Friday, September 30, 2011

Baileywick Park

From Sarah C.:

I confess Monday morning I really had no desire to leave the house until my son & niece quickly made it clear we needed to get out and burn some energy. Thus, I loaded them up and headed out to explore another one of Raleigh's parks - Baileywick Park. Just a short distance from I-540 and Creedmoor Rd, the park is easily accessible. The entrance drive leads directly to a parking lot situated between the ball fields and playground.


The playground is located in a big mulched area. There is almost no shade and, unfortunately, a good bit of the mulch has washed away leaving a nice muddy mess in the middle. This could be good or bad depending how much your child loves mud (and how much cleaning up you want to do!). I do advise you to bring a change of clothes. I asked another mother who was more familiar with the park and she told me the mud was common. Hopefully the City will deliver a fresh batch of mulch soon to help rectify the situation.

In spite of the mud, we had a fabulous time. The playground has two separate climbing structures for ages 2-5 and 5-12; four traditional swings & four bucket swings; three teeter totters; and a sand box with three scoopers.

There is a large picnic shelter with tables adjacent to the playground as well as restroom facilities.

Full list of amenities:
  • Playground
  • 2 Lighted ball fields
  • 2 Picnic Shelters (one w/ 8 tables and one w/ 2 tables)
  • Walking Path - Baileywick Trail, part of the Capitol Area Greenway Trail System
  • Bathroom Facilities w/ diaper changing station
  • Water Fountain

Baileywick Park
http://www.raleighnc.gov/ - Park Information | Playground Info
9501 Baileywick Road
Raleigh

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Take a Child Outside Week 2011

Not sure if you knew, but it's been Take A Child Outside Week all week. While this blogger has been on a "babymoon," we thought it would be worth letting you know that you can still take advantage of this week and the opportunities to take your brood out and about. Of course, we're always reviewing parks, playgrounds, and spots to hike. But our friend Joe, over at GetGoingNC.com has some more great ideas for you special to this week and weekend. Read his article below:

Take a Child Outside Week
by Joe Miller
from GetGoingNC.com
Sept 26, 2011

This is Take A Child Outside Week, a week that, for reasons that escape me, we must force ourselves to force our kids outside. Not to sound like an old crank, though I will, back in the day our parents used to boot us outdoor first thing in the morning every day. Then, come sunset, they’d open that door and start yelling for us to come in. That was a daily occurrence. Today, again, we set aside one week to remind ourselves to take the kids outside.

I write about Take A Child Outside Week every year, and have since Liz Baird, director of school programs at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences came up with the idea five years ago. Rather than repeat what I’ve already written, you can read last year’s post here. (That gives me more time to take my own kids outside.)

Before signing off, though, I’ll mention that if you yourself aren’t entire comfortable exploring the great outdoors with your kids, there are plenty of outdoor events planned statewide that your family can be a part of. In fact there’s something — multiple things — going on every day. For example:

Thursday: Got a hard-sell kid on your hands? Few can resist a canoe trip, such as the one this evening from 5-6:30 p.m. at Lake James State Park. All the gear is provided, paddlers must be at least 7. It’s free, but pre-registration is required, by calling the park office at 828.584.7728. Additional information here.

Friday: Some kids whine about going out in the heat of the day (curse the dang fool air conditioning!) But I’ve never heard one kid whine about going out in the cool of night, especially when that night is occurring in the forest, where who knows what is going on. Eliminate the whining by taking the kids on a night hike at Lake Crabtree County Park in Morrisville from 8-10 p.m. (they get to stay up late to boot — woo-hoo!). More information here.

Saturday: Another chance to stay up late and the folks from the Morehead Planetarium host a viewing of the night sky at Jordan Lake State Recreation area between Apex and Pittsboro. Planets, nebulae, star clusters, the moon — all your favorite celestial standouts. From 8-10 p.m. at the Ebenezer Church Recreation Area. Additional helpful information here.

Sunday: Now that you’ve had a week to instill in your kids (and yourself) a fondness for the outdoors, teach them to be responsible in the wild with The Big Foot Challenge. That’s what the folks at Hanging Rock State Park call their Leave No Trace program, which teaches kids how to enjoy the outdoors without leaving so much as a trace of a sign that they were there. Starts at 10 a.m., at the campground amphitheater. Details, details.

Now I really am leaving to go play outside with the kids (cul de sac beachball baseball — you should try it).

* * *

For more Take A Child Outside events, check the TACO Web site and the Office of Environmental Education calendar.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Choo Choo Kids Express

**Updated 4/4/12 - the train has new location at Center Court. **
From Sarah C.:

Don't be surprised to hear the toot toot of a horn followed by "All Aboard!" when you visit a local mall these days. The Choo Choo Kids Express train is running is several local areas malls.

D & I ventured over to Cary Towne Center on a rainy Saturday morning to check it out. I imagine it gets pretty popular as the day goes on, but at 10:30a we only had to wait a few minutes for the train to return to the "depot" outside of Belk and were first in line to board. The cost is $2 per rider and riders under 45" must be accompanied by a guardian (16 years or older). After paying our fee, I folded up the umbrella stroller and followed D into the blue car. (Note: you can leave your stroller at the "depot" area but do so at your own risk. Our umbrella stroller fit easily in the car with us but this might be more challenging during busy times when seats are a premium.)

After everyone was seated and doors secured, the conductor tooted the horn and off we went for a short ride. The train headed down the wing to Dillards, u-turned and headed back to the "depot" around the triangular section housing Dairy Queen and Helzberg Diamonds. The entire adventure was thrilling to my 2 year old who loved looking out the windows and waving to shoppers. Perfect rainy day entertainment.

For more information about hours and locations, visit the website listed below.

Choo Choo Kids Express
http://www.choochookidsexpress.com/ | Facebook

Cary Towne Center
1105 Walnut Street, Cary

Triangle Town Center
5959 Triangle Town Blvd, Raleigh

Northgate Mall
1058 West Club Blvd, Durham

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Amante Pizza's Kid Night

Today's fantastic post comes from blogger Katie, of Discovering the Southern Part of Heaven. Not only is this fantastic lady on top of the fun events to be had in Chapel Hill & Carrboro but she is also a mom. I love her! Enjoy the read.:

We love Amante Pizza! The choice of bases (traditional tomato, pesto, salsa, even black bean..and that isn’t all), the choice of cheeses (mozzarella, cheddar, fontina, gouda, goat and so many more) and the incredible choice of toppings (think traditional plus fabulous fruits and veggies—even broccoli) make it our go-to place for pizza, whether dine in or takeout. Not to mention, this Mommy loves their salads!

So, when we learned that Amante at Falconbridge has Kids’ Night on Monday nights, we were all over it! Really, children get a one topping individual pizza (which is still a healthy size) and a drink for $4.50. That would have been enough for us, but when we went, what we found was even better!

First, when we ordered, they asked if my son would be making his own pizza. I admit, I laughed at the thought of my newly minted two year old, H, making his own pizza. I had visions of pizza dough and cheese hanging from the ceiling as we were escorted out, so I declined. I just assumed that “build your own” meant “choose your toppings.” Our friends’ 3 year old did make his own pizza, and, I have to say, it was very cool. They brought out the dough, the sauce and the toppings and he, with freshly washed hands and the careful, incredibly patient guidance of the staff, constructed his own pizza!!! He had a blast, and so did we!

Next, if your children are anything like H, you are have that period of time between ordering and food arriving when you really need to keep them entertained. At Amante, they had it covered. Just inside the door, they had a table of plastic cars and trucks to play with!!!! Built in entertainment that stays at the restaurant!!! Could it get any better?

Finally, the restaurant wasn’t packed (we’ve seen it completely full other nights of the week), and the other folks in there had little ones, too, so we felt a little more relaxed about the truck noises, and crashes, coming from our table.

Overall, it was fabulous, and we will definitely be going back. Pizza that gets some green veggies in my son plus toys plus a delicious dinner for Mom and Dad=one perfect recipe! And maybe one night, H will even make his own.

Amante Pizza at Falconbridge
www.amantepizza.com
Falconbridge Shopping Center

6209 Falconbridge Rd
Chapel Hill
919.493.0904

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Triangle Kids Club Giveaway Winners!

Well it's time to wrap up the Triangle NC Kids Club Giveaway. Remember, the one that gives you all the discounts to local spots? I know, we're excited too. As always, our winners were chosen at random (by random.org even). And we're pleased to announce not 1, but 2 stellar winners: Tabitha and theshultzs. Congratulations!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered. And remember that you can still get a significant discount if you sign up for a NC Kids Club membership online. If you say you are a Mom in Chapel Hill reader you can get your membership for only $7 a month instead of $12. That rate will apply to you as long as you keep renewing....forever... But the entire deal is only good until October 15th, so act fast. You can see the details here.

If you are Tabitha or theshutzs please email me at mominchapelhill@gmail.com to collect your winnings!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Irvin Learning Farm

I get a lot of questions from Chapel Hill folks who follow this blog (thank you for being such great readers!) about Irvin Learning Farm. After all, Spence's Farm is very popular and people often ask me "What is the deal, then, with Irvin Learning Farm?" The deal is that these are very different places, both enriching the community in amazing ways.

Irvin Learning Farm, located on Triangle Land Conservancy's Irvin Nature Preserve of 269-acres of pasture, forest and wetlands, offers education programs for children of all ages. Kids register for sessions and are then taken through class curriculum that is interest-led, experiential, and environmentally and seasonally-based. The very unique part? All programs are held entirely outdoors.

If your child is like mine, the outdoors is ripe with learning opportunities and he is constantly intrigued with how the world works. So using the outdoors as a classroom makes sense in a lot of ways. And Irvin Learning Farm’s base-camp area includes a thriving learning garden, farm animals, a tipi and two pole barns for sheltered activities and projects. The remainder of the site has a well-developed trail system allowing access to its diverse habitats for exploration and learning.

ILF's programs currently focus on the following groups: young children, ages 3 - 5; homeschool families with children, ages 5 - 12; families with school-age youngsters, ages 5 - 12; and high school students.

And Irvin Learning Farm involves learners from diverse backgrounds and needs. ILF's programs can be used by parents to register their children for extracurricular enrichment. In addition, children who meet specific needs criteria are referred to ILF's programs by local school social workers, educators, early childhood caseworkers and other community leaders. These children attend through the scholarship program. There is even a high school Eco-Crew program that meets at the site once a month on weekends throughout the school year. In addition, ILF recruits and mentors high school interns referred to them by local school organizations. Really, there is a lot happening here for students of all ages.

Regardless of which program your child is in, there are activities for them at base-camp as well as expeditions into the wild learning spaces. All of this activity is led by experienced, knowledgeable naturalists, educators and artists with a really low instructor/student ratio. I learned that ratios are 1 to 5 for preschool-aged youngsters and 1 to 6 for school-aged youngsters.

So say you don't want to register for a session or program, but just want to visit Irvin Nature Preserve? Unfortunately, Irvin Nature Preserve, unlike many of TLC’s other preserves throughout this area, is not an 'open' preserve to the public. As such, all visits to the site need to be pre-arranged with Irvin Learning Farm staff or be in conjunction with scheduled programs or events. Field trips can be arranged during the year for community and school groups. Currently, however, most field trips target underserved students in our community who would otherwise not have these kinds of experiences.

Of course, if you are considering registering for a program, you can visit ILF ahead of time to see if it is the right fit for you and your family. Open Houses are scheduled seasonally. In addition, special events are planned that invite families to the site. One such event is coming up on Sunday, October 16th from 1:00 – 4:00 when Triangle Land Conservancy is hosting a Fall Festival at Irvin Nature Preserve with activities for children of all ages. To receive information about additional events, contact Wendy Banning, Irvin Learning Farm’s Director to be added to ILF’s listserve. (wendy@learn-outside.com)

ILF offers year-round programming opportunities including a fall session (September – December), a winter/spring session (February – May), and a summer session (June – August) for school-age youngsters. Summer camps are week-long and thematic and include both a half-day and full-day enrollment option. Irvin Learning Farm also offers a spring intersession program in partnership with a one of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro City School’s elementary schools.

Program descriptions and costs are posted on Irvin Learning Farm's website: www.learn-outside.com/ILF. Just click on the "Fall" tab to see programs offered this fall semester which began September 6th. Openings remain for some fall programs and enrollment is ongoing until programs fill. Parents interested in learning more can visit the website for additional information.

Got more questions? Write to Irvin Learning Farm's Director, Wendy Banning, wendy@learn-outside.com. You can also follow Irvin Learning Farm on Facebook for periodic updates on activities and events at the learning farm.

Irvin Learning Farm
http://www.learn-outside.com/ILF/
Irvin Farm Preserve

2912B Jones Ferry Road
Chapel Hill

919-942-7773

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rockwood Park - Durham

Aren't you loving these fall days?! Outdoor activities, outside of a pool or some other water feature, are on the map again. So last week when the first cold snap hit Sarah C. and I got out our jeans (why must maternity jeans be so ridiculous?) and went to visit Rockwood Park.
This little park in Durham is great! It is well shaded and set back significantly from any main road or thoroughfare. It is fenced in on one side, as well, and the open side runs into a little natural area. There are two play structures - one for kids 2-5 and one for kids 5 and up. The structure for the older kids made me a little nervous at times since one of the steps has very minimal handrails, but supervision is key anyhow with parks.

There are some ride-on toys that toddlers can easily get in and out of but that also accommodate older kids. Two bucket swings and two regular swings complete the offerings here. The ground cover is mulch.

However, a nice little perk of this park is the small trail that meanders through the trees. You can follow it up to the basketball court and then around and over a little creek. It is roughly paved, too, so that little tykes and kids can ride trikes, push toys, and mama can follow with a stroller.

There are also a bunch of benches in the shade (for mama to rest), some picnic tables, and a pavilion buried in the woods.

There was a shelter here that looked like rudimentary bathrooms but neither Sarah C. nor I were desperate enough to try it out for you all so we won't really comment on them here!

This is also in a great location, very close to where 15/501 dead ends into University Drive in Durham. You can pair with with a stop at Bull City Craft (love!), Little Gym, Local Yogurt, Foster's Market, or a variety of things in the area.

Sarah C. and I took our brood for an early lunch at Guglhupf. We won't do a separate blog spot on Guglhupf since nothing spectacular in kids' dining (we had a hard time with the steps, strollers, high chairs, etc) but I do so love to eat there, their food is delicious, and they have a grilled Nutella sandwich on the kids menu. Um, yum! Definitely get a cream puff if you go in, too.

Psst- My GPS had a hard time finding Rockwood Park, so just make sure you Mapquest it before you go!

Full list of amenities:
  • Basketball Courts (1)
  • Grills (2)
  • Picnic Tables (6)
  • Playground
  • Picnic Shelter (SMALL)
  • Water Fountain
Rockwood Park
http://www.ci.durham.nc.us/

2310 Whitley Drive

Durham

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lower Haw River Hike

This past weekend DH and I decided to explore the Haw River a little bit with C. We love this river and couldn't wait to get a little closer. We found some online references to and information about the "Lower Haw River" hiking trail and we figured it would be a good fit.

This was a really pretty hike, nice and flat along the banks of the river. The challenge is finding it. Holey moley, it took awhile for us to find that trailhead!

We came straight down Bynum Road (like you are headed to Music on the Front Porch) and parked in the tiny gravel parking lot there. We traipsed over the Old Bynum Bridge (quite lovely, by the way, worth a meander) and all around looking for the trailhead. It turns out that if you park at this lot you have to walk from the parking lot with the river on your right straight ahead, past an old building's foundations, past the public utilities building, through another parking lot up on your left, and then down the road a little ways until you see a turtle and the trailhead. Trailhead looks like this:
Your easier option would be to park in the parking lot off of Bynum Church Road. Parking here requires that you walk down the road a little ways until you see the turtle and trailhead. Bynum Church Road parking lot looks like this (as taken from the first lot we parked at):
But scouting for the trailhead is totally worth it. This is a pretty little spot and we really enjoyed it. Kids and toddlers can walk parts of it since, again, it is really flat. No strollers, not even joggers, on this since the path goes get narrow in areas. Bring a carrier. Also bring some water shoes as there are some nice areas to get down close to the Haw. (We were salivating over places to put our kayaks in someday.)

Plus you have to cross the river some to stay on the trail. We didn't go far enough down this trail since we had already walked a considerable distance just trying to find the trailhead. But you can read more about the river crossings and trail details over at our friend GetGoingNC.com. Joe also has this nifty trailhead map he created as well as some great explanations of the flora and fauna you can see along this 5.1 mile trail:


Outside of nature, which is close to you since this path doesn't get a lot of foot traffic (it's so hard to find!) and is not as large as other State maintained paths in the area, there are some other interesting sights. We enjoyed seeing the old-Old Bynum Bridge (you can't walk on it but you can see it from the Old Bynum Bridge) as well as an old manual-powered cable car that was used back in the days that the Haw was used for textile mills. Thankfully, only remnants of those mills remain and you can enjoy a wild hike down by this powerful river.


Lower Haw River Hike

Bynum Church Road
Pittsboro

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Triangle Kids Club Giveaway & Review

What with Living Social, Groupon, and Our Local Deal, there are all sorts of competing discount sites out there on the Internet these days. So what makes Triangle NC Kids Club different, and why do they think they can stand out? Good question! So let's chat....

I have been researching Triangle NC Kids Club these past few weeks. I like them, folks! Triangle NC Kids Club is part of a national organization of "kids club" that are being created all over the US and Canada. Their mission is to get kids and parents engaged in the community and out exploring, primarily to fight childhood obesity (and that is a mission that we at MiCHill can fully support and understand, as you can guess).

Their approach is two-fold:
1. provide information about events and activities to do; and
2. provide discounts to ongoing events and activities.

NC Kids Club wants to make sure you know what is available to you and that you can do it cheap! No excuses.

There are two tiers of membership:
1. you can sign up for a free membership and get an email to your inbox weekly listing FREE activities to do; and
2. you can sign up for a paid monthly membership (more on that in a minute) to take advantage of discounts at some of the hottest places for kids.

Monthly membership is not a coupon, it is a card. Which means that you can use your card as many times as you want and get a discount each time you go. So none of that Living Social/Groupon thing of making sure you get the expiration date right, have enough coupons, bring them with you, and can only redeem once. Do you go to Monkey Joe's a lot? You can get $2.00 off each time you visit with your Triangle NC Kids Club card.

The membership card also comes with 2 FREE kids meals at various restaurants each month. These are places such as Chili's and iHop - although since this is all to fight childhood obesity no ordering your child the tall stack with these coupons! Ok, that isn't a true restriction, I just made that up, but just sayin'....

With over 75 different businesses throughout the Triangle (and further afield) participating in Triangle NC Kids Club you could be set to get discounts at spots such as: BigEBounce, Hurricanes Games, Snip Its, BounceU, Little Gym, PlayNation, Mardi Gras Bowling, Triangle SportsPlex, The Tumble Gym, Kindermusik, Scrap Exchange, Pump it Up, Gymboree, and more! You can see the full list at their website. Some of these places offer party packages for NC Kids Club members, too. It really is a variety.

Like I said, membership is assessed monthly. Usually membership is $12 a month. But we have a deal for you! If you are a Mom in Chapel Hill reader, you can get membership to the NC Kids Club for only $7 a month - ONGOING. Like, forever. Which means that as long as you stay an active member you will only have to pay $7/month instead of the regular $12 (note that if you let your membership expire, you will have to pay the regular rate upon renewal). But you have to act now. The deal expires October 15, 2011. (We'll have this up on our Special Offers page, too.) Just head to the website and enter the coupon code "mominchapelhill." Who doesn't love discounts on discounts?!

AND, it keeps getting better! We are giving away 2 free memberships to the Triangle NC Kids Club! These memberships will be good for a 3 month period, so you can try it out, get all the discounts you can out of the Kids Club, and have a great time this fall (yes, there are discounts to local farms and pumpkin patches here). Who doesn't love discounts for free even more!? To enter, post a comment below telling us one of your favorite activities, especially one you'd like to see a discount to!

You can earn extra entries this time for following Triangle NC Kids Club on Facebook, us on Facebook, us on Google Follow, or us on Twitter. Please post in your comment if you follow us on any of those platforms (Scouts' honor).

We'll announce the winners of the 2 free Triangle NC Kids Club memberships next Wednesday, September 21st, so get your entries in by the night of the 20th. And remember that even if you don't win, or you aren't feeling lucky, you can still get an amazing rate just for reading this blog.

Triangle NC Kids Club
http://nckidsclub.com/

Monday, September 12, 2011

Raleigh Trolley Rides

Today's post is from guest blogger Dave, a dad in Raleigh. And I just love this idea for a family outing! By the way, you can find Dave on a regular basis over at the blog Forced Family Fun.:

Recently my parents visited us at our place in downtown Raleigh. As I planned for our day out I wanted to find something that everyone (i.e., wife, grandparents, 15 month old son) would enjoy. Fortunately, Historic Raleigh Trolley Tours fits that bill. With updated trolleys (read: air-conditioning!) and a Raleigh native for a tour guide, this cruise around town may be my favorite family fun day in Raleigh.

The trolley tours are offered on Saturdays from March through December and depart from Mordecai Historic Park. The first tour leaves at 11 am and they continue to depart from the park every hour on the hour until 2pm. We wanted to hit the 11 am departure so that we could hop off at one or two of the four stops along the route. As usual with a child in tow, we failed. It wasn't until 12:15 pm that we finally arrived, yet this actually turned out to be great timing. It gave us just enough time to enjoy our picnic lunch under huge oak trees in the park before boarding the 1 pm trolley.

Tours aren't too pricey either at $10 per adult, $4 for kids ages 7-17, and children under 6 are free. You can get away with a relatively cheap family outing that lasts the whole day!

As we pulled away from Mordecai Historic Park and our tour began I was immediately struck by the quality and quantity of the tour's information. As our 15 month old ran back and forth between trolley benches, the knowledgeable tour guide explained how Raleigh was selected as the capital, showed us the four original ceremonial streets (including the one that's now a parking lot), and pointed out the section of Blount Street where once-beautiful historic homes are being stockpiled for restoration.

Further along the tour one of our favorite sites was the first water tower built in Raleigh. The brick octagonal building used to supply the entire city (circa 1900s). I'd driven by this brick tower with a small building out front many times, and it had always piqued my curiosity. As we cruised by this and other historic sites I realized I was getting a better grasp on Raleigh's layout and attractions. Whether you live near downtown or in the suburbs you'll likely find yourself visiting more often once the city is a more familiar place.

Which reminds me to point out that one of the great things about this tour is its speed. Raleigh is a city of hidden treasures that are easy to miss as you zip through town running errands or visiting specific museums. Fortunately this trolley tour takes things slow. To give you an idea, while the tour lasts about an hour you could easily drive the tour route in less than 10 minutes.

As our tour wound down we passed the Glenwood South stop. As a dad, this stop represents a missed opportunity. This stop overlooks Natty Greene Brewpub's patio. As we pulled up to the stop a family from an earlier trolley tour waved at us briefly before turning back to their big, juicy burgers. If we had to do it over again I'd gladly trade my picnic lunch for a lunch on this patio. It is delicious, as now confirmed by a follow-up outing.

After the tour ended back at Mordecai Historic Park we decided to explore the park. It contains a collection of historic houses from Raleigh including the birthplace of Andrew Jackson. While we didn't take the tour of these buildings, which means we didn't go inside any of the locked houses, it was a great chance for our son to run around and spend some of his pent up energy. After exploring the grounds, concluding that the guided tour would be worth coming back for, we headed home just in time for my son's naptime. And it's just possible that grandparents and parents might have also enjoyed a nap after our sunny, satisfying day out.

Raleigh Trolley Tours
http://www.raleighnc.gov/
Tours are offered on Saturdays March through December, 11 am - 2 pm


Mordecai Historic Park

http://www.raleighnc.gov/mordecai

1 Mimosa St

Raleigh, NC 27604
(919) 857-4364

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Friday, September 9, 2011

McAlister's Deli

I don't know about you all, but I very rarely take C into a dining establishment without being already familiar with it. Afterall, dining out with kids can be a risk and I don't want to lose it all in an attempt to be adventurous in dining. So generally we stick to places we know and that have come recommended. I guess you could say we test-drive restaurants before having C drive one off the lot.

But last week, running errands out in Durham at the Renaissance Center across the street from Southpoint, I just couldn't do Moe's yet again (do you worry when restaurant staff starts to recognize you?) and was intrigued by the new McAlister's Deli there. An aside, but McAlister's Deli has a few locations around the Triangle, see the full list below. So I threw caution to the wind and gave it a go. It says "deli." How bad could it be for kids?

It was actually a really easy family dining spot for a quick meal and we had a great experience here. Apparently we're not the only ones with these feelings. McAlister's Deli won an award in 2009 as 1 of the 10 best fast-casual dining restaurants in Parents magazine.

This is a walk up counter with a lot of options but is all about sandwiches, soups, salads, and baked potatoes. You can get those potatoes loaded up, ladies and gents! Bacon, chicken, roast beef, onions, olives, it's crazy in there! The kids menu is for 12 & under and cheap, being at $3.49 at the time of this post, for the choice of an entree plus drinks plus treats (which for us was, creatively and differently, Teddy Grahams, so C was very happy). Kids sandwiches come with chips or applesauce as well.

There were a whole slew of high chairs and lots of seating, both indoor and outdoor, at the Southpoint location we tried out. I always appreciate dining, too, that is fast but served to your table. Something about juggling food trays, drinks, diaper bags, purses, high chairs, booster seats, and kids in a dining establishment stresses me out. Maybe it's just me. But at McAlister's you walk up, order, then go get settled and they bring you your meal.

The food was really tasty, too, and the menu had some nice, enjoyable twists on classics.

Even better? If you go to the Southpoint location you can jet over to Sweet Frog afterwards.

McAlister's Deli
http://www.mcalistersdeli.com/

205 East Franklin Street
Chapel Hill
919-969-1102
WiFi Enabled
Hours of Operation: 10:30am-10:00pm Daily

6807 Fayetteville Road #117
Durham
919-806-3353
WiFi Enabled
Online Ordering Available

5318 New Hope Commons Dr
Durham
919-419-9083
WiFi Enabled
Hours of Operation: 10:30am-10:00pm Daily

4361 Lassiter at North Hills Ave
Raleigh
919-787-9543

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Time for 2s, Durham Southwest Regional Library

This post is going to be for a very specific age group today. Afterall, this is a Time for 2s storytime at Durham's Southwest Regional Library that my mommy's group and I tried out. Hopefully you parents out there with tots can find it useful! For parents with older kids, stay tuned, more coming later this week....

We've talked about this library before (see post here) and we love it for it's location especially. Who wouldn't love an outing where you can do a storytime, then get some pizza with a kids' area, then top it off with some frozen yogurt?

This storytime is intended for 2 year olds as it's title suggests but really any rowdy toddler would be at home here. The point is that it is an active, loosely controlled environment, which is what toddlers do best, right? There were actually very few stories read in the 30+ minute storytime, but a lot of singing and dancing. So C and his buddies loved it. In fact, at one point there were even musical instruments out and we went marching around the room. Fantastic!

The librarian reading the stories was very sweet. She seemed a little overwhelmed sometimes as she had a soft voice and a room with a considerable crowd of close to 20 kids and their parents. It's hard trying to control that! In order to help, parents are asked in the "rules" to sit with their children and role model good storytime behavior.

The storytime room is located off the right of the library, the best entrance to it being in the lobby of the library. This space is very large so could hold all these families plus some and closed off from the main library so the noise didn't stream out to those more studious in nature. Go ahead and bring younger siblings in in their strollers, there is space.

For the event you are asked to get a ticket from the library's main desk ahead of time, which will be collected inside. There seemed to be plenty of kids in here with room for more so not sure what the cut-off limit is. Do honor this system but don't stress too much about whether or not they can squeeze you in.

Kids receive nametags at the beginning and get stickers at the end.

As of date of this post publication, Time for 2s happens on Thursday mornings at 10:30 am but do check the online schedule below or call before you go just to make sure. Occasionally mornings will be cancelled to accommodate for library staff and special event schedules.

Southwest Regional Library
http://www.durhamcountylibrary.org/locations/so.php
3605 Shannon Road
Durham, NC
919- 560-8590


Check the library calendar for the full listing of times and locations:

Durham County Library Calendar - All Branches

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Photography Sessions Winner

Entries ended today and so it is time to announce the winner of our latest giveaway: a free photo session with and 1 free 8x10 photo of your family by Amy Stern Photography. I know, what a great gift!

We had a lot of beautiful comments, reminding us how completely wonderful it is to be a parent to a child. We asked you to share some of your sweet family moments, and some of my personal favorites include Tanja who tells of her husband making up lyrics to popular songs for their baby, Candice and her family's nightly race around the house, Tabitha's post-preschool pick up (very poignant for me since C is headed to preschool for the first time), an anonymous post from someone telling of how their family vacations now involve teenagers getting on a plane lugging their own suitcases (there IS hope), and, well, really I loved all of them because they are all so stinkin' sweet. And it gets me teary just being reminded what this whole challenging endeavor is about: love.

But, alas, we don't pick our winner based on my pregnant, emotional heart. We pick using Random.org. So, our winner of this giveaway is Beth. Beth writes: "I love having family dance parties in the living room. My 17 month old won't let you sit down...."up up"." Dancing is the best!

Thanks to all for your comments and, as always, your support.

Beth- please email us at mominchapelhill@gmail.com to collect your winnings!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

MoM Consignment Sale

This post is coming to you from MoM member and friend, Marisa. She's giving you the scoop on the upcoming consignment sale, so get ready!:

It’s time for the Chapel Hill/Durham Mothers of Multiples Fall Sale, to be held Saturday, September 10, 20011. This local group of mommies to twins and triplets gathers their plethora of gear, toys and clothing to sell to the public for one day only twice a year.

The sale will be held in a large gymnasium at Yates Baptist Church in Durham (near Sam’s Club/Target) to ensure there is p
lenty of space for the many goods on display. Those of you expecting a bundle of joy soon can find maternity clothing, car seats, pack-n-play’s, high chairs, activity seats, crib bedding and lots of cute clothing for the little one on the way. Moms to toddlers and preschoolers will find a variety of ride toys, educational/learning toys and loads of fall and winter clothing for those fast-growing tots! If you have older kids, you can find books, video games, and fall/winter clothing for bargain prices.

All items on the floor are gently used and cannot be sold without meeting the club’s stringent criteria for sale. Everything is priced to sell, with some items starting as low as $0.50!

As I mentioned, this is a one-day sale, running from 7:30 am – 11:30 am, so you will want to arrive early for the best selection. The line starts forming long before the doors open and people converge on those big-ticket items. Not to worry though; the only sellers are moms of multiples (MoMs), so there are usually duplicates of everything! The sale is easy to navigate due to the large number of MoMs working the floor (look for the ladies in the black aprons for help) and signs posted to label the various areas of the gym. Girls’ and boys’ clothing are located on opposite sides of the gym and all clothing is organized by size for your shopping convenience.

Speaking of convenience, don’t forget a laundry basket to store all of the goodies you snatch up! My arms got awfully tired the first time I shopped without one and there is no place to “hold” the many items you will find. Also, don’t forget this is a cash-only sale! I suggest swinging by the ATM the day before because you do not want to rush around and be the last in line.

Finally to note, shopping with these ladies keeps your hard-earned money local. A portion of the proceeds from the sale are used to further the club’s inreach and outreach efforts for expectant and existing mothers of multiples.

Mark your calendars and start making those lists of your kids’ needs & wants; see you there!

Chapel Hill/Durham Mothers of Multiples Fall Sale
www.momchd.com
Annually every September (as of publication of this post: September 10, 2011)
Yates Baptist Church
2819 Chapel Hill Road
Durham

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kid to Kid

Update 11/2012: A new Kid to Kid location has opened in Renaissance Village in Durham, near Southpoint.

From Sarah C.:

Kid to Kid is a consignment store with locations in Cary and Apex. It carries used children's clothing, gear, nursery decor and toys as well as maternity clothing. The prices appeared in line with what I have seen at other children's consignment stores.


If you are interested in selling your items, you can bring in one bag as a walk-in for review or make an appointment. Either way, an associate will look through your items, select those that will be kept and make you an offer for cash or store credit. The store credit, naturally, is a bit higher. If you don't spend all of your credit that day, you can redeem it later using your phone number.

As with any consignment store that purchases from you prior to sale, be aware that your items will be fully picked over and some may not be accepted. The associate will give you reasons why your items were refused (out of date, out of season, too faded, out of style, any damage, too much existing similar stock, etc). The review took about 30 minutes and I missed hearing my name called so if you are in a rush, stay close to the register. Of the 25 pieces of clothing I took in, only 6 were accepted. On the plus side, the store credit almost covered what I had intended to purchase so it worked out fine - I got rid of a few items we no longer needed and took home 2 items we did need/want.

Both stores offer a small play area for kids. The Apex store has it's located in an open area behind the register. On my visit last week, it was broken down to make space for boxes & boxes of Halloween merchandise (see the bottom of the post for further details). Meanwhile the Cary location has a small enclosed space at the front of the store.

Both stores were clean, full of merchandise (I recommend a lightweight stroller if you must take one in) and the staff was polite & helpful.

** Note: Kid to Kid is holding it's annual Costume Event on September 10th when they will unveil their Halloween costumes. Arrive early for the best selection. **

Kid to Kid
http://www.kidtokid.com/ | Apex location | Cary location

1059 Beaver Creek Commons Drive
Apex
919-303-8522

430 Crossroads Blvd.
Cary
919-859-4222

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