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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Last Post

Hi Smarties,

I'm sad to say that today is our official last post in the Triad. We've really enjoyed delivering all the Smarty Scoop for you for two years and appreciate the support each and every one of you has given us every single day! However, due to some recent changes in the direction of our brand and business, we deemed it necessary to discontinue the TSP site for now.

We wish you the best of luck with your journey through this crazy little thing called mommyhood and stay Smarty!

Come visit us in Charlotte any time -!

Jen Plym
Chief Founding Mommy


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Two Super Smarty Events This Weekend!

Smarties, we're excited to give you the scoop on two incredible events this weekend!

Fun on the Farm at The Children’s Home
1001 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem
Friday, October 22nd, 6-8p
Grab your blankets & lawn chairs and enjoy an evening filled with hayrides, dinner, live music, smores, silent auction, outdoor activities and much more! All proceeds to benefit the Children's Home of Winston-Salem. Purchase tickets at or at the door!
Cost: $5 children 4-12 (kids under four are free!), $10 for adults. Ticket prices include dinner and all activities. Be there or be square!

Character Breakfast hosted by The Friends of the Ronald McDonald House
Have breakfast with all of your favorite princesses, superheros and storybook characters! Hosted by The Friends of the Ronald McDonald House.
When? Saturday, October 23rd from 8:30a-12:30p
Two Seating Times: 8:30 to 10:00 am & 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Where? Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem
Cost? $25 per person. Children under age one attend free.
Tickets? Please call The Ronald McDonald House at (336)723-0228 for an invitation and location details or visit their site.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reuse or buy new?

By Krista

Got another bun in the oven? Now what? Should you reuse some of your previous products, or scrap it and start over? Why not do both? Baby gear is constantly evolving, changing, AND being recalled. What was the latest and greatest gadget one baby ago could now be completely yanked from shelves. With a little research and proper planning, getting ready for your second, third, or fourth (whew) bundle can be a breeze.

First, get savvy and take inventory. Prepare your “reuse or buy new” list by considering safety, emotion, and usability. Some items may represent an emotional connection. Maybe you have beautiful memories of rocking your first born wrapped in a special blanket and envision passing it on to them to celebrate the birth of their first child? Certainly, these items fall into the emotional category and you will want to put these aside as special treasures. Don’t forget to consider connections your child may have towards a precious item. They, just like you, may have special memories toward a stuffed animal or pillow. The thought of handing these items down to a new baby might cause unnecessary sibling conflict. Involve your children in these decisions prior to bringing home baby and avoid tantrums and strife.

However, car seats, high chairs, cribs, and larger more expensive items are ripe for the reusing! An absolute MUST is a visit to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website. Research all items you intend to reuse and make sure they haven’t been recalled since your last trip down baby lane. If your item passes muster, complete your own safety check by ensuring all parts are still working properly and not in need of repair.

Finally, don’t discount usability. We have all purchased products that, simply put, we hated. True lemons that drove us mad when we first used them and are sure to aggravate us again. Make life easier and consider replacing these items. A newborn takes enough energy, fighting to collapse a stroller shouldn’t. If cost is a concern, try selling items that didn’t work for you and put your funds towards the purchase of something more user-friendly.

All this being said, getting ready for a new baby is a personal experience. Many moms opt for all new, while others find reusing the comfortable way to go. Recently I’ve spent many blissful hours going through our old baby items and reminiscing. Some items need replacing while others bring joy to my heart knowing they get one more round.

Preparing for a new baby is a blissful experience to be treasured. So, congratulations to all the expectant Smarty moms and enjoy the process regardless of what side of the “buy or reuse” fence you’re on!


Monday, October 18, 2010

School Choice Program

By Guest Blogger, Jennifer Jacobs

When it came time to send me off to kindergarten, my parents did not have to think too hard about where I would go to school. In fact, they didn’t have to think at all. Everyone sent their children to the public schools in District 56. I was headed to Gurnee Grade School along with all my friends in the neighborhood. The exceptions were the kids who went to St. Patrick’s, the only parochial school in the area. And since my family was not Catholic, St. Patrick’s was not an option. Case closed.

Before I had kids, I did not give much thought to the school choice debate. I knew that my husband and I were not going to raise our kids in a big city, and I assumed that my kids would do as I had done: go to the local public school along with all the other kids in the neighborhood. It turns out that Dan and I settled in a town that is just big enough that school choice is in fact a complicated issue.

I have been thinking about school choice since we moved into our neighborhood four years ago and learned that the kids here attend at least half a dozen different schools. This especially caught Dan off guard. He had visions of our son and daughter tripping off down the road to the local school every day. Not that this could ever happen since getting to the public elementary school requires a ride in a bus or car, but you get the idea. (And another thing, why doesn’t anyone take the bus anymore?) Dan vehemently wants to send our kids to public school. I am not so vehement, but I am in agreement. But it’s not a good sign when the local public elementary school feels compelled to hold intimate coffees and open houses to educate and encourage local parents to send their children to school there. The administrators of Gurnee Grade School certainly never had to make such an effort.

What has changed? Is it because I am now living within a public school district that educates thousands of students versus little District 56 that educated hundreds of students? Is it because it is now thirty years from the time that I was a skipping kindergartener? Tomes could be and are written about the evolution, and perhaps deterioration of the American public school system over the past thirty years. All I know is that I have talked to a lot of other parents and none of us can believe how we are stewing over a question that once upon a time was elementary.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Five Financial Facts Smart Moms Know

By Guest Blogger, Rebecca Madej

Today’s mom is often her family’s CFO so it’s prudent to make smart money moves. Here are five financial facts smart moms know:

1 – Have a trusted board of directors: We mamas can juggle a lot but can’t do it all. Financial solutions are not one size fits all so pull in experts to advise you on areas like taxes, insurance and banking. Rely on their knowledge to maximize your efforts and make wise choices. As an example, I tell my clients their home represents both the asset and liability side of their balance sheet. As a result a mortgage requires proper attention and expertise so that’s exactly what they’ll get from me.

2 – Manage your credit rating: Keeping your credit in good standing is crucial. Credit scores are how lenders determine your debt repayment behavior. Furthermore, utility and insurance companies - even employers - will evaluate your credit history for insight into your financial habits. It’s a smart move to check your credit for errors or derogatory information and resolve any issues as quickly as possible to minimize their impact. You are allowed to have one free copy of your report from each of the three credit bureaus each year and is the sanctioned site to do so. Another comprehensive resource for credit information can be found at

3 – Have cash reserves: Businesses’ costs sometimes exceed their revenue. Similarly most families don’t budget for a major auto repair or other significant expense but they still occur. CFO moms know the importance of cash reserves for such emergencies. Conventional wisdom is to have three to six months’ of expenses held in a separate savings account. Finding extra money in your budget to fund a ‘rainy day fund’ is easier than you may think and very worthwhile.

4 – Leverage what you already have: Businesses often use tax incentives or equity to their advantage – your family can do the same. Do you or your spouse have a FSA through work? Using it can help you get more bang for your buck on childcare or healthcare expenses. Are you paying mortgage insurance? Call your mortgage company compare your balance to your home’s value. If you have at least 20% equity, you may be able to remove the monthly mortgage insurance to increase your monthly savings.

5 – Finding savings/deals is fun: How do you find extra money for cash reserves? Evaluate your budget: Where do you spend money and where could you save? Don’t want to break out the calculator? Try sites like that automatically review your spending and generate reports to get valuable insight. Become a deal hound: Find discounts on services or entertainment you already use at places like Start playing the coupon game and learn how from domestic goddesses on sites like Finding great deals are fun and small savings add up!

Moms are the center of their family and frequently the family finances. As your family’s CFO, you have all the tools to make savvy money choices so make the most of it!

About Rebecca
No one has to tell Rebecca Madej that in today's hectic world, mothers often act as a family's chief financial officer. She lives it as the mom of two small children, and sees it daily in her successful career as as mortgage lender with Cunningham & Company Mortgage Bankers. "Moms are the center of their family and frequently the family finances," she says. "As your family’s CFO, you have all the tools to make savvy money choices so make the most of it." Follow her on Twitter @rebeccamadej or visit her website:


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Smarty Mom: Shelley Holden

Smarty Mom Quick Facts:
Smarty Mom: Shelley Holden
Mom of: Joanna (4) and Libby (21 months)
Married to: David for 7 years
Years in Triad: Has lived in Winston-Salem for almost 15 years since her freshman year at Wake Forest, finished undergrad and law school.
Occupation: Full-time mommy and does some part-time work as a development consultant (She previously managed the Law Fund for the Law school at Wake Forest before she decided to stay home when her oldest was born).

Shelley Holden is a miracle worker with a personality that shines with faith and love as she prides herself in giving back to her community. She is proudly on the Friends Board for both the Ronald McDonald House and Brenner Children's Hospital, on the Board of the NC Triad Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the Board of the Junior League of Winston-Salem. She is very involved with her church, Centenary United Methodist Church, and her girls' preschool. All of these things are very important to her....she lost her mom to breast cancer in 2005. In addition, one of her girls was very sick when she was born. They are so thankful to have the best pediatricians and Brenner Children's Hospital. Shelley's hobbies include spending time with her girls and husband and friends, cooking, crafting, shopping and volunteering.

I’m so proud to introduce you to Shelley Holden. She is the type of woman who makes a difference in this world through her selfless heart and faithful soul. Let's meet Smarty Shelley!

You are a Smarty Mom with a big heart! Tell us about your volunteer work.
I am a big believer in "to whom much is given, much is expected". I feel like I have been blessed with so much - health, education, etc., so I have a lot I need to give back. Also, my mom and dad have always been very involved in their community and I truly learned to give back from them. They taught me that if you are able to get involved, it is your responsibility to help others and make this world a better place for yourself and those around you. Now with two little girls, that is even more important to me because I want them to learn about helping others and doing what they should and can to make their world better. I also want to do everything I can for them, so that their world can the best for them. My work with Brenner Children's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House is so important because of my children. Living in Winston-Salem and being 5 minutes away from one of the best Children's Hospitals is such a blessing. I feel like we are so blessed to have this hospital that caters to serving children with doctors who are trained in pediatrics and equipment made for pediatrics. When my youngest was born, we had to go to Brenner a number of times and I was so relieved that she could be seen quickly and by doctors who knew exactly what to do with such a young child. I want to do everything I can to support them and being a part of the Friends board has given me that opportunity through the fundraisers for the hospital and the meetings to learn more about this wonderful facility. The Ronald McDonald House ties in with Brenner because it is a home away from home for families whose children are being treated at Brenner and at Forsyth. These families aren't as fortunate as we are to have a hospital just 5 minutes away and they need somewhere to stay to be close to their child. The RMH gives them this and offers so many wonderful services to these families. The work this house does is wondeful and I, too, love being a part of their Friends board. I have also enjoyed being in the Junior League of Winston-Salem for the past 10 years and it has given a lot of training opportunities and taught me a lot about Winston-Salem and ways to be involved in the community. The Children's Museum of Winston-Salem has been one of the best things the JL has enabled me to work 1st year in the JL was when they decided to build the museum and now I love being able to take my children to play there. I think we are so blessed to have this fun place where our children can learn in this community.

I am also involved with the NC Triad Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 and died in 2005. I became involved with this organization in 2003 as a way to honor my mom and fight this disease that eventually took her away from me and my family. I have met so many wonderful people through Komen who are working diligently to end this disease and in the last 25 years, there have been many great improvements but there is still a lot more work to be done. The Race for the Cure is their signature fundraiser and I chaired this event in 2006. It is such an inspiration to see over 10,000 people gather at Salem College each May to fight breast cancer. I continue to stay involved because of my mom and my girls. I pray that they will know a world without breast cancer and that they will never have to battle this disease or lose someone close to them because of it.
My mom was truly the most wonderful person I know and she dedicated her life for 25 years to me. She taught me so much through her cancer fight and her everday life. She was one of the most unselfish people and always was helping or doing something for someone. There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss her and it was really hard for me when I had my own children because I wanted her there to meet them. It makes me sad that my girls won't know her but I keep her alive for them by teaching them many of the things she taught me and also by keeping alive traditions from my childhood. Losing her also taught me that we have to make the most of each day and that is what I want to do with my girls everyday. I hope that I can be half the mom to them that she was to me.

You made a big decision to stay at home when your oldest was born. Was that a difficult choice for you?
Staying at home was a big decision for me when my oldest, Joanna, was born because I loved my job so much. It was such a privilege to work at my alma mater and I loved the many people I met and for some odd reason, I love fundraising! However, I wanted to every spend minute with Joanna that I could and I was fortunate enough to be able to do that. I have missed my job but have not regretted one day of staying at home. Being home with both girls has been a blast and even though so days are tough, I have never regretted it. I have gotten invloved with their preschool and the children's program at my church and I have loved that. I have satisfied my desire to get out some through my volunteer work and still dabble in some contract development work too. I think that one day I will go back, but I know these days with my little ones are flying by too!

What is your favorite thing about being a stay-at-home mom?
Being there for everything with my girls and taking them to do lots of things around town.

What is your favorite piece of baby gear?
The snap'n'go stroller. I would keep it in my car and pop it open and snap the carseat in everywhere I went. It was especially helpful when I have my 2nd child because it much easier than the stroller and I didn't have to take her out of the bucket carseat.

Minivan or SUV?
I love an SUV and all the room, even though I feel like my suburban is bus sometimes. I am still learning to parallel park in it!

How did you make mommy friends?
I have made some of my best mommy friends through children that are the same age as my girls. Some are older than me and some are younger and I love them all. My best advice is to listen to people who have been there before you. They have a lot of good advice because they have worked through potty training a child, getting tubes in their ears, preschool teachers, etc.

Favorite place to buy children's clothes?
Peaches 'n' Cream outlet in Burlington- they have the cutest play clothes for really good prices and it is fun for me because my mom used to take me there as a child and now I get to dress my girls from there. I also love home shows. I am the rep for a line- Castles and Crowns and some of my best friends sell Ragsland, Chez Ami, and Beaux et Belles. They all have cute and different things. McCalls is my favorite store in Winston-Salem. They have some of the most beautiful baby things and great gifts for baby showers and baby gifts.

Favorite place to take your whole family to dinner?
Twin City Diner- great kids and adult menu. Lots of selection.

Favorite Date night spot?
David and I love Mozelles or Milners. We also love Ryan's for special occasions.

Favorite Girls Lunch Spot?
The Carving Board- it is my all-time favorite spot in Winston. They have the best blue cheese chicken salad and spicy noodles!

Favorite Mani/Pedi spot?
Deja Vu- everyone there is so nice!

Favorite park in the Triad?
I love Hathaway and Polo Parks. Polo has great equipment for really little ones like my youngest (21 months).

What is your favorite fall family activity?
Going to the Pumpkin Patch at Maple Springs Methodist Church on Reynolda Road and picking out pumpkins and taking lots of pictures. My girls love all the pumpkins and have the hardest time picking out just one! We also love the Festival on the Quad at Wake Forest University which they have every year in the fall during Homecoming weekend. My girls love seeing the Deacon and the cheerleaders.

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
I love all the small town feel with big city opportunities. I love seeing people I know when I go out, but I love the access to sporting events, art events, museums, parks, etc that my children and my husband and I have living here. I love being with so many other young families too.

Smartiest way you save $? Ordering my groceries online is not only a time saver for me but it saves me $$ because I buy exactly what is on my list and don't get side tracked by things I see etc.

Favorite TSP article so far?
I love all the events that TSP tells me about, but I have to say that my favorite has been about planning a Disney trip. My oldest is obsessed with Disney princesses and we are taking them to Disney in the spring. I learned about Martha Nichols from TSP and called her up and she planned the whole trip for me and made all the reservations for dinners and shows and really helped us save money. It has been so easy and she has given us such great advice. I would not have known where to start if it hasn't been for this article and finding Martha!

Best book you've read lately?
I actually have 2: Lift by Kelly Corrigan- she writes a letter to her girls about everything she wants them to know about her and their life. It is an easy read and such an inspiration. I would tell every parent to read it. My other favorite lately has been: Bringing up Girls by James Dobson. It was a fabulous parenting book!

Favorite Smarty phone app?
facebook! I love keeping up with friends and being able to connect with friends this way....doing on my phone makes it easy when I am waiting for an appt, etc.

I could not live without my... or computer. I love being able to connect with my family and friends and I love finding things on the internet= events, locations, shopping etc.

I wish someone told me sooner about...
...The All A Flutter Butterfly Farm. We went just recently and my girls loved it, but so did I! It was amazing to be able to feed the butterflies and hold them and I couldn't believe how much my oldest and I learned about butterflies. We can't wait to go back when it reopens in the spring.

Best kept secret in the Triad?
The Nutcracker performed every December by The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. I lived here for 12 years before I went to see it and now I don't want to miss it. It is such a holiday treat and I took my oldest last year and she loved it. She has already asked if we are going again this year! The students there do a fabulous job in this performance!

Thanks, Shelley, for sharing your story with us!

Do you know a super cool Smarty mom, dad or just someone doing something fantastic in our community? Well we want to know them! We are reaching out to you to “mominate” those who you admire, have a great story, live life to the fullest or have created a Smarty Business. We have been fortunate to share the stories nearly 100 area moms and dads! We have laughed at common stories, been reassured that other families go through the same things that we do, been introduced to new restaurants, shown the way to fantastic bargain shopping, met new moms and gained wisdom from the old pros. Email us your peeps!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Momma's got a brand new bag

By Susan

Pocketbook, purse, diaper bag, suitcase...what's holding your junk? Currently, my junk is riding high in my Nest Diaper Bag.

I have the Mercer model in wine. Now before everyone starts sending me hate mail on how expensive this sucker is, let me talk first. It's listed for $385 (yes, ridiculous) but I found it cheaper online elsewhere for $300 and free shipping and no tax so the Nest Diaper Bag Man (Ken) let me have it for that. Just saying. Not all of the Nest Diaper Bags are quite that expensive.

I heart this bag and it loves me right back. It holds my sippy cups, snacks, dipes, wipes, makeup, hairbrush, Blackberry, bib, placemat, wallet, toys, keys, coupons, church envelopes, mail, checkbook, lunch for work days. Best of all, I carry it to the office!

Favorite Features of My New BFF:
(1) lining that unzips so you can throw in the wash
(2) 6 pockets inside - 2 for sippy cups (for Clay & Ella James), 1 for bottle of water (for moi), 1 for Blackberry, 2 for other stuff
(3) zippered inside pocket for makeup, Advil, gum, work badge
(4) roomy interior
(5) removable stroller strap plus 2 handles (although it might tip the stroller over b/c it's a beast)
(6) outside pocket with magnetic closure for coupons, to do list, etc.
(7) zippered compartment at bottom of bag for dipes, wipes, bib, diaper creme, placemat
(8) stylish details like brass "feet"as well as gorgeous suede and brass trim

I searched high and low for a bag that could work as a double agent (office worthy and high functioning diaper bag) because I'm too dumb to effortlessly switch between diaper bag and purse. After the 95th time I left my wallet or Blackberry or work badge in my diaper bag during the purse switcheroo process, something had to change.

I've gotten so many compliments on this bag - all from work people and non-Mommies who just like how it looks. They are floored when I proudly show them that it's a friggin' diaper bag. I can actually hear my husband rolling his eyes right now as I type. He's informed me that people compliment me on it because they think it's so ugly and obnoxious that they have to say something and they obviously aren't going to tell me they hate it. Whatever.

Now that we've covered the upside, let me cover the small downside - nothing but full disclosure here. I may need a chiropracter soon because this bag has it's own zipcode. It is a bit heavy (but not as heavy as my 25 lb 17 month old son so at least I'm balanced now - toddler on one hip and diaper bag on the other).

When it comes to pocketbooks, I'm firmly rooted in the "once-you-go-big, you-never-go-back" camp. I've finally found my true love! I may be addicted and must admit that I do want another one of these bags to add to the mix but I know that's the crazy talking. So for now, I'll just love the one I'm with!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trusting your instincts

By Krista

Before I became a mom, I would roll my eyes when my own mother would spout out the words, “a mothers intuition”. What did that mean? How could she just “know” something wasn’t right? Well, four years and four kids later, I believe (and strongly) in a “mothers intuition”. Twice now, my intuition changed the course of my life . . .

One year ago (practically to the day), I started to feel very nervous about my pregnancy. I was carrying a precious baby girl who was due to join our family in the fall. I loved her and felt her every move. Until one day, when her movement became erratic and just plain “off”. I called the doctor and they told me to count her kicks, which I did. She passed this “test” with flying colors and I went on throughout my day. But, not really. In my heart, I felt something wasn’t right. Why did she stop moving for so long? Why did her kicks come and go? Was this normal because she was getting bigger, or was this a sign that something was terribly wrong? My “motherly intuition” nagged me for days. Finally, I insisted I come in for a stress test so the doctors could see on a monitor what I was feeling internally. It was too late. My daughter she was gone from us forever.

That late September day, I vowed never to trust anyone over my “intuition”. After all, my feelings might be wrong, but what if they are right? In this case, they were right and I paid a hefty price for not being more aggressive about following my “intuition”. I’m not saying I could have stopped the horrible tragedy that was ahead of us, I’m just saying I might have been able to do something. What . . . I’m still not sure.

A year later, I followed my instincts (which sent me straight to an emergency c-section where I delivered our twin boy and girl). During this pregnancy I was aggressive, over-involved, and to the point of almost demanding. I requested stress tests even when the doctors didn’t think it was necessary. It was necessary to me. I also requested ultrasounds constantly so I myself could see the heartbeats and flow of blood in and out of their cords. I was my biggest advocate and I was the one who caught a near deadly mistake.

A week ago my twins were born. I went to the doctors office for my weekly stress test. My sons heart rate wouldn’t stay stable. The doctors claimed it was my own heart beat being picked up on the screen, not his. This answer did not sit well with me. Maybe this was the case, but maybe not? I went into Labor and Delivery to be checked out. They couldn’t find his heart rate but kept trying and trying with the monitor. I finally told the nurse they needed to do an ultrasound to see him closer. She was somewhat take aback. I insisted. What they found changed the course of my life, forever. Our son, Quinn, had almost no fluid left. This should have been picked up on the three ultrasounds I had the previous week, but it wasn’t. The doctor looked me straight in the eye and called an emergency c-section. Low fluid can result in umbilical cord injuries. The twins were born hours later.

They are here, early, but here. Our daughter spent five days being cared for in the NICU, our son nine. But, they are here and healthy. My intuition saved them. So, never, ever doubt what your heart says. The worst case is that you could be wrong, but what would happen if your heart was right? As a mother you need to be in charge of your life. Taking charge sometimes means being aggressive when the moment is right.

Smarties, follow your “motherly intuition” . . . it might change the course of your life.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Congratulations to our Smarty Winners!

A big Smarty congrats goes out to our winners of the Veggie Tales Live! Sing Yourself Silly show today.

Our winners to the 1:30pm matinee are Kristen Machado, Elizabeth Schaaf, Heather Higginbotham and Cortney Long.

Winners to the 6pm show are Courtney Tucker, Karin Eddinger, Whitney Stanton and Kelly Hoopingamer.

For the rest of us attending the show tonight, remember to use this handy coupon to get $3 off each ticket purchased when you redeem it at Enter "TriadSmarty" at checkout.


Smarty Scoop on Weekend Activities!

By Jennifer J

We’re over the hump, Smarties! Here’s the scoop on some fun fall activities to enjoy with your family this weekend. This weekend there are not one, but TWO Touch-A-Truck events, so whether you live in Winston-Salem or Greensboro, there’s a Touch-A-Truck happening in your neck of the woods!

Paws to Read
Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem
October 15, 11:00am
Free with admission to museum, $7.
Storytime is made even better when you’re joined by the therapy-certified dogs of the Winston-Salem Dog Training Club. Kiddies will be able to pet the dogs, watch them perform special tricks and even have the opportunity to read to them!

Center City Cinema
Center City Park, downtown Greensboro
October 15, 8:00pm
What’s fun for school-age kids? An outdoor movie in the park! Enjoy a picnic in Center City Park before settling down to watch a free showing of kid-friendly “Akeelah and the Bee.” Popcorn and candy available for purchase.

Jamestown Elementary Fall Festival
Jamestown Elementary, 108 Potter Drive, Jamestown
October 16, 12:00pm-10:00pm
Celebrate fall at a festival with games, rides, food and vendors. Admission is free; rides and other activities have small fees.

Harvest Hoedown

Greensboro Children’s Museum
October 16, 5:00pm-8:00pm
Get out your boots and bandanas for some good, ol’ country fun. The Nut Bush Ramblers will be performing bluegrass while you chow down on a BBQ dinner. There will be hayrides, farm animals, square dancing and fall crafts. $15 per person/$20 at the door. Children under two, free.

Touch-A-Truck, 2 Locations:
What young child doesn’t love an opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat of the gleaming cab of a freight truck or see what it’s like to run in the tipper of a dump truck? This weekend, there’s no reason to miss out because there’s a Touch-A-Truck event taking place near you!
1)Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem
October 17, 1:00pm-5:00pm
$5 per person for members and non-members, includes admission to museum.
2)Festival Park, Davie St., downtown Greensboro
October 17, 12:00pm-4:00pm
$5 or $15 for group of four, children under 2 free.
Featuring music by Big Bang Boom and other children’s activities.
Sponsored by Junior League of Greensboro.

Get out and enjoy this beautiful weather, Smarties!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Who wants free tickets to Veggie Tales Live! Sing Yourself Silly on Wednesday? We've got 32 to give away!!

Smarties, we're excited to hook you up with 32 FREE tix to VeggieTales Live! Sing Yourself Silly in Winston-Salem on Wednesday, October 13. The shows, a 1:30p matinee and an 6:00p evening performance, will be at 1st Presbyterian Church in downtown Winston-Salem.

Get ready for singing, dancing and a whole lot of fun when Bob and Larry hit the road this fall with the VeggieTales Live! Sing Yourself Silly tour. See your favorite Veggie friends live and on stage as they perform the hits you know and love. The event will entertain with larger than life characters and WOW moments that guarantee fun for the whole family!

5 lucky Smarties will win (6) General Admission tickets for each show, 15 for the 1:30 PM and 15 for the 6 PM, tickets have a value of $15 each. In addition, 2 lucky Smarties will win 2 Gold Circle seats for each show (4 total, $25 value each). Gold Circle ticket holders have reserved seating and get to experience a meet and greet with Bob and Larry after the performances! This is H-U-G-E!

For the rest of us attending the show tomorrow, use this handy coupon to get $3 off each ticket purchased when you redeem it at Enter "TriadSmarty" at checkout.

So how do you score tickets? All you have to do is leave your name in the comments section below and indicate which show you'd like to attend and why you love TSP. Then email us so we can get your name to will call for you to collect your tix. Thanks for reading and good luck, Smarties!


Top 21 "Best Bet" Booster Seats

By Ashley H

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released their top "Best Bet" ratings for booster seats providing a correct fit across a range of vehicles. There were 21 boosters total in the top rated category. Since being Smarty about choices for our families is goal #1 here at CSP, we wanted to recap their tips and findings to keep our Smarty families as safe as possible while on the road.

The Smarty Facts (as issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety):
When deciding on the best booster for your child, fit is first. This is a case when you need to completely ignore pretty. Something that matches your style won't save your child from injury (or worse yet, life) in an accident if the fit is not correct.

Booster seats are getting better and safer. Last year only 9 boosters made the "Best Bet" list, this year it's 21. Bravo to those companies for the commitment to excellence! Another 36 models received marginal marks because while they may fit some children in some vehicles, they didn't measure up with an optimal fit across enough vehicles.

When you shop for the best booster for your child, pay close attention to each booster seat diagram outlining how the seat belt should lie across your child's shoulders and lap. While a poorly positioned belt could safe lives, it could also result in risk of internal injuries in a crash.

A secure seat belt fit= shoulder belt should fit across middle of the joint, not too close to neck nor too far. When the belt is too close to neck children often get uncomfortable and wriggle out, when too far over it allows for too much movement and puts them at grave risk in event of accident. The lap belt should be positioned across the thighs (when it falls across the abdomen it puts child at risk for damage to intestine and spine in a crash).

A common misconception is that high backed boosters are safer than backless, however both options made the top 21 list.

As always, the safest option is to have your booster seat checked in your area with a car seat fitting station, most of the time these are free though some may require an appointment. Quickest way to find one of these is to type your community and "car seat fitting" in to your search engine.

21 top-rated booster seats (*good mix of all price points)
*Britax Frontier 85 (combination highback); about $210
*Chicco Keyfit Strada (dual highback); about $170
*Clek Oobr (dual highback); about $275
*Cosco Juvenile Pronto (dual highback); about $30
*Cybex Solution X-Fix (highback); about $200
*Eddie Bauer Auto Booster (dual highback); about $80
*Evenflo Big Kid Amp (backless); about $25
*Evenflo Maestro (combination highback); about $60
*Graco TurboBooster Crawford (dual highback); about $45
*Harmony Baby Armor (dual highback); about $115
*Harmony Dreamtime (dual backless); about $50
*Harmony Dreamtime (dual highback); about $50
*Harmony Secure Comfort Deluxe (backless); about $20
*Harmony Youth Booster Seat (backless); about $30
*Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR (dual highback); about $120
*Recaro ProBOOSTER (highback); about $130
*Recaro ProSPORT (combination highback); about $280
*Recaro Vivo (highback); about $90
*Recaro Young Sport (combination highback); about $250
*Safety 1st Boost Air Protect (dual highback); about $240
*The First Years Pathway B570 (highback); about $75

For the Institute's full report of "Best", "Good" and "Not Recommended" click here.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Have you tried Greek yogurt?

By Jen P

My latest fave to pack in my kids' lunchboxes is Greek yogurt. It is absolutely delicious, nutritious and chock full of protein. Those three adjectives together are a score for me!

Greek yogurt is made thicker by straining off the liquid whey from conventional yogurt. It’s the straining that concentrates the protein content. Greek yogurt has more than twice the protein of non-Greek yogurts with over one third of your daily protein requirement in a single serving of yogurt and low in fat - WOW!

The brands I like are Fage and Chobani - both are equally delish and have lots of yummy flavors. My kids like Fage with honey, we usually buy the plain and add our own local honey. I am currently always craving but never feeling guilty about Chobani's Pomegranate yogurt, and fat-free to boot. These Greek yogurts are 100% natural, no added sweeteners, thickeners or preservatives. They are great for diabetics, expecting moms and people on gluten-free diets.

No fat and only 100 calories? You just cannot beat that! Add some fresh fruit, a drizzle of honey, homemade granola, your favorite cereal, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, crushed graham crackers, you name it, everything goes with this yummy delight!

Fage and Chobani can be found at your local Harris Teeter, Food Lion and some Costcos. Enjoy!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Smarty Mom: Beth Southern

It's Smarty Mom Saturday and we're excited to introduce you to Beth Southern. Beth is married to hubby, Bill, for five years and is brand new mommy to Kate (5 months). Beth is a Greensboro native and she and her family currently live in King.

Beth is a full-time working attorney hailing from UNC-Chapel Hill undergrad and the University of Texas for law school. She is a corporate and securities attorney with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC in Winston-Salem, while her husband is a District Court Judge.

Let's meet Beth!

As a brand new mommy, what was the biggest challenge in going back to work?
Mommy guilt! I feel guilty when I’m at the office, because I’d rather be at home with my family, but when I’m at home, I feel guilty for not working.

What was the transition like adding a new little one into your mix?
The first month or so was a little rough. I really am a creature of habit, and there’s no such thing as a routine with an infant in the house! After the couple of months, things started to calm down a bit and I think we’re starting to figure out this “new normal.”

How do you balance your family/work/friend balance and what tips can you share with your fellow Smarties?
While I started out working part-time right after my daughter was born, I’ve ultimately geared back up into working a pretty full-time schedule. I think it’s all about flexibility. I don’t really think of my day as being broken up into designated blocks for work, family and friends. Ultimately, there are 24 hours in every day and laundry, errands, client needs, diapers and the occasional girls lunch or date night have to fit in there one way or the other. For me, that means sometimes getting to the office a little later in the morning so that I can run by Target on the way to work (which goes MUCH faster when there’s no one else there and you don’t have a baby in tow!) or working at home in the evenings after my daughter goes to bed so that my clients get what they need when they need it. I think you also have to remind yourself that it’s OK to ask for help. I’m a bit of a control freak, but I’ve found that I’m so much happier at work and at home when I let go of some of the little stuff and delegate it to others.

Let's move on to gear and fun family digs! What stroller do you have and what is your favorite feature?
I have a Chico Cortina stroller, and it has worked really well. I’m not sure that I have a particular favorite feature, but I think it’s well built and reasonably priced (so I don’t have to freak out if it gets dinged or scratched—or pushed through the barnyard exhibit at the Dixie Classic Fair as my mother-in-law decided to do earlier this week).

What is your absolute favorite piece of baby gear?
At the moment, it’s definitely the Fisher Price Jumparoo—my daughter loves it! It keeps her entertained long enough for me to start dinner, fold clothes or read the occasional magazine. I’m also a big fan of the Fisher Price Cradle n’ Swing, the official sponsor of naps in the Southern household!
Minivan or SUV?
SUV. I definitely appreciate the comfort and convenience of the minivan, but like elastic waist jeans, it’s just not a place I’m prepared to go.

How have you made new mommy friends and what advice can you share?
Luckily, most of my friends have become my “mommy friends” by default as we’ve all had kids within the past year or so. I think that getting involved in local organizations (church, Junior League, etc.) is a great way to meet other moms in town.

What is your favorite place to buy baby clothes/gear?
I love Once Upon A Child and eBay for smocked and boutique-quality outfits at a fraction of the price of some other shops. When I’m looking to splurge or buy cute baby gifts, I really like the Lollypop Shoppe in Greensboro and Rolly’s in Winston-Salem.

What is your favorite place to take your whole family to dinner?
Love, love, love El Maguey Mexican restaurant in Pffaftown. The food is great, and the service is fast enough that we can get in and out before my daughter starts squirming all over the place.
Favorite date-night spot?
Lately, the living room in my house! Getting a babysitter for a 5 month old can be a little tricky, so my favorite date night splurge is sushi from Sakura in Winston-Salem. They have a great drive-through window, so I can call in my order before I leave the office on Friday afternoon, pick it up on the way home, and leave it in the frig until after my daughter is asleep—voila—wine and sushi date night!

Favorite girls lunch spot?
The Loop at Thruway Center or Village Tavern on Reynolda Road.

Favorite mani/pedi spot?
Van Davis Salon at Thruway Center.

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
I think the Triad area really does provide the best of all worlds—there are great shopping, dining and entertainment options all in an area that has manageable community, great schools and an affordable cost of living.

Smartiest way you save $? is a great place to find super deals on diapers, wipes and baby food. When you sign up for their free “Amazon Mom” membership and choose auto-delivery, you can save 30% on all of your diaper and wipes purchases—and have them delivered right to your door for free!

Favorite TSP article so far?
Mommy Guilt from June 2010.

As a new mommy, what topics would you like to see covered on TSP that would help you through this crazy little thing called mommyhood?
I’d love to see some articles about typical challenges with kids (teething, sleep issues, the “terrible two’s”, etc.) from moms who have been there and done that. I always love hearing what tips and tricks worked for other people’s kids—or, at a minimum, knowing that I’m not alone!

Best book you've read lately?
“Balance Is a Crock, Sleep Is for the Weak: An Indispensable Guide to Surviving Working Motherhood” — incredibly funny, with some good advice to boot!

Favorite Smarty phone app?
Google reader. It lets me keep up on all my blog reading (including TSP!) when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, getting a pedicure, etc.

I could not live without my...
...husband. That man is a saint and there is no way I could be a working mom if I didn’t have all of his help with the cooking, cleaning and childcare.
I wish someone told me sooner about...
... The book “The Happiest Baby on the Block”—I swear, those techniques have been a lifesaver for us!

Best kept secret in the Triad?
New South Diner. The food and wine list are special enough to qualify it for a date night, but it’s causal enough that you can bring the whole family.

Thanks, Beth, for your super Smarty interview today! Smarties, if you have a Smarty Mom OR Dad that you think needs to share their story, please email us with a "momination"! We'd love to hear from you!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Fashion with a bump

By Guest Bloggers, Taylor Presson & Allison Bumgardner

When we started having babies five years ago, maternity fashion was just getting started. Today’s new mommies have even more amazing and affordable options than ever before. We spent several afternoons hunting the latest summer and fall fashion “must haves” for Charlotte’s most glamorous mothers to be. It is simply “Fashion with a bump.”

On our personal fashion blog, we took a survey of our readers to find out what was the one item our mommy friends could not live without. Beating out designer jeans and jersey tops was our personal favorite, the Yoga Pant. We were so excited to find the newest discovery, the “Everywhere Pant” from the makers of the Bella Band, Ingrid & Isabel. Ingrid & Isabel have outdone themselves. This pant can be worn over the belly for more support, under the belly or as a skirt that hits mid-waist. We love this option because it covers the ever expanding rear view. The “everywhere pant” retails for $88. Liz Lange for Target has one of our favorite maternity fold over waist yoga pants. Check locally or order online for $29.99. Available in black.

Mommies today are more concerned with living a healthy lifestyle and need more transitional clothes that will take them through their pregnancy and afterwards. Transitional clothes like low rise convertible cargos, tunics and leggings, cardigans with adjustable ties and empire waisted comfy t-shirts. At Destination Maternity, Allison scored a pair of awesome cargos for $29 in the Motherhood line. Layer with a heathered tee ($19.50) and a new cardigan ($34) and you have an outfit you can wear straight through fall. Old Navy Maternity has some super cute jersey wrap cardigans in gray and khaki( $22.50 online) that will take you through your whole pregnancy and after!

All this research led us to a whole new level of maternity denim knowledge. We learned that each designer makes their jeans in a different way. Need more support? Try Citizens of Humanity. Most of their jeans fit “over the belly.” Paige denim specializes in under belly styles and J-Brand has super-cool elastic inserts to stretch with your ever-expanding belly! Destination Maternity buys their denim of choice and adds their own “secret fit belly” bands. Check there for hip denim lines you can’t find anywhere else. Our favorite new style for fall are the super comfy “Jeggings” from Citizens of Humanity. These jeans/leggings will look great for fall with sweaters, long sleeve tees and tunics. You can pair them with mid calf boots and head out the door. We could write a whole article on the great maternity denim from Old Navy. They have “low rise” bootcut jean currently on sale at for $19 or the “full panel” flared leg jeans for $30. Not so sure about “jeggings”, Old Navy has the cutest pair of skinny jeans for $12.97 online!!

The cooler days of fall are here and we couldn't be more excited about the trends that come with it! Keep your eyes out for must-haves like anything with pockets, plaid ruffle shirts, boat neck sweaters and shirts, bold colors and patterns and a refreshing hint of anything tie-died. Whatever the season, maternity clothes are a fun part of the most special times of our life. Why not feel and look great?!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Activities: 10/8-10/10

Happy Thursday Smarties! Get a jump start on your weekend by planning to attend one of these Triad family events. This is the last weekend of the Dixie Classic Fair and they will be releasing the butterflies this weekend at All-A-Flutter Butterfly Farm. Get out and enjoy!

Dixie Classic Fair
Dixie Classic Fairgrounds
This is the last weekend – October 8-10, Fri., Sun., 11:00am-11:00pm; Sat., 9:00am-11:00pm
This year marks the 128th Anniversary of what is revered as the 50th largest fair in North America and the second largest in North Carolina! It’s the Dixie Classic Fair –10 consecutive days of UNLEASHED excitement like no year before. 2010 brings a new and exciting line up of national acts and entertainment (with some old favorites, too), more fabulous Fair food, Blue Ribbon competitions, games of chance, thrilling rides and amazing animals. Yup, from 4-H livestock and the petting zoo to pig races, there’s plenty of UNLEASHED entertainment for everyone to enjoy. Adults, $8; ages 6-11, $4; ages 5 and under, free; seniors 65+, free.

$4 Fun Friday Nights
Greensboro Children's Museum
October 8, 5:00pm-8:00pm
Take advantage of reduced admission - $4, and have a date night with the family at Greensboro Children’s Museum!

Big Fun Friday
Children's Museum of Winston-Salem
October 8, 11:30am
Cling, clang, boom, bing, bang – it’s time to make some noise! Join us for music making, toe-tapping, game playing BIG FUN! Free with museum admission, $7.

Puppet Show: Farmer Kater and The Apple Tree
Old Salem Museums & Gardens James A. Gray Jr. Auditorium
October 8, 10:30am, 10:50am, 11:20am and 1:00pm
Growing apples is not an easy task for Farmer Kater until he meets a famous American folk hero. Cost is $2.

All-A-Flutter Family Days
All-A-Flutter Butterfly Farm
October 9
This is the last Family Day at All-A-Flutter! October-9th we will only have one show at 10a.m. attend this show, and at the end we release all of the butterflies!! Cost is Adults, $6; children, $5.

Pumpkin Palooza Party
Natural Science Center of Greensboro
October 9, 10:00am-1:00pm
Join us for our first festive Pumpkin Palooza Party! Kids can decorate pumpkins, play pumpkin-themed games and make crafts. Visitors of all ages can enjoy tasty pumpkin treats from The Fresh Market and watch the animals gobble up their pumpkin surprises! Event free with general admission and/or membership.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

what's for breakfast?

By Guest Blogger, Adri Warrick:

With the end of summer and fall classes in full swing, we have begun our early days with blurry-eyed kids that have exactly sixteen minutes to get dressed, eat breakfast and out to the bus stop, we have to stop and ask the question - what is for breakfast? The easiest solution is a bowl of cereal or a breakfast bar. Do you ever stop and ask yourself what is in that bowl of cereal or that chewy and super sweet bar? How long will that keep their tummies full and their brains alert? One of the most important things we can do for our kids is to send them out the door with the most nutrient packed breakfast.

It is important to pick a breakfast that has some fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates. Something that will keep them full, alert and have good energy while stabilizing blood sugar. If children experience dips in blood sugar it may result in behavioral changes and the inability to focus. I am sure as parents you may pack a lunch the night before and put some thought and time into the items you place in the lunch box. Approach breakfast the same way and think about it the night before. Pull out the ingredients or prep anything you can ahead of time. This picture is proof it can be done fast. It was taken at 6:40 am, the smoothies were made in the five minutes before my husband left for a business trip and the kids ate the peanut butter and banana slices before we could snap the picture. After a mad dash, Henk was out the door and on the bus at 6:57 am. Not my finest moment, but I wanted to be real about what mornings looks like!

Here are some suggestions for a quick and filling breakfast:

Green Smoothies

Scrambled eggs with a side of strawberries - don't dirty a bowl, just crack and stir in pan and add a little seasoning.

Sliced bananas with peanut butter - also makes a great snack. Use apples if your child doesn't like bananas

Cereal that contains protein and add berries - for fiber and fullness. Read the label on your cereals.

Instant oatmeal with berries - try plain oatmeal and add some real maple syrup or honey.
Yogurt with honey or maple syrup and berries - read the sugar content on yogurt as well as artificial sweetners.

Dutch Muesli

Whole wheat toast or bagel with a nut butter or cheese
- look for a short list of ingredients on bread and that whole wheat is the first ingredient.

* For additional recipe ideas visit

Don't underestimate the power of a good breakfast. Crowd out the bad by bringing in the new. Throw out the summer doughnuts and sugary cereals. Think about how you feel when your only fuel is 2-3 cups of coffee until lunch. You are jittery, distracted and grumpy. Our kids have some big shoes to fill now that they are back in school. You wouldn't let them leave the house without their backpack and lunch box so why would you let them leave without the fuel they need to get them through 'til lunch. Breakfast seems like an impossible task some mornings but if we insist that they get dressed and brush their teeth, can't we insist the same about a good breakfast?

Share some of your Smarty breakfast tips!

Adri Warrick is co-founder along with her younger sister of The Whole Tulip Blog. Married to hubby, Will, for 8 yrs and Smarty Mom of two boys, Henk (5) and Chase (2). She is a neuromuscular massage therapist and loves to run and cross train. The Whole Tulip is a site for people to find recipes that incorporate whole foods. Basically, cooking as close to the source as possible. They create and experiment with simple recipes to share with people who want to create wholesome food for themselves and their family. Adri is also currently enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition based out of NYC where she is studying to become a Holistic Health Counselor. She has a passion for the body and how it works and what it needs but don't be fooled, girlfriend loves her wine and chocolate as much as the next!!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Bald is Beautiful

By Lisa K

There is a gene that my family passes from generation to generation, and it isn’t eye color or freckles or even our sense of humor. It’s the bald gene.  You don’t see many kids with this trait, but when I see another big baldy I always smile, knowing this mom probably experiences what I do each and every day.

You see, my daughter Katherine is 9 months old and does not have any hair. She somehow has less hair now than on the day she was born.   And the reality is that this isn’t going to change any time soon. It’s not unusual to see a bald baby in the first 3 to 4 months, but after that it gets tricky.

Katherine is getting bigger, has eight teeth and is looking more grown up.  She is a big beautiful baby and people can’t easily identify her age because she has no hair. 
And people are constantly confused about her gender.  Sure my baby is wearing all pink, but with that short haircut, she must be a boy.  “Oh, he’s so cute, or how old is he?” will be asked in every grocery checkout line or park I enter.  Again I can only assume this is because people can’t quite figure out why I have a giant bald baby in my stroller or grocery cart. Even the director at my daycare slipped the other day and said –wow he’s getting big. Then she looked at me and realized – oh crap that’s Lisa and her daughter is Katherine.

I would put a bow in her hair to help someone identify the gender more easily, but I can’t, she’s bald.  And I don’t mean she has short hair that I can’t put pig tails in. I bought those tiny bows that close with Velcro that only take a few strands to hold in place and I can’t make them work.

My husband really hates when people confuse his baby girl for being a boy and I see him stop at the sections of the store that have bows for little girls and he always flips over the package hoping to see something besides a clip there, some magic invention that will allow him to attach the pretty contraption to the head of his bald baby girl.  It’s just not in the cards.
Katherine will eventually turn one and be a giant bald walking baby.  I anticipate her hair showing up somewhere between 18 months and 2 years of age.  That’s when mine arrived.  It’s my gene that has people rubbing her dome and asking where her hair is. I don’t care, I think bald is beautiful.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Smarty Alert: Toys & Co 20% off Fall Sale is going on NOW!

By Jen P

Smarty favorite, Toys & Co in Greensboro, is hosting their annual fall sale with 20% off everything in the store, their biggest sale of the year. This sale is going on now through Saturday, October 9th.

This is perfect timing to stock up on your holiday stash or just load up on some birthday party gifts to have on hand. We have our eyes on Playmobil, Lego sets, Calico Critters, Snap Cap bottlecap necklaces, train sets, automoblox, Kettler ride-ons, silly bandz, we could go on forever!

Toys & Co is hands down one of the best toys stores in the Triad, we love all things local! Happy shopping, Smarties, and don't forget to tell them TSP sent ya!

Toys & Co
Friendly Shopping Center
3110 Northline Avenue
Greensboro, NC 27408
P: 336.294.1114
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9a-9p, Sunday, 1-6p


Saturday, October 2, 2010


You like to lay down some sass?! Well, lucky you cause, Smarties, we're excited to announce that we're calling out for bloggers! We loves us some fresh & funny as much as we love those with their (manicured) fingers on the pulse of all things cause-related, fashionistas, fierce foodies and multi-tasking mommas alike! Fresh off of a super cool mommy blogger conference in Asheville, we have some fabulous ideas and we want to get Y-O-U involved!

Are you a stay-at-home mom, working mom or part-time working mom looking for something fun to do to stimulate your creative side? Are you that go-to mom in your group, you know, the one who everyone calls to take to register for baby, or the one who is in-the-know on all things mommy? Well, we're looking for you, Smarty Mama! We want moms of all walks in Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point, so don't be SMARTY, send us your stuff!

Submit your writing samples, references and a description of why you want to become a part of our Smarty team to Looking forward to hearing from you and LET'S GET SMARTY!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Smarty Alert: Fisher Price Recalls Millions of Toys

By Jen P:

Fisher-Price announced a recall of nearly 10 million toys that are considered dangerous to children. FP has recalled 2.8 million types of baby play areas with inflatable balls due to choking hazards.

The company found that a valve from the inflatable ball can come off and become a choking hazard. Fisher-Price said it was aware of 46 reports of the valve coming off in the United States and eight incidents in Canada. Quote from the FP announcement: "These include 14 reports of the valve found in a child's mouth and three reports of a child beginning to choke. No injuries have been reported."

More than 7 million tricycles were also being recalled because of a protruding part that had cut children. Fisher-Price also said it recalled about 120,000 small car toys because of at least two reported cases of the wheels coming off, causing a choking hazard. The company also recalled close to one million high chairs because of 14 reports of children being cut by the legs on the chairs.

For more information, go to the FP website. Customers can also call the Fisher-Price hot line at 800-432-5437 for more information. Check your stuff, Smarties!