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Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Mother List

I wanted to make you all aware of a web site I found where mothers can sell their old stuff like kids’ toys, furniture etc and/or buy things that other mothers are selling. Whitney Trujillo has created this web site and what I like about it is how easy it is to use and the fact that it beats the heck out of having a garage sale! I thought some of you may benefit from such a great web site! Below is the description that came directly from the site.

The Mother List is a place where things can be bought, sold or traded. In order to use any of these features, you must be registered. Registration is free. Once registered, browse the site. If you find something you like, you can click the “contact seller” link. If you have something to sell or trade, make sure you are signed into your account, click on the “List an Item” link and follow the steps. You can list features, upload pictures and set a price. Shipping will be decided between the seller and buyer and is generally not included in the sale price unless otherwise stated in the listing.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"Where The Wild Things Are"

This movie is very age inappropriate and the Wild Things need deep intense therapy ( in one scene, one wild thing rips off another's arm). My youngest, Ethan, said "mom, why are they acting like this?" and when the movie was over, both Owen (10) and Ethan (7) said it was the weirdest and worst movie they had ever seen. I just want to warn anybody who is thinking about taking their little ones to see it.

I am just trying to be helpful to other mothers out there that would not want to be caught in the same predicament that I was in. My children learn from me and trust in me to be "SUPER MOM" and for me to be caught off guard by the movie I had chosen for not only them but their friends , it was just very hard to explain to them what they were watching or why I can even subjected them to see that type of behavior.

- Angela W. Campbell

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Belt A Child Can Open and Close?!

Myself Belts

One of my closest friends alerted me to this slick invention in the children’s clothing arena. We were sitting in a coffee shop and talking about our little girls. I was talking about how I had sent her to school that day in a really cute pair of jeans that had a belt that went with them. My girl is the type that wants to wear the most complete possible outfit and she wants it to match to a tee. I would not otherwise have allowed her to wear that belt to school because it had a buckle closure that made me nervous since she is only three and I would not want her to have an “accident” because she could not get her belt off in time. Anna told me about these belts and I was sold! Not to mention they have kindly offered to give those the readers of KiddingAroundInTown a discount!

Here is what they are all about…

Sized for kids ages 2-10, Myself Belts help kids and moms by promoting independence. Praised by teachers, kids and parents, Myself Belts are a must have accessory! They help make a child’s (and parent's!) day a little easier and provide children with an "I did it by myself!" moment. No more droopy drawers and a frustrating problem is solved for both parent and child! Myself Belts are also available for teens/adults with hand dexterity challenges due to cognitive or physical difficulties. With a faux buckle, it looks like a traditional belt!

My sister and I (both inspired by motherhood) invented a must-have fashionable and functional children's accessory for kids ages 2-10. FINALLY, a belt closure designed specifically for young children! Myself Belts promote independence and boost self-esteem by allowing children to easily fasten and unfasten their belt on their own. Myself Belts are functional and fashionable, and have been featured on The Today Show and in In Touch Weekly as a favorite belt of celebrities such as Courtney Cox and Brooke Shields! Shaquille O'Neal's kids also love their Myself Belts and they retail for only $9.99- $15.95! Myself Belts can also be personalized for that special gift.

Thank you so much for your interest in Myself Belts- we are excited to be part of your site!

Exercise While Running Errands?

The following post was written by my dear friend Gwen Brewer. Those of you who don't know her are missing out! This woman has a wealth of information on so many things but where she has helped me most is in making being a mom easier and more stress-free. I had the priviledge of working with her as her partner for many years and learned a lot from her in that time. One of the things she guided me toward was the purchase of a pair of MBT shoes. Since one of my main goals is to make the life of a mother easier I thought I would ask her to write a little something about these shoes. Read what she wrote and then check out the awesome deal you can get when you buy these shoes here in Winston-Salem, NC.

Time to start saving your pennies.

Working moms live by multi-tasking. Exercise is no exception. We need to get the most out of the limited time we have for exercise. That's why I saved up to buy a pair of MBT sneakers. MBT claims their shoes will burn calories, increase your muscle workout and improve your overall body aches (lower back, knees). The verdict.......... I love these shoes!

Whether I’m wearing them to exercise or just running around doing errands I can tell a difference. Several nights a week I walk/jog for an hour in my neighborhood. I had been doing this for a few months when I got my MBT's. The first time I wore the MBT's I could notice a difference. My legs felt exhausted that night. I still feel like I get a better workout when I wear them and even my shin splints feel better. So ladies save your pennies because these shoes are expensive but in my opinion worth it.

One final note- for a low cost boost to your workout buy a Weighted Belt. My belt is 4 lbs and it helps intensify your walk and works your stomach area. You can pick one up at Target starting at $15 or at any sporting goods store.

Gwen Brewer
Lewisville, NC.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

IKEA?

We had had these plans to go to “Boo at the Zoo” for weeks now so when we woke up yesterday to stormy weather with the promise of continuing storms through 4pm in Asheboro you can imagine our disappointment. Well, I called Dawn and she said “why don’t we go to IKEA?” Since she had told me of this IKEA/utopia before I did not hesitate with my “yes!” and we packed up and left.

So what is it with IKEA? I will start from the beginning.

As you arrive into the parking lot what you will notice is that there is “family parking” this is especially for people like you and me who have little ones and is particularly appreciated in the weather we had yesterday. It is right up front and as close as you can get to the building. – Winner

You walk into this huge building and are immediately greeted by the “childcare” which you will find is well above what comes to mind with the phrase “childcare.” This is a place with a ball pit, movie theatre area, arts and crafts and so many other toys that I could not possibly name them all! A kid’s dream! And did I mention that it is free? Yes, for free they will keep your child for an entire hour while you shop.

And they don’t just have furniture. They have lighting, bedding, Swedish groceries, table linens, stuffed animals for kids and oh so much more! I would have never known!

Right above this area is their cafeteria. They have great food, we got cooked salmon, lox, salad and pasta with meatballs to name a few things and on Saturday kids eat free! So for two adults and three children to get much more food and drink than we could consume the bill was $19.63! No joke! They also have a kid’s section in their cafeteria complete with child friendly cutlery, furniture and seating.

On every floor and possibly in every department there is a kid’s play station. This is a place for kids to play while you browse at the cool stuff they have in that department. I mean they thought of everything!

In the restrooms there are signs confirming IKEA’s commitment to being family friendly. They say they have things like bottle warming stations and baby food too! It is about an hour and a half of a drive but you could literally spend the entire day there! We did.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Birthday Party at Funigan's?

Here is what one mom had to say...

My 4 year old son and his friends got to experience his Birthday Party at Funigans. He had a blast of which is the most important aspect for me. Furthermore, I have a positive recommendation for hosting a birthday party there.

Funigan’s is a lively and active place (which fits my son’s personality) so if you expect a quiet more private gathering Funigan’s is not the place for you. Yet, your guests will have a private room in which to share pizza, cake, drinks and presents for one hour. Then your party will move to a table amongst all the activities. The use of this table is for one hour as part of a party package. I found it useful as a place to set belongings for you and your guests in addition to any left over pizza and cake. There are many activities for children of all ages some of which include bowling, rock wall climbing, arcade games, a soft gym play area and well as a gated toddler play area.

As part of a purchase of a party package, the birthday host receives a t-shirt, plenty of tokens for your guests to play games, the help from a party “ranger”, drinks & pizza. We choose to bring the cake and ice cream since our son had a particular request. The party package is for two hours which did go by quickly. At the end of the two hour period, we once again had to move our belongings to another table in the grille area. The shuffling of our belongings every hour was somewhat of an inconvience but certainly not a deal breaker from booking another party there in the future. We were having so much fun we ended up staying quite a bit longer to play.

In our experience, the staff was helpful and courteous. There is plenty for the children to do you won’t be at a loss for entertainment. Fortunately for us, on the day of his party, Funigan’s did not seem too busy so it was not hard to keep up with the kids running around. While having a conversation with another mother who had her son’s party at Funigan’s, she remarked about how crowded it was the day of his party. She spoke of it being very loud and difficult to carry on a conversation with another person. I could see how that could be annoying and especially hard to navigate through the crowd. Once again, I was thankful it was not too busy at that time. In closing, my son’s “fun meter” was revealing off the chart values, so I will not hesitate to book another Birthday Party there if he so wishes.

Cathy Christy
(Mom²)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How About a Birthday Party at The Children's Museum?

Thinking about having a birthday party at The Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem?

I LOVE it when parents give their insight on things related to children, their clothes, products, shoes, schools etc. I especially enjoy it when a parent give insight on kid’s activities because as the mother of two young girls you can honestly save me a lot of trouble and headache if you have already done something and are willing to share the details of your experience. In the spirit of sharing I wanted to provide an editorial on a couple of experiences I have had at The Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem.

We have been on both ends of the birthday experience. When we were the attendees (us and our then 2 year old and 2 month old daughters) we attended a birthday party for a young man of three years old. Looking back now I guess they, like us, opted for the sooper-dooper ultra party experience where they provide everything, including the cake. They do have several choices for birthday parties ranging from $150-$300 and allowing 15 guests. The difference when you pay the $300 is that you literally have to do NOTHING. Just show up with your little angel and off you go. No kids’ activities or kids’ games, no favors to buy no clean-up or hassle, no nothin! Their $300 package includes the party room, admission for 15 kids, arts and crafts and story time, oh yes and how could I forget the cake! The party we went to was themed “Thomas the Train” and so the kids all got hats, neckerchiefs, and favors in the spirit of trains and train engineers. It was really cute and we had a ton of fun! Then after (and even before if you so desire) the kids run around and blow off some steam in the complete safety of this incredible child proof environment until their heart feels full and their feet can run no more. So anyway, we loved the party experience from the attendee viewpoint so much that we decided to go for it ourselves.

When our oldest was turning three I called The Children’s Museum and booked the deluxe sooper-dooper princess theme party for our princess loving princess. It was great! One thing that is always very important to me when doing things with my kids, especially things that are on the expensive side is customer service. The staff was the first thing we noticed and quite possibly my favorite. They were focused on us from the time we got there until the time we left. They carried our stuff (whatever additional food type items for adults and the ice cream and a couple of other snacks for the kids which was not included) in and carried our gifts out which was HUGE for us since when our oldest turned three our youngest was only 15 months old so we had our hands full most of the time. One thing that I wish I would have known was that the museum does get a little too loud for story time outside of the party room on Saturdays. The package includes some time for a story which I love and while they have a great place with bean bags etc to lounge around and read stories I think that since the museum is actually open to the public it is pretty loud in there on a Saturday and especially for three year olds whose attention spans not longer that a fly’s wings. I would have asked them to read the story inside the party room to allow for an acoustical advantage. But all in all no big deal.

Would I do it again? YES! The Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem knows how to do a kids birthday party right!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

What's So Cool About Tanglewood Park?

Tanglewood—The Perfect Way to Spend a Day

Let me tell you what we did today. A few weeks ago me and a friend of mine who happens to be the mother of a little girl who is in my daughter’s class at Montessori School decided to have a play date at Tanglewood park. For those outside of this area Tanglewood is a park in Clemmons, NC that I think many of us mothers take for granted. For just $2.00 you gain entrance into the park giving you access to all of the playgrounds as well as viewing and feeding of many of the horses boarded on the premises and many other amenities. I can say with certainty that I have not taken advantage of this lovely place. So today we decided to meet at 9:30am (and in ordinary Shazana fashion this was 9:40 to me) at the playground by the train and start our date out there.The playground by the train is really nice and big and at that time in the morning it was not at all crowded. I met my friend and then another friend joined us and all three of our 3-4 year old daughters started to play. They were having so much fun swinging, sliding, and playing in the sand box that if the day ended here it would have still been worthwhile. My little one was red faced and panting by the time we decided to scoot closer to the pool and climb the train at 10:30. We got to the train and up the stairs they ran as all three pretended to drive, fix, and ride on the train that is stationed in the park. The girls did that for about half and hour and then we headed to the pool for their 11:00 am opening.

I have to say that we were met by a line that made me think, “oh no, we are in for a crowded pool.” Well, for my daughter and I to get in was $7.00 (bringing the total for the day to $9.00) and this was a pleasant surprise. Then we got in and headed to the locker rooms to change. The locker rooms there and big, nice, and clean so that is a plus and something that may help you with you planning. They have even have shower stalls if you would need to get cleaned up after swimming.

We walked out into the pool area and wow, it was pool perfection for three year olds. While there were a lot of people there I did not feel that it was crowded. There was plenty of room to accommodate all of the people and I did not feel uncomfortable at any time. They have an entire area of 2.5 foot water complete with buckets that dump water on your head, pipes that stream water from above and a mushroom for you to get underneath and play all right there in the same area! The water gets deep gradually so that even younger children would have a good time playing. Andira beat me into the water and she and Ali commenced their pool time play! It was so much fun that we stayed until 1:00! We would have stayed longer had I not had a hair appointment and had she not needed a nap. I can’t tell you how much fun we had!

I wish someone would have told me about this hidden treasure so I hope you take my advice and take advantage of the Tanglewood pool while there is still some summer left!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

To Kindermusik or not to Kindermusik?

I can actually offer some valuable insight about this particular activity. So, when our first girl was six months old we, like every other good and ambitious parent, enrolled the little sweetheart in her first semester of KinderMusik. Our teacher was Erin and I mention her name because we LOVED her. She was awesome. So needless to say we had a wonderful experience with our little girl who started before she could crawl and went for the next almost two years during which time she became an Olympic Sprinter. As far as kids’ activities go, this one definitely gets two thumbs up. She grew and learned so much there.

Then our second girl was born when our first was the tender age of 21 months and all kids’ activities came to a screeching halt. KinderMusik stopped for our almost two year old and it really never started for the baby. We or I should say “I” felt horrible. How could I deprive our second child of an experience that our first one gained oh so much from?? I must just be a crappy mom. Right? Well, now our baby is 18 months old and let me just say “NO!” I now know what I wish someone, including my own parents who made me feel guilty about it at every opportunity, would have told me back then when I needed a boost. Second children somehow make it on the steam created by the first ones and what I believe to be the Grace of God! Seriously, my second girl was doing things by nine months that my older one was not doing until she was two! Really. And this is by no means a crack at my oldest who is one very bright light in my life; this is just to make you feel better about the second child. I thought for sure that my second little girl would have less of a love of music and dancing as a result of her not being exposed to the music class her older sister was lucky enough to go to all by herself for two years. NOT! She absolutely loves music and dancing all the same.

So while I loved the experience give yourself a break if you are in those shoes. If your kids are at an age where you can take both of them and they won’t subtract from one another’s experiences then by all means take them both, but if you are more like I was (and believe me I tried) and one of your children requires too much attention for themselves then just let it go and stay home. Buy some children’s music CD’s and play them for the kids at home. Plus, they don’t serve wine at KinderMusik

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Family Night at Chick-fil-a on Knollwood Street in Winston-Salem, NC

Tuesday night my 3 year old, Andira, has “dancenastics” at Salem Gym and my 18 month old, Inara, has gymnastics at the same place. Both of these events are every Tuesday at 6:00pm. Those of you who have children involved in activities at this time of the evening will appreciate this most.

What are your first thoughts when you are planning this evening? That’s right, I know one of you said it, “what are we gonna do for dinner??” Well, this is what we were thinking too. We have tried several different places that are fast, inexpensive and have something we know the kids will eat. Mi Pueblo worked out well since it was fast, cheap, and the kids ate. We also tried a couple of other places like Subway and El Dorado. Subway was OK but the kids did not want pizza that night so they wound up only eating olives which does not a dinner make. El Dorado was probably our least favorite for a number of reasons but mostly because for a Mexican restaurant it is pricey. Kids meals are $4.00 and up and I don’t know about you but when your kids eat as little as mine do I probably won’t spend that much on a meal for them to throw on the floor, rub between their fingers, and ultimately eat very little of. Mi Pueblo is not only faster but it is cheaper from the standpoint of a grown-up meal anyway.

Yesterday we decided to try out Chick-fil-a on Knollwood located at 391 Knollwood Street. Let’s just say that we will be back there again! The service was fast, friendly, and we all ate until we were full (and my husband had a grilled chicken combo and a 12 pack of nuggets) for under $16.00! That is 2 adult combo meals, 2 kids’ meals, and extra pack of 12 nuggets! And when I say the service was good I mean that the sweet girl from behind the counter, the one who took our order, came out to our table and refilled our drinks! I mean it. And if that was not enough then let me tell you about the balloons, masks, and face painting they had FREE for kids. Not to mention that if you go on facebook and “friend” them you will be able to see what their theme is for that week and if your child dresses up then they get to eat for FREE! I am working on getting the themes into my calendar for each week but if you read this before I am done then I wanted to tell you where to go. You could also call them at (336)-722-6058 if you prefer. The service and atmosphere rival a “fine dining” experience with a fast food price. You really must try them!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Free Storytimes at Lewisville Library and Barnes and Noble Bookstore

Here in Winston we are so lucky to have many free activities for our children to partake in. One of my favorites is a good story time with a craft or some other activity as the finale. So far my two little ones (keep in mind one is 3 and the other is 18 months) have been to the Lewisville Library and the Barnes and Noble bookstore on Hanes Mall Blvd. Both of the sessions that we attended were in the morning at 10:00 or 10:30 because after that my children turn into miniature squashes in the progression of becoming pumpkins the closer it gets to their 12:00-12:30 nap time.

For starters, there is no need to rush since neither venue got overly crowded. This is always a plus for us since we seem to be screeching tires regardless of the occasion. The library seemed to have fewer distractions for the kids so from what I could tell more kids actually sat down and listened to the story from start to finish. That is not to say that we did not observe any of the more curious varietal of child at the library but given the more controlled environment I think that it was a best case scenario. At Barnes and Noble there is so much fun stuff to do that a child can more easily find their attention being grabbed by a stuffed animal on a display or a puzzle on a shelf; but isn’t this what we love about that place?? Just sayin’.

In the Lewisville Library the set up was so that all children sat on the floor and there were some available chairs for adults to sit in (my kids pay better attention if I sit with them so that is what I would recommend). In the bookstore the reader was on the stage in the back making it more beneficial for kids to sit on the benches so that the smaller ones could see.
Each venue had a craft associated with the story. Both were great. They made sunglasses at Barnes and Noble and a sun at the library. The fact that they did anything like that at an event that does not charge was enough to make me want to go.

All in all both were great and did I mention that they were completely, absolutely, undoubtedly, astronomically FREE?!?!?! So who can complain?