Wednesday, June 29, 2011

bigEbounce

Sarah C. gives you the whole scoop on bigEbounce. I know some parents will be turned off by all the tvs and video games, but our toddlers loved the toddler bounce here. And I, personally, loved the opportunity to finally try my own hand (feet?) at Dance Central with Kinect. I'm in love.

I think we possibly found the ultimate toddler bounce fun in the Triangle when we visited bigEbounce. I've lost count how many bounce places I have been to in the past year. Some promise areas for the smaller set but none have come through like this one.

bigEbounce devotes an entire room to the 4 and under crowd. The "littleEbounce" room features 3 inflatables, 2 flat panel TVs with tv/video game options, a nice lounge sofa for the parents plus 3 picnic tables. The inflatables were smaller in size and pretty well maneuvered by the six kids in our playgroup ranging in ages from 21 - 27 months. I was surprised too at how quiet it was compared to other places we've been. All of us moms loved this spot and plan to return. The only change we would make - a gate on the door to the room to slow down runaway toddlers as the room opens up directly into the "bigEbounce" room where the bigger kids play.

We even let the kids play in the "bigEbounce" room a bit. Along with the slide giant inflatable slide, the room also had an obstacle course and basketball court inflatables, 3 flat panel TVs with Wii & Xbox systems hooked up. We didn't spend too much time here as a group of kids from the YMCA came to play, but our toddlers seemed to have gotten their fill of the giant slide by then and were content returning to the "littleEbounce" room.

The one thing we didn't try since our kids are so young was the "bigEgamerz" room. I did peek in and it has several flat panel TVs complete with video games set up and more of those awesome lounge sofas. This would definitely be fun with older kids or even a night out for the adults! bigEbounce has Playstation, Xbox and Wii systems and games.

We visited during an Open Play session. They are offered weekdays in the mornings and afternoons as well as select evenings. Check the website or call to confirm the current schedule (see info listed below). I highly recommend calling ahead of your visit as they are currently offering a discounted open play rate of $5.99/child if you reserve a spot versus the $8.99/child walk-in fee.

Parties can be reserved anytime. Call or see website for details. Also, weekends are reserved for private parties, but you can call and reserve your party regardless of size (3 people? they are fine with that).

Don't forget your socks!

bigEbounce
http://www.bigebounce.com/ | Open Play Schedule
1006 SW Maynard Road
Cary
919-469-2273

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Patchwork Farm: Blueberries!

Isn't that, like, the best picture ever to entice to read this post? Love it. And it really was taken at Patchwork Farm in Chapel Hill, right off of Old Lystra Road. Because in addition to rows and rows and rows of blueberrries, Patchwork Farm has 2 adult goats and 2 billies to feed and watch. C was a little obsessed with the goats (had to use the goats as enticement for him to keep picking blueberries). Patchwork Farms was simply a great time for us.

This farm is family owned. They have actually had the property for years yet just put in blueberry bushes and opened up for picking last summer. So although this is only year 2 of picking for the public, it is GREAT picking. We got over 3 pints off of just 2 bushes. And there were rows and rows to be had still.

I also really appreciated the family nature of this business. The owner greeted us when we arrived, told us where to pick, and also helped us feed the goats when C was allowed. If the owners aren't out when you go, or if they leave while you pick, whenever you need them there is a big bell to ring (also a hit with the kids).

They provide containers and buckets to put your blueberries in, including a genius thing where you tie the container to your waist so you can pick 2-handed. They also have step stools to sit on if you want while you pick.

There were also some little tot yard toys such as a playhouse and slide near the blueberry patch.

The cost was $2 a pound. No problems. And "nothing but water" on the blueberries. Which is great considering that everyone who was picking was also taking them straight off the branch and into the mouth. Delicious.

Picking is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 7 am to 7 pm ("if you can see 'em, you can pick 'em"). You can call ahead and/or visit their website before going if you would like.

Enjoy!

Patchwork Berry Farm
http://www.patchworkberryfarm.com/
1575 Old Lystra Road
Chapel Hill
919-929-7810

Monday, June 27, 2011

UMall's Sweet Carolina Summer Concert Series

Marney went and checked out this event for us, and her review follows. Stay tuned, too, since we'll have VIP tickets coming your way for grabs soon! Here's Marney:

I love getting out in the summer evenings to enjoy live music and have fun with the kids. Luckily the University Mall in Chapel Hill has decided to put on a Sweet Carolina Summer Concert Series in June and July from 6-9pm on Thursday nights. Each week a different beach themed band plays and mall vendors supply food + drink (alcoholic and nonalcoholic). The event takes place in the parking lot outside Dillard's Department Store.

Overall my kids (ages 2 and 5), my husband and I had a good time. The main focus was very much the music and well deserved since the band playing ,"The Fantastic Shakers" (www.fantasticshakers.com) was a real crowd pleaser. They definitely had a beach boys vibe and got the crowd up and dancing by song number two. Even the Chick-fil-A cows got on the dance floor, poor things must have been melting in those costumes! Most people set up lawn chairs or a blanket in front of the stage. There were a few hundred people in attendance but the staff said in weeks past when there was no chance of thunderstorms, there were approximately 400-500 people!

The food and drink vendors were a bit late setting up but there were some good options. Chick-fil-A offered a boxed meal (chicken sandwich, chips and a drink for $5) and A Southern Season had cheese, crackers and fruit plus beer/wine and cookies. Chick-fil-A also had a fun "prize wheel" where you could win a free drink, dessert or other goodies. If your kids are like mine and eat on the early side, I'd recommend eating before the event inside the mall or at a nearby restaurant like The Loop or bring your own picnic.

Unfortunately the "children's corner" was nothing more than a few tumbling mats surrounded by a plastic enclosure that kept falling over with the increasing winds. My two year old enjoyed running around but my older child was more interested in the music and watching the cows. Their intention was to have this area be a "safe place" for the kids to run around but perhaps the music will hold their attention well enough.

There was plenty of event staff in yellow t-shirts to help answer questions, point you in the right direction and monitor the children's area. There was also lots of security and parking was fairly easy.

Check out the website for a full list of food vendors, restaurants and a performance schedule.

University Mall Sweet Carolina Summer Concert Series
http://universitymallnc.com/
http://universitymallnc.com/calendar/event/186-sweet-carolina-summer-concert-series
201 South Estes Drive Chapel Hill

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

NC Symphony PIRATES! Show Giveaway

"Avast ye scurvy wrecks! It’s family fun at a concert inspired by those infamous sea dogs, PIRATES." I mean, a show that advertises this way is bound to be fun for the kids. That's why we're excited to giveaway 2 adult tickets (kids 12 and under get in for free) t0 the North Carolina Symphony's PIRATES Show on July 9th at Koka Booth Ampitheatre.

Here's what else you need to know about this event:
"Hit the high seas with music from Pirates of the Caribbean, The Pirates of Penzance, Hook, Peter Pan, Captain Blood, The Flying Dutchman and more. On stage we’re joined by celebrated singer/songwriters Laurelyn Dossett and Molly McGinn and tenor Scott MacLeod. On site, we’ve got fun and great prizes for scalawags of all ages."

Other activities include:
-Pirate-themed gifts for the first 200 concertgoers
-The return of the Symphony’s costume contest, with prizes for child and adult winners
-Instrument zoo
-Whole Foods Market of Cary Picnic of the Week
-Artifacts from Queen Anne’s Revenge, presented by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
-The Symphony’s own treasure map
-Your chance to walk the plank
-A fireworks finale

…as well as activities and performances provided by Backyard Playground, Ebony Child Face Painting and Design, Kidsville News!, Marbles Kids Museum, Ora Designers/Fine Jewelers and the Shadow Players Stage Combat Group.

How to enter?
Simply reply here with your favorite Pirate, Pirates of the Caribbean character, or even your favorite seaside spot to watch the water for Pirates (we'll take a slew of responses since this is a fun theme). Just get creative with your swashbuckling comments!

The winner will be chosen at random from all entries and posted here on the morning of Wednesday, July 6, so get your entries in by Tuesday, July 5th.

NC Symphony
Koka Booth Amphitheatre

Regency Park, Cary

Friday, June 24, 2011

Raleigh Flea Market

From Sarah C.:

Looking for something to do this weekend? Try the Raleigh Flea Market at the State Fairgrounds. Whether you are looking to buy, browse or just people watch, it's a fun stop.

The Flea Market is open every Saturday and Sunday (except in the fall around State Fair time) from 9am - 6pm. Vendors are located inside several of the buildings as well as in designated spots outside. A map is available on the website, but personally I love to just wander. There are new things and old things, food and beverages, antiques and junktiques - yes, a bit of everything.


We visited as a family on a Saturday afternoon. Admittedly it was a little hot and I think a few of the vendors had packed up for the day. Can't say I blame them in that heat! It was still fun though. While we took our lightweight stroller, D wanted no part of it and happily walked the entire time. We did use our buddy harness on him though and I bring that up to stress a point - do keep younger children close at hand. This is for their safety (think crowds) as well as your wallet (think breakables & antiques!). But also don't hesitate to bring small children. We did have to hold a bit tighter and even pick him up a few times to keep him from mischief toddler curiosity, but he had a great time. So much to see and take in. Plus all that walking wore him out well for a great night's sleep! I'm sure all parents can appreciate that!

While this is fun as a standalone adventure, you could also attend a Carolina Rollergirls match at Dorton Arena on the Fairgrounds property after your shopping if time (and energy) allow. Check their schedule for match dates and times.

Admission and parking for the Raleigh Flea Market are free.

Raleigh Flea Market
http://www.raleighfleamarket.net/
NC State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd
Raleigh
919-899-3532

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Morgan Creek Trail & Greenway

Despite the fact that it is not really fantastic walking or hiking weather right now, Marney and I were determined to do this path. So on a hot, muggy morning, before it got too bad, we loaded up our 2 year olds and hit the path.

The Town of Chapel Hill just recently had a festival celebrating the Morgan Creek Trail and Greenway. And while it is short right now (0.8 miles out, then take it back to the parking lot), it is very nice. You can read more about the long term plans for the greenway here.

Right now the trail starts off of Route 54 just by the exit for 15/501 (see Marney's husband's fabulous directions below which I pasted pretty much verbatim because I love everything about them: succinct, correct, and funny). The trail spits you out, unceremoniously, onto Merritt's Pasture. We stopped here and had a nice little picnic snack. Merritt's Pasture, by the way, also has a trail on it (in it?). This trail is mowed areas through the grass pasture, though, so not the same. But nice anyhow.

Which brings me to the point that the Morgan Creek Trail is paved and very easy. Our toddlers walked/cried to be carried/meandered the whole way on their own. But this greenway is definitely stroller friendly all the way.

Also, Marney (who I have to say I met through this blog and totally rocks) pointed out that you could take the trail to 15/501, take the sidewalk along the road, and intersect with the trails that take you into Southern Village.

So lots of potential here, even more to come in the next few years, and we're fans!

Morgan Creek Trail and Greenway
Parking Info: The best place to park is located on route 54 heading east, just before the 15-501 off ramp. From 15/501 turn onto route 54 west. Get in left lane and make first u-turn back onto 54 east. Get in right lane and you'll see an unmarked gated driveway entrance on your right which will take you down into the parking lot. Most of the trail will be to your left. The trail is nice for a long walk or short bike ride. As you pass under the James Taylor bridge it is important to pause and sing one of his songs with your hand over your heart. Extra points for harmony.
Chapel Hill/Carrboro

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lake Lynn Park

I had the pleasure of accompanying Sarah C. on this outing last week and really enjoyed it. The best part was the little stroll we took. Here's the full rundown from Sarah:

Looking to burn some toddler energy, Allison and I met up with our boys one morning at Lake Lynn Park in Raleigh. It's located not far from Leesville Road and I-540 making it quick & easy to get to. My first thought on driving in - loving all the lush trees!

The park is fairly large and includes a number of great recreation opportunities outdoors and inside the Community Center. The playground is located next to the Community Center and features two play areas. We arrived to find we had the entire area alone but not soon after a crowd of kids (camp? track out program?) came pouring out of the Community Center to play on the larger one. This worked out fine as for once our boys were content staying in the toddler area. They loved the ramp, slides, teeter totters and swings.

After we had our fill of play, we wandered onto the greenway for a short walk through the trees. Just as we were about to turn around, a lady coming our way told us a deer was next to the path just ahead. Ah, lunch could wait - let's explore further! And so glad we did! A little further and we found the bridges that cross the lake, lots of ducks and geese plus the promised deer. It literally came right up and looked at us which thrilled the D and C!

There are full locker rooms with bathrooms and changing table located in the Community Center and accessible during it's open hours.

Full list of amenities:
  • 4 lighted tennis courts
  • ball field
  • batting cage
  • playground - two play structures with slides; 5 swings (2 buckets); 3 teeter totters
  • 2 bocce courts
  • 2.8 mile greenway trail around Lake Lynn
  • Community Center with 2 indoor basketball courts, dance studio, meeting room, weight room, classroom and locker rooms (see link below for further details).

Lake Lynn Park
Playground | Community Center | Park Map (PDF)
7921 Ray Road
Raleigh

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Rental Maternity Clothes

We have some more "activity" posts and giveaways coming for you soon, but while we whip those up into fabulous nuggets of information, let's take a moment and talk maternity.

In case you missed the announcement over on our Facebook page, this Mom in Chapel Hill is pregnant again. Hooray! Which means maternity clothes again. Boo! And to top it off, I have some weddings and formal events to attend during the pregnancy.

I am going to be honest. I want to look as good as I can while pregnant (hence why I picked this photo- that's how I want to look while pregnant). Therefore, I want nice maternity clothes that fit and are as flattering as they can possibly be. Yet who wants to drop loads of money on maternity clothes when you have limited use of them? Enter rental sites.

Ok, before you get all skeeved out, let me assure you these are safe. Clothes are cleaned and it isn't any different than consignment.

That said, here are the best options we can find at MiCHill-

  1. MineforNine.com has everything. Dresses, suits, casual tops, pants...even nursing wear! At Mine for Nine the rental period is pretty flexible. Plus I love their slogan: "Retail therapy for pregnant women. Minus the Guilt."

    You sign up for a specific period and if you keep it longer you simply get charged for as long as you have it. There are also options to buy off of Mine for Nine. If you get a piece of clothing you love and just have to own, when the season is over you can buy it. As far as damaging the item, they don't seem to concerned about it. Everyone makes messes (they must have seen me dine in my third trimester before, my "shelf" of a belly is a disaster when I am done) so just do your best, they say. Although they do still charge a $5 insurance charge and you can buy additional insurance if you want.

  2. www.rentmaternitywear.com is just designer dresses (very cute!) and has been featured by People magazine. They are a little more strict on your rental period, meaning that when your contracted period is over, which is either 1 or 2 weeks, you have to get it back. They have the same general laidback policy to damage that Mine for Nine seems to have, and then also ask folks specifically NOT to clean them before returning. Dry cleaning is included in the price. But these are some really gorgeous dresses for everything from your baby shower and more casual to formal wear for any sort of military ball or cruise (babymoon!) you might go on.

  3. www.bellybumpboutique.com is even more strict then Rent Maternity Wear.com. You get 7 days, that's it. And they also add damage waivers and they charge you the full price of the dress until you return it successfully. But they also have some really pretty dresses (definitely think formal wear on this one) so if you have a specific need in mind, check them out.
So do you own formal maternity wear at home that you are looking to get rid of (lucky you)? Alas, none of these boutiques accept or buy donated dresses from private places. Most of them work directly with designers and high-end retailers. However, if you feel like your pieces are just that nice, wouldn't hurt to email them I suppose. Of course, you can also look at consignment shops and shows.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Briar Chapel Pool

I love this pool. Yes, it is private. But at MiCHill you all still seem to appreciate our reviews of private pools (helping you make a decision on where to join?).

Briar Chapel is a new development off of 15/501 near Pittsboro. We talked about their nice walking trails before. Well, their pool is fantastic, too. And open for membership to those not living in the community (hooray).

There is a sprayground/splash pad area, completely enclosed with tables and umbrellas, for the young kids. And you all know I love some spraygrounds.

There is a large activity pool that has 2 very large slides, a zero-level entry, and some "mushrooms" tumbling water down.

Then, off towards the back and isolated from the activity area, is the lap pool. This is where the adults tend to hang out. You don't have to swim laps to be in there, perse, but it is meant for swimming and no football, volleyball, splashing, and so forth.

There are a lot of lounge chairs throughout the entire pool area as well as umbrellas, shade sails, and tables. It's a big place.

There is also a concessions stand open with standard poolside fare: pizza slices, chips, candy, and soda. They don't sell alcohol, but I haven't seen a 'no alcohol' policy posted as far as bringing things in. They are really strict about not using glass containers, though.

The Briar Chapel pool also hosts a bunch of activities and classes throughout the summer such as movies over the water (you float and watch), aqua aerobics, and days of pool games. In fact, a little tip, but if you aren't a member of Briar Chapel you can still get in on the days when Healthy Moms offers their Aquamoms with Babies class there (a la the Woodcroft Pool).

Membership to the Briar Chapel pool ranges widely in cost depending on various options, resident status, how many family members and ages, etc., but you are looking at anything from $300-$600 for the summer.

The Pool at Briar Chapel
activities@briarchapellife.com
919-240-4958
The Briar Chapel Club
1600 Briar Chapel Parkway
Chapel Hill

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chubby's Tacos

I had referenced Chubby's in our post about Orchard Park in Durham. Although that particular day we stopped in at the 9th Street location which doesn't have high chairs, as Sarah C. mentions, but DANG if the price for a meal isn't awesome. Sarah C. gives us the full breakdown:

We had heard a number of good things about Chubby's Tacos and decided to give it a try. So far we've visited two locations in Durham - 9th Street and Woodcroft Shopping Center. Both restaurants were clean and the employees very friendly. The main seating consists of booths, a few bar stools, one table with chairs and a small outdoor seating area. The 9th Street location mainly accommodates college students so it was lacking in highchairs, but our toddlers found sitting at the table in "real" chairs to be enjoyable and it worked out okay.

The food each time has been delicious and freshly prepared after we order & pay at the front counter. This does mean a little wait, but they are fairly quick in their preparation. By the time our group is organized at the table with kids, highchairs, sippy cups, etc - the food has generally begun to arrive.

All locations offer daily specials. My personal favorite - on Tuesdays kids' meals are only 99c with the purchase of an adult meal for $6 or more (limit one discounted kid's meal per adult meal). The meals come with rice, beans, chips, an entree (taco, quesadilla, etc), and a drink.


Chubby's Tacos
http://www.chubbystacos.com/ | All Locations

748 Ninth Street
919-286-4499

Woodcroft Shopping Center
4711 Hope Valley Road
919-489-4636

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Music on the Lawn Series: American Tobacco Campus

It is so nice that C goes to bed later now. It gives us the opportunity to take him to events like the American Tobacco Campus's Music on the Lawn series. We lucked out, too, since on this particular Friday night the band there was one of DH's favorites: Steep Canyon Rangers (if you click, beware, it plays music - I like to warn people in case you are at work!).

Which I should start right away with the observation that the talent that performs at these is great...really fantastic. It is co-hosted by WUNC so they get good people and do a good job promoting. Nearly all the bands listed to perform this season are impressive and strong.

And these events are FREE! That means that while you will be excited and thrilled to be there and put it in your Google calendar 4 weeks in advance so will 2,500 other people in the Triangle. Ok, so I didn't count but, still, a lot of people generally attend these shows (some Fridays are even more popular than others, of course).

If you envision getting there, spreading out a blanket on the lawn, and having lots of free space to run, you best get there way early. But if you are flexible about your seat and don't mind sitting cozy with strangers, these are great shows. In fact, despite how crowded it was, and hot & sticky with rain looming, everyone was so incredibly friendly! It really felt like people were there just to have fun, relax, and enjoy. The crowd seemed really nice.

You can bring your own picnic (yes, alcohol as well) or there are vendors here. The vendors are popular places like LocoPops, Mellow Mushroom, and more. They sell limited food as well as alcoholic beverages at the event. Although PSST! tip: if all you want is a beer, head to the bar inside at Tyler's. You can get one to go, there is more selection, and the wait is generally shorter than the tents outside.

The ATC is fun, too, with a lot of water features, bridges, and places for kids to explore. Plus it is aesthetically cool to look at. You can read all about the history and redevelopment of this spot here. On this particular hot Friday some parents were dangling their toddler's legs in the water and kids of all ages were splashing their hands in. Although note there are a lot of steps at the ATC, and since it can get crowded just be mindful of having a big, burly someone to help you lug and push a stroller.

Yet despite how crowded the ATC can be, DH and I never seem to have problems finding a spot to park whenever we go. It's a bluegrass miracle.

Check out the online schedule since events aren't every Friday, only select ones. But make sure to put one on your Google calendar and check it out!

American Tobacco Historic District's Back Porch Music on the Lawn Series
http://www.americantobaccohistoricdistrict.com/
Select Fridays May - September, 6 - 8 pm
Blackwell Street
Durham
919-433-1566

Friday, June 10, 2011

Edison Johnson Sprayground & Playground

Nestled next to the overpowering Museum of Life + Science is Edison Johnson park and recreation center. How many times have I driven by this on my way to the museum and not stopped? It's a shame.So the recreation center is supposed to be great, with an indoor pool, but we'll leave that to another post and another exploration. This particular day C and I went to try out the sprayground. When, oh when, will Chapel Hill and Carrboro install some spraygrounds? On a hot summer day these are so great. And free!
Edison Johnson playground itself is nice. There is a sandbox area with a small play structure perfect for little ones. This sandbox also has a permanent crane toy that was a huge hit with kids as well as a water "river" feature to play with (and wash sand off with).

The larger play structure was nice, too, over synthetic material with a lot of slides and some nice tactile exhibits and instruments. C was a fan of it.

There are swings here, but only 2 and no bucket swings.

We came here for the sprayground, though. The sprayground here is much larger than the Forest Hills sprayground (although still not as large as that Lake Johnson one). Three large arches gently shoot water and fountains spurt out of the ground at random times. There is an on/off switch that kids can work easily. The water is recycled so there were a lot of moms yelling "don't drink that water" and "don't put that water in your mouth!" Rightfully so.

Since this is in front of the recreation center there isn't a ton of space surrounding the playground which means not as many benches in the shade for us parents to lounge. And, in fact, the playground and sprayground don't get much shade at all so on a hot summer day either use the sprayground portion and lots of sunscreen or go outside of peak heat hours.

As I mentioned, the Life + Sciences Museum is a walk away and Northgate Mall isn't too far a drive either.

Edison Johnson Playground and Sprayground
http://www.ci.durham.nc.us/departments/parks/aquatics.cfm
(note that since this is really about the aquatics, this playground does not show up in the Durham Parks locator that we all love)
600 West Murray Street
Durham
919-560-4270

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Parker's Creek Beach & Playground - Jordan Lake

The beaches aren't just in Wilmington, friends. We've already talked about Seaforth beach over on Jordan Lake. C and I checked it out during the off-season for the blog, but DH and I had been during the summer in the past and enjoyed it. Hence while the pool we joined is closed for repairs right now, we were looking for a way to beat the summer heat and decided to try out another Jordan Lake beach.

This particular day I decided to take C to Parker's Creek. I had read that it was on an inlet completely closed off from boat traffic, and that was appealing. Something about keeping my toddler afloat and heads up while waves roll in makes the beach experience entirely unrelaxing, which defeats part of the point.

Park season has started. Which means that the Jordan Lake beaches and all access areas are fully open and operational; it also means you have to pay to get in. The charge for Parker's Creek is $6 per car.

Parker's Creek beach was really lovely! The beach area itself is smaller than Seaforth, and not as well maintained in that the beach was a lot of hard compacted sand with some tufts of grass. However, since it was a smaller beach I found it wasn't as crowded as Seaforth (of course, we weren't there on a weekend). And really, being closed off from boat traffic was great. It made for a quieter and calmer experience. Always a plus for mom.

There are still yellow barriers to stay within (which of course is way appealing then for toddlers to get outside of) and as with all Jordan Lake beaches there aren't any lifeguards. So bring flotation devices for your kids. There are life jackets available at the beach.

Parker's Creek also had really beautiful picnic benches and shelters. They were shaded, surrounded by Lob lolly pines. Very nice. And the playground structure was pretty new. The playground was designed for ages 5 and up so railings are higher on this and no swings but a tire swing. But it had some shade and is right next to the beach.

One thing to note: this is a public beach. Which means that smoking is allowed on the beach. We didn't have a huge problem with this since we were far from the people who were smoking, but I did see some discarded cigarette butts on the beach. Please, folks, pick up!!

But the water is like bath water right now, and we had fun watching the fish flitting about (yeah, I got nipped once but it's ok, I am a survivor). This was a really relaxing and fun trip for us and I recommend it.

There are permanent bathroom facilities available as well as water fountains. Feel free to bring in a cooler and a picnic lunch, but leave the booze at home.

Parker's Creek area also has camping and some trails (including a children's trail!), but we were here for the beach.

Parker's Creek Beach and Playground
Jordan Lake Map: http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/jord/pics/parkmap.pdf
Parker's Creek Map: http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/jord/pics/parkerscrk.pdf
Pittsboro
"The entrance to Parker's Creek is on US 64. Traveling west on US 64, go over the bridge on Jordan Lake. The entrance is on the right. Traveling east on US 64, the Parkers Creek entrance is the first left after seeing lake."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Neomonde

After Sesame Street LIVE at the RBC Center this past weekend we took one very satiated and happy toddler to Neomonde in Raleigh for an early dinner. People rave about this place and as I have a thing for hummus and tsatski I was happy to be in the neighborhood for a blog spot review.

Neomonde was an easy visit for us. In my opinion, the best part is the market attached. Inside, while you wait for your food, you can buy all sorts of fun and exotic fare to take home with you. To dine in, the food was quite good. Not quite the same selection as Med Deli's expansive a la carte menu, but still good eats nonetheless with a specific Kids Menu at Neomonde. The price is extremely reasonable too, with a variety of options if you simply want to order things individually. Special tip: get a dessert. They are heavenly here.

Lots of high chairs and plenty of space inside to dine with a big group. There is also some nice outdoor seating. Thanks to you readers for the great tip on dining at Neomonde and if you are in the vicinity of either of the two locations, stop on by. It is especially convenient to RBC Center and the good things there as well as the NC Museum of Art.

Neomonde
http://www.neomonde.com/

3817 Beryl Road
Raleigh
919-828-1628

10235 Chapel Hill Road
Morrisville
919-466-8100

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tarheel Bouncers (psst- Discount!)

It has been birthday party central with my mommies group lately. And since my mommies group is full of creative women always trying to come up with good ideas to keep the kids entertained and happy, we were on the prowl for ideas collectively. So it was quite fortuitous to stumble upon Tarheel Bouncers.

Tarheel Bouncers is the only bouncy rental company that I can find in Chapel Hill. And while I haven't tried them out personally (we decided to make a special Sesame Street based cornhole game for C's birthday this go-round. Yeah, I know, all class here.) they look great. They have 4 separate bounce house options, depending on what look you like and if you want a slide. The bounces are only 1 year old and very clean (also very large). And a basketball hoop is included with each bounce house.

You can make Tarheel Bouncers your one stop shop, as well. If you need party tables, chairs, and tents they have these. You can think beyond birthday parties on that, too, to graduation parties, weddings, receptions, rehearsal, bar- and batmitzvahs, or whatever other wonderful event you might have on the horizon.

What I like a lot is that if you live within 20 miles of Franklin and Columbia Streets you get free delivery (of course, if you live outside that radius, you can still rent; but I like that us Chapel Hill-ians get a little break).

What I like even more is that YOU, our MiCHill reader, can get a 15% discount to a Tarheel Bouncers Party Package. Just mention that you read about them on this blog, and you will get a 15% discount on the deal that includes the bouncy, tables, chairs and tent. Sweet, huh!? Although I should say Tarheel Bouncers isn't eye-popping outrageous (around $175-$250 to rent a bouncy for 4 hours) if you feel you don't need a whole package.

Tarheel Bouncers is fully licensed, inspected, and insured.

Tarheel Bouncers
http://www.tarheelbouncers.com
919-357-0617

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bean Traders' Storytime

This was beautiful mass chaos, and I can't wait to go back with C.

We've posted about the Bean Traders over by Southpoint Mall before. With a generous kids' area, new furniture, and some changes to the layout this coffeehouse is even more enjoyable than our experience of a year ago. And it's even better during storytime on Monday mornings at 10:30 am.

This storytime was very well attended when we went. And that made it boisterous and joyous. See, our boys tend not to sit still too terribly long during storytimes. And lucky for us there were a lot of other toddlers there with the same issue. There were also a lot paying rapt attention, though, so the fault is not with the very sweet and wonderful woman who was reading (and who had the patience of a saint). But it was nice that this wasn't at a library or bookstore where we felt like loser parents for not keep our kids quiet enough.

After the story there was a cute little craft that wasn't too complicated (although adult help was required) and fit the book. We made cute little frog puppets out of construction paper, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and glue sticks. I loved it and am convinced I had more fun doing this than C did.

And as the kids' area has play toys and a kiddie house we spend considerable time here enjoying ourselves. The added benefit was that delicious Bean Traders coffee (good stuff!).

Personally, I felt bad for the 2 guys working as the baristas that morning as the noise was certainly more than they signed up for, but they made me a super-awesome frozen coffee frothy thing so I tipped well.

Afterwards we took our gaggle over to Souper!Salad for another successful tot-friendly meal.

Bean Traders Coffee Storytime
Mondays 10:30 am
http://www.beantraderscoffee.com/


They sometimes update their Facebook page for Storytime information, but even if they don't we were informed they are a regular event

249 W Nc Highway 54
Durham, NC 27713-2491

(919) 484-2499 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (919) 484-2499

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Boston Pops & Kenny Loggins Tickets Winner

We are ready to announce the winner of the totally fantastic family 4-pack to the Boston Pops & Kenny Loggins concert to be held at DPAP (the Park, not the Center). Many of you emailed that you were excited to buy your tickets to this, and we laud you for paying!

But we have free stuff to give away too. So the lucky winner of not having to pay for this family friendly concert is....Hines-Sight. Congratulations!

We had a lot of great answers to the question about the favorite family movies (which we asked since this is a movie-themed concert). I chuckled about the Cars comment from Tabitha since many of the kids in my mommy's group are quite obsessed with Cars right now. And Nancy's post made me break out my most favorite ever of all time movie Princess Bride. But my favorite post had to be Tanja B. who relayed the story of her 8 year old laughing hysterically at Aladdin like it was new although he had seen it dozens of times before. Kids keep life joyous.

So, thanks again to all our readers for being so fantastic. If Hines-Sight could email us at mominchapelhill@gmail.com to collect the tickets, we'd appreciate it.

Happy summer all!

Med Deli

I have been in Mediterranean Deli (to those in the know, it's "Med Deli") a lot lately. So it needs to be shared with you all. You know, just in case you need to know where I am at lunch time on any given day.

Med Deli is a walk up counter spot on Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill. You can get platters, gyros, schwarmas, and more. My favorite thing to do, though, is head in, look in the counter filled to teeming with the day's fare, and pick what looks good.

This is great for kids. You can get stuff by the platter, as I said, half pound, full pound, and all sorts of options. So if you have a child who is a picky eater or a small eater or a big eater, this place will suit. There are desserts and newly added just this year Med Deli bakes all their pita in house.

And it is healthy food, too! (Well, except those baklava.)

High chairs are in the house, but you have to walk into the hallway where the bathrooms are. Plenty of them, though.

Another great tip: Med Deli also does carry out. I LOVE to take Med Deli fare to new parents and those who just brought home a new precious bundle. For when they are too tired to cook but need healthy and sustaining food...Med Deli is a great fit and always a hit.

Parking can be tough but it is summer now, which means no more UNC traffic to contend with, and there is a pay lot across the street near the McDonald's.

In this heat, think Greek!

Mediterranean Deli
http://www.mediterraneandeli.com/
410 W Franklin Street
Chapel Hill
919-967-2666