Category - Mom

Family Friendly Holidays in Charlotte

Having lived in Charlotte for 10 years, our family has been able to create memorable holiday traditions. We also love that new activities and creative events that are popping up each year. Here are some of our favorites that we wanted to share with you!

 

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Holidays at the Garden

This destination is one of our favorite must-visit locations during the holidays {and other times of the year too}. If you are looking for a family tradition, Holidays at the Garden is an event where you’ll be able to make memories for years to come.

Children will look forward to filling out their passport when they complete fun holiday-themed games located around the garden and parents will love the beauty of the lights and spending time around a fire with their family.

With light features changing each year everyone in your family is bound to find a favorite, or two. While the stunning lights may be what brings you to Daniel Stowe this time of year, the live music, fairy village, and ambiance of roasting s’mores over the fire will keep you coming back year after year.

There are several food and snack options there are including food trucks, beverage bars, and of course it wouldn’t be the holidays without some amazingly sweet goodies. This year Sproutycakes Bakery greeted us again with a huge array of Christmas yumminess.

{Check them out: Sproutycakes Facebook and tell them we sent you, you can thank us later.}

While you will definitely want to bundle up, DSBG has done a great job of creating warm spaces for your family whether it’s the roaring fire pits, or the warmth and beauty of the Orchid Conservatory.

Additional activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, visit with Mrs. Claus, and Capture the Magic with Santa. *Some pre-registrations and payments required, please check the website for details.

To check out more details or purchase tickets online at a discounted rate for Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens head HERE.

 

Carowinds

WinterFest

WinterFest is an all-new immersive holiday entertainment tradition, opening select evenings through December 30th.

WinterFest transforms the park into a winter wonderland adorned with more that five million holiday lights, a beautiful 70-foot Christmas tree and festive décor displayed throughout the park.

These words and picture alone do not do the park justice, they really went all out and several park goers outside of our party were in awe.

We loved how the park was divided into different themed areas from Charlie Brown’s™ Christmas Town to Jingle Bell Boardwalk, the ever-so-sweet Candy Cane Lane, and who can forget Celebration Plaza where it all kicks off.

WinterFest activities include a nightly tree lighting, live holiday shows and strolling performers, up to 16 family rides, a special holiday menu, a live nativity and 38-animal petting zoo, falling snow, and so much more!

Additional activities include taking a picture with Santa at St. Nick’s Pics*, decorating cookies with Mrs. Claus*, creating take-home keepsakes at Sally Brown’s Christmas Crafts, , skating on Snowflake Lake* and horse-drawn carriage rides*. *The activities listed may require advance ticket purchase or ticket purchase on-site.

The PEANUTS™ gang, and wonderful winter characters are all decked out in Holiday Spirit {except for Scrooge} and the joy is pretty contagious. With the help of some cheerful elves, Miss C and other excited children, wrote a letter to Santa at the North Pole Post Office.

 

Our family loved the singing and dancing featured in Charlie Brown’s™ Christmas Spectacular, and it was a great way to warm up the entire group, not to mention a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. All through the park is festive, live entertainment both indoors and outdoors.

If you’re anything like our coaster-loving family, you’ll want to take advantage of some extra ride time this season. With up to 16 rides, including Afterburn there’s sure to be a ride for family members of every age and thrill level.

Carowinds’ hasn’t forgotten the holiday treats. There are 20 new menu items just for WinterFest, including Turducken burgers, gourmet mac and cheese, gingerbread-eggnog and chocolate-peppermint funnel cakes, and homemade hot chocolate. {Buy your souvenir mug and get free refills on your day of purchase and $1 refills for return visits.}

Who would have thought, shoppers can browse for gifts at WinterFest too. My favorite section are the booths by local vendors at Artisan Alley. If you’re looking for stocking stuffers, or ugly sweaters, the park has those too!

**Don’t forget, guests can visit WinterFest once for free when they purchase a 2018 gold or platinum season pass.

Otherwise, grab your advance-purchase tickets, and check out all the details at carowinds.com.

Billy Graham Library

Christmas at the Library

If you’re looking for a faith-based Christmas tradition Billy Graham Library is rich with history. Parking and admission are FREE. The library is known for it’s year-round Journey of Faith that creatively tells the journey of Billy Graham {this may be a feature you want to save if you have pre-school aged children}. During the holidays the library comes alive –literally– with a delightful live nativity.

Enjoy the sleigh bells jingling while you take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the library grounds {for an additional fee}, or make your reservations for Christmas Dinner and enjoy time with your loved ones.

We loved hearing the different carolers and musical groups that were featured while drinking a hot cup of cocoa. We haven’t been this year, but in previous years the only thing that was a little let down was the food selection and taste. You may want to consider dining out before or after your visit.

Find out more details about your upcoming visit to Christmas at the Library.

Founders Hall – Uptown Charlotte

Leonard Bearstein Orchestra


The Leonard Bearstein Orchestra is located in uptown Charlotte at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Building. This is a fun event to attend, especially if you have little ones. This full animatronic orchestra perform from on the hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. With the exception of Christmas Day.

Founders Hall also has some restaurants, places to grab a quick bite or coffee, and shops if you are planning on making the visit a longer trip.

**Occasionally, a regularly scheduled performance may not take place due to a special event in the hall. As a parent it’s always good to have a back up plan just in case. I always recommend 7th Street Market, ImaginOn, and the Light Rail.

Head here to view the schedule: Bearstein Orchestra

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Speedway Christmas

Speedway Christmas is definitely one of the must-visits if you haven’t been or if you are new to the area. Surprising to me, I’ve found that people either love the experience or don’t. My family personally really enjoys this Charlotte Holiday event, but if you have anyone who doesn’t like being in the car for an extended period of time they may not enjoy this selection as much. {We haven’t used it but have heard that the fast pass to skip the line is worth the additional fee.} There are several days and times that the speedway is less busy and lines are shorter.

We like to go on a day we feel will be less busy, but also one that still has the Christmas Village experience. In the past the village has had an opportunity to visit Santa, purchase Holiday gifts from local vendors, and enjoy yummy food and treats.

In a previous year we’ve enjoyed the nativity/Bethlehem experience and our girls always love the petting zoo filled with a variety of adorable animals. Often times there will be additional activities for an extra charge like carnival and horse rides.

Get your tickets and more information here: Speedway Christmas

 

While this is a pretty long list of some of our family favorites, we have others and know that you do too. Please comment and let us know your favorite local areas to spend the holidays with your family. Also tell us if you agree or disagree, we want to hear from you!!

Thank you to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens and Carowinds for hosting us this holiday season!!

Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen – Treat the Team Giveaway

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.

Fall is here and if you’re anything like our family you are busy with school, activities, sports, and preparing for the holidays. Scouts, football, hockey, gymnastics, book clubs, robotics teams, whatever your family is involved in you are on-the-go.

Let’s be honest with running errands and shuttling the kiddos to their activities it can leave you with little together time and you know if your child is a part of a group they want to hang out with their teammates and club mates outside of that activity. So how do you fit in together time?

Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen is making it easier for small groups like families or large groups like sports teams and clubs to “treat the team” and enjoy a made-from-scratch meal, whether it’s dine-in or to-go.

The B Girls are part of an amazing scout-like group called GEMS where they get together bi-weekly and love seeing friends, and learning new things. It’s not often when we get the opportunity to spend extra time with our GEMS friends, but thanks to Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen we were able to enjoy a fun night of conversation, filled with laughter and no cooking or cleaning for me.

I’d love to pass on the opportunity to you. Check out a Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen near you to learn more about their menu, great kid’s meal pricing, and let the team and family bonding begin!

Win a Treat the Team Game Day Pack?

 

Enter to win a $50 Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen gift card (with $4.99 kids meals, it goes a long way), 1 folding stadium chair, 1 fleece stadium blanket, 1 football, 1 first aid kit, and Treat the Team activity sheets that the kiddos will love.

 

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Subway’s Share the Color Food Workshop – Giveaway

This post is in partnership with Subway. Any opinions expressed are my own.

 

I’m excited to share with you about the upcoming “Share the Color” Food Workshops hosted by Subway Restaurants in the Charlotte area!

 

Share the Color food workshops will be hosted from October 14th-21st at various Subway locations all across the Carolinas for families to attend.

Check out these links to find an event near you:

Charlotte Area

Carolinas Area

{Feel free to register for your free tickets through the link as well.}

Local food and nutrition experts will be on-hand, teaching a short lesson on nutritious food choices and making sure you have a lot of color variety on your plate. Children will participate in a hands-on sub making activity and enjoy a free nutritious lunch and a fun food explorer coloring book.

In honor of the event, I’m giving away a $25 Subway gift card to one lucky reader. To enter you must comment below letting me know your favorite thing to eat at Subway. For extra entries, share this post, and tag your friends on social media.

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Pouring Into Our Children

If you’ve read any of my Love Languages blog posts you know that we all give and receive love in unique ways. Our children are no different. While you may feel loved and love by giving hugs (physical touch), your child may feel cared about more with kind words.

It’s important to pour into our children on a daily basis. While some days are easier than others the end result of them knowing you are on their side even when it feels like no one else is, is totally worth it.

Lately I’ve been reading “Love and Logic“, by Foster Cline, while it’s not a new book by any means it has some pretty relevant parenting tips. The more I read and hear people speak on the topic of parenting, the more I realize we only have these children in our care for 18 years. Then, most of them are out on their own, becoming their own people, and hopefully including us in their “grown-up” lives.

There are so many ways to let our children know we love them and support them, while also allowing them to learn life lessons and grow.

Here are a few ways (with love language guidance) you can show your children how much you care:

Words of Affirmation

Handwritten notes may come to mind as a way to express how we feel with words. To make notes a little more fun try to place them in areas that will surprise your children, tuck a sweet note in their shoe, or leave a thoughtful card in their backpack.

Physical Touch

Warm hugs can make any child melt if done at the right time and place. Be mindful of when you think your child may need a little extra TLC. Physical touch can be holding a hand, rubbing their back, or even playing with their hair.

Acts of Service

While it’s true a lot of parents are always showing their love through “acts of service”, folding laundry, picking up toys, but these things may go unnoticed, so try to think out of the box. What tasks do your children do for themselves that they might enjoy not doing once and a while? If your child packs their lunch, but doesn’t love it, why not make them an extra special one?! Bring the trash cans back to the house without them noticing, an act of service can be a delightful surprise. {This is not to say we should take over chores for our kids, but occasionally it can be seen by them as an act of love.}

Quality Time

Spending time doing homework or running errands with your child is time, but doesn’t quite quite qualify as “quality time”. Sorry parents!! If your child enjoys surprises, by all means, choose an activity that you can do together and surprise them after school or on a weekend. On the other hand, if your child is more of a planner, sit down with them and plan something fun to do together, this will double the quality time in both planning and doing.

 

Gifts

If you’ve read my blog post on gifts you’ll know the present doesn’t have to be extravagant, just thoughtful. It’s a really great idea to write down things that you’ve heard your child mention they really like, for example, if they say they really like pink roses, take note for a future day. If they are frustrated because their favorite markers are running low on ink, grab them a new pack and surprise them.

 

The only way we can truly pour into our children, no matter what Love Language they may have, is to invest in them. Your child doesn’t need to be your whole world, in fact they really shouldn’t be, {that’s another blog post}, however, just as with any relationship, you have to put time, effort, and care into it for it to flourish.

 

For those of you who read my blog, but aren’t parents or around children on a daily basis, can I encourage you to reach out to youth? You may not realize it, but you have so much to offer the next generations. Volunteer, find a neighbor, there are so many children who would benefit from your time, trust me.

What are you going to do to pour into your child(ren)??

Guy Stuff: The Body Book For Boys

If you’ve been a reader long enough you’ll know I’m a girl mom. So what am I doing reviewing a body book for boys? I’m actually not. I have a lot of great “boy mom” friends and luckily one of them who has two younger boys was willing to check this book out and give me feedback from her perspective.

Before we get started I will say we completely LOVE the American Girl body book, The Care and Keeping of You and highly recommend that you go through it with your daughter together. I personally wouldn’t just hand the book over because I want to be intentional with what she’s reading and give her opportunities to talk when she has my full attention to answer questions or just ease nervousness about growing up.

That said, American Girl has recently published Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys.

Guy Stuff tackles everything boys need to know about their developing bodies and minds-from healthy eating, bad breath and shaving to pubic changes, moodiness and expressing emotions. Written by Dr. Cara Natterson, board-certified pediatrician, NY Times bestselling author of AG’s Care & Keeping of You series, and mom of a 12-year-old son and 14-year-old girl, tackles every subject in a down-to-earth and approachable manner that will help spark conversations between parents and their sons, including those most reluctant to talk about what they’re going through!

Here’s what Chelsea, mom of two boys 6 and under thought:

“There was a lot of great information broken into each body part or hygiene issue. This allows moms of younger boys to be able to focus on topics that are more on their level. The book is great to keep around long term because it does discuss puberty and what exactly happens “down there” with boys.

My son isn’t quite ready to know everything, so we stuck to the beginning of the book. I do like the fact that they combine the regular body part descriptions with the more private area descriptions. It helps kids understand that every part of their body is normal and able to be discussed openly, but it also lends itself to help kids understand the different between areas of their body that can be exposed and areas that God made to be private. It can also help guide safety talks such as who in their life is able to see which parts etc.

Overall, I like the book. Ultimately, how much or how little of the book you read to or with your child will depend on their age and maturity.”

Though it’s not always easy to talk about this topic, it’s so important. It’s never too early to start talking to your child about their body and most importantly it’s great when that information can come directly from their primary care giver.

You can purchase your copy for $12.99 at American Girl’s Website: Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys

Leave a comment!!! At what ages have you talked to your son about their body and/or puberty? Have you used any other great resources?

 

mumi&bubi Baby Food Solids Starter Kit {Guest Review}

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had lofty goals of what would happen after she was born. She was going to sleep on an organic mattress, with organic bedding, wear only organic cotton clothing, only use cloth diapers, and I was going to make her baby food. But life doesn’t always go as we plan. Instead, I worked with what we could afford and did the best I could.

The one thing that I was successful with was making her baby food.

I would usually just take whatever we were eating, puree the vegetables, and that would be her dinner. Although it seemed overwhelming at times with just one child, that was so easy. As our family grows, I learn more and more about how important it is to be organized and to prep food ahead of time.

By the time baby number 3 joined our family, I had given up on cloth diapers and making my own baby food. I stayed in survival mode. It was just easier to buy the jars. I would buy organic and the jars with the least amount of ingredients, but we were just trying to get everyone fed.

This time I’m prepared.

Buying baby food was convenient, but not cost effective. By making my own baby food, I know exactly what is in the food she is eating. I can make my own blends, and even add the purees to dishes I feed my big kids (shh…don’t tell them). I can start freezing baby now so that when she’s old enough, there won’t be any excuses. I’ll just have to pull out a couple of cubes and thaw them.

The Mumi&Bubi Solids Starter Kit makes it easy to get started.

mum and bubi Solids Starter Kit Trays Review MommyB

 

You can put your mind at ease knowing that the trays are free of BPA, phthalates and other chemicals normally found in other plastics. The trays hold 42 1 ounce portions. Perfect for starting solids. But if your child isn’t old enough for solids yet, you can still use the Mumi&Bubi Solids Starter Kit for freezing breastmilk. You can either use the frozen milk for bottles or save it to thin the puree before freezing.

The trays stack neatly on top of each other and don’t take up much room in the freezer for the amount of food you are freezing at one time. Unlike ice cube trays, it is so easy to pop out the cubes! You simply push down on one side and the cube slides right out.

 

Mumi&Bubi Great Baby Food Solids Starter Kit Review MommyB

 

As if the trays weren’t enough, Mumi&Bubi even have a recipe book and a 6 Week Starting Solids printable Journal available for downloading. Easy.

The Mumi&Bubi Solids Starter Kit makes a great baby shower gift for the expecting mama.

You can check out the Solids Starter Kit here and follow Mumi&Bubi on Facebook.

 

 

Whitney HeadshotWhitney is a stay at home mom to 4 littles. The author of Infertility: a Silent Struggle and a God Who Hears. She also writes to encourage other mamas and to introduce readers to natural living with essential oils at Beauty in the Mess.

 

 

I received product in order to give a hands-on review of the Mumi&Bubi Solids Starter Kit. All opinions expressed in this post are my own honest thoughts. Yours may vary. 

Concord Mills Announces New Play Area

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Concord Mills Mall. I only work with brands that I myself would use or think worthy of promoting to others.

 

After several renovations both inside and out to Simon Mall’s North Carolina location, Concord Mills, upgrades are here and beautiful.

While there are new stores and restaurants in and surrounding the mall, some of the biggest changes come from within.

Among the changes, Concord Mills boasts updated bathrooms and new flooring that now make the mall much more attractive and pleasant to shop in, and for families one of the biggest attractions is the brand new mall play area.

Sponsored by Sea Life Aquariums located inside the mall, this new play area caters to a wider range of ages. The previous play area was mainly focused on crawlers through young children, but the new area has three distinct places for toddlers through young teens to play and learn.

 

  • Toddler Pod: Features sprout designs where little ones can climb and spin.

 

  • Elementary Pod: Features elements including climbing blocks and an electronic piano with touch sensitive pads featuring eight different musical notes.

 

  • Tween/Teen Pod: Features the light tower challenge and the interactive electronic game, which uses light and sound. Parents can get in on the fun here, too!

 

This new addition allows shoppers with different age children to play in the same general area at the same time.

As a busy blogging mom, one of my favorite features is the new soft seating area complete with charging stations that allows parents the opportunity to recharge as their children play. I also love the bold color choices for the play area and how open and inviting it is.

 

 

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the play area your kiddos will thank me. Whether you’re shopping for back-to-school supplies, or updating your closet for Fall, this fun area will keep your kids busy and give mom and dad a little break.

Check out Concord Mills website simon.com/mall/concord-mills for your favorite stores and don’t forget to stop by the new play area.

 

Comment: What would be your family’s favorite feature of the new play area??

 

 

Carowinds KidsFest Celebration

A couple of weekends ago we had the privilege of attending Carowinds’ KidsFest with our family. Although it was only for that weekend, I can assure you the many times we have been to Carowinds and hosted events this is certainly a theme park that has a lot of activities and rides for children of all ages.

While we were at Carowinds, we were able to watch and participate in singing and dancing at Harmony Hall midway with our favorite PEANUTS™ characters. We took a break from the head to color under some shade that was provided by The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas (CBCC). We also got hands on with with Atomz Lab, learning about earth worms and physics. The nice people at Cabela’s taught us some safe ways to shoot arrows and C even got to try her hand at shooting foam-tipped arrows at floating targets.

One of my favorite parts of our day was the opportunity to meet local heroes. We were able to meet and thank the Flint Hill Fire Department, and people really enjoyed checking out the police car and appreciating Officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD).

Unfortunately due to rain, we missed Disney Junior’s musical act Choo Choo Soul, but they did still perform at PEANUTS™ Showplace, and everyone who attended had an amazing time.

The only thing I felt could have been more kid-friendly was the DJ music as it seemed to cater more to the adults, but overall the entire event was a blast. We saw kids hula hooping, enjoying Planet Snoopy rides, and also loved the pop-up vendors and games.

We hope that Carowinds continues to host more kid-friendly events and look forward to those already scheduled.

 

What are your thoughts on Carowinds when it comes to younger children? Would love to hear your feedback.

This is not a sponsored post. We received media passes in order to experience and give our honest thoughts. All opinions are that of MommyBKnowsBest.com, each individual experience may vary.

Summer Schedule for Kids – Free Printable

Summer is all about fun and relaxation, I get it. However, a loose schedule is definitely something that our family needs to avoid meltdowns and still feel like we’ve accomplished a few things during the day.

After school let out we had about a week and a half where we just had down time and that was great, but I could clearly see a need for a little bit of structure to combat the, “I’m bored” or “what can I do now?” moments.

Browsing through Pinterest I saw a great Summer Rules Printable that I liked and wanted to create something similar that fit our family needs a little better.

I created a large poster and thought a watermelon theme would be cute for the summer. {Your artistic skills may be better than mine.}

 

 

Then we realized an individual list for each child would be helpful so they could check off items daily. Here is the printable that I created. Please feel free to use for your own family as well. I know task will vary by child and household so I’ve also included a blank printable that you can use and fill in yourself below.

 

Click the link to print: Summer Rules List MommyBKnowsBest

 

CLICK HERE FOR BLANK SUMMER RULES PRINTABLE

 

We placed the printouts in a plastic dry erase pocket so the girls could write and erase easily, each child has a different color pocket and I’ve really seen them take personal responsibility in completing these tasks without being asked.

 

 

Are your summers more scheduled? Are they less scheduled?

Do you create any summer lists??

Leave a comment below!!

 

 

 

 

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