Top 5 Things to Do In Shelby, NC

If you’re within a few hour drive of Shelby, NC here’s a list of 5 attractions that I think will make for a great day trip.  Call it a day-cation if you like.  This list of the Top 5 Things to Do in Shelby, NC is brought to you by MarburgerChryslerJeepDodgeRam.com which just so happens to be located in Shelby.

Banjo

  • 1. Earl Scruggs Center – Music & Stories From the American South

If you don’t know who Earl Scruggs is, I’m not sure we can be friends. I’m kidding…kind of.  The late Earl Scruggs pioneered the banjo picking method that made bluegrass what it is today.  His hometown was Shelby, NC so it’s fitting that’s where this center is found.  They have a very affordable exhibit and they offer free passes to all active military and veterans.  Not only do they have the exhibit open year round but they also offer music camps for kids and adults, coffee with the curator, affordable concerts from local artists, and so much more.  Check out EarlScruggsCenter.org for all the details.

 

Merry Go Round Festival

  • 2. Foothills Merry Go Round Festival

Okay, so a trip to the park might not be worth an hour drive to get to but I think their Foothills Merry Go Round Festival is!  It’s April 27th-28th this year (2019) but this will be their 22nd year hosting it so I’m sure they’ll have many more to come.  They have rides and attractions and it’s only $8 per person for the day.  Everything will be included except for the food.  I’ve never been to a festival that had the rides included in the ticket price.  It sounds like a lot of fun!  Visit CityofShelby.com for more details.

 

Drive In Theater

  • 3. Sunset Drive In Theatre

This drive-in theatre will bring back memories of days gone by while providing a great and affordable evening out with the family today.  Well, not today actually, it doesn’t open for the season until April.  Mark your calendars though because this is one fun outing that you’ll want to have on your to-do list.  It’s only $12 for a car and while they have reasonably priced concessions, you’re even allowed to bring in outside food!  What a deal!  Visit SunsetDriveinTheatre.com for more information. (Note, I’m sure it doesn’t matter to anyone but the picture above is a stock photo and isn’t of the Sunset Drive in Theatre.  I just went with this instead of getting permission to use theirs while they’re on their off season)

 

Bird's Eye Balloon Rides

  • 4. Bird’s-Eye Balloon Rides

I did get permission to use this photo from Bird’s-Eye Balloon so if you go there this is what the balloon you will ride on will look like.  When I contacted them they were very friendly!  They mentioned that this time of year is great for proposals and they haven’t had anyone say no to a proposal yet.  I’m just throwing that out there in case any of you are looking to pop the question.  I would love to go on a hot air balloon ride one day!  My dear husband is afraid of heights so I’m waiting till my kids are a little older to go with me.  If you’re in Shelby and have always dreamed of a hot air balloon ride then you should definitely stroll by Bird’s-Eye Balloon Rides.  You can find out all the details about a ride at BirdsEyeBalloonRides.com.

 

Cleveland County Arts Council

5. Cleveland County Arts Council

If you love art then I think the Cleveland County Arts Council would make a good stop for you.  They have beautiful art to look at, a gift shop to take some home with you, music and film festivals, art classes for kids and adults, and even art camps.  They have a lot of events on their calendar so if art interests you, visit CAArtsCouncil.org for more information.

There you have it, those are my top picks for a day trip to Shelby, NC.  If I left off anything you think I should have included please let me know in the comments.

Top 3 Things to Do in Richmond, Va

Maybe it’s the rain but I’ve been day dreaming of visiting another nearby town and spending the day there.  It’s certainly easier than a full scale vacation and it’s a great way to learn about the surrounding area.  If you live within driving distance of Richmond, Va I hope you’ll enjoy my recommendations.  This Top 3 Things to Do in Richmond, Va post is brought to you by a Richmond business, PearsonChryslerJeepOnline.com.

RVA Trolley Tours

  • 1. RVA Historic Trolley Tour

If you know me, you know my love of Mister Rogers.  It’s true.  There is a deep love I have for that precious man and the work he left behind.  Loving him, means loving Speedy Delivery and all things trolley related.  I’ve watched his trolley tour episode with my kids over and over.  I would love to ride a trolley some day and a trolley tour seems like a great way to do just that.  You get to see a trolley up close and see the Richmond area at the same time.  The RVA Historic tours website boasts, “This two-hour historic tour will give you a great overview of the history of Richmond! See and learn about the State Capitol, St. John’s Church, Libby Hill, Monument Ave, James River, and much more!”  To learn more visit RVATrolley.biz.

  • 2. Food Tours

How come this isn’t a thing where I live?  This should be a thing everywhere!  You can pay one price and enjoy a 3 hour food tour of the best eateries in the area.  I couldn’t pick just one to share because they all sounded so good.  Here are your three food tour options straight from their website:

-Dive into Church Hill, Richmond’s oldest neighborhood! Get a taste of the barbecue, baked goods, and everything else that makes Church Hill a food powerhouse, while uncovering Richmond’s origin story in this must-visit neighborhood.

-Explore Carytown from an insider’s perspective as you enjoy food and snacks from 5-6 different restaurants, cafes, and shops and learn from our expert guides about the fun and quirky history of Richmond’s most exciting neighborhood.

-Discover Richmond’s hip Arts District! Savor mouth-watering food and snacks from local restaurants and bakeries, meet the people behind these culinary destinations, and hear the stories of one of Richmond’s defining neighborhoods.

I really don’t know which one I would pick because they all sound so good!  To find more information visit RiverCityFoodTours.com.

  • 3. Museums

Last but certainly not least, museums.  Richmond boasts of museum after museum after museum!  There is The Valentine, the American Civil War Museum-White House of the Confederacy, The American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar, Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives, Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design, Children’s Museum of Richmond (two locations), Chimborazo Medical Museum, Edgar Allen Poe Museum, Virginia Holocaust Museum, and so many more!  To see all the museums that Richmond has to offer visit VisitRichmondVA.com.

There you have it!  Those are the three things I would do if I had a spare day or two in Richmond, Va.  I would take a trolley tour, eat a lot of good food, and expand my mind with museum after museum.  If you love Richmond and have something to add to my list please feel free to leave a comment below.

How to Keep Kids Happy on a Road Trip

How to Keep Kids Happy on Road Trips

  

Wear comfy clothes, pack back up clothes just in case of a water spill or some unforeseen emergency.

     

  • 4. Music.

Let them have a turn choosing music.  (On that note, you may want to see my Top Road Trip Tunes)  Sing with them.  Dance.  Let yourself have fun, which brings me to my next point.

  • 5. Be Silly.

Wear silly glasses and act like it’s normal when another car sees you.  Enjoy being with your kids.  Be that mom or dad that seems more like a babysitter instead of a parent.  That’s harder than ever to do on a trip but it’s that much more important to do then.  If you’re having a good time then they’ll have a good time.  You can control your attitude and in turn your attitude will greatly influence theirs.

  • 6. Play games WITH them.

Punch Buggy (although that’s honestly not a favorite of mine), License Plate Bingo (that’s right up my alley!), anything to pass time and keep their minds occupied. Who can spot the most pickups in 20 minutes? How many yellow cars are in the state of Virginia? (See my Top 3 Things to Do in Richmond post if you’re near there!) Make up the games as you go but whatever you do be part of the fun and you’ll probably find that it makes the trip go even faster for you too!

  • 7. Stop often.

Plan ahead of time for stops and allow the kids to stretch their legs at a rest stop or even a park.  A quick game of catch could be just what the kids need to get the blood pumping and burn off some energy.

Those are my 7 best tips for how to keep kids happy on a road trip.  If you have anything to add to my list please leave me a comment!

Carpool Safety Tips

This post is brought to you by Barkaucdjr.com.

Carpool Safety Tips

With moms and dads shuttling kids to event after event it’s no wonder folks have turned to carpooling to help cut down on their time spent on the road.  It’s a great way to make sure the kids get where they need to be without constantly being on the go…or maybe you have another kid’s event to be at and can’t be at two places at once.  Letting kids carpool with friends and family just makes sense for a lot of families but it’s important to make sure it’s done safely.  Here are some tips to help to help you navigate the carpool waters.  See what I did there?  Pool. Water. Ha.  Okay, on to the carpool safety tips…

1.) Know Who Will Be Driving

Statistically the number one cause of death of children ages 1-12 in the US is car crashes.  It’s imperative that you know and trust the people you’re entrusting your children with.  You want someone who practices safe driving habits on a regular basis.  Not only that but you need to make it clear that you don’t want any other individuals driving your children around that you haven’t given express permission to.  There my be circumstances when they need a backup person and it’s a good idea to find out who that is before the occasion arises.

2.) Make Sure Your Child Will Be Properly Secured

Car seat safety is something that I am passionate about!  I would make sure that all individuals who would be driving in the carpool be fully educated about my child’s type of car seat, how to install it, and how to properly restrain them each time they’re in the car.  Whether it’s a car seat or a booster seat all drivers need to know the ins and outs of car seat safety.

3.) Keep Your Kids Informed

Because you won’t be in the car when other adults are driving, it’s essential for your kids to know about what’s going on.  They need to know who is dropping them off, picking them up, and where they’re going.  They need to be responsible to keep up with their belongings.  It’s important that they also know how to behave in a car seat or booster seat.  It’s important that they stay buckled up and sit up when in a booster.  Plus, it’s a good idea to have ongoing conversations with your kids about the people they’re riding with and make sure they don’t feel uncomfortable in any way.

I hope these carpool safety tips will help keep your sweet little ones safe on the roads.

Parking Lot Safety Tips

Parking Lot Safety Tips

I’m hyper-vigilant about parking lot safety….and safety in general as a mom.  Yes, I’m that kind of mom.  Especially when we’re out in public.  There’s just so much that could happen quickly.  There’s too much at stake, in my opinion, to take a relaxed approach.  Because I’m this way my daughter always grabs my arm when we walk across a parking lot, even if my hands are full.  I’ve trained her well and she’s as cautious in parking lots as I am.

This past week she was helping her younger brother remember to look both ways before crossing the parking lot lane.  She said, “this is a lot like a street so you have to be very safe.  I wish someone would create a safer parking lot where you didn’t have to be so careful.”  I told her that she was absolutely correct in her assessment.  We also had fun trying to brainstorm different types of parking systems where people could park and safely walk to the building without fear of oncoming traffic.  The closest we could come up with would be some sort of tunnel system and we agreed that didn’t seem practical.  So, for the moment, until someone creates something better, it’s a good idea to be safe in parking lots and I have some tips to share with you on how to do just that.  This post is brought to you by Thunderchrysler.com.

I have to tell you that I wanted to look up some stats to write this post and include some handy information and what I found was a treasure trove of information.  The Pedestrian and Traffic Safety in Parking Lots at SNL/NM: Audit Background Report is a 57 page pdf that has more information than you ever wanted to know about parking lot safety.  If you want more information after you read my article please check it out!

-Drivers Are Distracted In Parking Lots

The NSC.org website says, “In an NSC public opinion poll, 66% of drivers nationwide said they would make phone calls while driving through parking lots. Respondents also said they would:

  • Program GPS systems (63%)
  • Text (56%)
  • Use social media (52%)
  • Send or receive emails (50%)
  • Take photos or watch videos (49%)

NSC found teen drivers (59%) were more likely to engage in personal grooming than adults (53%) while driving in parking lots, but less likely to be on the phone (60% vs. 66%).”

-Pedestrian Parking Lot Safety

  • -Be hyper-aware of your surroundings when walking across parking lots.  Like my daughter says, look both ways as if it were a busy street.
  • -Always make eye contact and wait for the driver to signal you across.  Don’t just walk and assume that they’ll see you and stop for you.  Drivers are distracted in parking lots, remember?  Don’t assume.
  • -Walk on sidewalks and crosswalks when possible.  Make it easy for drivers to see you.
  • -If the weather is bad wear the appropriate shoes.  You don’t want to slip and fall and not be seen by a driver.  I personally know someone who accidentally ran over a man’s legs who was knelt down in a dark parking lot.  He ended up surviving and making a full recovery but it was a terrible ordeal just the same.
  • -Many accidents happen when cars are backing up and don’t see people behind them.  I like to walk quickly behind running cars juuuust in case they back up suddenly without looking first.
  • -Get off your cell phone.  I am constantly amazed by the number of people looking at their phones while walking through parking lots.  It’s not smart.

-Driver Parking Lot Safety

  • -When possible choose a pull through spot to avoid having to back up.
  • -When you have to back up double check that there isn’t anything or anyone behind you before driving in reverse.
  • -Avoid driving through a parking lot and stick to the driving lanes.
  • -Slow down.  Parking lots have 10-15 MPH speed limits for a good reason.
  • -Keep an eye out for kids.  Please keep an eye out for little ones that may dart away from their mother’s grip.
  • -This is the same advice that I listed above for pedestrian safety and in my Tips for Teen Drivers, leave your phone alone.  Leave it in your bag.  Don’t drive distracted.  If it’s so urgent that you need to attend to something, pull into a parking spot for a moment before driving on.

What are some things you implement to try and stay safe in parking lots?

5 Charities Kids Can Help With

If you’re a parent who wants to teach your kids the concept of giving and how vitally important this is as a part of society, then you should continue reading this article. There are many ways kids can learn to give back to others in their community. Today, I am sharing 5 charities that your kids can help with; some ideas are perfect for the whole family to be a part of.

5 Charities Your Kids Can Help With

St. Jude

Kids can raise money by hosting a bake sale or having their own lemonade stand. A community yard sale is another great way kids can help to raise funds for this charity. Monies raised can be donated to this charity that’s mission is to find the cure for childhood cancer.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Speaking of a lemonade stand, this charity helps kids set up their own stand and in turn, all proceeds are donated to help find a cure for childhood cancer. Register for a lemonade stand and they can receive an event kit which helps to ensure they are able to host a successful charitable lemonade stand.

Habitat for Humanity

This charity encourages kids to be involved in creating art for homeowners that’s then incorporated into the homes they build for families. In addition, kids can collect non-perishable foods for those being helped by this charity.

Kaboom

This is a charity that builds playgrounds and similar structures all over to ensure that playtime is brought back into the lives of kids. Your kids can help this charity by researching any local areas that Kaboom may be able to help near you and in turn, your kids can assist in the building of the playgrounds.

Homeless Shelters

Lastly, there are many homeless shelters around the world these days. These shelters provide food and drink to those who have no home.  You and your kids can take time out of your day once a month to volunteer at these shelters to give back to your local community.

Learning to give back at a young age will instill the habit and tradition of helping with charities and always giving back to others in need. While some charities won’t involve kids at a higher level, even the smallest contribution your kids can make to a charitable organization is well worth it. This life skill is a necessary part of ensuring we’re raising well-rounded kids who grow up to be a positive member of society.

Cotton Candy Slime Recipe

This Cotton Candy Slime Recipe is an easy peasy slime that uses liquid starch and not a bit of borax. These lovely pastel colors will have you dreaming of cotton candy, unicorns, fairies, and all things princess.  Find out how to make cotton candy slime by scrolling down.  This post contains affiliate links.

Cotton Candy Slime DIY

To make this cotton candy slime you’ll need:

  • White school glue – I buy glue by the gallon on Amazon.  Tiny bottles make small batches and slime is so addicting.  Go ahead and get the gallon size.  Trust me, you’ll thank me later.  You can find gallons of glue in stores but with the popularity slime has seen recently it’s getting harder and harder to find.
  • Liquid starch – This is another thing that has been increasingly hard to find so I order it with the glue online.
  • Paint – I uses Deco Art Americana Acrylic Paint in Lavender and Flamingo.
  • – 2 separate bowls (or red solo cups but I prefer bowls)
  • – 2 spoons (or wooden craft sticks but I prefer regular kitchen spoons)

COTTON CANDY SLIME EASY RECIPE WITH LIQUID STARCH

Cotton Candy Slime

A FEW QUICK SLIME REMINDERS BEFORE WE GET STARTED MAKING SLIME: Slime is a science project.  It can be absolutely fun to do with kids and teach them about the bonding process that’s happening.  …but because it’s a science it is a little messy and requires patience.  Take your time, experiment with different amounts and you’ll have wonderful cotton candy slime.  Also, don’t let the name fool you, this slime is NOT edible.  Do not eat it.  Please make sure children are supervised and don’t allow children to play with it that may put it in their mouths.

You’ll want to mix each color in it’s separate bowl.

Pour approx 2 cups of white glue into each bowl.  You don’t have to measure it, just guesstimate.  Use as much glue as you want to have slime.

Purple Slime

Add your paint.  Mix.

Making Purple Slime

I know you don’t need a visual of mixing the paint but I just love how pretty this step is!  Once mixed if the color isn’t what you desire, add more.

Slime Process

Once you have your colors just like you want them to be you can move onto the starch.  Please note that spray starch is not the same thing as the liquid version.  Use liquid starch.  Pour in approximately 2-3 Tablespoons and stir.

Personal Tip: I find that big jug of starch hard to control so to avoid pouring too much I pour a small amount into a small bowl and spoon out tablespoons full as needed.  It makes life easier for this clumsy person so I’m sharing in case any of you can relate. 🙂

Stir your mixture for a few minutes to get it all mixed up then take it out and begin kneading it with your hands.

Pink Slime

If it’s still incredibly sticky and is sticking to your fingers add a little more starch.  This is another reason I like to pour the starch into a bowl!  The bowl makes it easy to dip my slime into, knead a little, dip, knead, dip, knead, etc.  Once you get the consistency you like you are golden!

Purple Slime Play

Slime is such a great sensory activity for kids!

Mixing Slime Colors

Mixing Slime Tip: Don’t mix all of your pink and purple up at once.  Mix the slime in smaller batches to enjoy the activity longer.  I’ve found that it’s fun for kids to get to experience the colors mixing and melding over and over…or maybe you just want to have a set of colors to mix for yourself along with your kids!

Mixing Pink and Purple Slime

Look how fun!

Cotton Candy Slime Recipe

I hope you and yours enjoy making slime together as much as my family does.

Cotton Candy Slime

Cotton Candy DIY

Pink and Purple Slime DIY

Do you love this homemade slime recipe and want to see more?

Ocean Waves Slime

Try this Ocean Slime Recipe!

 


Safe Driving Tips for Teens

Safe Driving Tips for Teens

It’s is a known fact that teenage drivers account for more cat accidents than folks in any other age group.  Here are 5 tips that can help keep your teen safe while on the road.  This post is brought to you by Kingbgmc.com.

1.) Choose a Safe Car

When looking for a new (to us) car I cared about the safety of the of the car first and foremost.  Check the crash safety record before you look into the latest features.  As a side note, this is a great thing to do with car seats too.  You want a car with the latest anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and air bags.  The new back up cameras are a nice feature too but it wouldn’t be on my must have list.

2.) Put Down Your Cell Phone Off

There are studies that relate driving with a cell phone (even hands-free) to driving drunk.  That’s awful.  Distracted driving is  dangerous for anyone and increasingly so for new drivers who need to concentrate.

3.) Don’t Text (Even voice to text)

An average text takes 5 seconds to type and send.  That seems quick enough, right?  Wrong. Even if only traveling at 55 mph, that would take your care the the length of an entire football field without looking at the road.  A lot can go wrong in those few seconds.

Studies have found that voice to text can be just as dangerous.  AAA released a study that confirmed this. They said, “as mental workload and distractions increase, reaction time slows, brain function is compromised, drivers scan the road less and miss visual cues, potentially resulting in drivers not seeing items right in front of them including stop signs and pedestrians.”

4.) Obey the Speed Limit

This seems like a given, right?  Speeding is a major contributor to teen accidents.  This is especially true in unfamiliar areas or when there is a lot of traffic.  Even if everyone is speeding by, keep a safe speed.  It can not only keep you safer but will help you avoid costly tickets and sky rocketing auto insurance premiums.

5.) Minimize Distractions

Being a distracted driver is possible even if you leave your phone in your bag.  Drinking (anything), eating, playing with the radio, can all cause your mind or vision to wander.  Try and arrive somewhere a few minutes early if you need to reapply your make up, eat your lunch, or whatever else you’re tempted to do in the car.  Chances are, whatever it is you’re doing, isn’t worth risking your life for.

There you have it, 5 tips to help you stay focused and safe on the road.

How to Encourage Good Hygiene Habits in Children

Encouraging good hygiene habits in children can prove to be somewhat difficult. As you may have experienced, some children are wonderful about brushing their teeth, flossing, and using a mouth rinse while other children can give you a hard time about this whole process. If you are one of the many parents with a child who simply cannot stand brushing their teeth, then these tips should help create fewer headaches and better hygiene habits for your child.

How to Encourage Good Hygiene Habits in Children

Start with Basics

Good hygiene habits for children cover more than just brushing their teeth. Items like hand washing, taking showers or baths on a regular basis and being good about flossing are among some of the good hygiene habits a parent must teach a child to do on a regular basis. If your child is struggling with this area in life, start with the basics. Consider hand washing and brushing teeth as your top two basics to start with. Have your child sing happy birthday as they wash their hands. Get a sand timer for teeth brushing time, have our child place it upside down and brush until the sand runs out.

Be the Example

I am sure some parents may be tired of hearing that one option to get any child to do anything is to lead by example. As much as you hear it over and over again during the journey in parenthood, it’s so true. Your children will learn best and have good hygiene habits if you’re setting the example. Take the lead in teeth brushing and hand washing by doing these important hygiene habits with your kids. This helps them see the length of time and how often one should truly be completely proper hygiene tasks.

Explain the Importance

Children usually want to understand the why behind various tasks and habits they must develop in life. While you may be sick of answering the why question all of the time, it’s actually pretty important to explain things to your child. If your child hesitates to practice good hygiene then it’s time to have a sit down to chat about why they must take good care of their body and health. Discuss how sickness and itchy skin or yellow teeth would ultimately lead to extra doctor visits instead of play time, etc. You’ll know the right way to explain the importance of good hygiene to your children in a way that encourages them to be better about taking good care of themselves.

There you have it a few ways you can encourage good hygiene habits in children. Each of these three tips when combined should help make the teeth brushing, shower time, and hand washing time be stress-free and more fun as time goes on.

Merry Christmas! 2018

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!!

(I’m sorry for all the watermarks, I just don’t like a lot of unmarked pictures of my kids online)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!