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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Smarty Day Trip Series: Baa Moo Farm

By Katie M

Welcome to another blog in our series of fabulous Day Trips for Smarty families living in the Triad! Today I am writing about Baa Moo Farm. This hidden gem is located in Olin, NC, about an hour's drive from Winston-Salem and Charlotte, an hour and a half from Greensboro, and about an hour 20 minutes from High Point. No matter where you're coming from, the drive is easy and it's so worth it!

Baa Moo Farm is just what the name implies: an animal farm. So plan on wearing old clothes because you WILL get down and dirty with life on this farm. Here adults and children together can milk a cow, feed a baby calf, gather eggs from a hen’s nest, wander through the pastures, watch a sheep get sheared, cross a covered bridge, or take an old-fashioned hay ride, to name a few.

But before you go, here are some things to keep in mind:

You absolutely have to have a reservation to participate on the farm. I found this out the hard way the first time I took my daughter there on a whim. The farm is private and it's run by a family - so you really can't just 'drop in.' It's best to schedule a tour with a family or a group of friends - maybe your play group, a church group, a school group, or just a random group! If you only have a few other friends to go along, you might be grouped together with another group.

Spring is the ideal time to visit the Baa Moo Farm because it gets HOT and shade is scarce! And if you are there during peak sun hours, then definitely bring the sun screen. I went with my son in a Baby Bjorn, and while he was technically too young for sun screen, I lathered him up anyway because we had no other option from the sun.

Baa Moo Farm usually offers discounts on Family Day. The web site does not have any information on when the Family Days will occur, but in the past they took place the second Saturday in May and the second Saturday in October. If you plan to book a trip, you should inquire about those special rate days (if they still exist!).

The hayride is completely safe for any age. Like I said, I brought my son when he was little enough to be in a Baby Bjorn, and I think I even fed him a bottle on the ride!

Pack a lunch because the farm offers picnic facilities and a fireplace in case you want to roast hotdogs. Restrooms are also available.

The farm opens in April and stays open for tours through November. Rates are $8 per person over the age of three.

Baa Moo Farm is located on Jennings Road approximately 5 miles from I-77 (Tomlin Mill Road Exit) from Statesville and 7 miles from I-77 (Hwy. 901 Union Grove Exit). The web site has a map with directions.

To book your tour of the farm, call Calvin or Judy Sell at (704) 876-1732, or you can send them a letter (no, they probably don't have email on the farm!). The addess is: 2529 Jennings Road, Olin, NC 28660.

Enjoy your trip, and be sure to tell them Triad Smarty Pants sent you! Also, if you have been, please share your review or other smarty tips below!


Monday, March 30, 2009

Joining a Neighborhood Pool

By Katie M

If you are hoping to join a private pool this summer, now is the time to do it. Deadlines for registration are right around the corner, and many pools may already be accepting applications. This is one topic that has weighed heavy on my mind for years. Our family does not have a membership to a private pool, and every summer we keep asking ourselves, “Now why did we decide not to join a pool this summer?” Well, this WILL be the first summer we won’t have to ask that question. But finding the right pool requires a little research, and it’s also important to do a little soul-searching about your family habits, schedules and finances before you join. So, here’s what I’ve found out.

Many private pools are neighborhood-specific so you can’t just join any pool that you want; however, I have heard that there are some pools you might think are neighborhood-specific but don’t discriminate based on your address. Or sometimes you can get a friend to “sponsor” you as a new member. That’s good to know for us because we live in a neighborhood that is not associated with a private pool but we live in close proximity to lots of other neighborhood pools that we could essentially join.

The cost to join a pool varies from pool to pool but I’ve discovered that on average you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 - $1,000 to join, and then anywhere from $300 to $1,000 in annual dues. I know that range is pretty big and that’s why it’s important to figure out your budget first, and then call around to figure out which pools make sense for your family financially. And of course these costs don’t pertain to every neighborhood pool. I know lots of neighborhoods have annual Home Owner Association Dues that cover the cost of pool membership, so the fees above may not apply (but you absolutely have to live in those neighborhoods to join those pools).

Another important factor to consider is when the pool opens each day. This could become a deal breaker if you have children who nap in the morning and/or afternoon or both. I think the majority of the pools open in the morning, but some open at noon. You’d hate to miss out on a great pool day – and regret the money you spent joining a pool – if you are house-bound with a napping child until late afternoon. This scenario was one of the biggest reasons we haven’t joined a pool. I’ve been in the nap cycle with my children for the past five years. My oldest rarely naps, but my two-year-old still does. So for us, joining a pool that opens in the morning will be ideal so we can get in those critical morning hours. Unfortunately most public pools in our area don’t open until 11 am, so our hours at the pool over the past few years have been few!

Finding a pool with a separate baby pool is key for those of us who have toddlers. But what’s even better is finding a pool that has an ATTACHED baby pool or shallow area. If you have a toddler who can stand and play in a baby pool, and another child who is too big for the baby pool but not strong enough to swim alone, a separated baby pool can cause a huge problem. When the baby pool is attached to the main pool, it allows you to keep an eye on both your children without worry. You may be doing a LOT of swimming to keep up with both or all your children, but hey – all that exercise makes you look even better in that swimsuit!

Other factors to consider are whether or not the private pool sells food and drinks, and if you can eat on the pool deck or picnic close-by instead of having to pack up and lunch in designated areas away from the pool. Does the pool have tables and chairs on-hand (most private pools do, most public pools do not, or they are few and hard to find)? Swim team memberships and swim lessons are more added bonuses to consider. As well as other perks like tennis or golf facilities for you and your husband to dream about for the coming years (ha, ha).

So, that’s my skinny on pool scouting. Please share any other thoughts on finding the right pool, and if you have any smarty scoop on great pools in the area that should be high on anyone’s list, please dish!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Smarty Review of the Hotsling

By Tracy S, Charlotte Smarty Pants

As I was getting ready for the birth of baby #2, I often asked friends of two for advice on what were the “must haves” this go around. One of the most common answers was a baby sling. So you can imagine my delight when my good friend Jen P got me one as a shower gift just before the big arrival! I had to laugh as I read the card though … the gift came with one condition – I had to write a review for SmartyPants! No problem, I thought … that was until I realized the Hotsling came with an instructional video. That was a little intimidating!! I mean what new mom really has time to sit down and watch a video on how to operate something that should just “slip on and go”?

Ryanne was a super fussy baby. As a newborn, she constantly wanted to be held. So one day when I was at my wits end, I decided it was time to learn how to use my sling. When the baby was sleeping, I slipped in the DVD and armed myself with the beautiful cylinder of fabric (they really do come in some cool designs!) The video was not so intimidating once I started watching – actually it was quite helpful to see someone else fold and twist the fabric around in just the right way. I did have to pause and rewind quite a few times to keep up with what they were doing. There are a bunch of different ways you can use the sling, in varying positions for the baby based on his or her age. They also come in 7 different sizes based on your size (not the baby) and getting the right size for you is key.

By the time Ryanne woke up, I was anxious to try it out. She was just about 2 months at the time and I will say, I think that’s a bit too young for this particular sling. She kind of balled up in there and I was afraid she wouldn’t be able to breath. There is a very good chance I just didn’t follow the directions correctly on how to position her at that age, but I didn’t feel comfortable using it just yet. I switched to the Baby Bjorn that had been given to me as a hand-me-down and that actually worked much better for a newborn in my opinion.

Fast forward a few months and I thought I would try the sling out again. This time it worked beautifully when the baby was a bit fussy and just wanted to be held. I slipped her in the sling (she fit much better) and she instantly settled down. Within minutes she was sound asleep! This allowed me to keep her close and cuddly, yet still have my hands free to type on the computer or eat dinner.

I’ve since used the sling a number of times, particularly when she needed to be held for an extended period of time. I’ve only tried the one position as I think at 6 months she might still be too small for some of the other uses. My only complaint is that my back starts to hurt after a while if I’m standing or walking around with her (and she’s even on the smaller side – only 14 lbs). I’m also afraid to lean over with her in it because I don’t want her falling out. I feel like she’s much more secure in the Bjorn if we’re doing something a little more active. Ryanne seems to really like it and it sure beats carrying her for long stretches.

Bottom line – in my limited experience, the sling is great for babies 3-4 months and up. It’s super fashionable and babies enjoy the cozy comfort snuggled up to mom. I wouldn’t consider it to be an every-day-hands-free mechanism though if you’re trying to keep up with an older toddler because I don’t feel like the baby is supported well enough for a lot of bending over (which is inevitable when keeping up with a toddler). If possible – the best solution would be to have a Bjorn type carrier in addition to the sling. Both have pros and cons and can work great together. You can check out Hotslings on their web site, or buy them locally at Gazoodles in Winston-Salem, Rolly's in Winston-Salem, or at Emma Jane's in Kernersville.

I look forward to continuing to use the sling and try it as Ryanne gets older, particularly the hip carrying position. Let us know what your experiences have been!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Smarty Mom: Ann Hawkins

By Rachel H

Welcome to another TriadSmartyPants Saturday where we are featuring a new Smarty Mom! Meet Ann Hawkins. I met Ann a few years ago when I noticed a “New Baby” bow on her front door. She lives just up the street from me, and my husband and I thought we should take a walk up there and introduce ourselves to our neighbors. Shortly after meeting Ann, her husband Adam, and their new baby boy, Dixon, we were kicking ourselves for not getting our lazy behinds up the street sooner to meet them! The Hawkins are wonderful people with good family values. Dixon is now almost three years old, and they are expecting another baby in June.

Ann and Adam have lived in the Triad for four years after having moved from Spartanburg, SC. Ann works part time at Summit School as a LD Reading Teacher. She is home in the afternoons with her son, but also makes time for some after-school tutoring. Ann is a member of the Junior League, and volunteers each year at Brenner’s Festival of Trees. She loves being outdoors, hiking, and teaching kids how to read when they wanted to give up because it was too hard!

I am thrilled to share some of Ann’s Smarty Wisdom with you all!

What are your Smarty Tips on juggling family time, career, and volunteer duties?
I work very hard on planning ahead and keeping a current calendar! I also get everything ready for the next day the night before, lunchbox, clothes, to-do list, etc.

Share with us more about Brenner’s Festival of Trees and your involvement with it.
The Festival of Trees is a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season with your family. Over 70 decorated Christmas trees done by various members and groups in the community, children’s activities, live performances, shopping and even a visit from Santa! It usually falls the weekend before Thanksgiving and is held at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds in Winston. All proceeds benefit the Brenner’s Children’s Hospital.

Tell us more about the business you started while living in SC. What tips do you have for other moms wanting to start their own businesses?
I started my own tutoring business for struggling readers and specifically for children with learning disabilities. I managed over 30 students on a rotating basis and worked with their families and teachers. A lot of faith is involved in taking the leap to start you own business. I began with word of mouth and connections I already had in schools. I advertised anyplace I could put a flyer that did not charge me: bookstores, coffee shops, church bulletin, the public library, etc. I learned a lot about the power of referrals and word of mouth!

As a Reading Teacher for children with Learning Disabilities, I am sure you have many Smarty Tips for moms. What are some tips we can use when working with our children on reading skills? How can we help our children enjoy reading and not look at it as a chore?
I encourage you to continue to cuddle up and read with them, even early school-aged children. I believe we start making it a chore by making them do it all. Keep playing reading-like games without books to encourage their phonemic awareness. Games like rhyming words, count and clap syllables, swap letters in words - change the /k/ in cat to a /b/. Make it light and easy without the pressure of reading out loud or silently for an allotted amount of time.

I know plenty of moms are now asking themselves if you have tutoring spaces available! If so, when are you available?
Yes, I have spaces open for more students. I tutor after school or evening and will be tutoring all summer. Email TriadSmartyPants here and we will send you Ann’s contact information.

What is your favorite aspect of the Triad since having moved here 4 years ago?
I love being able to get to almost any place in town in 10 minutes. We noticed that right away. A drive to Tanglewood - 10 minutes; a trip downtown - 10 minutes.

What is your favorite family activity?
We spend a lot of our free time outdoors enjoying the local parks. One of our favorites is a walk along the Yadkin River or a hike at Pilot Mountain.

Favorite “mommy-time” activity?
Dixon and I love to get out for a walk or bike ride with our dog, Harbor, any chance we get!

Favorite place to eat out with kids?
Cloverdale Kitchen for pancakes every Saturday morning. Mayberry’s - a scoop of Cookie Monster ice cream gets us a long way. Fuddruckers has great games to play. West End CafĂ© - a hotdog and a fishpond!!

Favorite park in the Triad?
Hathaway Park off Country Club in Winston. Wonderful equipment and they have a dog park where you can let your dog run leash free!!

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
There are so many options of activities within easy distance. The mountains, the big city, all easy to get to in a short road trip.

Funniest thing Dixon has ever said to you?
There have been many - some that shouldn’t be recorded in print but my favorite at the moment is when I suggest something for us to do and I get either “That’s a great idea, sure ya sure,” or “That’s not a good idea for me.”

Best birthday party you have attended?
Any party that involves an activity where the kids can run, jump, dance and play!!

I could not live without my... Calendar!

I wish someone had told me sooner about... All the free and fun things available to moms in the Triad.

Thanks, Ann for all your Smarty answers!

We are always on the hunt for Smarty Moms. And while we've been featuring some moms who have done AMAZING things such as going above-and-beyond the call of duty for others, doing incredible work for her family, friends, or community, or has accomplished tremendous feats - we are also looking to feature moms in the Triad who just simply live the daily grit of motherhood! Please send us your "mominations" and feel free to nominate yourself (especially if you are a mompreneur with a great service or product to promote)! We look forward to hearing from you. Email us here with your “Smarty Momination”!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Smarty Alert: Make Sure You're Eligible for Our Smarty Give-Aways!

TriadSmartyPants is gearing up for another Give-Away promotion next week! To make sure you are eligible to participate, you need to be a newsletter subscriber. All we ask for is your email address. No other information is necessary, and we will not share your email address with anyone. Once registered, you will receive a TSP Newsletter each Thursday filled with Smarty News and Tips.

If you already entered your email address on our site, but have not been receiving the weekly newsletter, there are a few things you can do:

1) Check your junk mail or Spam folder to see if there is an email there from Vertical Response. If so, you need to open the email and click on the link to activate the newsletter subscription.

2) If the link doesn’t work, try pasting the url address (the http://www address that was sent to you) in your Internet browser and see if you can access it that way.

3) If that still doesn’t work, email us here, give us your email address that you want the newsletter sent to, and we will try to activate your newsletter subscription for you.

If you have not yet signed up for our newsletter, what are you waiting for? Enter your email address in the pink box on the right of this webpage. Then wait for a return mail from Vertical Response. (It could be sent to your junk mail folder.)Remember that you will need to open this email and click on the link to activate your subscription. If you have trouble, please follow one of the steps above.

Thank you to the hundreds of you who have already joined our community and contributed your suggestions, comments, and Smarty wisdom to our site!


Smarty Guide to Picking Up Mom Friends

By Katie M

You know the scenario all too well. You're a new mom at the park with your child. You see a group of other cute moms with their super cute kids. They're talking about play dates, the latest finds at your favorite children's boutique, fun things to do on the weekends, etc. They look like they are having so much fun and you'd love to meet them, maybe join their playgroup. As a new mom you don't have a lot of other "mom friends." You have a lot of friends from your "former life" when you worked 9-5, or a circle friends who haven't had kids yet. But this could be your opportunity to bond with others who share your experiences. So what do you do? How do you make these "mom friends"?

Trust me. Lots of us have been there! Everyone (at least my mom) has always said it's so easy to meet friends when you stop working and have kids. But I've found it quite the contrary. Maybe it's true when your children are old enough for school and other activities, but when you are home all day with your infant or child who is too young for scheduled social activities, meeting moms can be tough! Plus, in my case, I moved to the Triad - a place where I knew absolutely no one - when my daughter was just 8 months old. Making friends was not like it used to be when I was surrounded by people my age in an office all day long - a place where we all swapped plans for that evening's Happy Hour. Once I had my daughter, and moved away from a place that was my home for the past 10 years, my social life came to a screeching halt. That was...until I learned how to "pick up" other mom friends! It's true. In fact, I "picked up" loyal Triad Smarty Pants reader and Smarty Mom Summer R, at a playground, and we've been friends ever since!

I have always joked about how - since having children - making friends with other moms requires you to actually "pick them up!" You size them up, make your move with a witty remark, ask them if they want to get together sometime, exchange numbers, and voila! You've "picked up" a mom friend!

I must not be alone in this phenomenon because I recently learned of a web site (thanks to Summer) that help moms meet other moms. Cards For Moms designs stylish mommy calling cards which double as business cards with your contact information. On top of the awkwardness of meeting other moms, you probably also don't have a pen in your purse to jot down their name and number. Or if you do, you probably scribble your new mom friend's contact info on a crumpled grocery receipt only to lose it later. That's precisely the point Cards For makes on its web site.

Says Michele, founder and designer of Cards for Moms, "When I worked outside the home, a business card was critical to staying in contact with other professionals. Why would it be any different for parents? Being a busy mother of a beautiful baby girl, these cards have been a useful tool to help me connect with other moms. After all, being a mom IS a full time profession!"

What a brilliant idea! I actually heard about these mommy calling cards before I saw this web site; my sister-in-law is an elementary school teacher in Charlotte and has witnessed young moms passing these cards back and forth. So, this idea is catching on and working!

Even if you're not a "new mom" and already have your circle of "mom friends," these cards are still good idea to have on-hand. It seems like I live at the park in the spring and summer, and I continue to meet other moms all the time. If only I had these calling cards a few years back! Oh, how did we live without them?

So Smarty Moms want to know: What has been your experience in meeting other mom friends? Have you ever received a Mommy Calling Card, and what did you think?


Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Glasses are Half Full

By Rachel H and Guest Blogger Suellen T.

TriadSmartyPants wants to help give advice on health issues with children as much as possible. Thanks to all the Smarty Moms we have met, we have been able to share some wonderful advice on what to do when your child may not seem to be following the growth or behavior pattern that you would expect. No matter how small the issue, it is always difficult to deal with obstacles when it involves your precious pride and joy. My friend, Suellen, was so kind in taking the time to write up the story of her daughter, Macy, and how they came to the conclusion that she needed glasses. I came up with the cheesy title because even though it was a difficult experience to go through, they remained optimistic and the results have been great. We hope her story is able to help some of you! - Rachel H.

We first wondered about Macy’s eyesight when she was around 6 months old. I remember coming in the front door and she was sitting in the floor facing me. She just stared at me without making any signs of excitement. Then as soon as I called to her she nearly hopped off the floor. I was so relieved! I remember saying to my husband, “I don’t think she recognized me.” There were a few more subtle hints like this, but we didn’t get too excited about it because it was so hard to be sure that there was a problem. She was developing perfectly; she was sitting up and reaching for things, even signing with her hands. Surely she had to be able to see to do these things? At around 8 months, we noticed that at times her left eye would seem a little droopy or “lazy”. Still it was hard to be sure that there was a problem. At her 9 month check up, I mentioned to our pediatrician that I thought Macy may have a lazy eye. I described the problem and he referred me to a Pediatric Ophthalmologist, Dr. William O. Young in Greensboro.

At 10 months, Macy began wearing glasses! He diagnosed her vision problem as Esotropia. He said that all babies were farsighted (something to do with eye growth?) but she was about 10 times more farsighted than normal! OMG! I could not believe it! I felt so guilty that we had not acted sooner. He said that most things were a complete blur to her and that her eyes were constantly working to try to focus which was why she had the lazy eye. Not lazy, it was just exhausted!

When we first tried on the frames it was a true wrestling match. I held her arms by her sides while the sales lady positioned the frames on her face and wrapped the curved parts around her tiny ears. I had never seen glasses so small! This will be interesting, I thought! Two weeks later we went back to the office to try on her new glasses. “Here we go” I said to the lady. I held her arms again and the lady gently placed the glasses on Macy’s face while she struggled to break free. As soon as the glasses were in place, Macy froze! There she was 10 months old sitting in amazement. Her big brown eyes scanned the whole room slowly, then a huge smile spread across her face! I could read her face and tell everything she wanted to say,“ Wow, I can see!” There was never a minute of struggle after that moment. In fact, for a while it was difficult to convince her to take them off. She even wanted to sleep in them!

I am so glad that we discovered this as early as we did. I cannot imagine how she must have felt when she looked through those first lenses that helped her to see the world so clearly. The first year was the most expensive. We went through about 6 pairs of glasses. It’s hard being careful when you’re only one, but each pair was worth it! We only average about 2 pair a year now.

My best advice - Trust your instincts and buy the insurance for the frames! If you have a little one in glasses you will need it!

What an amazing story! Do you have a similar experience you can share?


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events

By Katie M

The weekend is almost here, Smarty friends! And isn't nice to have one place online that lists the kind of events you're really looking for? Whether you're still on the consignment sale trail, looking to use your creativity, seeking a great show on stage, gearing up for Easter, or are just curious about fly fishing - our list below has something for everyone. As usual, if you know of another great family event that we did not mention, please add in the comment section below.

And right after the weekend, there is event on Tuesday, March 31st that caught our attention and thought we'd share. "Surviving The Teen Years Without Murder, Mayhem, and Misfortune," will be presented by Michie Dew and Dr. Heather McCain at the Piedmont School in High Point. Visit the web site for more information.

Enjoy the weekend!

Go, Dog. Go!
Taylor Theatre @ UNCG at 450 Tate St.
Friday, March 27 - 8 p.m., Saturday, March 28 - 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 29 - 2 p.m.
$10 - kids, $12 - adults. Tickets can be purchased in advance and are also available one hour before each performance in Taylor Theatre lobby. Call 336-334-4849 for more info.

Home & Closet Consignment Sale
Friday, March 27 from 9:30 a.m. -7 p.m., and Saturday
from 7:30 a.m.- 11:30 p.m.
Most items are half-price on Saturday.
Fellowship Hall Entrance at West Market St United Methodist Church, 300 West Friendly Ave., GSO.
Sponsored by West Market Street UMC. Spring/Summer clothing, shoes and accessories all ages), home decor, accent furniture, art, bedding, books, toys, movies, baby equipment, electronics and more. Volunteer to work a three-hour shift and you are invited to our Preview Sale on Thursday evening. Phone: 336-378-6093.

"Spiders Web" by Agatha Christie
Friday, March 27 8 p.m. and Sunday 2 p.m.
The Arts Coucil Theatre, 610 Coliseum Drive, W-S.
Little Theatre of Winston-Salem presents this classic whodunit that unravels at the home of Henry and Clarissa Hailsham-Brown. Clarissa, the wife of a diplomat, discovers a body in the drawing room. With her husband scheduled to arrive at any moment with an important politician in tow, Clarissa has to create an intricate web of alibis and invention to save her family. When her lies lead to new surprises, the audience is left to untangle the captivating puzzle of "who did it." *Not reccommended for children under 12. Adults, $18; students, $14. Phone: 336-725-4001.

KidsCrafters Club
Friday, March 27 from 3:30-4:45 p.m.
ArtQuest, Greensboro Cultural Art Center, 200 N. Davie St., GSO.
Marbleized Paper: Making marbleized paper is fun and easy and we’ll teach students how with some kid-friendly techniques and materials. Ages 7 and up. $3, members; $8, non-members (non-member fee includes the $5.00 admission to ArtQuest.) Registration is suggested but not required. Phone: 336-333-7460.

“Get in the Wind”
Saturday, March 28th from 1 to 4pm.
High Point Theatre Art Galleries
Ages 4+. Let your creativity soar in a workshop that combines are with play! Use a variety of cool materials with fabric to construct a windsock that holds up in the spring winds, and design colorful pinwheels for indoor and outdoor fun. $25

Go Green with Beads Workshop
Saturday, March 28 from 10 a.m.-noon
Thataways Youth Center, 1334 Overbrook Road, Burlington
Burlington Recreation & Parks invites you to go green with the Girl Scouts. Kids ages 8-12 are invited to a fun, creative workshop on how to turn your recyclables into trendy, stylish jewelry. Free. Phone: 336-222-5134.

Opens this Saturday, March 28th!
Season Passes are on sale now. Visit the web site (click link above) for all the details. TriadSmartyPants will be running blogs on Day Trips all Spring and Summer long. Stay tuned for our sneak peak inside Carowinds with some Smarty Tips!

HP Junior League presents Kids in the Kitchen!
March 28 from 10 a.m. — noon
Millis Education Center, High Point
Open to kids in Kindergarten through Grade 5.
The Millis Education Center is on Elm Street, across from the Hospital.
The event is free, but you need to register by calling the High Point Junior League office, Monday – Friday, between 9 a.m. – 2 p. m. at 336-889-5479.

Beginning Fly Fishing School
Saturday, March 28 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m
Frank Sharpe Jr. Wildlife Education Center, Bur-Mil Park, 5834 Bur-Mil Park Road, GSO.
Half-day introductory class designed to get children 10 and older started in the sport of fly fishing. Class covers the basic principles of fly casting, reading water, fly selection, entomology, knot tying and rigging, equipment, and where to fish locally and abroad. $65. Phone: 336-373-3802.

Bunny Day
Saturday, March 28 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Natural Science Center, 4301 Lawndale Drive, GSO.
Bunnies, bunnies, and more bunnies. Come enjoy face painting, crafts, story-telling and more. Learn all you've ever wanted to know about rabbits from local breeders and see a vast collection of bunnies. Also, a special event featuring a wide variety of rabbits in all sizes, shapes and colors ranging from tiny dwarfs to the New Zealand Giants. After the up-close encounters with the bunnies, visitors will enjoy crafts, face painting and the Easter Bunny who will be handing out candy and posing for photos. Free with museum admission, Adults,$8; children $7; ages 2 and under, free. Phone: 336-288-3769.

Greensboro Children’s Theatre Auditions – Short Tales 4
Saturday, March 28 from 1-4 p.m
Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., GSO.
The Greensboro Children’s Theatre is teaming up with the UNCG Theatre Education Department to present a series of short plays called, Short Tales 4. Performances are April 25-26. The auditions are open to boys and girls in grades 4-9. There will be cold readings from the script. No preparation or previous experience is necessary. Free. Phone: (336) 373-2728.

Great Train Expo
Saturday, March 28 at 10 AM
Dixie Classic Fairgrounds: Ed Building 421 W. 27th Street, Winston-Salem
Call 336-725-5636 for more info. There is a cost.

Community Day Festival: Americans in Paris
Sunday, March 29 from 2 to 4 pm.
Reynolda House Museum of American Art, 2250 Reynold Road, W-S.
Reynolda House invites the public to a spring festival celebrating American Impressions: Selections from the National Academy Museum. Tour the Museum and enjoy art activities and music on the park-like grounds of the Estate. Entertainment will include a chorus, strolling accordion players and mimes, balloons, a calliope, sketching artists, and French pastries and icees. Free. Phone: 336-758-5599.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Smarty Day Trip Series: Lazy 5 Ranch

By Rachel H

Hello Smarties! We are very excited to introduce the first of many blogs in our Smarty Day Trip series! Beginning today, we will run a blog each Tuesday for the majority of Spring and Summer where we will be featuring some of our favorite places to take the family on a day trip. Of course our own Triad area has many exciting adventures, too, which we will always continue to write about and share Smarty Tips with you. Between our Tuesday Day Trip Blogs, Wednesday Events blogs, upcoming Favorite Parks blog, and Smarty Summer Camp Picks there should be no reason for the kids to claim “I’m bored” this spring and summer!

The Lazy 5 Ranch is a perfect day trip for you and your children. It is located in Mooresville, NC, so it is less than an hour from Winston and High Point, and about 1hour 15 minutes from Greensboro.

The Lazy 5 Ranch is an animal drive thru park, where visitors will see over 750 animals from six different continents. You will also see several endangered species. You can drive through the park in your own car or ride in horse drawn wagons. The kids love it! They can reach out to pet animals or feed animals. My kids especially loved feeding the giraffes. Listening to your children giggle when the animals accidentally lick their hands is priceless.

The Lazy 5 Ranch is open all year round! Spring is a great time to go to see new little animal babies including zebras, giraffes, goats and cows. Summer is perfect because school is out and your family can easily spend the day here. There are plenty of picnic areas to use. Autumn is a beautiful time to visit if you enjoy seeing the changing leaves. It’s also a great time to purchase a pumpkin to take home. In the Winter, you can enjoy hot chocolate and a live nativity scene while riding in the horse-drawn covered wagon.

You can also choose to walk around many areas of the ranch. There is a petting area, which is a favorite for the kids. You may also enjoy checking out the black smith shop, horse barn, and of course the gift store. You can easily spend most of the day here by packing a picnic lunch. There is also ice cream available and a few drink machines. There are plenty of picnic areas, plus a play ground.

Hours of the Lazy 5 Ranch are Monday – Saturday from 9am until one hour before sunset. Sundays 1pm until one hour before sunset. Adults are $8.50 and children 2-11 are $5.50. Babies under 1 year old are free. If you decide to use the covered wagon, add $5 for adults and $3 for kids. I would definitely suggest getting a group together if you want to ride in the wagons. This is a great spot to meet your Charlotte friends, too! If you have a group of 15 or more people, it is only $5 per person with $2.50 extra added for the wagon ride.

You can also contact the Lazy 5 Ranch to schedule a birthday party! Rates range from $7.50 to $11.50 per child depending on which package you choose. Click here to see the packages available.

A few Smarty Tips:
They do not accept credit or debit cards, so come prepared with cash or check.

Bring your own bottled water, as there are not water fountains around. It gets very hot in the summer season.

They do have hand sanitizer stations, but I’d bring my own. Remember, your kids will be touching the animals!

If you plan to take a wagon ride, call 704.663.5100 to make your reservations.

Arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled time.

If you are taking the wagon ride and have more than one kid with you, remember that they need to be sitting down when the wagon is moving and there are no seat belts. Older kids are usually fine, but toddlers may need an adult to help them stay seated. Keep this in mind and bring another adult along if you think you’ll need help!

Check out the website for more specifics. We hope you have a great time!

Email us here if you have a favorite spot for a Day Trip that you would like to share with our Smarty Readers. We’d be happy to do the research ourselves if we have not been there, or have you write a post about your own experience to share with other savvy Triad moms!


Monday, March 23, 2009

FREE Things to Do around the Triad

By Katie M

The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer! A couple of Smarty Moms helped me compile a list of FREE things to do around the Triad with the kids. Lots of stuff on this list includes indoor fun which is still timely as I’m sure we are in store for more spring showers. So if you’ve been feeling cooped up lately either due to the weather or your budget, now there’s no excuse to find something fun to do. I’m sure there are many more things to add to this list, so please add your Smarty thoughts in the comments below. Have fun!

Hanes Mall - A great place to take the kids to window shop, ride the carousel, get the girls a pretend make-over, play on the many fifty-cent ride-on toys or in the play area outside of Sears.

Gazoodles - While it's hard not to buy something at this savvy boutique, it's always fun to look to just look around and the kids enjoy just as much thanks to the store's cute playhouse and fenced-in play area.

Confluence Coffee - We've already blogged about the wonders of this child and mommy-friendly place.

Krispy Kreme - Take the kids to watch donuts being made at the S. Stratford location, and by all means, cap the visit with a mouth-watering treat!

Salem Lake - One of my all-time favorite places to take the kids. Feed the ducks (or shall I say get bombarded by the hungry ducks) and walk, bike or Big-Wheel the scenic trails.

Four Seasons Mall - Much like Hanes Mall, Four Seasons offers a lot of fun without spending a dime.

Greensboro Arboretum – Walk the beautiful garden paths, participate in the tree plantings or gardening programs, or enjoy the various art shows and parties in the summer.

Farmers' Curb Market - On any Saturday morning during the summer, the Market is one of the busiest places in the city. It is a festive and friendly place where shoppers stop and chat with friends and buy fresh fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers who grow them.

High Point
High Point Museum - We wouldn't support them as a community sponsor if they weren't so great! We also blogged about this gem that is not only free, but also educational and fun!

Oak Hollow Mall - Also has a little indoor play area in the Food Court.

Any City
The Library - Always a good time, and you can look up scheduled story or craft times.

Barnes & Nobles and Borders – Story times and great play areas for the kids. Barnes & Nobles (at least the one on Hanes Mall Blvd in WS has a Thomas the Train tables too).

Toy Stores – Such as Toys R’ Us, WhistleStop Toy Station in WS, and Toys & Co. in GSO offers a fun place to go and play, look around, and have kids compile “wish lists” for birthdays and holidays.

Pet Stores, PetSmart, or Animal Shelters - Take the kids to look at, and sometimes pet, the cute little creatures.

Parks - There's a park on just about every corner in the Triad, and a sure bet for fun. TriadSmartyPants plans to review the parks in an upcoming blog, so stay tuned!

Firestations - Take a tour and climb into a firetruck. I think they will do this at any location as long as you give them a call in advance.

Indoor playground at McDonald's or Chick-Fil-A - Have lunch for a few bucks, and play, play, play!

What else? Help us grow this list!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

'Lil Smarty Bookclub

By CharlotteSmartyPants' Guest Blogger, Melissa S

As moms, we are always trying to find educational things to do with our children that are fun as well! That’s why I was so excited about the idea of starting a children’s bookclub.

It’s the same idea as what many moms do except with kids! My daughter was thrilled to be able to do something with her friends just like mom does. Our group is ten 2nd grade children, mostly girls. We have monthly “meetings”, spread out more during the school year. We take turns picking chapter books or advanced picture books, always with the mothers’ approval. It can, however, be difficult to find books that both boys and girls want to read.

One thing that came up early on is that many of the girls read at different levels. But we figured out a way to accommodate this. Kids who might have difficulty reading a particular book don’t have to read it themselves; moms, dads or older siblings can read it to them and no one needs to know!

At the “meetings” we’ve done many different things. We’ve used discussion questions, completed crossword puzzles or artwork that related to the book topic. But, a favorite was the Magic Tree House book, “Vacation Under the Volcano”. We then went on a “field trip” to the Discovery Place Pompeii exhibit. Another fun treat was at Christmas, each child brought a favorite wrapped book to exchange and during the summer we met at the pool!

Happy reading, ‘lil Smarties!

What other books or ideas can you add to this list?


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Smarty Mom – Stephanie Dillon

By Rachel H

I am happy to introduce Stephanie Dillon as this week’s Smarty Mom. I have loved her since the moment I met her many years ago at Appalachian State. Anyone who knows Stephanie will always picture her with a smile on her face. The outdoor life we enjoyed in college has stuck with her, as she still enjoys hiking and camping. She also enjoys volunteering at her church, and hopes to donate even more of her time to volunteer work when her youngest child enters preschool.

Stephanie and her husband Jonathan live in Greensboro with their children, Charlie (6) and Tyler (2). Stephanie has lived in Greensboro since she was in the third grade! She worked part time as an Assistant Project Manager for a marketing/graphics company until last year when she and Jonathan adopted their second son, Tyler.

Let’s get to know this week’s Smarty Mom!

It has been so exciting to watch you bring Tyler into your home. Please share with us how you made the decision to adopt.
During my pregnancy with my first son, Charlie, I had some medical issues including a struggle with insomnia that I was afraid of repeating because I finally had it under control. Because I knew several families who had adopted wonderful children, we considered adoption for a long time and then decided that was how we should expand our family.

For other parents looking into adoption, where would you tell them to start?
I read as many books as I could and I did a lot of research on the web. We also went to several information sessions at the adoption agency that we ended up choosing and they sent us newsletters so that we learned a lot about different countries' processes.

How did you prepare your son, Charlie, for Tyler’s arrival?
We included Charlie from the beginning, talked about it a lot and found some kids books that were about adopting a new sibling. Honestly though, I don’t know if there is a great way to prepare a 5-year-old for a rambunctious toddler who can be very demanding of Mom and Dad’s attention. That has been a big adjustment but Charlie now says that “Tyler is the best brother in the world."

How did you adjust to being a stay-at-home mom after being in the working world when your first child was young? Do you have any tips for moms who will be in your same position?
It helped that I went from full-time to part-time and then stayed at home so it was a gradual change. Connecting with other moms has helped more than anything. Staying at home can be lonely after being used to having other adults around at work all the time. I have made an effort to get to know lots of other moms so that we can have a little social time most days.

Now on to the easy questions …

Favorite place to get a good deal on kids clothes?
I’m not loyal to a certain place. I just hit end of season clearance racks & consignment.

What is your favorite family activity?
Walking on the trails at Battleground Park in Greensboro.

Favorite “mommy-time” activity?
Probably dinner at a NICE restaurant and a movie with my husband, Jonathan.

Best place to eat lunch with the kids?
McDonalds on Inman Rd in Greensboro has the best playplace. It is huge!

Favorite place to eat dinner out with the kids?
Brixx or Elizabeth’s Pizza

Funniest thing your kid(s) has ever said?
My husband calls me “Honey” and when my son Charlie was about 2, I heard him ask Jonathan “Where did Honey go?”

Favorite park in the Triad?
Triad Park on 421

Mini-van or SUV?

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad.
It is big enough that we have great parks, The Childrens Museum, The Science Center and the zoo is close by. I can’t imagine living in a place where I didn’t have options as great as those for my boys.

Best kept secret in the Triad?
A ladies boutique called Camille’s beside the new Fresh Market on Lawndale in Greensboro. Great jewelry that is not expensive. They do have cute clothes too.

Best birthday party you have attended?
Jake and Emma Kate’s birthday party with Big Bang Boom was really fun for the kids and the parents!

I could not live without my... friends and family.

Thanks, Stephanie for all your Smarty answers!

We are always on the hunt for Smarty Moms. And while we've been featuring some moms who have done AMAZING things such as going above-and-beyond the call of duty for others, doing incredible work for her family, friends, or community, or has accomplished tremendous feats - we are also looking to feature moms in the Triad who just simply live the daily grit of motherhood! Please send us your "mominations" and feel free to nominate yourself (especially if you are a mompreneur with a great service or product to promote)! We look forward to hearing from you. Email us here with your “Smarty Momination”!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Registering for Baby Gear: The Top Must-Haves

By Rachel H

Today’s post is not only for new moms. Today we need a collaborative effort from all you veteran moms, too! New moms need help when it comes time to register for baby gear. I have compiled a list of the top items recommended from some of our readers. These are just suggestions, and we know that every family has different priorities, so please add your thoughts by commenting below and letting us know what baby items you loved and which ones were a flop. New items are constantly coming out, so if you recently registered, please share any new items with us that you added to your list. Here are our MUST HAVES:

A Diaper Disposal System
Favorites are the Diaper Genie and the Diaper Champ. I personally thought they all still smelled bad, even if they claimed to be odor free. I thought the Diaper Champ was the easiest because you can use your own trash bags without buying refills. It was also very easy to use one-handed. The best thing to do to keep your nursery odor-free is to empty the disposal system often and clean it often. Or in the words of one Smarty Reader, “They all stink. I just get a bunch of plastic grocery bags, tie off the diapers and throw them out the door on the back step and trash them when I leave the house. Keeps the bad guys away too.” Another option is cloth diapers.

Boppy Pillow
This is supposed to be for nursing moms, but it is multi-functional! I used it to sit on when I was just home from the hospital! Nice! It is also great for propping up baby to give him head strength. Make sure to get a slip cover for easy washing.

Toddler Tub
One favorite is The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn-to-Toddler Tub. It is easy to reach baby and also has a little bump to sit them on so they are not sliding all over the place. Another favorite is the Safety First Tub because you can put the bath cradle inside the kitchen sink when they are little or in the real tub as they grow. Then when they are beginning to sit up, it has an attachment that helps them sit upright. This can then be removed once they are sitting on their own. One more favorite is the Safety 1st Space Saver Fold Up Tub that hangs on the bathtub wall. Check them all out and see which one appeals to you most!

I must admit that I never used mine at home much because my kids napped in their cribs from the get-go, but it was essential to me for traveling. Other readers have used it as a play-yard, time-out, travel, changing table, and for napping in different places in the home. Most agree not to bother with too many of the added accessories sold with these. Graco seems to be a favorite brand.

Baby Swing
Many different options for these, but be sure to check out the ones that sit close to the ground and are easy to close up and move. They take up less space and are so much easier to move from room to room in the house. They are also less expensive!

The Entertainer
These have many names: the saucer, the megasaucer, the stationary entertainer. These have taken the place of the walkers that our parents used for us when we were young. They are terrific! As soon as your child is able to support his head on his own, you can use these. It is so nice for baby to sit up and be able to see everything happening around him instead of always lying on his back. It is great if you choose to let your child watch baby videos, too. Many come with little toys surrounding it. I honestly think some have too many toys though! Can you imagine all those things sticking up in front of your face and not being able to get away from them? I would personally pick one with a few attached toys, but not too many.

Baby Stollers
There are over a million choices for strollers! You can register for a folding stroller which holds the car seat carrier. Most of these are pretty bulky. Depending on your personality, you will love them or hate them. If you do like it, you will use this stroller for quite a while. Get one that has plenty of storage under and around it. Mommies always have lots of gear. Once your baby is out of the carrier, you will still use this stroller without it. Other options are the basic framed stroller which holds the carrier. One example is the Graco snap-n-go. It is easy to transport, but you will not use this once they are out of the carrier.

When babies are out of their carriers, another favorite of our readers is the Chicco Capri stroller that folds up and can be carried on your shoulder.

Jogging stollers are great, too, but will not work well for trips to the mall or Target. Some have wheels that do not turn, so if you are not a big walker or runner, skip the jog stroller. A good thing to consider is that a jog stroller works much better when walking with baby on trails.

Of course there is the infamous umbrella stroller. They run about $10-$20 for a basic one, so go ahead and put it on your list. Kids who are 4 can still use these when their little legs tire out at the zoo or at a street festival. You can keep them in the car and they don’t take up much space.

Remember that you can register for as many different strollers as you feel you need, but keep in mind that storage can be a problem. I personally only registered for two because we do not have a garage or shed for storage. (One stroller for baby years and one umbrella stroller for older years.) With just two strollers, they were easy to keep in the minivan for whenever we would need them.

Infant Carriers
Again, numerous options here from the sling to the Bjorn. Sling works well, but only until a certain age. Our Smarty Readers say to make sure the one you buy has an adjustable ring. This has been a life-saver for some babies with colic. The Bjorn Carrier can be used for quite a while since infants face you and then as they grow you can turn them around to face outward. Some are also designed to then be used on mommy’s back. Whichever type you choose, just make sure you choose at least one! It is better for your back and your sanity!

Baby Monitor
Most parents I have talked to have said do not get the video monitor. You will become obsessed with watching your baby and checking on him all the time. (But hey – if it makes you feel better as a mom, go ahead and get it!) Our expert Smarty Moms have said to get a basic sound monitor with two attachments. You can keep one in your room at night and one in the kitchen, family room, or wherever else you may be while your baby naps. Fisher Price, Sony, and Graco seem to be the favorites.

You can purchase a classic highchair if you want one that is going to be stationary in your kitchen. Just make sure it is easy to wipe clean. You will be amazed at the little grooves that food works its way into!

You can also opt for a “hook-on” chair once baby can sit up. Chicco brand was a favorite of these. These chairs hook on to the side of a table. The best part is that you can fold them up and take then along to grandma’s or a restaurant.
Another option is a basic booster seat. The Fisher Price Rainforest Booster straps to a kitchen chair and also travels easily. The tray is removable so they can use this as they grow and move out of a highchair.

Sheet saver
This is a pad/mat that you put on top of your crib sheet or cradle sheet. You only have to change out the mat if the baby spits up or leaks through a diaper. The last thing a mom has time to do is replace the sheet every couple of days, so this is a great option. Advice from one Smarty Mom - don’t get the one that ties or snaps to all corners.

Bouncy Chair
One with an attachment out front that can be removed works well. The vibrating option is great, too. Just always make sure to strap in your child! You will be amazed how the tiniest of babies can slide around in these.

Manicure Set
I guess in baby terms this would just be nail clippers. Remember that baby’s nails grow very quickly which results in quite a few scratches on their sweet little faces. You can also get the lightweight mittens that baby can wear to keep him from scratching himself.

What do you Smarties recommend?


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events

By Katie M

Happy Wednesday, Smarty readers! We hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day yesterday. Even though we had no luck finding a parade in the Triad (trust me, we searched!), it looks like we've lucked out on an event-packed weekend! The weather is finally shaping up too so we may be able to pack those sweaters away for good...but let's not totally press our luck!

And don't forget the Sixth Annual Lilly and Smocked Clothing Exchange is happening next week! The sale opens to the public from 7:30 to 8:30 pm on Tuesday, March 24, and from 9:30 am to Noon on Wednesday, March 25. For details and directions, email the and

If we left off any events you'd like to share, please add as a comment below. Also, if you have events you want us to feature in the future, email me here!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

"Disney’s Aladdin Jr."
Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21 at 7 pm
Sunday, March 22 at 2 pm
Rives Cafetorium,Westchester Country Day School Campus,
2045 N. Old Greensboro Road, HP
Westchester Country Day School will perform the Disney musical "Aladdin Jr." Audiences will be transported to Agrabah, City of Enchantment, where every beggar has a story and every camel has a tail. Featuring favorite Disney characters Aladdin, Jasmine, and of course, the Genie. Filled with magic, mayhem, flying carpet rides, and music, including "A Whole New World" and "Friend Like Me." $5. Phone: 336-869-2128.

YWCA of High Point Friday Night Jamboree
Friday, March 20 from 6-10 p.m.
YWCA High Point, 112 Gatewood Ave., HP.
Parents can enjoy a night out while kids ages 5-13 will participate in swimming, pizza and fellowship. $15. Phone: 336-882-4126

Lunch N Learn on ADHD and Dyslexia
Friday, March 20 at 11:15 pm
Triad Academy, 905 Friedberg Church Road, WS
An informational Lunch-N-Learn about an ADHD and Dyslexia research project run by the Center for Development and Learning. Learn more about the study on an approved medication for children with reading and/or attention issues. Your child may qualify for the study. Meet the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician, Dr. William Lord Coleman, and Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Steve Hooper, administering the study and ask questions. RSVP to Ugonna @ 919-966-4788. Lunch is included. Call 336-775-4900 for directions. Free.

High Point Museum
Saturday, March 21. Drop in anytime from 10 am to 4 pm, or on
Sunday, March 22, from 1 pm to 4 pm
Blacksmithing Demonstration in the Historical Park. Come watch our costumed blacksmith in action as he crafts various iron pieces. All ages welcome. FREE.

Dr. Seuss Day - Kids' Cooking Class
Saturday, March 21 from 10 a.m.- Noon
Alamance County Arts Council, Graham, NC
Ever wonder what green eggs and ham really taste like? Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday filled with simple, scrumptious, wacky recipes for such foods as Cat in the Hat Pudding and Moose Juice. Open to all ages; ages 5 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Members, $25; non-members, $32.Phone: 336-226-4495.

Harlem Globetrotters' “Spinning the Globe” World Tour
Saturday, March 21 at 7:30 pm
Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 2825 University Parkway, W-S.
Fans will be captivated by the Globetrotters’ basketball wizardry, hilarious antics and fan interaction, all presented by some of the world’s greatest athletes and entertainers, such as the reigning Clown Prince of Basketball, Big Easy Lofton; dribbling sensation Flight Time Lang; the gravity-defying Hi Rise Brown; ball handling extraordinaire Handles Franklin; fan favorite General Grant; and 7-foot-3 Skyscraper Alleyne, the second-tallest Globetrotter in history and the second-tallest professional basketball player currently playing in the U.S. $16 and up. 7Phone: 336-725-5635.

Junior League - Kids in the Kitchen featuring Guest Chef George Stella
Gateway YWCA, 1300 South Main Street, WS
Sunday, March 22, 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Event is for 1st through 5th graders. Join us for free food, fun games, and a special guest. Event Sponsors: KidSmart – A Program of the Forsyth Medical Center Sara Lee Center for Women’s Health; YWCA; Time Warner Cable.

Cultures Up Close – Music of the Buk Drum
Sunday, March 22 from 2:30-4 p.m
Museum of Anthropology, Wake Forest University,
1834 Wake Forest Road, W-S.
This program is part of an ongoing series designed for elementary school-aged children and an accompanying adult. Participants will learn about traditional Korean music and make a simple Buk drum to take home. Reservations and advance payment is required. $7; adults free. Phone: 336-758-5282.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Smarty Community Sponsor : High Point Museum

By Rachel H

We are happy to introduce the High Point Museum to you as a TriadSmartyPants Community Sponsor. The High Point Museum is the only place to learn, play and explore the real history of High Point, North Carolina. The museum features exciting exhibits, hands-on programs and tours, and special members-only events. The museum gives you a peek into what life was like in High Point from its early days as a backcountry community to its present days as the International Home Furnishings Capital of the World. If your family has not yet had a chance to visit, you’ll soon find out that one of the best parts is that admission is free!

One of our Smarty Moms, Kari Allison, mentioned this fun and educational museum in her profile. She enjoys taking her children there now and has many memories of visiting the museum when she was younger.

The museum has permanent exhibits that you can always enjoy when you visit. These exhibits offer insight into High Point’s past. The Museum divides the story of High Point into several chapters: High Point's history, the Hall of Commerce, and a special collection of Jamestown rifles.

The High Point Museum will also open an interactive exhibition on the history of furniture making in North Carolina to coincide with High Point’s 150th anniversary this year. The exhibition will focus attention on the furniture industry as a key element of the city’s growth. This exhibit is funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Adjacent to the museum is the Historical Park that is also open for visitation. Here, you will see the Haley House and Blacksmith Shop, as well as the Hoggatt House and herb garden. In addition to the Historical Park properties, the museum maintains three off-site buildings including the Little Red Schoolhouse, the Mendenhall Meeting House, and Mendenhall Store.

Kids can also enjoy many weekend events which range from blacksmith demonstrations to bracelet weaving. In April, the museum will be dying eggs in dye made from plant material, onionskins, and blueberries!

The High Point Museum is located at 1859 East Lexington Avenue in High Point, NC. It is still a quick trip for all you Smarty Moms in Winston and Greensboro. Their hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-4:30pm and Sundays from 1pm-4:30pm. Visit the website at or call 336-885-1859 for more information.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Day Trip Series: Smarty Guide to Ikea

By CharlotteSmartyPants Guest Blogger Meredith B

If you've read the paper or watched the news anytime recently, you've probably heard all of the hype about the new Ikea that opened in the University Area of Charlotte. Personally, I'd never been to an Ikea, and I was dying to see what it was all about. So the other morning, I dropped my son off at preschool and my daughter and I headed on up there. And now, I'm a convert. That place is amazing. It is basically a one-stop shop for your home, from large furniture down to picture hangers and everything in between. The prices are unbeatable, and the designs are super cute. If you're planning a trip there (and I highly recommend you do), here are a few things to know:

1. Ikea is located at Exit 43 (City Blvd) off of I-85 in Charlotte. You can't miss it - you can see it from the Interstate. Hours are 10 - 9 Monday through Saturday and 10 - 7 on Sundays. I expected a madhouse, but it was very easy to get in and out. They had a huge team of parking lot attendants (like you would find at a sporting event), but I'm guessing that is just for the opening week crowds. There is a designated parking lot close to the front door for families (more on the family friendliness later).

2. The store is huge, but it is very easy to navigate. When you walk in the front door, pick up a map and a pencil. As you walk through the store, just follow the path and you will see everything. There are posters throughout the store with "You are here" signs, but I never felt lost or overwhelmed. Items fall into two categories: (1) those that you can take with you and (2) those that you pick up in the Self Serve area. If you are interested in a larger item, such as a piece of furniture, write down the Self Serve location that appears at the bottom of the tag. On the first floor, go to the Self Serve area, grab a flatbed cart and find your item. Ikea workers can help you with heavy items, and they'll help you load your car after you pay (there are parking spaces for loading right by the front door). Home delivery service is also available for a fee.

3. Ikea is very kid-friendly. First, they have childcare! They call it Smaland, and it's free. If you have children between 37 and 54 inches tall, you can leave them with staff in Smaland, where they have a ball pit, movie area, coloring area and a rock hill. Children must be potty-trained, and you can leave them for an hour. You're given a pager so Smaland can contact you and let you know when your time is up. If you don't want to leave them in Smaland, or can't (my 2 year old is not tall enough), there are play stations throughout the store to keep your kids entertained while you shop. Even the restrooms have child-size sinks and free diaper dispensers.

4. If you're hungry, there are two places to eat: a cafeteria-style restaurant and a bistro. The prices are, of course, very reasonable. A kids meal is $2.49, including drink, and they have cute kid-sized tables and movies for the kids to watch while they eat. There is even a bottle-warming station with bibs and kid silverware. For grown-ups, they have entrees such as Swedish meatballs, sandwiches and a salad bar.

5. The furniture and decor is adorable. In fact, it was frustrating because it made me wish we had this store years ago when I was decorating my house - especially my kids' rooms. Everything from cribs and changing tables to playmats and kid-size table and chairs. I got a wooden easel for my daughter's birthday with a chalkboard on one side and dry-erase board on the other for $24.99.

6. Be prepared to do some assembly. Ikea saves money by selling everything in flat boxes. That means that you may have a lot or a little bit of assembly to do when you get home. A shoe rack I bought for my closet was a cinch - no tools required. But a toy storage unit I bought took well over an hour to assemble. For $79, I didn't mind.

I'm really excited that Charlotte is now home to the only Ikea between DC and Atlanta! In these troubling times, a practical, budget-friendly store is just what we need.

Have you been to Ikea yet? If so, share your experiences!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Michelle B! Congratulations to this lucky newsletter subscriber who won our latest Smarty Give-Away: a FREE Big Bang Boom concert at the event of her choice! We are all so very jealous of you, Michelle, and are all anxiously awaiting our invitations for this event (ha, ha!).

Michelle learned about TriadSmartyPants from a friend of hers (we love word-of-mouth marketing!) and has been a loyal reader since. Thanks for being Smarty, Michelle, and enjoy your BBB event!

And for all you other loyal readers, stay tuned! TriadSmartyPants is gearing up for another fabulous give-away! Details to be announced soon!


Smarty Alert: Bargains at Babies R Us

By Courtenay W, VP of Mommyhood and Events Guru, CharlotteSmartyPants

This is an alert sent to us by Smarty reader, Sam P. Thanks Sam.

BABIES R US - Sale (ends 3/26/09)

Save $75 on your nursery furniture purchase of $500 to $799 with coupon code 926899.

Save $150 on your nursery furniture purchase of $800-$1,199 with coupon code 926900.

Save $250 on your nursery furniture purchase of $1,200 or more with coupon code 926901.

Save 25% on flip open sofas and select upholstered chairs with coupon code 926898.

Save 15% on ALL crib bedding sets for your nursery with coupon code 926896.

Save 10% on breast pumps with coupon code 926888.

Save $20 on jogging strollers and three wheeled strollers with coupon code 926875.

Save 10% on ALL car seats with coupon code 926878.

Save 15% on all Fisher Price monitors with coupon code 926890.

Save $20 on all travel systems with coupon code 926877.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Smarty Mom: Melissa Maltzahn

By Rachel H

I am happy to introduce Melissa Maltzahn as this Saturday’s Smarty Mom. I met Melissa when a mutual friend gave me her name as someone who does embroidery. She was extremely down-to-earth and friendly from the moment I met her. About five bibs, three headbands, two towels, two purses, and a burp cloth later … I got to know Melissa much better and discovered she really is a very Smarty Mom!

Melissa and her husband Robert have lived in the Triad about 14 years. They have three beautiful children. Lauren is 11, McKenna is 8, and Ellie is 6. Melissa works part-time as an RN at Hawthorne OB/Gyn Associates. Three years ago she started her home business of monogramming and sewing. Her work is incredible! She now embroiders for three local boutiques, as well as customers of her own.

Let’s get Smarty with Melissa!

How did you go about starting your own business and getting your name out to customers? Do you have any advice for other moms wanting to do the same?
I started sewing purses that I thought were cute and decided to sell some at work, then at Note Worthy. Things have just slowly grown from there. My own customers have mostly grown by word of mouth. I really don't have a mind for business- I just love to sew :) I guess my best advice would be do something you love.

How do you balance your work and home life?
I am so lucky to have a job that is only two days a week! It is actually my "break" because the work I do at home is much more challenging!

What Smarty tips do you have for other moms in your position?
Being a mom is definitely one of those situations that you have to experience to truly know! No matter how much your friends and family tell you! I remember how anxious I was with my first daughter- wanting to do everything "right." The best thing that has changed for me being a mom of three now is not taking myself too seriously. That is saying a lot for a type A like myself! When it comes to messy rooms, crumbs on the floor, sleepovers that I know will cause crankiness the next day but she really wants to do it - I try to ask myself does this really matter? For me, being more "go with the flow" and not too uptight (even when that is what I am really feeling!) makes me a better mom! That's all I can ask for.

Favorite place to get a good deal on kids clothes?
Gap Kids- sale rack, Children's Place, ETC consignment.

What is your favorite family activity?
Playing games and going to the movies.

Favorite "mommy-time" activity?
Women's Wednesday morning Bible study, dinner out with friends and facials at Utopia (very luxurious- I have only done this twice- but it was wonderful).

Best place to eat lunch with the kids?

Favorite place to eat dinner out with the kids?
Jason's Deli- they have some healthy options for kids and free ice cream cones!

Funniest thing your kid(s) has ever said?
Of course, it’s hard to pick just one thing, but when my middle daughter was about six she told me very seriously that she was going to give up turtlenecks for Lent.

Favorite park in the Triad?
Not a park but our neighborhood pool is our favorite place to go almost every day during the summer!

Mini-van or SUV?
Mini van

Favorite book you have recently read?
I love reading!! My all time favorite book is Red Tent by Anita Diamante. I am in a book club that is presently reading the Twilight series. I have been SO surprised that I like it! That is the great thing about book club - reading books you would never read on your own.

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
Location and small town feel with big town options.

Best kept secret in the Triad?
St. John's Lutheran School. It is a great small school! It starts at three years with a preschool program (either half or whole day) thru 8th grade. There is only one class of each grade so all the kids stay together. It feels like family! All the parents also know each other- some of the teachers have or have had their own kids there - they truly love the kids. They have great academics, sports, drama- all the kids participate in programs which gives a taste of public speaking. Above all it is all centered around the Lord and His love for us all! I really can't say enough about how wonderful and positive the environment is. Another plus is for a private school it is not super expensive.

Best birthday party you have attended?
For my middle daughter’s last party we had a daytime slumber party. All the kids wore PJs - we decorated pillow cases, made ice cream sundaes, played games and watched a movie - then everyone went home!

I could not live without my...
Lord, family, friends and chocolate!

I wish someone had told me sooner about...

Thanks, Melissa for all your Smarty answers!

We are always on the hunt for Smarty Moms. And while we've been featuring some moms who have done AMAZING things such as going above-and-beyond the call of duty for others, doing incredible work for her family, friends, or community, or has accomplished tremendous feats - we are also looking to feature moms in the Triad who just simply live the daily grit of motherhood! Please send us your "mominations" and feel free to nominate yourself (especially if you are a mompreneur with a great service or product to promote)! We look forward to hearing from you. Email us here with your “Smarty Momination”!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Fix the Fighting … or at Least Keep it Fair

By By Guest Blogger Kelly G

I am the mom of two boys, ages 4 and almost 2, and the godmother of two more brothers who are 13 and 9. I face the same issue that all parents face— how to keep two young children from scrapping all the time. Here are a few ideas for keeping the gloves on and managing arguing in your house.

First, check on needs. Kids often fight when one or both are hungry,
tired, bored, or ill. Address those issues first. Offer snacks and
drinks, sit them down to rest with a quiet activity, put them down
for a nap, check temperatures, look for incoming teeth or any other
sources of irritation, or offer some snuggle time or a change of

Sometimes, familiarity breeds contempt. If your kids can't seem to
stand the sight of each other, it may be time to pack one of them up
for an afternoon play date or a grandparent visit to give them a
break from each other. Similarly, lack of time alone with you is
often a source of fighting, because the kids are competing for
attention. When you find yourself alone with one of your children,
designate that few minutes as special "mommy-time" and make the most
of it. You can play, read, do a chore together, or even just snuggle,
but your child will benefit from even just a little undivided
attention from you, Dad or another adult.

When the fighting isn't happening, help build a rapport between
siblings by establishing some routines that help them get along. One
of my toddler's favorite things to do is wake up his brother in the
morning by crawling in bed with him. I let my sons get each other's
bowls for snacks, encourage them to sit on the steps together to put
on their shoes, and let my older son stop at the door to get his
younger brother when I pick them up at preschool. Even if they are
grouchy with each other, these little rituals help reestablish their
bond and help them remember that they really do like each other.

Fights often break out because a younger child wants to run with the
big kids, so find ways for them to play together despite their
different developmental levels. Your two-year-old may not be able to
stack big block towers, but he can learn to hand his big sister the
blocks, and then he can learn to knock down every other tower when
she says, "On your mark, get set, go!" Your six-year-old may not be
able to win a game of "Pig" on the basketball court with her older
brother, so suggest that he use the word "pig" and she use the word
"horse" instead, to make the game more fair by giving the little one
more chances. If you keep at it, both of them will eventually learn
the rules and be able to follow them without you.

If you are a parent of two siblings with similar interests, purchase
in pairs when it's reasonable. Taking turns is something kids have to
do all day long at preschool and elementary school, so if you can
purchase two red balls for your house, or two Big Wheels, or two
identical Barbies, do so. Having identical toys ensures that factors
like color don't become sources of conflict ("But Mom, I want the
PINK balloon!"), plus it encourages them to play together because
they "both have one."

Learning to work out differences with others is an important life
skill that starts at home, so when you hear the bickering start, wait
a few minutes before you intervene. Obviously, this isn't a good
strategy if the situation is rapidly escalating or if there is
physical fighting involved, but before you go charging into a room,
listen to see if the kids are capable of resolving the argument
themselves. More than once I have been at the doorway getting ready
to defend my toddler or soothe his frustrated older brother, only to
hear the little one say he's sorry, or the older one working out a
way to play with his brother by giving him a different train or a
role in the game.

Even when you expect them to work it out on their own, don't forget
that children need to be taught this skill. After a fight has broken
out and everyone has calmed down, offer options to use next time.
Suggest to a younger child that she ask to borrow a toy instead of
grabbing it. Give your older child a list of things he can say to
make his sibling understand he doesn't like something she is doing.
If you tell your kids what to say and do in certain situations, you
might be surprised by how quickly they take your advice. And when
they do, make sure you catch them being good and praise them for it.

If a fight does break out, try to avoid a discussion about who
started it if you can. Pointing fingers teaches kids to tattle on
each other and to learn the art of blaming. It's a better tactic to
get kids to own up to their own actions, rather than have them report
their siblings'. Don't worry about each child telling the truth—
siblings are sure to set each other straight if there is a
discrepancy in the stories. After you step in, you can also choose to
let children continue the argument but insist that they make fighting
funny. Make children stand back to back or dance as they argue, or
make them sing their argument to each other. Or, if you have children
who insist on dragging you through a he-said/she-did episode, tell
them they can only tattle on each other if they make rhymes as they
tell you. Having kids concentrate on something silly helps diffuse
the situation.

I admit that am not above raising my voice—who is?! But, I know that
if I yell at the kids all of the time, I will either make them fear
me or they will become desensitized to the yelling and ignore it, and
they will have no incentive to stop yelling at each other. What I am
finding is that if I save the volume for times when they really need
a good talking to, often, it works. Kids need to know when their
behavior is unacceptable, and mine are always watching for signs to
see how far they can push. I try to make sure that I set clear limits
(no hitting, no hurting each other, no throwing toys or food, etc.)
and that I enforce them by letting them know when they have crossed
the line, but without being cruel, blaming, or sarcastic.

Finally, remember that because of different ages and developmental
levels, there are some times when your kids will click, and other
times when they will loathe each other. When they click, congratulate
them on getting along and reward the behavior by letting them do some
special things together. When they loathe each other, call on
playdates, grandparents, and multitasking to keep them apart until
they (and you) can stand being together again.

What kind of Smarty advice can you share?


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events

By Katie M

Get your shopping on, Smarties, because there are lots of sales this weekend! TriadSmartyPants aims to be your resource for all things consignment, so if we left any sales off worth mentioning, please add to the comments below.

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, so start pulling the green out of the closet and searching for those four-leaf clovers. As luck would have it, we will give you any scoop we can find on St. Patrick's Day parades around the Triad - so stay tuned.

Also, before and after the weekend, there are a few events to note. Everything is below. Read on and don't forget to log on Sunday to see which Smarty reader won that fabulous Big Bang Boom give-away! Enjoy your week!

Catch the Fun Run/5k Fever!!!
The 14th Annual St. Leo 5K Road Race & Fun Run (scheduled for Saturday, March 21) is currently taking runner applications. With two races -- the one mile Fun Run and the 5K -- the whole family can join in the excitement!! Great food, fun & door prizes available for all. Pre-Registration is encouraged, and registration and event information is available at The website the method for online registration. On-site registration is available from 6 - 8pm on March 20th at Pre-Registration/Packet Pick-Up Night in the St. Leo's Gym (Springdale Ave, WS) or on race day starting at 6:30am.

The Sixth Annual Lilly And Smocked Clothing Exchange is currently collecting clothes on Tuesday, March 17 11:00am - 1:00pm, and on Wednesday, March 18 1:00pm-3:00 pm. Email or for location information. All clothes MUST be dropped off by Friday, March 20 at 12:00 Noon!!! All clothes must be on hangers.If you are pricing yourself you may pick up tags during designated hours. All items sold will be a 50/50% split. The sale starts on Tuesday, March 24 6:30-8:30 pm. Consignors get a sneak peak from 6:30-7:30pm, and then it's open to all from 7:30-8:30pm, and again on Wednesday, March 25 from 9:30am-12:00pm.

Mark your calendar for Monday, March 16. Ardmore United Methodist Church on Hawthorne Rd in WS starts its consignment sale March 16 through March 20.

Covenant's Kids Consignment Sale
Thursday, March 12 from 5-9 pm, March 13 from 10 am to 7 pm,
and March 14 from 8 am to Noon
Covenant Church United Methodist, 1526 Skeet Club Road, High Point
This sale even has a FaceBook page - just search Covenant Kids Consignment. Plus, limited FREE childcare is available Friday morning.

Guilford College United Methodist Church Consignment Sale
Friday, March 13-14
1205 Fleming Road, GSO
Call 292-5833 for more information.

Children's Consignment Sale
Friday, March 13 from 9 am - 7 pm, and Saturday, March 14
from 9 am to Noon
New Philadelphia Moravian Preschool,4440 Country Club, WS
Friday, March 13th and Saturday, March 14th (USE PIC – CLOTHING SALE)
Clothing, toys, books & more

Wee Runs Consignment
Friday, March 13 from 5:30 pm - 9 pm, Saturday, March 14
from 9 am to 5 pm, and Sunday, March 15 from 1 pm to 5 pm
Old Town Shopping Center, 3800 Reynolda Road, WS
March 15 is Discount Day; most items will be half-price.

Pleasant Union UMC Children's Consignment Sale
Friday, March 13 from 8 am to 8 pm, and Saturday, March 14
from 8 am to 2 pm.
Pleasant Union United Methodist Church, 5929 Coble Church Road , Liberty
Huge Children's consignment Sale for the community. Come shop for great bargains on slightly used toys, books, DVDs, clothing items (Age 0- 16) Great way to save money and find name brand children’s clothes at a discount! Phone: 336-685-4013.

Nature Crafts for Children
Friday, March 13 from 6 to 7:30 pm
Frank Sharpe Jr. Wildlife Education Center, Bur-Mil Park, 5834 Bur-Mil Club Road, GSO
Discover fun and easy ways to bring the natural world into your home with useful and beautiful crafts. These nature crafts are easy enough and appropriate for all ages, so bring the whole family out and show us your creative side! $5. Phone: 336-373-3802

High Point Museum
Blacksmithing Demonstration in the Historical Park
Saturday, March 14 from 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday, March 15
from 1 pm to 4 pm
Come watch our costumed blacksmith in action as he crafts various iron pieces. All ages welcome. FREE. Drop-in!
Lucet Weaving Bracelets
Saturday, March 14, from 10 am to 4pm, and Sunday, March 15
from 1 pm to 4 pm
Early settlers to the High Point area used lucets to weave simple cords for apron strings, garters, and more. Learn this unique craft and make a simple bracelet to take home. Drop-in. $1 per bracelet.

St. Patty's Scavenger Saturday
Saturday, March 14 from 3 to 6 pm.
Klaussnerhome Furnishings, Wendover Village, 4217 W. Wendover Ave., GSO.
Enjoy yummy St. Patty's inspired drinks and fun, as you set off on a fun-filled course to find gifts and savings. Those rascally leprechauns have hidden lots and lots of free gifts (think $25 and $50 Gift Certificates) and tons of store coupons and specials throughout. Phone: 336-685-3157.

Winston-Salem Children's Chorus On Tour #1
Sunday, March 15 at 4 pm
First United Methodist Church, 217 S. Church St., Salisbury
Join the Winston-Salem Children's Chorus in Salisbury, NC, for their first "on tour" performance of the season. Free. Phone: 336.703.0001. Email: