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Monday, August 31, 2009

Smarty Alert: What you need to know about Swine Flu

By Guest Blogger Dr. William Satterwhite, Twin City Pediatrics

A lot of information continues to swirl about in the media concerning what has been dubbed the “swine” flu. The swine flu, or “H1N1” as it is known in the medical world, is really just a new strain of seasonal flu (Influenza A) that comes through North Carolina every winter. “Seasonal flu,” as I will call it from here on, typically causes about 35,000 deaths in the U.S. every winter. Fortunately for us in pediatrics, only about 100 of those deaths each year are in children, typically in children less than 2 years of age, and about 50% of the time these children have an underlying medical condition which makes them more susceptible to a bad outcome.

Because the H1N1 strain is new, no one is sure exactly what it is going to do. So far, it has been a relatively mild illness. The children we have seen that have tested positive in our office have typically had fevers of over 102 degrees with a mild headache and a little cough, but they have not looked as tired and wiped out as what we see with the seasonal flu. Hopefully, this will be all that the H1N1 will do.

The concern among the infectious disease gurus is that the virulence or “badness” of the H1N1 will increase as we go throughout the year. The CDC and others continue to run models of different levels of virulence with different numbers of infected individuals. They are trying to be prepared in the event of a worst case scenario where millions of Americans are infected, hundreds of thousands to 1.5 million are hospitalized, and several hundred thousand people die. This is unlikely but, thankfully, we have people working on what to do if that happens.

Vaccines remain the best defense against contracting or spreading both kinds of the flu. Seasonal flu vaccines are expected to be available in October, as usual. Vaccines for the new H1N1 virus are currently being produced and tested. It is anticipated that these vaccine doses will be available in the fall, probably around October or so. What is not known yet is how many doses will be available. I have heard numbers that ranged from as low as 50 million to as high as 150 million doses. Currently, the people eligible for the first available H1N1 vaccines are the following: pregnant women; household contacts/caregivers for kids less than 6 months old; healthcare workers; all people from 6 months to 24 years old, and people from 24 years to 64 years old with underlying health conditions. Interestingly, people 65 and older appear to have some immunity to the H1N1 virus, presumably from other flu strains that circulated a long time ago. (A child must be over 6 months old to receive either vaccine.)

So what should you do? First and foremost, don’t panic. Second, get your children vaccinated against both flu strains once those vaccines become available. Third, if you or your child has fever, chills, headache, cough and runny nose, go to the doctor; both strains of the flu are treatable with Tamiflu if you start taking it within the first 48 hours. Finally, wash your hands frequently and don’t suck on your thumb or fingers! If you need more info, the best place to find it is at


Smarty Sponsor: Open Dream Ensemble

By Guest Bloggers Linda H and Ann U

Go!! Transport yourself and the kids by plane, train, automobile, whatever gets you there – and enjoy family friendly, live theatre from the Open Dream Ensemble: “Peril on the Red Planet” and “Dream Machines”.

Both shows held the attention of my boys ages 10 and 5, especially “Peril on the Red Planet” with its facts about Mars, scene-stealing keystone cops, kung fu choreography, and Zartok 3 (the unseen killer robot). I really liked the occasional use of haiku. This is a story about teamwork, empathy, responsibility, courage and sacrifice but none of that gets in the way as13 yr old Diana tries to save the planet she loves. And her robot, Abeona sure can dance! Behold the power of the performing arts.

Even though “Dream Machines” doesn’t have a killer robot, we all still highly recommend it. It’s inspiring to watch how crazy dreamers with crazy ideas can change the world. Katharine Wright narrates the action as her brothers, Orville and Wilbur, keep trying to fly. In between Henry Ford (cars) and Octave Chanute (trains) remind us of other new ideas on the horizon. My boys liked the singing and the dancing and the progression of inventions that popped-up, and they liked it most when it happened at the same time. My favorite part was watching brothers help each other achieve their dreams. - LH

The Open Dream Ensemble, a professional multi-disciplinary children’s theater group, will premiere two new original plays on Thursday, September 3, at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center. Both shows are free and open to the public, and the audience is welcome to attend one or both productions.

Dream Machines: The Impossible Happens will be performed at 6:30 p.m. and tells the amazing story of the advancements in travel at the turn of the 20th century through dance, music and drama. Told through the eyes of the Wright Brothers’ sister Katharine, Dream Machines follows Orville, Wilbur and Katharine as they pursue their dream of flying. Dream Machines is geared to grades K-5.

Peril on the Red Planet will be performed at 7:30 p.m. and is set in the future and tells the story of 13 year-old Diana as she works to end famine on Mars. She reconstructs the machine that made human habitation possible on Mars and unexpectedly unleashes more problems. Her efforts to save life on Mars lead her on an important quest, during which she learns life lessons about community, responsibility, teamwork and sacrifice. Peril on the Red Planet is geared to grades 3-8.

The Open Dream Ensemble is a professional outreach program of the University North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in Winston-Salem and is comprised of professional artists who trained in dance, drama, and music at UNCSA.

The Open Dream Ensemble is a project of the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, which incubates projects that sustain artists at every point in their creative development through strategic partnerships that capitalize on visionary thinking in the arts. - AU

We hope to see you there!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Etsy So Cool!

By Jen P & Charlotte Smarty Pants Guest Blogger, Nikki W

If you're an eBay junkie (like me in my previous life before I had my own blog:-), then you may want to cruise around Etsy, your place to buy and sell all things handmade. Thanks to my Smarty friend, Nikki, I was introduced to Etsy a few months ago when she started selling her presh monogrammed items under The Freckled Thread, a la Etsy. Since I'm very green to Etsy but think the concept is brilliant, I turned to Nikki to educate our Smarty readers on this savvy handmade marketplace.

Here's Nikki (with a few of Jen P's random comments, you'll know which ones they are;-)
Etsy only allows handmade items. Etsy first launched their site in June 2005. The sheer diversity and quality of all the handmade items on Etsy might surprise you. You can find cheesy items that look thrown together and you can also find high quality goods. Some of the things you can find are: glass pendants, pottery, furniture, sculptures, paintings, clothing, keychains, baby items, purses and handbags, greeting cards, hats, buttons, dolls, masks, beads, soap, blankets, toys, and the list goes on. Unlike eBay, Etsy is not an auction site. There is no bidding involved, the price you see is the price you get. One thing that eBay and Etsy have in common is the feedback system. Etsy sellers take the feedback system just as seriously as eBay sellers. Etsy sellers rely on good feedback for their reputation. I have found that Etsy sellers are more eager to establish a friendly and personal experience with their customers. All items are hand-crafted by the shop owner, so there is a true sense of pride with every item.

Etsy Fees:
With Etsy, you receive 5 large high quality images, description space and 4 months of exposure for any item you list for a fee of 20 cents. Etsy gets 3.5% of your selling price. You can list roughly 9 items for the same listing fee that it costs you on eBay to list 1 time for 7 days. So for example: a $10 item cost $1.30 to list for 3-7 days on eBay. A $10 item cost 20 cents to list for 4 months on Etsy. eBay gets 88 cents of the final value of a $10 item where Etsy only takes 35 cents of the final value of a $10 item. Etsy's prices are awesome for the seller!

How to search Etsy:
There are several fun features to help you search through the hundreds of items on Etsy. The treasuries are themed galleries compiled by Etsy members. "Pounce" shows recently sold items and other items available from that seller. "The Time Machine" shows items as they are listed. "Shop Local" allows you to support local artists or crafters in your area (very Smarty - we LOVE local!). Etsy also has the basic categories that can be very helpful. If you know of a shop that you want to look at, you go under Sellers:usernames and type in the shop name or you can access a specific shop by For example my address would be (hint, hint!).

My personal Etsy story:
I decided to open a shop on Etsy after many friends and family members had been encouraging me to start my own website. Well, to a working mom and mother of 3 that started like a big undertaking. So, after hearing about Etsy from a good friend this sounded like a leap I was willing to take. It was SO easy to set up my own shop on Etsy. I bought my shop banner from another "Etsian" and the steps to list and item are so simple and easy to follow - especially for one who is not too computer savvy. All you have to do to start is click on the "SELL" icon and it is laid out for you to have a successful experience. What I like best about Etsy is the family community you feel. Whenever, I have had a question and I had to contact their support, I always received a very friendly, cheerful, prompt and personal email. Another thing I like is the personal and friendly feeling when you contact any other seller. You can really feel the pride they feel in their handcrafted item and they really want you to enjoy it.

Freckled Thread (The goods!)
My shop is all custom monogramming. I have a lot of baby and children's items. But I also have fun gifts for friends, co-workers, teachers, and coaches. I pride my shop in excellent quality, good prices and very quick turn around. I usually sew out my orders that day or the next. Check me out:

Thanks, Nikki! For all you Smarties who are dreaming of becoming "mompreneurs", you may want to seriously consider Etsy. This is the ticket for sure!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Smarty Mom: Paula Cancro

By Rachel H

We have a new Smarty Mom to introduce you to today, Paula Cancro. Paula has lived in the Triad for 16 years after moving from Buffalo, NY. She and her husband, Lance, now live in Kernersville and have five beautiful and well-mannered children, Austin 14, Maia 11, Anthony 9, Daniel 6, and Nina 4.

For the last four years, Paula worked part-time, but this year she will re-enter the workforce as a full-time employee. She is the lead teacher and director of Our Lady of Mercy Preschool in Winston-Salem. Not only is this her place of employment, but she spends many hours volunteering here as well. Paula is currently pursuing her Master of Education in Birth through Kindergarten degree at Salem College through a scholarship from Smart Start of Forsyth County. She is always looking for training opportunities throughout the year to help her learn and grow as a teacher. As many moms know, working, raising children, and going back to school can put many of your personal hobbies on hold! Paula still tries to find time to read before bed and garden, even if it has to be limited to container gardening…

Paula was nominated by Elizabeth, who had this to say, “Paula is a caring, generous and loving person. I felt this as soon as I walked into the Pre-K classroom at Our Lady of Mercy School where my son had her as his teacher this past year. She creates a loving, nurturing environment where every child learns, grows and has fun. She respects and values each child as an individual and teaches them that their potential is limitless. Paula teaches the children patience, love and understanding through her own actions. She spends many hours investing in the children. Paula is fun-loving, positive, creative, and energetic. She has a smile and a laugh that can light up a room. When you talk with Paula she truly listens and cares. It is what we do with what we are given and the positive effect it has on others that truly shows greatness. Paula demonstrates kindness, service and sacrifice for others in the day to day things. For this and all the countless things Paula does for her students, school, church, family, and community she is a great person. Paula is a true blessing to our family.”

Let’s hear more from this week’s Smarty Mom …

With preschools getting ready to open their doors, what are a few tips you can share with moms sending their babies off to school for the first time?
1.Familiarize your child with their new preschool classroom. I schedule at least two opportunities for my new preschoolers to visit the classroom and to meet me before starting the new school year. This makes dropping off on that first day much less stressful for parent and child.
2.Children can sense if a parent is anxious about sending them off to school for the first time. Try your best to be upbeat and positive on the outside, even if you are feeling sad or anxious on the inside!

What is the most rewarding part of being a preschool teacher?
My job is never boring and not one day is ever the same.

With five children, you have obviously been successful in time management! What is your best tip for moms with large families?
Moms with large families will tell you that prioritizing is a must. When I had only my first and second child, it was actually more stressful because I felt that I needed to be Super Mom and do it all, and do it perfectly. The gift of having five children is that I know that I can't do it all. The only way to keep my sanity is to make a list and prioritize- really prioritize. When you do this you find that the world will not come to an end if you don't make hand decorated cookies for every school event!

You have lived in the Triad for 16 years now. What do you think is the best kept secret in the area?
I am probably biased, but I think the best kept secret is Kernersville! My husband and I grew up in very small towns and we found that Kernersville offers the small town community with the conveniences of stores, restaurants, and easy access to Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point. We love taking the kids to the Fourth of July Parade, the Christmas Parade, and the Honey Bee Festival.

What is the smartiest way you save money?
Choosing one is going to be tough because I save money in so many ways with a house of five children. I know that many people say that they don't have time to clip coupons, but I can't afford not to! I buy only the Sunday paper and clip only the coupons of items my family uses. I will even go buy additional newspapers if there are a large number of coupons that week. I then wait for items to go on sale before using my coupons. On average I save about $50 per shopping trip in coupons.

What is your favorite family activity?
Our favorite activity is geocaching. It is free, it's fun, and you can do it anywhere!

Favorite “me-time” activity?
Going out with a friend to get a specialty coffee and just talking without interruptions.

Favorite place to eat dinner as a family?
El Palenque, a Mexican restaurant in Walkertown

Favorite date night spot?
We both love to eat and it is a special treat to go out for Thai food.

Favorite book you have read?
At our family reunion this year all of the thirty-somethings were reading the Twilight series, staying up until the wee hours of the night reading and then being exhausted the next day. I was telling my friend about it and she said, “You have to read it, I'm giving you the first book." I have now read the first two books and told my friend not to drop off number three because I cannot stay up late again this week! The books are so easy to read and are very entertaining- and to think I used to be an English major.

Best place to eat lunch with the kids?
With five kids I have no loyalty to a particular restaurant! Our favorite restaurant to eat lunch often depends on who offers the best deal in town.

Favorite place to shop for children’s clothes?
I shop anywhere there is a bargain, but my go-to store is Target.

What is the best birthday party you have attended?
Honestly, the best birthday parties are the ones that keep it relaxed and simple. It is nice when the kids can play in the backyard, have cake and ice cream and just enjoy being together to celebrate.

What is your favorite mom’s must have item for around the house?
No contest- it is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser!

Mini-van or SUV?
I love my old reliable mini-van, but I have to admit that my husband's SUV is much more comfortable, especially now that our children are getting bigger.

Favorite park in the Triad?
Triad Park in Kernersville

Favorite or most helpful blog you have read on Triad Smarty Pants thus far?
A Day in the Life of a Modern Teen because I know Jennifer, our kids went to school together and because she always finds humor in any situation. I have a teen and the whole texting thing makes me feel ancient. I can't imagine if I had the opportunity to text and use a cell phone as a teenager. I had to use a rotary dial phone which was attached to the wall in the front room, well within earshot of my father!!!

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
The Triad is a great place to raise a family. The best thing is that my children live in a safe environment.

I could not live without my...
Small yellow pad of paper and mechanical pencil. I carry it everywhere to make my lists.

Paula, we thank you for sharing a little about yourself with us today. It is obvious why you truly are a Smarty!

If you are reading this post and it reminds you of a Smarty Mom or Dad that you know, email us at to nomiate someone.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Breastfeeding: One of the most important decisions a new mom makes

By Cherrie Welch, M.D., M.P.H. Neonatologist and Pediatrician at Brenner Children’s Hospital

One of a mother's first decisions is "Should I breastfeed my new baby?" There are many opinions as to what choice a new mom should make. As a pediatrician and neonatologist, I am always encouraging new mothers to breastfeed their infants. In my opinion, it’s one of the most important first decisions a new mom makes and can significantly impact how a baby develops and grows.

There have been numerous public health campaigns to increase awareness of the health benefits for breastfeeding mother and baby diads. In spite of these efforts, only 60%of mothers nationally even attempt to breastfeed and many fewer continue breastfeeding their infant for six months ... the minimum time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

To highlight just a few of the benefits, infants who are breastfed are less likely to develop infections during infancy, as well as a variety of other serious disorders throughout their lifetime, including:

 Type 1 diabetes
 Type 2 diabetes
 Lymphoma and leukemia
 Obesity
 High cholesterol
 Asthma

In addition, children who were breastfed have been found, on average, to have a slightly higher IQ than those children who were fed only formula.

Researchers at Brenner Children’s Hospital, part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, continue to study the health benefits of mother’s milk, particularly for infants born prematurely. A study is currently underway to investigate the effects of omega-3 fatty acids, an important component of breast milk, on the developing gastrointestinal tract. Another study is being conducted to determine the effect of breast milk on the maturation of brain waves in preterm infants.

New moms should seek the advice of other breastfeeding mothers, their primary care physicians and lactation consultants to help with feeding issues during the early months. Stick with it. New moms who learn to breastfeed and continue for a month are on the road to success.

Another potential issue is milk production. It is very rare for a mother to physically not be able to breastfeed her infant. One potential reason for an inability to produce milk is prior breast surgery, although many women who have had breast surgery can successfully breastfeed. If a woman can physically not produce milk, then, of course formula or pasteurized human milk from a donor milk bank are acceptable alternatives. Frustration with breastfeeding can also contribute to a mom’s ability to continue to breastfeed, as well as lack of sleep and the demands of caring for a newborn. A lactation consultant can provide tips on how to overcome these issues and help a new mom on her way to successful breastfeeding.

For women with large or inverted nipples, there are now several aids available to help the baby latch on and lactation consultants can teach mothers how to use these. If the baby cannot latch on with these, a mother should consider pumping her breasts and providing the breast milk via bottle. One of the many great things about breast milk is that it is free!

One of the main factors influencing a woman’s decision to breastfeed is the support she has from family and friends to do so. Most mothers make this decision during, or even prior to, the pregnancy. However, research has shown that mothers who initially decide against it can be encouraged to successfully breastfeed and thus provide their infant with all of the known, and yet unknown, benefits of nature’s best infant nutrition. Some breast milk is better than none. Many mothers see breastfeeding as an all or nothing game, but infants can attain benefit from even small amounts of their mother’s milk.

And just because a mother wasn’t successful breastfeeding her first child, does not mean that she shouldn’t try breastfeeding subsequent children. Each child is different. I would encourage new mothers to try again. They might be surprised with the results.

It takes patience and a willingness to try, but the rewards are endless.

Share your thoughts with us!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Preparing Your Little One for Preschool

By Guest Blogger Susan Stephens, Teacher at Knollwood Baptist Church Preschool's that time of year again!! It doesn't matter if this is your first child to go to preschool or your third child, going to preschool can be both exciting and tearful all at the same time.

Read below to find some helpful tips for you and your preschooler as the start of the year gets closer:

1) Be sure to attend your child's Open House or Orientation with his or her teacher. Most of the time, this is scheduled as a one-on-one (or even a small group) time with the teacher and the assistant right in your child's classroom. The teachers typically want you to bring your child with you -- this gives both you and the child an opportunity to see their new classroom and get acquainted with all the new sights they will be seeing each day this year.

If your child's Open House or Orientation is a one-on-one opportunity, take this time to tell the teacher and assistant about your child. It is always best to be as honest as possible -- the teacher would rather you let her know ahead of time that Julie sometimes tends to bite other children now, so they can go ahead and be prepared. Believe me -- most teachers have seen most everything and nothing will come as much of a be honest and tell them all the great things about your child as well as any potential issues that might arise.

Finally, be mindful of your assigned time slot for your child's Open House or Orientation. The teachers have assigned these times so that they can spend equal time with all the parents and children, so please arrive on time and be aware of when your time slot is coming to a close.

2) Take your child over to the preschool and walk around before the first day of school. Go out on the playground and let them play. The more they are familiar with the preschool building and setting, the more comfortable they will be once preschool begins. Ask your child's teacher for a class list so you can make plans to invite some other classmates over to the preschool playground to play.

3) More than likely...there will be tears!! It doesn't matter if you are dropping off a 2-year-old or a 5-year-old, children will cry and parents will cry!! The teachers are ready and prepared for this and they are more than OK with you leaving your crying child with them. The longer you stay around, the harder it is to leave (for both you and your child!!) Make plans to say good-bye and leave them in the capable hands of their teacher. If it makes you feel better, most preschools will be glad for you to call back and have someone go check on your child to see if they are OK (and most often -- they are fine!!)

If your child's preschool offers a drop-off option, take advantage of it. Everyone understands walking your child in on the first day of school (I certainly plan to walk my 3rd grader and my kindergartner in on their first day!!), but after that, make plans to use the drop-off line. It may be hard at first and there may be a few tears and struggles, but like saying good-bye, it will quickly pass and you'll be so thankful that your child is gaining independence and growing up!!

4)Finally, if you do have any questions or concerns or just want to check in on your child with their teacher, be sure to e-mail them or give them a call. Generally speaking, drop-off and pick-up times are not always conducive for having a parent-teacher meeting. Every teacher would be love to speak to you about your child and address any concerns you might be having, but they can give you much more personal attention if they are not trying to load or unload children at the same time they are trying to talk to you. Just ask your child's teacher what method of communication they prefer and then drop them a message or give them a call.

Most of all, remember these wonderful days of preschool will be over before you know it!!! Have fun and your child will have fun as well!!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Smarty Alert: Get Ready for The 6th Annual Tri for Kids' Sake

By Rachel H

Mark your calendars for next Saturday, September 5th! Whether you have a child who can participate in this Youth Triathlon, or you just want to cheer on others, this will be a fantastic event for all ages.

Tri for Kids' Sake Youth Triathlon will take place at the Sheraton Hills Swim Club in High Point. Races begin at 8am and run through 11am. Participants can register online at You can also get more specific information about the event through this website.

There will be a post race party by Your Personal DJ, as well as consessions. The triathlon will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and United Cerebral Palsy.

We hope to see you there!


Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events

By Katie M

Happy Wednesday, Smarties! We hope the first day of school went well for many of you yesterday! Today’s event blog is sponsored by The Carolina Summer Music Festival presented by the Old Salem Museums & Gardens and the Carolina Chamber Symphony Players.

In its second season, The Carolina Summer Music Festival features music that appeals to a broad range of people of all ages and levels of music appreciation. This Saturday, August 29, the Carolina Scrapbook family concert will take place at 11 am with WXII 12 meteorologist Lanie Pope (pictured between between Anita Cirba and Ken Wilmot of the festival brass ensemble) narrating. The event will be a unique and interactive concert featuring a multi-media musical journey through the history of North Carolina: the Colonial Era, the Civil War, turn of the 20th Century and up to the present day.

Carolina Scrapbook will take place in Gray Auditorium at the Old Salem Visitors Center on the campus of the Old Salem Museums & Gardens. General admission is $5 per student, $9 per adult, and free for those two and under. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call 336.721.7350.

As for the rest of the weekend scoop, read on!

Cinema Under the Stars
Friday, August 28. Gates open at 8 p.m. Film 9 p.m.
Reynolda House Museum of American Art, 2250 Reynolda Road, W-S
Come early and bring a picnic dinner then stay for the musical movie "Moulin Rouge," shown outdoors under the stars. Members, $3; non-members, $5. Phone: 336-758-5389.

Discount Friday Night
Friday, August 28 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. The Museum is partnering with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC. When you bring in one canned food item this Friday night to Discount Friday Night you will receive free admission into the Museum. One canned food item = one free admission. Phone: 336-723-9111.

Family Bingo Night
Friday, August 28 from 6 - 7:30 pm
Greensboro Children's Museum, 220 N. Church St., GSO
Bring the whole family for a fun night of family BINGO Bonanza. Bingo card, markers and lots of fun prizes provided. Free with museum admission, $3. Phone: 336-574-2898.

Greensboro Mothers of Multiples Fall/Winter Children's Consignment Sale
Thursday 7-9 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
and Saturday 8 a.m.-Noon.(1/2 price).
Starmount Presbyterian Church, 3501 West Market St., GSO
Come shop for gently used children's clothing, toys, baby equipment, and much more. Free admission.

“Little Miss Triad” Talent Competition
Saturday, August 29, Time TBA.
Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Odeon Theatre, 1921 W. Lee St., GSO
Community Theatre of Greensboro presents a talent competition featuring girls ages 5-10. Categories include special talent, creative costume, best dress, and community support. $5. Phone: 336-333-7470.

Greensboro Children’s Theatre auditions for Winnie-the-Pooh
Saturday, August 29 from 1 - 4 pm
Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., GSO
Auditions are open to all children in grades 4-9 on a first-come, first-serve basis. There will be cold readings from the script. Children are asked to bring a song to sing with either sheet music, or a CD with no vocals. Join Pooh, Kanga, Piglet, Tigger and the gang for this delightful musical! The production will be held on October 16-18, 2009. No experience is necessary. Free. Phone: 336-373-2728.

Maize Adventure
Open Saturdays and Sundays 1-6 p.m. Open Labor Day 1-6 p.m.
Kersey Valley Maize Adventure, 1615 Kersey Valley Road, HP
Walk through a 10-acre cornfield maize with twisting and turning paths. Don’t miss the Gem Dig, Fossil Dig, The Rock Shop, Pumpkin Patch, tram train and giant jumping pillow. $10 per person. Groups of 20 or more, $7. Children under age 4, free for corn maize only. Phone: 336-431-1700.

Summer on Trade
Saturday, August 29 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.

"Barbie-50 and Fabulous" Birthday Party
Saturday, August 29
Doll & Miniature Museum of High Point
Celebrating 50 years of Mattel's famous fashion doll. Adults, $5; ages 6-15, $2.50; under 6, free. Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 1-4 p.m. Each paid admission will receive a piece of Barbie decorated Birthday Cake and a cup of pink lemonade to celebrate her birthday. Phone: 336-885-3655.

Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park
Sunday, August 30
Bur-Mil Park, 5834 Bur-Mil Club Road, GSO
Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy music by Rough Knights of Soul at 6 p.m. and Melva Houston at 7:15 p.m. in an outdoor concert for the whole family. Free. Phone: 336-373-2373.

Sundays in the Park
Sunday, August 30 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 the Hot Pink Flamingos and the Latin Rio, and costumed characters from O.Henry stories from the Greensboro Historical Museum. Free. Phone: 336- 272-1222.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saving Memories in a Snap

By Katie M

I am so embarrassed to admit this, but I have yet to create a photo album of my children (ages two and five). It's like I am photographically challenged. I own a nice digital camera, yet I am forever forgetting to bring it places! If it weren't for my husband, we would be seriously hurting in the photo department. Luckily, he reminds me often - and once I have my camera in hand - I actually enjoy snapping shots. So we do have a lot of pictures of our kids, thankfully.

And it's not just forgetting the camera. It's the downloading and printing that really stops me in my tracks. More than anything else, I think it has to do with finding the time to do it. I cringe at the thought of sitting down to download and organize photos. Therefore, I always have a million pictures stored on my camera at any given time. And when I do finally download, organize and print these pictures out, it's a JOB (which can get pricey too)! Thankfully, I've figured out a way - and a source - that helps me do it in a snap and for a relatively low price. My source:

I know many of you probably use the same service or one similar. It's not a new concept. There are a bunch out there, such as,, and, to name a few. I can't imagine how moms manage all of their photos without using one of these services. So new moms take note: You will need to become very familar with an online photo center!

I am mostly familar with Snapfish, so I'll plug its services on this blog (although I know the other online photo sites offer similar services). First of all, it's completely free to have an account, and the site makes it super easy to upload, organize, edit, add captions, enhance photos, etc. But I think the best part of the site is how it automatically organizes the photo albums you create by date - so you never have to wonder when that wonderful vacation took place, and you can easily search for major milestones by month and year. My other favorite service is the ability to email out entire albums to relatives instead of having to hand-select certain prints, print them out, and mail them. Instead, I simply email my mom albums and she either orders a couple of prints or the entire album for herself. (A huge time and money saver for moms!).

Speaking of saving money, Snapfish only charges $.09 per print (I am sure that price is comparable to other online photo centers). And if you want the prints same-day, you can select to have them printed at a local Walgreens for a small added fee. Since creating photo albums has never been my priority (I know, I know, it needs to be!), I just have Snapfish mail me my prints and then I put them in my HUGE box of prints which are patiently waiting to be moved to an album. At least they are organized and grouped by when they were printed, and it's not a box of loose prints! It could be worse!

I've used Snapfish for all of our Christmas cards and for my son's baby announcement, and I swear they stack up to some of the top (and more expensive) brand names for online cards and announcements. They also have a bunch of super cute gifts for super low prices - many of which I have given to relatives like the mousepad, coasters, ornaments and calendars. Right now, Snapfish is offering FREE shipping on all orders over $30 through August 28. And it has a special "Back to School" section with a great selection of products to help your children get organized, with lots for under $20. So hurry and get your account started!

Snapfish also lets you put together digital photo books (as I'm sure other online photo centers do). These can be costly depending on how many photos and pages you add, but it's an awesome convenience to be able to just download entire albums from your computer into professionally-looking table-top albums. Maybe this is just my ticket: Get all my albums done through digital photo books! Now that's something I can get motivated about!

Tell us what online photo service you use and why!


Monday, August 24, 2009


Join the celebration as 65 of Disney’s unforgettable characters from 18 beloved stories come to life in "Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic!" You’ll be captivated by the one and only Mickey Mouse, the irresistible Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio and all the Disney Princesses. Your children will be thrilled by exciting moments from The Lion King; Mulan; and Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Toy Story films; in a skating spectacular filled with magical Disney moments you’ll remember forever as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic!

This family performance will be at the Greensboro Coliseum December 3-6th. Tickets go on sale August 28th! You can get show times and prices here. For more information about the show visit

Here is the most exciting part - TSP has a surprise! We have a pack of 4 tickets ready to give to one of our lucky readers! Keep reading to find out more ...

We have decided to hold a contest for this prize that is super easy. On our last giveaway, we asked readers how they found out about our site and the overwhelming majority said the site was referred to them by a friend. Word of mouth obviously works! So, to continue spreading the word and to be entered in our contest, here is all you have to do: Send an email to all your mommy (and daddy) friends in the Triad and tell them about Triad Smarty Pants! You can tell them why you like it, what types of blogs we feature, and how we give cool stuff away for free. You can tell them to register for the newsletter, or - maybe you know one of our Smarty Moms or guest bloggers who has been featured - and you can tell your buddies to check out that blog!

Then all you need to do is copy us on the email at You will have one week to do this. On Monday, August 31st, we will look at all the emails that have been sent, and the person who sent it to the most friends in the Triad will win the family four-pack of tickets to Disney on Ice! Easy peasy!

We will use the honor system and ask you to please send your email only to Triad families, and not to Great Grandma in Minnesota who will never read TSP. We will randomly check a handful of emails from the winners list to make sure they are legit.

Get your email list ready and be sure to copy us on it! Send it out anytime between now and next Sunday! Good luck!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Go Back to School Green

By Dana D, Charlotte Smarty Pants

It’s back to school time and I wanted to give you all a head’s up on some great products for your kids. Of course they are eco friendly but also very practical. Some products will require online purchase but I also found some of these at local stores! I will start with clothing. Remember the consignment sales are great. If you are going to buy new then I urge you all to buy one piece of organic cotton clothing. Gap and Pottery Barn carry some now if you are hesitant to buy online. Now, I know some of you buy boutique clothing at prices that are more than some of the organic cotton pieces. So no excuses! There are some really cute clothes out there now with a lot more variety of colors. Here are a few examples. There is a really cute line of organic clothing called Kate Quinn organics. If you can’t visit their Seattle showroom (ah, I wish I could just drop in…..) then check them out online.

Now for shoes.... We were just chatting the other day how expensive kids shoes have become. Stride Rite used to be middle of the road and now they are like $50 a pair. I figure if I am going to spend that much then I am going to Clark’s or Nordstrom for the kiddos. It’s crazy how fast they grow out of them and to keep spending $50 a pop. Then I found this line of eco friendly shoes. I think these are pretty cool and priced the same or a bit less.

Simple Shoes - These shoes are made from recycled plastics, organic cotton, recycled car tires and natural fibers like cork and hemp. - $42. Now more affordable than Stride Rite! You can also find these at Nordstrom, and Greater Outdoor Provisions!

For lunch boxes I would recommend the following:

Bento Lunch Boxes such as Laptop Lunch or Mr. Bento.
Crocodile Creek lunch bags- dinosaurs, garden and transportation designs. These are PVC, phthalate, and lead free.
Land of Nod Answer the Lunch Bell Lunchboxes- Barnyard, Garden or Solar System- these are PVC, lead and phthalate free.
Mimi the Sardine – lunch bags and backpacks as well as aprons and splash mats.

I am trying really hard to rid my household of plastic baggies. Therefore, I highly recommend you all to get the Wrap n Mats for your children to take sandwiches to school. No more plastic baggies!
To reduce waste, I suggest you try these super cute reusable cloth napkins from Fabkins! These are kid-sized reusable cloth napkins made from 100% cotton. They are absolutely adorable. Sold in packs of 5. Of course you can give them any old cloth napkin and that will work just as well. My favorite drink container or sippy cup is Klean Kanteen. They have come out with some really cool colors now besides the traditional stainless steel color.

Here are some other fun items that your kids may enjoy!
Smencils – made from 100 % recycled newspapers and when sharpened they give off scent. Examples of aromas are bubble gum, cherry, cinnamon, fruit punch, grape, orange, peppermint, pineapple, root beer and watermelon. $11.99 for a 10 pack. You can find these at Target!
Stubby Pencil Studio - Great deals on soy crayons by Prang! 8 for $1 or 24 for $3. Check out their other art supplies. They also carry aprons for kids made from recycled juice boxes!
Elephant Poo Poo Paper Journal by Bark Elephant- at Target - $12.99- made from recycled elephant waste fibers. Yes, elephant Poo! Crazy, huh? Too funny!
Banana Paper Notebook - For $5.99, a good choice if the elephant poo paper isn’t up your alley.
Paper Mate Recycled number 2 pencils
• Biodegradable pens from Vegan Essentials for $1.95 each. Writes in blue ink and made of corn. Target also carries these but a different brand at $2.49 for two pens.
Cute Recycled Notebooks by Ecojot- can buy from Delight
Green Line Paper Company – sells 100 % recycled portfolio folders and report covers.

Hope you enjoy all these back to school tips! (Note: Some of these prices may have changed slightly as this blog was originally posted on Charlotte Smarty Pants last year). If you have any other green ideas, please post below!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Smarty Mom: Debbie Burns

By Rachel H

We have another Smarty Mom Saturday today, and we will be getting to know a Winston-Salem native, Debbie Burns. Debbie has lived in Winston all her life and is proud to show it off, as she is now a full-time realtor for Leonard Ryden Burr. Debbie and her husband, Will, have two children Lilly, who is 7 ½ and William, who is 5 ½. Debbie tries to volunteer as much time as she can to any areas that relate to her children. She is a Sunday School teacher at Centenary Church and part of the Childrens’ Council there as well. She is a room parent at her childrens’ school and also donates time to helping organize the Welcome Baby program at her church.

Debbie loves to read and cook. She enjoys family time by working puzzles, and always seems to be helping out a family member or friend somehow! Debbie was nominated by her friend, Julie, who had this to say, “Debbie is a loyal, trustworthy friend. She is honest and the friend who will be there during your darkest hour - always offering to help when her own plate is full too. She is super organized (or fakes it really well) and is always willing to step up and do her part. She is a great volunteer and someone you can count on to get the job done efficiently and effectively. She is also a huge romantic who loves her hubby. Her loud laugh is catching and makes me giggle too.”

So now on to our questions …

Being a realtor is much like being a mom – it’s a 24/7 job. How do you balance your home life and career?
I wish I could say I am super woman and have it all figured out all the time ... not the case...As a realtor I believe in always being available to my clients, so just like being a mom, it is a juggling act. I take advantage of the time I am not showing houses or working on a transaction to give my children my full attention. When I am working it is the same for my clients. I have to say I have an amazing husband who really does not complain when I head out the door when he is getting home in the evening or on week-ends and when our only together time is while we are at church Sunday morning. Having a career that is 24/7 has maybe helped me to relax about if everything is always perfectly picked up and tidy at home. I am grateful that my family has adapted to the crazy schedule I sometimes keep. Maybe when my children are a little older they will think it’s nice that their mom is so busy on the weekends because I won’t even nag them to clean up their rooms!

Since you have lived in Winston-Salem your whole life, what are you most proud to show off to prospective home-buyers when they come to our area?
I like to show clients some of the things we take for granted living here all our lives ... like Old Salem and how nice it is to get out walk around and stroll in and out of all the shops and learn a little history along the way, The children’s Museum, Bethabara, Reynolda House Museum and Gardens, and Wake Forest University to name just a few. We have a lot of history and arts to offer for a community our size. Sometimes you forget to stop and enjoy them when you have spent your whole life in Winston, but we shouldn’t!

Where is your favorite place to get a good deal on kids clothes?
The consignment stores are a great source to find some high end gently used children’s clothes. But I have to admit for years I loved going to all the various home clothing shows. I used to show Just Ducky clothing. My children have just about out grown those now.

What is your favorite family activity?
We are avid Wake Forest Fans so we are really looking forward to Football season, the cooler weather and tailgating at the games!

Favorite “me-time” activity?
I can honestly say I do not take a lot of “me” time. When I do it’s to get away with my friends for a night or weekend which is always a nice way to slow down and catch up with everyone!

Best book you’ve read recently?
Same Kind of Different as Me - In the summer I read mindless books and don’t remember titles or authors names but enjoy them for that very reason. Same Kind of Different as Me was the last really good book I read that wasn’t fluff! It was a true story of two very different men whose lives changed forever because of their meeting.

Best place to eat lunch with the kids?
Teddy G’s on Robinhood Road- it’s quick, convenient and we can sit outside.

Favorite place to eat dinner out with the kids?
Mexican- La Carretta

Favorite date night spot?
Any date night alone with my husband is a good date!

Funniest thing your kids have ever said?
I have a son that keeps me laughing! It’s not always what he says, but the WAY he can says something. He is starting Kindergarten next week and I am going to miss our 1 on 1 time. I do hope he isn’t the “Class Clown”

Favorite park in the Triad?
My children refer to the parks by colors the yellow park, green park etc.. (as that is how we described them when they were really little) we love to go to all the various parks Winston has to offer! Growing up in West End I have to say that Hanes Park is my favorite! You can ride your bike around the path, play tennis, swing, people watch, search the creek, sled in the Winter ... endless options, and for me it holds all my childhood memories since it’s the park I grew up going to!

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
Winston – has a great balance of what we offer in education, arts, entertainment and sports, but you don’t feel like you are in such a large city that you can’t get somewhere if you need to be there in 15 minutes and are running late.

Best kept secret in the Triad?
It wouldn’t be a secret if I shared it!

Favorite or most helpful post you have read on TSP thus far?
I think TSP is a great site for people moving to Winston and for clients that are trying to find their way. TSP really helps them to acclimate. All the posts and topics are relevant! Thanks TSP!!!!!

I could not live without my...
that’s a tough one, but I am going to say family…it’s nice having a large family that all live near by!

Thank you, Debbie, for letting us get to know you and your family today!

We know you are out there, Smarty Moms! Send any Smarty Mom nominations to so we can feature them on our site!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Smarty Alert: Don't Forget to Register for Girls on the Run!

You may remember our blog on Girls on the Run. Well, registration for the fall season is happening now. If you did not get information at your school's Open Houses, you can click on the links below for the two separate GOTR organizations in the Triad.

Forsyth County

Guilford Country
Note: This is the main national site. The GSO chapter does not appear to have its own web site.

Or contact Kara Loggins (in regards to Guilford, Davidson, Rockingham and Randolph counties) at 336.869.0151, or by email:

Happy running!


Back to School: Educational Games and Toys

By Rachel H and Allison T

Just a quick shout out to all our Smarty friends who tuned in to watch us yesterday morning on Fox 8, and a special thanks to loyal reader and guest blogger Jenni M who agreed to wake up at that ungodly hour to help us out! - KM

Although children usually do not want more work after surviving a long day at school, completing homework, and playing sports, we have some tried and true after-school activities that will help boost brain power without the kids even knowing it! These are also great ideas on how to keep your child’s brain active on snow days, long car rides, or rainy Saturday or Sunday afternoons. These have all been child tested and mother approved in our houses! We have a variety of ideas for toddlers and up. Read below for ideas to keep brains active for children of all ages without them even knowing that they are … shhhhh … learning!

Alex Little Hands Lacing Cards

These are perfect for young preschool children and toddlers who are beginning to learn to work with their hands. These lacing activities help develop the fine motor skills and are the perfect size for little hands. This developmental stage is important when children are learning about their world through their sense of touch. The lacing cards are colorful and bright and come in a variety of themes.


I can’t remember who told me about the Leapster when my son was 3 years old, but I want to give them a big hug. My son and daughter both have their own Leapsters with age appropriate, interactive educational games. The Leapster is recommended for children ages 4-10, and depending on where you purchase it, it can cost anywhere from $50 to $60.

Brain Quest Cards and Brain Quest Workbooks

My son received his first set of Brain Quest cards for Christmas when he was four years old. I had no idea that this would be the first of about twenty sets of cards we would eventually own. This is one product that I rarely say no to when he asks me to buy him a new set. We’ve spent hours quizzing each other at night and in the car – math, reading, American and Presidential history. Also, great birthday presents for your kids’ friends! You can find them in any bookstore. We buy the sets at Costco because they are a little bit cheaper.
The Brain Quest Workbooks are equally as awesome. Though, they are more expensive than most workbooks, usually around $11, they are worth the money. They are also in bookstores, Costco and online. The age range for the cards and workbooks are ages 2 to 12.

Leap Frog Math Desk

This is a great tool for children ages 3 and up. Not only does it help children recognize numbers, but it has different levels for higher learning abilities. When my children first started to play with this, they would play the game where they were simply recognizing numbers. Then they moved on to find “what number comes before 14 and after 12”, etc. There is also a board for them to practice writing the numbers themselves. The skills build on one another. It is amazing how much my children learned from this game and it is the perfect size to fit in their lap on a car trip.

Board Games

Memory – There are so many different versions of Memory that you will be able to find one that fits the age and gender of your child. My daughter loves the Dora Memory game, which is for 3 years and up, while my son loves to play my husband’s VERY old Memory game that is for 7 years and up. This is one of my all-time favorite games to play with my children.
Boggle and Boggle Jr. - A great family game to help your child learn how to spell and search for words. Boggle is for age 8 and up. Boggle Jr. is for age 3 and up.
Guess Who – terrific for memorization, questioning strategies, and logic. Good for ages 4 and up.
Scrabble – obviously for a little older, but this is a game that is challenging even for adults, so you won’t get bored playing this with your children!
Bananagrams – for ages 7 and up. Really cute game that is fun for adults as well. Teaches spelling and vocabulary. Think Scrabble times two!

Leap Frog DVD’s

I should not admit this, but both of my children learned all their letters and sounds from this DVD! No kidding! They loved, loved, loved the Letter Factory DVD and picked up on letter recognition and sounds so easily at a very young age. (I think age 2 is where most kids will usually sit still for this.) Then we moved on to the Word Factory DVD, which teaches children to put letters together to make sounds. The next level is the Storybook Factory, which is also really cute and educational. The other one we have is the Math Circus, which teaches numbers, skip counting, and addition. I highly recommend these videos for all ages. It makes you feel a little more justified in throwing in a video for the kids.

Free Educational Web Sites
My absolute favorite –, plus,, and Also, check out our blog here for many more web site ideas!

Other things to keep in mind when wanting to keep brains active at home: many children learn through different senses, so if your child is having trouble learning the alphabet, have them shape a letter out of playdough or practice writing it with chalk or a wipe-off board. Also, if you have your children write letters to family members, make cards, or keep a journal, It is an easy way to practice writing skills without making it such a daunting task.

And, certainly last but not least ... READ, READ, READ!!! Make it a habit early on and stick to it!

Share some of your favorite educational toys and games below.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to School: Waste Free Lunches

By Rachel H and Guest Blogger Jenni Mowery

Happy Thursday! If you are reading this post between 6 am and 8 am, turn to Fox 8 News! The TSP Team will be featured live on the morning news program and will be sharing our Smarty Tips for Back to School. Our segments air at 6:15 am, 6:45 am, 7:15 am, 7:45 am, and 8:15 am.

We blogged about two of our segments earlier this week. Check out "Getting Your Day off to a Good Start" and "Smart and Trendy School Supplies." Today's post covers our GREEN segment on waste-free lunch products.

As we prepare our children for back-to-school this fall, let’s all take the time to consider a better way to pack their lunch. The waste that comes from a typical student’s lunch bag totals up to $250 or over 70 pounds during the school year! That might be more than they weigh themselves! Not only is it now easy to make better choices and eliminate waste from their lunchbox entirely, but it’s also fun and stylish! I went on a hunt for TSP and have broken it down for you here, Mommas! If you are just starting out and feel overwhelmed by the green movement, you are not alone. Pick one of these 5 to try for the first couple months and then take on another. Every single choice you make, every single day counts toward reducing the amount of waste we send to the landfill. We appreciate your efforts! Here’s what I found, locally and online:

1.Reusable lunch box or bag:

Most of us already have moved from the brown paper sack to a reusable lunch box and this is a great first step! There are as many lunchbox designs as there are children in the world! Good choices are insulated and compartmentalized, giving you extra confidence that the lunch you pack will still be delicious when your child unpacks it. (The pictured lunch boxes above can be purchased at Whole Foods locally or online at Land of Nod)

2.Reusable Bottle:
I am the first to admit that a juice box has its place in our busy mom lives, birthday parties and jumbo playgroups, certainly, but in the lunchbox does not have to be one of those places. A study was recently done in Germany that kids with a refillable bottle at school not only drank more water but maintained a healthier weight! It’s a good habit to get into at any age. Reusable drink containers come in a variety of materials and cover all your different needs; sippy cup style, ones with straws or flip-tops or those sporting graphics of superheroes or ballerinas. Stainless steel is much safer from a health perspective, but can be pricey. If you do go with a plastic cup, make sure it is BPA free (Bisphenol A, also called BPA is a chemical that is used to strengthen some plastics but has been linked to cancer and other diseases). Many companies now make BPA free cups and bottles; Nuby, Munchkin and Gerber among them. For older kids Nalgene or the insulated Polar Bottle makes a good choice. (the bottle shown is Ecousable, locally through Green Beanie’s NC rep, Nancy Tuohy at There are also a number of stainless steel bottles on now for around $6 a piece and up.)

3.Reusable Containers:

The next hurdle is the banishment of the Ziploc baggie!! These little bags are so handy but are really (I mean it girls!) killing our beautiful earth. And look what great alternatives we have now. Again, BPA free plastic (this can be simple Rubbermaid-ish containers or the fancier Laptop Lunchbox or ZoLi stackables) or stainless steel lunch containers (like Lunchbots, SIGG or To-Go Ware) are now available to pack your child’s lunch in and can easily be carried home in the lunchbox for washing and reusing! Fabric bags like these shown are great for sides, snacks and can be thrown in the laundry or dishwasher! (Products like the ones shown are available at online and locally through Green Beanie’s NC rep, Nancy Tuohy at, or at O’Baby Organic)


Your child’s school may have stainless reusable utensils readily available, if so, that is great. What is more likely offered, disposable plasticware. The solution at my home is a gathering of random flatware that has its own space in the drawer that I call “picnicware.” I just grab the appropriate utensils for the meal and throw them in. If you want something a bit more stylish there are great utensils that come in a little bag (To-Go Ware) or a flip-out version (your boy scout might like the swiss army knife style offered by SIGG). (Both can be found at

5.Cloth Napkin:

This is my personal favorite as it has become a fun item to look for at yard sales and consignment shops and I can’t even think about how many paper napkins are thrown away in the world each day without holding my hand to my chest for support! For my boys, I have taken several of my favorite brightly striped napkins and gotten their first initial monogrammed on it. Another great idea is to make or buy a napkin for your child to decorate. This can be a fun family project and will provide your child with a sense of ownership, increasing the chances that the napkin will make it home again. (The napkins shown are from and

What other Smarty advice on this topic can you share?


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events

By Katie M

Happy Wednesday! As you gear up for the start of school, be sure to take some time to relax and have fun this weekend – one of the last weekends of the summer! There is a lot of fun, family events happening around our area!

One event to note is the second season of Carolina Summer Musical Festival which kicks off today and will run through August 29. It will feature six diverse programs and 20 talented artists from throughout Piedmont Triad. Sponsored by the Carolina Chamber Symphony Players, the Festival will have its home base at historic Old Salem Museums and Gardens, and concerts will also be presented at venues around Winston-Salem, including the Reynolda House Museum of American Art and the Jon Kuhn Studio Gallery. The concerts include something for all musical tastes, and ticket prices are extremely affordable. On Saturday, August 29 the Festival will feature Carolina Scrapbook: A Family Concert, and we will keep you posted on this wonderful family event.

Keep reading for the rest of this weekend’s scoop!

Wee-Runs’ Children’s Consignment Sale
Friday, August 21 from 5:30 – 9 pm; Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday (Discount Day with most items half-price) from 1 pm to 5 pm.
Old Town Shopping Center, 3800 Reynolda Road, W-S
The sale will feature children’s fall/winter clothes, toys, equipment, furniture and maternity clothes.

"Willy Wonka Jr."
Friday, August 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Little Theatre of Winston-Salem, 610 Coliseum Drive, W-S
Roald Dahl's timeless story of the world-famous candyman and his quest to find an heir comes to life in this adaptation of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" featuring the songs of the 1970's film. $5. Phone: 336-725-4531.

Wake Forest Women’s Soccer vs. High Point
Friday, August 21 at 7 pm
Spry Stadium, W-S
Adults $6, Children $6.

Animal Keeper Talks in Animal Discovery
Friday, August 21
Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, GSO.
Daily Keeper Talks at Animal Discovery the Natural Science Center of Greensboro are formal and informal presentations for visitors given by the animal keeper staff with one or more animals. These presentations usually involve animal enrichment and may or may not include food enrichment. Topics of daily talks vary; please see Web site for full schedule. Talks are held daily at 11:30 a.m. (except Sunday), 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Phone: 336-288-3769.

Cinema Under the Stars
Friday, August 21
Reynolda House Museum of American Art, 2250 Reynolda Road, W-S
Come early and bring a picnic dinner then stay for the classic movie "The Sound of Music," shown outdoors under the stars. Members, $3; non-members, $5. Gates open at 8p.m. Film 9 p.m. Phone: 336-758-5389.

Alamance County Arts Council’s Saturday Family Fun Day
Saturday, August 22 from 10-11:30 a.m.
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 Autumn Wonders theme. Members, $2per family; non-members, $5 per family. Phone: 336-226-4495.

CheeReader Camp
Saturday, August 22 from 9 am to 1 pm
Gateway YWCA, 1300 S. Main St., W-S
A free, one-day camp presented by CheeReaders, a service project started by Kernersville high school cheerleader, Hannah McRae Young, that fosters reading in elementary schools. At the one-day camp sponsored and staffed by Varsity/UCA, participants ages 5-9 will learn chants, cheers, jumps and a dance; campers will have reading time with a cheerleader volunteer and will take home a free book of their choice and other prizes. At noon, parents can watch a showcase of what your campers have learned and enjoy an exhibition by one of Cheer Extreme Allstars’ top competitive teams. Registration required; space is limited. Free. Phone: 336-287-3184.

Summer on Trade
Saturday, August 22 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.

Baby! Baby! Expo
Sunday, August 23 from 1 - 5 pm
Embassy Suites, GSO presents Baby!Baby! The Triad's Largest Charitable Baby Expo for new and expecting parents. A day of education as Triadmommies supports The Mother Baby Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide a comprehensive prenatal and postpartum support network for babies and their families. In addition to exhibits, the event will also feature goody bags for the first 200 families, educational workshops, a fashion show and a chance to win raffle prizes. $5 per person/$8 per family. Phone: 336-682-8569.

Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park
Sunday, August 23
Bur-Mil Park, 5834 Bur-Mil Club Road, GSO
Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy music by Rough Cut at 6 p.m. and Arnie Solomon with Transatlantica at 7:15 p.m. in an outdoor concert for the whole family. Free. Phone: 336-373-2373.

What did we forget? Please add your event below!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to School: Smart and Trendy School Supplies

By Katie M

Ok, it's been a loooong time since I've been in school, and wow have things changed! So in an effort to find out what's cool in school these days (even my kids don't know because they are only five and two), I did some research online and headed out to Target (everything there is considered cool, right?) to do all my shopping and chatted it up with some students who happened to be shopping there as well. Despite the fact that every county publishes lists of essential school supplies (you can find these lists online for Forsyth, Guilford and Randolph school districts), below are some other items that I think make the grade!

Big Bags
My first eye-opener with back-to-school shopping is that backpacks are definitely not considered cool for girls in high school. Big bags are all the rage, and I'm talking about the cute oversized totes we moms like to carry around! Target has a great selection (the above photo is one example) for very affordable prices. And the rising high school junior I talked to took me right to a super cute animal print canvas tote ($12.99) that she says is a typical bag you'd see in the halls of her school. Some girls, however, go for real designer bags. Regardless of what brand you choose, it has to be big enough to hold binders, calculators, pens, highlighters, make-up and other accessories. Be sure to pick ones with the reinforced gromets where the strap meets the bag so you can be sure it will hold all the weight.

Pencil Pouches
Another must have (mainly for girls) but for girls of all ages are cute pencil pouches. Target has a great selection and the pouches I picked up were each under $2. And while Target's selection might be better suited for girls in elementary school, just about any clutch would work for teens. A useful trend in pencil cases is the three-tiered version to organize and store pencils, pens, paper clips, erasers and any other items. Other stores that carry cute and useful pencil pouches include Barnes and Noble, and if you search online for "tiered pencil cases" you can find a variety in Disney themes too.

Recycled Notebooks
Notebooks and three-ring binders are a no-brainer, but have you ever considered recycled notebooks? (Recycled pencil bags and totes are popular too!). Target carries a nice selection of 3-ring binders and other notebooks in a variety of designs. You will know they are recycled because it will have the "greenroom" sticker on the notebook. The one-inch binder I picked up was only $5.99.

I also picked up a super cute notebook (not recycled, however) that has the "periodic text message table" on its cover! I love it. It shows all the different text abbreviations and what they stand for. These include "BFF" for "Best Friend Forever," or "B15" for "Back in Five," or "POS" for "Parents Over Shoulder." And here's one all mothers should take note of: "BTWITIAILWU" for "By the Way I Think I Am In Love With You." Ok - I need to devote a whole day's blog to decoding these abbreviations!

Book and Locker Designs
Target also carries a great assortment of book covers in all colors, designs and sizes. Gone are the days of covering your text books in brown paper bags; these covers are too cute to pass up and just a few bucks.

Kids not only like to spruce up their book covers, but their lockers too. I never knew there was a whole line of products devoted to locker decorations. Magnets are a hit in this category, and Target also carries magnetic wall paper and accessories (like mirrors) for minimal price too.

Also, did you know that #2 pencils are not cool anymore? Yep, a student at Target told me that fact as well. Mechancial pencils (the kind where you can click the top of the pencil to advance the lead) are now all the rage. Why? I have no idea, but they can be fashionable! Again, you can find this kind of supply super cheap at Target. A pack of five mechanical pencils in a variety of colors retails for $2.

USB Flash Drives
Now here is an item I definitely never shopped for when I was going back-to-school: USB Flash Drives. Apparentely they are required for high school students, but luckily they are less than $5 at Target (which is good because I can see them getting lost easily) and these also come in a variety of colors. These are an important purchase too because you don't want to have to drive your student back and forth between computers (one at school, one at home, one at a friend's house) to download documents. Flash (or thumb) drives let you store all your information onto these little gadgets.

Electronic Label Makers
Another gadget that is a smart purchase is an electronic label maker. (Moms can also borrow them for labeling items around the house too!) Electronic label makers make it easy for students to stay organized by labeling notebook dividers, binders, and paper notes. You can even print in different colors and fonts for more organization. I found a Dymo Personal Label Maker at Target for just $17.90. (You also need to purchase replacement tape).

Finally, if your child needs a pad lock for his/her locker, you might want to check out Wordlock. These locks uses letters instead of numbers, and allows your children to select their own four or five letter password. This is helpful for kids who might forget random number codes, and they look so much cooler (see picture above) than the typical turn-style locks you are used to seeing. Target sells them for $9.79, and you can also find them at Kmart and Sears.

(A word of note: all high schoolers are responsible for purchasing TI-83+, 84+ and Nspire Graphing calculators. These retail for about $100 at Target, but the rising junior who was so nice in helping me find a trendy tote bag says a lot of students find these same calculators at half price at pawn shops. Just a tip I thought I'd throw out there).

I am sure there are a million other smart and trendy supplies on the market worth mentioning. If you have any other suggestions, please add them below!