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Friday, July 31, 2009

Smarty Alert: The Latest Issue of Forsyth Family magazine is Now Available!



The August issue of Forsyth Family magazine is now on stands and is available everywhere, so be sure to get yourself a copy before they run out! This month's issue features a family friendly dining guide, an article on WFFCS Superintendent Donald Martin, Jr., and timely information on school backpacks and childhood back pain. And, as always, you can find one of our blogs republished on page 35! Get your copy now!


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Smarty Sponsor: Hanes Park Classic





By Guest Blogger Ann U

Looking for a fun day for the whole family? Mark your calendar for next weekend and check out the Hanes Park Classic, presented by First Community Bank, which will take place on Sunday, August 9 in Winston-Salem. Organized by CycleSafe.org, a nonprofit based in Winston-Salem that promotes bike safety for all ages, the Hanes Park Classic has been a premiere sporting event in Winston for over 30 years!

This event is fast paced and fun! Your family will be able to watch men’s and women’s professional cycling races as well as amateur races. The races go on all day (from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.) around Hanes Park so you can catch the high speed bike racers zipping around the park as well as enjoy a bunch of free, family events that occur throughout the day, in addition to the competitive races. The professional men’s race (they go the fastest) will start a little after 3 p.m. I think your kids will love watchign this one!

Great events for kids include a Kid’s Bike Race, which will take place at 2:45 p.m. There also will be a CycleSafe.org Bike Rodeo sponsored by Salem Academy, which is a series of activities arranged in an obstacle course to foster learning about bike safety and cycling fun! The Bike Rodeo will take place from 1-4 p.m. and is a great way to make sure your kids know how to bike safely!

There also will be a “Kid’s Zone” from 12 to 5 p.m., sponsored by Brenner Children’s Hospital, with lots of fun things for kids to do including an interactive experience with the Brenner Transport Team, who will have an ambulance on hand. The Winston-Salem Fire Department will be there with a fire truck and Sparky the Fire Dog. There also will be a YMCA Bounce House, activities and representatives from the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem and SciWorks, a Rock Wall to climb, Salem Gym Fit will be there with activities for kids, and Bolt, the Dash Mascot will be on hand. There will be additional fun kid’s activities along with food available for purchase.

My daughter had a great time last year, watching the racers as well as enjoying the kid’s activities. It’s a great way to spend a summer day in Winston! To find out more, please visit www.hanesparkclassic.com.


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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Smarty Tips for a Healthy Breakfast



By Guest Blogger Deborah M

Deborah Martin has some terrific ideas and recipes for us today! Deborah earned a BS in nutrition from Meredith College and is a certified pilates instructor with certification from the Physical Mind Institute in New York City. Deborah is not a licensed dietician, so before trying any new recipe, please call your pediatrician if you have questions concerning ingredients and how your child could react to those ingredients. Deborah's oldest child has a peanut allergy, so the following recipes are completely nut free. Enjoy! ... Rachel H

If you are like me in just a few short weeks the school year will begin. As we savor this last month of summer vacation, I have already begun to think about my morning routine. No matter what the routine or how many kids you have, we all have one thing in common - we have to get people fed and out the door in a timely manner. I have three kids four and under, two of which will head to preschool. While sitting down for breakfast is the best way to start the day, I have come up with some choices that can also be transported and eaten on the way to school. My only suggestion would be to not make this a habit, but save it for those hectic mornings when things are just not going your way. While we all know the importance of breakfast in our children's lives, getting to school can present its own challenges and it can be time when good intentions and healthy eating habits fall by the wayside. However, a nutritious, varied diet is as important as ever- sustaining and boosting energy levels, helping concentration and even assisting brain power. So we need breakfast choices that are easy to make, taste good and have proper nutrition...

Children need a healthy balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat, and what they need little of is sugar and refined flour. However, those last two ingredients make food taste good. So, I have come up with three breakfast options that not only taste good but are also nutritious.

After many test trials (my four year old is a great food critic) I have come up with a breakfast cookie recipe, yes I said cookie, two smoothie recipes (one with spinach) and a waffle recipe that is simply wonderful. Obviously, the smoothies cannot be made ahead but the other two can, and freeze well, too. So before you buy that box of pop tarts or cinnamon toast sticks give these a try, and here is hoping for a nutritious start to your child's day.


Breakfast Cookies
These are delish, low in sugar, high in protein and have about 8.5g of fat per cookie.

Ingredients
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
4 oz sweet potatoes puree-baby food
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oats (old fashion or instant)
1/2 cup smart start cereal or bran flakes
1/3 cup dried craisins (optional and can do rasins)
1/3 cup almonds (optional)
1/3 cup pure flax seed (optional and I tell my kids these are choc. chips)

Whisk together the first 6 ingredients and set aside. In another bowl combine butter, applesauce, and sugars. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Add egg, sweet potato puree, and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture. Now add oats, cereal, craisins, and nuts. Do not over beat. Use 3-4 Tbsp of batter per cookie, on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten cookie slightly. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Number of Servings: 12



Basic Smoothie
1 ripe banana (cut into chunks)
1/2 c. low fat vanilla yogurts
1 tsp. honey
1 c. crushed ice

Combine ingredients and blend until smooth

*children under 1 year of age should not consume honey*

**can add 1/2 c. strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries**

Advanced Smoothie
1 banana (cut into chunks)
1 c. grapes (any kind)
1 6 oz.. carton of vanilla yogurt
1/2 apple chopped
1 c. fresh spinach leaves chopped.

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth, stopping to push down sides.

**While you cannot taste the spinach, this smoothie does have texture to it. It is difficult to drink with a straw and is better sipped or used with a spoon. My son loves the cool green color. Easy way to get those green leafy veggies in**



Waffle Recipe (these can be frozen)
1 egg
3/4 c. milk (I use 2%)
1/3 vegetable oil
1/4 c. orange juice
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 tsp. grated orange peel (can omit for time if needed)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg, add in milk, oil and orange juice.

Combine flour, sugar, orange peel, baking powder and salt; stir into milk mixture. Fold in liquid mixture. Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to the manufacturer's direction until golden brown. Make 5 waffles...I always double and freeze.

**Can add blueberries, strawberries, flax seed, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato and yes even chocolate chips for a treat** I recommend a cup of everything but the flax seed, a 1/3 will do of that.

For those of you not allergic to nuts, you could use nut butter between two slices and make a breakfast sandwich.

Stay tuned for more healthy eating tips and nutritious recipes for lunch, dinner and snack time! Thank you, Deborah!


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events


By Katie M

Happy Wednesday, Smarties! We're happy to report that today's post is sponsored by Confluence Coffee, a great child-friendly (and mom-friendly!) coffee shop. You may remember our post about them back in January. Well, they are celebrating their 1st Birthday on Saturday, August 1 and we’re all invited!

You don’t want to miss this FREE family celebration. Beginning at 11:30 am, Confluence will have carnival games, three bounce houses, food from East Coast Wings, face painting, live fire engine demonstrations, live music, a Guitar Hero Wii tournament, and princess party featuring story and craft times, dress up, games and dancing. It lasts ALL day (from 11:30 am to 10 pm) and it’s FREE. So come out and enjoy the fun!! An entire entertainment line-up (including bands playing Friday night) can be found on their blog. We’ll see you there!

As for the rest of the weekend, read on!

Car Seat Checks
Friday, July 31 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
Babies R Us, 975 Hanes Mall Blvd, W-S
The City of Winston-Salem is hosting this free event. Local Child Passenger Safety Technicians will be available to check your child seat installation and answer questions.

"Dorothy Meets Alice"
Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 3 p.m.
Glenwood Presbyterian Church, 1205 Glenwood Ave., GSO
This fun-filled musical romp follows Alice and Dorothy and their coteries as they try to unscramble their stories with the help of a contemporary young lad who started the whole thing to begin with when he put off a book report until the very last minute. Presented by Community Theatre of Greensboro Children’s Theatre. Adults, $7; ages 12 and under, $5. Phone: 336-333-7470.

Yoga - Look Mom, New Legs!
Friday, July 31 at 6 pm
Sunrise Yoga Studio 6000 Meadowbrook Mall, Suite 1, Clemmons
This hip opening class is for all levels will release and open all areas of the legs and hips. Taught by Becky Hieter. Cost: $15. Need more information? 336-778-1233.info@sunriseyoga.net

All-a-Flutter Butterfly Farm Saturday Family Days
Saturday, August 1 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 around the flight house and a misting tent are available during the warm summer months to keep you cool. Adults, $6; children, $5. 10 a.m. Phone: 336-454-5651.

Blacksmithing Demonstration
Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m.
High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., HP
Come watch a costumed blacksmith in action as he crafts various iron pieces. All ages welcome. Free. Phone: 336-885-1859.

United Kennel Club Dog Show
Saturday, August 1 at 7 am
Dixie Classic Fairground (Bolton Home & Garden Bldg)
421 W. 27th Street, W-S
Cost: Free. Need more information? 336-725-5635

K-9s in Flight Frisbee Dogs
Saturday, August 1
Tweetsie Railroad, U.S. Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock
Come see the K-9s in Flight Frisbee Dogs run, jump, flip and dive as they dazzle the crowd at Tweetsie Railroad. John Misita’s entourage of incredibly talented, amazingly athletic canine friends will perform at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily for Tweetsie guests. The K-9s in Flight Frisbee Dogs performance is included in the regular admission prices to Tweetsie Railroad. Phone: 1-877-TWEETSIE.

Kids' Bank Fishing Tournament
Saturday, August 1 from 9 am to Noon
Guilford Mackintosh Park and Marina, Burlington
Burlington Recreation and Parks and Vaughn Designs present the 11th Annual Lori Brady Foster Memorial Kids' Bank Fishing in the Park. Kids will be put into three age groups ranging from 1-15 and trophies and prizes will be awarded in each. One overall prize will be awarded for the largest fish of the day. Kids will receive free pizza and drinks. Free. Phone: 336-449-2078.

Summer on Trade
Saturday, August 1 from 7 - 10 pm
Corner 6th and Trade streets in The Arts District, W-S
The best street party in the Triad is back for its 10th year celebration. Each Saturday night this summer, plan to come to Downtown's Arts District for an eclectic mix of live music, delicious festival food and beverages and dancing in the streets. Fun for the entire family! Free. Phone: 336-354-1500.

American Idols Live Tour 2009
Sunday, August 2 at 7 pm
Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Lee St., GSO
Top 10 finalists from American Idol featuring Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, Anoop Desai, Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud, Megan Joy, Michael Sarver and Scott Macintyre, will perform live. $39.50, $54.50, $68.50. Phone: 800-745-3000.

Family First Workshop: Figurative Sculpture
Sunday, August 2 from 2-4 p.m.
Reynolda House Museum of American Art, 2250 Reynolda Road, W-S
An art workshop for elementary school-aged children and their adult caregivier. Explore 3-D art in the Museum followed by a sculpture activity in the studio as well as a swim in the historic Reynolda House pool. Reservations required. $7. Phone: 336-758-5389.

Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park
Sunday, August 2 at 6:30 pm
Latham Park, GSO
Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy the Greensboro Concert Band in an outdoor concert for the whole family. Free. 6:30 p.m. Phone: 336-373-2373.

What did we forget? Add your event below!


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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This Is How We Roll



By Rachel H

I have personally never been one to care about cars. Sad, but true. I have no idea what types of cars my friends drive, only the color. Seriously, I know my mom has a red car, but that’s it. Maybe it’s a Saturn, no a Camry. Who cares? Maybe I inherited this gene from my Nana Hess. She never even had a driver’s license in her 88 years of life.

I drove my parents’ yellow station wagon when I was 16 and then saved up enough to by my Mercury Tracer. My next two cars were Camrys, and then I decided to go a little sporty and purchase an Xterra. Anyone who knows me knows that I am about as unathletic as you can get, so the Xterra was quite a comical choice. I had my son, Jake, while we owned the Xterra and it took us about one month to realize we were going to have to buy something else. It was a royal P.I.T.A. to get the baby carrier in and out of the back seat. And I couldn’t stand trying to squeeze that carrier out of the door when I was parked next to someone else...

Well, you guessed it, we bought a minivan. As you can tell, I am not the type of person who thought, “Oh no, I can’t drive a minivan! They are so mom-ish and uncool!” I usually go for convenience and comfort and could really care less how uncool it happens to be. (Except for the time I had to drive it alone to meet my sister and all her trendy single friends at a bar in uptown Charlotte. What a loser.) Anyway, the best part of us buying a minivan is that I was not even present for the search or purchase of this minivan. My husband took my Xterra out one night and said he was going to go “check out” a few minivans. Next thing I know, he’s pulling in the driveway with one. Although I have never cared about cars, I must admit I was a little saddened at the fact that with all the choices of colors, he had to pick the same color as the mailman minivans. Come ooooon!!!

Alas, I will tell you that I could not be happier that we made that switch. No more aching back, and it was such a breeze to slide that door open and take out the baby carrier. Once we added a second child into the mix, I liked the minivan even more! So much space! We are always riding in someone else’s car or adding a child in our car, and it has been so much easier to move the car seats around. The best part is that now that my kids are at fighting age, it’s so easy to have one in the middle section and one in the back to keep the peace. They can buckle themselves in, and we are rolling!

I did want to give a few tips for anyone deciding to purchase this luxury mom mobile for yourself. These are all things that I wish my van had! #1 – Get automatic doors. We totally missed the boat on that one, but the car is now paid off, so I’m thinking I am stuck. #2 – Get a minivan that has a remote for the back hatch. As soon as you unload groceries, boxes, or whatever else you’ve got back there, you are standing there holding all your bags with no free hand to reach up and slam that darn door. #3 – Get windows that go down in the back. My poor kids have never had the experience of sticking their head out the window and letting the breeze hit them in the face! #4 – Get the seats that fold down into the floor. Our seats unlatch and pull out. They are SO heavy. It’s great when you pull out the seats and have so much room to pack everything up for the beach trip, but then when you arrive and unload, you are stuck with a minivan with no backseats to load up extra people. #6 – Jury is still out on the DVD player. We don’t have one installed, and have made many-a-trip to PA, FL, etc. without it. My kids have learned to play the old-fashioned car games, color, look at books, and sleep!!! I will admit that I did borrow a DVD player the last time I drove a long distance without my hubby and it was much easier because I was not turning around and handing all the dropped toys to everyone while I was trying to drive. So, the DVD player is a maybe.

Well, I think that’s it. Share your expertise with us on minivan choices. I do like mine, even though I get a lot of dogs barking at me because they think I am the mail truck.


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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Review of Reusable Swim Diapers


By Dana D, Charlotte Smarty Pants

I hope you all are enjoying summer and some days at the pool or the beach. If you have little ones still in diapers, the pool or beach can be daunting especially when it comes to potty time. What is the best way to handle the mess? I wanted to recommend an easy way to help eliminate waste, Reusable swim diapers. I hope that many of you are already using them but for those of you who aren't, I will tell you about my favorite.

There are several options, I have even purchased a reusable swim diapers at Target last year. My absolute favorite though are the Imse Vimse swim diapers. They are lightweight and will not weigh your child down in the water. They have the cutest designs and even have adorable matching shirts for girls. We have the turquoise sea animal design and love it! They dry very quickly and don't soak up all the pool water along with the baby mess. That being said, they are not the most absorbent diaper but swim diapers aren't supposed to be absorbent they are just to contain messes. So do not forget your plastic diaper cover while at the pool. When in the yard or at the beach we don't use the plastic cover and have had no issues.

By using reusable swim diapers you will be doing your part for the environment and saving money by not buying those expensive disposable diapers. When using those I have only ended up with a mess instead of preventing one. Many pools also don't allow disposable because of the problems in containing the mess. Check out Wildflower Diapers for the Imse Vimse brand. Great prices and fab designs!

Have you tried these? Let us know what you think!


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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Smarty Mom: Laura Neelon



By Rachel H

The weekend is here, which means it is time for another Smarty Mom Saturday! Today we will get to know Laura Rose Neelon. Laura has lived in the Triad for about 13 years after moving from Ahoskie, NC. She graduated from Salem Academy in 1998 and Wake Forest University in 2002. She and her husband, Josh, have two little girls, Lucy (4 ½) and Alice (2). Laura is a stay-at-home mom who always loves being around family and friends. Laura also enjoys cooking, scrapbooking, taking pictures, tennis, shopping, reading and just being a mom. Laura is a member of the Dogwood Garden Club. She volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House and Horizons. She helps each year with the Festival of Trees, which benefits Brenner Children’s Hospital. Laura is also serving as co-chair of the parents’ council at her daughters’ preschool.

I am happy to introduce you to Laura …

You obviously give a lot of your time to the community and to helping others. Which organization has been the most rewarding for you to work with and why?
I would have to say that I have really enjoyed working on some fundraisers for Horizons. Many people are not aware of the Horizons Residential Facility so it has been a pleasure to spread the word about their services. They are a private, non-profit organization that provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities. The facility is located in Rural Hall. You can read more about them on their website www.horizonscenter.org.

Tell us more about the Dogwood Garden Club.
Dogwood Garden Club is a woman’s group that meets once a month and has a speaker and/or activity that pertains to gardening, flowers, or entertaining. Each year we give thousands of dollars to community projects that help beautify the city. (ie. Schools, Potters House, Sciworks)

How are you able to balance your home life and your volunteer obligations?
Volunteering is so rewarding, yet can be tricky when you are away from family. My husband is always a big help when I have meetings or volunteer functions.

What is your favorite activity to do with your daughters?
We enjoy dancing to fun music and cooking!

Favorite “me-time” activity?
I love to play tennis and read a good book!

Favorite place for a date night?
Josh and I loved South by Southwest before it closed- now we enjoy Paul’s Italian take out at home or enjoy Nobles. We also try to do lunch dates!

Best place to eat lunch with the kids?
We love to go to Beef O’ Bradys!

Favorite place to eat dinner out as a family?
The kids always enjoy La Carreta on Coliseum Drive!

Favorite place to shop for kids’ clothes?
My favorite shops in W-S are McCall's at Reynolda Village and Gazoodles!

Best book you have ever read?
Can’t think of one single book, but I always loved ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ and I just recently enjoyed ‘The Help’.

Funniest thing your kid(s) has ever said?
Too many to count, but my oldest Lucy, told her dad that she had a complicated personality?!!?!?

Favorite park in the Triad?
We always enjoy going to the playground at Hathaway Park.

Mini-van or SUV?
SUV

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
Our ‘small city’ has so much to offer for children and families as a whole! There is a lot of vision and history here in W-S! (no traffic too!)

Best kept secret in the Triad?
Not sure this is a secret but the Bagel Station has wonderful bagels, spreads, coffee and fountain drinks!

Best birthday party you have attended?
Young Chefs Academy, pancake breakfast and easter egg hunt!

I could not live without my...
Family and friends………...(my iphone and computer too!)

I wish someone had told me sooner about...
The joys and exhaustion of parenthood!

Thanks for your Smarty Answers, Laura!

If you have someone in mind who you think would make a great Smarty Mom or Smarty Dad on Triad Smarty Pants, email us at triadsmartypants@gmail.com with your nomination!


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Friday, July 24, 2009

Why I Got Involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters



By Guest Blogger Anitra M

I asked Anitra to write this blog about her experiences with Big Brothers/Big Sisters after Rachel H and I were invited to a BB/BS luncheon. I knew little about BB/BS at the time, and was amazed to learn so much about this wonderful organization, the parents who give so much of their time and love, and all the incredible "little brothers and sisters." I also had no idea Anitra and her family were involved as "Bigs" before attending this luncheon and discovering her husband is the president of the local BB/BS chapter. Anitra and her husband, Brad, have two beautiful boys: Cooper (age 5) and Turner (age one), and one amazing "little brother" Steven. I hope you enjoy their story. - KM

Our first encounter with Big Brothers/Big Sisters came in 2005 when my husband, Brad, joined the Board of Directors of this wonderful organization. I had never realized how many kids there are out there that need someone to just “be there for them."

To help these kids who are waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister, the agency plans special events such as “Big Brother/Sister for a Day." Brad volunteered and that is when he first met 12-year–old Steven. Steven was fortunate to have a loving mom and three outstanding older sisters, but no father in the house. His mother wanted Steven to have a positive male influence in his life. so she contacted BB/BS.

Brad and Steven had a great day together, and soon after we received a call from BB/BS asking us if we would be interested in matching with Steven. The time commitment is one hour each week for two years. At the time, we were very new parents and were already overwhelmed! There were never enough hours in the day. We discussed the opportunity and decided to go for it. Steven was someone we really wanted to know better. We also wanted our son to learn at an early age the importance of community and caring for others. It was definitely the right choice for our family because the rewards have been immeasurable. Steven has added just as much, if not more, to our lives as we have to his.

Being a “Big” is a wonderful way to volunteer and have lots of fun at the same time. Some of the activities are for the entire family, but sometimes it’s just the boys. We’ve gone to the circus, ride bikes, play golf, watch movies, play Wii, go to dinner, hang out at our home, and play basketball. We’ve even taken a couple of road trips to see the Clemson Tigers play in Death Valley.

Our growing family has been blessed to have a part in Steven’s many accomplishments over the past four year. He was an honor student at Paisley when we first met him and now he will be finishing out his junior and senior year of high school at NC School of the Arts due to his amazing musical talent. We have also been able to witness several other of Steven’s achievements. He has been Secretary of the National Youth Achievers, President of Student Council at Paisley, All Region and All State saxophone player, jazz band, Eagle Scout and Governors School. We are so proud of him!

Even though our two year commitment to BB/BS is over, Steven is and will always be an important part of our family. Just as with my own two sons, I look forward to the many things that are in Steven’s future and can’t wait to see what life has in store for him.

If you would like any information on this amazing organization, please visit their website at www.bbbsnc.org or call 336-724-7993.

Are you a "Big"? If you have a story or experience to share, please do so!


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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Smarty Day Trip Series: Homeland Creamery







By Guest Blogger Leslie M

If you're looking to give your kids a sweet taste of farm life, round 'em up and head for Homeland Creamery. This local dairy farm is in Julian, just a half-hour south of Greensboro.

When my daughter reached the age of four, I could tell by her commentary that she had no real knowledge of where food came from. With all the talk these days of organic foods, going "green," being environmentally friendly, and supporting local, sustainable farms - I realized that no book or DVD would bring these lessons to life quite as vividly as a trip to a local farm might. Lucky for us, there are a variety of interesting local farms nearby. Hoping to charm my young audience, I chose Homeland Creamery, a sixth-generation family dairy farm that is well-respected for its ice cream!

The tour at Homeland Creamery kicks off with a 20-minute hayride around the property. After touring the dairy farm facilities, we were able to get some "hands on" experience: milking a dummy cow and bottle-feeding a baby goat. The crowning glory, of course, is sampling the ice cream. This is a great experience for groups of all sizes, including one family, a preschool group, or a couple of parents looking for a partial day-trip to entertain the kids this summer.

I should have known to expect the unexpected when I took our morning off-road in this manner. Who knew that hayrides make some kids feel like superheroes while others sob over prickly hay? Who could have imagined the commentary from a bunch of preschoolers observing a pasture of resting cows? The memory that has been best preserved in my mind is the image of my two-year-old daughter hunkering down on a milk crate under a dummy cow, milking it as if her very life depended on it!

Weekday tours are offered on Monday through Friday mornings at 10am. Tours last 90 minutes, including a 20-minute hayride around the property. If you are bringing a group, tours can be customized to the age group of those touring. We were welcomed to bring a picnic lunch for our preschool group before the ice cream sampling. Then we were allowed to let them run and play in the picnic area to burn off their sugar rush!

Reservations for tours of any size are required. The cost is $6 per person (ages 2 and up). Simply call or email Vicky Amidon at 336-674-8598 or Vicky_Amidon@homelandcreamery.com. For more information, go to www.homelandcreamery.com.


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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events




By Katie M

Happy Wednesday! I just checked and it looks like this beautiful spring-like weather is going to stick around this weekend. Good weekend to do so because there are a bunch of fun outdoor events going on. Speaking of which, on Saturday, Allison T and I will be manning the Triad Smarty Pants table (offering temporary tatoos and Smarty candies for all) at the Kids for Kids Triathlon at Wake Forest University. Even if you don't have a child participating, come out and join the fun. There will be a lot of activities for all age groups!

If you have an upcoming weekend family event you want mentioned in a future Wednesday event blog, please email us here! Enjoy your weekend!

Bubblebration
Friday, July 24 at 12:30 pm
Corpening Plaza, 1st Street at the BB&T building, W-S
This will be a great opportunity to bring out kids, families and pets for an hour of fun in the sun downtown. All that's required is that you bring your own bubbles and come join the bubble-blowing craze! For more information, click on the link.

Downtown Jazz
Friday, July 24 at 5:30 pm
Corpening Plaza, Downtown Corner of 1st & Liberty Streets, Winston-Salem
The timeless summer classic is back for it�s 12th year! A new collaboration between the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership and three respected music promoters will give a fresh spin to the organization�s summer music series, which includes Alive After Five, Downtown Jazz and Summer On Trade. The free weekly outdoor concerts have been produced by the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership since 1997 as part of a greater effort to establish downtown as a destination for entertainment, dining, shopping and living. Downtown Jazz, in association with Post Entertainment, kicks off the seven-date schedule on Friday, May 22nd and is scheduled from 5:30pm-8:30pm every 2nd and 4th Friday through August 28th in Corpening Plaza. Admission is free. Check out the website for band listings and parking info! FREE

Piedmont 300 Truck and Tractor Pull
Friday, July 24 at 7:30 pm
Dixie Classic Fairgrounds, Grandstand 421 W. 27th Street, Winston-Salem
Back by popular demand, the Piedmont 300 Truck and Tractor Pull for all ages. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. Free parking. $15 adults. $5, 12 & under.

"Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss"
Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 12:30-4 p.m.
Natural Science Center, 4301 Lawndale Drive, GSO
Imagine exploring mysterious life, landforms and shipwrecks found deep within Earth’s final frontier. This 6,000 sq. ft. traveling exhibition allows visitors to observe first-hand the technology that only recently has allowed individuals to travel to the ocean floor. Visitors join fellow explorers in a replica of Alvin's personnel sphere, which they can operate to simulate a dive to depths of up to three miles and walk along the ocean floor. Runs through Jan. 8, 2010. Free with museum admission, adults, $8; ages 3-13, $7; ages 2 and under, free. Phone: 336-288-3769.

"Rent" - School Edition
Friday 7 p.m. and Saturday 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Little Theatre of Winston-Salem, 610 Coliseum Drive, W-S
The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem youth summer campers present Jonathan Larson's Tony Award-winning rock musical about a group of young artists struggling to survive and create in New York during the days of the Bohemian East Village. Note: Contains adult content and language. Parental discretion is advised. Phone: 336-725-4001.

Discount Friday Night
Friday, July 24 from 4 - 8 pm
Children's Museum of Winston-Salem, 390 S. Liberty St., W-S.
Admission fees are $3 per person (or free for members) and families are able to come to the Museum and experience everything CMWS has to offer for a reduced rate. Phone: 336-723-9111.

Family Fun Friday Nights
Friday, July 24 fro 5 - 8 pm
Greensboro Children's Museum, 220 N. Church St., GSO
Greensboro Children's Museum welcomes all families on Friday nights for a night of fun at a discounted admission of $3. Phone: 336-574-2898.

Kids For Kids Triathlon
Saturday, July 25 at 8 am
Reynolds Gym at Wake Forest University, W-S
More information can be found on our blog.

Third Annual Memorial Walk to Remember Children
Saturday, July 25 at 9 am
Miller Park, Knollwood & Queen Streets, W-S
This Walk is to recognize, acknowledge and remember all children who have died too soon, no matter their age or the cause of death. Bereaved parents, siblings, relatives and friends are invited to join hands and hearts in unity to remember children throughout our communities and around the world. The Walk will be held at Miller Park in Winston-Salem starting promptly at 9:00 a.m. Following the Walk, a brief memorial and balloon launch ceremony will take place. The Walk's theme is "Because we love them, we remember. Because we remember, they will never be forgotten." For more information, visit www.memorialwalktoremember.info. Early Registration deadline is Friday, July 10th. On-site Registration: Shelter #4 near Amphitheater (Walk day: 8:15-8:45 a.m). Free.

Jack & the Beanstalk
Saturday, July 25 at 3 pm
Brock Performing Arts Center 622 N. Main Street, Mocksville, NC
Performances at 3pm and 7pm. Missoula Children's Theatre's production of this childhood classic, performed by local youth, 1st thru 9th grades. Cost: $6--general admission

Fun with Whirligigs in the Historical Park
Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m.
High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., HP
This early American toy proves that sometimes the simplest things are the most fun. Create hours of fun by making your own whirligig. $1 per whirligig. Free for members. Phone: 336-885-1859.

Summer on Trade
Saturday, July 25 from 7-10 pm
Corner 6th and Trade streets in The Arts District, W-S
The best street party in the Triad is back for its 10th year celebration. Each Saturday night this summer, plan to come to Downtown's Arts District for an eclectic mix of live music, delicious festival food and beverages and dancing in the streets. Fun for the entire family! Free. Phone: 336-354-1500.

Arts Splash Summer Concert Series
Sunday, July 26 from 6 - 7:30 pm
High Point Museum & Historical Park, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., HP
Arts Splash Outdoor Summer Concert Series continues with bluegrass band Boys from Carolina. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic dinner. Free. Phone: 336-889-2787.

Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park
Sunday, July 26 at 6 pm
Guilford College Campus, GSO
Bring the family and a picnic dinner and enjoy the Eastern Music Festival Fringe Concert. Free. Phone: 336-373-2373.

Sundays in the Park
Sunday, July 26 from 2 - 5 pm
Center City PArk, between N. Elm and N. Davie streets, GSO
In addition to bands, crafts, and children's activities, the event will feature music by John Goose & Robin Doby and The Stovepipes, as well as fire, police, and emergency responders will be in the Park giving safety and prevention tips. Free. Phone: 336-272-0160.

FREE Yoga Class for Beginners
Sunday, July 26 at 4:30 pm
Sunrise Yoga Studio 6000 Meadowbrook Mall, Suite 1, Clemmons
Join us for a yoga class designed just for people who are new to yoga. You will practice yoga poses, breathing exercises, relaxation and meditation techniques. See how yoga can change your life. For teens and adults. Registration is requested: call or email us. FREE. Phone: 336-778-1233. Email: info@sunriseyoga.net

What did we forget? Please add your event below!


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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Smarty Summer Craft Ideas for Kids


By Katie M

If you are reading this post between 6 am and 8 am, turn to Fox 8 TV! Today some of us Smarties will be featured live on the station's morning news program demonstrating summer craft ideas for kids. Our segments air at 6:15 am, 6:45 am, 7;15 am, 7:45 am, and 8:15 am.

We are sharing five crafts and have included information on each craft (plus one more that we couldn't feature on TV) in the blogs that follow. Just scroll down our site today and you'll see each individual craft as a separate blog. Each craft blog shows a picture of the finished product along with materials needed and steps to complete the craft.

We hope you'll try some - or all! - of these crafts with your children this summer. They make a nice break from the pool or beach routine, and some make great mementos from summer vacation trips!


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Smarty Summer Craft #1
















Demonstrated By Katie M; Craft Suggested by Rachel H's Mom

Flubber
Materials:
Warm Water
Elmers Glue
Food Coloring
Borax

Description:
This is a super easy craft that takes minutes to make with little to no mess. My children, ages 5 and 2, love the final product. It's a lot like Playdough, but less messy.

Using two separate bowls, combine the following mixes:

Mix 1
3/4 Cup Warm Water
1 Cup Elmers Glue (equal to two 4 oz bottles)
Food Coloring

Mix 2
2 teaspoons Borax
1/2 Cup Warm Water

Stir mix 1 together in a bowl. Stir mix 2 together in another bowl. Pour mix 1 into mix 2 and work it with your hands. You'll notice the flubber concoction beginning to solidify. At first it will be wet and slimy and there will be some water at the bottom of the bowl. But the more you work it with your hands, the water will start to evaporate and become more of a "gummy" consistency. Soon the flubber will get to the point where it doesn't stick to your hands anymore and that's when it ready to be played with. It helps to fold the flubber inside out when working it with your hands to make the extra water disappear. After you're done playing with the flubber, you can store in a Ziploc bag and it will stay pliable and moist.


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Smarty Summer Craft #2


By Guest Blogger Ashleigh Pike

Decorate your own picture frame
Materials: wooden Memory frame (pick these up at any craft store for about $1 Anything you want to decorate it with!
Ideas:Paint, markers, stickers, stencils, stamps, paper, glitter glue, etc.

Description: This is a wonderful, inexpensive project that you can do with children of any age. First, go to your local craft store and pick up a few wooden Memory frames. The 4X6 ones cost about $1. Once you have bought the frame, you probably already have all the materials you need to decorate it sitting in your house right now. Decide with your child what materials he/she wants to decorate with. Foam stickers are great to use with younger children or with a large group. If your child wants to paint it and then decorate it, allow time for the paint to dry. My favorite frame that my daughter made was a few years ago when we went to the beach with her godparents. She glued seashells that she had collected onto the frame and then we gave it to them with a cute photo of her in it from trip. They loved it! We have also made frames at Halloween by painting them orange, writing the year on it with a Sharpie and then decorating it with stickers. Let your child’s imagination go wild! This is also a great activity to do at parties as a favor for the kids to take home and then you give them a cute photo from the party later to put in it. Have fun!


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Smarty Summer Craft #3


Coastal Coasters
Created by Guest Blogger Marybeth Barrett

Materials:
Four Ceramic Tile Coasters – 4”x4” in a neutral, light tone
Decoupage Glue – I use Mod Podge
Decorative Paper
16 small felt or cork pads
Scissors
220-grit sandpaper
Cleaner (Like 409 or something)
Paper Towels
Sponge paint brush
Wax paper or newspaper to protect your work surface area
A damp cloth or sponge for messy hands

Description:
• Protect your work surface area.
• Grab four ceramic tile coasters. These can be found out Home Improvement stores or your local Habitat Restore. (Liberty Salvage downtown has some too!)
• Select your decorative paper and make sure it is large enough to cover all four coasters. The paper can be scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, color copies of artwork or photos, wallpaper, etc. **NOTE: Make sure the design on your paper does not run prior to adhering. You can do a test on a small scrap by applying glue to see if it runs or not.
• Place a tile face down on the paper and trace around it. Repeat three more times. Make sure you have traced around a pretty part of the paper design.
• Trim the paper just inside your trace lines with scissors or a paper cutter. There is a small ledge on most coasters so trimming inside the line will make it fit better.
• Using the sandpaper, sand and roughen up the topside of each coaster. I find this gives it a little more “tooth” so the glue and paper adhere better.
• Clean the tiles with 409 or other cleaner to remove dust and dirt.
• Let dry.
• Use your sponge paint brush to apply the glue to the back of the paper AND the topside of your ceramic tile.
• Once the paper is applied to the tile, immediately cover the top of the paper with a layer of Mod Podge.
• Remove any air bubbles with your fingers or brush. Repeat the process 3 more times for each coaster.
• Let dry.
• Follow up with at least 2 more coats of Mod Podge to protect the paper. Smarty Tip: I alternate my brush stroke direction from layer to layer.
• Let dry completely for at least a day before using!
• Add four cork or felt pads to the bottom corners of each coaster to protect your furniture.

Display, use, show and tell!

**Smarty Tip- if your decorative paper of choice smudges, there is a way around it. Use Krylon Preserve It Spray according to directions. It protects and seals the paper and keeps it from running. I love, love, love this stuff!!!


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Smarty Summer Craft #4



By Guest Blogger Summer R

How to make an adorable journal with bookmark!!

Materials:
Composition notebook (you know the kind you used to write your boyfriend’s name all over with hearts)
Colored Duct tape
Xyron clear laminating film (or crystal clear contact paper) (optional but helpful)
30 inches of ribbon
cute buttons, charms or do-dad’s
Sharp X-acto knife, or utility knife
1 piece of child’s art work
1 piece of cute paper or fabric
Spray Glue

Description:

1. Have child bead approximately 2 inches of ribbon with beads and do-dads
2. Trim left edge of cover art to a straight line.
3. Apply glue to front of notebook, and as straight as you can apply art work.
4. Open notebook and use super sharp knife to trim excess art work. (don’t cut yourself!!)
5. Repeat for back cover
6. Retrieve ribbon book mark from child (who has most likely been lassoing a sibling with it!)
7. Match up ends of ribbon and tie and itty bitty little knot.
8. Use a small piece of tape to hold the edge of the ribbon in place along the black spine of the notebook, the end of the ribbon should be approximately 1 inch from the bottom of the book.
9. Wrap the ribbon inside the front cover of the book
10. Use the colored duct tape to tape a new “spine”. Make sure that 1/2 the tape is on the front and 1/2 is on the back.
11. (optional) Use the Clear Laminating film (or contact paper) to cover the entire book, wrap approximately 1 inch inside the front and back cover. Trim excess carefully so as not to cut ribbon. (guess how I learned that!)
12. Encourage child to write daily.


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Smarty Summer Craft #5




By Guest Blogger Kristie T

Paper Mache Piggy Bank
Materials:
paper mache paste (recipe below)
newspaper torn into strips
one balloon per piggy bank
a paper egg carton
acrylic or tempera paint
paint brushes
pipe cleaners
* Note: Please plan for about an hour to paper mache your pig and 1-2 days of drying before you paint your pig.

Description:
1. Make your paper mache paste using:
2 cups of cold water
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of flour
1 tbsp salt
Place the flour in a large bowl and gradually add the water.
Mix using a wire whisk until the mixture looks like heavy cream.
2. Blow up a balloon for each child. (It's a good idea to give each child a small plastic bowl to "sit" the balloon in. This helps keep the balloon in one place as the child adds paper mache layers to it).
3. Dip individual strips of torn newspaper (about 1 inch wide) into the paper mache paste and place them on and around the balloon. Repeat this step until the balloon is completely covered with about 3 layers of newspaper.
Next it's time to add the snout and legs. Cut 5 separate egg compartments from your paper egg carton. Place one over the tie on the balloon for the snout and four (legs) at the base of your oval shaped pig. If you’d like you can also cut one egg compartment in half and use those as ears. Place each egg compartment on the pig and adhere them by using more strips of newspaper and the flour/water mixture.
Now it is time to dry it – find a place where no one will bother your pig. Outside is best if it is not too humid and it’s not going to rain!
4. When it is dry and hardened, use a sharp knife (adult only!) to cut a rectangular slot at the top of the pig through the layers of paper mache. Make sure you make it large enough to put coins and bills in it. This of course will pop the balloon. Remove the balloon through the hole.
5. Paint the piggy bank any color you choose with acrylic paint. After it is dry, draw or paint on eyes and ears (if you didn’t make them with the egg) compartments. Add a tail (curled pipe cleaner).
This is project takes a little longer than most to complete…but it is a great one for the summer when you want to get out of the heat for awhile!
Children love a place to keep their money safe and will be proud of their creation for years to come!


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Smarty Summer Craft #6



By Rachel H

Memory Wall
Materials: Scrapbook paper
Photos (4 x 6 vertical and horizontal shots)
8 x 10 Frames
Scrapbook photo tape or scotch tape
Optional: artwork from kids

Description: This is a great summer project to complete with your kids! You can decorate your child's bedroom or playroom wall while involving them in the process. First step is to decide how many frames and what sizes you would like to use. In the picture above, I went with 10 very inexpensive frames of all the same size. Then involve your children by going through photos and choosing which ones you would like to display on your Memory Wall. We tried to find a good mix of my son's little pals, grandparents, and other relatives. Then have your children choose scrapbook paper that will be the background of each frame. If they are old enough, they can cut the paper to fit inside the frame. Then they can tape two pictures inside each frame vertically or horizontally. Together, you can decide the layout for the wall. I actually traced the frames with chalk on the wall so that we could see how it would look before we hung them. Then put your frames together, hang them, and you've got a memory wall! There are so many options for individual walls. I did a wall for my niece's room and alternated frames with photos and frames with pictures of her artwork from school. They all still included the scrapbook paper as background in the frames to match the color scheme in her room. Other options are to paint illustrations in between the frames as I did with the airplanes. You can draw or write with chalk to practice and then paint right over top of it. The chalk wipes off easily with a dry towel, so no need to worry if you mess up while drawing! It is also a great opportunity to let your child do the drawing and painting themselves if they are old enough. You can also write words going horizontally or vertically around the frames such as "family", "friends", "happiness", "fun", etc. Most of all, have fun decorating your wall and enjoy going through the pictures with your children! (Double click on picture to enlarge.)


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Monday, July 20, 2009

Food Allergies: A Parent's Perspective



By Guest Blogger RLR

At my daughter’s recent well-child check-up, the pediatrician and I were discussing my daughter’s diet. More specifically, we were discussing that my daughter doesn’t care for meat. As we talked about alternatives to ensure that she is getting enough protein, we immediately removed the top two suggestions, peanut butter and eggs, from consideration. Why? Because my daughter is allergic to both of them.

Two summers ago, my husband and I learned of our daughter’s food allergies. We immediately cleared our refrigerator and pantry of any food that could cause another reaction, began reading food labels even more closely, and by tried to learn as much as we could from doctors, parents of food allergic children, and online resources. In our home and other familiar environments - such as the homes of family and friends, our church, or our preschool - we are very comfortable with the level of care and attention to preventing exposure. It’s when we leave these familiar surroundings that our level of concern shifts into overdrive...

Family gatherings, vacations, parties, cookouts, and trips to the pool are just some of the ways we all have fun in the summer. However, as the parent of a food-allergic child, I find that there is always a bit of worry that sneaks in when we should just be having fun. Finding ‘safe’ foods at potluck meals such as family gatherings and cookouts can be a challenge. Vacationing means not only being away from home, but perhaps being away from familiar restaurants and food brands. While we have experienced some accidental exposures, the lessons we have learned from each one have helped us anticipate situations where an allergen may be present and develop our family’s plan for avoiding future exposure.

The most important lesson we have learned is to ask questions. In a restaurant, we may ask to speak to the manager. We constantly read labels – even if someone who is aware of our daughter’s allergies is the one providing the food.

Our daughter was young when we learned of her allergies. She was still at the age where we often brought along her snacks and meals when we were out and about. As a result of her allergies, though, we have never stopped bringing them along. When we go on trips, we typically bring along our ‘safe’ granola bars, a jar of soy butter, and a few other treats in case there’s something served that our daughter cannot eat.

We do a quick visual survey when we arrive some place that is outside of our comfort zone. Because our daughter is still too young to completely understand her allergies, it is our job to be vigilant for her while we teach her ways to take care of herself.

Finally, but most importantly, we always bring along her medications just in case she is exposed to peanuts or eggs.

If you are not the parent of a food-allergic child, these precautions may seem overwhelming - or even extreme. I often get asked, “How do you do it?” or someone will say to me, “That must be hard!” Label-reading, lunch-packing, and treat-bag sorting are normal activities for our family. I think (hope!) we have made it to the point that it’s pretty inconspicuous most of the time.

There are a few things that make can special events more relaxing even though we are living with food allergies:
•Hosts that inquire about food allergies – we don’t expect a meal catered around our daughter’s diet, but we do appreciate knowing that bowls of nuts or candies won’t be sitting about
•Knowing in advance what foods will be served so we can plan accordingly, and a host who understands that we may decline certain foods or bring along alternatives
•When hosts ask for suggestions to provide a ‘safe’ alternative food
•Being able to read the labels on original food packaging whenever possible
•Teaching your children that sharing food with other children is not a good idea, unless they have permission from a parent

In any situation – summer, holidays, or even school events – an open dialogue is the most important factor in keeping a food-allergic child safe!
Here are a few online resources that I often use (click name to access):

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network
Raising Food Allergic Kids
Sure Foods Living
Food Allergy Buzz
The Nut-Free Mom

These are great suggestions for readers who may have children with allergies, but also for others who may not quite understand how serious this situation can actually be. Thank you, RLR, for some terrific insight on this topic! Also, RLR has an adorable and uplifting blog of her own that you can check out here! - RH


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Sunday, July 19, 2009

We Have a Winner!


By Katie M

A big congratulations goes out to Stephanie Kidd who won the recent Smarty Give-Away: a FREE family portrait session and 11x17 print from Andrea Halsey Photography! Wow, are we jealous!

Stephanie, her husband Bryan, and their 16-month-old son Hunter, live in High Point. Stephanie works part-time as a retail marketing representative for Gold Toe socks, and she also makes jewelry and does wedding calligraphy on the side. You can check out her creative endeavors on her web site.

Stephanie found out about Triad Smarty Pants from the Creative Container Warehouse sale blog we ran a few months back, and has been hooked ever since! Thanks for being a loyal reader, Stephanie, and we hope you and your family enjoy your photo session!

A very special thank you goes out to Andrea Halsey for sponsoring this Smarty give-away! One hundred and seventy moms registered for this give-away, ranking it the second highest in participation behind our Mother of All Mother's Day Give-Aways!

And thanks to everyone for participating. We have another great give-away lined up for next month, so stay tuned!


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Crib Sheets Designed for Easy Washing










By Jenny D, Charlotte Smarty Pants

I am amazed by all of the new baby products that continue to be introduced to make mom’s life easier. When I was pregnant with Annie last year, a friend of mine gave me the Ultimate Crib Sheet. She told me that I couldn’t live without it. And she was right. I had never heard of it before and forgot what a pain it truly is to change crib sheets. (See photos - the first one is a closeup of snaps on Ultimate Crib Sheet. The second one is of Annie's Crib featuring the Ultimate Crib Sheet).

The Ultimate Crib Sheet is designed so that you don’t have to remove the bumper pad or mattress every time you need to wash your crib sheet. It fits a standard crib mattress by lying on top of your fitted sheet and snapping to the rails of your crib. It allows your decorative sheet to show on the sides of your crib, so you don’t have to sacrifice style for function. The Ultimate Crib Sheet is a sheet on top, padding in the middle and vinyl next to the mattress. It is comfortable and absorbent, and it can handle four cups of liquid. And best of all, you rarely, if ever, have to take your regular crib sheet off. I recommend getting two so when it comes time to wash, you can quickly unsnap and snap another one on. This product lists for $18.00, but unfortunately only comes in white.

I looked into two other options, but I don’t have any personal experience with the Sheet Saver or Clouds and Stars sheets.

The Sheet Saver costs a lot less, two for $13.99. This sheet does not have all of the features of the Ultimate Crib Sheet. It is a quilted cover that ties to crib rails. It does not have the finish of a sheet on top and is not waterproof which was the biggest complaint that I found when researching. But it can function as a quick changing pad and comes in various colors to match your current bedding.

Clouds and Stars offers Quick Zip sheets that snuggly fit your mattress, but allows you to unzip just the top panel of the sheet for washing. This product is intended to replace a crib sheet, not work with it like the Ultimate Crib Sheet and Sheet Saver. These sheets are easy to use, pretty, and the only option that is truly decorative. A Starter Set sells for $32.99 – 35.99 which includes the zipper base and zipper top. You can buy an extra zipper top, which is highly recommended for $17.50. From a look standpoint, Clouds and Stars sheets are the best of the three because you are not covering the top of your decorative sheet, and it comes in solid and gingham colors to match any d├ęcor. Clouds and Stars also offers Quick Zip Play Sheets, Twins Sheets and Mattress Pads in several sizes.

If you have any experience with any of these crib sheet options, please let us know.


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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Smarty Mom: Elizabeth Douglass



By Rachel H

This week’s Smarty Mom is Elizabeth Douglass. Elizabeth is a wonderful mom and an amazing person. I truly think she has a secret twin because that is the only way I can explain how she is able to do all that she does! Elizabeth has two sons, Jacob who is 9 and Jack-Elden who is 6. She has a full-time job as a flight attendant with American Airlines and also works as a substitute teacher in the Forsyth County School System. Since that is not enough to keep her busy, Elizabeth started Salem College a few years ago, earned her teaching degree, and is currently working on her Masters. Elizabeth is very involved with her children and always hosts wonderful playdates at her home! She volunteers at the kids’ school and also at their church where she served 3 years on the Children’s Advisory Committee. Elizabeth has still found a way to take time for herself by completing two triathlons last year. She is currently training to do two more during 2009.

I hope you enjoy getting to know her and hear how she balances school, her jobs, and mommyhood.

My first question to you is the obvious one – how in the world are you able to juggle all of these things while being a single mom?
Time management, setting my priorities, and organization. (none of which I’m great at!)

I admire the fact that you still find time to plan wonderful activities with your boys. What advice do you have for other single moms in your situation who find it hard to spend quality time with their children?
Again, it’s all about time management. First and foremost I have to get a good night’s sleep to be able to function everyday. Next, prioritize…spending quality time with the boys is more important to me than cleaning house. I can clean when they are sleeping but we only get so much time with our children. We have to make the most of what we have! Also, keeping up a regular routine~ although our activities vary daily, we do our best to stay on a regular schedule with getting up in the mornings, meals and snack times, and bedtime.

The life of a flight attendant has always seemed so intriguing! What is your favorite part of that job?
The whole thing! Traveling to great places, working 6-12 days a month, and I really enjoy my days off to be home. And best of all, I NEVER have to bring any work home with me!

What inspired you to go back to school and earn your teaching degree?
The year I returned to NC my dad endured several health problems. My parents are the primary care givers of my boys when I am away and with his failing health I was not sure how much longer my parents would be able to care for the boys. I have always had the desire to be a teacher but have never had the time to go back to school to pursue this interest of mine. The timing was just right.

You grew up in the Triad, but also moved around quite a bit before settling back here. What is the best part about living in this area?
The sense of community~ it seems people really look after each other here. The friendships I have formed since moving back here are much stronger than I have had living in other parts of the country. People really reach out and care.

What is your favorite activity to do with your boys?
Riding bikes or scooters or just walking through the neighborhood in search of other friends out playing. Also, having playdates over to the house on a regular basis.

Favorite place to get a good deal on kids clothes?
I don’t buy a lot for the boys and Jack-Elden is the lucky recipient for most of Jacob’s clothes. Most of their clothes come from some great, low price stores in London.

What is your favorite park in the Triad?
Summit School playground in Winston. We always run into people there to play with and it has a lot of fun things to play on and with!

What is the funniest thing that either of your children have ever said to you?
One time I was singing in the car driving back from Discovery Place in Charlotte. It was a Mariah Carey song (why did I even bother?!?!) …. Anyway, when she was singing in her many octaves I tried to sing along and Jacob asked me with a VERY concerned tone what was wrong with me. I wasn’t sure what he was talking about and when I asked him he said I was moaning and he thought I was in pain. HAHAHA. I informed him I was singing. Needless to say I stay far away from Mariah these days!

What is your favorite restaurant that you go to as a family?
Golden Corral b/c we always have many choices of good food and everyone finds something they like. Plus, they have an awesome array of desserts!

Favorite “Mommy Time” activity?
I consider my work a “mommy time” activity. I get to spend a whole day in London by myself or with friends. But I also enjoy meeting friends for coffee after dropping the boys at school (if I’m not teaching). And I love riding my bike, swimming, or exercising at the gym. That helps release any stress I may have.

The best birthday party you ever attended?
They have all been lots of fun. Bounce U is a favorite of the boys but I always like the down home ‘at your own house’ parties!

What has been your favorite blog thus far on Triad Smarty Pants?
My favorite part of TSP by far has been the Day Trip Series! I love having new places to visit!

You could not live without?

Friends and family. They are what keep my world moving!

Thanks, Elizabeth, for your Smarty answers!

If you know a Mom or Dad who you think is Smarty, email us at triadsmartypants@gmail.com with your nomination!








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Friday, July 17, 2009

Got Multiples?







By Guest Blogger Jennifer Isaman, TCMOM's President

I will never forget the day my husband, my daughter and I went for an ultrasound to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. The Sonographer asked me (in a very calm voice), “How many babies did the doctor say you were having?” Well, being that we had a picture on our refrigerator from a prior ultrasound with just one baby, my answer was “one." I was still oblivious to the fact that she asked that question for a reason. The next words out of her mouth were a blur ... "Well, honey, there are two in there." What? How can that be? We don’t have any multiples in our families and that notion had never crossed my mind! My daughter looked at the Sonographer and asked if we were on Candid Camera. It was a day we will never forget.

The next couple days were a blur and we had sooooo many questions about the journey on which we were getting ready to embark. I had never known anyone with twins so, it was difficult to get answers to the many questions I had. Luckily, I found out that there was a group in town that could help.

The first night I went to a meeting with the Twin City Mother’s of Multiples (TCMOM’s) I realized that I was not the only person in the world having twins. I left that meeting feeling like I had found a place that could offer me the help I was searching for.

TCMOM’s meets the 4th Monday of every month in Winston-Salem. We have many members from all the surrounding areas. The Club has a variety of guest speakers and topics related to Multiples of all ages. We enjoy games, refreshments, and lots of “Mom to Mom” time. We even have a “Question Box” where Moms can write a question anonymously to be discussed with the group. Aside from the monthly meetings we also have Spring/Fall clothing sales, Ladies Night Out, family events/parties, and we are involved with several area charities.

TCMOM’s has gotten me through everything from dealing with preemies, to potty training, to how to survive financially. I have made some lifelong friendships and I feel like I have all the ammunition I need to tackle my crazy life with Twins! Happy 4th Birthday Boys!

For more information on Twin City Mother’s of Multiples go to: www.tcmoms.org

To find a Mothers of Multiples club in your area go to: www.ncmom.org

Today is THE the last day to sign up for the fabulous FREE family portrait session with Andrea Halsey Photography! This promotion ends at Noon today, and the winner will be announced on July 19. You must be a Triad Smarty Pants newsletter subscriber to enter. Just click here to register. Good luck!


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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Smarty Alert: Our Fox 8 Kids Craft Segment has been Rescheduled



Please note: We had mentioned in our newsletter that some of us Smarty bloggers will be on Fox 8 TV early tomorrow morning, but that has changed. We are now scheduled LIVE for Tuesday, July 21, and we'll be featuring fun summer craft ideas for kids at 6:15 am, 6:45 am, 7:15 am, 7:45 am, and 8:15 am. We'll also run all the steps and materials needed for each craft on our site that same day.

So don't wake up too early tomorrow! Save that for Tuesday. We hope you'll tune in!


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Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events




By Katie M

Wahoo, it's Wednesday! Just two more days to another beautiful weekend! And just two more days to register for our fabulous FREE family portrait session and FREE 11x17 print with Greensboro-based Andrea Halsey Photography! This promotion ends at Noon on Friday, so sign up now! Just be sure you are a Triad Smarty Pants newsletter subscriber first!

Before you head into the weekend, there are a couple of cool events happening tomorrow. First, Music in the Courtyard (in the Stratford Commons Shopping Center behind Big Shots) has kicked off and will continue every Thursday night from 7 to 9 pm until September 4.

Also, if you are interested in buying, selling, or just learning about the benefits of cloth diapers, then mark your calendar for the second Cloth Diaper Swap/Sale being held tomorrow, Thursday, July 16, at 9:30am at 721 Luxbury Road, in Winston-Salem, 27104. Email clothdiaperwinstonsalem@gmail.com for more information.

As for the rest of the weekend, read on!

Poolside Movie Night!
Friday, July 17 at 8 pm
Kernersville Parks & Recreation, 1385-B South Park Dr., Kernersville, NC
Join KPRD for an outdoor family movie, popcorn & lemonade. COll off after a hot July day and enjoy some family entertainment at the Kernersville Community Water Park located at the Kernersville Family YMCA, 1113 W. Mountain St. No registration necessary. $10 per family of up to 5 & YMCA members are FREE. Phone: 336-996-3062.

"West Side Story"
Thursday-Friday, 7 p.m. and Sunday 2 p.m.
Location: Weaver Academy Theatre, 300 S. Spring St., GSO
City Arts Drama Center’s three acting troupes present their summer musical and join together to tell the love story of Tony and Maria, amid a turf war between the Jets and the Sharks. $10. Phone: 336-335-6426.

Friday Midnight Basketball
Friday, July 17
Simkins Indoor Sports Pavilion, Barber Park, 1500 Dan’s Road, GSO
This summer, The Next Level of the Triad and The Hope Project are bringing back Midnight Basketball at Barber Park. Beginning May 15 – August 14, middle school and high school students are invited to come out every Friday night from 8:30–11:30 p.m. for some of the best pick-up games in the city. Bring your friends and form a team, or join up with other players. Busta Brown from 97.1 WQMG will be on site with great music and prizes. Guest speakers will be on hand with a special message for teens at 10 p.m. each evening. A designated court will be available for women’s games only. Please note games will not be held on June 19 or July 3. Free. Phone: 336-297-5019.

La Leche League Monthly Meeting
Friday, July 17 from 10 - 11:30 am
Leonard Center, 6324 Ballinger Road, GSO
Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are welcome for breastfeeding information and support. Babies and toddlers are always welcome. Free.

Preteen Friday Night Dance
Friday, July 17 from 6 - 9 pm
Thataways Youth Center, 1334 Overbrook Road, Burlington
Preteens in grades 3-5 can come out and have a great time dancing to the latest music and meeting other preteens. Concessions are open with pizza and cold drinks. Video games and billiards are always available for play.$4. Phone: 336-222-5134.

No Boundaries: Beginner 5K Training Program
Saturday, July 18
Whole Foods Market 41 Miller Street, Winston-Salem
Hit the ground running this fall! This 12-week training program (includes: coaching, informational clinics and more) is designed for beginner runners and others that are currently inactive or minimally active. No Boundaries is an excellent way to get in shape and become healthier. Stop by Saturday, July 18 from 12-4pm for more information and to register.336-722-9233.

Alamance County Arts Council’s Saturday Family Fun Day
Saturday, July 18 from 10 - 11:30 am
Captain White House, 213 S. Main St. Graham
The event is full of interactive, entertaining and educational art activities for children of all ages and features an Animal Safari theme. Members, $2 per family; non-members, $5 per family. Phone: 336-226-4495.

Summer on Trade
Saturday, July 18 from 7 - 10 pm
Corner 6th and Trade streets in The Arts District, W-S
The best street party in the Triad is back for its 10th year celebration. Each Saturday night this summer, plan to come to Downtown's Arts District for an eclectic mix of live music, delicious festival food and beverages and dancing in the streets. Fun for the entire family! Free. Phone: 336-354-1500.

Village Fair at Mendenhall
Saturday, July 18 from 10 to 4 pm
City Lake Park, 602 W. Main St., Jamestown
The High Point Museum opens the Mendenhall Meeting House in City Lake Park as part of the day’s celebration of the history of the Quakers, early Jamestown and the Historic Mendenhall Plantation. Free. Phone: 336-454-3819.

Kool Kreme Social
Sunday, July 19 at 2 pm
Krispy Kreme--Greensboro 2401 Battleground Avenue, Greensboro
Come celebrate the launch of Krispy Kreme's new soft serve at the Kool Kreme Social! Join the fun at Krispy Kreme, sample Kool Kreme, and enjoy an afternoon of "kool" surprises. There will be activities for all ages including art projects, activities organized by the featured non-profits, "kool" music, and more. The Krispy Kreme antique delivery truck also will be on hand to add to the festivities. Krispy Kreme will donate 20 percent of all sales during the Social at the Battleground Road store to the Greensboro Children's Museum.

“Create Your Own Cookie”
Sunday 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or Tuesday 1:30-3 p.m.
Spring Garden Bakery & Coffee House, 1932 Spring Garden St., GSO
Let your imaginations and taste buds run wild! Use our basic dough and ingredients to create your own unique cookie. For 7 years old and up. Reservations required. $20.Phone: 336-272-8199.

Carolina One Love Reggae Festival
Sunday, July 19 at 4 pm
Lee Street Parking Lot, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St. GSO
Some of reggae’s hottest artists will help the Carolina One Love Fest celebrate its fifth anniversary. In addition to performances by Mystic and Akon’s Konvict Muzik acts Rock City and Verse, the following stars will hit the stage: Bounty Killer, Serani, Collie Buddz, Tanya Stephens and Mavado. $35; 12 and under, free. Phone: 1-800-745-3000.

Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park
Sunday, July 19 at 6:30 pm
Lindley Park, Starmount Drive at W. Market St. and Wendover Ave., GSO
Bring the family and a picnic dinner and enjoy music featuring the Philharmonia of Greensboro. Free. Phone: 336-373-2373.

What did we forget? Please add your event scoop below!


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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Smarty Kids: Be A Germ Fighter!



By Rachel H

I just signed up to attend one of these classes with my daughter and thought you all might be interested! These are offered at Best Health in Hanes Mall and the best part is that they are FREE! Please call 336-716-2255 to register, and read below for all the details.


Tuesday, July 21, 11 am to noon
For ages 3 to 5
In this session for children ages 3 to 5, kids will enjoy a hands-on demonstration that teaches them how to be germ fighters! Children will learn proper hand washing techniques in a fun, age-appropriate session using games, songs and the GlitterBug® educational tool.

Tuesday, July 28, 11 am to noon
For ages 6 to 8
In this session for children ages 6 to 8, kids will enjoy a hands-on demonstration that teaches them how to be germ fighters! Children will learn proper hand washing techniques in a fun, age-appropriate session using games, songs and the GlitterBug® educational tool.

For more classes offered by Brenner Children's Hospital, visit Best Health.


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