Tag - charlotte

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.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

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!!!

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.

 

skyhigh-collage-mommyb

 

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!!!

 

sky-high-clt-bounce-mommyb

 

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.

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.