Tag - moms

A Visit to the North Carolina Zoo – Travel Tips

This is NOT a paid post. Thank you NC Zoo for hosting our family for this trip. All opinions are honest thoughts from MommyB Knows Best.

 

Imagine walking around on a beautiful day enjoying time with your family surrounded by some of the most incredible animals nature has to see.

Our family had the opportunity to visit the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro recently and we wanted to share our experience with you. In this blog series you’ll find out helpful travel tips, learn more about the zoo and it’s different areas, and hear about upcoming events.

 

For this first post we will focus on some travel tips we have for visiting the zoo.

Getting Around the Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo is an expansive zoo that houses many different animals. It should take around 4-6 hours to visit the entire park. Touted as the worlds largest zoo there’s no surprise that when you visit there will be a fair amount of walking involved.

Major animal habitats provide a good amount of space to roam around and not feel as confined. Habitats are roughly 8 minutes walking distance from one to the other. It’s a good idea to wear comfortable walking shoes and take plenty of breaks. There are some areas to sit, take advantage of those with a short break, enjoy the scenery and check out where you’re headed next on the map.

Strollers and wheelchairs are permitted and strollers are highly recommended for little ones to offer a break from walking. These items are also available for rental on a first-come, first-served basis at the Earth Explorer Gift Shop and Safari Gift Shop.

The park offers tram cars and buses inside the park and I would encourage your family to make use of them when possible, especially when weather conditions are hot or if you have very young or elderly guests.

Parking

Parking is free and there is also a free shuttle that operates from 11:am to 5:30pm during peak tourist season. We got to the park pretty early and had a very easy time parking and were able to have a short walk to the park.

Tickets & Fun Tickets

Single ticket costs are $15 per adult, $13 per senior, and $11 ages, 2-12, ages 2 and under free. (*ticket price subject to change). For us this was a very reasonable cost for entry because of how large the park is and what we were able to see. You can check out ticket pricing and get yours HERE.

AAA, SEANC and military members receive general admission discount with member identification.

If you think you will want to visit several times a year, park memberships may be purchased through the North Carolina Zoological Society.

During peak visiting season you can save by purchasing fun tickets in bulk. Whether your kiddos would like to ride the Carousel, hang out on the Giraffe Deck, or your family would like to make use of the Paddleboats or sit in and watch the latest move at the 4D Theater, there’s something for everyone. *Some attractions are weather dependent.

We used our Fun tickets for Rio 4D and it was a great experience, got us out of the heat and was something fun for the whole family.

Food

There are picnic areas open outside the park and several restaurants and snack shops and food/drink carts located throughout the park.

Our family dined at Billy D’s Fried Chicken restaurant. We loved the idea of a sustainable meal. While sustainable and farm-to-table are buzz words these days it really is neat to know where your food is coming from and knowing that it’s benefiting local vendors. When we visited they had recently opened and we were excited to try their yummy offerings. The waffle fries were a family favorite and I loved the dill in the ranch dressing. If you’re looking for food that everyone will enjoy but have a fun twist, definitely check out Billy D’s.

Shows & Attractions

The NC Zoo features regular feedings, check the feeding times for each animal as they vary. While we didn’t experience this first hand I can only imagine how neat it would be to check out.

If you’re looking for some adventure the park also offers the Air Hike Ropes Course for a nominal fee. Height restrictions apply and activity is weather dependent.

Another new attraction that we were able to check out during our visit was the Birds in Flight Bird Show. This show is around 25 minutes of feathered-fun! We saw funny birds, beautiful birds, talented birds and loved the audience interaction. This is a show that’s great for the entire family! Tickets are $3 per person over age 2 and well worth the cost. A great chance to relax, laugh, and see some beautiful birds.

 

Head HERE for more park tips and purchase your tickets!

 

In our next posts we will highlight favorite parts of our trip in both of the zoo sections, North American and Africa.You won’t want to miss it so make sure you subscribe!

 

Have you ever visited? If so, what are your tips for visiting?

Have any questions about the zoo? Head to my Facebook page!

Spring Reading List – With Reading Reward Chart Printable

As the weather warms up and we have more daylight that means we have more time to read and enjoy new books as a family. When the Bradford pear trees aren’t stinking up our yard {can I get an Amen?!?} we love to sit outside with our books before it gets too hot out.

The B girls really enjoy reading a variety of books and we wanted to share some of our favorites that you might want to add to your child’s spring reading line-up.

Bible Belles

We recently heard about the Bible Belles series. These books take a strong woman from the Bible and show how her story encourages the main character Rooney to grow in Prayer, Patience, Bravery, Loyalty, and Leadership.

There are currently 5 books in the series and C is absolutely loving these books written by Erin Weidemann. We have two books from the series, Hannah the Belle of Prayer (Book 1) and Deborah The Belle of Leadership (Book 5) we found that the books seem to go better when you have the backstory of the previous book.

Also being a super hero-loving family these books definitely draw in kids who love action with a little bit of “time travel” to books of the Bible and empowering stories. We love strong women role-models and who better than those God has called to inspire our kiddos?!?!

Purchase a 3 book set kiddos are sure to love: BibleBelles.com

 

The Greatest Brick Builds: Amazing Creations in LEGO

If you have LEGO or block builders in your family The Greatest Book Builds by Nathan Sawaya is a MUST HAVE. This book features so many unique amazing creations that are sure to inspire your children. These jaw-dropping creations are presented in full color, with close-up photos, scale representations, historical commentary on the structures, and details on how each model was constructed using LEGO bricks. Included in this collection are the Golden Gate, the USS Missouri, and the Great Sphinx of Giza, as well as other iconic structures created by LEGO crafters from around the world.

My girls enjoy trying to replicate some of the builds in the book while others they try to imagine how they are created. I love how LEGO creations are presented as art and giving this generation some “outside-the-lines” ideas to encourage creativity.

Get your copy here:

Cul-de-Sac Kids Series

Both of my children LOVE a kids mystery. I guess they’re a lot like their mom because I really like mystery as well. The Cul-de-Sac Kids series features great, non-scary story lines. The characters are funny and easy to relate to and you don’t have to worry about rude language or inappropriate/bratty behavior like some books that are similar in this genre and age-range.

{Someone please tell me why kids have to be disrespectful in books, television, and movies!?!?}

We’ve purchased several box sets that our 7-going on 8 year old, has whizzed through. We almost can’t keep up with her. It looks like there are 24 books in total so we have at least 2 more box sets.

Check them out for yourself, makes a great gift too!

 

Samantha Sanderson Series

Speaking of mysteries, here is one for the older crowd, the Samantha Sanders series by Robin Caroll. Again, appropriate behavior and language so you don’t have to worry about what your kiddos are reading {though it’s never a bad idea to pre-read or read books with your child.} We love FaithGirlz brand books and these are among some other great books we are excited to check out.

Miss A has all 4 of the books in this series and I’m sure once C gets a little older she will be excited to read them as well. When A gets really passionate about something I can tell in the way she talks about it and she loves sharing stories from these books, always a great sign.

Add these to your cart today: 

 

Some other books that your kiddos might like:

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes, we haven’t read this yet but it looks like something C will adore, it has dress-up, creativity, and a fun spirit. I can’t wait to see what she thinks!

Case for Christ for Kids by Lee Strobel, we love this series, perfect for your inquisitive kids who love black and white answers. It’s great for them to hear another perspective on faith and these books focus on several topics like Christ, Grace, the Creator and more.

 

Before you go, here’s a fun printable to encourage reading! You may want to offer a reward for reaching a certain number of books read, something fun that will motivate your child, if they need a little extra encouragement. And don’t forget, even as your children grow and get older it’s to read to them now and again, that can provide some incredibly sweet moments.

Click here to print – Kids Reading Tracker

 

 

Now it’s your turn to share: What books do your kiddos love?

 

 

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, if you purchase through the links I thank you in advance for contributing to my coffee funds and helping me keep MommyBKnowsBest.com up and running!

Fun and Easy Valentine’s Ideas for Kids

Valentine’s Day is a great holiday to celebrate with kids. My girls love languages are gifts, words of affirmation, physical touch, and quality time, so basically they cover 4 out of 5 of the love languages. If you haven’t heard about love languages check out my blog post on Exploring Love Languages.

 

Because they have different love languages we do a few things both leading up to Valentine’s Day and on the day itself. Here are just a couple new and old traditions that we partake in to celebrate.

Valentine’s Day Countdown – Make a paper chain, calendar countdown, or think of something creative to count your way down to Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t matter what day you start but here are some ideas of what you and your family can do to count your way down to the 14th.

  • Hug someone in your family
  • Read John 3:16
  • Make a craft with hearts
  • Say one reason you love each member of your family
  • Help cook a family meal or treat in the shape of a heart
  • Look at pictures from past V-days
  • Help someone in need
  • Spend time with another family
  • Invite someone to church
  • Color pictures for extended family members
  • Write a letter to a missionary or military family
  • Make Valentine’s Day cards
  • Decorate your home with words of kindness


Valentine’s Day Tree

We found this Valentine’s Day Tree in the dollar section at Target. It was made for the classroom, but I find a lot of great items that we can use at home are teaching tools or made for school. I love how easy it is to love with words of affirmation and kindness using this simple decoration.

 

There’s also something similar on Amazon*, and of course you could make your own as well:

 

Now that I’ve shared a couple of things we do in our home, I would love to hear your ideas for Valentine’s Day. Share how you celebrate by leaving a comment in the comment section below.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you make a purchase I get rewarded too. I would never link something I didn’t think would be a good purchase for my readers. Thanks for supporting MommyB Knows Best and be sure to leave a comment!

Eternity Rose – Valentine’s Day Gift Idea

It’s not always easy finding the perfect gift, wouldn’t you agree? That’s why I appreciate companies like Eternity Rose and the beautiful selections of stunning jewelry and keepsakes. I can honestly say I have never seen any of the products that Eternity Rose has to offer before and I really love that I can give a gift that will be unexpected and appreciated.

This Valentine’s Day is the perfect time of year to give the one you love a rose, and better still these roses won’t wilt. A gift from Eternity Rose, the name says it all, a gift that will last for a lifetime and be treasured for that long as well.

If you are looking for a thoughtful gift for her this Valentine’s Day, whether she loves beautiful jewelry or adores blooming roses, she can have it all.

Eternity Rose has pretty pendants, necklaces, and earrings in their jewelry line. They also sell authentic dipped roses and rose vase sets, not to mention a couple of items if you’re shopping for him as well.

You will be thrilled with the quality of your purchase. Each item comes with a certificate of authenticity and is beautifully wrapped and ready to gift to that special someone.

Visit Eternity Rose’s website to pick out the perfect Valentine’s Day gift – eternityrose.com

 

Comment below: What gift would you pick out??

 

This is not a sponsored post, I received product to review. All my thoughts are honest and my own opinion.

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

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)??

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. 

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.

Creating a Relaxing Summer Morning Routine

“I’m sharing affresh® in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™ #affresh

 

If you read my previous post on Summer Schedule for the kids you’ll know we like a mix of schedule and flexibility in the summer. Some mornings we sleep in and other mornings we have to get up early for play dates or errands, but we always make time for breakfast and that includes a delicious cup of coffee for me.

 

To make things run a little more smoothly in the morning I use our daily magnets to set up how our day will look so the girls will know what to expect for the day first thing in the morning.

If we are going to a play date or the pool I’ll also get any items we will need, like snacks, water bottles, pool toys or towels ready the night before so we can just grab and go. That ensures that we’re not running around trying to find items last minute and also equals less stress for everyone.

I find for me, preparing things the night before helps us to not feel rushed eating breakfast and allows us to enjoy our mornings together.

Since I drink coffee every day I want to make sure my coffee maker is fresh and clean and honestly I don’t want to spend a lot of time doing that when I’d rather be playing board games with my girls or taking them to the park.

I love the affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner. It is a speciality cleaner designed to work specifically with coffeemakers. That means it is compatible with multi-cup and single serve brewers, cleans hard water deposits and mineral build-up, and it’s super easy to use. There’s no need to mix, measure or stir, I just drop in a tablet and let it do the work. {One of my favorite things is that my whole house doesn’t smell like vinegar after it’s done cleaning.}

 

Here’s just how simple it is:

How to use for multi-cup coffeemakers:
  1. FILL the reservoir with water to max level
  2. Drop 1 tablet into reservoir. (For coffeemakers with covered reservoirs, fill the brew pot with water and dissolve 1 tablet in the brew pot, then pour solution into water reservoir)
  3. RUN 1 brew cycle (or ‘clean’ cycle if applicable) into brew pot.
  4. DISCARD dirty water from brew pot and then fill reservoir with fresh water to max level
  5. RUN 1 brew cycle using fresh water then discard to rinse the coffeemaker.
How to use for single serve brewers:
  1. FILL the reservoir to max level. Drop 1 tablet into reservoir.
  2. RUN 2 brew cycles selecting largest cup size, discarding dirty water between brews.
  3. DISCARD remaining water from reservoir. Fill reservoir with fresh water to max level.
  4. RUN 2 additional brew cycles and then discard to rinse coffeemaker.

Or as I like to say fill, drop, fizz, bubble, brew, clean!

 

For more information about affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner, check out affresh.com

 

No matter what machine you use to brew your coffee, you can’t beat a virtually hands-off cleaning product, especially when it comes to some coffeemakers that make it tricky to clean thoroughly. So if you’re dreaming of easy summer mornings and a fresh cup of coffee, affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner may become your favorite cleaning product.

 

 

If you have a busy summer like us affresh® cleaners provide so many quick cleaning options that will allow you to spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your family. Purchase your affresh® cleaners HERE.

 

What are some things you do to help summer mornings run smoother?