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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Smarty Alert: Bet You Didn't Know This About Funigan's!

By Katie M

We all know Funigan's is one of the best places to bring your child for fun and food - especially if you're looking for a place to burn energy after school, on days when you can't be outdoors, for birthday parties, or just because. But did you also know that Funigan's offers a before- and after-school care at its Winston-Salem location? And did you know Funigan's also provides a structured program for teens to have fun and hang out with their peers in a safe and non-threatening environment?

The "The Zone" is Funigan's before- and after-school program, and "The After" is Funigan's teen program. More information on both programs are below, including a special offer to Triad Smarty Pants readers if you enroll your Lil' Smarties in their before/after school program! Keep reading to get all the details!

If you work full-time or need a safe place for your child before and after school hours, consider "The Zone". "The Zone" is Funigan’s team-oriented after-and-before school care program that operates between the hours of 7 am and 6 pm. As a special thanks to Triad Smarty Pants, Funigan's is offering the following special: The first 20 Lil’ Smarties to register will save their parents 10% of their total bill for the first three months! Be sure to call our friends at Funigan’s for all the info, and to register your child (or children)!

And for teenagers, Funigan's offers “The After” for ages 14 & up. The goal was to create an atmosphere where teens could have fun and hang out with their peers in a safe & non threatening environment, without feeling like they were at a place for kids. The lights are turned down-the music is turned up!

Cost is $5 at the door which includes unlimited Rock Wall & Mini-Bowling. Tokens are purchased separately and just $10 will buy a 16 inch cheese pizza with a pitcher of soda.

On Friday, October 1st “The After”at Funigan’s will be holding a HALO: REACH TOURNAMENT at 10PM. The cost of entry is $7 until September 30. On October 1st the cost of entry will be $10. You can pre-register by either emailing your name and email address to or by coming into Funigan’s Family Fun Center during business hours and providing your name and email address. The winner of the tournament will receive a cash prize that night. There will be no foul language, fighting, taunting, or aggressive behavior; any seen will result in disqualification.

Funigan’s is located off of Stratford Rd. in Winston Salem, just beyond the Chili’s restaurant and Hanes Mall. Funigan’s features a 17 ft. rock climbing wall, 4 lanes of miniature bowling, largest SoftPlay in NC, lots of arcade games and great food. You can call them directly at (336) 774-7000.

Be sure to visit their web site and "like" their Facebook Fan Page to learn about special deals and promotions as they happen!


Supporting the Original "True Pair"

By Rachel H

Come be a part of the Women's Only Sporting Clays Event! Our friends Trish and MJ at Seek the Triad are hosting this fun event, which benefits "Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test." This will be such a unique way to meet friends and support a fantastic cause. We know you will have a "blast!"

Blastin' for Boobs will be held Saturday, November 6, 2010 at Shane's Sporting Clays in Summerfield, NC. You can preregister now at for $35. You may also register the day of the event from 9am-noon with a $40 fee. Food and drinks will be served from 11am-1pm.

If you have never participated in sporting clays, it can be described as "golf with a shotgun." Last year, this event had a total of 125 female shooters (a record for Shane’s), 180 attendees, and raised over $7000 in one afternoon to help fight breast cancer! There is no experience necessary to participate in this event.

We hope you will consider joining the fun at this event! If you have any questions, visit, or call Trish at 202-8546.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Smarty Alert: Pick Up the Latest Forsyth Family Magazine!

By Katie M

Keep your eyes out for the October issue of Forsyth Family magazine! It should hit the stands any day now. As always, the magazine features useful and entertaining articles for parents with children of all ages. Every month it's chock full of local resources for moms and dads, including its popular dining guide.

You can find this free publication all over Forsyth County. Be sure to pick up an issue!


Evy's Deals Are So Good, It's A Little Freaky!

By Katie M

Halloween is just around the corner (scary, I know!), and Evy’s is prepared - at both of its locations (in Greensboro and Kernersville). From cool to creepy, bats to brooms, Evy's has the Halloween decor to brighten any room. And for Greensboro Evy's fans: Enjoy 20% off all Halloween items, and 70% all items in the front of the 2925 Battleground Ave store location!

At either location, you can expect a minimum of 20% off select items. And every week Evy's has category specials or tables with even deeper discounts. How do they do it? I don't know but it's not just freaky - it's fabulous!

Plus, Evy's is still celebrating its Moving Sale now through the end of October - with 70% off select items at both its locations (Greensboro and Kernersville). If you haven't heard, Evy's Battleground location is moving to New Garden Road/Bryan Blvd at Jefferson Village Shopping Center near Fresh Market. When the move is complete, Evy's will continue to maintain two great locations - both with fantastic gifts and decor at amazing price points.

To get you started on your shopping, visit Evy's Kernersville location at 126 South Main Street for a Wine Tasting on Saturday, October 9 from 2 pm to 5 pm. If you have a passion for wine, shopping and helping others, then this event makes for a great time out for you and your friends. A large selection of exclusive award-winning wines will be available with proceeds from bottles of wine sold going to charity. So, come out and enjoy great shopping incentives and a good time!

Don't forget to sign up for Evy's newsletter, and "Like" them on Facebook, so you can be in-the-know on all of Evy's fantastic deals happening weekly.

And guess what the staff did this past week? Unload new Christmas items! It never hurts to start your holiday shopping early. And with deals like these, who's waiting?


Monday, September 27, 2010

You are invited ...

By Rachel H

The Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem is hosting a fun-filled character breakfast for your little princesses and superheroes! The date of the event is October 23, 2010. You must RSVP by October 13th.

Two Seating Times on October 23:
8:30 to 10:00 am & 11:00 am to 12:30 pm

$25 per person. Children under age one attend free.

Please call The Ronald McDonald House at (336) 723-0228 for an invitation!

You can visit this link for more information.


Fabulous Health Education Classes for You!

By Rachel H

We are happy to announce the following classes provided by Best Health. If you are interested in any of the following, be sure to call ASAP. Space is limited!

Tuesday, October 5
Kids & Antibiotics

6 pm - Join WFUBMC’s Michelle Wallis, antibiotic resistance program manager, to learn more about when antibiotics are right for your child. Space is limited. Pre-registration required by calling 336-713-2378.

Wednesday, October 6
Ear Health in Children

3 pm - Why are ear infections in children so common and how can they be prevented? When should you consider ear tubes? Join Dr. Adele Evans, pediatric otolaryngologist with Brenner Children’s Hospital, for answers to these questions and more. Space is limited. Pre-registration required by calling 336-713-2378.

Thursday, October 7
Evening with Eight – Plus Smitty! Being a Healthy Family in an Unhealthy World

6 pm - Join Jeff “Smitty” Smith, the “voice” of Winston-Salem community events, to meet new people and learn something new. Jeff will facilitate a discussion with Dr. Joseph Skelton, obesity expert at Brenner Children’s Hospital, about what has caused the obesity epidemic and how parents can prevent it in their homes. Dr. Skelton will cover topics such as fast food, snack foods, television, video games and more. A light, healthy dinner will be served. Space is limited. Pre-registration required by calling 336-713-2378.

Monday, October 11
Kids & Antibiotics

11 am - Join WFUBMC’s Michelle Wallis, antibiotic resistance program manager, to learn more about when antibiotics are right for your child. Space is limited. Pre-registration required by calling 336-713-2378.

Tuesday, October 19
Discipline: Promoting Healthy Behavior

6 pm - Concerned about your preschooler’s behavior? Need tips on disciplining your early school-aged child? Join Lynn Washington, licensed clinical social worker, and Debbie Allred, licensed psychological associate, of Amos Cottage Therapeutic Day Program for a discussion or behavior management strategies. Q&A session to follow.

Saturday, October 23
Heart-healthy Cooking, Family Style

1 to 2:30 pm - Parents and kids ages 9 to 12 are invited to join Chef Thomas Lantz for an afternoon in the BestHealth kitchen. Have fun together by learning healthy, yet easy, ways to prepare home-cooked family favorites. Space is limited. Pre-registration required by calling 336-713-2378.

Saturday, October 23
Halloween Trick-or-Treat Bag Giveaway

2 to 4 pm - Drop by BestHealth to pick up your free reflective trick-or-treat bag and reflective zipper pull to help keep your kids safe this Halloween. Donna Joyner, WFUBMC Trauma Services nurse and director of SAFE KIDS Forsyth, will also be on hand to share Halloween safety tips. Registration is not required.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Women's Fund of Winston-Salem

By Guest Blogger Jennifer Hodges

The Women’s Fund of Winston Salem: A Community of Passionate Women Creating Social Change

A few years ago, I heard someone mention The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem. I didn’t think much about it. At the time as I was very busy with my newborn baby. A few years passed, and last November, I read an article in the newspaper about The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem providing more than $162,000 in grants to local organizations benefiting women and girls. I was inspired to learn more and eventually joined the Fund to help make a difference for women and girls in our community. As a mom, I know it is easy to get caught up in taking care of our families that we sometimes miss important organizations in our community that are really making a difference. I’m sharing a brief snapshot of The Women’s Fund and hope you’ll think about joining too!

The Women’s Fund was founded in 2005 by five local women who were concerned that despite a strong connection between being female and poverty, low self-esteem, domestic violence, and inadequate health care, gender-specific programs are seriously underfunded. They envisioned an organization for women by women. Today there are more than 800 members.

The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem strives to
- Build a community of female philanthropists
- Provide grants to local programs and initiatives that address the root causes of social problems
- Create changes in the knowledge, attitudes, thinking, and practices of individuals, groups of individuals, and the systems and policies of organizations and institutions.

There are many challenges facing women and girls in Forsyth County. Did you know?
- In 2008, the number of pregnant teens in Forsyth County could fill 15 school buses
- Full time women in the workforce in Forsyth County earn 76 cents for every $1 made by males
- 44% of women headed households in Forsyth County live below the poverty level
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death of women in Forsyth County

As members of The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, we vote on the organizations that receive grants each year. Grants focus on creating social change, not just providing social services.

On November 3, The Women’s Fund will celebrate five years at our annual luncheon, which is open to the public. Over the past five years, The Fund has:
- Awarded nearly a half million dollars to community organizations that address the core issues facing women and girls in Forsyth County: self-sufficiency, health and safety, leadership capacity, and family issues
- Improved the lives of more than 1,300 women and girls who have benefitted by our grants.
- Published first-of-its-kind research focused specifically on women in Forsyth County. Through a Gender Lens: The Economic Security of Women and 
Girls in Forsyth County, April 2009.

By joining The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, you maximize your gift through the power of collective giving.

Membership in The Women’s Fund is $1,200, which can be a group or individual membership. So your book club, garden club, synagogue, church, playgroup, work, or neighborhood association could come together and if each person contributes, you could vote together on which grant proposals should be funded each year. How fun would it be to meet with your friends, discuss topics relevant to other women living in your community and vote on where you would like to see your money spent?

I hope you are inspired as I was to learn more about The Women’s Fund.

For more information, contact:
The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem
860 West Fifth Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Phone: 336-714-3468


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Smarty Mom: Angela Smith

By Rachel H

I am so happy to feature Angela Smith as today's Smarty Mom. I met Angela a few years ago through a mutual friend and loved her personality from the minute I met her. She is so much fun to be around, and always seems to be up for just about anything!

Angela and her husband, Andy, have to children, Drew(8) and Hallie(5). They have lived in the Triad since 1999. Angela and Andy met in Raleigh, but actually grew up about 5 miles from each other in Eastern NC. Awwwww. Angela works part-time as a school psychologist with the WS/FCS. As a psychologist, her special interest would be autism. It is a population near and dear to her heart. She also volunteers with the PTA at her children's school. Angela loves her Fruit and Veggie co-op, and spending time with her friends from book club, bunco, and the neighborhood. Friends from way back also continue to play an important role in her life. She enjoys going to the beach with her family.

Last year Angela started a 5K in honor of her childhood best friend, who passed away in 2008 from Sarcoma. The 5K was called the Rae of Hope (her name was Rae Lynn) and was held in Ocean Isle Beach, NC where she was a physician. The race raised over $25,000 for the Sarcoma Foundation of America in their first year.

Can't wait for you to get to know Angela ...

Please tell us your best tips for managing your volunteer obligations and career as well as family and friend time?
Nothing is ever perfect, but it always helps if you have a schedule. I am not the most organized person so a calendar really helps, especially when the kids get busy with their activities. Fortunately, I only work part-time so I am home in the afternoons when the kids get home and we try to immediately get homework out of the way. I think play is still very important for them so sometimes I don’t even worry about making dinner just because we enjoy being outside and playing so much! We love to eat out on those nights! I don’t work on Fridays and I try to reserve those days for catching up around the house, running errands, volunteering, and doing a few things for myself.

What is your main job as a school psychologist?
My main job is to help students achieve academic, social, behavioral, and emotional success. To reach this goal, I may collaborate with teachers, parents, or other professionals to create a positive and supportive learning environment that meets the individual needs of each learner. Additionally, I may work individually with the student by conducting an evaluation to determine their eligibility for special services, assess academic skills and aptitude for learning, and determine social-emotional development and mental health status. In times of crisis, a team of psychologists may be called in to help families or schools in situations such as death, illnesses, or community trauma. They may provide psychological counseling to resolve interpersonal or family problems that interfere with school performance.

What tips do you have for parents who have concerns regarding their child’s learning?
First, maintain open communication with your child’s teacher. It is important to remember that there is a wide range of learning styles and rate of development among children. By working closely with your child’s teacher, you are able to stay on top any potential concerns that may arise and need to be explored.

Tell us more about the 5K you started in honor of your childhood best friend.
In 2008, my friend, Rae Lynn Yates (a proud Wake Forest graduate) passed away from a rare form of cancer called Sarcoma. It appears in a variety of tissue structures, including nerves, muscles, joints, and bones, collectively referred to as the body’s connective tissues. Unfortunately, the current outlook for many sarcomas is bleak-about half of all sarcomas are totally resistant to any medical approach. Rae Lynn was a doctor in Ocean Isle Beach and I thought it would be fitting to honor her memory by raising money to find a cure for the disease that took her life at such a young age. Last year, the first annual Rae of Hope 5K was held in Ocean Isle Beach, NC and raised over $25,000 for the Sarcoma Foundation of America. My children are reaching an age where they understand the importance of volunteerism and I especially want them to know how important it is to raise money for cancer research. My father has struggled with cancer for the last few years so this lesson is more important than ever to our family.

The 2nd Annual Rae of Hope will be held October 30th at 8:00 a.m. in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. If you love running and the beach in the fall, this will be a great event! For more information or to donate, visit or email

What is the smartiest way you save money?
I love to re-sale my children’s clothes at consignment sales. I then turn around and spend the money at the consignment sales. I also love the 70% off sale at Gazoodles.

What is your favorite family activity?
We love spending time at the beach throughout the year. Both of our families have houses at the beach and our children love going out on the boat and collecting shells and sand dollars and looking for crabs. We pack a lunch and spend all day outside. My kids also love fishing with their grandfather.

Best advice you ever got from your mom?
My mom worked as a teacher and then school librarian when I was growing up. She taught me, through example, how to balance work and family. Through the years, I’ve been amazed at the number of her former students who have stopped her in random places and thanked her for the difference she made in their lives. Though I work with most of my students on a short term basis and therefore most of them do not remember me long term, I hope in some way I am having a positive impact in their lives.

Favorite “me-time” activity?
I love to read! I am always reading during the summer. I also read a few chapters each night before I go to bed. Although it is strictly for fun, I love to refinish old pieces of furniture. It is really fun to watch them turn into something completely different.

Favorite place to eat dinner as a family?
We probably hit the outside patio at La Carreta at least once a week. My kids love to run in the grassy area and we all love the food! We are all disappointed when winter comes and we have to start eating inside.

Favorite date night spot?
My husband and I are pretty casual people so we enjoy places like the Mellow Mushroom or Foot Hills Brewery on a date night.

Best place to eat lunch with the kids?
Chic-fil-A or The Bagel Station

Favorite place to shop for children’s clothes?
For girls, the Peaches-N-Cream outlet in Burlington. They have the cutest clothes at amazing prices! My mom took me there when I was little and now I take my daughter there. For boys, we go to the Gap or Old Navy.

What is the best birthday party you have attended?
I love throwing a kid’s birthday party so it is really tough to choose my favorite! My son’s 4th birthday party was in Spencer at the NC Train Museum on the caboose. What a blast! That year, he was really into trains so it was perfect! My daughter’s 4th birthday party was at Cash Lovell Stables and they did a fabulous job! We also had a petting zoo party for their 2nd and 5th birthdays that was a lot fun, except for all the snakes they brought!

What is your favorite mom’s must have item?
I keep a Tide To-go stick with me at all times! My kids and I are really messy and that thing is great for getting out stains!

Mini-Van or SUV?
Right now, Mini-Van but I am pretty close to switching!

What is the funniest thing one of your children has ever said?
I am lucky because I have very affectionate children. I always make them promise me they will still hug me the same way when they are older. This past Mother's Day I asked my five-year-old daughter as she was hugging me if she would still hug me like this when she was sixteen and she replied, "Oh yes Mommy!" I then asked her if she would hug me like this when she was twenty-one. She gave me a really funny look and asked me, "Yes, but will you still be alive then?" That was not the answer I needed on the eve of my fortieth year!

Favorite park in the Triad?
Tanglewood! It has everything! My son has recently started a golf program there this year at their Par 3 course called First Tee. He is so excited about it!

Favorite or most helpful blog you have read on TSP thus far?
I love your camp guide and your Kids Eat Free guide. I also love reading about other moms in the Triad! You can learn so much from other moms!

Thank you, Angela! And best of luck with the Rae of Hope this year!

Photo courtesy of Uppercase Photography.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Back by Popular Demand ...

By Rachel H

We have had a few requests lately for people looking for my "Is It Just Me?" blogs. So, back by popular demand, here are the two blogs I wrote that I hope our loyal readers will enjoy reading again and that our new readers can add their own questions on at the end!

Is It Just Me? - Part I
Random ramblings, thoughts and concerns from an everyday mom. So today I am asking the question, “Is it just me?”

Is it just me who…

· Always gets mean looks from older ladies in the grocery store when I take my kids with me?
· Actually enjoys watching reruns of “Full House”?
· Is absolutely enamored by the muscles on the guy from the “Lazy Town” cartoon?
· Can drink two diet cokes and still fall right to sleep?
· Does not have my ears pierced?
· Is flattered when I get stares from construction workers in my mini-van?

· Misses the smell of a baby’s room?
· Consistently promises myself that tomorrow I will not just sit on the bench at the playground and will instead run around with my kids?
· Really wants to educate the country on the correct usage of “your” and “you’re”?
· Enjoyed wearing a bathing suit while I was pregnant because I was “large and in charge” and was not embarrassed about it?
· Now refers to people by their first, maiden and last name since that is how it is posted on Facebook?
· Literally hurts my kids when I hug them because they are so darn cute and I want to SQUEEZE them?
· Thinks Atari was better than Wii?
· Can watch the Evolution of Dance video a thousand times and still think it is funny every time?
· Enjoys embarrassing my kids?
· Kisses my kids literally 100 times a day or more?
· Would lie in bed pretending to be sound asleep when the kids would wake up in the middle of the night and hope my husband would get up to check on them?
· Doesn’t really understand the purpose of a rice cake?
· Never ever thought I would actually pick someone else’s nose until I became a mom?
· Majorly stresses over whether or not to send the kids to school when you can’t decide if they are getting sick?
· Wishes the “Land of the Lost” with Chaka and Sleestack was still on TV so my children could love it as much as I did?
· Thinks Chutes and Ladders can be the longest game on the face of the earth?
· Wishes the over-sized Forenza sweater would come back in style?
· Has kids that each have the potential to turn into a complete spaz by 7pm?
· Has dreams about PF Chang’s?
· Has been reprimanded by a complete stranger for making my son “walk too fast” in Target?
· Still uses the word Dude entirely too much?
· Is always talking to myself? Even in public?
· Laughed instead of reprimanded my toddler when he said, “oh sh*t!”?
· Does not understand how we are all still catching colds when everything we use kills 99.9% of germs?
· Always hopes my kids won’t finish their dessert so I can have it?
· Is scared to death of the teenage years?
· Thinks it is OK to eat most food that falls on the ground?
· Is still hoping to take piano lessons one day?
· Absolutely cannot stand the sound of someone’s teeth on a fork?
· Loves watching The Hills because it’s reality TV that is nothing like my reality?
· Loves the smell of rafts and inner tubes for the pool?
· Gets so excited when a Michael McDonald song comes on the radio?
· Gets teary-eyed when I watch my kids playing together and actually getting along?
· Has kids who know every ice cream and bagel shop within a 10 mile radius of my house?
· Is very leery of people who whistle?
· Has absolutely no patience for waiting in line anymore?
· Had a Nana that always smelled like Sen-Sens and really misses that smell?
· Catches myself singing along to kids’ music even when there are no kids in the car?
· Will admit that I love to play Word Whomp?
· Never wants my kids to grow any older than they are at this very minute?
· Thinks nothing’s better than lying in the grass and looking up at the sky on an 80-degree day?
· Can’t stand when people talk to their children really loud on purpose so that people around will hear them and comment?
· Tells my kids they can’t have a quarter for the gumball machine but then turns around and gets an ice cream sundae for myself for $4.00?
· Thinks that Ruby on the “Max and Ruby” cartoon is really bossy?
· Is still pulling for Britney Spears?
· Really thinks we need a drive-thru post office?
· Thinks we have way too many options for schooling these days?
· Can’t stand when teenagers called me “ma’am”? Am I really that old?
· Still does not have DVR?
· Is still praying that they will find Kyle Fleishmann?
· Heard my daughter’s four-year-old friend ask, “Why is your mom so grouchy”?

Is It Just Me? - Part II
More random ramblings, thoughts and concerns from an everyday mom.
Is it just me who …

• Has a son and daughter who have figured out how to tinkle on the potty together at the same time?
• Was accused of stealing a $5 toothbrush attachment at the dentist’s office?
• Does not understand why so many people do not like coconut?
• Cannot read the word cupboard without saying cup-board?
• Has never seen “Jon and Kate Plus Eight”, but feels a little sorry for that mom with all the negative publicity, because if I had that many kids I think I’d be a little grouchy as well?
• Gets nauseous on the Merry-Go-Round?
• Thinks there is a HUGE difference between Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs? The eggs win – hands down.
• Thinks that the things that get on your nerves the most about people are the same things we miss the most when they are gone?
• Likes how Goofy does the “Hot Dog Hot Dog Hot Diggety Dog dance on Playhouse Disney?
• Doesn’t understand why every kid’s toy does not come with a bag or box for all the million pieces?
• Wishes I could work at Dundler Mifflin for a day?
• Thinks nothing is more beautiful than a child’s face while he is sleeping?
• Knows that my daily attitude is directly related to the weather outside and the cleanliness of my house?
• Thinks that many movies on the Family Channel are not very family-friendly?
• Has no idea what to do with a Pokemon card?
• Wishes everyone knew that “definitely” is not spelled “definately”?
• Saw a squirrel in my daughter’s bedroom and ran out screaming while I left her standing there?
• Thinks I probably should not have admitted the above statement?
• Cannot believe my parents let me watch Three’s Company when I was young?
• Loves to listen to my kids when they talk to themselves while playing alone?
• Knows what SYTYCD stands for and is not ashamed to admit that I went to see the live show?
• Had a 3-month-old who always chose the quietest moment at church to make loud grunting noises while he pooped in his diaper? Every week, people, every week!
• Does not understand the purpose of all the attachments, ties, and rubber wrappy-things that securely hook a toy to the box?
• Secretly likes when my children are feeling sick because I know they will cuddle with me?
• Cannot say, “You’re the best” to anyone without singing this song from Karate Kid?
• Likes to watch The Suite Life of Zack and Cody?
• Spends more money on my kids’ clothes than on my own?
• Finally understands why my mom did not want me going to Myrtle Beach with my girlfriends in high school?
• Thinks that it is so much easier to pop in an old VCR tape than have to skip all the previews and get to the main menu when we want to watch a DVD?
• Must have watched Savannah Smiles a thousand times when I was a child … and cried every time?
• Knows there are many times when I am talking to my husband that I realize he is not listening to one word I am saying?
• Backed my mini-van into a mailbox 5 years ago and still has not fixed the dent?
• Thought this was the best Sonic commercial of them all?
• Wants to stand on the side of the road with a sign that says, “My family wants to go to Disney” and see who gives me money?
• Thinks the smell of honeysuckle takes me right back to my childhood?
• Thinks that every mosquito in NC decides to come to my backyard when we have a cookout?
• Can’t help but get all teary-eyed when I hear a group of children singing?
• Has finally accepted the fact that my daughter will never eat a vegetable unless it is hidden in V8 V-Fusion?
• Wishes the birds could wait just one more hour before chirping outside my window in the mornings?
• Never realized that “Twinkle Twinkle”, “Baa Baa Black Sheep” and the ABC song were all the exact same tune until I had kids?
• Loves people who laugh really loud?
• Thinks they should name One-A-Day vitamins “One-A-Week”, because that is how often I actually remember to take them?
• Cannot pull myself away from shows like Brett Michael’s Rock of Love, Bad Girls’ Club and The Real Housewives of anywhere?
• Wears my Greek Week t-shirts to the Y and has no problem with the fact that they say 1992?
• Really likes that Rock Star song by Miley Cyrus?
• Is mortified when another adult has to ride in my mini-van and witness the trash and mess that we ride around in?
• Thinks that Mama Mia, Mean Girls, Shag, and Mystic Pizza are essential movies for a girls’ trip?
• Would be more than willing to pay someone to come to my house each morning in the summer and put sunscreen on my children for me?

Add your own “Is it just me’s” below and please help me to feel better that it really is not just me!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Smarty Alert: Get Discounted Nutcracker Tix Now!

By Guest Blogger Ann U

Last year, UNCSA’s Nutcracker received rave reviews for its enchanting new staging directed by Ethan Stiefel, Dean of the UNCSA School of Dance. In addition, new choreography, a spectacular new 26-foot tall Christmas tree and a flurry of other magical surprises received high praise from critics and the public alike. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the magical spell that enchanted Winston-Salem last holiday season!

Tickets go on sale Monday, September 27, but you can get your tickets early at the Nutcracker Box Office Opening Kick-Off event this Saturday, September 25 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Stevens Center.

The September 25th kickoff event also will feature a variety of FREE fun activities for the whole family including art activities provided by the Children’s Museum, additional holiday crafts, refreshments and a chance to have a free photo taken with characters from The Nutcracker!

Those who purchase tickets at the event will receive a $5 discount off each ticket (cannot be combined with any other discount). The $5 off per ticket is eligible for walk-up sales to the Stevens Center Box Office on Saturday, September 25 ONLY and is limited to ten tickets per person per performance.

The full performance schedule for the UNCSA production of The Nutcracker is: Dec. 4 and 5 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 8 through 10 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 12 at 2 p.m.

For the best deal in town take advantage of the great prices on The Nutcracker “Family Four Pack” for the evening performances on Sunday, Dec. 5, Wednesday, Dec. 8 and Thursday, Dec. 9 only: $130 for Orchestra Side/Front Balcony and $95 for Center Balcony (not including $5 discount).


Bye, Bye Dora!

By Susan B, Charlotte Smarty Pants

Dora the Explorer has been an unofficial part of our family for the past 3 years. All of this came to a grinding halt last week when I had a little “run in” with Dora. I strive to deal with conflict by addressing it instead of sweeping it under the rug. So, here goes…

Dear Dora the Explorer,
You need to remove the Dora cupcakes recipe and video from the Nick Jr. (see Noggin) website and also stop talking about them on TV.

After seeing a promo for your cupcakes on Nick Jr., my daughter bugged me for weeks. Everyday, it was: "Mommy, are we going to make the Dora cupcakes today?" I thought she would forget if I simply ignored her. She did not. I finally cracked.

Let me put it bluntly, Dora: these cupcakes were a total P.I.T.A. Your recipe says 70 minutes and that is a total crock. Admittedly, I'm a bit slower than your average professional cupcake decorator. But, c'mon, Dora. It took me more than 70 minutes to get everything prepped and mixed. Plus, this doesn't even count the time it takes to mix, bake and cool the cupcakes.

The entire process from buying the ingredients to piping out the hair to baking the cupcakes to dying the icing the correct color to decorating the cupcakes was very stressful!

I need you to know that before this unfortunate event, you were a she-ro in our house. We were all big fans of yours.

I'm concerned that you are being misrepresented. I recommend that you contact your people at Nick Jr so that you preserve your good name and save some other poor mom from falling victim to this scam.

I hope we've all learned from this and can move forward.

Dora, saying goodbye is always hard and I'm sorry it had to end this way. It pains me to tell you this but my daughter has moved on to the Disney Princesses.

Goodbye, Dora.

Susan Bowman, scarred for life


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Move over sillybandz, Squinkies are in the house!

By Jen P, Charlotte Smarty Pants

silly bandz are still a hip trend for kids of all ages. But there is a new collectible that I think will overpower the silly bandz frenzy by Christmas. Squinkies are squishy and adorable mini animals/figures inside of a plastic bubble that are pencil toppers or just fun little things to play with and collect. Squinkies remind me of when your child BEGS for a toy out of those vending machines that have cheap toys in plastic bubbles just as you're running out of the grocery store - only Squinkies are way cuter and cooler!

Squinkies come in packs of 16 or you can purchase the playsets and bracelet sets. The 16-packs retail for $9.99 and the playsets generally cost around $20-ish. Retailers and online sites can't seem to keep these little surprises in stock so the online prices seem to jump around alot. I found this gumball playset for $33.12 - I have a hard time believing that is a true price in stores. Squinkies are for kids ages 4 and up and personally I think they are geared more towards girls, but boys can like them too. My girls are 9 and 7 and they L-O-V-E Squinkies. This is their new go-to for a hip birthday present.

Word has it Squinkies can be found at Wal-Mart, Target and Toys R Us. They sell out just as soon as they hit the shelves, so you just need to check every time you shop. Good luck finding them, but know that your kids will love you when you do!

Have you heard of Squinkies? What do you think?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Smarty Sponsor: Summit School

By Guest Blogger Suzanne Davis Campbell, Summit School, Class of ‘93

Summit is like family, and for me the beginning of this school year is like returning home for a family reunion. When I walked through the door on that first day of Junior Kindergarten my stomach had butterflies…What is it going to be like? Will it be fun? What will the teachers be like? This time, though, the experience was not for me, but for my little girl entering the same doors I had 28 years ago for my first day of Junior Kindergarten. You know the feeling…starting school, graduation, a presentation…all of these things give us butterflies. But once I got through those doors I remembered my days at Summit as a young student and I sighed with relief.

As I walk into the entrance of Summit, I see both familiar and new faces ready to greet me as if I am the same little four-year-old girl so many years ago. But this time they are here to greet my daughter who is stepping into her Junior Kindergarten class, and they are thrilled to see her as well as her classmates, some familiar with the school and some new to the family of Summit.

To me, there are new faces and new facilities at Summit, but the heart and the principles of the school are the same and so is the stellar educational program that prepared me for advanced coursework in high school and at a nationally ranked university. To my daughter everyone is new and the classrooms are new. To me it is still the same comfy,cozy place where I spent 11 years of my life. During that time I was taught French and Spanish at age 4, I spent a day living and working as a pioneer, and I made a speech in ninth grade to the entire school. I had a starring role in OKLAHOMA! and I had a "Big Friend" who was in fifth grade. I participated in a wide range of sports, created amazing art projects, and, most of all, was taught to respect and love everyone for who they are.

So you see, even though everything is new to her, my daughter already sees Summit as family – not only because she knows I spent my childhood here, but also because of teachers like Mrs. Turner and Mrs. Breakstone who give her the biggest hugs when she arrives and when she leaves. They have already made her feel loved and supported, and it is only the third week of school. No matter how new or old you are to Summit, everyone here is family. The teachers are here with open arms from the first day of Jr. K until the day you graduate and even as you bring your own child back. As an alumna, I have been blessed with not only the opportunity to grow up in the Summit environment of strong ethics and education but now I also have the gift of seeing my child join the Summit family and experience the same wonderful opportunities.

Are you part of the Summit School family? Tell us what you like best about Summit!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Smarty Alert: Mark Your Calendars!!

Guest Blogger Ann U

Don’t miss the Open Dream Ensemble’s performance of their original play, Peril on the Red Planet, on Saturday, September 25, at 2:00 p.m. at Thrust Theatre in Performance Place on the UNCSA campus located at 1533 S. Main Street, Winston-Salem. The performance is free and open to the public, and is a GREAT program for families with children of all ages!

Peril on the Red Planet 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 2-7 and is fun and informative.

Open Dream Ensemble is a professional multi-disciplinary children’s theater group sponsored by the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). For more information contact the Open Dream Ensemble at 336.782.7837 or visit


Secrets to What Is Going On at School

By Guest Blogger Kelly Gunzenhauser

My older son has started kindergarten. It’s been a big change from cozy preschool. I feel a little lost, and my son has done the big-kid-clam-up. He won’t tell me what happens at school! Lots of kids do this. They just lived it; they do not want to talk about it again. Sheesh, Mom, give it a rest. But I am just so darn curious. OK, nosy. Here’s how I tried to find out what really happened.

First, I learned to ask better questions. The answers for, “How was your day?” do not tell me much. Yes-or-no questions do not really work, either. (“Did you eat snack today?” “Nope.” “Did you do any math?” “Sure!”) So, I have tried to craft better questions, “What was the best/hardest/most fun thing you did today?” pulls out more detail.

Second, I pay attention to when I ask. In the car on the way home is an okay time, but we only have a five-minute drive. Dinnertime is better since we all take turns talking about our days. I try not to do it at bedtime. He’ll talk to me, but thinking about kindergarten keeps him awake. I know this, of course, because of idea #3, which is:

I listen to my kid play alone. After the second night of kindergarten, my son took his cars to bed. (That’s normal, for us. Who cares if they are hard and bumpy to sleep with?) We turned on the monitor and heard, “Who knows what a hockey puck looks like? Raise your hands. Okay, now who has seen a hockey game?” He was “teaching” his cars. This idea led to my fourth idea, which was:

I asked him to play school with me. Oh goodness. Dad, little brother, and I all got in the floor in front of the chalkboard easel. I watched my little five-year-old transform into a teacher. He explained the behavior monitoring system, which took up a huge portion of the “lesson.” He taught us how to transition to centers, how to line up for the bathroom, how loud we could be (level 1 or level 2 voices, everyone!), and then he did a letter recognition exercise. It was hilarious to see him in total control. In fact, when it was time to stop playing and take a bath, he had a hard time giving up the control—and the play—and a meltdown ensued. He is begging to do it again, though.

My little guy is still just three. I know he will spill the beans when he gets home from his first day of preschool today. And he’s that kind of kid, anyway. But hopefully, my older one will want to play school for a while. I learn as much from him playing school as he does at real school!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Visit the Go-expo Next Weekend!

Press Release submitted by Jenni Mowery

Inaugural GoExpo Sustainability Festival Coming September 25

The GoExpo, the Triad’s biggest-ever sustainability festival, is coming to the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 9am -4pm to help families, kids, businesses and building professionals learn how to “go green.”

The Expo will feature information and presentations on green trends for homes, businesses, neighborhoods, schools, transportation, gardens and more. “We’ve really tried to cover all the different aspects of people’s lives,” Co-Chair Anne Tambling describes. “Whether it’s the schools their children attend, the transportation they use, the food they eat, the houses they live in, the neighborhoods they live in – there are sustainable aspects to all these areas. Most expos are vendor-based – you find lots of opportunities to buy things, ours is about information. We want people to learn about the tremendous advantages that come when you follow sustainable practices– not just environmentally, but financially for your home or business.”

Special guests include Sarah Susanka, architect and author of the best-selling “Not So Big House” series of books; and Sophie Lambert, the director of LEED for Neighborhood Development at the U.S. Green Building Council.

The GoExpo is being organized by the Community Sustainability Program Committee, an advisory body formed by the Winston-Salem City Council in 2008 to spearhead efforts to make Winston-Salem a more sustainable community. Jason Frichner, the chairman of the committee, says the GoExpo is intended to raise awareness of sustainability and the advantages it offers to residents and business owners alike. “We want to introduce the concept to people who may not understand it or have not bought into the benefits of sustainability, and show how it can change their lives for the better,” he said.

Highlights of the GoExpo include:
•Test drives of hybrid and fuel-efficient cars, courtesy of Modern Automotive Group, the presenting sponsor for the GoExpo
•Separate themed areas focusing on sustainability in homes, offices, gardens, schools, neighborhoods, transportation and construction.
•A GoKids area with hands-on activities for kids and learning opportunities for parents.
•Special workshops, seminars and exhibits for builders, architects and engineers, including classes that fulfill U.S. Green Building Council certification requirements.
•Four “green-themed” movies presented by A/perture Cinema, including two in the afternoon at the convention center.
•Free door-side “bike valet” service for bike riders who pedal to the GoExpo.
•Walk-through mock-ups of a “green” home and a “green” office.
•Exhibits of sustainable products and services for builders and homeowners.

For more information, visit We hope you will support this wonderful event!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Smarty Mom: Stacey Williams

By Katie M

It's Smarty Mom Saturday, and there is no better mom to spotlight today than Stacey Williams. I met Stacey a few years ago when our daughters were in preschool together, and while our girls now attend first grade on opposite sides of town, Stacey and I can't seem to stop bumping into each other! That's a good thing because it's always nice to catch up with this smarty mom!

Stacey and her husband, David, have two adorable children: Katelynn, 5, and Ashton, 2. They have lived in the Triad for 14 years, and Stacey originally hails from New Jersey (another trait I like about her - wahoo Jersey girl!). Stacey works full-time from her home, and when she is not busy working or spending time with her family, she enjoys volunteering at her daughter's school, with Charity Chicks (where she is the fundraising coordinator), traveling, doing crafts with her children, baking, collecting shells/beach glass, and looking for coupons/bargins on the internet.

Let's catch up with Stacey!

Tell us about your job and how you manage your work and home life with two little ones.
I work as a case manager serving children and adults with disabilities. The North Carolina Division of Health and Human Services funds programs to assist families of children/adults with disabilities to remain in their homes rather than going into a facility type setting. I assist the families by maintaining a treatment plan and linking them to services in the community.

Balancing work and home life with being a stay at home/working mom has its challenges. I have found that being able to be flexible is the key. One special challenges we face as a family, though, is having my husband out of town for work on a regular basis. We keep in touch by using Skype (great thing) and having nights that we do something special when he is away and again when he comes home.

What does your husband do that requires him to travel so much?
David is a pilot with NetJets and is away several days a month. We like to Skype to fill him in on the day events (school papers, activities, show him new things they have learned since he left, etc.). We like to make sure that he is able to say good night to them when he can.

We are big fans of Charity Chicks. Tell us about your fundraising position, ways we can help you raise funds, and the latest news with CC.
As fundraising coordinator, I am responsible for obtaining funding and/or donated items for our Charity Chick events. If someone would like to consider making a tax deductible donation to one of our events we have throughout the year they can reach me at . Our Charity for 2010 is the Community Care Center. Our Chicks have been great with the volunteering and items donated to the center. Way to go Chicks!!! Our 2011 charity has not been determined but interested organizations should go to our website to fill out an application if they wish to be considered.

What smarty tips can you share about finding coupons and bargains online?
I do not have one favorite place on the internet to shop for bargains. Before I head out to the store I will look up a key phrase (such as the store name) with the word "printable coupon" and usually I can manage to find a printable coupon. Coupon Cabin is good site for this.

Favorite place for kids' clothes?
My favorite place to get kids clothes is the outlet malls. With so many stores it is hard not to find a bargain at one. (Can’t wait until the new outlet mall opens in Burlington!!).

Favorite place to splurge on kids' clothes?
Since I really do not like to spend a lot of money on clothes I can say that I will usually splurge at the GAP or Gymboree.

Favorite family activity?
My favorite family activity is to take day trips: Tweetsie, Grandfather Mountain, NC Transportation Museum, Hickory Science Center, SciWorks, NC Zoo, are just a few.

Favorite mommy time?
Doing crafts and baking with the kids.

Favorite lunch place with the kids?

Favorite dinner place with the kids?
Cities Grill and Bar since they have the fountain inside and the projector that flashes different cities around the country.

Favorite date place?
Twin City Chop house. They also offer coupons!!!

Funniest things your kids have said?
My daughter: “Mommy, he barked a spider (means passed gas)” right in front of the man who did it. My son: I was putting my son down the other night and asked him to lay his head down on the pillow he told me “Mommy I have to think about that”.

Favorite park?
Tanglewood. The kids love to go and see the horses!!

Mini van or SUV?
Most definitely SUV. I love my Chevy Traverse!!!

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
All the kid friendly activities and the ability to explore the areas around us.

Best book you've read?
1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Let’s just call it my version of a bucket list. Of course I do have more to add on my bucket list beside the book.

Smarties ways you stay organized?
Write things down.

Who is your hero?
I would have to say my parents are my hero. They have been married for 37 years. I only wish they lived closer so we could see them more.

The one thing that I could not live family!

Great answers, Stacey! Thanks for taking the time to share all your tips and tricks with us today, and I hope to bump into you - and your wonderful family - again soon!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Smarty Sponsor: Walkabout Tile

By Rachel H

I consider today's sponsor one of the Triad's best kept secrets. Walkabout Tile offers custom tile work for any room in your house. You may even choose to bring in a drawing or picture of your idea, and they can design it! Or if you need help in the creativity department, don't worry, the staff can create a custom design for you.

Owner Stacy Lavery is an absolute joy to work with, and she makes you feel right at home when walk through the front door. I could have spent hours looking at all the different types of tile in this store. There were so many pieces that were not just "tile", but actual pieces of art. Walkabout offers custom tile, glass tile, Jerusalem tile, pavers and more! They also have stock tiles that home improvement stores offer, but the custom and specialty tiles are what really puts Walkabout Tile in a class of its own.

As always, I think that testimonials are the best way for our readers to learn about a business. Diane and Tom recently used Walkabout Tile to design their new bathroom and had this to say ...
"I now have a WOW ensuite master bath thanks to Stacy, Brett and the entire Walkabout team. Every time I walk into the bath I tell myself, 'this cant be my home!' The transformation is unbelievable. I did not think my budget would allow me to fulfill my wish list, but after one consultation with Stacy she knew the 'feel' I wanted and helped achieve it with budget. It surpasses anything I could have imagined.

Throughout the project, I received guidance and creative suggestions from the team. I cannot say enough about the quality of the workmanship and care to detail. They were in and out when promised and on top of project management! Words cannot express how happy my husband and I are with our beautiful new spa bath. We have already recommended Walkabout Tile to neighbors who plan to renovate. We also plan to use them for our next home improvement project."

You can read other client testimonials here on the website, and can also take a peak at the gallery of photos here. I can promise you that will be ready to "jazz" up a space in your home with tile as soon as you browse their website.

Walkabout Tile is located at 1116 NC Highway 801 North Advance, NC 27006-6756. They serve all of the Triad area. Be sure to visit the website if you need more information, or call (336) 998-2135.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Smarty Alert: Here's What's In Store at Boutique of Couture!

By Katie M

In case you missed today's newsletter, let us fill you in on some spectacular sales happening now at Boutique of Couture. Just check out these recent promotions:

Buy an $18 shirt, choose a free scarf (one scarf per customer per day). Buy a dress, choose a shirt from the $12 rack for only $5. Buy a $9 necklace, choose an $8 pair of earrings for free. New items on the Clearance Rack for $10. End of the FANCY Wedding Summer Dresses for a steal, just $25 each!

Plus, Boutique of Couture will soon be receiving Miss Me Denim from the USA and Sawary Jeans from Brazil. All of last year’s denim on sale beginning at $29! Keep reading to get all the scoop!

New Fall fashions are arriving weekly, smarties! This fall is all about layering. Layer your scarfs, jewelry, leggings, sweaters, and don't forget your boots. After attending the Atlanta Apparel Mart, Boutique of Couture has ordered jeggings and leggings in different colors and styles. Good pair of leggings, jeggings, or jeans are a must for the Fall season.

Smell the fall air, and think SWEATER. In the next couple of weeks, Boutique of Couture will be getting the LONG Coat Sweaters. These sweaters start at $40 and can be worn as a jacket or a coat. Put on a long sleeve t-shirt, and one of these sweater coats and your are ready for the park, dinner, or the winery.

Boutique of Couture is a small boutique specializing is trendy apparel for the mom, the teenager, or a grandmother. The team of Hadley Reisig, Erica Sigley, and Maureen Wittmer are focused on giving personalized attention to our customers. They want each customer to only buy something if it looks good on the customer's figure. They are also happy to have people take items home and try them on with shoes and accesories. If an item does work, we refund or exchange within 4 weeks.

All the items in the store are resonably priced. Most fancy dresses start at $60. Casual dresses start at $35, and junior dresses start at $20.

Boutique of Couture also has new store hours:
Mon and Thurs: 10 to 6pm
Tues and Wed: 12 to 8pm for evening shopping
Friday: 10 to 8pm for evening shopping
Saturday: 10 to 6pm

Boutique of Couture also provides toddler entertainment in the back of the store. TV with the Jetsons, or even the water fountain sometimes is just enough diversion to keep little ones occupied while mom shops.

And don't forget to "Like" them on Facebook. You'll learn of these great promotions quicker than we can tell you!

So shop happy, and visit Boutique of Couture soon! These sales won't last long!


Birthday Party Idea: Simply Sassy Kids Spa

By Guest blogger, Amy Takacs

Sugar and spice and everything nice, ribbons and curls because she's a girl. - Author Unknowned

Girls will be girls, won’t they? And they love all things pretty and sassy. When my oldest daughter, Natalie, turned 7 a few years back, she desperately wanted a girly spa party. I obliged by turning my house into a cute little spa for giggly little girls. I purchased all sorts of colorful nail polish, hair baubles, make-up, etc and set-up cute little stations at my house. This was a successful party, but a lot of work on my part. She still remembers the day of pampering fondly.

So, it didn’t surprise me this year when my youngest daughter, Claire, was getting ready to turn 7 and insisted on her own pampered shindig. Looking back on the hard work and exhaustion from Natalie’s party three year’s ago, I quickly remembered seeing the new Simply Sassy Kids Spa on Jonestown Road.

Simply Sassy Kids Spa is a day spa experience for girls, offering manicures, pedicures, makeovers and facial. Brightly decorated with tween-approved furniture and accessories, any girl feels special when stepping inside. Their Simply Sassy Birthday Party is every girls dream! They make sure the birthday girl and her friends are pampered from head to toe.

The Spa Sassy Birthday Package allows the little party-goers to enjoy makeup, a manicure, a pedicure and with the special flavor of your birthday month. Whether it be cotton candy or banana split, your fingers and toes will find it delicious! Or they can simply hang out in the party pad and chill with their friends! The party is filled with music, spa treatments, and cupcakes.

Or choose the Spa Tacular Birthday Party Package, which allows you to celebrate your special day while you and your girlfriends unwind in style! Start with a Mani For Me! Manicure and a "Toe" Tally Perfect Pedicure. Choose between a fruity facial or a Picture Perfect Up Do Style before you hang out in the party pad and enjoy birthday treats.

Want just one service or a different combination? Each girl at the party can purchase the spa services of her choice before hanging out in the party room. They supply all of the party goods after the girls get their spa treatments.

Simply Sassy also provides printable spa invitations and a song list for the birthday girl to pick out her favorite music to be played at her party. Adorable cupcakes and drinks are also included.

Simply Sassy Kids Spa is located at 163 Jonestown Road, Winston Salem, NC 27104-4616, Phone (336) 765-5772.

Guest blogger, Amy Takacs is a work-at-home-Mom to two daughters, Natalie (10) and Claire (7). When not caring for her daughters and 9-wk-old Golden Retriever puppy named Wilma, you can find her at her Macintosh designing brochures, magazines, ads and whatnot for her clients.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"A Home Away From Home"

By Rachel H

Although you will hope to never stay in this house, if fate determines that you do so, it is a place that will quickly feel like home. I had the pleasure of touring the Ronald McDonald House in Winston-Salem this past weekend. An addition was recently put on the existing house and it is nothing short of gorgeous.

If you are unfamiliar with the Ronald McDonald House, it is a home where out-of-town families can stay if and when they have a sick child who is receiving services in the hospital. It is a place that it filled with so much love, it is amazing. Everyone who works there is so proud of the House and all it offers to families who need support. Why shouldn't they be? With the new addition to the House, it now has 35 bedrooms to offer to these families. There is always a waiting list, but after this expansion, our local RMH can help twice as many families as they have been able to assist in years past.

I wanted to share with you somewhat of a photo album of my visits to the RMH this past weekend. The first photos are from my tour inside the house on Saturday. I toured the house with some extraordinary local bloggers and we were in awe throughout the entire tour. The second set of photos are from the Open House and Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies on Sunday. This was open to the public, and as you can see, everyone had a blast celebrating the good our community can do together.

Tour of the Ronald McDonald House ...

Open House and Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies ...

Much of the success of the RMH is due to volunteers. Please consider donating some of your time this year. You cannot imagine the lives you touch through this process. You can also always donate items on the wish list, such as disinfecting wipes, plastic utensils, laundry detergent, cups, word find books, and single serve meals.

For more ways to donate and become a part of this amazing program, visit or visit the blog at