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Thursday, April 30, 2009

May Smarty Giveaway: $1250 of Mom's Favorite Things

By Rachel H

Let the Smarty Swag Fest in the Triad begin! In honor of our favorite holiday - Mothers’ Day - we’ve joined in with our Charlotte Smarty Pants friends to create what we are all calling the Mother of All Mothers' Day Giveaways. Initially our goal was to create a Mothers' Day package worth $1,000 for one lucky mom. Well, Smarties, you’re in for more luck. Our package is now worth $1,250 – chock full of gift certificates to 11 of our favorite businesses around the Triad – everything from designer clothes to spa treatments to jewelry to fine foods, and more! And yes, ONE very lucky Triad Smarty Pants newsletter subscriber will win this package. Oh, don’t you just love Mothers' Day?

PLEASE NOTE: If you are a newsletter subscriber, that does not mean you are automatically registered for our giveaways. You must register for each individual giveaway. So first, make sure you are a newsletter subscriber, and secondly, register for this particular giveaway by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

Let’s take a look at the wonderful assortment of gift certificates all waiting for one lucky mom who could be you!

So what do moms love?

No cooking!
Dream Dinners of Clemmons has graciously donated $100 worth of meals to our winner. If you have not yet tried this place, you are missing out! I met a group of women there one night and we socialized while we prepared 36 servings of meals for our families! Everything was pre-cut, and all the spices and fixings we needed were right there. We chose the recipes that we liked best and simply followed the instructions at each station. In less than two hours, we were packing up our dinners and heading out the door. It was so nice to have all these meals prepared in my freezer. All I had to do was thaw and cook. Nice! One more thing that makes the deal even sweeter, if you book your order, and don't have time to come in and assemble the meals yourself, Dream Dinners will assemble your complete order for just $10 and you can then stop by and pick them up!

Date Nights!
Emerywood Fine Foods of High Point is the perfect place for you and your special someone to enjoy an evening out. The atmosphere inside this restaurant is so relaxing. The entrees are delicious! I must recommend the crab cakes! I also had lunch here with my kids and we sat outside on the garden patio, which is surrounded by all types of flowers, and is just gorgeous. The waitress could not have been better trying to accommodate my picky eater. I must have spent ten minutes trying to decide which of the wraps I wanted that day. They all sounded delicious. Emerywood also offers on and off-site catering. Take a look at their menu and I am sure you’ll be headed there soon! Our lucky winner will receive a $100 gift card to use as they wish!

GoosiePie Monograms was started by Candler Cox, a Winston-Salem native. She is now living in Raleigh, and after six years as a stay-at-home mom, she began embellishing clothes and making items for her three daughters. She quickly realized this was a passion of hers, which gave her the idea for her new business. GoosiePie Monograms is your source for personalized gifts! They specialize in unique, high-quality gifts for any one on your list! I have easily been able to find wonderful gifts for baby showers, birthdays and graduations. They always have the perfect gift for you to give. When you see these adorable gifts on the website, you will be even more excited to see that personalization is always included in the price! One lucky mom will receive $100 to use as she likes!

Jewelry & Accessories!
Simply Sterling & Company is more than just your favorite jewelry store; it is a twelve year shopping tradition for Winston-Salem and surrounding communities. Lea Church Brendle; founder, owner, mother of five and designer takes great pride in creating a wonderful shopping environment chock full of sterling silver jewelry lines such as Chamilia, Waxing Poetic and Island Cowgirl; specialty clothing lines from Three Sisters, Ivy Jane and Virginia Taylor along with an incredible shoe line called Alegria that she just won an award from for being the top specialty store in North America! And that’s not all…they also carry the sought after Hobo, Tusk and JPK Paris 75 Handbags. At Simply Sterling & Company you are always in for a pleasant shopping experience and are sure to have no problem spending your $100. Easily found in Thruway Center behind Bonefish Grill. 336-896-0077

Portraits of your loved ones!
Uppercase Photography is run by Julie Wagoner, who specializes in maternity, newborn, children, teens, and families. She serves the Triad area from her studio and on location. Julie draws on her experiences as a mother of three small children and a former teacher, as she strives to truly connect with each child during a session. The results are beautiful portraits of your children with a wide range of natural expressions. After the session, Julie presents you with a gorgeous set of specially prepared images in both print and an online gallery--the best of both worlds! She will then help you turn your portraits into stunning art for your home with prints, canvases, and specialty items. As a mother, Julie knows that each moment of childhood is fleeting, from the curl of your newborn's toes, the scrunchy nose of your toddler, the missing teeth of your big kid to the budding freedom of your teenager ready to take on the world. The gift certificate included in this giveaway includes a session with Uppercase Photography, a $100 print credit, and an 11x14 mounted image of her choice, all valued at $250.

Fabulous Fashions!
Nitsa’s Apparel was started in 1964 by Nitsa Bambalis over Recreation Billiards in downtown Winston-Salem with a focus on custom-made clothing and professional alterations (they still do alterations today). Today, Nitsa’s is known for its casual sportswear, cute dresses and great eveningwear. They also happen to be one of the top bridal salons in the country featuring Monique Lhuillier and Vera Wang to name just a couple. Yes, their formal attire is impressive but, they have a great selection of fashions to wear around town or out for the night. And if you’re looking for something more contemporary, checkout some of the fresh, fun looks in Fashionista, Nitsa’s contemporary “shop-in-shop.” Oh yea, did I mention, the prices in Fashionista are pretty friendly as well. Together, the two stores take up more than 10,000 square feet of space, which means you’ll have to go there to take it all in. Our lucky winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to use as they please.

Unique Gifts!
Kim Taylor & Co. is one of my favorite places to shop for gifts! I have a few friends on my birthday list who are the "women who have everything" and Kim Taylor & Co is the perfect place for me to find a unique gift. This shop carries Crane stationary, Vietri china, Toss Luggage, Lolita gifts, and Main St. & Co personalized gifts, just to name a few of my favorites. I bought the best candle ever here, too! Red Currant by Votivo - it is awesome! I have also been able to find adorable baby gifts here. Mud Pie Babies and Taggies are their two best-selling brands. Kim Taylor is also an interior designer, and you will be able to see her beautiful sense of style when you enter the shop. Our lucky giveaway winner will have no idea where to spend her $100, because everything in here is just what a mom wants! Stop by 153 S Stratford Rd, Winston Salem, NC 27104, or call 722-8503.

Fun Ideas for the Children!
Young Chefs Academy … Young Chefs® Academy is a cooking School for Kids Ages 3-17. They are the only cooking school in the Triad specializing in teaching children how to cook!! What a wonderful opportunity to introduce your children to cooking and teach them a life skill they will use for the rest of their lives! They offer many options, including Spring, Summer & Holiday Mini Camps, School Field Trips, Girl and Boy Scout Field Trips, Homeschool Classes, MasterChefs℠ Program, Preschooler Cooking Classes, and of course Birthday Parties! Another plus is that they offer weekly cooking classes in the afternoons, which is a perfect activity after a tough day at school for our kiddos! Our winner will receive a $100 gift card to use toward any of the above at the Winston-Salem location. Call 336-774-9905 or email for more info.

Fashion and Accessories for the Children!
Emma Jane's Baby & Kids Specialty Shoppe is a family owned business located in South Side Square in Kernersville, so it is an easy drive from most anywhere in the Triad. This is the cutest children’s boutique that has everything you need for your little ones! They have beautiful lines of children’s furniture, baby & children’s clothing, collectible Lee Middleton Dolls, toys, baby jewelry and more shoes than you can imagine! Some of my favorite brands of shoes they carry are Puddle Jumpers, Pedipeds, Pip Squeaks, Riley Roo, and of course, Robeez. Right now there is a great selection of swimwear as well. An extra perk is that there is a train table, huge stuffed animals, and a foam hop scotch set to keep the kids entertained while you shop. If you sign their address book, they will send you a $10 off coupon on your child’s birthday, too. Our winner will enjoy a $100 shopping spree at Emma Jane’s!

Luxurious Spa Treatments!
Balance Day Spa has been serving the Triad since 1996 and has three convenient locations in Greensboro (574.2556), Kernersville (993.0303), and Burlington (482.3200). They are the largest true day spa in the area and are open 7 days a week. They have a board certified, professional & knowledgeable staff, and a clean, relaxing environment. Just walking in the door makes my heart rate slow down because it is so calming! Their traditional services include natural nail care, massage therapy, skin care, and waxing services. I have had three different massage therapists when I have visited the spa, and would recommend every one of them! I would also highly recommend the pre-natal massage. So nice! Balance Day Spa also offers laser hair removal and spider vein treatment, teeth whitening, light therapy and reflexology. This is a perfect treat for any mom, and our lucky winner will get to choose $100 worth of services. We are sooo jealous!

Dinner out with the family!
The Carriage House Restaurant has donated a $100 gift certificate to our lucky mom and her family. The Carriage House is a restaurant that really takes pride in its customers. One of their signature items that has been around since the day it originally opened in 1969, is the famous relish try that is found on each table during the dinner hours. My favorites are their burgers and homemade chicken pie. We have taken the kids for lunch and the kids menu is great – fettuccini, hamburgers, chopped steak, beef tips, spaghetti, pork chops, chicken fingers, and grilled cheese! And the restaurant has two things that all moms love – crackers already on the table, and a menu with coloring and activities!

To register to win ALL of this, please click here to complete a short survey (this giveaway has now ended) and you’ll be registered. Also, as a favor to some of these gracious businesses – plus other businesses around the Triad who are interested in promoting their goods and services to you – we added a few extra questions to our survey in order to get to know you (and your shopping habits) a little better. There is no obligation to answer these demographic questions (required questions are marked with an *); we just hope you’ll participate as a favor to us and our future business partners.

This promotion ends at 11 pm on Friday, May 8, 2009. The winner will be announced on Mother's Day. And if by chance you don’t win this particular give-away, we hope you’ll visit the shops, restaurants, and boutiques listed above and tell them Triad Smarty Pants sent you! Good luck, Smarties!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events

By Katie M

Hello Smarties, and Happy Wednesday!

I feel a little like the cat that swallowed the canary because while this weekend is looking good for events, TOMORROW is looking FABULOUS for all our Smarty newsletter subscribers! But I can't tell you why until you log on tomorrow. You won't BELIEVE what we have in store for you in terms of a Mother's Day Give-Away prize. All of us at Triad Smarty Pants have been working so hard to make this Give-Away extra special, and it makes me want to quit my day job and register! Of course we can't do that, but YOU all can - and you are OH SO LUCKY. So, check us out tomorrow and be sure to register (first for our newsletter so you'll be eligible, then register for our give-away)!!

In other news, we all love ice cream, right? Well Baskin Robbins is hosting a 31 Cent Scoop Night tonight its locations in honor of America's firefighters. Baskin Robbins is donating $100,000 to the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) National Junior Firefighter Program. Participating stores will reduce prices of small ice cream scoops to 31 cents. At some locations, you may also have an opportunity to make a donation to local fire charities. Scoops are available between 5 pm and 10 pm tonight. So go on and get you some scoops, Smarties!

As for the rest of the weekend, read on:

Fat Albert
Friday, May 1 at 7 pm
Multicultural Arts Center, 1700 Orchard St., GSO.
We Are One presents two episodes from Bill Cosby’s beloved television cartoon series. Bring the entire family and share memories with the next generation of Cosby Kids. ADults, $5; children, $1. Phone: 336-373-5881.

DADA First Friday Gallery Hop
Friday, May 1 from 7 to 10 pm
Sixth, Trade and Liberty streets, W-S
Downtown Winston-Salem's Art District's streets are closed to autos and filled with the downtown arts community, artist demonstrations, music, dance and more. Free. 7-10p.m. Phone: 336-734-1864.

Friday & Saturday, May 1st and 2nd
341 Witt Street Winston-Salem, Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County in the ReStore Warehouse
Celebrating the contributions of local artists and craftspeople who have donated time to the cause of affordable housing through Habitat Forsyth.
May 1st Buy n Fly from Noon - 7:00pm
View the beautiful silent auction items and check out the "buy now" prices.
May 2nd Buy n Fly from 9:00 am till 1:00 pm
View the beautiful silent auction items and check out the "buy now" prices.
May 2nd Party & "Feathers Flyn'" Auction from 6:00 - 11:00 pm
6:30 - Winston-Salem Children's Chorus Serenade

First Friday in Downtown Greensboro
Friday, May 1 from 6 - 9 pm
Elm Street area, Downtown GSO.
The community is invited to a self-guided tour of local art galleries and studios, museums, retail shops, restaurants and alternative arts venues.Many of the participating locations will host special events, promotions and demonstrations and some venues may offer extended hours and refreshments. Free.

Spring Folly
Friday, May 1; Friday, 6-10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday 1-6 p.m.
Mountain and Main Streets, Kernersville.
Come to downtown Kernersville for live music on two stages, carnival rides, games and acivities for kids, arts and crafts, great food and antique car show on Saturday. Free. Phone: 336-993-4521

Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?
Friday, May 1 at 6 pm
Allegacy Westbrook, Winston Salem
Work Family Resources presents: Are Your Smarter than a 5th Grader? Family night of fun with food and refreshments. Contest expects to have 150-200 participants. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids.

Artizzm, Unlocking Autism Through Art
Saturday, May 2 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m
Spine Gallery, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, W-S
Virginia Kassay, an award-winning artist and mother of an autistic daughter, will exhibit her paintings. Free.

All-a-Flutter Butterfly Farm Saturday Family Days
Saturday, May 2 at 10 am
All-a-Flutter Butterfly Farm, 7850 Clinard Farms Road, HP
Bring the whole family to view and feed monarch butterflies up close and personal. Picnic tables available around the flight house and a misting tent is available during the warm summer months to keep you cool. Adults, $6; children, $5. Phone: 336-454-5651.

Beach Bash 2009
Saturday, May 2 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m
Linbrook Hall Mansion, 5287 Snyder Country Road, Trinity
See one of the largest homes in the Southeast with 30,000 square feet at historic Linbrook Hall in Trinity, and enjoy a day of sun and fun, with all proceeds benefiting Ruff Love Dog Rescue, which finds homes for abandoned dogs and works to reduce pet overpopulation, abandonment and neglect. Visitors can enjoy a day of music with the Allison King Band, a silent auction, a raffle, a play featuring dogs as actors by Southern Tails Dog School and “best beach hat” and “best beach attire” contests (no swimsuits, please). $20 in advance/$25 at door. Phone: 336-880-5431

Book Signing with Michele Manderine
Saturday, May 2 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
339 Witt St., W-S.
Children's author Michele Manderine Crouch) reading her book, "Tristan, The Maine Coon Cat" and signing copies at Habitat For Humanity 14th Annual Birdfest. Free. Phone: 336-765-8854

Lollapalooza Musical Festival
Saturday, May 2 from Noon to 5:30 p.m.
Performance Center ~ Trindale Community Church, 5934 Surrett Drive, Trinity
This is a FREE community concert. It is provided Grassroots Grant from the NC Arts Council funded the Randolph Arts Guild and a matching grant from the City of Archdale.

Korean Family Day
Saturday, May 2 from 1-4 p.m.
Museum of Anthropology, Wake Forest University, 1834 Wake Forest Road, W-S.
This family-friendly event will feature a poongmul drum group, traditional dancing; Tae kwon do demonstrations, crafts such as kite making, paper folding, and calligraphy, traditional games, storytelling, and Korean snack foods. Free. Phone: 336-758-5282.

Parenting Children of Divorce
Saturday, May 2 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Dorothy Bardolph Building, 301 E. Washington St., GSO
Parenting Children of Divorce is a seminar for parents to help their children through the process of parental separation and/or divorce. This program is appropriate for parents, grandparents and stepparents concerned about a child whose parents are separated or divorced. $40. Phone: 336-333-6890, x 227

Third Annual Triadmommies Yard Sale
Saturday, May 2 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Jamestown Presbyterian Church, 1804 Guilford College Road, Jamestown.
Come join area moms for a multi-family yard sale and enjoy Papa John's personal pan pizzas from for just $4. 20% of the sales proceeds go to support TriadMommies Network. (pizza available 10 a.m.-1 p.m.). Contact

10th Annual Komen NC Triad Race for the Cure
Saturday, May 2 at 8 am
Salem Academy & College , Winston Salem
Join in the fight to end breast cancer forever by participating in the 10th Annual Komen NC Triad Race for the Cure. There will be a 5K walk/run and a 1 Mile.

Dolly and Me Mommy and Daughter Tea
Sunday, May 3 from 3 - 4:30 p.m.
My Party Palace Triad, 209-G Century Blvd., Kernersville
Moms and their little princesses will stuff and dress a doll to take home while enjoying the story about "Gigi, God's Little Princess." $30 per mom/daughter pair; $15 per extra child. Registration required. Phone: 336-992-0146.

Family First Workshop- Impressionism: Printmaking
Sunday, May 3 at 2 pm
Reynolda House Museum of American Art, 2250 Reynolda Road, W-S.
Two-hour workshop for elementary school-aged children accompanied by an adult. Children will use real flowers as their visual guide to draw hand-colored larger-than-life flowers. $7. Phone: 336-758-5599.

Parisian Promenade
Sunday, May 3 from 1 - 5 pm
Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden, 1105 Hobbs Road, GSO
This Parisian-theme event features sidewalk artists, live music, café, poodle parade and more. Free. Phone: 336-273-7448.

If we forgot something, please add in the comments below!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Smarty Day Trip Series: Dan Nicholas Park

By Katie M

For all you Smarties who have friends in Charlotte, Dan Nicholas Park is the perfect place to meet for a picnic and day-out with the kids. Located right off I85 in Salisbury, it's an easy drive from anywhere in the Triad (about 30 minutes from WS or HP, and about 50 minutes from GSO), and it's also a great pit stop on your way back home from the Queen City.

Now as I write this post, I have to be honest and say it's been a few years since I've been to DNP, but I do remember our experience as being great! I think my daughter was about 2 years old when we went. On the flip side, Rachel H admits it's been a while since she's been there too, but she doesn't remember it being such a great outting - she thinks her son may have been too young. Regardless, we both have heard GREAT comments about DNP as recently as yesterday - plus we learned it's changed quite a bit since we've been - so I thought I'd share as much information I can about this park.

In a nutshell, this park has just about everything a kid would go nuts for: enormous playgrounds, a mini zoo, a carousel, a petting barn, a nature center, a mini train station, a gem mine, mini golf, paddle boats - plus two new attractions I did not get to experience when I was there: a water park and an aquarium! I remember my daughter just loving the train ride, carousel and mini-zoo. And when we were done with those attractions, we spent hours playing at the playgrounds.

The park does not charge a fee to visit, and just about every attraction is either free or under $2, except the gem mine which has bucket prices that range from $7 - $42.

Dan Nicholas Park also has 17 covered shelters with picnic tables and grills. But according to its web site, there is a charge for shelter and picnic tables on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays. So if you do want to picnic with the kids, plan it during the week.

One thing I just recently learned is that the park has a huge lake and campground that surrounds the lake. There are six family cabins available to rent, along with 70camp sites you can reserve for tent camping. The lake offers fishing and duck feedings. You can get more details by calling its campground office at 704.216.7808.

Dan Nicholas Park is open from 8 am to 8 pm April - June, and from 8 am to 9 pm July - August.

Smarty mom friend, Barbie P, just emailed me about her experience at DNP the other weekend. Here's what she had to say:

"My play group thought it was great! We rode the carousel and the train. Everything was clean and the staff was very friendly and helpful. There are plenty of picnic areas and we even enjoyed the very small “zoo” they have on site. We were not too impressed with the “petting zoo” as there was nothing really for us to pet, but we still enjoyed seeing the barn animals. We did not play putt-putt since our kids are too young, but the play ground was fantastic! There’s something for all ages and our kids had a ball running from one piece of equipment to the next."

So, I highly encourage you check out this relatively unknown park that has so much to offer, and YOU decide if it's a great outting or not! I know that after writing this post, I'm ready to go back soon!

If you've been recently, please share any Smarty Tips, comments, or stories below!


Monday, April 27, 2009

Look for Us in Forsyth Family Magazine!

Wahoo! Forsyth Family Magazine is featuring Triad Smarty Pants in its May issue which is on stands now! You can find copies of this free and family-friendly magazine throughout Forsyth County at a ton of different locations . Be sure to find a location near you, and flip to page 31! Let us know what you think!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fun and Fabulous Shoes

By Guest Blogger Jen P, CSP

I have a confession to make. Shopping for children's shoes makes me really, really happy. I've had a thing for shoes my entire life and I have officially transferred that obsession to my children's shoes. So when Spring and Fall shoe shopping rolls around, I get an extra skip in my step! Last fall I discovered a new line of shoes in my world and have been hooked ever since. Check out I am particularly impressed with the numerous cool options in the boys shoes. Girls shoes are always cute, but boys shoes are tricky.

Vincent Shoes are fun, fashionable and functional kids shoes ranging in sizes from 6 months to 8 years. The Vincent brand offers a complete range of styles including pre-walker, indoor, outdoor, daily-wear, dress shoes and heavy-duty all weather and seasonal winter boots. I picked up my first pair of kick-booty Vincents in the fall and the boys are still wearing them every single day. The best part about Vincent shoes is that they are high quality, super cool styles and will last forever (think hand-me-downs, eBay and great consignment resale!). My twins' shoes look brand new and it's not from lack of use. So I checked out the new spring/summer line and picked out Oskar for the boys - LOVE the navy and brown flavors! I also could not resist the Hampus style for my six-year-old daughter - she thinks they are so groovy! Vincent shoes are less expensive than Stride Rite and they are not afraid to offer some serious deals to savvy shoppers.

Another fun and fabulous shoe line is Livie and Luca. A few summers ago, my boys wore the cutest little elephant shoes I have ever seen, or smelled! My super savvy sister, who is a true shoe diva, scoped these out at a fun Florida boutique. When they arrived in their precious polka dot bag, I could smell the fine leather before I opened the box. They were the softest and sweetest little boy shoes on the planet! Who said boys aren't fun to shop for? So Owen & Walker have donned their elephant shoes all summer and they ask for them by name.

Livie and Luca beautifully combines whimsical styles that kids will enjoy (and even ask for their elephant shoes by name) with affordable prices - $37.50 is not bad for a boutique line. Stride Rite is way more expensive than that. When you shop Livie and Luca, you'll find elephants, owls and even veggies. These are just too presh! Each shoe is crafted by hand and the artisans leave their mark under the straps - so each shoe is as unique as the child who wears them.

Here’s the final kicker, though. From what we can determine, there are no stores in the Triad that carry the Vincent Shoes line, and the closest store to carry Livie and Luca is Pout Couture in Cornelius, NC. So, as Smarty Moms maybe we can influence our favorite shoe stores in the Triad to pick up these super cute shoe lines. If you order online, be sure to mention Triad Smarty Pants in the comments section so they know where you came from. Every little bit helps us get our name our there, and maybe they’ll recognize the demand in the Triad!

If you’ve bought from these lines before, let us know what you think!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Smarty Mom: Wendy Piazza

By Rachel H

Our Smarty Mom this Saturday is Wendy Piazza. Wendy has lived in the Triad since she was five. I was lucky enough to become her friend when I joined the Christian Moms Group at our church. Wendy is always bright and bubbly even when toting around four kids! She has Rachel (7), Anthony (5), Zachary (3), and Gabriel (1). She is married to Michael Piazza, and they currently live in Clemmons. Wendy taught school for a number of years and then continued to tutor reading until she had her third child. Wendy now stays at home with her children and enjoys reading, baking, doing crafts, and writing letters (the old fashioned way). She has also just taken up sewing.

So, let’s chat with Wendy.

You have four children and four siblings. Share with us some of your favorite parts of having a large family.
I love all the personalities that come with a large family. Each one is so different and it is a blessing to see them unfold before my very eyes. Although it is challenging at times, and always relatively noisy, I enjoy seeing the kids interact with each other. We have more than enough players for any given game, and simple things like dancing with the kids can turn into the highlight of the week! If I don't have a free hand to help a little one, chances are that someone in the family does. We learn to help and take care of one another, not just to tolerate each other, but to really enjoy each other. We are a close family and I pray it always stays that way.

What Smarty Tips do you have for stay-at-home moms with four or more kids?
My number one tip is to learn patience and to embrace selflessness. This is something I work on daily – but it is so important. If you want to raise selfless, patient children than you must be better at it than them! The mood of the mom really sets the tone for the whole family. Even my husband finds extra patience when I keep my cool and stay calm no matter what the difficult situation. While we are guilty at times of blowing our tops, we have made it a point to discipline out of love and not anger.

My second tip would have to be SIMPLIFY. Life with a large family is inevitably, somewhat complicated. But I try to simplify as much as possible so that I truly can give as much time and attention to the children as I can, without just running in circles moving clutter from here to there all day. (Although some days are still that way.) I am trying to model this by not getting too attached to things. The more stuff my kids collect, the less they know what to do with it all. So when Christmas and birthdays roll around we go through the toys and give some away to make room for the new goodies. I seem to be a bit picky with what I buy the kids too – I am a lover of the classic toys that kids really use their imaginations with: blocks, balls, dress-up, etc. And when it comes time to clean at our house the toys are easily tossed into the closest bin, which makes clean-up manageable and something everyone can help out with, even my one-year-old.

Another tip that helps me to get through some days is remembering that I am a role model to many people, whether it is my son or daughter, my sisters, my friends, or even the lady and child I pass at the grocery store. I have many times passed a mother who is having a difficult time with a couple of kids and she might see me and my four and wonder what I do to keep them straight while out of the house. Well, I get them involved in the trip by letting them hold and mark a list, helping me find the items I need (like a scavenger hunt), and allowing them to earn a treat with good behavior. If they are good helpers at the store they can earn some crackers, or chocolate milk (instead of plain) with lunch that day. But I never give things that are expensive or expected, and furthermore I only tell them if they earned it after they are buckled in the car. This minimizes meltdowns while still shopping and keeps them in line until we are on our way. And even if they are on my last nerve, I try not to show it knowing that they and others are watching my reaction to bad behavior.

Since you were a reading tutor, share with us some of your best advice on how to help emerging readers improve their skills.
Start early. Begin reading to your child at very young age. Make reading a fun and cozy activity that they love to participate in. Encourage them to “read” books to their favorite dolls while they are playing. As they get older, teach them the upper and lower case letter names. Play games to make it fun like using giant ABC floor puzzles or making letters out of play dough – they will learn so fast! After they have mastered the names, start to teach the letter sounds. Get the older kids involved too; they love playing school and teaching the younger ones the letter names. I've also invested in many easy reader books and on occasion the kids love having their turn to read the night-night story to everyone else. Practice, practice, practice!

Your family has a beautiful tradition of creating Pysanky, which are Ukrainian Easter Eggs. Our Moms Group had a great time making these last year. Please share more with us about this tradition and what it means to you.
My mom has been teaching the art of painting Ukrainian Easter Eggs for over twenty years now. She was drawn to the technique as well as the symbolism. In a nutshell, the technique involves gradually dying a raw egg with vibrant colors. In each colored bath the egg receives, a tool called a kistka is used to carefully cover in wax the color which you want to seal on the egg permanently. This process is repeated many times until the egg is nearly covered in wax. Then the fun part… melting all the wax to discover the beauty which has been sealed and uncovering all the patterns and symbols. Pysanky is very relaxing and a perfect way to meditate and focus, especially during the season of Lent.

The most meaningful aspect of the eggs to me is the whole idea of passing down traditions within our family. These are sacred memories that we, as a family, have enjoyed together for many years. So when I think to myself that I'm just too tired to make “Saturday morning flapjacks,” I think back and remember even what those little traditions meant for me growing up. Then I end up making a double batch!

Favorite place to get a good deal on kids clothes?
Other than getting clothes at 50-75% off at the end of a season (for the next season), I would have to say I love going to all of the church spring and fall sales. My tip is to only go on the last day when items are marked down 50%. You'll never know what you missed the day before!

What is your favorite family activity?
We love to take the family to Old Salem. If it's a nice day out we will go and play in the park area and take a long walk. We have to stop at the bakery and share some bread and cookies… we even call this “lunch” every once in a while! The Children's Museum there (at Old Salem) is really fun too. It's a place where there's always something going on and the kids can appreciate a little history in the process.

Favorite book you have read?
This is not a fair question because I have too many. My favorite parent-related book is The Educated Child: A Parent's Guide from Preschool through Eighth Grade by William J. Bennett. My new favorite children's book is Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It's a great conversation starter too.

Best place to eat lunch with the kids?
I would have to say Jimmy John's! They all love it and if we split a sub into three there is not one wasted crumb.

Favorite place to eat dinner out with the kids?
We don't eat dinner out with the kids often, but my choice is Cracker Barrel. They love walking around the store first and then there are great tic-tac-toe games and such that occupy them. There is something for everyone on the menu!

Funniest thing your kid(s) has ever said?
We like to pass time on the way home from school by holding spelling bee competitions. My daughter was in kindergarten and my oldest son was just a year behind her. After calling out words for 15 minutes, I ran out of three letter words and decided to give my son a laughable one-letter word. I said, “Now this is a hard one Anthony... How do you spell the word “I”?” He replied without hesitating, “I....E-Y-E.....I” Being very competitive with her brother since birth, Rachel quickly replied, “That's not how you spell it in Kindergarten!” I left it at that...

Favorite park in the Triad?
Tanglewood is our absolute favorite park. There are many things to do and the parks themselves are clean and age appropriate.

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
It's just a gorgeous area! Both my husband and I were raised here, so what can beat both sides of the family being close? We love being sandwiched between the beach and the mountains. And the schools are amazing all the way through college.

Best kept secret in the Triad?
I have to name two. One is the Kaplan educational supply store. They distribute all over the country from right here in Lewisville. Although it is a teacher's store, it is also a great store for parents! They have games, art supplies, puppets, instruments, books, posters, and a huge discount area.

The other is the largest scrap-booking store in NC, again in Lewisville, called The Enchanted Cottage. They teach great classes on techniques and offer endless supplies for those who love crafts. The coffee house next door makes it a great and relaxing destination when you have some time.

Best birthday party you have attended?
A Polka Dot Party was my favorite. It was held at a neighborhood park with related games and activities. There were beach balls to play with and a hard pool filled with sand for the kids to dig in and find treasures. There was even a station where the kids could paint polka dots on a shirt – we are still wearing them! It was very laid back and fun.

I could not live without my...husband, my calendar, and paper plates.

I wish someone had told me sooner “less is more” at Christmas time. I went so overboard with gifts a couple years after Rachel was born and it made Christmas morning down right miserable. I heard someone tell me what they did and loved the idea. Now, there are just three gifts the children receive on Christmas morning: one from us, one from St. Nick, and then their stockings. A lot of thought goes into these gifts now and they end up being much better. Less time is used shopping, less money is forked out, and the hunt for gifts is no longer endless. In the process my kids are learning more about what Christmas really is all about. Every Christmas since has been picture perfect!

Thanks, Wendy 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, April 24, 2009

Birthday Party Idea: Painting Pottery

By Guest Blogger Jill S

As a certified cheapskate, every year I look for inexpensive yet fun ways to have birthday parties for my girls, Olivia (6) and Joyner (almost 4). Until Olivia turned 5, I was somehow able to pull off a party at home. This saves a bundle, but requires mass amounts of labor (not the least of which was cleaning the house before and after the party!). I realized this year, for birthday #6, I would not be able to duplicate past efforts, and I might have to go outside my budget comfort zone. Plus, her birthday is in March, which is quite a tricky month…it could be 60 and sunny, or it could snow (as it did on her actual birthday this year!). So I can’t plan on anything outdoors, and indoors can get crazy if you have a ton of kids.

While visiting family at Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law took us to a paint-on-pottery place. Now, her girls are teenagers, and I wasn’t sure how well it would go with kids as young as mine. Wouldn’t you know it was a BLAST! Olivia painted a “cookies for Santa” plate, and yes, it looks like a kid did it and that’s why I love it, and Joyner painted a bowl. They really enjoyed it, and were able to make something and be proud of it.

So I decided to look into that for Olivia’s 6th birthday party. While this party was more expensive than what I have done in the past, it wasn’t outrageous - and the kids get something nice to keep. At the place we selected, we chose to paint dessert plates, which were $9 each, plus $6 each for firing. Because of the higher per-child cost, we allowed Olivia to invite 5 girls, which made for a nice, intimate party. The tables were set up perfectly for 8 kids, and I think more would have been too crowded. It was also helpful that one of the moms stayed, because once the kids start asking for paint colors from the chart, it’s hard to keep up with them!

The girls enjoyed creating their plates; some painted a picture (think sun, clouds, people), some made various designs (heart, polka dots), and some just plastered multiple colors all over. But they were all thrilled with the process and even more so with the result.

You can choose any item to paint, but it helps to have everyone paint the same thing. The items are ready in a week, so the only inconvenience was having to pick up the finished products and deliver them to the guests. What was also nice was the plate was the “take-home”, albeit delayed, so no having to mess with a goody bag (which I’d like to ban, anyway!)

I would definitely recommend a paint-on-pottery place for your child’s next birthday party!

A few Triad locations are:
The Mad Platter – Greensboro
The Mad Platter – Burlington
Originals By You – Winston Salem
Abrakadoodle – can do a variety of art-related birthday parties and offers mobile parties in any location in Central NC. Contact Heather at (336) 270-6307 or through this web site.
Or if you are ready for a challenge, here is a How To of doing this same party in your own home.

What do you think of this idea? Have you been to a paint-your-own-pottery place before? If so, share some Smarty scoop!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Is It Just Me????

By Rachel H

Random ramblings, thoughts and concerns from an everyday mom. So today I am asking the question, “Is it just me?”

Is it just me who…

· Always gets mean looks from older ladies in the grocery store when I take my kids with me?
· Actually enjoys watching reruns of “Full House”?
· Is absolutely enamored by the muscles on the guy from the “Lazy Town” cartoon?
· Can drink two diet cokes and still fall right to sleep?
· Does not have my ears pierced?
· Is flattered when I get stares from construction workers in my mini-van?

· Misses the smell of a baby’s room?
· Consistently promises myself that tomorrow I will not just sit on the bench at the playground and will instead run around with my kids?
· Really wants to educate the country on the correct usage of “your” and “you’re”?
· Enjoyed wearing a bathing suit while I was pregnant because I was “large and in charge” and was not embarrassed about it?
· Now refers to people by their first, maiden and last name since that is how it is posted on Facebook?
· Literally hurts my kids when I hug them because they are so darn cute and I want to SQUEEZE them?
· Thinks Atari was better than Wii?
· Can watch the Evolution of Dance video a thousand times and still think it is funny every time?
· Enjoys embarrassing my kids?
· Kisses my kids literally 100 times a day or more?
· Would lie in bed pretending to be sound asleep when the kids would wake up in the middle of the night and hope my husband would get up to check on them?
· Absolutely cannot remember what it was like to have a flat stomach?
· Doesn’t really understand the purpose of a rice cake?
· Never ever thought I would actually pick someone else’s nose until I became a mom?
· Majorly stresses over whether or not to send the kids to school when you can’t decide if they are getting sick?
· Wishes the “Land of the Lost” with Chaka and Sleestack was still on TV so my children could love it as much as I did?
· Thinks Chutes and Ladders can be the longest game on the face of the earth?
· Wishes the over-sized Forenza sweater would come back in style?
· Has kids that each have the potential to turn into a complete spaz by 7pm?
· Has dreams about PF Chang’s?
· Has been reprimanded by a complete stranger for making my son “walk too fast” in Target?
· Still uses the word Dude entirely too much?
· Is always talking to myself? Even in public?
· Laughed instead of reprimanded my toddler when he said, “oh sh*t!”?
· Does not understand how we are all still catching colds when everything we use kills 99.9% of germs?
· Always hopes my kids won’t finish their dessert so I can have it?
· Is scared to death of the teenage years?
· Thinks it is OK to eat most food that falls on the ground?
· Is still hoping to take piano lessons one day?
· Absolutely cannot stand the sound of someone’s teeth on a fork?
· Loves watching The Hills because it’s reality TV that is nothing like my reality?
· Loves the smell of rafts and inner tubes for the pool?
· Gets so excited when a Michael McDonald song comes on the radio?
· Gets teary-eyed when I watch my kids playing together and actually getting along?
· Has kids who know every ice cream and bagel shop within a 10 mile radius of my house?
· Is very leery of people who whistle?
· Has absolutely no patience for waiting in line anymore?
· Had a Nana that always smelled like Sen-Sens and really misses that smell?
· Catches myself singing along to kids’ music even when there are no kids in the car?
· Will admit that I love to play Word Whomp?
· Never wants my kids to grow any older than they are at this very minute?
· Thinks nothing’s better than lying in the grass and looking up at the sky on an 80-degree day?
· Can’t stand when people talk to their children really loud on purpose so that people around will hear them and comment?
· Tells my kids they can’t have a quarter for the gumball machine but then turns around and gets an ice cream sundae for myself for $4.00?
· Thinks that Ruby on the “Max and Ruby” cartoon is really bossy?
· Is still pulling for Britney Spears?
· Really thinks we need a drive-thru post office?
· Thinks we have way too many options for schooling these days?
· Can’t stand when teenagers called me “ma’am”? Am I really that old?
· Still does not have DVR?
· Is still praying that they will find Kyle Fleishmann?
· Heard my daughter’s four-year-old friend ask, “Why is your mom so grouchy”?

Thanks for letting me ramble. I would like to know if it really is just me!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events

By Katie M

Hello Smarty friends and Happy Earth Day! There is no greater mother on earth than Mother Earth, so let's celebrate her this weekend! Whether you're a Green Mom or not - or are trying to be - there are lots of little things you can do that will go a long way. Be sure to read Rachel's post from yesterday to get some great Earth-friendly ideas!

As far as the rest of the week, don't forget the Creative Containers Warehouse Sale happening tomorrow. Then, there is a a bunch of fun family events to take you through the weekend. Many thanks to all you Smarty friends who keep sending us event info to post. Enjoy!!

Family Spring Fling at Mount Olive Elementary School
Friday, April 24 from 5-7 p.m.
Mount Olive Elementary School, 2145 Chestnut Grove Road, King
Hotdog supper, hayrides, dunking booth, inflatables, bingo, great prizes, live auction and much, much more. Tickets available in advance or at the door. Family of four in advance, $20, $25 at the door; at the door, adults, $5, children, $3. Phone: 336-983-4351.

Triad Idol 2009 First Round Audtions
Friday, April 24. GSO auditions: Friday 5-8 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m. W-S auditions: Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m.
Four Seasons Town Centre, 410 Four Seasons Town Centre GSO and Hanes Mall, 3320 Silas Creek Parkway, W-S.
The Community Theatre of Greensboro's annual fundraiser and talent-finder. Contest open to three age groups: ages 8-12, ages 13-18 and ages 19 and up. A $1,000 cash prize will be given in each of the three categories along with additional prizes for all finalists. Contestants should can print a registration form online and be prepared to sing one a capella song. $10 registration fee.

All-a-Flutter Butterfly Farm Saturday Family Days
Saturday, April 25 at 10 am.
All-a-Flutter Butterfly Farm, 7850 Clinard Farms Road, HP
Bring the whole family to view and feed monarch butterflies up close and personal. Picnic tables available around the flight house and a misting tent is available during the warm summer months to keep you cool. Adults, $6; children, $5.

Art Unleashed! Dog Walk and Festival
Saturday, April 25 at 10:30 am
Hanes Park, 1406 Northwest Blvd., W-S
Dog Walk and Festival with live music, art and food vendors, children's activities and more, sponsored by the Forsyth Humane Society. $5.

Herb Festival
Saturday, April 25 from 7 am to 2 pm
Greensboro Farmer's Market, corner of Lindsey Street and Yanceyville Road, GSO.
Vendors offer the healthiest herbs, herbal soaps and oils, garden art and much more. A fun-filled day with music, face painting, activities for children, cooking demonstrations, a raffle and time to ask an herbal grower. Presented by the Herbal Thyme Herb Guild. Free. Phone: 336-288-0916.
Second Annual Bengal Dash
Saturday, April 25
Greensboro Day School, 5401 Lawndale Drive, GSO
Greensboro Day School presents Bengal Dash, a 5K race/1K Fun Run for all ages and skill levels. All proceeds benefit financial aid funds at GDS. The race includes a 1K Fun Run for families and kids of all ages starting at 8:30 a.m. All 1K participants receive a medal. The 5K run begins at 9 a.m. There will be prizes for 5K winners and a children's activity area with games and refreshments. Race entry forms are available at $20 advance; $25 after April 15. Phone: 336-286-0547.

Yee Haw! River Paddle
Saturday, April 25th from 8:30am-6pm
Haw River Trail Paddle Accesses throughout Alamance County
The Haw River Trial Partnership presents the 2nd Annual Yee Haw! River Paddle. The Yee-Haw! River Paddle will bring together beginners and experienced paddlers alike to share the Haw River in a community atmosphere. Three events are planned to accommodate all skill levels: Beginner Paddle, Day Paddle, and Family Paddle. This event is sponsored by The Haw River Canoe & Kayak Company, Burlington/Alamance County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Burlington Recreation & Parks, Alamance County Recreation & Parks, and Graham Recreation & Parks. For details or to register, please visit the web link above. For general information, please call (336) 222-5030. All Ages.

Beds For Birds Workshop
Saturday, April 25th from 9am-11am
Lake Mackintosh
Burlington Recreation & Parks presents the Beds For Birds Workshop. Come out to build a bluebird house and a feeder to take home to celebrate Earth Day. Participants must pre-register by Wednesday, April 22nd. For more information or to register, please call 538-0896. Ages: 6 & Up. Cost: $10 per person.

“What’s After High School?” Expo 2009
Saturday, April 25th from 10am-1pm
Mayco Bigelow Community Center • 849 Sharpe Road, Burlington, NC 27217
Where are you going? How will you get there? Now is the time to start planning for the future. Do you want to go to college? Are you considering the military? Do you think community college might be the right choice for you? Explore your options at the second annual What’s After High School Expo. This event will offer career exploration activities and entertainment for all ABSS students and their families. We hope to motivate students to begin serious planning and preparation for life after high school before they reach the 12th grade. This is a collaborative effort between the Alamance-Burlington School System, the Alamance County Public Libraries, the Burlington Recreation and Parks Department, and Alamance Citizens for Education. For more information call the North Park Public Library at 226-7185. All Ages. Admission: Free.

USA Junior Olympic Skills Competition - Soccer
Saturday, April 25th at 2pm
Davidson Park
Burlington Recreation & Parks Department and the United States Olympics present the USA Junior Olympic Skills Competition. Boys and girls compete in a multi-sport skills competition against players in their age group (8-9, 10-11, 12-13). Winners of each age group in boys and girls will advance. Kids have the chance to advance through three levels of competition including the National Finals at the United States Olympic Training Center in August 2009. For more information call 222-5030 or register at the BRPD Administrative Office located at 1333 Overbrook Road, behind the YMCA, Monday through Friday 8:00am-5:30pm. Learn more about the USA Junior Olympic Skills Competition by clicking the link above. Ages: Boys & Girls 8-13. Cost: Free.

Chromed Out Car Show
Sunday, April 26th. Check-In: 11am; Gates Open: 1:30pm
North Park
Burlington Recreation and Parks and Patterson Wash & Shine present the annual Chromed Out Car Show. If you have a hot ride, you will want to be a part of this event. There will be several divisions to take part in: hottest SUV, truck, sport/compact, luxury, and classic/old school. There will be winners in each division and trophies to 1st place. $20.00 per entry; must be 18 years of age to enter vehicle in show. Please call 222-5138 for registration information. All Ages. Admission: $5 per person, 12 & Under Free.

Splash Into Safety
Sunday, April 26th from 2pm-5pm
Maynard Aquatic Center
Burlington Recreation & Parks and the SAFE KIDS Alamance County Chapter team up to bring you the 6th Annual "Splash Into Safety". Come to the MAC for swimming, food, and fun. The safety venues span from poolside to the parking lot. Receive free educational materials about of boating safety, canoe safety, swimming safety, personal flotation device use, dive demonstrations, fire safety house, immunizations as well as many more topics will be delivered through various groups. The goal of the SAFE KIDS Splash Into Safety is to bring safety awareness to children 14 and under. Parents learn valuable lessons as they too, visit the safety vendors. For more information call 222-5043. Ages: 14 & Under. Admission: Free.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Smarty Alert: Free Cone Day Today!

Triad Smarty Pants just got the scoop that two Ben & Jerry’s Triad locations (Shops at Friendly Center in Greensboro and the Palladium at Deep River in High Point) are giving out free ice cream cones today from Noon until 8 pm (must be standing in line by 8 p.m. to receive free ice cream).

As part of the Free Cone Day event, contributions made at the Shops at Friendly Center will benefit Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro while contributions made at the High Point store will benefit Habitat for Humanity of High Point. Representatives of both nonprofits will be on hand all day with activities for kids, great music and celebrity scoopers.

Hurry Smarties, grab the kids and get in line now!


10 Simple Steps to Make Your Life Greener

By Rachel H

Earth Day is tomorrow, so it is a perfect time to make a new resolution. Resolve to make your life greener starting tomorrow! This is not a daunting task, because I have purposely made a list of very simple steps that will take just a few minutes to help our environment. If everyone did these things, just think how many trees we would save, energy we would save, and pollution we would reduce. Hopefully you are already doing the obvious by recycling, switching to more eco-friendly lightbulbs, and turning off anything electrical when not in use. Here are a few more:

1. Say no to the “Would you like a receipt” question at the gas station and the ATM. They are going to show up on your credit card bill and/or bank statement anyway, so save the paper.

2. Speaking of credit card bills and bank statements … change to online banking. Through online banking you can pay all those bills. You are saving paper, time, and stamps!

3. Carpool those kids around! Do you drive your children to and from school every day? Find a neighbor and alternate days or weeks to take the children to school. Try the bus if you can, too. How about sporting events? If it is an event that mom does not need to attend, have one parent drive as many kids as possible.

4. Buy reusable bags! Bags at the grocery store are only a few bucks. If you are wanting something a little more fashionable, take a look at our Neela bags. These are great gifts as well.

5. Buy a timer for your water heater and set it to heat water for only a few hours a day instead of 24 hours a day. It will reduce your electricity bill tremendously!

6. Buy locally grown foods. Not only will you be supporting our local farmers, but you will cut down on pollution.

7. Wash your clothes in cold water. Did you know that only 10% of the energy used by your washing machine powers the motor? The other 90% is used to heat the water! Most clothes will come clean in cold water.

8. Give your kids cloth napkins in their lunch boxes instead of paper napkins. If you are crafty, you can even make your own out of cute fabrics.

9. Set up rain buckets or barrels in your yard or at the end of roof gutters. Save it for when you need to water plants.

10. Go to and make requests to stop receiving certain catalogs. I did this a few weeks ago and it was very easy. Although I love to look through catalogs, there are very few that I actually order from anymore. It’s just as easy to order online. I am also still receiving baby-type catalogs, which usually go straight into the recycling bin since my kids have outgrown most of that gear.

So that’s it Smarty Readers! Ten very simple steps that you can do to start feeling better about the way we treat the earth. I am certain there are many of you out there who have already been doing these 10 things for years and much much more in addition to this.

If you are a Green Mom who has other ideas to share with us, we would love to feature you as a Guest Glogger for our "Saving the Earth" category. Email us here to share your idea, and we’ll get you started! Be sure to check out Guest Blogger Andrea M’s guide to cloth diapers too!

Happy Earth Day, Smarties!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Favorite Parks - High Point Area

By Guest Blogger Jayna P.

We are wrapping up our lists of favorite parks in the Triad this week with our list from the High Point area. We hope these are lists you will visit again and again by clicking on "Parks" under our list of "Categories" on the left-hand side of our site. Each park has something different and unique that we hope you and your kids will enjoy. If you missed the Winston-Salem and Greensboro parks, click on their respective links to review!

Here's a list of great High Point parks, in no particular order:

City Lake Park
This is a large park located very close to High Point in Jamstown, NC. There is so much to do here!. City Lake Park has a large lake with paddle boats rentals, picnic areas with shelters, miniature golf, carrousel, multiple playgrounds, amusement rides, a real train that you can ride on around the lake, and during the summer months they have a waterslide and outdoor swimming pool. City Lake park has lots of different events that go on through out the year. Most recently, they had a huge Eater Egg Hunt which was free to the public. Check it out- it has been a favorite for many generations!

Deep River Park
This is a park that is located in North High Point just off Skeet Club Rd. This park hosts many different recreational sporting events. It is a great place to have a picnic, fly a kite play a little tennis or even check out a baseball or basketball game. The park has multiple baseball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, a playground, restroom/concession building and a picnic shelter. Renovations are currently underway to add more facilities. If you are looking to have a picnic it is very close to many places to pick up something to eat (Chick-Fil-A, Panera, Wendy’s and many more!)

Triangle Park
This is one of my favorite “neighborhood” parks in High Point. This park has a great playground, swing set, slide and picnic tables. It is the perfect place to go with the kids after school on a beautiful day. They can get their fill of fun in 30 minutes or so. This park is nestled in Old Emerywood and gets its name because it is actually in the shape of a triangle! Located at 500 Colonial Drive in High Point.

Creekside Park
This is a wonderful park in Archdale, NC. This park is located just south of High Point. This park includes tennis courts, baseball/softball fields, picnic shelters, shuffleboard courts, horse shoe pits, 2 playgrounds, restrooms and paved walking trails. There is always lots going on here! Located in Archdale, NC.

Lake Thom-A-Lex Park
The park is at Lake Thom-A-Lex (the water source for Davidson County). It is a beautiful setting with four picnic shelters that can be reserved for $25.00 for a three hour period. I have had friends who have rented these for children’s birthdays and it is great! The park also has a new playground nearby the shelters for children to play on. If you decide to rent for a birthday a little “smarty tip” is to request shelter 1- it is the closest to the playground. There are also three large piers for fishing, or you can launch your own boat. They also have a bait shop on the premises for supplies so bring some money. Located at 700 Yokley Road in Lexington.

Armstrong Park
This 5-acre park is a neighborhood park that is available for recreational and rental use. The park features an ADA playground, youth baseball field that is lighted with bleachers, 2 picnic shelters, restrooms and 2 unlighted tennis courts. Bring a net because there is also a small creek that runs through this park perfect for catching tadpoles! Located at 305 East Parkway in High Point.

Oak Hollow Lake Park & Marina
A beautiful 1,500-acre park that features an indoor and outdoor tennis center, picnic areas, a scenic overlook, an 18 hole golf course, a children's play area, and a full service 90 site family campground. Boating, fishing, sailing, skiing, and swimming are just some of the recreational opportunities available at this park. Located at 3415 North Centennial Street in High Point.

The Piedmont Environmental/Greenway Trail
This center has many opportunities for adults and children. The center has eleven miles of hiking trails for walking or bicycling that wind along creek beds, forests and meadows. These trails provide the opportunity to observe wildlife in its natural habitat. Part of the Bicentennial Greenway from Greensboro's Battleground Park to High Point runs through the Center. The greenway can be accessed at many neighborhood parks that include: Armstrong Park, Kirkman Park School, McCain Park, the Little Red School House, Gibson Park, Piedmont Parkway. The trail hours are sunrise to sunset and is open 7 days a week. Located on Penny Road in High Point.

The Johnson Street Disc Golf Park
This course is nestled on the North side of High Point. It is one of the few public parks that is exclusively dedicated to disc golf! It is just North of the 311 by-pass on Johnson Street, just beside the fire station. You cannot miss the sign! Bring your stroller if you have little ones, they will enjoy the ride

Union Cross Park
"The Old Radar Base," as many call it is actually located in Forsyth County, but just beyond the Guilford County line. It is just off Hwy 311 at the Union Cross Rd. exit. This 15-acre park's main drawing strength is its excellent softball facilities. Other facilities include: picnic shelters, walking path, tennis courts, volleyball courts, horse shoe pits, lit basketball courts, restrooms and a playground. It is a great central location. Located at 1935 Union Cross Road in Winston-Salem.

Let us know what you think about this list, and if you have other High Point-area parks to add!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Charlotte Smarty Pants Wins ANOTHER Award!

Just last year (less than one year after its launch) Charlotte Smarty Pants won the coveted Best Local Blog award by Charlotte's Creative Loafing Magazine, and our Smarty friends in Charlotte have not slowed down. We just learned they also won Best Local Blog (Reader's Choice) by Charlotte Magazine too. Here's what the Charlotte Smarty Pants team has to say...

We asked, YOU delivered. Yes, that's right our beloved Smarties...we've been notified by Charlotte Magazine that Charlotte Smarty Pants won Best Local Blog (Reader's Choice)!!!! Yahoooooooo!!!!!!!! And many of you went above and beyond in your super Smarty way and we are also proud to announce that our very own Chief Founding Mommy, Jen Plym, won Charlotte's Best Up and Comer (Reader's Choice). Lemme just stop here for a momento and say you Charlotte Smarties friggin' R-O-C-K! Can you tell we're just a tad bit excited and forever grateful for all you do to support us and this adorable and savvy 'lil site?!

Join your CSP team to celebrate at this year's BOB Award event being held at SouthPark Mall, May 14, (6-9pm). Tickets are $20 and include food samplings, cocktail tickets, a bid number for silent auction, live music and more! Please, come have a drink with us and let's celebrate all things pink & green.

Like Jen has said before, this is as much your site as it is ours. You believed in this and helped it blossom. We hope each of you are as proud of this win as all of us at CSP are! Thank you, thank you, thank you! We're here to stay and plan to paint this town pink & green!! Let's stay Smarty!


Triad Smarty Pants Cares: 2009 Race for the Cure

By Guest Blogger, Anna Ball Hodge, Race Chair

Bring your families out to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Komen NC Triad Race for the Cure in Winston-Salem on May 2, 2009, on the campus of Salem Academy & College. Don’t be mistaken – it’s not just for the avid runner – this is an event for everyone! It’s a family-friendly, community event to spread awareness toward the fight against breast cancer.

Some other highlights of this year’s event include:

The Kids’ area is larger and even more exciting than ever before! The Chick-fil-A Kids’ Adventure Center has everything from bounce houses to crafts to clowns. New this year is the Kids’ Dash which will be held at 9:45 am in the Kids’s Adventure Center Area after the actual races are over – kids will have their own race in the grass, a 50-yard dash – and it’s FREE of charge, only donations encouraged. Each child will get a race bib with the #1 and a T-shirt too! The Kids’ Adventure Center is for children under the age of 12 and the Kids’ Dash is for those 8 and under. Kids over age 8 can participate in the One Mile Fun Run that begins at 8:45 am with the 5K.

You can make it a fun Saturday for everyone in the family – you can walk as a family in the 5K, strollers are certainly allowed. Or, you can cheer Mom or Dad on from the sidelines if they run competitively. We’ll have hot pink megaphones for you to Shout for the Cure! If you have slightly older children, you all can participate in the One-Mile Fun Run. After all the races, there will be music, free food, giveaways. Best of all…the event will be over by Noon so you can have afternoon naps!

To register, log onto Online registration will end on the evening of May 1st, but you can also wake up and decide to show up and register in person on race morning. Hope you can make it out! What a fun way to spend a gorgeous spring Saturday morning with the family!

If you have questions, you can email me at or call 336.721.0037.

Additionally, the artwork for the race was created by Smarty reader Elizabeth Miller, a local artist. You can click here to access her web site to order these designs as prints with the option of hand painted frames and custom painted mats. Each mat has a hand written message “In Honor Of” or “In Memory Of” a loved one. All proceeds benefit the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Smarty Mom: Jennifer Fussell

By Rachel H

Stay-at-home mom, Jennifer Fussell, is this week’s Smarty Mom. She and her husband Kevin were high school sweethearts and have lived in the Triad since 2004 having moved here after Kevin finished his medical residency and fellowship in Nashville, TN. They have a 10 year-old son named Hudson who attends Forsyth Country Day School and is in the 4th grade. Jennifer serves as Co- President of the Medical Alliance of the Piedmont as well as being a founding member of the Women's Council and serving as a Committee Member for the 2009 Garden Party. She loves cooking, reading, and hiking. She has done work in the Dominican Republic on medical trips and with water filtration. Jennifer says being a parent is the most rewarding thing she’s ever done!

I am excited for all of you to get to know Jennifer better …

Please tell us more about your work in the Dominican Republic and what it has meant to you.
Shortly after we moved to Winston, Kevin was invited to go to the DR with a group of doctors from Forsyth Medical Center on a medical trip. He went that February (2005) and was hooked! He’s been back every February since and several other times per year. I have been several times as well and it’s now become “home away from home”. Complete with family. We’ve taken what started as a medical trip and expanded it to become a passion. We started putting water filters in every home as a means to provide clean drinking water which will greatly reduce the illness and disease, but have now put in a 2000-3000-gallon tank that will provide water to the entire village. It’s been wonderful to see the benefits. The villagers typically do not like “clean” water because of the chemical taste they think it has, so this has been remarkable. They like the water because it is filtered naturally (either through sand or with solar power depending on the filter) and can tell a difference in the way it makes them feel. When you walk through the village and they are running to you and telling you how much better they feel, it’s amazing.

We have become very close with the resident physician in Barahona, Dr. Jorge Volquez and our interpreter, Wilkyns Chal and their families. We speak to both of them frequently from Winston and always send goodies for the kids. They have cooked for us in their homes and welcomed us into their hearts. Currently, we’re helping finance Wilkyns university education so he can pursue further interests in language.

You are very involved in the community with volunteer work. What are your best tips for managing these activities and your home life?
Do only the things that you are truly passionate about and learn to say no to the rest. I limit my activites to the school day when Hudson is in school. When he comes home, it is very important to me to be available to him. I might fold some laundry and obviously cook dinner, but the rest of the day belongs to Kevin and Hudson.

Please tell us more about the Women’s Council and your involvement with it.
The Women’s Council is a new organization founded to raise the standard for women’s health care and expand the healthcare opportunities for women regardless of economic circumstances. Given the current economy, this is obviously important but as the wife of a physician (and a woman) this is something that I believe in whole-heartedly and support completely.

Our first philanthropic venture was a generous donation to provide mammography, and our hallmark fundraiser will be an Annual Garden Party currently in the planning stages. But this will be an amazing day!!

What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
The lessons I’ve learned through Hudson. Patience. Acceptance. Determination. But also, the pleasure in rediscovering the little things. A tidal pool. Kite flying. A hike. Fishing. I think we enjoy these things much more the second time around.

What is your favorite family activity?
We love to watch movies and play games. We’ll play a game almost every night after dinner. And we play something called “high low” at dinner, where each person says their high and their low for the day. It’s a great way to get dinner conversation started.

Favorite “mommy-time” activity?
Yoga. I recently began practicing yoga and have finally found what I’ve been looking for in a routine. After years of bouncing between gyms, treadmills, DVDs and the like, I am embracing the calm that I find in yoga. I’m much stronger both physically and mentally and appreciate the time that I have to just spend on myself. It makes me a better person.

Favorite date place in the Triad?
Milner’s for a casual night and Ryan’s when it’s a special occasion.

Favorite place to eat dinner out with the family?
We’re suckers for either pizza or Chinese in the den watching movies. But we love Midtown Dessertery three meals a day!

Funniest thing your son has ever said?
Oh wow! That’s tough. Recently he said that when he grows up, he either wants to be a senator or a lawyer. When asked why, he replied “because I like to argue and I like to get my way…” It’s better than his last chosen profession: Taxidermy.

Mini-van or SUV?

Favorite book you have recently read?
I have lots. I recently finished The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan and loved it. Other favorites though are Three Cups of Tea, Mountains Beyond Mountains, The Outer Banks and anything by Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult. I bounce between something heavy and something light. Right now, I’m reading The Shack. Definitely heavy…

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
Having lived In Nashville for 7 years, I thought it was home. It’s where Hudson was born and where we went from a couple to a family. But I could be out in town all day long and NEVER see anyone I knew. That was lonely. I love that Winston is the friendliest, warmest community. I feel at home here. Comfortable.

Smartiest way you save money?
I’d like to say that I am a budget minded person, but the truth is that I save money by staying out of Target…

Best birthday party you have attended?
Hudson’s first and second parties were my favorite. For his first, it was just family and closest friends. We had chili and hung out while Hudson played with his toys. And my mother-in-law made his cake a fire engine. For his second party, we hosted 15 kids and their parents (INSANITY) for a brunch in our home. There were kids EVERYWHERE!! In the front yard, in the back yard, upstairs, but it was such fun!! It was also the last time we had a birthday party at the house.

I could not live without my... family, friends and my cell phone. My family is my life - they bring me comfort, safety and purpose. My friends each bring a different and special perspective to my life. Together they make up all the facets that are me. And my cell phone. I wonder every day how my Mom would drop me off at school and run errands and not be “connected."

I wish someone had told me sooner about... simplifying.

Thanks, Jennifer 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, April 17, 2009

The Pregnancy Pukes

By Rachel H

It absolutely cracks me up when I hear people say, “Oh, I just loved being pregnant! I felt so full of life and always had a glow about me!” I have no way of relating to those statements. For me, there was definitely not a glow … I was usually white as a ghost because I was nauseous or about to throw up. I also had that horrible pain down the side of my inner thigh, awful back pain, and I felt like I waddled for the last three months. I always felt like I would feel better once I puked, but I never did. That lead-tasting-acid-reflux-pukey-feeling would creep right back into my throat the moment I threw up. I never understood the term “morning sickness” because I puked all day long. I am sure many of you can sympathize with the fact that it took me a long time before I could eat a bagel again after seeing it come back up. Same goes for milkshakes and hot wings. Eeeew, it makes me shudder to think of it. But four years later, I am back on the “eating everything in sight train” and have no problems looking back and laughing.

I tried a million different medications to help the nausea and ended up with a combination of Zofran (which cancer patients take to help ease nausea from chemo), and Unisom. It took a lot of consideration before deciding to try for a second child because I was so afraid that I would feel the same way with the second. But then I thought, well, if it is a different sex then maybe I won’t feel as miserable. WRONG. My first pregnancy was a boy, the second was a girl, and I puked for 5 months with one and 8 months with the other. Unfortunately, I am sure there are some of you out there reading this whose nausea lasted even longer!

Now let me make sure I clarify one thing – I am eternally blessed and grateful that I was able to conceive in the first place, able to deliver without many complications, and have two healthy children. I am in no way taking that for granted and I want to make sure that those out there who did not have those experiences don’t feel like I am complaining about what are now the greatest joys in my life. I just thought it would be fun to look back on my misery of when I was pregnant and have some of you share your stories also. Of course at the time of being pregnant, I, in no way thought these stories were funny, but now I think they are hysterical!

One of the best stories was when I was 9 months pregnant. I was teaching at this time, and it was Graduation Day at school for the 5th graders. I was actually past the nausea at this point, but instead had the back pain, inner thigh pain, and just the “get this baby out of me” feeling. It was June, and I was hot, fat and miserable. I rolled my big belly out of bed that morning, got myself dressed in a nice new sundress I had bought for this special graduation day. I was all set to go, but then realized I was probably going to need to wear some nice shoes instead of the sneakers I had been wearing every day. So I crawled my big ol’ self on the floor to the depths of our dark, hundred-year-old closet to find one black strappy sandal. I was so hot, my back was throbbing, I was so tired, and of course we all know how much fun it is to try and actually bend over with that big belly in the way. I could not find the other sandal. I was searching and searching and getting more irritated by the minute. By this time, I was going to be late for school. I started crying. I was so frustrated and it was hard enough finding things in that old closet when you are NOT pregnant, much less when you weigh 40 pounds more than usual, your lower back feels like someone is hitting it with a lead pipe, and you are all sweaty and hot. So, I called my husband at work as I was sobbing and told him he was going to have to come home and find my black sandal for me. Now mind you, this man had lived with my miserable pregnant self for 9 months, so I think he knew that he had no choice – he drove home from work at 7 o’clock in the morning to come find my black sandal. Helped me in the car, and sent me off to school for a memorable graduation day. Again, in June of 2003, this was NOT a funny story, but today … hilarious!

My husband’s favorite story is when I was pregnant with our second child. I was always puking. One day I ran for the toilet as my one-year-old ran along behind me. I got to the toilet, and as I am vomiting, my one-year-old is next to me pretending to be “vomiting." He’s got his head all smooshed in the toilet with mine and making gagging noises, mocking me! Meanwhile I am screaming to my husband, “Kevin! Get him out of here!” And wouldn’t you know that Kevin is standing at the doorway dying laughing at the two of us? If only he’d taken a picture!

I could tell many many more embarrassing and humorous occurrences from pregnant times, but instead I’d love to hear other funny pregnancy stories from you! So bring em’ on!