Hot Fun in the Summertime

*FTC DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Wild River Country. All opinions are my very own.

Let’s face it.
Keeping kids happy when it’s hot outside can be difficult.
With the age ranges in my kids- early twenties to pre-school age- it’s almost impossible!

We were very happy to participate in a blogging event by Wild River Country as a family

 to see what they had to offer.

Did you know that Wild River Country is the largest water park in Arkansas?
With twenty-six acres including thirteen slides, three pools (including a great wave pool)
and plans for an amazing kiddie pool improvement in the next few years
Wild River Country offers something for everyone.
View from top of slide of wave pool
Wild River Country from top of Slide

We were treated to a cabana, which is so worth it to have a place to meet that’s in the shade.
You have access to a private cabana right on the wave pool, a nice footlocker to lock up
any valuables, beach chairs, bottled water and some packages even include meals which
makes things easy!
I think the next time we go we will choose the cabana party, which is admission for six plus
the cabana, meals, and more for a great price!
Table in cabana at Wild River Country with food and towels
Homebase at Wild River Country
My youngest is four and she loved the “tad pool” and the lazy river.
She especially liked that there was a special slide just for her age called the “Sidewinder.”
Tad Pool at WRC

The older kids loved everything! (The “Thrilling Three” were especially scary and on the top of
their list for best rides.) They also really enjoyed the “Pipeline” and the lazy river. In this age of technology, it’s great to see kids loving time outdoors!

The staff at Wild River Country is amazing. They employ over three hundred local people for the summer. The management prides themselves on the training they provide and it really shows. I noticed the lifeguards were extremely attentive and asked the management about it. They explained that their 62 lifeguards were among the top 3% in the nation with perfect audit scores for the past three years. All lifeguards are trained in-house with special intensive training and daily drills.

Makes a mom very happy to know her kids are so safe! I am seriously considering season passes for the older kids because it’s so close to home.

Wild River Country Lifeguards
Lifeguards Ready to Train at Closing Time

The final verdict?
My entire family had fun and asked when we’d be going back again!
Soon I hope.

On Getting Kids Out!

Disclosure: This post is the the second in a series of sponsored posts as a Brand Ambassador for the ARKANSAS BETTER BEGINNINGS program.  I am doing this because I believe in their mission.  Everything expressed will be my own opinion. #ARBB

It seems like in the age we live in that we have to pry ourselves away from technology.  
Adults and teens are always checking something “important” on a cell phone or lap top.
At home and school kids are glued to game consoles or TV.   
We’re so paranoid of strangers we don’t let them play outside without us. 

We’ve been trying to get outside as a family at least one day a week.
Arkansas has so many beautiful parks and trails!
This past week we went on a slow hike on the Two Rivers Park trail.

What do you see?

A few bottles of water, some snacks in a backpack, and the family was all we needed for a fun Sunday stroll.

With the older kids we played some games as we walked:

One was “What living creatures do you see or see evidence of?”
(They found people, dogs, butterflies, bees, wasps, spiders, and trails that deer had made.)

We also played “What shapes can you find?”
(My son saw vertical lines in the pine trees, angles in the bent branches and grass, spheres in the berries.)

Their favorite game was “If you were stranded in the forest, what could you eat?”
(This gave us a good discussion on what was and wasn’t edible and we took pictures to research berries and mushrooms.)

They ran and climbed trees.

For the baby there was so much to see, and hear, and smell.  Learning with all the senses.

But the best part was that we had fun as a family together! 

Did you know that studies have shown that children who play outdoors have less stress and anxiety, better cognitive development, lessened ADHD symptoms, better vision, and more Vitamin D?

Other great ideas to get your kids outside NOW:

  • Blow bubbles 
  • Lie on a blanket and name shapes in the clouds
  • Watch the birds at a bird feeder
  • Plant a garden or help with a community garden
  • Splash in a puddle together
  • Make a designated “NO TECHNOLOGY” day 
  • Catch fireflies in a jar
  • Find some constellations in the stars or have them name their own

More great ideas for Outdoor Fun can be found HERE on the Arkansas Better Beginnings website!

On Garden Dreams in the Winter (Ticket Giveaway!)

My mother and I always go to the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show together for her birthday.  It’s a fun time to plan and dream about gardens we want to build in the spring.  This year however we won’t be able to go because my daughter is participating in the Youth America Gran Prix (ballet competition) and I’ll be out of town.   (Ironically the theme for this year’s show is “That’s Entertainment!”)

So, you know I was overjoyed when my friends at Arkansas Women Bloggers asked if I would come to a preview party for the show!  Meaning I wouldn’t miss everything, and would get to visit with some lovely people!  (By the way, if you are a blogger getting with a group like ARWB is something you WANT to do.  I’ve made some great friends, learned so much, and been able to participate in things I would never have known about otherwise!)
The hosts, Clark Trim and Chef Hendrik Thostrup, are the owners of Colonial Wine & Spirits.  They had wine/food pairings which were very educational and delicious (even if I couldn’t partake of everything in my quite pregnant state.) I took notes so I know what to buy for my next party!

Beautiful Table! 

Centerpiece Idea with a Shallow Bowl and Cut Flowers

Chris Olsen, of Botanica Gardens, gave a great presentation on tablescaping with hints out of his book “Five Seasons”.

How to Arrange a Coffee Table Display

Gorgeous Quartz Bowl (You can Make) with Succulents

The Arkansas Flower & Garden Show is a non-profit organization that’s mission is to promote gardening and beautification of Arkansas, promote local horticultural businesses, and educate the public about gardening, landscaping, and floral design.  The proceeds from the show go to support college scholarships in horticultural related fields in Arkansas and to fund “The Greening of Arkansas” grant program which gives communities throughout Arkansas funds for beautification.

Along with the fun night we got some great swag (and what blogger doesn’t love some swag?)  So a big thanks to all the great folks who donated to that cause- Colonial Wine & Spirits, Antique Brick Outdoors, River Valley Horticultural Products, Inc., The Good Earth Garden Center, Tammy Sue’s Critters, Ghidotti Communications, and anyone else I missed!)

For the most fun of all I was given tickets to give you for the show!
If you’d like to go please leave a comment below.  Make sure to tell me how many you’d like.
I have several to give away and will go down the list of winners until they are gone!
*If you can’t wait to see if you’ve won you can pre-buy tickets HERE.
Adults are $8
Seniors $6
3 day pass is $12
Kids under 16 are FREE!
Also free parking at Dickey Stephens Park in NLR.  Walk or take the shuttle for $1!

Disclosure- the Arkansas Flower & Garden show did give me tickets but all opinions are strictly my own.

On Shopping Small (LOCAL!)

I despise shopping for the most part, but these sweet spots in central Arkansas make it much easier to shop local.
Here are my favorites for this year:

Photo from the Box Turtle website

This is the coolest store on Kavanaugh with a mix of local artist’s work as well as fun things they’ve found in market.  Great clothes, gifts, cards, cool jewelery, and more!  Great t-shirts by my friend Erin of shop E.L.L.  can be bought here! (hint-hint)

Photo from Shop E.L.L.’s etsy page

We’ve lost pretty much all of our local toy stores in Little Rock except for this store.  It’s a great little toy store in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center.  Very helpful employees will wrap your gifts or make a gift registry for you.  My boys love that there are so many toys on display that you can test out before you buy!

Arkansas’ first legal distillery since prohibition is new (opened in 2010) but has already won national and worldwide acclaim with it’s delightful spirits.  Almost every aspect and ingredient is made in Arkansas, from barrels to grains. (I’ll be posting more about them soon!)
Some great picks:
The super cool American Whiskey Aging Kit comes complete with a tiny barrel (handmade in Arkansas) to age your whiskey to your taste.

The Moonshine Sampler Pack is a fun gift with Grape, Peach, Blackberry Cobbler and Apple Pie versions of Arkansas Lightning.  (My hubby loved the Apple Pie on the rocks!)

You can buy at better liquor stores in Arkansas or at the RockTown Distillery itself, which is located close to Heifer Project headquarters downtown.  (Fun tour if you have the time!)

 Run by the Friends of the Central Arkansas Library system (and in the
Rivermarket district) this store not only sells gently used library and
donated books, but also some quite unique gifts for readers and
thinkers.  Also some fantastic art galleries (with some art for sale.)  Get a
cup of coffee at the counter inside and browse!

  • Arkansas Institute Studies Art Gallery

    Another gem in the Rivermarket district- you might not have realized
    that this is a free art gallery with most of the work being for sale (by
    Arkansas artists!)  Jewelry,  hand turned woodwork,  books,
    hand knitted scarves, pottery- they’ve got it!

    Historic Arkansas Museum Gift Shop

    Looking for handmade gifts from Arkansas or unique historical toys and gifts?  This is
    the place!   You don’t have to pay admission to the museum to go inside
    the store, but you might want to!

    Clinton Museum Store

    No matter what your political affiliation, the Clinton museum store has
    something for you!  Books, handmade jewelery, recycled presents,
    and more.  Not actually inside the museum, but in the Rivermarket
    district.  (More great museum gift shops in the area include- Museum of
    Discovery, MacArthur Military Musuem gift shop, Old Statehouse Museum
    gift shop, and the Arkansas Arts Center gift shop.)

 The Heifer project is not only a cool place to visit, but houses a
wonderful gift shop.  They have lovely gifts and neat things from around the world.  While
you are there tour the center and think about getting a gift that keeps
on giving- animal donations for people in need around the world.  Great
organization.  Our family registers online now and gives animals
instead of gifts to ourselves.

Another sweet friend opened this store a couple of years ago on Kavanugh and it’s become “the place” for fashionistas.  I love how they group clothing by colors and ideas so even the fashion challenged like me can look good!  It’s also not expensive (which as a mom of a teenage daughter I LOVE!)  This week they are offering 40% off STOREWIDE at several of their stores so make sure to stock up on gifts!  (Did I mention she has a Little Rock, Conway, and Fayetteville store now?)

Once on Kavanaugh, this amazing antique store is now located on South Main Street in the SOMA district of Little Rock.   I love browsing (and buying) in this chic, but affordable store!  My son has a great antique school map on his wall that we bought there for $20!  While you’re there make sure to check out…

Also in SOMA, this quaint little store has great local gifts, all eco-friendly!  Also the home of Loblolly Creamery (get some and tour the Bernice Gardens nearby!)

Support your local businesses!  Where are some of your favorite places to shop locally?

Almost Wordless Wednesday

5th grade field trips-
Our Beautiful State Capitol

Cute Old Gas Station Next to Central High School

Kids Listening @ Central High Museum
 Ballet Fundraiser and Recitals
Flower Arrangements @ Ballet AR’s “Turning Pointe” fundraiser
Dove Family Saying “Thank You”

*The baby dove that the boys rescued was fed by his parents under our watchful eyes. 
The other day my husband called me out to show me the whole dove family sitting on the wire.
I just know that they were thanking us!