Tag - north carolina

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

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.

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

 

 

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!!!

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

bloomin-onion1

 


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


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

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

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

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Getting our House Market Ready – Window Genie Review

The Bullocks are moving to Charlotte!

Lately our family has been getting our current home market ready and as we do so we want our home to look amazing for buyers. Our awesome realtor has helped us with staging the home, we hired a carpet cleaner to freshen up some areas in the house and recently Window Genie of Concord paid us a visit.

 

NEW WG Gold

 

Most homes around this time of year need a little cleaning and our home is no different {other than the fact that we want it to look extra nice for potential buyers}. We were introduced to Window Genie Concord and they helped us achieve a beautiful, clean looking home.

If you’re not familiar with the company, Window Genie offers a huge selection of services whether you are getting your home market ready or just want to maintain your home’s curb appeal.

Mark from Window Genie came to our home to survey areas that were in need of care and give us a recommended plan of action. We chose to have the North side of the house, North side of our inside fence, and both front and back patios/walkways powerwashed.

While they were here Mark and his team went above and beyond to make sure our home looked amazing.

Here are some before and after pictures:

 

Window Genie Patio MommyB

 

Window Genie Siding MommyB

 

Window Genie Fence MommyB

 

(No filters were used on any images but as you can tell the direction of the sun changed between photos.)

As you can see the results speak for themselves. Mark and his team were friendly, and professional. One thing I really loved too is that they moved and put back all the furniture that was where they cleaned saving me time to complete other tasks on my ever growing to-do list.

I love how clean the house and fence look and know whoever decides to tour the house will notice as well. We are so happy we worked with Window Genie to help get our home market ready. I’m already making a list of tasks for Window Genie for our new house to make it look just as great as our house now.

 

 

If you want to check them out, they’re a national company, and I can personally recommend the Concord branch. concord-nc.windowgenie.com

Mention MommyBKnowsBest to Window Genie Concord location and receive 10% off!!! 

 

I want to know: What are some things you’ve done or services you’ve used to make your house market ready??

This is a review for Window Genie services I did not receive compensation and all opinions are my own, honest thoughts.

Grand Opening of the NEW American Girl Store Charlotte Sneak Peek

The NEW American Girl Store at the Southpark Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina opens this weekend, Saturday, October 11th – Sunday, October 12th.

The B girls and I were invited to the store today for a sneak peek before opening day. Here are some photos of our visit:

American Girl Charlotte Sneak Peek MommyB

NEW American Girl Store Southpark Charlotte Visit MommyB

The new 12,000-square-foot retail site, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, features a fun, casual environment where girls and their family members and friends can shop for their favorite American Girl products, browse a great selection of books in their bookstore, enjoy lunch and dinner, or an unforgettable dessert in the Bistro, treat their doll to a new ‘do in the Doll Hair Salon, and celebrate birthdays or other special events.

American Girl Store Charlotte Salon MommyB

 

American Girl Charlotte bitty baby & Bookstore MommyB

 

American Girl Charlotte Beforever Collection

 

American Girl Store Charlotte Bistro MommyB

 

Details for the Grand Opening can be found on their website: American Girl Charlotte. If you’re interested in attending this weekend I highly suggest being prepared ahead of time and plan on spending hours at the mall. If you make it a day-trip it will definitely make you and your kiddos a little happier, bring activities, and plan to visit other locations in the Southpark Mall to make the time pass quicker.

 

American Girl Charlotte Grand Opening on MommyBKnowsBest

 

American Girl Store is at Southpark Mall, 4400 Sharon Road, Charlotte, NC 28211. The best entrance to park next to is the Macy’s wing of Southpark Mall and you’ll find the store as you walk to the Mall entrance on the second level. {You won’t be able to miss it.}

In all we loved learning about the history of American Girl, enjoy the wholesome values and character that this brand brings to keep our daughters young as opposed to some products available on shelves today. While the cost of an American Girl doll can be higher than some customer’s budget there are options to purchase accessories, mini versions of their favorite dolls, or a great incentive {like my girls are doing} to save up their money by doing chores and birthday dollars.

Have you ever been to an American Girl store? Will you visit the NEW American Girl store in Charlotte, North Carolina? 

 

 

This is not a paid post, I attended a media event upon request from American Girl. All opinions and thoughts are my own honest words. Your experiences may vary.