End of Summer Ideas

mom chjapel hill logo allison carter

Okay, parents, summer ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings…or at least until that school bell rings…or that yellow school bus brings tears to your eyes as it rolls down the road… tears of JOY. But let’s talk about ways you can eek out some last minute end-of-summer bliss in our area:

- Try out the NC Zoo. It is so beautiful and accessible. I think every family in NC should go a couple of times a year. Of course, every family in NC DOES seem to go a couple times a year, so it can be crowded. But whenever we show up early and plan to leave right after lunch we bound around seemingly alone. The Dinosaurs are still in existence now, too, (the exhibit’s not extinct yet!) so lots of fun to be had.

- Enjoy some end-of-summer midday sweet treats. Go to LocoPops or head to Durham to try out The Parlour (if you haven’t already). Of course, long-standing The Yogurt Pump still serves Franklin Street. Get some cold sweets and languidly walk around campus on one of these last long-enduring summer evenings.

- The Art of the Brick is in Graham, NC for a special 3-month tour. Want to expose your kids to some art? Take a day trip one of these final summer days and see the LEGO wonder for yourself.

- Take some time to get wet! Of course, I shared my tips about enjoying Jordan Lake in a previous Chapelboro article. But did you know that Chapel Hill has a FREE public pool? Jump in while you can!

- If you want to be really wild and crazy, hit the road to jump on the beach! Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach are closer than you might think (or want to tell your kids). A long day trip to dip those toes in the sand one last time? Might be worth it. I first fell in love with this particular area about five years ago and can’t stay away.

That’s what I am considering as the last bittersweet days of summer tick by. School is back so very, very soon.

How about you? What will you be doing to finalize your summer 2013 bucket list?

http://chapelboro.com/columns/fifteen-five-o-mom/end-of-summer-ideas/

Local Where’s Waldo Hunt

IMG_20130712_120250Looking for something to do to beat all this rain? Head out and find Waldo across the Triangle.

Throughout the month of July Waldo is hiding at favorite business all around town. There are 3 different “hunts” going on: Chapel Hill/Carrboro, Durham, and Raleigh. (Find the links for each of these below.)

My boys and I went out to do some searching this AM (which you may have seen on the MiCHill Instagram feed and on Facebook – go follow us there!). But I wanted to get this up right away since you only have until the end of July to get your completed passports in.

In Chapel Hill we started at Flyleaf Books and picked up our passport. In Durham you can get your passport to get started at The Regulator or head to the link below to print yours out at home. In Raleigh you can get your passport at Quail Ridge Books.

Then start finding Waldo! The passports will list the businesses that have a small Waldo hidden somewhere within. In Chapel Hill it is 12 businesses, in Durham this is 40 (40!!) places, in Raleigh it is 23 businesses. These are all local business, too. For Chapel Hill/Carrboro it is some of my favorite spots, so it is a fun tour of the town that you can do over multiple days.

But don’t get overwhelmed because you needn’t get ALL the boxes checked to be eligible to win some stuff. Once you get 10 signatures/stamps in your passport, turn it in to where you started (dependent on which city you are in).

And turn it in right away because there are prizes to be had! The first 100 folks to turn in passports in Chapel Hill, for example, get coupons and stickers. But each city does the prizes a little differently so check the rules. You could win stuff even if you aren’t within the first 100 entries, yet get yours in as quick as you can be eligible for the most swag.

How hard Waldo is to find really depends on the business. Each establishment treats it a little differently. One spot we went to they let the kids hide Waldo after they find him…which makes him hard to find and it seemed like a bit of a wild goose chase for a friend of mine (luckily the staff here was awesome, involved,and very helpful).

Either way, though, don’t be shy because businesses know why you are there, they WANT you there, they WELCOME you there, and they know Waldo is lurking.

No cost to play and you don’t even have to buy merchandise at any of the stores to head in. They are fine if you come in, hunt, and leave…although some of the places are going to be hard NOT to buy something in (I have my eyes on YOU scones at Foster’s).

Have fun with this one and remember, you only have until July 31st to get those passports in!

Shop Local & Find Waldo

July 2013

Chapel Hill
https://www.facebook.com/events/138345586366674/

Durham
http://www.sustainabull.net/2013/06/10/find-waldo-in-durham-this-july/

Raleigh
https://www.facebook.com/events/159504090900363/# or GoAskMom’s Post

http://chapelboro.com/columns/fifteen-five-o-mom/local-wheres-waldo-hunt/

Summer Revival

We have officially gone from reveling in summer to hating it here at my house.   Perhaps I shouldn’t speak for my husband and child, but I am in official “enough oppressive heat already” mode. Sigh. And it’s only June. 
 
But I got a little kick in the pants this past weekend. Some things happened that made me rekindle my little summer fling with, well, summer.
 
First, I hit up the Farmers’ Markets again. Carrboro’s Farmers’ Market just brings joy to my heart and my tastebuds! It is a fabulous place to take the kids, too. Breads and sweet breakfast pastries available to snack on…fruits and veggies of all colors of the rainbow that only appear in the summer…meats that aren’t over-produced…and flowers and plants to try your own farming at home. Plus when my son and I tire of looking at and tasting the bounty, we like that the kids playground is perfect for tots and littler kids. It’s a great Saturday morning overall.
 
It gets better when we head over to Weaver Street Market. I sit on the benches in the shade eating my bagel while C throws pebbles and otherwise engages in properly 2-year-old-boy deviant behavior.
 
Second, the other event that happened this weekend that made me rejuvenate, was the Pick Your Own trip we did. My son and I LOVED strawberry season. Strawberries are full of promise: the beginning of warm weather, living off the land, outdoor activities. It’s a great time. But when the strawberries are over, then what? Enter the blueberry! Over on Mom in Chapel Hill this week we’ll be suggesting, reviewing, and recommending 2 different local spots to go and have your child pick their own food. That’s right – they will know where fruits come from. But a little preview: we loved both Patchwork Farm and Herndon Hills.
 
So Chapelboro friends, life is back to good here. After a day at the pool, sweating and fanning myself, I am now off to get this blueberry cobbler out of the oven. Have a good one!

http://chapelboro.com/columns/a-chapel-hill-mom/summer-revival/

Let's get doused

Every day now my toddler wakes up and says “I wanna go to the POOL” or “I wanna go to the BEACH.” Yeah, me too. And it’s summer, so it is the season of water mania. 
 
Pools we have in this area. AD Clark is free and open (hip hip!!) and many of the private pools, such as Chapel Hill Tennis Club and Southern Village, have begun their devilish courtship of the heat and humidity.
But did you know we have beaches, too? Yeah, that’s right, over at Jordan Lake. And no, you won’t get pristine white sand and turquoise waters like travel brochures boast about. But hey, these days a beach is a beach and so is life. I’ve personally tried out Seaforth Recreation Area and Parker’s Creek and had fun (even in the off season).
 
Yet can we get together, folks, and lobby Chapel Hill and Carrboro to install some fantastic spraygrounds? Because sometimes parents don’t want to pay for a pool, or fight with pool crowds and swim teams, or deal with monitoring a child in brackish water at a beach. Sometimes we want to sit in the shade and smile lovingly and complacently while our child runs through hoses and fountains powered by little hands.
And speaking of monitoring, let’s chat for a second about being a parent and having water in the picture. Because I never want to be an overly-paranoid parent and have my child develop phobias based on me scaring them about life. But nor do I want to deal with anything of any sort of near dangerous when it comes to water. That is no laughing matter. So yeah, my toddler will be the one in the large life preserver at the beach this summer. Please don’t laugh at him, it’s not his fault. It’s his momma. You know, the one sitting in the water at the beach’s edge smiling lovingly and complacently.

By the way, I always love your thoughts and opinions, too.  So let me know what you think about getting spraygrounds, making your child run around in large floatation devices, or pools you love!  And, of course, you can find me over on my other blog if you just can’t get enough ideas of family friendly ideas.

http://chapelboro.com/columns/a-chapel-hill-mom/lets-get-doused/

Summer Music Makes Me Cool

I have a love/hate relationship with summer, especially now that there is a child involved.  I love pools.  I hate having to smear sunscreen all over everyone and the inevitable crying that comes when it gets in the eyes.  I love that sprinklers in the backyard are hours of easy, free amusement.  I hate that when it gets too hot or when it rains, inside activities are back on the agenda and I am scrambling for ideas. 

But one thing that has no downside, as far as I am concerned, when it comes to summer in this area is the local music.

Now I don’t talk music like Ron Stutts does over at his blog.  But on my blog I put together our annual list of ongoing summer events.  And it makes me so excited.  It is my sit-here-scratching-my-mosquito-bites-but-remembering-why-I-love-this-place moment.  It’s one of the reasons why we’re in this area to begin with.  During the summer you can see free music every day from Thursday through Sunday.  It goes something like this:

Thursdays: Weaver Street After-Hours Music, Locally Grown, OR the new University Mall Sweet Carolina Concert Series
Fridays: Back Porch at Bynum OR Carolina Inn’s Fridays on the Front Porch (depends on which side of the porch you prefer, it seems)
Saturdays: Saxapahaw Summer Music Series OR head over to Southpoint and combine errands and dining with their Music on Main series
Sundays: Weaver Street Jazz Brunch

How incredible is that list?

I know, not all of the talent is going to be seen on the Grammys anytime soon.  Although you never know (Carolina Chocolate Drops anyone?).  But isn’t it great to support local talent and your community?  Plus if they do hit it big you can always say “I knew them when…”

And think how fabulous all of this is for kids.  I love that I will be raising my family in an area that appreciates music.  Because at all of these venues people dance and frolic.  Proving that music is something to enjoy, revel in, and live in.  Not just sit stodgily and listen to.

Not to mention how many different types of music my child will be exposed to if we can keep up the exhausting schedule as listed above: bluegrass, jazz, beach music, zydeco, rockabilly, and who knows what else.

So I say to the 100 degrees, the mosquitoes, the thunderstorms, and my wilting hair: BRING IT ON.  I’ll be at The Weave watching my child dance to music and drinking a beer.

http://chapelboro.com/columns/a-chapel-hill-mom/summer-music-makes-me-cool/