Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NCSU Basketball at Reynolds Coliseum

Tis the season...for great winter activities that don't include jingle bells and Santa Claus.  From Sarah C. today:

Back in my day, NCSU played all basketball games at Reynolds Coliseum on campus (yep, totally dated myself with that statement). There is nothing like a game there. The ambiance offered by the older construction, the heat (it might be cold out, but you'll be sweating just watching the game) and the noise. I like the PNC Arena, but nothing compares to the sound of cheering Wolfpack fans in Reynolds. And, of course, being smaller you are so much closer to the action.


These are reasons I cheered when NCSU started offering at least one men's early season game per season at their old venue. This season, you can catch the action on Saturday, December 8th. Game time is 1:00pm and tickets are general admission. Thus, arrive early if you want the better seats.

This is a great game to attend especially if you have young kids. You can enjoy the experience without it being too overwhelming. We arrived close to tip off last year and ended up with 5 seats for the 3 of us close to one end. Directly in front of the band. This turned out to be exactly the right spot for our then 2-1/2 year old. D could see the game well and move around a bit, but also was mesmerized by the band and people watching in general. If you find your little one gets fidgety, step out to the concourse and walk the indoor track for a lap or two. Afterwards head next door to Talley Student Center for Howling Cow ice cream. (Yes, I've declared my love for it in posts here and here. I might have an addiction.)

Want to visit other times? The women's basketball, women's gymnastics, women's volleyball and wrestling all compete at Reynolds.

NCSU Athletics
Find all the NCSU sports schedules at http://www.gopack.com
Reynolds Coliseum
http://www.gopack.com/facilities/reynolds-coliseum.html
East Dunn Ave
Raleigh


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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

10 Tips to Balance Your Life Even During Holiday Season? (Yeah, Right!)

I am thrilled today to have a really great post AND GIVEAWAY from a new guest: Lori V. Forgasi.  Lori is a writer who lives in our neck of the woods and wrote the award-winning book Momnesia.  Read on for her solid tips about managing the holiday season, but head to the bottom for more about Lori as well as a leak about something our next newsletter will hold.  Not to mention that if you leave us a comment you could possibly win a signed copy of her book!  Here she is!:

Being the author of a novel that’s about the average suburban mom trying to balance her “momminess” and her “sexiness” is always a surefire conversation starter. Comments range from the most common “Ha ha, very funny,” to the occasional defensive, “I have no problem with my sexiness!” (That’s not what I was saying, I silently lament. I was simply telling you about my book because you asked!)
Either way, we all recognize that it’s a challenge. Whether a man or a woman, balancing life’s responsibilities with our Selves can be an ongoing battle at any time. However, for women… during holiday season? Here is where I insert my own, “Yeah, right!” Ask the average mom what it’s like to add an abundance of household decorations complete with breakables and choking hazards, shopping, wrapping, cooking, hosting family events, attending the many additional school happenings, baking cookies… well, you get the picture.

How are we supposed to balance our “momminess” and our “sexiness” when we’ve got all of that going on, plus the usual responsibilities that surround work, kids, the house, pets, meals, etc?! I don’t care how great your husband is… it’s overwhelming.

Interestingly, although “Momnesia” is a novel, it has been received by the media almost as if it were nonfiction. Which it kind of is, because it speaks to the truth of many women’s lives, but actually isn’t because it’s a made up story.

I’ve been invited to speak on this topic at a multitude of venues, including the Lifetime Women’s Network Balance Your Life Road Tour, The My Carolina Today Show, and others, sharing tips for how real women in real life can find ways to balance it all.

10 Tips to Balance Your Life Even During Holiday Season

1. Implement small daily decadences. Whether taking five minutes to sit and relax mid-day, or spending an hour in a bubble bath on Sunday, doing little things for yourself here and there can make a huge difference.

2. Draw the line on activities you don’t enjoy.
Do you like making ten dozen cookies for the neighborhood exchange? Great, by all means make them. Don’t enjoy it but feel like you “should?” Stop. Just stop. No one is going to shun you and if they do, they’re not your real friends anyway.

3. Decorate in ways that make you happy instead of anxious.
I always thought I was the only one who felt like an OCD claustrophobe with the decorative holiday clutter. After writing “Momnesia” and chatting with hundreds of women at book club meetings? I’ve discovered that I am, by far, not the only one. Pare down your decorating to a level you actually enjoy. If the kids want to have the seventy-five plastic snow globes that you’ve accumulated over the years in their room, fine. They don’t have to be displayed on every surface of your kitchen, living room, and bathroom. Really. They don’t.

4. Do your holiday hosting your way.
Remind yourself that if the party is at your house, you can do it your way. Stressing out trying to make all fifteen relatives idealistically happy will never serve any purpose other than to eat your guts out. Make it nice, but make it yours.

5. Dress for the occasion.
I’m talking sneakers and a fanny pack, ladies. When you’re out on a big shopping excursion, comfort trumps style. Forget about hauling your gigantic purse until you’re hot, exhausted, and in need of a cortisone shot. Work those sneakers and you’ll feel better about the entire day.

6. Put expenses into perspective.
If money is stressing you out, ask yourself things like, “Do we really need to have open bar, or would wine and beer be just as nice?”

7. Put your children’s wish lists into perspective.
A wish list is supposed to be a wish list, not an order form. You don’t have to buy everything on the list, or items that you know are sure to cause problems (like the “magic” diary that only unlocks to the sound of their voice but never works and makes them cry daily). You’ll enjoy the season more if you get them things that you feel they’ll enjoy.

8. Impose a ban on martyrdom.
Yes, I just said that out loud. We women in particular often have a hard time letting other people help us, worrying that things won’t be done “right.” Trust me, the stress alleviated by not having to do every single thing yourself outweighs the “risk” that your husband might buy snowman wrapping paper instead of snowflakes.

9. Schedule time with your friends.
If you wait until you’re not busy, you could easily never see anyone again. Not your close friend, not even your spouse. Instead, make an appointment with them, even if it’s just to meet for an hour over coffee, and adhere to it like you would a doctor appointment.

10. Eat a turkey leg. Don’t like turkey legs? Fine. Eat or do other things you like. The point about turkey legs is that there are only two and most people love them but no one wants to say what they want. Say what you want! It’s not just everyone else’s holiday… it’s yours too!

Do you have any tips for balancing your life during holiday season? I look forward to your comments below!
 ------------------------------------------
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy the conversational and humorous writing style of “Momnesia.” I welcome you to learn more about Lori's books, read a free preview and more, at her website, www.LoriTheAuthor.com. In fact, Lori has a special Turkey Leg Sneak Excerpt posted for the holiday season, which you can enjoy here: www.LoriTheAuthor.com/TurkeyLeg. Keep an eye out, because in just a few weeks, MiCHill will be sharing a special sneak Christmas Excerpt with you too! (Make sure you subscribe to the newsletter!)

BUT YOU REALLY WANT TO WIN A FREE, SIGNED COPY OF "MOMNESIA," DON'T YOU?  I know I wish I could!  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below giving us your best stress-management tip for the holidays.  Winner will be chosen at random from all comments on Monday, December 9th (just in time for you to read this as your daily decadence through the holidays!).

  ------------------------------------------
Lori V. Fogarsi has been a freelance writer, journalist, columnist, and professional speaker for 15+ years. Her novel, “Momnesia” has been a finalist in several prestigious book awards. She also has a nonfiction book, “Everything You Need to Know About House Training Puppies and Adult Dogs,” which has been widely acclaimed in its genre.
Fogarsi is a happily married mom of two, step mom of two more, and has two cats, both rotten. Originally a native New Yorker, she now divides her time between Holly Springs, NC, and Lake Gaston, VA, where she is hard at work on her next novel, “Gramnesia,” to be released in spring 2013 by Brickstone Publishing.

Find Lori online here:
Website:
www.LoriTheAuthor.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/LoriTheAuthor
Twitter: www.twitter.com/LoriTheAuthor
(In fact, you can find her at LoriTheAuthor just about everywhere online!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Longest Night: Paperhand Puppet Show at Morehead Planetarium

C and I had such a good time at the last Morehead Planetarium show we attended and we also had a great time at the summer Paperhand Puppet Intervention Show.  Imagine my excitement when the two combined for a highly anticipated program at Morehead's theatre!
The Longest Night: A Winter's Tale opened at the Planetarium early November and is scheduled to run through the end of February.  However, it only shows on Saturdays at 11:30 am and Sundays at 2:30 pm and it's a popular place to be.  The show we attended sold out, so make sure you get there early if you want to go.

I had done a lot of research on this show before attending to try to discover the age-appropriateness.  I was told everything from 3 & up, to 7 & up, to any and all ages.  When I arrived at the Planetarium to get tickets all ages were certainly in attendance.

Yet my advice is to be aware that this program really is not for every child.  Given the mystical quality of the puppets themselves, the fabulous use of the dome that can cause vertigo in some children, as well as the haunting music, you really do want to make sure that this is the right fit for your kid.  Some children are not intimidated by movies, some children are very sensitive.  If you have a sensitive child it may not be good for your family.  Within 5 minutes in to the program at least 3 children (mine included) were outside in the lobby in tears; while other kids as young as 3 thoroughly enjoyed and had no issues.  Just know your child and know that this can be an intense experience.  However, if your children are interested and are seasoned movie-goers I encourage you to attend.

As always with Paperhand Puppets, this was gorgeous.  Art.  Just art.  I am so pleased that Morehead teamed up with a truly local treasure to create something unique and beautiful.  At the end of the program the emcee of the dome leads a discussion with the audience as to what creates the longest night of the year.

You can see a little YouTube clip promoting the show at the Planetarium's website (see link below).

The Longest Night will leave Morehead on February 24th.  The cost is $7.25 for an adult and $6 for a child.  The movie lasts 45 minutes with discussion held afterwards.

Morehead Planetarium & Paperhand Puppet Intervention present
The Longest Night: A Winter's Tale
http://www.moreheadplanetarium.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page&filename=TLN.html
Morehead Planetarium
250 East Franklin
Chapel Hill
919-962-1236

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Shelley Lake Park - Raleigh

Don't give up on parks yet!  We're not!  From Sarah C.:

Yes, the weather is getting cooler, but that doesn't mean that our kids have any less energy to burn! Unless it's too wet, I'm still taking D to parks to explore. Our latest one - Shelley Lake in North Raleigh. It features 53 acres including the lake and greenway trails. But, naturally, it was the playground that drew us in first.


The playground is located adjacent to the Sertoma Arts Center just beyond the parking lot. There are 2 main pieces of equipment for the 2-5 and 5-12 crowd in mulched areas as well as 3 sand areas. Two of those have swings (buckets and traditional) while the 3rd has a few teeter totters and diggers.

Unlike some other parks, there were no left behind sand toys here so it was helpful that we brought a few to play with and to share. We spent a good time enjoying the equipment, but not surprising to me, most of our time digging in the sand.

I did love how shaded the area was by trees and, with a few leaves missing, how I could see the lake from the playground. Especially since we didn't get around to exploring the trails and getting a closer view (D wasn't interested until it was time to go - hello, stall tactic. Next time).

There are two picnic tables at the playground and more available closer to the parking lot.

If you have the time or interest, the park also features a basketball court, fitness centers along the greenway, open fields and an arts center.

Restrooms are located in the arts center.

Shelley Lake Park
http://www.raleighnc.gov/...ShelleyLake.html
Sertoma Playground
http://www.raleighnc.gov/.../PlaygroundSertoma.html
Sertoma Arts Center
http://www.raleighnc.gov/.../SertomaArtsCenter.html
1400 West Millbrook Road
Raleigh


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Monday, November 19, 2012

Mommy Time: Small B&B

Need an easy, relaxing break for you and your partner during the crazy holiday season (or any other time)?  In another edition of Mommy Time, Teresa encourages you to check out Small B&B in Pittsboro.  More photos over on our Photobucket link.

I recently had the opportunity to check out the Small Bed and Breakfast in downtown Pittsboro (which also has many other fabulous places for families). This newly opened B&B is located in a beautiful old house, just a few blocks from all the quaint shops of Pittsboro. Need a little getaway for your and you significant other, away from the kiddos, but don’t want to venture too far from home? Consider the Small B&B.

The guests spaces are unique, welcoming and restful. There is a large guest cottage, that has a bedroom with king size bed, a generous living area with kitchenette and a pull-down bed. The beautiful quilt, and recycled wood give the cottage a warm and cozy feel.

In a corrugated steel structure, that was originally designed by an architecture professor for a roaming art exhibit, are two additional guest rooms. In one room, you’ll find a large tree design that climbs toward the high ceiling. And while these rooms are small, they don’t feel
cramped, and the gorgeous quilts encourage you to climb in and get snuggled up.

Small B&B also has a café where they serve breakfast and lunch. Inside and outside seating is available. You will even find a hammock amongst the trees, and a box perched on the deck with books for you to peruse.  Breakfast items range from $5 -7 and include inspiring choices such as lemon ricotta hotcakes and quiche with cornmeal crust. You’ll find soup and sandwiches on the lunch menu, and the wild card – their changing item of the day. While I didn’t get to try any of their menu items, I did have a cupcake, which was amazingly tasty!

Another thing to note, which I really appreciate, is that the owners are committed to using local farms as suppliers, and currently 60% of their food is local. I also love that the owners have made sustainability a priority -- making a point to do things like incorporate recycled elements, compost, and collect rainwater for irrigation.

So whether you want a night away and time to explore the cute town of Pittsboro, or just want a cup of coffee and breakfast, the Small B&B might be a good place for to get some mommy time (and maybe daddy too!).

The café is open from 7:30 – 2:00 W-Sat, and from 9-2 on Sunday, and the menu is posted daily on their Facebook page.  Reservations for the rooms can be made on their website.

Small Bed & Breakfast
http://smallbandbcafe.com/bandb.html
219 East St.
Pittsboro
919-537-1909

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Arts & Crafts Thursday: Nature Sculptures

I know you've missed them... so here is a great seasonal craft you can do, integrating things from your own yard, from My SweetArts (see end of post for information about their upcoming Little Elves workshop).

Our kids, our own and in class, absolutely love making 3-D sculptures. Building open-ended structures allows toddlers and preschoolers develop language skills by talking about the different materials they are working with and encourage fine motor manipulation.

This fall, we collected materials found right outside our door – fresh colorful leaves, pinecones, pine needles and acorns. We created a base of salt dough for the kids to build their own abstract art pieces.

To add some color, we gave them all glitter shakers to create unique designs with holiday flair.
Ingredients/Materials
Salt Dough base
• 1 cup of flour
• ¾ cup of salt
• ½ cup of water
• 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar (suggested for dough elasticity, but not essential)
• 1 teaspoon of cooking oil (suggested for easier dough kneading, but not essential)

Sculpture embellishments
• Pinecones
• Acorn caps
• Pine needles
• Sticks
• Leaves (choose fresh, colorful leaves for full impact)
• Glitter
• Cookie sheet

Salt Dough Recipe
Mix ingredients well, kneading the dough for 10 minutes. If the mixture is too sticky, add flour. If the mixture is too dry add a bit of water. Please note that the dough should be stiff (not runny or soft).

Sculpture process
Form a base for the sculpture. You can choose any shape or size. For class, we went with a round base ½ inch thick. The more surface area you provide your kids, the larger their canvas.

Take a nature walk and collect fun fall materials like acorn caps, leaves, pine needles and pinecones. Once you have fashioned the salt dough base, have your kids place their nature items in the dough base. To minimize mess, place the salt dough base on a paper plate and place inside a cookie sheet. Kids will explore different textures and the different impressions they leave in the dough. When they are all done with the natural materials, hand over the glitter and see their sculptures transform into holiday pieces of art. Again, the cookie sheet is great to minimize the glitter mess at home.


Once complete, set out the sculpture to dry. The dough will dry fully in a week’s time. If you would like to seal the color of the leaves and glitter, try adding a layer of modge podge or clear sealer.


For some musical fun, try this fun, catchy original song from Michelle Schooff.

Nature Walk
(sung to the tune of Jingle Bells)

Nature walk, nature walk,
go on a nature walk
Pinecones, needles, sticks and leaves
acorn caps all about
Make some salt dough while at home
now let the art work start
Place them on, one by one
and the glitter looks the part

-------------------------------------
My SweetArts is a new kind of enrichment class that uniquely combines music and art/sensory exploration for infants, toddlers, and families. All classes are conveniently held at University Mall, Chapel Hill.

Come join My SweetArts for
Little Elves Workshop
December 8, 10, 15, 17
Help fill stockings with keepsake crafts
for loved ones and sing your holiday favorites!

All ages welcomed.
 
Purchase class block or sign up for classes a la carte.
Reserve now to guarantee a spot. Limited space available.
Go here to sign up: http://eepurl.com/qIV9r

Find out more:
www.mysweetarts.com
www.facebook.com/MySweetArts
@mysweetarts
Email us at: info@mysweetarts.com



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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Discovery Place KIDS - Charlotte

I love Charlotte.  Each time I go I find more to love (like Zaida Jane's brunch).  Of course, we've been to a Panthers Game, the US National Whitewater Center, IKEA, and the downtown kids' museum called Discovery Place (which is great, too, but despite the name is different than the place I am about to tell you about).  I've even gotten jealous of Charlotte's bike rental program.
But we elected on this trip to Charlotte to try out the Discovery Place KIDS which is out in Huntersville, NC (about 20 minutes from downtown Charlotte). 

Discovery Place KIDS in Huntersville is more like a Marbles or a Greensboro Children's Museum.  In short, pretty fantastic, hands-on, imaginative fun.  (There is another Discovery Place KIDS scheduled to open in Rockingham, NC in 2013.  For more on that visit the website below.)  For comparision, the downtown Discovery Place is really a wonderful spot and museum but is geared more towards older kids.

Discovery Place KIDS is great for the younger crew.  There is an entire area for children under 3 - complete with fenced in area, lots of padding, and even little tiny seats for tots to sit in and experience a water exhibit (too awesome!).

There is a stage in the middle of the entire building with puppet shows and times to dance and sing along.  Note that for these shows they are obviously not catering to adults.  I thought they were "meh" but C was smitten and especially loved the dancing and singing portion of his visit.
Discovery Place KIDS is not huge in square feet or area compared to other places we've been, but there is a surprising amount to be found.  Keep going towards the back and you'll be surprised.  Among things to explore: a huge "hamster run" for kids, blocks, a racecar pit (duh, it's Charlotte), a fire truck, grocery shop, cafe, underwater area, conveyor belts, hands-on water exhibit, a boat, animal hospital, and much more.  We thought we had seen all we could see then turned a corner and found ourselves at a rock wall, balance beam, farm with chickens and a cow to milk, and a tractor to get on. 

There is an entire area called "I Can Create."  Here children can do guided crafts or just explore the art within them.

There was exploration outside, too, with a garden and sandbox.

While there wasn't an official book area the entire museum was littered with books.  Books appropriate to the subject at hand were at each exhibit.  This is a great idea and increases the interactive and learning nature of each station.

We spent a few hours here on a Saturday afternoon and could have stayed longer.  We were lucky in that the museum didn't feel terribly crowded, either.  Although I would watch out for rainy weekends.  I bet this place can get popular fast.

Everything is easy stroller access and there are changing tables.  No cafe here but there are vending machines near the front door.  You may bring food and drinks in yet they may only be consumed by the vending machines.  There is a nursing lounge.

I thought the admission to this was comparatively and surprisingly cheap.  It was only $8 per person over 1 to get in.  Ok, so I don't love the idea of C paying the same price as an adult, but considering that the entire half day was spent in blissful play at a museum that looked brand new, it seemed worth it to us.

See a larger album with even more pictures over here on our Photobucket site.

Discovery Place KIDS
http://www.discoveryplacekids.org/
105 Gilead Road
Huntersville, NC
704-372-6261
Closed Mondays

Friday, November 9, 2012

Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center

When I decide where to take my boys on adventures I have to consider the Time in car To the Time of fun Ratio.  My boys are not good car kids (I had hopes when The Bug was very little, but since realizing that there are things to see he is not a fan of being backwards in the car).  So when I heard about the new Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center from GoAskMom I got out my scales and did the weighing.  Turns out this was totally worth the drive.

Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center just opened in September.  It is brand new and, accordingly, beautiful.  Inside is a small lap pool but (why would you come here to do laps because....) the real draw is the water park elements.  There is a zero level entry pool for tots (just close to 2 feet at the deepest) with some fun water features, like a sprayground.  Within this tot pool there is a slide that kids can go up and down easily. 
There is a larger activity pool that is almost 4 feet at the deepest, with jacuzzi jets and a bench along one rim, water basketball hoops along another rim, and a zero level entry ramp that leads from the tot pool.  The lap lanes have a volleyball net strung across them but that is only open at certain times (see below).

There is an amaze-balls 3 story waterslide (must be at least 48 inches tall to ride, no jewelry or metal/zippers on your suits, and the lifeguards WILL call you out if you violate any one of those).  Can you believe I was not going to go down that waterslide?  So glad my friend made me because I giggled like a kid the whole way down. 

There is a "current channel" at Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center, too.  This is like a lazy river but a little different.  Here you actually swim in it, no intertubes.  Off the current channel is a vortex - a water whirlpool.  All of the kids at the pool when we were there loved both of these features (parents: note that lifeguards ask that you stay within arm's reach of your kids in both of these water features if they are not over 48 inches).

We were lucky when we went to this Aquatics Center as we were pretty much the only people there.  However, the 6 or so very nice 18-year-old lifeguards (I swear, I am getting old) on duty told us that when Wake Co. Schools are out it gets really packed.  I could see that so it might be worth checking school schedules.  While Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center is gorgeous and well-done, it certainly isn't huge.  The actual swim area is much smaller than places like Homestead Aquatics Center and Triangle SportsPlex (but still warmer than that Chapel Hill Community Center pool).  If there are a lot of kids here I can imagine the Splash factor outweighs the Space factor but that's a whole other ratio to consider.

Yet when Raleigh put together this Aquatics Center they really did some great things: lots of lockers lining the edges of the pool area, 2 huge family restrooms in addition to spacious women's & men's locker rooms, a party area right off the pool with tables and chairs that you can rent, and lots of natural light coming in.  There are also a lot of life jackets as well as noodles available for use.  You may not bring any inflatable floatation devices in to the pool.

There is a concessions stand but it isn't open very often so plan to bring your own snacks (stash them in the lockers).  There are 2 vending machines for drinks and snacks if you need it.

Because of all the specialty features this is an expensive place to visit, in my opinion.  For Raleigh residents it is currently $3 for kids 1 -12 and $7 for adults 13 - 54.  But for non-residents it doubles ($6 for 1 -12 year olds, $14 for 13 - 54 year olds).  You can get monthly passes and annual passes which would be worth considering if you are going often and can also be used at all Raleigh pools.

Other things I like?  It is LEED registered (a green roof, solar-heated hot water) and has local art.  They will be offering swim lessons so stay tuned to Raleigh Parks & Rec if you are interested in that.

Yet the true measure of any of my created ratios is whether my kids enjoyed it and I had fun while seeing their faces shine.  Buffaloe Road Aquatics Center wins.

Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center
http://www.raleighnc.gov/
5908 Buffaloe Road
Raleigh
Hours:  Monday - closed; Tuesday through Saturday 10 am - 7 pm; Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm
Vortex/Current Channel/Waterslide open Tuesday & Thursday 12:30 - 6:45 pm; Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 10 am - 6:45 pm; Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm
Volleyball on Friday 1:30 - 3:30 pm; Saturday 3 - 7 pm; Sunday 1 - 5 pm
919-996-5600

PS!  Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter feeds on Monday for a big announcement about a new partnership I'll be telling you about.  I am going to join forces with another local Mom site and bring you even more articles and news.  It will be a good thing.  Promise.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dame's Chicken & Waffles

Sorry I haven't been able to get more totally rad (the 80s are coming back) posts up, including an A.C.T., but I've been hard at work on our first-ever newsletter.  It went out earlier this week.  Did you get one?!  You gotta get on the list.  There were a lot of discounts in the Nov. newsletter for subscribers, more to come in the Dec. newsletter!  Anyhow, for now, let's talk chicken.  And waffles.

Yes, please!  Fried chicken + waffles + fancy butters and spreads = Absolutely.  I don't know how long this southern thing of chicken & waffles has been around (I grew up up north) but I have been told it's a long time.  However long, I love it!  So does C.  And yup, it's a big ole fluffy waffle with a big ole hunk of fried chicken on it.

Dame's is in downtown Durham.  We dined here after our Carolina Theatre excursion of a couple of weeks ago.  The inside is pretty small but they do have high chairs.  The tables are topped with butcher block paper and the kids are given crayons.  Throw habit-forming concerns to the wind and say "sure, draw on the table."  The inside can also get kind of loud and crowded, but the atmosphere is upscale and nice.  Plus, I am pretty sure our group brought the noise with them.

Besides, nothing negative I might be able to find matters.  The food is so good.  There are a lot of variations of the chicken/waffle combo at this dining establishment, and a kids menu.  So the kid in you and your actual kid can go nuts.  Let me tantalize you with... Red Crested Rose Comb: Designed for ATF stardom! Two Chicken legs, a Classic Waffle w/ Candied Pecans and Strawberry Shmear ... The Buff Brahmas: The baddest birds of all! Four wings or 2 cutlets drizzled w/Whiskey Crème Sauce, a Classic waffle, Peach & Apricot Shmear.  The waffles are light and fluffy, the chicken crispy, and the shmears totally melty delicious.

Go nuts in here, have fun, and forget your diet.  They do offer a la carte items, salads, and a kids menu that includes fruit.  I bet breakfast here is amazing, too.  C and I both dined for $18.  So prices aren't outrageous.

Get in to Dame's.  I believe that "Almost" will soon be gone from their slogan.

Dame's Chicken & Waffles
http://www.dameschickenwaffles.com/
317 W. Main Street
Durham
919-682-9235

Monday, November 5, 2012

Strickland Road Neighborhood Park - Raleigh

Don't give up on playground weather yet!  A review today from Sarah C:

One of the newest parks in Raleigh, Strickland Road Neighborhood Park, opened late last year. It offers a playground, open green space, and trails.


The playground is very nice! There are play areas for ages 2-5 and 5-12 with age appropriate equipment as well as swings and a sand box with an awning over part. Nestled into a grouping of trees, the area remains pretty well shaded. There are plenty of benches for parents that want to sit and watch as well as one picnic table.

The small open green space just off the path from the parking lot to the playground is perfect for spreading out a picnic blanket or letting your child kick around a ball.

If you feel like stretching your legs a bit more, explore one of the mulched trails. We've tried two - 1 led us to the pond behind the playground and 1 was a connector to a nearby neighborhood.

Park amenities:
  • Playground
  • Restroom (portable) 
  • Trails

Strickland Road Neighborhood Park
http://www.raleighnc.gov/arts/content/PRecParks/Articles/PlaygroundStricklandRoad.html
12804 Strickland Rd
Raleigh

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Arts & Crafts Thursday: Thankful Turkeys

From Sarah C.:

Time to flip from Halloween to Thanksgiving! Amazing how the fall months begin to speed by from holiday to holiday. I recall making versions of these turkeys myself as a child. I'm calling them "thankful turkeys" as D & I talked about things we were thankful for and then wrote those on the feathers to help remind us throughout the season.

Supplies:
  • toilet paper tube
  • construction paper
  • crayon or pencil or pen
  • scissors
  • glue (we used a glue stick and glue dots)
  • googly eyes (optional)
  • feathers (optional - could use instead of paper)
  • markers (optional)

To start our project, I drew feather shapes onto 4 pieces of construction paper. Then we talked about things we were thankful for and I wrote one on each feather. Depending upon your child's age & ability, they might be able to do this part themselves. (Note here's where I made a small error - didn't plan ahead enough so two of our thankful things are upside down! Oops! My advice, write some on the far left & some on far right to leave enough space to glue and still see words.)


We're learning to use scissors so I encouraged D to cut out each of the feathers. If your child is too young, you could precut these pieces.

Next use glue to adhere each of the feathers to one side of the tube.


Add eyes by either gluing on googly eyes or drawing some with a marker.

Cut a small triangle beak and wiggly looking wattle from construction paper. Attach with glue.


Enjoy the finished creation! (And, yes, my child thinks the wattle is the mouth. What I love about crafting with toddlers - you never know how it will turn out.)


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