Monday, October 29, 2012

Carolina Theatre: Arts Discovery Series

Don't you love our Instagram feed?  You get a little sneak peek of what we've been up to and what's coming.  So those of you who joined our picture party will know that last Thursday we took a gaggle of kids to Durham's Carolina Theatre for a show in the Arts Discovery series.

Throughout the year the already-fabulous Carolina Theatre offers a series of programs for kids called the "Arts Discovery Series."  Programs range in content and age appropriateness but everything is clearly detailed about each show online here.  They'll tell you here what the recommended ages are for each show.

Given the location, time of day, and educational nature of these shows they primarily cater to school field trips.  Which is awesome since it means that you do not have to worry about your child being too loud or disruptive - the entire theatre is full of children so it is just a wild cacophony of noise.

Playgroups and homeschool groups are more than welcome to attend the Arts Discovery Series, too.  So if you want to go, do it!

The most challenging part of this series is securing tickets.  You can not order online.  You have to navigate to this link and online form here and request tickets.  After that, someone from the Carolina Theatre box office will contact you to confirm your reservation (and then you pay upon arrival).  However, we didn't get a call to confirm our reservation until 6:30 pm the night before the show we wanted to attend.  And my persistent calls to the box office the entire week before didn't yield any results.  In the end, Carolina Theatre pulled through for us and we had a fantastic time at the show.  I suppose the lesson is to just be flexible.

Tickets for the show we attended were only $8 per seat (regardless of age).  No strollers allowed in the theatre but they do have stroller parking.

Carolina Theatre is in a great downtown location so pair this with a lunch at Bull City Burger, Daisycakes, or any of the other fantastic eateries downtown! Again, if you check out our Instagram feed, you know where we dined...yum!

Carolina Theatre Arts Discovery Series
Carolina Theatre
309 West Morgan Street

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Huckleberry Trail Farm

I love pumpkin farms (and yeah, even if it is 80 degrees out we all still dress in flannel and jeans when we go because, well, that's what you do when you go get your pumpkin).  Accordingly, I was very excited to dress all my boys in flannel and try out a new spot towards Siler City this past weekend.  With allstars like Phillips, Green Level, Green Acres, Ganyard, McKee's, Vollmer, Hubb's, and Hill Ridge all vying for your attention it can take a lot for a newbie to get going.  I was pleased that Huckelberry Trail was such a successful visit for our family.

Huckleberry Trail Farm is a smaller place with a family feel on the other side of town from where you normally go.  This is on 64, past Pittsboro not quite to Siler City.  It is actually very easy to get to.  They are brand new.  We were there visiting on just their 5th day of business.

Huckleberry Trail has a lot of really fabulous activities that you know and love from fall places: a small hay maze for kids, corn hole, duck races down the water pump slides...and such things that most kids love.  There is also a huge corn maze for families to go through, complete with 12 educational stations hidden within (you could take your pick from 1 of 3 topics to learn about).  There are 2 big boxes full of dried corn for kids to play in (The Bug loved those).  Some of the kids were getting in these boxes as if they were corn cribs.  They are elevated but they will hold the weight, so use your discretion.  If you think your child won't go careening off the edges, have at it.  There also are little surprise games around such as bubbles, pumpkin checker/chess, pumpkin bowling, baseball, hula hoops, old vintage games such as paddleboard and ball in a cup (Family Guy reference any one?), a table to play with blocks, bang nails in to pumpkins, and to paint on your pumpkins.  There is even a beautiful little photo spot set up with hay bales, a view, signs, pumpkins, and mums.  I got one of my favorite pictures ever of my boys there. 
This all happens in one large field, which means line of sight is fantastic for parents.  DH and C could be over at one "station" while The Bug and I could be over at another yet we could easily see each other.

There is a hay ride that, in theory, leaves every 30 minutes from the main field but they are pretty flexible with this schedule.  If you are ready to go, they'll take you.  The hay ride goes a short distance behind the corn maze and over to the pumpkin and cotton fields.  Here you can pick out your pumpkin to take home with you (pumpkins are an additional charge).  One thing to note about Huckleberry is that this takes walking in a real pumpkin patch to a new level: there will be rotting pumpkins around as well as picture-book perfect pumpkins to take home.  Wear good shoes if you are walking through here!  We didn't mind since we're pretty easy going and it is a real farm afterall, but I'd hate for your kiddos to step in an old pumpkin on accident and you driving home smelling it, cursing MiCHill. 

We also got to pick cotton here, which I have to say was pretty awesome.  C and I donned the gloves and safety goggles and got down and dirty picking at the white, fluffy stuff.  Man, it makes you really appreciate how much work goes in to that simple tshirt you are wearing.

So what makes Huckleberry unique?  I would say that a combination of three things really made this special for us, since there are so many activities that most kids would enjoy: 1- t\There was plenty of space and not too many folks.  I can't guarantee that this will last forever since there is 1 more weekend before Halloween and I imagine they'll be "discovered" soon, but they do have that big field that can accomodate a bunch of groups. 2- The views .  Even though this is right off of 64 so you get some highway traffic noise, it sits up on a hill and you can see some gorgeous farms, farmhouses, and hills in the Pittsboro/Siler City area.  We really liked it up there.  3- Te staff was so incredibly friendly.  I mean, really, genuinely, "hey I like chatting with you and your kids are awesome" friendly.
Huckleberry Trail Farms, like most fall stops, is only open for one more weekend.  Bathrooms are port-a-johns, there are some snacks for sale but feel free to bring a picnic, bring a jogging stroller or baby carrier, and definitely bring your camera.

Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for kids 3 - 12, and free to kids under 3.  Prices do not include a pumpkin but pumpkins of various sizes and price (grown on the farm) are available for sale.  Don't forget to wear your flannel!

Huckleberry Trail Farm
143 Pleasant Hill Church Road
Siler City, NC
919-432-HUCK (4825)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Alpacas at Life + Science Museum

Those of you who follow us on Instagram and/or Twitter and/or Facebook know that this mom got a little sneak peek at the new Alpacas who are making the NC Museum of Life + Science their new home.  (What can I say, I was a little excited, they were cute.) 

Us parents already love Life + Science Museum (see articles about it here, here, and here too since that exhibit is returning Nov 7th).  But some of your kids may have been upset if you have visited the Museum in the last couple of weeks as the Farmyard was closed.  Good news that it reopened this past Saturday with excitement.  The reason for the closures involved cute little baby Alpacas.

The Farmyard already kind of rocked but now there 4 Alpacas (who the Museum acquired from a local Alpaca farm) on the premises.  Accomodating them took moving around some of the other animals around and changing the surroundings.  The 2 moms and 2 babies though now call it their home.  (Both little Alpacas were born in April and have had to spend some time in quarantine before being released to the public space.)

Like everything in the Farmyard you can get pretty close to these guys, so it is neat.  The babies are still a little skittish but I couldn't stop looking at the momma Tina-Turner lookalike anyhow (you will know which one it is).
To celebrate the new family members at the Museum there are activities all week and through next weekend (events free with Museum admission).  The celebrations culminate with a Woven Fiber Arts festival on Saturday, October 27th.  If you didn't know, Alpacas are farmed for their fleece (thank you to Taneka at the Museum for providing so many fabulous facts like that!).  So from 10 am to 1 pm artists will be sharing their techniques in wool working and kids can explore spinning, weaving, knitting, and more.

Even if you can't make it out for the specific Welcome Alpacas festivities, plan to enjoy the fall weather and check out these cute guys.

NC Museum of Life + Science
Welcome Alpacas!
North Carolina Museum of Life + Science
433 West Murray Avenue
Durham, NC 27704
Phone: (919) 220-5429

Friday, October 19, 2012

PBteen (Sneak Peek!)

I am so excited about this post it was all I could do to keep mum about it.  You see Pottery Barn is opening a PBteen store... IN DURHAM.  It is one of the few in the country.  MiCHill sent Laura out to get all the details for you.  Their grand opening is this Saturday (tomorrow, October 20, 2012).  Check it out:

Ok, Moms!  Have we got a scoop for you!  Earlier this week, MiCHill was contacted by PBteen, the spin-off brand from Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids, and invited to preview their new pop-up store at the Streets of Southpoint.  As a once-upon-a-time Pottery Barn employee and proud devotee of the PB brands, I was thrilled when Allison asked if I was interested in getting a sneak peek at the new store.

The new PBteen store is located on the lower level of the mall, just inside the Main Street entrance, taking over the old Yankee Candle storefront next to Talbot’s.  There are only 6 brick-and-mortar PBteen stores and the new Durham location is one of 3 “pop-up” stores opening in time for the holiday season.  So, this is kind of a big deal for the Streets of Southpoint!  Upon first walking into the store, I was struck by its overall coolness factor.  Reclaimed wood shelves, flat screen television displays, comfy lounge seating, lots of bold, bright colors.  This is definitely not the flowers and fairies of Pottery Barn Kids.  But that is the entire point of PBteen.  Your PBKids grow up (and this mom’s PBKid just turned 5 last week, so I know we’re nearing the end of flowers and fairies - sigh!).  The tween/teen set have opinions.  They have likes and dislikes, especially when it comes to decorating their own personal space.  And that’s where PBteen comes in!

PBteen is Pottery Barn for, well, teens!  Its products are evolved from your average bed and dresser sets.  Desks feature smart-technology, such as built-in outlets so you can plug in and recharge electronics.  Vanities contain peg boards, cork boards and drawers for showing and storing your belongings.  Sleep and study lofts appeal to the college set who are working around small dorm rooms or a regular teen with a tiny space to furnish.  Once you’ve discovered your favorite furniture, it’s time to pick out accessories.  Bedding, pillows, sleeping and overnight bags, jewelry boxes, lighting, rugs, faux fur throws and an array of gadgets for guys and girls, perfect for the stocking stuffers or Secret Santa gifts.  As PBteen launches as Southpoint, it is also introducing its new Burton Home Collection . . . as in Burton Snowboards . . . with bedding, wall art and accessories in fun, modern and athletic patterns.

The heart of PBteen is their Design Lab, an interactive room planning tool.  One of the associates was kind enough to show me how it works and, wow, what a neat design planner.  Type in your room dimensions and, voila, you can instantly start placing different PBteen furniture and accessories in your space.  The desktop computer’s workstation streams to the flat screen television displays next to the register, so friends and family can really be a part of planning their teen’s space and the customer can truly see their design come to life.  Don’t like the look of that chair?!  Let’s replace it with a bean bag.  How about adding a rug?  Colors can be customized.  Items can be personalized.  There is even a bed planning tool, so the customer can see how their chosen sheets, comforters and throw pillows look together before bringing them home.  The Design Lab even features a direct link to Facebook for you to share your room creation with your friends.  While Durham’s PBteen store does not carry the line’s full inventory of bedding and accessories, there are binders full of large fabric and wood swatches aimed at helping customers really see and get a feel for the items before purchasing.  Because Durham’s PBteen is a pop-up store, it does not carry furniture in stock, like our friends at PB and PBKids.  Everything, furniture-related, must be ordered through the Design Lab.  But hey, who really wants to load a bed into their SUV anyway?!  I can personally attest to the white glove delivery service of the PB brand.  I mean, seriously, they showed up at my house with long stem roses for me and S when B’s nursery furniture was delivered many moons ago!

Can’t get to the store?  Aren’t sure where to even start when planning your tween/teen’s space?  Working around an already purchased rug, a favorite piece of art or funny window placements?  No worries!  PBteen’s trained design consultants will come to you at no charge.  They are happy to work with parents and kids of all ages in the comforts of your own home to plan the perfect space for your teen to grow into adulthood.

And, lucky for you MiCHill readers, PBteen is hosting its Grand Opening this weekend on Saturday October 20th from 10am-9pm.  It promises to be a fun event for families of all ages with live dj music and product giveaways.  We all know how tech-savvy teens are, so the first 250 customers to “check in” at the new Durham PBteen store on Facebook or create a wishlist in the Design Lab will receive a free PBteen back sack.  5 lucky winners at the store will find the “golden ticket” inside their back sack -- a surprise gift card for $250!

So, come on out on Saturday, Moms, and let’s welcome PBteen to Durham!

Facebook Page
The Streets of Southpoint
6910 Fayetteville Road
Durham, 27713
Store Hours:  Mon-Sat: 10am-9pm; Sun: 12pm-7pm


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Arts & Crafts Thursday: Halloween Luminaries

I pinned this craft a year ago and after I did this last weekend it turns out there is another version of Halloween Luminaries on the "Pinternet" that instead uses painting and a Cricut.  Well, I personally like this decoupage version better - a little more accessible to kids plus we don't own a Cricut - even though I could certainly get some mileage out of one (did you hear that, Santa?!).

FYI, these are NOT the crafts to do with wee ones.  This is involves hot glue, scissors, detailed cutting, and, ultimately, candles.  However, if you are looking for a seasonal parent-time craft or something for older children (still don't let them use that hot glue, though) these are fun.  Also, I did find ways to get my toddler involved  in the process (like helping picking faces, colors, design and painting on the Mod Podge) while keeping him away from the Danger.  C loves them.

  • tissue paper
  • Mod Podge & paintbrush
  • glass jars (NOTE: I used baby food jars since I have a ton of those right now, but using those required shrinking the template below by about 50%.  You can also use pickle jars or other condiment glass jars.)
  • template here for jack o'lantern faces or you can make your own faces and Halloween landscapes
  • scissors
  • ribbon
  • hot glue
  • tea light candles

Spread Mod Podge all over the glass jar and cover it in tissue paper, wrapping all the way up to the very top , covering the lip.  You can wrinkle and crumple this as much as you want to fit the shape.  Perfection is not required!  Use whatever colors you want.  C was a bit obsessed with the white, but you can use oranges, blacks, sparkles, pinks ... whatever color ghosts and ghoulish faces you want.

Spread a layer of Mod Podge over the tissue paper once finished to seal it.  Allow it to dry.
 While the jars are drying get the faces ready.  Cut out the eyes, noses, and mouths you want to use.

Mod Podge the faces on to the jars where you want them.  (Mod Podge is a simultaneous glue and sealant and it will dry clear so be liberal.)  Spread a lot of Mod Podge on the top of these then allow to dry.
The top will look rough at this point.  Cut the tissue paper off as close to the edge as you can.  Then cut ribbon to wrap around the very top.  Put hot glue on he top edge of the jar, carefully place the ribbon overtop, and hot glue the ends down.  This will give the jars a nice, finished look.  C and I decided to add a little orange ribbon (just tied on, no glue there) on to some of the tops just for some pop.
Once these are completely dry, the edges are chopped down and finished off, place a tea light candle in the bottom.  Light your tea candle and enjoy the ghoulish faces.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mommy Time: Luxury Nail Spa

Today is another post in our new series "Mommy Time" from Teresa (and I totally want to get a color like that on my toes, too):

When I think about getting some mommy time, one of the first things I think about is getting a spa treatment. To me, a massage is the ultimate spa treatment (and a future blog post), but sometimes I am looking for something a little quicker, and less expensive, but will still provide some moments of pampering. Enter pedicure.
I work outside the home with regular hours, so often I try to take advantage of time during lunch to run errands. But, today, I chose to get a pedicure at Luxury Nail Spa in Durham. It is close to where I work, so it was a perfect choice. It is a fairly large place with comfy chairs, books and magazines, and flat screen tv’s on the wall. Lunch time seemed to be a great time, because it wasn’t too busy, although I still called ahead and made an appointment.

When relaxing with my feet in the warm bubbly water, I got to thinking, “I should do this more often!” It’s not just about getting a new color on the pigs (even though I do like the glittery pumpkin orange color I picked for the season), it is about taking a little breather, and having some nice calm moments of relaxation. Which this pedicure certainly accomplished. I probably could have taken a nap in that chair.

Manicures start at $14, and pedicures at $25. The have several pedicure packages you can choose from, even one that includes a full reflexology treatment. I just went with the basic pedicure, and still enjoyed a leg massage and salt scrub treatment. The staff was friendly and professional, and I thought they did a great job.

Luxury Nail Spa also offers waxing, facials, and massage.

Luxury Nail Spa
2816 Erwin Road, Suite 103


Monday, October 15, 2012

Home Fitness while Pregnant

Being healthy in all ways is something I am always striving for (hence my crazy idea to do my first ever 5K 4 months postpartum).  And I love helping others find their way to be healthy, too, if I can.  Of course health extends through pregnancy - a time that can be a challenge in all ways but especially physically. 

We've already mentioned a couple of options for pregnant mamas on this website such as AquaMoms, Healthy Moms in general, and Prenatal Yoga.  But there is a lot you can do at home, too, if committing to an entire class or even leaving the house (hey, it happens to everyone) is too much for you.  So I was thrilled when O2 Fitness Clubs contacted me about working together to create a video to help pregnant women feel successful at home.

Using the video below you can stay fit and healthy - and you don't need a lot of space or any equipment at all.  I love it!

All of these exercises are designed with options and are low impact; however, before starting any new workout routines while pregnant you should always check in with your physician.

Kara Olexa, who you will meet in the video below, is a Personal Trainer at O2 Fitness who specializes in prenatal care and training.  Not only does she provide some wonderful exercises for pregnant women but she also supplied me with a plethora of information.

For example, when working out it is important for pregnant women to remember the following tips:
  1. listen to your body
  2. stay hydrated (1 Dixie cup of water every 15 minutes of exercises at least)
  3. avoid exercising in extreme heat
  4. exercise regularly (i.e. 3 times a week, not just 1 time a month)
  5. wear supportive shoes and a supportive bra
  6. eat a high carb snack prior to exercising
  7. warm up and cool down
  8. avoid extreme positions or jerky/jarring/twisting movements (your joints are loose and more prone to injury when you are pregnant)
  9. once postpartum, return to exercise gradually
To get the moves, both strength and stretch, to do at home, watch our (very nice, I am so proud of my newly tested video-editing skills) video:

You can also see this video here and through our YouTube Channel here.

You will want to do the strength exercises 3 times a week in 3 sets of 10 and you will want to hold each stretch about 1 minute every day.

When thinking about your cardio training, Kara believes (and I found this true for myself) that classes are an excellent choice for pregnant women because you will be given instruction on proper form with continuous feedback.  The only class you will want to avoid is anything like a contact-type or kickboxing class.  Beyond that, though, the sky is the limit as long as you listen to your body.  High impact exercise is not necessarily contraindicated, it's just that most pregnant bodies don't like it with all the bouncing and jumping.  Oh, and don't lay on your stomach during the later stages of your pregnancy.  Ask your group fitness instructor and/or personal trainer what your options are in the event you are presented with a positiong that has you laying on your stomach.

Signs that you've done too much or should stop:
  1. vaginal bleeding
  2. preterm labor
  3. unexplained dizziness/fainting
  4. swelling/pain/redness in calf
  5. excessive fatigue
  6. unexplained abdominal pain
  7. numbness
  8. extreme shortness of breath
  9. SUDDEN swelling of ankles, hands, or face
  10. persistent headache or distorted vision
  11. lack of baby movement in a 12 hour period
And remember, pregnant mamas, that you are not "eating for 2!" (Such a bummer to hear, right?)  You do need to intake more calories but only eat when you are hungry.  Aim for smaller, more frequent meals which usually work better.  Make healthy choices as much as possible but don't deprive yourself of your favorite treats, either.  Remember that moderation is always the key.

Enjoy your pregnancy, have fun with it, and stay active!  Best of luck!

Special thanks to O2 Fitness for their support in getting this project done.  O2 Fitness has many convenient locations throughout the Triangle (most of which have a childcare option!) as well as a lot of wonderful Personal Trainers.  Check them out online or stop in to one of their locations to get more information.
I also want to thank Kara and Jennifer for their help.  They are smart, beautiful, strong women I am so glad I got to meet.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Raleigh Mompreneurs

Courtesy JoBe Images
I do so hope all you readers understand how much phenomenal talent there is the Triangle.  A lot of times we get the short stick since we're not Washington, DC or NYC.  But a few weeks ago now I was privileged to attend the first-ever conference run by Raleigh  Mompreneurs, "Illuminate."  It was actually my first-ever attendance at a Raleigh Mompreneurs ("RM") event.  I was, yet again, amazed by the amounts of impressive women that live in my own backyard.

And let me say right away that if you are a Mom who is a small business owner/starting a new business/in business for herself, get on board.  RM is a fabulous resource for you.

Cary Heise, of Social Butterflies NC and Stay At Home Rock Star design fame, created RM. She states that through both her businesses she was constantly interacting with small business owners, usually moms. So she created the platform of Raleigh Mompreneurs for these women to get to know each other as well.  Cary says, "My hope is that women are using Raleigh Mompreneurs to reach out to one another for cross-promoting, personal and business support, challenging one another, holding one another accountable with goals. I want the Mom at home with a business to feel connected and plugged into a community of women just like her!"  I feel like it works.

Courtesy JoBe Images
RM is for any mom who owns her own business (direct sales, professional photographer, Etsy shop, coach, brick and mortar shops, etc.) who is looking to connect with other business-minded women who can share the experience of balancing Mom and Mompreneur.  Those of you trying to do both - be both a career woman and a mom - know that it is a tough balance.  RM is a place where you can laugh about how hard it is (waving screaming children away while on a conference call, for example), get reinspired to keep working at what you are doing, network, and also learn some practical tips.  At the Illuminate conference, for starters, I learned some incredible financial tips from  Lori at My Shoebox Bookkeeper and some Social Media and Blogging tips from Melissa over at Momcomm.  Gaye at Redefine Balance was a warm and nurturing Life Coach and we were also treated to a detailed session by Christy at Be True Image Designs about creating your own brand and marketing tips.  There is real world stuff here.

Courtesy JoBe Images
The mission of Raleigh Mompreneurs is to: "include all small business Moms and provide a warm environment to network and to learn together. We encourage networking and connecting. We value the 'Mom' in Mompreneur. We offer education on all aspects of business, from small business finance advice to hot social media tips."

RM itself is not a business, it is a service. Anyone joining can expect that the women that write for RM and help to organize events are contributing their time out of pure passion for encouraging and inspiring other Moms.  There are subgroups for specific businesses such as Direct Sales and Professional Photographers where you can dive even further into brainstorms and practical tips precisely related to you.  So get on their (very active) Facebook page (see below) to get going.

RM has monthly networking and learning events that are casual and very welcoming.  They will never ask you to give a 30 second commercial so you do not need to come prepared with a presentation.  Just come looking forward to connect with women who are passionate about business and meeting other Moms in business.  I strongly encourage you to attend.

And to all you Mompreneurs out there: good luck and keep going!

Raleigh Mompreneurs
Twitter: @RalMompreneurs

* Like the photos?  Check out JoBe Images.  Again, another phenomenally talented Mompreneur living in our town.*


Friday, October 5, 2012

Weaver Creek Trail

When I did the post about the Jordan Dam & Tailrace Playground I promised you all a debriefing on our hiking experience that week.  I know you have been waiting with bated breath, so I will keep you waiting no longer.  My boys and I decided to take on the Weaver Creek hiking path off of New Hope Gameland.

You won't find much out there on the Internet about this trail but we read about it in a handy (albeit older) book we have and we do so like to try things off the beaten path when it comes to hiking.  We love our Haw River hikes- both upper and lower.  And this path is Weaver creek.  Those Weavers must have been somebodies around these parts.

We didn't have a hard time finding parking for this path.  We parked at the intersection of Pea Ridge Road and Lower Thrift Road.  The trailhead was a little hard to find, though.  This trail is not well trodden so the entrance is overgrown.  Once you get on the path, though, going is easy for awhile.  The trail is beautiful, wide open, through some nice trees.  It was flat and a pretty easy walk.

Although I admit the trail is so wide open that sometimes it's a little hard to find the yellow blazes.  We turned the wrong way once but quickly got back on.  Where we really messed up was at the 1 mile mark.  Here the trail suddenly changes.  There is an open tract/service road at this point.  Across this tract of land is an area of forest that looks like it has seen a controlled burn.   If you turn to the left here you go through some gorgeous flowers and fields to get down to Jordan Lake.  If you turn right here you can head back out Lower Thrift Road, and eventually you can follow this road to lead you to where you parked.  But going right on this old tract (and I say road, but it is really overgrown, so wear pants!) is not the intended way to make the circle.  We must have just really missed the blazes .... or this trail is closed but we don't think that's the case since one of the neighbors here knew we were out on the Weaver Creek Trail...

We had fun going down to the Lake, and we really enjoyed our hike before we lost the trail.  The fields with the little purple flowers was really worth the hike, in my mind.

PSA time: As always, and anywhere, if you hike during hunting season wear blaze orange.  Don't let hunting stop you from enjoying fall weather but play by the rules.  Especially true for this hike, which is on a state game land.  We had no issues at all but were blazed out just to be sure.

Get out there, families, and enjoy the nature around this

Weaver Creek Trail 
From Chatham Journal
Directions: From downtown Pittsboro take 64E to the stoplight in Wilsonville (~8 miles, this is the first traffic signal you come to after crossing Jordan Lake). Turn right onto Beaver Creek Road (SR 1008, Exxon and Mobil gas stations are at this intersection). Drive ~3.7 miles, passing Ebenezer Church on the right and the Ebenezer Boat launch area. Cross the bridge over Jordan Lake and immediately turn right onto Pea Ridge Road (SR 1972). Drive ~1.1 miles to the parking area on left onto Lower Thrift Road (SR 1907, gravel road). Park on the left in the flat, sandy area.
Description: Begin at the small hiker sign. Follow the yellow dot blazes on trees for 1.5 miles to end of trail. The double dots mean that the trail is making a fairly sharp turn. This trail is on state game lands, so during hunting season (fall and early winter) be sure to wear blaze orange!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Arts & Crafts Thursday: Ghost Plaque

I am lifting this craft today from Sarah's crafty other-blog: 2paws Designs. (I know, a life outside of MiCHill!)  I had the honor of doing this craft with her a few Halloweens ago and it is such a special keepsake.  Of course, I am a total sucker for foot-/hand-print art.  C's foot was so, so tiny and squishy years ago.  And now every Halloween I have the joy of getting teary when I pull out this decoration...


  • 5x7 wooden plaque (or similar sized canvas ... needs to be large enough to fit your child's footprint)
  • black & white acrylic paint
  • paint brushes and a cotton swab
  • sandpaper
  • Mod Podge
  • orange ribbon
  • beading wire (or similar to help create the hanger)
  • staple gun 

Start by painting the plaque black. Let it dry completely. If desired, sand the edges a bit to give a more distressed look. Apply white paint to the bottom of your child's foot (note: I had D strapped into his highchair and a wet paper towel ready so he didn't leave white footprints all over the house!) and press foot to the plaque. Set the plaque aside to dry and wipe the foot clean. Once the footprint has dried, use a cotton swab and black paint to add the dots for the eyes and mouth. After these have dried, apply Mod Podge to seal.

While waiting for the Mod Podge to dry (follow instructions on the bottle), cut a piece of ribbon about 2 feet in length and tie a bow in the middle. Attach it to the back of the plaque using a staple gun.

My original plan was to use the ribbon as the hanger, but I didn't like how it looked. Thus, the addition of the wire. You can add the two simultaneously if you want. I found it easy, once the ribbon was in place, to loop the wire through the knot in the center and then staple each end to the plaque. I then pulled the wire up and twisted it onto itself to finish.

That's it! Now you can hang your completed project on the wall. Enjoy!

See the original post here.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Youth Digital Studio - Durham

I was a complete Internet novice when I started this blog.  I logged on to Blogger, picked a template, and off I went.  Now, close to 3 years later in a growing media world, I have had to learn things like Favicons, HootSuite, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook plugins, and more....with still so much more to learn.  Imagine if I had had access as a teen to a place like Youth Digital Studio.  What they are doing simply excites me on behalf of all kids.

Youth Digital Studio (YDS) has a few locations around the US and one of those few happens to be located in Durham.  Lucky us!  YDS opened in the New Hope Commons area in Fall 2011.

YDS seeks to introduce the creativity of young people to the power of technology, giving them the tools needed to go from Consumer to Creator.  When that happens, it can be a powerful thing. I truly believe that is where the world changes.  Kids, primarily ages 6-17, can learn real skills to create projects they care about.  There are weekly afterschool classes in Game, Web, Graphic, App, and Video Design.  YDS recently launced their first online class (Game Design 1).  There are options based on what time commitment you can give and there are 5 levels of learning so the program can grow with your child.  The student/teacher ratio is really low, too, at an average of 4 to 1.

Parents: there are classes for you, too!  You can take one-day seminars in a variety of topics from Internet safety to Photoshop (go ahead and edit those Mamarazzi pictures just a smidge) to video design (make those videos of the kids even more fun to watch).

Like I said, YDS is doing some exciting things, and not just here in the Triangle.  Through their online class program they are able to reach students in over 28 states and 4 countries.

Still not sure exactly what YDS offers?  Appstravaganza is a great way to see what they do in action.  Over the summer kids aged 6-16 attended a YDS App Camp.  The kids had varying levels of experience but all made apps.  Yup, like for your phone or iPad.  Their creativity was evident as every app was unique.  You can watch some of these fantastic kids here:   There were games, stats/time logs for basketball or swimming, a paycheck calculator, and so on.  These kids took their ideas from concept to the final product.  They put in an amazing amount of work for their age and for just one short week (trust me, it's amazing: it takes me hours to edit and upload the pictures for 1 blog article....make a whole app?!).

Four of these student-created apps will be available on the Apple app store soon (how cool, right?), and the rest of them will be on the app store near the first of the year.

You can see these apps in action right now!  YDS is hosting Appstravaganza throughout October and November this year.  From the beginning of October through October 31 The ArtsCenter is hosting the event with a celebration event on October 12 from 6:00 - 9:00 pm.  When October is done, the Museum of Life + Science hosts a 1-day exhibit of Appstravaganza complete with teachers to introduce the apps and field Q&As on November 10.  After that you have one last chance to catch the exhibit at the Golden Belt Gallery in downtown Durham as part of the 3rd Friday festivities on November 16.

PS- I am waiting on one of these kids to make an app for MiCHill.  Any takers?

Youth Digital Studio
5318 New Hope Commons Drive
Durham, NC 27701          
(919) 766-0691