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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Smarty Mom: Meg Keever

By Katie M

Welcome to the first Smarty Mom profile of 2010! And there's no better person to kick it off than Meg Keever of Winston-Salem! Meg was nominated to be a Smarty Mom by her husband, Andrew, who submitted the sweetest email to TSP about how amazing his wife is. Rachel and I know Meg (I actually helped coach my daughter's soccer team with Andrew a few years ago), and so it is our pleasure to introduce you all to Meg.

Meg and Andrew have three adorable children: Andrew Thomas (6), Jackson (4), and Embrey (1). (Photo is courtesy of Julie Wagoner with Upper Case Photography). She has lived in the Triad her entire life except for the four years she attended UNC Chapel Hill ("Go Heels," she adds), and the three years they lived in Apex while her husband attended law school.

So let's get to know Meg!

Meg works full-time (mostly from home) as the Director of Marketing for SoftPro, a software company based in Raleigh. She is the oldest daughter in a nine-child family, and has two older brothers, two younger brothers, and four sisters. "We are a tight knit family, and I love when we all get together for holidays and special occasions. I love to cook and try new recipes, especially easy ones," says Meg and asks other Smarty readers to leave any fun recipes they have for her to try in the comments below!

In addition to all this, Meg is very involved in her childrens' schools, enjoys photography, and says she hopes to take some photography classes when things slow down in 15-20 years. Ha!

Sounds like you have a pretty full schedule. How do you balance it all?
Work is work, and play is play. I think this is the most important element that I have learned in balancing work and home life, especially because I work primarily from home. I’ve found that it is helpful for me to carve out certain hours of the day to focus intently on work and get as much done as I can within those hours. I will often turn off the phone (unless work is calling) and any other distractions so that I can get as much done as possible. This has allowed me more flexibility in shutting off work when I am with the kids; therefore, when I am with them, I am all there. I enjoy working from home and being able to make myself available to the kids at certain times throughout the day.

I have also found it helpful to prepare for the next day the night before. I make lunches, set out clothes, and make coffee the night before. Therefore I am not scrambling in the morning to get it all done. Lastly, I like to use easy (but healthy) recipes for dinners on weeknights. I also try to prepare some meals beforehand and freeze them. When all else fails, I don’t get upset if I can’t get a home prepared meal on the table every night. Some nights we eat out, and that’s ok.

What Smarty tips do you have for moms/dads in your position?
Set your priorities and adhere to them. For me, my family comes first, work is second, and all other priorities third. I have learned that it is ok to say “No.” If you try to overextend yourself, then something else has to give. You can’t do everything.

Great advice! Now on to some lighter topics.

Favorite place to get a good deal on kids clothes?
Besides the generous clothing contributions from my mother-in-law (thanks Evie!), I look for good deals from Kohl’s, Peaches ‘N Cream in Burlington, Kelly’s Kids’ 50% off sale, and Hanna Anderson. I also like to shop at Buttons’, Ben Phil’s and Gazoodles’ end of season sales.

What is your favorite family activity?
Dinnertime, when we get a chance to talk about our days. I also love playing soccer, basketball and baseball in the yard.

Favorite family-time activity?
We enjoy going on walks at the par course. We have fun looking for animals and other creatures along the paths and in the creek (from the bridge). The boys love to run sprints along the paths. Another activity we enjoy is reading books, telling stories, and saying prayers at night before bed.

Best place to eat lunch with the kids?
Skippy’s on Saturdays and Chik-fil-a, Bruegger’s or Jimmy Johns during the week.

Favorite place to eat dinner out with the kids?
Mondays at Moe’s. Don’t forget to bring an extra dollar or two to tip the magician making intricate balloon creations.

Funniest things your children have ever said?
When we were on a pontoon boat in Ludington, Michigan, Andrew Thomas did not know why people we did not know kept waving at us on the boat. He said, “Why are those randoms waving at us?” My son, Jackson once saw the woman that rides her bike throughout Winston-Salem and said, “There goes your friend Whoopi, Mommy.”

Favorite park(s) in the Triad?
Chester Rd. Park and Hathaway Park.

Mini-van or SUV?
I always said I would never drive a mini-van, but now I am a convert and cannot imagine loading the kids in a car without automatic sliding doors.

Best thing(s) about raising a family in the Triad?
Wide selection of great schools, close in location to Raleigh, Charlotte, beach and mountains, a big yard for the kids to play in, Winston-Salem is small but not too small, safe, and everything is within a 10 minute driving distance.

Best kept secret in the Triad?
There are many great local family owned restaurants such as Olive Tree, Duke’s (for breakfast), and Ronni’s - all in Winston-Salem.

Best birthday party you have attended?
It is a tie between Andrew Thomas’ 4th birthday where he had a UNC themed birthday including an appearance from Rameses, and Jackson’s 4th birthday where he had a petting zoo with a llama and boa constrictors.

I could not live without my... family, friends, computer and iphone

I wish someone had told me sooner about... How easy it is to use a crock-pot; when you order things from you do not pay sales tax, and you get free shipping when the order is $25 or more (and Amazon often has the best price also); about the websites and; about cashback from, and finally how much money you can save on triple coupon days at the grocery store.

Great stuff, Meg! Your husband was right - you truly are a Smarty Mom! Thanks for taking the time to share with us your ideas and advice.

Know someone else who should be a Smarty Mom or Smarty Dad? We are always on the hunt, so
email us here and we'll get in touch with them!


Becky said...

What a sweet husband you must have! I love the Peaches and Cream in Burlington, too. I saw it on a blog here on TSP and thought I needed to check it out. I go there about once a month now! And I love Hanna Andersson, too. Great advice today.

Anonymous said...

You are awesome, Meg!!

Allison T. said...

Hi Meg! So happy to see you as a Smarty Mom.

Trish Schipper said...

Congratulations Meg! You are the perfect match for a Smarty Mom! You are an incredible mother and you manage so much with such ease. Thanks for the wonderful advice!

Charlotte N. said...

Hi Meg! You most certainly fit the Smarty Mom profile! I love reading the article - such great advice! You have such a beautiful family!

Lillie B. said...

Meg! I hope your lovely family had a happy holiday season! So neat to see you on here today. What a perfect fit!

Anonymous said...

Yeah Meg!! This is a great way to recognize and celebrate how special you are! Joy and happiness to you and "yours" in the New Year and always, D and E

Anonymous said...

Great stuff Meg
patti mccormick

Anonymous said...

Great tips, Meg! You are one smarty mom!
Happy New Year to you and the family!
Courtney Salton

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