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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Smarty Mom: Danielle Harris

By Rachel H

I am so happy it is Saturday, because I am able to run another Smarty Mom profile about a fabulous mom, Danielle Harris. Danielle is originally from Bethesda, MD, but lived in WS from 1994-1996 during PA school at Wake/Bowman Gray where she met her husband, Sean, who was a medical student. They moved to Nashville, TN and Charlottesville, VA for Sean’s residency and fellowship training. They finally moved back to the Triad in 2002 for good. Sean is originally from here, and always wanted to come back. They love raising a family in this area and being close to Sean’s family as well.

Danielle and Sean have two children, Logan (age 8) and Alyssa (age 6). Danielle became a stay-at-home mom after Logan was born in 2002. She immediately got involved in the Medical Alliance of the Piedmont, which is a physician spouse organization, dedicated to the promotion of health education and health activities in the community. It also serves as a support network for physician spouses, who are often home alone due to their spouse's professional demands. She is currently the Co-President of MAP. She volunteers at her children's school for various events, class parties, etc.

Danielle is one crafty momma, who loves to do home improvements! She has installed a toilet, sink, new faucets, molding and chair rails, painted and stenciled rooms, and made window treatments. She also loves to sew dresses for her daughter, crochets, cooks, takes French lessons, dog obedience classes, and does family tree research. She also loves to play games and is addicted to Rumikub.

Here is Danielle …

Tell us more about MAP and your recent fundraiser.
MAP is a wonderful way for me to give back to the community and also make friends who understand what it's like to be the spouse of a physician. MAP's current focus this year is the SECU Family House. We just organized our 2nd Murder Mystery Fundraiser in January, raising about $11,000 for their capital campaign. In a town like Winston-Salem, with 2 huge medical facilities, we are missing a place for families of adult patients to stay while their loved ones receive medical care. Imagine driving on Interstate 40 and getting into a car wreck, living in the intensive care unit at one of our hospitals, but come from out of town. These families of patients usually sleep and bath in the lobbies of the waiting areas in the hospitals. Not many can afford a hotel, especially for long periods of time. The SECU Family House will provide rooms with private baths and kitchen areas for a nominal cost.

How did you become so crafty?
I have no idea! I just love doing things with my hands and producing something interesting. It's a sense of accomplishment.

What craft or piece of handiwork have you completed that you are most proud of?
Probably my son's room. I put wainscoting and moulding in his room. It was the most technically difficult thing I have done and it was very challenging, but it turned out great and it looks like a "big boy" room now.

Since you love games, what is your favorite game that is great for the whole family?
One of our favorites for families with little kids is Crainium's Hullaballoo because you can play it at any age and it doesn't require any reading or taking turns!! We also love Monopoly and Life as they get a little older because while it is fun, the kids learn so much about money, making change, taking turns, and being a good sport.

What is your favorite way to spend family time?
Playing games, going to the park, and movie nights at home.

Where is your favorite place to go on your date nights?
I usually do all of the cooking, so going to Xia's, Milner's, or Fire Birds is a real treat!

Where is your favorite place to eat out as a family?
Jason's Deli, Moe's, and The Loop Pizza Grill.

What is your favorite family tradition that you hope your children will carry on?
Every June, since 2006, we hold a lemonade stand to support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. They use the money for childhood cancer research. My daughter's friend died from neuroblastoma at age 3 and her mother told us about this wonderful organization. It's a great way for us to celebrate her life, too. (You can read last year's blog about Lille Boyte here. Stay tuned for news about this year's Lillie's Friends Event!)

What is the best piece of advice your own parents gave you?
"Marry your best friend."

What is the best way you save money on your children’s clothes?
I buy from Walmart and Target, and go to church rummage sales. I'm also fortunate enough to get hand me downs from a good friend and have a generous mother-in-law who loves to shop.

SUV or minivan?
Minivan all the way!

What is your favorite mom’s must have gadget for around the house?
Screwdriver--I like to fix things and all the kid's toys require a screwdriver to change batteries!

Do you have a favorite child’s birthday party you have attended or thrown yourself?
My son's 5th birthday was a pirate themed party. We dressed all the kids with swords, eye patches, bandana caps, and painted on mustaches/goaties. Then went on a treasure hunt outside. Captain Jim (a real pirate) came to visit and entertained with magic tricks and balloon swords and animals. I made an adorable pirate ship cake w/ cannons and sails. It was a big hit.

What has been your favorite or most helpful blog thus far on Triad Smarty Pants?
I enjoyed reading all of your "Day Trips". So many places I did not know about!!

I wish someone had told me sooner about …
Costco. I love going there and saving a ton of money on fruits and meats.

I could not live without my …
Chapstick. I never leave home without it.

Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us today, Danielle!

If you know a Smarty Mom or Dad, you can nominate them by emailing us at


Anonymous said...

This is one SMARTY MOM!! I'm honored to call her one of my closest friends!! Jennifer F.

April said...

Danielle is a great friend and such a kind-hearted person. I have seen the results of her handiwork, she is truly talented. I am thrilled that she was your Smarty Mom today! April B.

Jen B said...

It's so nice to see someone giving moms the appreciation that they deserve. Danielle is my go-to girl on any parenting questions. I've known her since the 9th grade and she constantly amazes me with what she can accomplish when she puts her mind to it...that and her cooking accidents...
jen b in NoVA

Kathleen S. said...

Danielle is amazing and I'm glad you have recognized her as a Smarty Mom, because if there's one out there, she's it! But that's not all she is: she is an amazing friend and I'm lucky to say she's been one of my closest ones for 20 years. She is a wonderful example in many ways to her own children as well as any others that know her.

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