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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Smarty Mom: Chanel James

By Rachel H

We hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! It is Saturday, which means it’s time for another Smarty Mom. Chanel was born and raised in Winston-Salem. She attended Appalachian State for her undergrad and graduate school. She now works full-time as a Speech Language Pathologist for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. She also sees clients privately and works some PRN at a long-term care facility.

Chanel and her husband, Aaron, have two boys, Dylan (8) and Bryce (3). They also sponsor a child through World Vision and donate regularly to The Children’s Home in Winston-Salem. Chanel loves to be outdoors and claims she wants to be a photographer “when she grows up!” Chanel has been through many rough waters, as both her boys are allergic to peanuts, eggs, dairy, beef, fish, and wheat! We know how difficult it is trying to feed kids who have no allergies, let alone what Dylan and Bryce are dealing with.

Chanel was “mominated” by her friend, Dayna Gury, who had this to say ... “Chanel is a coworker of mine, and this year we are lucky enough to work together at the same Headstart facility. In fact, we have named ourselves 'Team Chayna' (our names know like Bennifer or Brangelina...except we have much, much, much lower paychecks). The great thing about Chanel is that even if she was not my colleague, she would be my very good friend. She is funny, kind and intelligent. She has a great sense of style and a very hip haircut. She is raising two wickedly cute and smart boys (whom my daughter adores) and she has a supportive (and handsome) husband.”

We are excited for you to meet Chanel...

Tell us more about World Vision and your involvement with it.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian charity organization dedicated to working with people in their communities throughout the world (including the US) in an effort to reduce poverty and inequalities everywhere. Initially, we thought it would be a great opportunity for Dylan to learn about another country, culture, have a pen pal, and also learn valuable lessons about service. We even chose a little boy with the same birth date. The experience has been wonderful. We have learned so much more than we could have ever imagined, and the experience has reminded us what grace really is.

Obviously the boys’ allergies have a huge impact on your daily life. Tell us more about this and please share tips for other parents who may be in your situation.
It’s amazing how much it really does impact daily life. We feel it the most when we’re running a tight schedule and don’t have the luxury of grabbing a quick bite (fast food). Instead, a quick, cooked dinner at home has to be squeezed in. Events at school and birthday parties are always a bit challenging, as it’s not good for my waistline to bake a dozen allergen free cupcakes every time someone has a party—especially when we only need one! He can actually tolerate “wheat” much better now, and we’ve found a website that we order allergen-free (no nuts, egg, or dairy) cupcakes, chocolate bars, cookies, and more. It's As a parent, this website is a necessity!

What has been the most rewarding part of your job as a Speech Pathologist?
Developing a connection with the families is definitely the most rewarding part of my job. When I think of some of the amazing families I have worked with, the opportunity to serve them is truly wonderful.

What is the smartiest way you save money?
I must say that I am quite the coupon queen, often cutting my grocery bill in half! I buy the kids clothes during the ‘off’ season, and use coupons for just about EVERYTHING!

What is your favorite family activity?
I love just hangin’ at the park with the fam!

Favorite “me-time” activity?
Is this a trick question???

Favorite place to eat dinner as a family?
We love Mexican food! Great place for kids with food allergies … hold the queso and we’re good to go!

Favorite date night spot?
The Couch (heard of it?)

Favorite book you have read?
Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace (I know, I’m a nerd!)

Best place to eat lunch with the kids?
I love packing a picnic lunch and heading to any park!

Favorite place to shop for children’s clothes?
GAP (online and off-season…can’t beat the deals!)

What is the best birthday party you have attended?
Any party with close friends and family is the BEST.

What is your favorite mom’s must have item for around the house?
Swiffer Wet Jet

Mini-van or SUV?

Favorite park in the Triad?
Probably Tanglewood, although we hit a different park every week during the summer!

Favorite or most helpful blog you have read on Triad Smarty Pants thus far?
I love the info on free activities in the triad! I must say that I also found a wonderful photographer through TSP(pbandjphotography) and we finally had our first family picture taken this month! (One of our many photos is the one shown above!)

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
AMAZING location… nestled in between the mountains and ocean.

I could not live without my...

Chanel, you truly do have a beautiful family and I just want to reach through that picture and squeeze Dylan and Bryce's cheeks!! Thank you so much for taking the time to share some of your Smarty Wisdom with us today.

TSP readers, email us at if you know someone who would make a great Smarty Mom!


Jennifer M said...

I love the website you recommended for kids with allergies. Very helpful.

Anonymous said...

Yay Chanel! Reading your answers again solidifies the fact that you ROCK! I am lucky to have you as a friend.

candice said...

I had never heard of World Vision. I am so impressed by all you do for others. Congrats on your nomination.

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you! You are an awesome person and I am so glad that you are my friend!

Sarah H.

Maythi said...

Thank you for your food allergy website recommendation. My nephew is highly allergic to eggs & all tree nuts and this site was so helpful to my sister. I passed it along to her immediately.

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