the bottle completely. Once the child starts understanding concepts of health and cleanliness,

26 MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

they are old enough to start understanding how to care for their teeth. However, parents should scale the terminology to age-appropriate levels. On his practice’s website, Kitchens offers examples of how to phrase things: A tooth pull becomes “wiggling a tooth” and a cavity is a “bug,” for instance. “One of the biggest things we do is try to communicate to these younger patients in such a way that they can understand what’s happening and not be afraid of it,” he says. “For instance, we’ll tell them, ‘Hey we’re gonna brush the cavities off your teeth,’ and then show them and then say, ‘Here’s my fancy toothbrush, look at it,’ and we let them hold it. They aren’t nearly as afraid.” Using kinder, gentler terms may do more than make children better brushers; it might also lessen the anxiety surrounding the first trip to the dentist. However, Kitchens says parents shouldn’t be surprised if even with their best efforts, the dentist visit is an initial source of childhood stress. Even with advance coaching from Mom and Dad—and dentist practices like Kitchens’ that strive to create a welcoming environment—some anxiety is normal. “I think that kids have always been anxious about certain things and dentistry is probably one of those,” Kitchens says. “But I also think the environment and the staff play a huge role in minimizing and overcoming that anxiety.” Getting off to a good start makes many children excellent dental patients through their grade school years, which can fool parents into thinking that such good habits, once established, are there to stay. In Kitchen’s experience, many youngsters tend to lapse their diligent oral care once they hit their teens.


“In my practice, I see this way too often in these pre-teens or early teens who, in a short period of time, absolutely destroy their mouths,” he says. “Often, they’ve been great patients, took care of their teeth, not seeing cavities and then 11, 12, 13 hits and all of a sudden, everything just falls apart. And essentially, they’ve ruined their teeth for the rest of their life. It’s kind of devastating.” The dropping off of good oral habits isn’t the only dental concerns that hit at this age. Many teens are getting into orthodontic care and removal of wisdom teeth become a topic of conversation as well. And again, the lure of unhealthy behaviors such as poor diet, lack of oral care, drinking or smoking not only takes a toll on the teeth, but the entirety of health as well. “We have this body to take care of and not just from a dental perspective,” Kitchens says. “It’s not healthy to sit on the couch and play video games all day. It’s not healthy to eat junk food all day. There are bigger effects than just your teeth, but your teeth are affected. “Especially for those 12- and 13-year-olds, it’s a stressful time, but it’s something that they really need to grasp. But then, that can start as early as our three-year-olds and our two-year-olds, too.”

Beautiful Smiles, Happy Children… That is Our Goal.

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itchens Pediatric Dentistry

14114 Taylor loop road, liTTle rock 501.868.3331 — kitchenspediatricdentistry.com

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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G U I D E

T O

DENTAL HEALTH

SMALL APPLIANCES

One million mouths can’t be wrong: Braces not the stigma they once were B Y D WA I N H E B D A

Time was when a youngster coming to school with braces was in for razzing almost daily from his or her peers. But given the prominence of braces in society today, chances are it’s the kids without orthodontia who are the exception to the rule. “The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that orthodontists see a child starting about age 7. It does not mean that everybody who comes in needs something, it just means that it is a good screening age,” says Dr. David Wardlaw, D.D.S., M.S. of Little Rock. “I would say people today are far more proactive. You know, their friend’s son has been seen and has an expander or some kind of early treatment device and it becomes a little bit of a word of mouth thing.” More than one million American and Canadian patients wore braces last year, according to statistics from the American Dental Association. More than 70 percent of them were females between the ages of 12 and 15, who wore them for aesthetic purposes.

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With so many kids in braces—the ADA reports that the ideal age to start orthodontia treatment is around 10 years old—there’s less self-consciousness over sporting a mouthful of silver wires and apparatus, which most orthodontists consider superior anyway. Not surprisingly, this makes the traditional metal braces far and away the most common option out there. Such is not to say there isn’t room for individualization—for years, patients have had the option of selecting certain components and fasteners in a range of colors to match their school colors, for the holidays or just because. Wardlaw says such options have expanded over the years, most notably into products that camouflage the appliance altogether. “As a practice, we have made a real push toward aesthetics,” he says. “The latest clear braces, which I would define as braces that are tooth-colored, have really improved. There were some weaknesses to the early generations of those braces, they stained badly, they broke, they were hard to get off at the end of treatment. A lot of those problems and lot of those difficulties have gone away.” Wardlaw, who has been in practice for nearly 30 years with offices in Little Rock and Cabot, says not all of the improvements have been merely cosmetic. The improvements in materials include arch wires, which provide a gentler effect than previous versions. These new components perform the same as their predecessors, but are much more comfortable to wear. “The force level of those wires is much reduced so from a standpoint of discomfort it’s just a much better situation,” he says. “It’s actually a kinder force to the tooth and you’re getting a better movement of the tooth. That doesn’t seem intuitive with a lower force level, but teeth move better with a constant lower level of force than they do when achieving a higher level of force.” In addition to those components that have improved over the years, others have been done away with altogether such as headgear, which has largely been replaced by inter-oral appliances.

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501.223.4929

“There are probably some orthodontists out there who still use them, but a great number have moved away from headgear which, while they worked, were not fun to wear,” Wardlaw says. “They were not the aesthetic look that people go for and just a hassle to wear.” With so much that’s new in the industry, some things have remained steadfastly the same. The ADA reports that braces are still most commonly prescribed to address underbite or overbite, and for an average treatment period of about three years. And, as Wardlaw notes, the fundamentals of a successful orthodontics plan have not changed, either. “I tell patients the important things for getting a great result in the least possible amount of time are, number one, be committed to your treatment,” he says. “That would include keeping your teeth clean and keeping the appliance clean. Avoid anything that’s super hard or super sticky that’s going to break the braces because when braces come off, they’re not moving teeth. “Show up for your appointments, just be there, and if there’s any removable appliances or elastics that are needed for moving the teeth, just be compliant and wear them as prescribed.”

“AS A PRACTICE, WE HAVE MADE A REAL PUSH TOWARD AESTHETICS.” —DR. DAVID WARDLAW, D.D.S, M.S.

4822 N. HILLS BLVD. / NORTH LITTLE ROCK

501.978.3154

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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NOSH COOKING | DINING | NUTRITION

KIDS’ MENU

Two local restaurants are serving up delicious fare that will please even the pickiest eater BY MEL JONES

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA BLANCETT REEVES

30 MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


Having a picky eater in the family is always a challenge—whether it’s a child or an adult—but pleasing a choosy child can be especially stressful, particularly when they’ve committed their palate only to chicken nuggets or PB&J. These days, however, restaurants are putting more thought into their “12 and under” menus and are creating kid-friendly versions of menu items, meaning families can enjoy a meal at their favorite restaurant without having to hit the drive-thru before or after to assuage a veggieinduced tantrum. Although Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. has barely been open in downtown Little Rock for a couple of months, it has quickly become a must-stop spot for real, authentic Chinese food. Owned by mother-daughter team Lisa Zhang and Rebecca Yan, Three Fold offers handmade noodles, dumplings and buns with diners’ choice of proteins, and the kids’ menu is just a scaled down, pint-size portion of their regular menu items. “We created the restaurant to share the tradition of Chinese food,” Lisa says. “Although we provide a fast service, we are not fast food. Everyone can enjoy a healthy meal here.”

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The mini buns at Three Fold are half the size of the regular portion, and are steamed, then lightly pan-fried to make the outside nice and crisp, while the inside stays warm and soft. All kids’ menu items are served with a side of delicious and highly addictive taro chips, which are made from the traditional Chinese root vegetable and lightly dusted with salt and sugar. (facing page) Filled with pork, chicken or tofu, plus veggies, the five-piece kids’ dumplings are pan-fried instead of steamed like the adult version, and are served with a special, lighter sauce that Lisa designed especially for the kids’ menu.

Free family caregiver workshops are available at the UAMS campus: Caregiving Skills • Feb 2-3 Dementia Care • March 30-31 Caregiving Skills • April 6-7 Dementia Care • June 8-9 Caregiving Skills • June 15-16

Schmieding home caregiver Training Program Supported by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE

  —KEVIN SMITH

32 MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


PEANUTS Closes April 5, 2015

© 2015 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

Two great exhibits!

Meanwhile in west Little Rock, Local Lime is simplifying menu items for kids and making sure they eat their fruits and veggies. The Mexican street-style tacos are served with grilled chicken or steak and sprinkled with Monterey jack cheese on flour tortillas. Gluten-free corn tortillas are also available. Each dish is accompanied by a cup of seasonal fruit, with other sides like cilantro-lime rice also available. Parents can also be rest-assured that the little ones are eating food with the same high standards of what’s on their own plate. “Our ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible,” says Local Lime general manager Kevin Smith. “The sirloin and tortillas in the tacos are local, as is the corn we use for our market corn, which is also incredibly popular with kids.” A gluten-free, vegetarian option off the regular small plates menu that is a bona fide hit with the younger set, Local Lime’s market corn is grilled and rolled in Mexican crema and cotijia cheese, dusted with New Mexican chili powder and topped with cilantro. (facing page) The steak tacos feature local sirloin and handmade tortillas, and are served with seasonal fruit. Flavorful cilantro-lime rice is another favorite side for kids and adults alike, and the fruit punch, naturally sweetened by the fresh fruit juice used to make it, is the perfect finishing touch.

“Pigskin Peanuts”

“Heartbreak in Peanuts”

1200 President Clinton Avenue • Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 501-374-4242 • clintonpresidentialcenter.org Forty Two Full Service Restaurant 1200 President Clinton Ave. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. • Mon. – Sat.

Clinton Museum Store Official Store of the Clinton Center 610 President Clinton Ave. 10 a.m – 5:30 p.m. • Mon. – Sat. 2 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. • Sun.

Clinton Museum Kiosk 1200 President Clinton Ave. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. • Mon. – Sat. 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. • Sun.

THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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CULTIVATE ARTS | EDUCATION | PHILANTHROPY

ROAD TRIP!

A guide to spring break entertainment in the Natural State CLINTON LIBRARY

BY CALLIE STERLING

ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER

ARKANSAS IS A FUN AND ENTERTAINING PLACE FOR FAMILIES AND KIDS OF ALL AGES. WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES FROM PARKS TO MUSEUMS, CHILDREN IN THE NATURAL STATE SHOULD NOT BE BORED THIS SPRING BREAK.

GET OUTSIDE

Arkansas has a rich network of state parks, 52 to be exact, and they all offer a variety of activities for kids and families. Dig for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Monticello, or head to the highest point in Arkansas at Mount Magazine State Park in Paris. Stay overnight at the Lodge at Mount Magazine, which overlooks the Petit Jean River Valley and the Blue Mountain Lake. Arkansas’ only resort state park, DeGray Lake offers a plethora of activities in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. Go horseback riding, hike one of the park’s five trails, enjoy a round of golf or rent a boat or kayak and enjoy the more than 13,000 acres DeGray Lake has to offer. For accommodations, families can camp or rent a yurt, or stay in a room with a view at the DeGray Lake Resort State Park Lodge.

BEAVER LAKE All Photos Courtesy Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

34 MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM


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THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE

CENTRAL ARKANSAS

CRYSTAL BRIDGES

Whether you live in the area or just plan to visit, there are plenty of ways to entertain the family in central Arkansas. North Little Rock is home to William F. Laman Public Library. Laman Library offers tons of free children’s shows and events. Some events include reading improvement classes for children, small plays or skits, teen gaming events and photography lectures. Across the river in Little Rock, museums galore will provide hours of fun for everyone. In the River Market, check out the Museum of Discovery for exhibits like the new Mindbender Mansion, or spend an afternoon in the Tinkering Studio. And during spring break, meet Curious George and characters from Peg + Cat. The neighboring Witt J. Stephens Central Arkansas Nature Center will have a special spring break event, Downtown Nature Break | Spring Break Fun from March 24-27. Register for the fishing clinic, play nature games, go hiking and even feed alligators!

OLD STATE HOUSE

At the nearby Clinton Presidential Library, kids will love the “Pigskin Peanuts” and “Heartbreak in Peanuts” special exhibits commemorating the 65th anniversary of Charles Schulz’ timeless Peanuts characters. The library also has special spring break events planned, including an “Instrumental Petting Zoo” with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. And for a look at Arkansas’ amazing history, be sure to include a visit to the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Old State House Museum. At the Arkansas Arts Center, celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with a special spring break matinee performance of “The Cat in the Hat” at the Children’s Theatre. While at the Arts Center, be sure to check out the Mid-Southern Watercolorists 45th Annual Juried Exhibition, as well as the museum’s permanent collection of Master works, contemporary objects and more. And for a wild adventure, a trip to the Little Rock Zoo is a must. For more than 80 years, the zoo has enriched the lives of all who visit. You’ll find more than 700 animals to marvel at, including lions, tigers and jaguars at the Big Cats exhibit, giraffes, rhinos, zebras and cheetahs in the Africa and African Savannah exhibits, plus plenty of primates, reptiles, birds and many more amazing animals. Kids can even visit Lorikeet Landing and help feed the birds!

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS

LITTLE ROCK ZOO

RIVER MARKET

36 MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

Located in Bentonville, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a stop worth making. The museum offers a multitude of indoor as well as outdoor entertainment for the whole family. Free Family Gallery Guides and “Art Tote” kits are available for use by families while exploring the galleries, which include a vast overview of American art from Colonial times to the present. Crystal Bridges also boasts seven nature trails, giving parents the option to incorporate education and exercise all in one trip. While in Bentonville, visit the Museum of Native American History for a glimpse into what life was like for America’s first inhabitants. Divided into five different time periods, the museum features relics that date from over 14,000 years old to historic times, documenting the changing lives of Native Americans. Kids will also love the Daisy Airgun Museum in Rogers, home to the Red Ryder BB Gun that has graced many a Christmas wish list. About an hour from Crystal Bridges, Eureka Springs is filled with unique experiences for everyone. Shop and dine your way around the historic downtown area, or glide through the trees at Ozark Mountain Ziplines. And for one-of-a-kind accommodations, Eureka Springs cannot be beat. The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa claims to be the most haunted hotel in America. In fact, the 128-year-old hotel offers nightly ghost tours. The grounds of the Crescent also include 15 acres of trails, gardens and woodlands. Or for a more natureinspired overnighter, rent a cabin at Beaver Lake or check into one of the many treehouses Eureka has to offer!


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TO REGISTER: Go to www.HelpingHandcc.com and click on the race link! For further questions, call 501-791-3331 or email at Hannah.Washburn@HelpingHandcc.com Helping Hand is a developmental preschool for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years of age with special needs. We offer special education, physical, speech, and occupational therapy for children in preschool, and on an outpatient basis for children age birth to 21. Our mission is to provide the best appropriate educational and therapy services for children with diverse needs and abilities. In order to fulfill this mission, we are hosting our Third Annual 5K fundraiser. Profits made will go towards making the playground equipment handicap accessible to better assist the children at our facility. THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE

HAPPY 111TH BIRTHDAY DR. SEUSS! LET’S CELEBRATE WITH A BOOK DRIVE In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2 and to celebrate the National Education Association’s Read Across America initiative, Goodwill Industries of Arkansas and Huntington Learning Center are kicking off a month-long book drive. Now until March 31, Huntington will accept new and gently used books to be donated to and sold by Goodwill. The money raised from the book sales will provide education, training and employment services for people with disabilities and other special needs. This is the second year for the book drive. Last year, about 250 pounds of books were collected. Goodwill estimates that the sale of five books equal 30 minutes of career-readiness training. Goodwill Industries of Arkansas served 12,350 Arkansans and placed close to 3,000 people into jobs in 2014. “Goodwill relies on donations to fund our mission,” says Leisa Wamsley, Goodwill’s vice president of donated goods. “We turn well-read books, gently used clothes and once-adored toys into jobs. Every donation makes a difference.” The beloved children’s author, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, has helped millions of children learn to read and inspired generations to appreciate books. Bryan Redditt, executive director of Huntington Learning Center, hopes the book drive will not only support a great cause but also inspire people to prioritize reading. “Dr. Seuss taught us that books can take you places,” says Redditt. “With this book drive, we are helping raise awareness about the importance of reading and literally using books to help people go places. Instead of throwing a book away or letting it sit unopened on a shelf, you can give someone else an opportunity to read it while raising money for programs that help people better their lives. I can’t think of a more appropriate way to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ legacy.” The books will be sold at various Goodwill stores as well as online through a partnership with Amazon. You can buy all types of books from Goodwill, from textbooks to bedtime stories, at bit.ly/GoodwillARebooks and the money goes to programming. For more information about the book drive, call Huntington Learning Center at 501-223-2626. For Goodwill store locations, visit www.goodwillar.org.

BOOK DRIVE MARCH 2–31 HUNTINGTON LEARNING CENTER PLEASANT RIDGE TOWN CENTER (11525 CANTRELL ROAD) HOURS: MON.-THUR.: 10 A.M.-8 P.M. SAT.: 9 A.M.-3 P.M. SUN.: NOON-6 P.M. Donations to Goodwill provide job training and skill-based learning for Arkansans.

38 MARCH 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM

“THE MORE THAT YOU READ, THE MORE THINGS YOU WILL KNOW. THE MORE THAT YOU LEARN, THE MORE PLACES YOU’LL GO.” —DR. SEUSS

READ MORE, KNOW MORE According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a division of the U.S. Department of Education, children who are read to at home enjoy a substantial advantage over children who are not. “When students struggle in reading, they become more inclined to avoid reading out of frustration and lack of confidence, and this will continue to limit their progress,” says Bryan Redditt, executive director of Huntington Learning Center. “A negative attitude toward reading can snowball into a lifelong aversion to reading, which can put your student at a significant disadvantage. Poor reading skills are likely to impede on an individual’s chances of scoring well on all areas of standardized tests.” Here are tips from the National Education Association that you can use to teach your child that reading is valuable and enjoyable, and that promote reading for all children:

-Set a good example as a reader—let your kids see you reading every day. -Get your child their own subscription to an age-appropriate magazine. When relatives and others ask for gift ideas, suggest magazine subscriptions, books or a bookstore gift certificate. -Make reading fun—a time that you and your children look forward to spending together. -Check out The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (New York: Penguin Books, 1995). It’s loaded with fun tips and reading recommendations. -Keep lots of books, magazines and newspapers around the house. Visit the library often and shop for books at garage and yard sales, swap meets and used bookstores. -Don’t fret if “Captain Underpants” has captivated your child rather than Robinson Crusoe. The important thing: he’s reading! Encourage it and he’s likely to move on to more sophisticated titles as he gets older.


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THESAVVYMOMS.COM | MARCH 2015

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RENAISSANCE FAMILY REAPS REWARDS FROM FUR & FEATHER COMPANIONS

BY KD REEP | PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA BLANCETT REEVES

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Have you ever met someone who is a walking, talking treasure? Heather Collins is that person. Smart, talented and gracious, Heather and her family have their own mini farm in Landmark. “We moved out to our two acres in Landmark from a west Little Rock suburb almost three years ago,” Heather says. “We wanted chickens, goats, rabbits and bees for years, but it always seemed undoable. We maxed out the space in our suburban backyard with a garden, but moving to our homestead has afforded us an opportunity to have a garden and animals, and all of us pitch in.” The Collins’ interest in gardening and animals bloomed from volunteering with the Dunbar Community Garden in Little Rock. Their 11-year-old, Maggie, joined the monthly garden club there when she was a second grader at Gibbs Magnet Elementary School. In addition to the garden, Dunbar Community Garden has chickens, goats, rabbits, turkeys, bees and other animals so those who participate can learn about how gardening, animals and recycling work together. “It’s an educational garden, and it gave us a lot of the knowledge and confidence to proceed with starting our own little family farm,” Heather says. “Dunbar is where we got our Nigerian Pigmy goat, Marshmallow.” Marshmallow does not lack for company. Rounding out the Collins’ menagerie are four dogs—Jolene, Rocket, Lola and Louis—a frog named Five, a fish named Luke, and six Rhode Island Red “hybrid” chickens referred to as Sophia, Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, Pooty and Brock. “We’ll get a couple of rabbits and, hopefully, bees this spring,” Heather says. “We also ‘share’ our neighbor’s horse, Sable.”

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*Tending to Marshmallow the Nigerian Pygmy goat, whom the family got from the Dunbar Community Garden, has helped the kids learn responsibility and trust.

Heather and Brant also have their own company, Tonic Media, in which they create media events, marketing materials and promotional campaigns for clients. Heather is a photographer, videographer, designer, blogger and social media strategist, and Brant is a designer and videographer, as well as a strategist for new and social media. When they aren’t at work or in the garden, Heather runs, sews and prepares the produce from the garden into jams and pickles, and Brant studies Aikido and builds and rebuilds motorcycles. “All of us have a ton of interests,” Heather says. “Our family is a blended one consisting of Kelcee, who is 22, married and mom of our first grandbaby. Jade is 19 and attends Arkansas State University. Brant David is 16, attends Russellville High School, and plays basketball and baseball. Maggie is a garden and science nerd, loves to sew and sing, and plays basketball and volleyball. James, who is 5, also attends Gibbs with Maggie. He loves to read and play basketball, and he’s the best helper.” With so many responsibilities vying for their time, Heather acknowledges having so many pets is a true commitment, but what they provide in return is so much more. “On a base level, we get three to six eggs a day from our chickens,” Heather says. “We use the chick and goat waste to fertilize the garden, berry shrubs and fruit trees, and we plan to get milk from our goat after breeding her in the future. We absolutely adore our pets and farm family. Each creature has very definitive personality characteristics, and the fact that I recognize these little

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details tells you that we see them more as pets instead of livestock.” Family and child wellness experts say that having a pet teaches children empathy, responsibility, trust and nonverbal communication. Heather agrees, particularly with her youngest. “James has a big, ‘jazz hands’ personality,” she says. “Caring for the animals and working in the garden has brought out such a kind, thoughtful and helpful side of him. Those qualities have always been there, but they have become more consistent and evolved since we moved out to our little homestead.” Caring for their brood is a significant commitment of time, effort and heart, Heather says. As she puts it, “You worry that the runt chicken with the small comb doesn’t get as much food as she should because her sisters block her away from the feeder. You set a little aside away from the other girls and shield her so she gets the food that she needs.” The hardest part, however, is when one of the animals gets sick or dies. “When one of them gets sick, you’ll drop everything and do anything to protect and heal them,” Heather says. “Absolutely nothing is harder than when one of them dies, especially when you have younger children who love those animals. But that opens up discussions about learning how to nourish memories and relationships, and we talk about how we benefit from loving and caring for our pets—and each other—no matter what. Having farm animals requires consistent upkeep, effort and empathy but the benefits, in particular the emotional ones, are worth it all, especially when you have young children.”


“Caring for the animals and working in the garden has brought out such a kind, thoughtful and helpful side of James.” —Heather Collins

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MOMSPEAK ELLEN SCRUGGS PHOTOGRAPHY BY NANCY NOLAN

AGE: IN MY HEAD I’M 31...ON MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE I’M 51. OCCUPATION: GRAPHIC DESIGNER, PHOTO STYLIST AT NANCY NOLAN PHOTOGRAPHY CHILDREN: TRACE, 22 AND JOHN, 17 PETS: Moki and Rex. Both are rescue dogs: Moki from CARE and Rex was found through a friend on Facebook. THE BEST PART ABOUT HAVING DOGS IS...They are always happy

to see you! I’VE WORKED IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY MY ENTIRE LIFE. THE BEST PART OF MY JOB IS…Everyday is a new adventure, no two days are ex-

actly alike. The people I get to meet, the places I get to see (behind the red ropes!) and everyday tapping into the creative side of my brain keeps me charged. ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WITH MY KIDS IS…Just hang out

with them listening to music and cooking in the kitchen. They are so fun to be around, lots of chatter and banter goes on! I LOVE MY COMMUNITY. I GET INVOLVED BY…Donating

my time and graphic design background to schools and organizations. SPRING IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER, AND I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO…Being outside!

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Savvy | March 2015  

The Lifestyle Manual for Modern Moms