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?