Friday, January 25, 2013

Stay & Play Snack Cafe

I am sure that, by now, the majority of you have heard of the newest business for families to open in Durham.  It was highly anticipated (because the idea is brilliant) and opened this Saturday with much fanfare.  Good news - the place meets all expectations.

Stay & Play Snack Cafe is a coffee house in downtown Durham that is for families to come play. 

One big, long room is filled with toys, padded floors, and creativity so that parents can sit, have a cup of coffee or latte and a muffin from Ninth Street bakery, kids can get some popcorn from Mad Popper when they get hungry (or other snacks), and kids can play.  FINALLY - we now have a place where we can have coffee with a friend and avoid hipsters on their computers throwing us judgemental looks because our children are running around making loud noises (or is that just me?).

Stay & Play has an area for art with supplies provided by Bull City Craft, a train table, a play kitchen and dolls, a padded area with a climber and large blocks, books, a bunch of small tactile toys stored and labelled to bring out and play with, and an area for infants in the back.  Much of the toys gear towards kids under 6 or so but kids of any age are welcome - just have the older kids bring Angry Birds on their iPads or whatever it is they do nowadays (Lord, I hope you all help me when I have older kids).

Surrounding all this kid-joy are chairs and tables and sofas for parents and caretakers to sit on (although let's be honest, we still don't get to sit much).

There are all kinds of events going on, too.  There are art times (for a small additional fee for supplies), storytimes (no extra charge), and Stay & Play has invited some of our favorites - Healthy Moms and My SweetArts - to come in and offer classes (these classes cost additional money).
I love that Emily, the owner of Stay & Play, has thought of everything.  In the bathroom, for example, in addition to a changing table there is step stool for the sink, a step stool for the toilet, a toddler potty seat, free breastpads, and more.  All over the cafe there are antibacterial wipes hanging in beautiful canisters.

Prices are reasonable across the board.  Snacks for kids come in cute little muffin cups and are $1 per cup.  You do have to pay to play and stay here (unless you are taking one of the fee-based classes).  Adults are free (I think because we end up drinking a lot of coffee so we more than make up for it) and the first child is $4.50, each additional child is $3.00.  I thought this was worth it.  You can buy membership at a variety of levels, too, which would be worth doing if you know you will frequent this spot.

You must wear socks to play and everyone has to leave their shoes off at the door (yes, even adults so make sure you wear your socks without holes in the toes).  Also, you can't take strollers back in to the cafe (you won't need them) so unless you are doing some heavy duty walking to get there you can leave the stroller in the car.  Our group ended up heading over to Bull City Brewery for some burgers afterwards but this isn't too far from some of our other Durham favorites either.

There is street parking available if you want to search but you can also park across the street in the garage ($1/hr weekdays, free on weekends).

Truly, my only complaint about this new business model that has come to the Triangle is that no one has opened one in Chapel Hill.  I feel like Stay & Play Snack Cafe meets a need that has existed for a long time in a elegant and desireable way.

Stay & Play Snack Cafe
405A East Chapel Hill St

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Arts & Crafts Thursday: Paper Plate Dinosaurs

From Sarah C.:

Next Wednesday is "Draw a Dinosaur Day." Seriously. Having a certain 3.5 year old in my home who loves dinosaurs, I couldn't think of a better 'holiday' to get crafty for. Surely there are at least a few dino loving kids in the MiCH crowd?

While D did draw a dinosaur to share as part of the 'holiday,' I didn't think a tutorial was necessary for drawing a dinosaur. Instead, I thought I'd share how we crafted one from a paper plate.

  • paper plate
  • markers, crayons or paint to color the plate
  • scissors
  • brads (glue or tape could also be used)

To start, hand your child a paper plate to color. We used markers, but crayons or paint would also work.

Cut the plate into 3 pieces as shown below by cutting it in half and then cutting one of the pieces in half. 

From the one of the quarter pieces, help your child cut a tail. Start at the smooth portion and cut a curve back toward the outer edge of the plate on the opposite side of the piece to create the tail. Don't toss the extra piece. Set it aside. Then take the other quarter piece and cut a neck/head shape. Again, save the remaining portion. Attach the tail and neck/head using brads (glue or tape could also be used).

Take the "extra" pieces left from cutting the tail and neck/head and cut 4 legs. Attach these to the body as well.

That's it - you've made a dinosaur! (How my son got his to stand on it's own is beyond me! Preschooler magic?)

Share your dinosaur or any project inspired by our Arts & Crafts Thursday posts on our Flickr group here. We'd love to see what you and your kids have made!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stone's Education Superstore

From Sarah C.:

Stone's Education Superstore has been a fixture in Raleigh for years. I recall driving past during my days at NCSU when I thought it was "teachers only." I just recently ventured in for the first time both for the purpose of sharing and to search out a specific item for D. What I discovered? I'll be visiting a lot.

This store is huge! Well, far greater than I ever imagined it could be. It's in a fairly nondescript metal building along Tryon Rd. Step in through the doors and the world of education is spread about you as far as you can see. It encompasses so much more than "just" teacher supplies. Sure, you'll find bulletin board decor and flash cards but you'll also find Melissa & Doug and Playmobil items.

I was so taken in by everything, I had to ask for directions to the specific paper I was looking for. There is plenty of order to the layout. I just hadn't expected so much and was trying to keep a grip on my 3yo who wanted to run and explore every inch as well.

He also wanted to play which made our discovery of the kids play area behind the registers a huge hit. We found it pretty early in our visit and D wanted to stay and play and play. A train table, Playmobil pieces, Mr Potato Head, puzzles, books, etc. It had plenty to entertain.

Besides the number of options & fun play area available under one roof, I was also impressed with the knowledge the staff possessed. I had come in search of lined paper for D to practice writing his letters on. Something so simple but I was struggling to find in other stores. I mentioned earlier that I asked for help in locating it. The sales associate led me to the options - there were a lot - and then chatted with me about it. I explained to her a couple of things we were working on such as holding a pencil correctly. She immediately had suggestions including a special pencil. I did end up buying it and it really has made a difference. He's not perfectly holding all crayons & pencils now but does understand is getting closer to correct. I was pleased that she took time to listen to me and make recommendations of how to help him learn and grow. That's huge to any parent.

If you're in search of a new workbook, homeschooling literature, or even a toy for your child, I highly suggest visiting Stone's.

Stone's Education Store
3800 Tryon Road

Monday - Saturday 9a - 6p
Sunday 12p - 6p


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

DAC's Toddler Art Workshop

We are recovering from the fabulous event at Northgate Mall yesterday.  Estimates hit my in-box today that it was over 1,000 attendees - the largest that this event has seen.  NC MomsRising did a fabulous job organizing and thanks to Lango Kids, the Durham Mothers Club, the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Mothers Club, and Northgate Mall.  I was pleased to be a part, even if my wild and crazy boys meant we had to skip the second session.  I look forward to helping with this again next year.  In the meantime, here's another love-for-Durham post today....Enjoy!

As you know, I try to get crafty with my kids when I can.  Art can open so many doors and encouraging kids' creativity is important to me.  Yet it can be messy.  And I can have a hard time coming up with ideas.  Hence why I was more than happy to try out the Durham Art Council's Toddler Art Workshop.  (The DAC is the same organization that brings us the clay workshop.)

These workshops change on the schedule frequently so you really need to stay tuned to the DAC's website (see below) to find out when they are.  For this session, through April 2013 for certain, they are going to be held for 1 hour on Saturday mornings.  However, in the past they have been on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and sometimes Fridays.  It is worth getting to if you can.

For $12 per child you are given access to a room with 4 tables in it.  Each table has a different art/sensory experience for your child.  An artist named Brenda puts it all together, comes up with the ideas, and provides all the supplies you would need.  She clearly loves what she does and is very warm and inviting.  When C and I attended there was a table of homemade playdough with various tools, a painting table (very popular), a table to decoupage your own jars and containers, and a table to make collages on old CDs or paper.  At one point Brenda also whipped out some paper plate puppets.  You, of course, take your finished projects home with you and can participate in each activity more than once or not at all.

There are sinks for cleaning, everything is toddler-proof and, best of all, someone else cleans up the mess when you are all done!  That's worth the money in my book.

The class is advertised for kids 18 months - 4 years of age.  There were kids in there encompassing that age span so I would say that is accurate.  Yet do note that there are a lot of baubles so if you have a young child still prone to sticking everything in his/her mouth this is best saved until they get older.  The room does have a door and the kids were very entertained so you don't have to worry too much about runaways.  All you have to do as a parent is sit with your child and do art with them.  Not a bad deal.

This would be particularly great if you have 2 children in that age span and can bring them both.  They do limit the number of participants so get online to register.

These are held at the DAC's building downtown so we popped over to the Durham Farmers' Market and then over to Daisycakes afterwards to treat ourselves.

Durham Arts Council's Parent/Child Toddler Art Workshops
Durham Arts Council, Inc.
120 Morris Street
Durham, NC 27701

Friday, January 18, 2013

MLK Celebration on Monday

I am so pleased to share with you details about a really great event this coming Monday to celebrate MLK day.  As you loyal readers know, usually we don't do articles on specific events but, well, I am actually going to BE at this one with my TMOM partner in crime Kristen so I really want you to come out and say hi!  I will be the frantic-looking completely wild-haired mom trying to chase down a 3 year old boy and a 1 year old boy who are going in different directions simultaneously.  In fact, if you say hi, please feel free to also grab one of my children and bring them back to me.  Thanks in advance.

In all seriousness, this event was huge last year and we're hoping for it to be even HUGER (I make up words sometimes) this year.  So come see us.  Here are the details-

Dr. King came to Durham!

This year we’re also celebrating the important role Durham and our city’s young people played in the Civil Rights struggle. We’ll be talking about the sit -in movement and how, in one of the earliest sit-ins, a group of three women and four men from Durham sat in at the Royal Ice Cream Company on June 23, 1957 to protest segregation. We’ll honor their efforts by sharing stories learning freedom songs, doing related crafts, and celebrating with an ice cream social and sock hop featuring music from the Civil Rights Era.

What: Join us for a free story time, songs, crafts, ice cream social, and sock hop as we celebrate MLK’s life and legacy in a way that kids can understand. In continuing Dr. King’s commitment to service,participants are asked to donate nonperishable food or toiletry items (soap, toothbrushes,diapers, etc) for Durham Urban Ministries to help them serve local families in need. Voter registration and information will also be available.

When: MLK Day, Monday, January 21, 2013.
Parties will begin at 10:30 and noon. Each will include a story time followed by an ice cream social, sock hop featuring music of the Civil Rights era, crafts, and more.

Where: The Center Court at Northgate Mall, 1058 West Club Blvd, Durham

Sponsored by: NC MomsRising, Lango Kids, the Durham Mothers Club, Carrboro/ Chapel Hill Mothers Club, Northgate Mall, and more

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Arts & Crafts Thursday: String Hearts

Since it looks like we may be stuck in the house with some wintry weather on the way, here's a craft to help you enjoy being indoors and get you thinking about Valentine's Day. 

  • yarn
  • cornstarch
  • water
  • heart-shaped cookie cutter
  • parchment paper
  • scissors
Adults will also need access to a stove.


Make a glue out of cornstarch and water.  Start by mixing about 1/4 cup of cornstarch and 3/4 cup of water in a saucepan, stir it, and heat it until it is smooth.  Allow it to cool.  Once cool, you may need to modify the mixture so that it is thick enough to have a little sticky to it.  Note that If you allow it to cool overnight or for too long you can reheat it in the microwave, just add more water.

Cut yarn of any color into any length you want.  We went with anywhere from 6-12 inches.  C was in charge of cutting so no promises that they were anywhere uniform in length.

Put your cookie cutter on to a piece of parchment paper.  Take a piece of yarn, place it in the glue mixture, and soak it well.

Pull the yarn out of the glue mixture and remove excess by running your fingers over it. Put the piece of yarn in the cookie cutter however you want.  We had no method, just sort of shoved it in there so it fit.

Continue to do this until you have completely filled the heart.  Ideally you would get one thin layer of yarn but no need to be scientific about this.  Too little yarn you risk losing the heart shape, though, so go ahead and pile it in.  A lot of yarn just means it takes longer to dry but that's not a huge problem unless you are on some sort of weird crafting-deadline I don't know about.

Allow the yarn to dry for about a day.  C and I removed the cookie cutter then, pressed out any remaining moisture that might still be left using a paper towel, and reshaped the heart as we wanted to/needed to.

I have read online that you can speed up the drying process by placing the heart (without cookie cutter) and parchment paper in to an oven set on "warm" for up to 2 hours.

Honestly, I am not sure what we are going to do with our completed hearts but they look very pretty, have a neat texture we keep poking at, and we sure had fun making them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mommy Time: Personal Space

A new aspect of Mommy Time from Teresa today.  I have my personal space at home, do you?:

We don’t always need to get out of the house to get some mommy time. Sometimes, retreating to our own little corner is all we need. A place that reminds you who you are, other than “mom,” and holds the things or space for you to do things you enjoy. Do you have an area in your home that is just for you?

We have a small room attached to our garage that I have turned into my office. It is not connected to the rest of the house, and you have to go outside to get to it. I have to admit, this is pretty nice. I can sneak out there and the kids don’t know where I am, and you can’t hear anything inside the house. Of course, the downside is that I can’t really go out there unless my significant other is home.

Nonetheless, having a room that is just my own is a nice luxury. I have only my things there, with a comfortable chair, desk, crafty stuff, and a TV. Sometimes I go to write, or work on a project. Other times I just literally do nothing but breathe and soak in the silence.

However, a personal space doesn’t have to be an entire room. A small closet could be made into a desk space, if you like to write or craft. A corner of a spare bedroom could be made into a reading nook or meditation/prayer space. You could take over some real estate in your garage or basement for exercise, dance or yoga. What do you like to do? What fills you up? Can you dedicate a space in your home for just you?

I think it’s good to decorate your personal space with things that inspire, motivate, or create a feeling of happiness. I have put up art that I find relaxing and a magnet board I can put little memories on. It can be so easy to get swept away in the momentum of motherhood, and not spend enough time nourishing ourselves. Having a personal space can help make it easier to get some mommy time and recharge.


Monday, January 14, 2013

The Golden Belt in Durham

I had time during this gorgeous weekend to get a little exploring in.  I found myself in Durham walking around the inspirational Golden Belt and the artist galleries there.  Have you been yet?  I lived in the DC metro area for years and fondly remember the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria.  The Golden Belt reminds me of that, just a little younger and smaller.

This area is an old warehouse that has been convereted into large and many artist studios.  Head down to the big number 3, walk in the door, and you enter a U-shaped corridor flanked on either side by studios.  The artists here work in a variety of mediums: photography, painting, letterpress, jewelry, film, metalsmithing, and more.  They are all active, each studio laid out differently, and incredibly inspiring.  In the middle is a gallery displaying work.

I was here on a gorgeous Saturday morning which meant that a lot of the artists themselves were out enjoying and not working in their studios.  But during a weekday most of these spots are filled with activity, I am told.  The Golden Belt also runs events of all kinds but always feature art and collaboration.  The new location of The Scrap Exchange is across the street and they participate in many of these big events, too.  The premiere series at the Golden Belt is the Third Friday event.  These run from 5:30 - 9:30 pm every third Friday of the month.  Artists come out and work, new paintings are displayed, new galleries open, and then beyond that who knows what other exciting art event will be featured (as of the posting of this article the next Third Friday is October 19th).  I am told that the other good time to get in and see the artists at work (and purchase your own special art piece to take home) is First Wednesdays from 11 am - 4 pm.  Note that even if artists aren't working, you can still look in nearly all of the studios and see some really beautiful original pieces.

The Golden Belt is currently the home of the "cow barn."  Here cows from CowParade NC go to be fixed or otherwise retired.  Since the auction is coming up February 2nd (is it weird that I REALLY want a cow?) all the cows around the Triangle are making their way here.  Accordingly, the room is packed with cows of all kinds.  I loved this!  But it won't last long so if you want to see it get over there.  I couldn't get in to the room as it was closed but it was a lot of fun peeking in from all angles and you can see so many.

There isn't much around the Golden Belt as far as food and drink goes. However, there is a cafe on site at Golden Belt called Blend.  Blend sells coffee, has some options for a glass of wine, has pastries and light fare for lunch, and they also have some frozen yogurt!  This isn't a frozen yogurt shop of the caliber of Moonberries or Sweet Frog or Tutti Frutti but it will make kids (and moms) happy.  Blend also has an area of board games and books to enjoy.  There isn't a ton of seating but you shouldn't have too hard a time finding a spot.  (FYI my crew and I ended up driving quickly over to Geer Street to get some fries since we were not about being healthy but Blend was certainly enticing and staff was very friendly.)

Golden Belt has easy free parking and some tables on the plaza outside.  It's a fun little spot to explore, especially if you can time it to see the artists working.  Who knows, it may even inspire your kids to come home and get crafty!

Golden Belt
807 East Main Street 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Our Favorites - January 2013

I hope that you all take advantage of all the wonderful resources for parents in our area.  I feel like all the websites, newsletters, and blogs available to families is one of the things that make the Triangle so precious.  We're all a little different but we're all passionate about our desire to help you and share what we've learned.

That is why I am particularly excited about the newest MiCHill collaboration.  I am working with Cary from Social Butterflies and Kristin from Macaroni Kid Triangle to share our insider tips and thoughts.  I hope you support them as much as you have supported me ( you all are the best! ) and you can look forward to more of these special posts throughout the year.

Q: What is you favorite FREE family-friendly activity in the Triangle?

Cary from Social Butterflies:
A favorite outing for my family is visiting the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for their Daily Programs. Perfect for preschoolers and younger elementary school age children, their Storytime and Meet the Animals program are educational and entertaining. Both offer some hands on with all kinds of live animals! I usually coordinate the time we visit with the times of the Discovery Room (times vary and sometimes closed on Mondays, check before you go). The Discovery Room has animal costumes, a living beehive, fossils, seashell collection, books, live beetles boxes to explore and more! The Acro Cafe is on the top floor, so when you are finished with your museum tour, you can stop and have a hot dog and a cookie before you head home!

Kristin from Macaroni Kid: 
In Durham there are many places to visit and enjoy the outdoors, but one place in particular is Sarah P. Duke Gardens. The pleasures of walking around and viewing the different flowers and bushes is only one of the best parts of the gardens. Many visit the gardens for picnics, exercise, and playing football or frisbee. A few other great things about the gardens are the storytimes and drop-in programs for kids that are offered throughout the year. Not only are the gardens a great place to make family memories, but they are also a great place for kids to learn wonderful things about the outdoors.

Allison from Mom in Chapel Hill:
My family and I really enjoy the freedom of the great outdoors, in all ways. We love to hike and explore parks, we love geocaching. It's kind of our thing. Unfortunately, our thing isn't the best during the frigid winter months. So when the weather gets cold we turn to the free Sundays at Kidzu in Chapel Hill -if you can stand the crowding, it is worth it. But we also love to hit the Crosswinds Cafe at RDU. At this location, where you don't have to buy anything at all and can even pack your own snacks, you can spend time watching planes come and go and runway activity up close and personal. It is always a hit with the boys in my life.

About Our Friends:
Macaroni Kid Triangle is a free online weekly newsletter and website for the Triangle, giving you all the scoop on what is happening in our community including events, products and giveaways.  Macaroni Kid puts everything you need in one place so you don't have to spend your time looking for things to do and learn, you just get to have fun with your family!  Macaroni Kid has 3 community website Durham, North Raleigh and South Raleigh. Macaroni Kid can also be found on Facebook and Twitter

Social Butterflies in an online guide to Raleigh area kid and family events.  Issues are free and emailed to subscribers monthly.  Social Butterflies gives you all of Raleigh's best big city events and keeps you in the know of all the happenings in small towns surroudngin Raleigh.  You won't miss any Raleigh area favorites!  You can find us on Facebook, now on Twitter, and get the most current monthly issues on the website.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

White Pines Nature Preserve

It is going to be gorgeous this weekend.  Temperatures in the 70s.  Time to get out!  Lucky for you I have a gem to share.  White Pines Nature Preserve is located in Chatham County and is one of the crowning jewels of the Triangle Land Conservancy.  It had been closed for a few months for reforestation work but is now reopen.  Just in time for you to enjoy!

The hiking is really beautiful and not difficult at all.  In general it is pretty flat with just a few hills to get you down to the water and back up, well maintained, and easy to follow.  The longest trail is going to be about 1 miles but combining the trails within the preserve you could get in 3.5 miles plus some time throwing sticks in the water (see trail map below).  There are 275 acres of beautifully preserved forest here.

White Pines Nature Preserve is special because of the white pines and 200 year old beeches.  White pines actually harken back to the Ice Age and rarely grow in such southern climates as ours.  However since this preserve has North-facing bluffs and sits on the confluence of two rivers, the temperatures hover around 10 degrees cooler than other places in the County.

The Rocky & Deep Rivers join here, before flowing out to the Cape Fear River.  You have got to head down there.  Those of you following us on Instagram saw the photo I shared of this magnificent spot.

Also head over to the Schoolkids Loop.  Here you can see a piece of cable - the remains of an old cable bridge kids once took heading to school.

We had a really lovely time at this spot.  It is one of our favorite places to hike now, next to Johnston Mill (also owned and operated by Triangle Land Conservancy).

Consider doing some geocaching or letterboxing while on the property, too.

No strollers - take a carrier, and no bathrooms or picnic tables available.  However, there are benches occasionally for sitting and taking in the view.

White Pines Nature Preserve
8 miles south of Pittsboro
White Pines Preserve is located in Chatham County about 8 miles south of Pittsboro. From the courthouse traffic circle in Pittsboro, go south on US 15-501 for 8 miles. Take the first left after crossing the Rocky River onto River Fork Road (SR 1958). Take an immediate right and proceed about 1.8 miles (the paved surface becomes gravel after about 1 mile). Turn right at the stop sign and continue 0.5 miles to a “T”. Turn left, you’ll see a White Pines Preserve sign on the right, and go about 1/8 mile to the parking area on your right.

Monday, January 7, 2013


I think it is no surprise that my boys and I love to get outdoors whenever we can.  We have always enjoyed Geocaching but have found ourselves doing it less and less over the years.  I couldn't tell you why, except that perhaps when it comes to getting out of the house it is enough to try to remember bottles, snacks, diapers, hats, jackets, sippy cups, change of clothes, and who knows what else.  Add a GPS and little trinkets to that in addition to the cache clues we just aren't on our A-game it seems.  So I was happy to be introduced to Letterboxing.
C & I open up our found letterbox

Letterboxing is very similar to Geocaching, yet with some differences and with a much longer tradition.  Letterboxing is said to have started in England in 1854.  Through the years over 20,000 letterboxes have been placed around North America.

To find a letterbox you head to the websites below - I prefer the Atlas Quest site as I found it much easier to use.  Find the letterbox you want to hunt for and open the browser to get the location information and your clue.  Using the clue, hunt for your box!  Inside the box there will be a little log book as well as stamp, the vast majority of these stamps are handcarved rubber stamps.  The idea is that you would stamp the image into your own personal log book that you and your family keep to register your successful hunts and you would stamp your own image on to the log book in the letterbox to let folks know you've been there.  You can also write a word or two of thanks and hello.

You don't need a GPS or trinkets.  We also didn't take a stamp or ink pad or logbook with us.  We just found the letterbox, wrote a little note, placed it back, and went on our way.  If we do determine to get seriously in to this, though, I imagine my highly systematic and organized older son will be in to logging these in his personal notebook.

In regards to how this differes from Geocaching, equipment is obviously a big thing.  You need less of it to letterbox.  I pulled up Atlas Quest on my phone on the way to our location, read the information outloud, and we were good to go.  There aren't as many letterboxes as caches to find but the letterboxes are much easier to find, in my opinion.  The clues direct you right there.

Letterboxing also seems really geared towards kids.  There is a whole letterboxing kids website (see below) and all of the entries in the log book we saw were families hunting.  What's not for kids to love, though?  It is a huge outdoor treasure hunt!

So if you needed an excuse to get outside, a way to motivate your kids to enjoy the great outdoors, consider letterboxing.

Letterboxing Kids
Atlas Quest

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Rise Biscuits & Doughnuts

If you follow our Instagram feed you saw our ode to a beautiful biscuit picture a few weeks ago.  That was in Rise and I am so excited they are here.  Rise is located in Renaissance over near Southpoint, right by the Target, the new Kid to Kid, Peek-a-Do's new location, and Moonberries.  In short, it's a great and dangerous location.

Rise is a walk up counter that offers delicious, buttery biscuit and biscuit sandwiches as well as perfect gourmet doughnuts.  Some of the doughnut flavors are surprising (a bacon doughnut, a S'Mores doughnut, and so on) but they are really good.

Inside Rise you will find a family-friendly spot.  In the back is a tiny little kitchen area for kids to play in (and I have yet to see it unused in my now multiple trips there), there is a huge chalkboard for drawing on and sharing thoughts, and a lot of books to grab and read.

I have yet to visit Rise when it isn't busy and crowded so expect a bit of a wait.  However, while you wait, you can help yourself to some coffee (brilliant) and the line moves really fast.  There isn't a ton of seating inside; however, we haven't had a problem when we've gone.

The only thing I would change about Rise is that it closes at 2 pm.  I could nosh on some doughnuts with my kids and friends after a late afternoon trip to Target.

Now I realize this place is a huge temptation if your New Year's Resolution involves losing weight.  But Rise has low-fat, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options, too.

I am thrilled that Rise is open and glad they are already seeing so much success.

Renaissance Village
8200 Renaissance Parkway
Suite 1003