Category - Charlotte

Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Field Trip

We received admission for the children in attendance to be able to experience and write our thought about Sea Life. The experiences and opinions in this post are that of MommyBKnowsBest.com and attendees.

 

 

Miss C’s first grade class has been studying the ocean, focusing on different ocean zones, and sea animals. Their most recent project asked them to choose something that lives in the ocean and become an expert on that animal. Children chose sand dollars, blue whales, giant squid, sea otters, and more. They were also challenged to find ways that these animals were being harmed and figure out a way to help them.

Sea Life Aquariums not only help to educate people about sea animals but they too are helping the ocean to thrive. Their motto: Breed, Rescue, Protect is exactly what they do. We felt with the current unit, going to Sea Life for a first grade field trip was the perfect fit.

 

Sea Life has a lot of great offerings for field trips for schools, pre-schools, homeschoolers and many other groups. We were able to learn that Sea Life is part of the largest seahorse breeding network in the world. At the Charlotte-Concord, North Carolina location, Catherine, our guide was incredibly helpful in tips on finding the octopus, and shared with us all about the new turtle shelter.

 

 

Throughout our visit we were able to enjoy talks where we learned in-depth about sea animals living at Sea Life. We even got to see the manta ray and other fish and sharks being fed by a trained Aquarist while Kathy talked to us about methods of feeding and what breeds were in the tank.

 

 

Sea Life offers great group rates, educational workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours whether you’re learning about the ocean and sea life or just looking for a great field trip where kids will learn AND have fun at the same time. Check out their website to find more information on group tickets, field trips, and more: www.SeaLife.com

 

 

Family Date Night – McAlister’s Deli Kids Eat Free

If you’ve been reading my posts lately you’ve probably noticed I’ve been featuring Love Languages and how we can learn about our own love language as well as how others like to be loved. I’m excited to feature quality time in my next series installment and with Valentine’s Day around the corner have been thinking of ways I can show my family through quality time how much I love them.

Thinking of the things we like to do as a family and activities that have been successful in the past are great ways to figure out what will be good options for family dates. Each family is unique, so I encourage you to sit down and think of what memories you have made and also consider some new family activities that will show love especially to those whose love language is quality time.

 

 

My girls would eat out at restaurants for every meal if that was an option, not just because the food is good, but they truly enjoy being able to sit down and talk as a whole family. While we always make time for conversations with each other, there’s just something about going to a restaurant that gives us more time and freedom to do that.

At McAlister’s Deli they encourage Family Date Nights and we love that because instead of preparing dishes or grabbing something to add to our meal, DaddyB and I can sit and enjoy more uninterrupted time with our kiddos. I mean what better dates could we ask for?!?!

 

 

We love how at McAlister’s Deli they bring the food to our table and clear our place when we are done, and that means more time to hear the funny stories our girls share. Plus, with great promotions like Kids Eat Free night we are able to enjoy our meal without spending as much.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, McAlister’s Deli is encouraging you to have a family date night with your loved ones. Head to a participating McAlister’s Deli near you on February 14th where kids under 12 eat free.

(More details here: McAlister’s Family Date Night)

Love family date nights??? How does a YEAR worth of family date nights sound??! Your family can enter to win today. Head to: McAlister’s Deli Sweepstakes and enter once daily through February 14th, 2017.

 

What are you waiting for? Start making plans for family date nights. No cooking or cleaning but all the benefits of quality time, plus life is too short not to have family date nights!

 

This is a sponsored post in partnership with McAlister’s Deli. Any opinions in this post belong to MommyBKnowsBest.com

Fresh Market Charlotte Refresh

This is a sponsored post, however all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Before last week I had never stepped foot inside The Fresh Market grocery store. With the amount of competition in the Charlotte area amongst the grocery stores it’s easy to choose a chain and stick with it, even if it means sacrificing some things. I know some families will give up quality produce for being able to have a one-stop shopping experience, and I know others who will go to several stores to save the most money. With The Fresh Market’s new features shoppers can enjoy having their most important grocery needs met.

The Fresh Market recently enhanced its shopping experience in several Charlotte area stores.  Along with introducing a new logo, they’ve also lowered prices, and they have also increased product offerings to better serve customers.

I was able to meet with one local manager, who told me about all the recent changes and what to expect from The Fresh Market with the addition of so many great products.

It’s clear that fresh fare remains top priority, {it is of course named after freshness}. The Fresh Market offer an impressive selection of produce, meat, seafood and products from local farmers, and also high-quality items simply sourced from the best providers across the globe. I found out that they wrap and butcher their own meats, and if you’re a chicken lover their $2.99/lb chicken thigh Tuesday is now available at that low price every-single-day.

Stores now provide a larger variety of local offerings throughout the store. As you browse the aisles these items are clearly labeled and easy to spot, great for quick shopping trips. Local produce from farmers across North Carolina {Scott Farm and Lively Orchards} are displayed prominently in the store as well.

In perhaps the most dramatic change, shoppers will now find 1,300 everyday grocery essentials including baby, pet and household cleaning products to supplement the premium, gourmet and specialty items customers have come to love. Expanded product offerings at stores and optimized grocery space accommodate an increased selection of grocery and household items. The Fresh Market has also lowered prices on hundreds of items across the store making shopping both more convenient and budget-friendly.

If you’re looking for a quick bite or heading out for your lunch break, you can now find a new variety of freshly prepared, salads, entrees and wraps.

Select stores feature a new, dedicated sampling stations to offer shoppers the chance to taste flavors from across the store, including the weekly dish from the signature Little Big Meal program.

I personally love the Little Big Meal program where shoppers can easily pick up that week’s featured ingredients conveniently located at the station and whip up a delicious meal at home. Here’s an example of their current offering during my visit:

In addition to all the other great changes, The Fresh Market now offers a more comprehensive destination for health and wellness products with its new Mind & Body department {at select stores}. These areas feature a selection of over 3,300 vitamins, minerals and supplements, as well as a specialist to answer customer questions and offer recommendations.

I personally was very thankful for the clear signage that is present to guide shoppers with dietary restrictions or food allergies. These items include 1,600 organic items, 850 certified gluten-free items and 1,900 certified non-GMO items. I was impressed by how many gluten-free items they offer including many that I had never seen before.

 

The specialty grocer will continue rolling out refreshed stores across the country so make sure you visit a nearby location and take advantage of the great changes!

“The refresh of our stores will place an emphasis on delicious fresh fare, convenience, and health and wellness options,” said Rick Anicetti, president and CEO of The Fresh Market. “The company is investing in what our customers love most about The Fresh Market, while adding new categories requested by our shoppers. We look forward to offering the Charlotte community those special products they always enjoy at The Fresh Market, while adding more options to ensure they can experience extraordinary eating experiences more often.”

Be sure to check out The Fresh Market website for updated deals, specials, recipes, cooking tips and more.

With the level of care that goes into customer satisfaction and the clear regard for their shoppers as seen by the changes to so many aspects of the store, The Fresh Market is definitely a grocery store that is now on my list and I hope that you will consider checking out a location near you, to see how they’ve changed, like me, you may be pretty impressed.

 

The B Family Moves Again

Some of you may remember when we moved just two years ago this past Summer. We were able to sell our home to a company that would turn it into a rental, which was a blessing because otherwise we would not have been able to sell that house for anything close to what we owed.

We moved into a beautiful home in a county where taxes are lower and while the area was a little more rural than our previous home it was also quieter and a much nicer neighborhood, plus we were close to the girls’ school.

We hadn’t originally planned to move, we actually were missing entertaining space for birthday parties and hosting gatherings, and in figuring out pricing for a screened patio, we realized that money could also go towards a downpayment on a home closer to school friends and DaddyB’s work.

That brings us to today. We moved into our new home this Summer and construction on some major structural issues began right away, little did we know though that this house would be our “fixer upper”.

I pride myself on having an eye for detail, however in our walk through we missed a lot of touches that we didn’t think about having to fix/replace. So here we are, working on project #1,264 of our new/old house, and while it’s draining mentally we’re also making this home our own.

I can’t wait to share with you the projects we’ve taken on ourselves and the changes we’ve been blessed to hire contractors for. None of the projects were funded or sponsored by brands, but can’t wait to share our experiences, good and bad.

How about you?? Are you working on any home projects? Comment below I’d love to hear your stories!!!

A Few Of Our Favorite Things Holiday Gift Guide

These are a few of our favorite things…

This Holiday Gift Guide edition features lots of our favorites and we know you will love them too!!

 

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Favorite Kid Reads

Do you have a superhero lover in your family?? Downtown Bookworks has some pretty awesome book collections for your DC Comics loving kid! While Miss A is partial to Marvel, the new DC Superhero Girls series has definitely caught her eye. Here are some great DC books you’ll definitely want to pick up this holiday season.

mommyb-holiday-gift-guide-dc-superhero-books

 

Favorite Tech

The MEEM Memory Cable is GREAT for those who don’t always remember to back up their phone. It’s easy to use and backs up your phone every time you charge. The MEEM App gives full control; your personal data remains safe in your hands and inaccessible to anyone else.

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MEEM is available for Android (16gb / $49.99) and iPhone (32gb / $69.99) and on Amazon

Favorites for Her

I love a good picture of my family and can’t wait to get some pictures up on the walls of our new home. Diamonds in Ice features a great line of really unique glass photos at great prices. I especially love their coasters and ornaments great for gifts for mom or grandmom, pet lovers {or anyone really}.

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Anything from Kristin Schmucker, she has beautiful devotionals, awesome mugs, and even pretty jewelry all infused with inspiration for a grace-filled day. If you subscribe to her emails she has some pretty great deals too. Head over to:  thedailygraceco.com

Favorites for Him

If your guy is a fan of football, especially Texas football then Pigskin Rapture will be a great gift for him. Pigskin Rapture: Four Days in the Life of Texas Football by Mac Engel and Ron Jenkins is a first-ever, one-of-a-kind, 360 degree look at the athletic and cultural phenomenon that is Texas football, and launched the new Lone Star Books imprint this fall. This book is just under $13 right now on Amazon. Click the link above to purchase through my affiliate link.

 

pigskin-rapture

Favorite Stocking Stuffers

I love heading to Etsy for stocking stuffers. The creations that people come up with are a great addition to fillers. Depending on how big or small you go for stocking stuffers here are some great sites.

Vintage Stamp Jewels – pretty delicate pieces

One More Sunshine – adorable custom clothes pins

CurioPress – fun designs {love their stamped pencils}

BumbleFly N ButterBees – awesome handmade wooden toys

 

Favorite Charities

I love companies where you can purchase a gift and in turn you’re also giving to a charity. Giving Soaps is one of those small companies that is using their business to help others. They sell great, quality items that are organic and smell heavenly! Shipping is free and they always use recycled products to ship. This is a great gift option for someone who is very earth-focused.

giving-soaps-gift-basket

 

Sometimes giving to charity is a better gift than receiving a physical gift. Our family currently sponsors a little boy named Haftom in Africa and I’m so thankful that we have enough to help someone else in this world out. Whether you gift someone else the sponsorship or decided that your whole family will sponsor a child I personally recommend World Vision. {There are a lot of other amazing places to sponsor a child, I can only vouch for World Vision because we use their services.}

Thanks so much for checking out the holiday gift guide. Have a blessed holiday season and remember giving is where your heart is, not what gift you buy.

 

While this list could go on and on with loads more ideas we want to hear where your favorite places to shop and what your favorite items are this holiday season. Leave a comment, feel free to leave a link!!

 

I received samples of some of the above products, but was not paid for my opinion or inclusion on this list. The above companies and products are all things my family and I would recommend organically.

Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill Open in Concord North Carolina – #Giveaway

This is a sponsored post and giveaway. Any opinions expressed are my own, honest thoughts.

 

If you are a local to the Charlotte/Concord North Carolina area you may have noticed the construction right outside of Concord Mills mall. Outback Steakhouse ® and Bonefish Grill ® are pleased to announce that they are both open for business.

 

Bloomin Brands Grand Opening of Outback & Bonefish Grill at Concord Mills Mall on 11/7/16 by Carolina Portrait Designs

Bloomin Brands Grand Opening of Outback & Bonefish Grill at Concord Mills Mall on 11/7/16 by Carolina Portrait Designs

 

Tony Reynolds, Managing Partner, Bonefish Grill says,“We look forward to serving the Concord community at the bustling Concord Mills Mall.” “Our hospitality goes far beyond our restaurant’s front doors and into the neighborhoods we serve and we’re thrilled to invite everyone to come in to sip and savor the winter season.”

 

While Concord Mills has a number of great restaurants already these two additions will give an added variety and provide more sit down restaurants for the whole family. Personally, I love the Outback Steakhouse ® and Bonefish Grill ® brands and as a person with food allergies can attest to the professionalism that these restaurants go to to ensure each guest matters.

 

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{Check out my post on Dining at Bonefish Grill with a Shellfish Allergy}


On that note, I strongly encourage you to consider these two restaurants as the holidays approach. Not only are they convenient for shoppers, but also provide a great meal when cooking is the last thing on your “to-do” list.

Outback Steakhouse ® is open from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday – Saturday. Bonefish Grill ® is open from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 11 a.m. Friday – Saturday and 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Oh, and if you want to buy me a stocking stuffer I hear Outback Steakhouse ® and Bonefish Grill ® have gift certificates for purchase.

Speaking of gift certificates and giving, I’d love to give away a $50 gift certificate to your choice of either restaurant:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bouncing Around with Sky High Sports Charlotte

Before school started the B girls and I were invited to bounce our hearts out at Sky High Sports in Charlotte. I must admit this was our first time ever at a trampoline park and… we LOVED it. The girls had so much fun with the many activities within the building I secretly wish they had a location close to our house.

We not only had a great time but we think you should check it out too. Sky High Sports features a freestyle jump court, a foam pit with rope swings, laser tag, ropes course and more. The girls loved the freestyle court and foam pit and Miss A even got a chance to play some laser tag.

 

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As a mom I love the diversity of a place like Sky High Sports. It’s great for taking the kids for a day of play, perfect for bouncing away some energy on a rainy day, fun for a playdate with a group of friends, and they also offer birthday/event packages not to mention field trips and fundraising nights for your school or homeschool group.

Overall the staff at Sky High Sports was very well trained and attentive watching for safety among the kids who were bouncing and playing. I wasn’t worried about the girls playing in different areas of the facility in fact, Sky High offers an open lounge area with televisions to check in on your children if you’re chasing more than one around.

This local venue caters to families with children of all ages and even has Airobics classes for adults. We love that we can have friends of all ages come play with us and know that everyone will have a good time.

We can’t wait to go bounce at Sky High Sports again, maybe you can join us!!!

 

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Check out Sky High Sports’ Website –  clt.skyhighsports.com for hours and details.

 

This is a brand review, we received admission to check out Sky High Sports in order to give our opinion about their services. This post features honest thoughts and opinions about this venue.

Classroom Central Hijacks First Day of School Pictures – Guest Post

You know those first-day- of-school photos where smiling kids proudly hold up signs to commemorate the big event? Parents often post those pictures on social media to share their joyous moments and celebrate what it means for their children to go to school.

 

Classroom Central launched its first social media campaign, featuring those same first day of school photos of disadvantaged children showcasing troubling statistics to raise awareness.

 

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As you can see in the sign, low-income students are seven times more likely to drop out and three times as likely to be unemployed.

 

The campaign was developed pro bono by Eric Mower + Associates, and it’s designed to get people to donate money and school supplies to low-income students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

 

Right now, the poverty level forces many teachers to spend an average of $500 to $1,000 of their own money each year to provide school supplies for low-income students. Classroom Central helps further. It provides paper, pencils, folders and other materials to more than 82,000 kids, helping support teachers from 200 schools in six districts.

 

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The goal this year is to supply children with a total of 1.8 million of those basic tools. Every monetary donation is matched by The Leon Levine Foundation.

Will you consider giving to the Classroom Central Fund? How about sharing this blog post to raise awareness?

Check out more details here: Classroom Central and consider how you can help these low-income children, their teachers, and impact our community.

It’s an Art Party Review – Charlotte

If nothing else is true it’s that the B girls {myself included} love a good arts ‘n crafts project. Even better why not invite our friends to join us for an art party. Robin from It’s an Art Party was awesome enough to reach out after hosting a party with our friends over at Best Crowe’s Nest.

 

It's An Art Party Logo

 

We know what it’s like to be new at school having switched schools two years ago and always love to host Summer play dates and get-togethers so the returning children can see each other and new students can meet their classmates before school starts to help the new school jitters. As soon as Robin approached me I knew this would be the perfect fit for an art party.

We chose a couple art activities that Robin offers, {for her full list check out her website at itsanartparty.com} and rented a park pavillion. Though we had a little windy weather, the kids had a blast and Robin was a great instructor, teaching them some new techniques most of them had never used before.

The kids had a blast watercoloring using salt and their creations turned out so pretty.

 

It's An Art Party Salt MommyB

 

It's An Art Party Watercolor MommyB

 

The kids were also able to make some fun bubble paint creations, the wind made this a little more challenging but the kids loved this art activity.

 

It's An Art Party Bubbles MommyB

 

It's an Art Party Fun MommyB

 

Overall our get-together was a big success, the kids had a great time creating fun art and running around on the playground while socializing with new and returning classmates. I am so thankful that Robin was able to come and give the class a memorable back-to-school experience.

 

It’s An Art Party specializes in birthday parties, but you can hire them for any of your upcoming events. We really loved Robin’s care and instruction, and best of all set-up and clean-up are a part of her services.

 

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own, honest words. Your opinions may vary.

Awesome Kids Eat Free Deal & Giveaway

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar for this opportunity. I am being sponsored to help lead this campaign, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all claims and details shared can be verified by O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar.

 

I definitely owe O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar a huge thank you for giving this mom a much needed break. As we prepared to get ready for school AND are the middle of a move, my mind has been in a bit of a haze. Remembering my to-do list, and making sure the girls have everything they need for school leaves me more forgetful than I like to be.

I am so thankful that O’Charley’s is offering, (in my opinion), one of the best Kids Eat Free promotions I’ve seen. We experienced this first hand when we headed to our local O’Charley’s one busy day before school started.

 

Kids Eat Free O'Charley's

 

In the midst of packing up school supplies and getting ready for Back-to-School night {where the girls would meet their teachers}, I decided it would make life so much easier to grab dinner out. The four of us headed to O’Charley’s to take advantage of their Kids Eat Free promotion.

The girls loved the kids menu selections and ended up with the #1 kid staple: pizza. DaddyB and I added a side of carrots (not included in Kids Eat Free deal) for each girl, and their drinks were included, of course they chose the pink lemonade.

 

Kids Eat Free O'Charley's MommyB

O'Charley's Kids Eat Free MommyB

For the adult meals, we could have gone the money saving route and ordered regular entrees, but since the girls ate free we decided to choose menu items that were on the pricier side {although all the meals were pretty affordable}.

I got the NEW Filet Mignon with Garlic Butter which was amazing and DaddyB chose the Fresh Cedar-Planked Salmon. He loved his dish just as much as I loved mine and of course the girls were very happy with their meals too.

The food was great the service was fantastic and during Back-to-School season, it is one less thing to worry about. I think it’s fair to say that we are all very thankful for this awesome promotion.

O'Charley's Kids Eat Free Promo MommyB

 

Whether you’re looking to save time (think not having to cook, or clean dishes) or money (for every one adult entree you receive one complimentary child’s entree) O’Charley’s is making it easy for families to dine-in during the back-to-school season. Make sure you head to your local O’Charley’s between now and September 5th to take advantage of this awesome deal.

 

O'Charley's Gift Card

Also as promised… I’m giving away one $50 gift card to O’Charley’s so not only can you get your kids meals free, but you can also treat yourselves as well.

 

How to WinComment between now and September 1st, 2016 with the entree you would like the most and the entree your child would like the most. If you’re feeling generous you can share this with your friends. All you need to do is be 18 years old and a U.S. Citizen.