Category - Charlotte

Celebrating Fall Food in Charlotte North Carolina

With current temps around the low 60’s {and even cooler at night}, Charlotte, North Carolina sure feels like Fall. While we just kicked off the Autumnal Equinox there’s no hesitating ringing it in with some great food festivals to celebrate harvest time!

Two local venues I have to brag about are celebrating the next two weekends.

7th Street Public Market

First up, this Saturday, September 27th, one of my favorite uptown spots, 7th Street Market is hosting Harvest Fest. From 12:00 noon to 7:00pm you’ll be able to partake in a variety of events.

12:00pm – 3:00pm Daytime events include activities for the entire family: hayrides, pumpkin carving, corn shucking another fun Fall activities.

4:00pm – 7:00pm Get your tickets for Harvest Fest Taste of the Market where you’ll be able to sample Fall fare and drinks from local vendors and enjoy a private concert. Tickets sold HERE at $25 a piece.

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery MommyB

Next weekend Charlotte’s authentic German beer haus; Olde Mecklenburg Brewery {OMB} is hosting their annual Mecktober Fest event. This year’s event will be a two-day event on October 3rd & 4th from 11:00am to midnight.

Come enjoy German beer, food, and music in OMB’s signature authentic style and new, larger location. I can tell you from first-hand experience their beer AND food are awesome, {Though I have yet to try Mecktoberfest}.

There is a $10 entry fee for those ages 21 and up, and $5 entry for designated drivers and those under 21 years old.

 

Dining at Bonefish Grill with a Shellfish Allergy

For those of you who don’t know I have a shellfish allergy. I didn’t know I was allergic until I had a pretty severe reaction after eating shrimp at a hibachi grill {twice}. I say twice because the first time we thought it was the oil the grill used, but later found out that the culprit was indeed shellfish.

To be fair, I probably should have known this a little sooner, I have only eaten shrimp in my life once before (when I was in high school) but every time I would peel shrimp to cook for my husband my hands would itch and turn a little red.

For a while I was very cautious of dining out, especially when it came to seafood restaurants, because, well hellloooo. I know sometimes when I ask for my dish a little different at restaurants I’ve had to send them back and eating shellfish contaminated food isn’t something I’ve been willing to risk.

Luckily, Bonefish Grill takes shellfish and other allergies VERY seriously. **Please be sure to tell your waiter if you have allergies before you order.

Dining at Bonefish Grill with a Shellfish Allergy MommyB

 

Your table is “flagged” to ensure that your dishes are safe for you to eat. The staff was very respectful of my allergy and helpful to suggest dishes. Our waiter, who was amazingly friendly, also told us that the pesto dipping oil for the table bread is made from pumpkin seeds rather than pine nuts due to the increase in diners with tree nut allergies. In my opinion, that is very thoughtful of a restaurant to make that concession.

Not only was our wait staff excellent regarding my allergies and recommendations, but the food during this visit was delicious.

If I can give you some recommendations:

Start with the Fresh Watermelon Martini because it’s light and sweet and a great drink that won’t make you feel full.

Next, if you’re in the sharing mood, the Wagyu Beef & Ginger Potstickers are delicious. The sauce and crispy onions help finish off a yummy bite. Kristen from The Playful Mom and I may or may not have devoured these.

For my entree I ordered the NEW 13 oz Rib Eye steak, I HIGHLY suggest the white truffle butter. This steak melted in my mouth, it was cooked to perfection and the truffle butter completed the savory flavor. My sides were equally amazing as I could barely put my fork down for the mushroom ravioli.

Of course we had to try out the desserts, I opted for the creme brulee and Kristin tried the NEW S’mores Flatbread which is all the rage. I actually wish I had swiped some from her when she wasn’t looking. Though in all honest the creme brulee was very creamy and the fresh berries topped this dish off nicely.

I did not have any issues with allergic reactions, our food was outstanding, service was polite and prompt, and my dinner date was pretty fun too.

Bonefish Grill Review MommyB
Even though I can’t eat shellfish, I encourage you to check out some of the great NEW Bonefish Grill menu items as well as their standard favorites: bonefishgrill.com/menu

 

Do you have any food allergies??

Have you been to a Bonefish Grill? Tried any NEW menu items? What are your favorite dishes?

 

 

I received a complimentary meal in order to give you opinions about my experience. This is not a paid post and all opinions are my own honest thoughts as usual. Your opinions and experiences may vary.

Five Whole Years and a Change for the Better

5 years ago today I wrote my first blog post on MommyBKnowsBest.com. My goals were to:

1. Review products by giving my opinions and have “cool stuff” that Miss A could play with.

2. Do a job outside of being a mom {which was awesome, don’t get me wrong}, but blogging was something that would fulfill a different part of my life.

 

Here was my very first blog post on this website:

 

MBKB First Post

 

Since 2009 I have worked with a ton of amazing people, had some experiences that I would have never had if it wasn’t for blogging, and felt the fulfilment that I was looking for when I first began blogging.

As each year of blogging passes I’ve tried to assess my goals and I believe the site has grown and developed in a way that was what I had imagined in my head. With your help, I’ve gained readers, and friends on this journey and I am very excited about the next part of this adventure with you.

In my 6th year of blogging change is coming.

My goals for myself as a mom and a blogger have changed. I’ve gained insight into what is fulfilling and on the other hand “empty” for me as I spend late nights working. I’ve been able to start saying no to things that are not a good fit and realizing that my time is valuable.

I love sharing my experiences with you and that part will not change, however my experiences, my life, will be shared with more intention behind them. More meaning and less “stuff”. ”

You see somewhere along the way I feel like the “stuff” has gotten in the way. My goals are to be more authentic {though I always put a part of myself in any post I’ve done}, mindful of the things I’m sharing with you, and I hope you’ll find this to be a breath of fresh air, as I know it will be for me.

I will be finishing up some projects and prior commitments throughout my relaunch,  but in the coming months will be excited to showcase my blog not only with fresh content, a new name, and a different mission, but with a great new look that DaddyB is helping me with as well.

I know not all change is welcomed, but I hope that you’ll continue to support the site in your own way, should you feel led.

 

Thank you, I appreciate you and love you and wouldn’t be where I am 5 years later without you.

 

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Blessings!!

Fury 325 – World’s Tallest Gigacoaster Coming to Carowinds

Fury325 Carowinds MommyB

Carowinds Amusement Park (Charlotte, NC) announced that they’ll be building a massive new roller coaster for 2015. Dubbed Fury 325, the ride will be the tallest gigacoaster (roller coasters between 300 and 399 feet tall) and the 5th tallest roller coaster overall. The ride’s theme has a local tie-in with a hornet logo and colors similar to the Charlotte Hornets NBA team colors. The exciting path is said to resemble the daring swoops and dives of a hornet.

Here’s a teaser video for the new ride:

How Big is Fury 325?

Fury 325’s insane height is right there in the name. It will be 325 feet tall. That’s more than 30 stories and nearly 100 feet taller than Carowinds’ Intimidator. Intimidator is already a notable landmark that’s visible from a few miles around. According to the Carowinds, Fury 325 will be so tall that it will be visible from Uptown Charlotte.

Fury 325 will surely draw some long lines, but it should be worth the wait thanks to a lengthy, 3 minute and 25 second ride. It’ll boast 6,602 feet (more than a mile) of teal and yellow track that’ll carry riders from South Carolina into North Carolina, passing above and then below the entrance, and then back to the Palmetto state.

What Can Riders Expect on Fury 325?

Fury 325 Coming to Carowinds - World's Tallest Gigacoaster - CharlotteRiders can expect highs, lows, and lots of speed. For the vast majority of guests, Fury 325 will be the tallest roller coaster they’ve ever encountered. There are only three rides in the U.S. that are taller. And, Fury 325 will have the distinction of the tallest traditional lift hill anywhere. So expect an impressively long climb to the ride’s lofty high peak.

The 81-degree first drop will be nearly straight down and will produce quite an intense free fall feeling. Then, Fury 325 will deliver blistering speed. At the bottom of that first drop, the trains will rocket to 95 mph. Throughout the ride’s course you’ll be treated to exciting climbs and dives. The highlight of the ride looks to be the underground dive beneath a plaza bridge near the park’s entrance.

Thanks the ride’s design the speed, twists, and turns, should be glass smooth. The designers of the new ride also designed the popular and easily ride-able Intimidator. If you enjoy that ride, then you should like Fury 325. Expect more speed and swooping turns instead of the straight-forward ups and downs found on Intimidator.

Carowinds’ New Park Gate & Entrance Plaza

Entering the park next year, will be an entirely new experience. A new parking gate is already under construction. Also in the works is a more open plaza at the front gates where guests will be greeted by Fury 325 passing above and then below the new entrance. The ride will pass over guests six times encouraging gasps from onlookers.
Fury 325 - New Carowinds Entrance - Underground Dive
The station for Fury 325 will be in the Thrill Zone section near Hurler. Guests will need to be 54 inches or taller in order to ride. The ride is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2015.

Learn more at Carowinds.com/Swarm. Or hop in the front seat and take a virtual ride here.

What do you think of Fury 325?

We’re excited that this huge new ride is going to be built in our backyard. What do you think? Are you planning on visiting Carowinds next year so that you can ride it? Let us know what you think. Leave a comment below.

 

As a member of media I received admission to this media event for information regarding Carowind’s newest park features. 

Fall Footwear Trends – Models Wanted

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Rack Room Shoes, all opinions are my own.

If you’ve started Back to School shopping you may have noticed some of the fun trends that are out this Fall. It really seems like each season is so different and this Fall has a lot of fun looks especially when it comes to footwear.

Some trends you’ll see and that your kids may have already asked for include:

For the Girls

  • Canvas – bright solid colors or patterned canvas are both in this season
  • Cowboy Boots & Western Styles – though there are some parts of the country these never go out of style, they’re extra hot right now
  • Combat Boots – these can be seen in traditional colors, bright colors and even patterns too

For the Boys

  • Boat Shoes – come in easy to slip-on styles
  • Converse – even more new styles and colors this season
  • Low-Rise Boots – for a dressier look

Now that your mind is on the recent trends, maybe you’re thinking of your trendy family, and if not trendy then surely good looking family!

Rack Room Shoes is looking for models in their Models Wanted contest. That means you and your family!

 

Fall Footwear Trends and Model Search

About Models Wanted

As part of its popular Models Wanted contest, Rack Room Shoes has spotlighted real customers – instead of professional models – in all of its seasonal advertisements over the past decade.

Every year, the family footwear retailer hosts the much-anticipated Models Wanted contest, inviting families to enter for a chance to participate in a glamorous photo shoot and be featured on the retailer’s website, advertising inserts and display signage in more than 385 stores nationwide.

All Models Wanted winners receive five-star treatment, including professional hair and makeup and chauffer services at the photo shoot.

Throwback

To commemorate the program’s 10th anniversary, Rack Room Shoes brought back participating individuals and families from the last 10 years to return to the set as Rack Room Shoes models.

Rack Room Shoes reached out to former Models Wanted families and individuals last year through emails and social media posts and invited them to enter its “Models Wanted 2014: Anniversary Edition Contest” for the chance to be selected as models again. Fans on Rack Room Shoes’ Facebook page then voted for the families they’d like to see featured for a second time.

Each winning family was also given $5,000 from Rack Room Shoes to donate to the charity of their choice.

Enter your family

Rack Room Shoes is currently in search of families to be the next Models Wanted participants. Winners’ photos will be showcased throughout the retailer’s 2015 seasonal advertising campaigns, displayed on the website and social media channels, in newspaper ads and in-store signage!

For 2015, Rack Room Shoes is inviting Rewards Members to enter at rackroomshoes.com/modelswanted

Here’s how to become a Rack Room Rewards® member: rewards.rackroomshoes.com/dashboard

The Model Swag Bag:

• Professional photo & video shoot with experienced photographers

• Spa-like hair, make-up & wardrobe treatments

• Rack Room Shoes gift cards

• Commemorative book & DVD of your family’s experience

• Shoes from the shoot

Now accepting entries through September 8, 2014.

Enter the Rack Room Shoes Models Wanted contest today!

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Rack Room Shoes. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own, yours may vary.

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Video

I am a member of the SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Parent Council and receive admission to cover media events.

Enjoy our video of SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord:

 

 

For more information on SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord check out these links:
• Website: www.VisitSEALIFE.com/Charlotte-Concord
• Facebook: www.facebook/SEALIFECharlotteConcord
• Twitter: @SEALIFECC
• Instagram: instagram.com/SEALIFECC
• YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/SEALIFECC

 

Have you visited SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord? What’s your family’s favorite part??

 

It is SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord’s goal to provide a memorable experience at the best value possible. If you would like to share your feedback with their management team, please contact them at sealifecharlotteconcord@gmail.com

 

As a member of the SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Parent Council I receive admission in return for writing about events and reviewing the aquarium. As always, any opinions expressed in this post are the honest thoughts of myself and my family. Your opinions may vary.

Shoes that Fit – Giving Back Locally

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Rack Room Shoes, all opinions are my own.

While our kiddos may be worried about buying the trendiest backpacks and having the coolest new outfits for school, there are many children who are headed back to school with shoes that are old and worn or that just don’t fit well, or even worse they have no shoes at all.

This Back to School season, Rack Room Shoes is proud to partner with Shoes That Fit, a national non-profit organization that provides shoes to disadvantaged children. This program helps children in your community start the school year off on the right foot.

The more money that is raised, the more resources available to purchase shoes for needy students in your area.

 

ShoesThatFit_logo

 

How you can participate:

  • Shop at your local Rack Room Shoes store for your family’s Back to School shoe needs.
  • Donate $5 or more in-store to the Shoes That Fit campaign to benefit disadvantaged children in your local community, or donate online.
  • If there’s not a Rack Room Shoes store near you and you would like to help another community click the link above to donate online as well.

In exchange for your donation, you will receive a special colorable Shoes That Fit tote bag. Color your tote bag with your children for a fun family activity and support your local community at the same time. This also provides your family with a great opportunity to talk about serving the community and helping others.

Miss A, Lil’ C, and I worked on their bags, had a chance to talk about children who are in need of good shoes for the school year. The girls decided to donate some of their own money to the Shoes That Fit Campaign to help other kids.

Here are their creations:

Rack Room Shoes - Shoes That Fit MommyB

 

Be sure to share your Shoes That Fit tote bag creations on social media and let others know about this great program that will offer children the opportunity to focus on their studies and not worry about what’s on their feet.

For more information on Rack Room Shoes and the Shoes That Fit program, check out their website, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

 

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Rack Room Shoes. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own, yours may vary.

What is a University Model® School?

Disclaimer – I do not work for Naums nor have we started schooling at Naums, all information is from the Naums website or information shared from people who have been schooling and my general but limited knowledge of the University Model® school setting.

Lately I’ve had quite a few people ask me what school Miss A will be attending in the Fall and to explain more about how her school works.

Let’s rewind to school last year when Miss A was attending 5-day, traditional private school. DaddyB and I felt that, for a lot of reasons, the school Miss A was attending and a traditional 5-day school weren’t a great fit for Miss A so with the fact that we were open to moving (since we sold our home and re-rented it back ((a story for another day)), that we could really explore all schooling options.

The public school for our neighborhood at that time was not an option for several undesirable reasons, but we looked into other private schools in different areas and counties, did our research on charters and after reviewing all of our options we decided, through much prayer and thought, that the University Model® school seemed to be the best fit for Miss A and our family.

 

What is a University Model® School Answers and information on MommyBKnowsBest

 

What is a University-Model® school?

The University-Model® school (UMS) model is an option for education that is not the traditional 5-day setting. According to NAUMS (National Association of University Model Schools) “the UMS model of education takes the best attributes of home schooling and combines them with the best attributes of traditional, Christian education.” For our family we felt like it would be the best of both worlds, we would have more time to spend with Miss A (and Lil C once she starts Kindergarten), and give more hands-on learning, while focusing on a university style program.

The program at the school we chose (which keep in mind each University-Model® school has the same foundational roots, but can be very different), is strongly grounded in faith and both character and academically driven.

Our school is a private school, not a co-op for homeschoolers or a public/charter school. I believe this is similar to most University-Model® schools, but am not 100% sure if this includes all of the schools.

“The ultimate goal is that of producing wholesome, competent men and women of character who make a positive difference for Christ in the next generation.” Naums.net

 

How is University-Model® school different from traditional public, charter, magnet, or private schooling?

This school system is unique in that it is not a 5-day program. This model gives students a portion of professional full day classroom instruction and a portion of home study days with curriculum provided by the classroom teacher.

For our specific school Miss A will have 3 classroom instruction days and 2 days of home study. For our family it was amazing to think that we will have more days with Miss A than she will be in school (counting weekends Miss A will have 4 days at home and 3 days in school). Curriculum is based on several factors and highly supported with communication between teacher and parent.

Some things we loved specifically about this school and the University Model® are that they are founded on faith, character and academically driven, in our program subjects can be integrated, the school Miss A will be attending has an amazing support system for both mother and father.

Here are a few quotes from parents who have been using the University Model® with their children about what UMS is:

My short short explanation that usually is followed by a conversation is “picture university/college. You don’t go into class every day, but you have work to do every day. My kids go into class three days a week with their professional teacher and then we do work assigned by that teacher at home two days a week: projects, reports, review work, etc…” A Mom Who Tried Homeschooling for a Year and Realized it Wasn’t a Good Fit for Her Family

A combination of professional classroom time with two – 3 days at home using school developed lesson plans. Family and Christianity are also a common tie for all UMS’s.” Susan S.

 

What is a University Model® School Answer on MommyBKnowsBest

 

The biggest reason we chose a University-Model® school

While academics are important to our family we felt that we could have more time with our children and play an even larger role, while cultivating their relationship with God and enriching their character. To us, having healthy and happy children who have the tools to happy and healthy adulthood, were invaluable.

If you are interested in learning more about NAUMS and University-Model® schools please feel free to reach out to me via my contact form or head to NAUMS website Naums.net for more information.

 

Please keep in mind we have not started University-Model® school as of this post publish date and that each school within the model are very different and others may have different opinions or experiences. The above message is to both educate on the University-Model® school and give you one mom’s opinion.  I will update any information in this post as it comes available to me.

 

Not too Late for Fun Father’s Day Gifts

Father’s Day will be here in just a few short days and if you haven’t already purchased a gift for the awesome dad in your or your children’s lives then what is wrong with you there’s still plenty of time.

Here are a few of my FUN Father’s Day Gift ideas:

 

If you’re buying for a dad that LOVES playing with the kiddos but sometimes has a hard time coming up with ideas, Cooper & Kid’s Cooper Kits come jam packed with a variety of themed activities, toys, and guide book with lots of ways for Daddy and kids to play and even online support. The box even turns into a toy! Price: Depends on your subscription but if you purchase one box it’s $65 plus $13 shipping, so if the dad you are buying for won’t be really into fun activities with the kiddos you may feel like you wasted your money. (Buy a kit by June 15th and get a free grooming kit valued at $65.)

 

Cooper & Kid Bug Box Review Father's Day MommyB

 

If you’re in a pinch and shopping last minute for Dad, CVS/pharmacy is a great place to get gifts anywhere from personalized photo calendars (if you plan ahead a little), to the newest razors, As Seen on TV products, or create a really cool gift basket chock-full of Dad’s favorite things.

Handmade gifts are always a favorite too. We always like to make handmade cards or paint a t-shirt. Anything made with love will be a hit with dad.

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Thinking of taking Dad out for dinner on Father’s Day?!? A lot of restaurants have some great deals and freebies on Father’s Day that the whole family can enjoy. Here in Charlotte Chuy’s Tex-Mex Restaurant is offering a free gift for dads on June 15th and Nan & Byron’s is having a Father’s Day Buffet.

Father's Day Buffet MommyB

 

and here are a few of my ideas from last year’s Father’s Day Gift Guide and a guest post on Father’s Day Gifts and you can’t forget a GREAT discount on personalized Father’s Day Cards.

 

 

This is not a sponsored post however I have worked with or received samples from some of the above brands and businesses.

5 Fun and Unique Family Eats in Charlotte North Carolina

With the BIG MOVE coming up soon we’ve been dining out a good bit and I’m completely okay with that. It definitely makes for an empty sink and less stressful night.

Luckily we’ve been able to try out a few new family-friendly spots in Charlotte and also enjoy some of our “usual” spots as well. Here’s a quick list of 5 fun and unique family-friendly restaurants in Charlotte, North Carolina:

Top 5 Fun and Unique Family Friendly Restaurants in Charlotte MommyB

 

For the homegrown family:

TRY Earth Fare – If you don’t mind eating in a grocery cafe {which I don’t mind at all!} the Family Dinner Nights at any Charlotte location is ah-mazing! If you head to Earth Fare any Thursday from 4pm-8pm up to 6 kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal, valued at $5.00 or more. This restaurant offers organic, healthy choices for kids meals and just recently added nuggets, and Lil’ C’s favorite pasta salad to their kid’s offerings. Definitely a great place to head for a healthy family meal on a budget. 

 

For the spicy family:

TRY Chuy’s Restaurant – Not all the dishes are spicy, but the decor is guaranteed to brighten up your day. The kids will love the playful design of the restaurant, watching the process of hand-made tortillas, and searching for the “hidden keys” around the restaurant. {We spotted a couple last time we visited}. If your kiddos don’t love Mexican food there are tons of other options on the kids menu that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Don’t forget the drink and food specials for mom and dad!

 

Chuy's Family Friendly Charlotte Restaurant MommyB

 

For the NEW traditional family:

TRY Nan & Byrons – If you want to try something you’ve ordered a million times and have it taste like never before, this is your spot. The cool twist on traditional menu items like their peppadew poppers, beet burger {that’s had rave reviews}, meatloaf, salmon, {I could go on and on} really makes this restaurant stand out. Often places with this vibe don’t offer a kids menu and aren’t super accommodating, but hallelujah, they have a GREAT kids menu with big portions, decent prices AND kids eat free Sunday through Wednesday from 5pm to 7pm. If you’re looking for a new restaurant to try and wanna bring the kiddos {or have to for lack of a babysitter} check it out!

 

Nan & Byron's Family Friendly Charlotte Restaurant MommyB

 

For the culinary family:

TRY Papa Murphy’s – The family that builds a pizza stays together. This cool “take-n-bake” concept features fresh ingredients including in-store made dough and makes your pizza your way right in front of you. The kids will love watching the pizza artists add their favorite toppings and watching it cook at home. The best part is you can order a couple to take home and freeze. They have really cool Mini Murphy kits where the kids can make their own pizzas at home, dessert pizzas, AND a great reading program where they can earn some yummy prizes.

 

Papa Murphy's Family Friendly Restaurant Charlotte MommyB

For the healthy family:

TRY Jason’s Deli – If you’re looking for organic, healthy options, this is the family-friendly restaurant for you. They have so many organic choices for adults and children from soups and sandwiches to their well-known salad bar, kids can choose from over 10 food options as well. Dine in and help yourself to their complimentary extras like mini muffins and soft-serve, low calorie frozen yogurt.

 

What’s your favorite fun or unique restaurant in Charlotte??  

 

The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own, I was not compensated for this post but have received complimentary sample food items from the above restaurant.