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c o n t e n t s Take a break This month’s features 3 Back to nature

We look at options for camping in style, in the backcountry and in between.


6 Myrtle Beach

Family fun awaits on the Grand Strand, both on and off the beach.

10 Get away for a day

Four ideas for day trip destinations, one in each direction from Asheville.

14 Family cruising

Cruise ships offer myriad options for all ages, from water coasters to fun with movie stars.

18 Overseas travel

What you need to know about traveling out of the United States with little ones.

27 Join a swim team

Several swim teams keep kids in the water all summer.

40 Get your greens

Don’t be intimidated by leafy greens. We offer new recipes to try.

Last summer we took our first true family vacation. Sure, we’ve been on dozens of trips as a family, either visiting relatives in the Midwest or enjoying time at the beach with some of those Midwestern relatives. But last summer’s trip was different — it was just the four of us, exploring somewhere we’d never been (Yellowstone and Grand Tetons national parks). It was so fantastic that I can’t wait to plan another big family adventure. We devote our May issue to family travel, and this month’s issue offers some great tips and destination suggestions. Myrtle Beach is a popular spot for WNC’s families, and there are plenty of things to do there off the beach. Our story on Page 6 gives you some ideas. Several interesting day trip destinations lie within a couple of hours of Asheville. We look at four of them, one in each direction, in the story on Page 10. With May comes Mother’s Day. The Artful Parent brings a couple of craft ideas that would make a great gift for Mom, on Page 24. And read an essay submitted by Black Mountain Elementary’s principal on the best present his Mom gave him, on Page 22. See you in June, when the magazine will announce the winners of the Family Choice Awards. Katie Wadington, editor

Coming next month: Kids and sports

We take a look at the sporting life of children in WNC, including soccer, hockey and more. The June issue will also reveal the winners of the Family Choice Awards.

In every issue

Kids’ Voices ......................20 Artful Parent .....................24 Parent 2 Parent .................34 Growing Together ...............37 Librarian’s Pick..................44 Story Times ......................45 Dad’s View........................46 Divorced Families...............48 Calendar ..........................53 Kids’ Page ........................63


On the cover

Lila McLendon, by Sheridan Cupp Photography,

.com Are you a member? Join the conversation, post photos and connect with other parents at Look for WNC Parent on Facebook and Twitter.

P.O. Box 2090, Asheville, NC 28802 828-232-5845 | PRESIDENT AND PUBLISHER Randy Hammer WNC PARENT EDITOR Katie Wadington - 232-5829 CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Nancy Sluder


ADVERTISING/CIRCULATION Miranda Weerheim - 232-5980, CALENDAR CONTENT Due by May 10. E-mail ADVERTISING DEADLINE Advertising deadline for the June issue is May 17.

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Ease your way into camping by staying with your family in a yurt.

AT YOUR COMFORT LEVEL By Betty Lynne Leary, WNC Parent contributor


ust outside the window beyond the lure of the comfy couch, mesmerizing electronic games, and the clamor of TV lies a world full of amazing sights and sounds just waiting to be discovered. The mountains of Western North Carolina offer some of the country’s most beautiful and varied camping opportunities for families looking to escape the bedlam of everyday life. From backcountry camping on the ground to overnight lodging complete with electricity and running water, the Appalachians offer something for everyone. And while some families may hesitate to bring toddlers or even teenagers into the woods overnight, the experience of spending the night outdoors is well

worth the effort. “The wonderful thing about living in the Asheville area is that we have so many great options for kids that are less than an hour away,” says Lorraine Carver, Fairview resident and mother of a 6-year-old and 22-month-old twins. “I like the flexibility so if something goes wrong, like sick kids or poor weather, you can always bail and get home in a hurry.”

Glamorous camping For those who want the experience of being outdoors but aren’t ready to abandon all of the comforts of home, the Falling Waters Adventure Resort offers the Yurt Village just off U.S. 74 West in


Bryson City. A cozy alternative to a tent, a yurt is a domed structure with a tongue-and-groove floor, frame and weatherproof overlay. French doors and large windows lend a bright, airy feel to the room where campers enjoy a queensized bed, futon sofa bed, small refrigerator and coffee maker. Restrooms and hot showers are a short walk away. “You can see the stars through the skylight, and you can hear the insects at night and the birds in the morning,” says Carolyn Allison, regional marketing representative for the resort. “You get the feeling of camping outside without sleeping on the ground.” While no cooking is allowed inside Continues on Page 4



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the yurts, grills are available nearby. Children enjoy exploring the creek and riding bikes while parents relax on the yurt’s outside deck. A wide range of activities are close by, including hiking trails, whitewater rafting, and a zip line tour of the Nantahala Gorge area. Josephine Lowery, from Birmingham, Ala., has organized a family reunion at the Yurt Village for the past four years. With 22 adults and more than 40 children in attendance, the Lowery clan enjoys the conveniences a yurt provides. “A comfortable bed, a ceiling fan or a heater if you need it, electrical outlets inside … and in the unfortunate occurrence of rain, the yurt provides a covered, dry, cozy escape where you can enjoy the music of the rain as it drips outside your ceiling, not through your tent,” she says. “The only downside is having to explain to your friends exactly what a yurt is and why you love it!”

Traditional camping For Carver, camping with her young family carries on a tradition begun by her own parents who love the outdoors. “I grew up with parents who took us



Accommodations at Falling Waters Adventure Resort’s Yurt Village are more like home and less like camping, complete with electricity. on trips filled with tents, coolers and sleeping bags,” she says. Now with three kids of her own, Carver appreciates not only the economic advantage to camping, but adds, “It forces you out of a stuffy hotel room and into the natural beauty of your surroundings.” One of the Carver family’s favorite

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destinations is the North Mills River Campground, five miles west of N.C. 280 at the entrance to the Pisgah National Forest. The river is a major attraction for children, who wade, fish, swim and go tubing in its clear waters. “This is a primitive campground with 32 campsites and only one full hookup,” explains Judy Doyle, director of the campground. Along with the flush toilets, the campground now boasts hot showers thanks to last fall’s government stimulus funding. This campground is popular with families because it is central to many area trails and activities. The Cradle of Forestry and the Pisgah Ranger Station are within a few miles, as are numerous trailheads offering a variety of hikes from short nature walks to daylong destination hikes. “My favorite part of camping is the nonstop family time,” Carver explains. “It is a simplistic approach to do what matters most with our young family — spending time with each other and gaining new experiences.” Carver’s mother, Melissa Smith, a Sylva native, is happy her daughter is passing on their love of the outdoors. “There is so much to learn in the natural world,” Smith says. “From the animal life to the variety of vegetation, the rivers, waterfalls, and trails are all waiting to be enjoyed. It is the perfect



The Shining Rock Wilderness Area is popular for backcountry camping.

way for a family to learn, exercise, and relax together.”

Wilderness camping Smith was never afraid to take her children into the wilderness for camping experiences and describes backpacking as the most rewarding type of camping. Local treasures for a backpacking adventure include Panthertown Valley near Cashiers, the Shining Rock Wilderness Area in the Pisgah National Forest and the DuPont State Forest, which

boasts 10,000 acres of wilderness between Hendersonville and Brevard. Backpacking with children requires forethought and planning but can be very rewarding. “Plan every detail before you leave,” suggests Mandy B. Harrison, an assistant professor at Appalachian State University and a leader in Western North Carolina’s Leave No Trace movement. “You bring the right food, the right clothing and the right equipment, because a lack of preparation can lead to an impact on the environment and for a less


fun trip as well.” The seven steps espoused by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics include: ◆ Plan ahead and prepare ◆ Travel and camp on durable surfaces ◆ Dispose of waste properly ◆ Leave what you find ◆ Minimize camping impacts ◆ Respect wildlife ◆ Be considerate of other visitors For eager youngsters and even older kids who may be less enthusiastic about leaving cellphone signal range, it is wise to involve everyone in the planning stages. Check out books at the local library on camping, research campfire games to play, and plan simple meals that require a minimum of preparation and waste. And while bad weather is definitely the downside to camping, especially backpacking, it does teach valuable lessons about preparedness, patience and an appreciation for good weather. “I highly recommend a backpacking experience so children can realize what getting down to the basics is like,” says Smith. “Food, water, shelter and adequate clothing are all carried on one’s back. You realize how much stuff you don’t really need, and that’s a very valuable lesson.”





The Palace Theatre hosts shows such as the Le Grand Cirque.


Activities, music, shopping give families plenty to do By Lockie Hunter WNC Parent contributor


he Myrtle Beach area has long been a family destination. Western North Carolina is within an easy drive of South Carolina’s Grand Strand. And the white sand beaches, warm ocean waves, fres seafood and activities pull families to the area to enjoy sunny days and playful nights.

Back to nature Oceanfront Huntington Beach State Park offers nature lovers a treat. About 2,500


acres featuring freshwater lagoons, a maritime forest and coastal hiking and biking trails provide opportunities for immersion and study of coastal nature. Nearby Brookgreen Gardens houses the most significant collection of figurative sculpture in an outdoor setting by American artists in the world. Daily programs include Meet the Animals and Creek Cruises.

Ferris wheels and fish For the younger kids, or the young at heart, there is a complex called Broadway at the Beach that features a Ripley’s

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Aquarium, IMAX theater, MagiQuest, pavilion rides, paddle boats and a zip line. The aquarium, IMAX and MagiQuest fill up by midday, so plan on going early in the morning or waiting until afternoon. The Pavilion, featuring original rides from the old waterfront pavilion in downtown Myrtle, includes the famous Hershell-Spillman Carousel with chickens, tigers and other painted animals. See the ocean from atop the largest Ferris wheel in South Carolina at nearby Continues on Page 8




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Family Kingdom Amusement Park. Look down on the brave souls riding the park’s wooden roller coaster (the Swamp Fox) then cool off at Myrtle Beach’s only oceanfront water park. For more splashy fun, check out two more of the area’s largest waterparks, Myrtle Waves and Wild Water and Wheels. Both parks features speed slides, tube slides and lazy rivers.

The show must go on Entertainment is a big deal on the Grand Strand. The two-hour family variety show at the Carolina Opry is worthwhile; Southern Living dubbed the show “an entertainment phenomenon.” The Palace Theater has seasonal resident shows such as the Irish Tenors and Cirque du Soleil as well as rotating Broadway shows such as “The Secret Garden.” If you wish for dinner with your show, try either the pageantry and rousing stunts of Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede or the drama of a Medieval Times jousting tournament, flush with 11th-century knights and princesses.

Beach bums Gentle waves make for great bodysurfing and boogie boarding, but they are not so large as to be truly intimidating. Watch out for the undertow, especially around the piers and in stormy weather. Forgot your board? Surf over to locally owned Xtreme Surf & Skateboards Co. offering surf lessons, surf camps and daily and weekly board rentals.


Enjoy a hearty four-course banquet, served Medieval style, while cheering for six brave knights at Medieval Times.

DESTINATION DETAILS ◆ Xtreme Surf & Skateboards Co., ◆ Huntington Beach State Park, ◆ Brookgreen Gardens, ◆ Broadway at the Beach, ◆ Ripley’s Aquarium, myrtlebeach.ripley ◆ IMAX theater, ◆ MagiQuest, ◆ Family Kingdom Amusement Park, ◆ Myrtle Waves, ◆ Wild Water and Wheels, ◆ Carolina Opry, ◆ Palace Theatre,

◆ Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, ◆ Medieval Times, myrtlebeach.aspx ◆ River City Café, ◆ Mammy’s Kitchen, ◆ Gulf Stream Café, gulfstream.php ◆ Flo’s Place, ◆ Drunken Jack’s, ◆ Capt. Dave’s Dockside, ◆ Nance’s Creek Front Restaurant, ◆ Tanger outlet malls, center ◆ Market Commons, ◆ Hammock Shops in Pawleys Island,

Dine like a local Downtown Myrtle has dozens of family-friendly restaurants that are also a good value. River City Café boasts Southern fare such as half-pound fried bologna sandwiches and buckets of peanuts to shell, while the breakfast buffet at Mammy’s


Kitchen will fill even your hungry teens. For local seafood fished from the inlet, head south to Garden City Beach and Murrells Inlet. Arrive at sunset at Garden City’s Gulf Stream Café. Sit on the deck and watch the sun sink into the inlet and light the

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marsh an electric orange. There is also live music depending on the season. Highway 17 Business in Murrells Inlet is a seafood restaurant’s row. You are almost guaranteed that the places along the inlet, Flo’s Place, Drunken Jack’s and Capt. Dave’s Dockside will afford both great


Broadway at the Beach hosts rides for all ages in addition to a wide variety of family friendly restaurants and shops. views and excellent seafood. For a lot of fresh seafood in a very casual place, try Nance’s Creek Front Restaurant and order steaming pots of oysters, clams and shrimp and drop your shells into holes in the table. Nance’s is great for a big party or for groups with kids. Many places along the Grand Strand offer discounted early bird specials as well, and the busier restaurants will offer curbside pickup service.

Shopping, golf Golf is everywhere, and it’s hard to go wrong with this sport. There are more than 100 courses in the area, so it pays to check each course for “deals.” There are also an abundance of miniature golf parks, and much of Highway 17 in Myrtle boasts one (or more) mini golf park per city block. Shopping is super at the outlet stores. There are two Myrtle Beach Tanger outlet malls, one on Highway 17 and the other on Highway 501. Each has more than 100 stores including OshKosh B’gosh, Strasburg Children, Kate Spade, Carters, Children’s Place and Vans. Find coupons online before you go. There is also a new center, Market Commons, which has an Anthropologie, a nice yoga studio and a cinema. Also check out the Hammock Shops in Pawleys Island, where your family can stroll around under Spanish moss-draped trees while shopping and dining.






Hiking opportunities and scenic lookouts abound at Grandfather Mountain.


There’s no need to travel far for a break from the everyday routine By Stephanie Azevedo WNC Parent contributor


ay means more flowers are opening, and so are some great locations for day trips. With Western North Carolina and nearby Upstate South Carolina so rich in both bounty and history, why not try some trips that feed both the mind and body? We’ve picked four locations, one north, south, east and west, to get your plans started.


Oconaluftee Indian Village Out west is Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, a live replica of life from 1760. Basket weaving, blow-gunner demonstrations, pottery and weaponmaking all highlight the life of the Cherokee from the 18th century as the villagers go about their day-to-day lives. A guided tour of Oconaluftee provides information about the way of life among the natives. This year, selfguided tours are an option for the first time, according to the Oconoluftee web-

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site. Inside the village there are also re-enactments and tribal dances. Starting May 30, there will be a hands-on pottery session for children ages 6-13, from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. each day. The fee is $10, separate from village admission, and each child is required to be supervised by a parent. The village is open every day, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., from May 15-Oct. 25. There are tours on the hour and the half hour, except breaks at noon, 12:30 and 3 p.m., with the last tour at 5 p.m. The Sunday-Wednesday guided tour is $20


Performers at Cherokee’s Oconoluftee Indian Village perform a traditional dance.

for adults, $12 for children and free for 5 and younger. The Thursday-Saturday guided tour is $22 for adults, $14 for children, with 5 and younger free. To get to Oconaluftee take I-40 west to Exit 27 (the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway). Continue west on U.S. 74 past Waynesville, Sylva and Dillsboro to Exit 74. U.S. 441 will take you into Cherokee. Drive time from Asheville: 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Grandfather Mountain Or how about heading north, toward Grandfather Mountain? With lovely scenery and a chance to glimpse wildlife like river otters and deer, hiking the easy trails with the kids might prove fun, especially since the habitat paths are stroller accessible. The Nature Museum houses exhibits about the region’s history, a theater with nature movies, a restaurant and gift shop, as well as a fudge shop. In the visitor center is an elevator that can take you up to see the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, so named because it is exactly one mile above sea level, but only 80 feet off the ground. “The mountain itself falls away … into the valley below,” says Catherine Morton, marketing director. Repairs in 1999 left it with fewer joints, meaning the bridge doesn’t swing as much. When the wind comes through the bars it makes sounds “like a harmonica,” Morton says. May is blooming time for endangered pink shell azaleas, which only grow in three North Carolina counties, says Morton. “The largest single native populaContinues on Page 12





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tion blooms on Grandfather.” There are 12 miles of alpine hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult for even the most dedicated hikers. Need a snack? There are more than 100 picnic tables and grills. Some picnic areas come equipped with a water fountain and restrooms. Wear layers. “We could have snow one day and be 70 the next,” Morton says. Naturalist programs and special activities are included in the price of admission. Guided tours are available for a fee. Admission includes parking and the visit to the Nature Museum. Admission is $15 for ages 13-59, $13 for 60 and older, $7 for children 4-12. Ages 3 and younger are free. Annual passes are also available. The fastest route to Grandfather Mountain is I-40 east toward Marion to



For a day on the water, head east to Lake James, which has a beach and picnic space. Exit 85. Turn left off the ramp and go one mile to a stoplight. At the stoplight turn left and follow U.S. 221 north to the entrance of Grandfather Mountain (about 30 miles). Drive time from Asheville: 2 hours.

Lake James State Park For a little more activity, head east toward Lake James State Park. Swimming, picnicking, hiking, fishing, camping and boating are all available at the

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6,510-acre facility. Each campsite has a fire pit, picnic table and grill for $20 a day or $15 for ages 62 or older. Firewood is $3. There’s a beach for swimming (permitted in the designated area), as well as a phone and restroom. Swimming is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 1-Sept. 30. There are no lifeguards. Charlie Peek, public information officer for the park, recommends families bring their own lunches, as the concession stand (which opens May 1) mostly carries cool drinks and snacks. There are picnic shelters open for use for free, unless a reservation has been made. With a fishing license, visitors can fish the lake for bass, perch and sunfish. Tackle and bait are available on site. There are several trails for hiking around and near the lake. Boating doesn’t begin until Memorial Day, when it runs from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Renting a canoe for two to three people costs $5 for the first hour and $3 for any additional hours. Near the boat rentals is

FAMILY TRAVEL ◆ SUMMER FUN a concession stand. To get to Lake James, take I-40 east toward Statesville. Take Exit 90 toward Nebo/Lake James. Turn right at Harmony Grove Road, continue onto Fairview Road, and then onto Stacy Hill Road. Turn right at U.S. 70 east and take the second left onto N.C. 126. Follow signs to stay on N.C. 126. Make a sharp right at Rock Hill Street, and the park will be on the right. Drive time from Asheville: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Strawberry Hill and Cowpens Battlefield National Park

If you’re headed south, make a day trip to Strawberry Hill U.S.A. near Chesnee, S.C., with a stop at the nearby Cowpens Battlefield National Park for a hike and some history. The Battle of Cowpens was in January 1781 and is considered the turning point in the Southern portion of the American Revolution, according to the National Park Service, which manages the site.

A video presentation called “Cowpens: A Battle to Remember” takes place hourly inside the museum. The museum also contains a reproduction of the 3pounder cannon and some artifacts from the Revolutionary War. Museum and battlefield admission are free. Outside, walk the battlefield itself on a partially paved 1.2-mile trail with exhibits along the way. A 3.8-mile auto loop travels the perimeter of the battlefield. Cowpens is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. year round (closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day); the auto loop road and picnic area close at 4:30 p.m. After a visit to Cowpens, head up the road for dessert. Strawberry Hill has homemade ice cream, fresh biscuits and sweet tea, not to mention the fresh fruits produced right on the farm. The Shed on Cooley Farm opens April 15 and closes Nov. 1. The café is open 6 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, but ice cream is available 10 a.m.-8 p.m. all week. To get to Cowpens and Strawberry Hill, take I-26 east into South Carolina.


DESTINATION DETAILS ◆ Oconaluftee Indian Village: 498 Tsali Blvd., Cherokee; 497-2315; 497-2111, ext. 202, for tour information ◆ Grandfather Mountain: 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville; 800-468-7325 ◆ Lake James State Park: 2785 N.C. 126, Nebo; 584-7728 ◆ Strawberry Hill: 3097 S.C. 11, West Chesnee, S.C.; 864-461-7225 ◆ Cowpens Battlefield National Park: 4001 Chesnee Highway, Gaffney, S.C.; 864-461-2828

Take Exit 5 toward Campobello/Chesnee, and turn left at S.C. 11 N/Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway. Strawberry Hill is straight ahead, about 9 miles east of I-26. To get to Cowpens, continue east on S.C. 11 about 10 more miles, and the park is on your right. Drive time from Asheville: 1 hour, 10 minutes.





Disney Cruise Line’s Dream ship includes AquaDuck, the first shipboard water coaster. Stretching 765 feet in length and spanning four decks in height, AquaDuck uses powerful water blasters to propel guests around the perimeter of the ship’s top deck.


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YOUR FAMILY’S SHIP HAS COME IN By Lockie Hunter WNC Parent contributor


n the past few years, the concept of cruising with children has undergone a sea-change. The newer ships of most major lines have added entire children’s wings, onboard waterparks and ship “camps” featuring trained camp counselors, while the older ships are adding more child-friendly activities. Menus are adjusting to cater to the palette of these younger cruisers, and some restaurants have children-only dining times. Ship activities have changed as well: From surf lessons for the tween set to eco-adventures for your preschooler,


Children can select from several dining options aboard the Carnival line including high tea. cruising the high seas with children has never been so accessible and fun. Here’s a look at a sample of cruise line programs for families.

Disney Cruise Lines Cruises with Disney, a leader in children’s entertainment for decades, offer deck parties, dining and live shows with your favorite Disney characters. The four ships (the Magic, the Wonder, the Dream and the newest ship, the Fantasy) all offer character greetings throughout the day in both scheduled and surprise appearances. Award-win-


ning live shows vary by ship and include “Toy Story the Musical,” “Villains Tonight!” and “The Golden Mickeys.” Families can get moving and grooving at legendary deck parties. The “Pirates in the Caribbean” deck party ends with a fireworks show. All ships feature one adults-only pool (aptly named the Quiet Cove), one family pool and one children’s pool with a small waterslide. The Dream and Magic include a thrilling water coaster and lazy river; the Dream and Fantasy boast a children’s splash area with a “Finding Nemo” theme. All staterooms are designed with families in mind and feature such design innovations as multiple sinks and a tub with a seat for bathing children. Some rooms have character murals. Splurge for a Concierge Suite and enjoy prearrival booking for activities, an onboard Concierge and access to private areas of the ship. The Disney Fantasy, the newest ship, sets sail in spring 2012 and can accommodate 4,000 people. Visit

Carnival Cruise Lines Camp Carnival breaks campers into age groups, allowing counselors to create age-appropriate planned activiContinues on Page 16



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ties, and parents can choose activities that will most appeal to their child. A sample day may consist of Exerseas basketball, hip-hop dance lessons, watercolor painting, parachute games, a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship and a kids-only Mardi Gras celebration dinner with formal attire. Young teens attend Circle C club, while older teens hang in their very own lounge at Club O2. Both clubs offer video games and late night dance parties. Many Carnival ships also boast onboard waterslides, mini golf and pools. Carnival boasts the closest port to WNC, with cruises to the Bahamas out of Charleston, S.C. And in the 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards in Porthole Cruise magazine, the cruise line was voted Best Value-For-The-Money line. Visit



Some of Royal Caribbean’s ports include beach experiences.

Royal Caribbean Royal Caribbean has ramped up its family cruising through a partnership with Dreamworks studio. The Dreamworks Experience, available on four ships (Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and

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Freedom of the Seas), features characters from the movies “Shrek,” “Madagascar” and more. Children can have their photo taken with Po from “Kung Fu Panda” or attend a screening of a favorite Dreamworks film. The onboard camp club, Adventure Ocean, focuses on science activities.

FAMILY TRAVEL ◆ SUMMER FUN COST OF CRUISING ◆ To save money on a cruise vacation, consider traveling during the off-season. ◆ Most ships are inclusive of all meals and nonalcoholic drinks, while some lines also include top-shelf beer and wine. ◆ Last-minute trip deals abound on all lines, and interior rooms are quite reasonable compared to balcony rooms. Carnival Preschool “Aquanauts” enjoy programs such as Sea Creature Treasures, while elementary-age children go on fossil hunts or play with “sea mud.” Teens can learn to surf on the Flowrider Wave Simulator or scale the onboard rock wall. There’s even a teen casino. Unlike many ship clubs, Royal Caribbean also offers camp activities at the port of calls. Family sandcastle building, anyone? Visit

offers some of the best deals. ◆ MSC Cruises often offer a “kids sail free” program, and many lines offer discounted rates for children younger than 12. Luxury Lines such as Regent Seven Seas will sometimes extend “kids’ free sailing” programs, but they are often snatched up quickly, so watch the website for deals.


Ready to get slimed on the high seas? Norwegian Cruise Line and Nickelodeon have teamed up to offer families an experience that combines interesting ports of call with some of your children’s favorite characters. While many family cruise destinations include the Caribbean or other tropical itineraries, Norwegian offers the luxury and history of European ports married with the fun of SpongeBob and iCarly.


Many ships also offer onboard bowling alleys, waterslides and two-story Wii screens. A complimentary kids club allows parents to enjoy a little adult time while children make new friends onboard. Activities such as Family Pictionary are offered poolside. Visit

Holland America

With a Culinary Arts Center featuring guest chefs, an extensive onboard art collection and digital workshops on editing photos and blogging, Holland America’s reputation as a sophisticated adult cruise line is well-earned. While the youth program onboard is not as extensive as on other cruise lines, there are still some offerings for cruisers age 3-17 including a kids’ culinary workshop. These hands-on classes allow children to experiment with food and are limited to 15 students. Other activities include storytelling and ice cream sundae parties. Visit




By Mike McWilliams WNC Parent contributor


omestic travel is stressful enough; traveling overseas could spell disaster. However, there are a few easy tips to keep in mind when planning a trip abroad that could mean smooth sailing for your family vacation. A good resource for international travelers is the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs website at It features a slew of information, including passport requirements, travel tips and health and safety alerts from countries around the world, said Wallace Wilcox of Wilcox World Travel and Tours. “You can click on the country you’re going to, and it gives pertinent information for U.S. citizens,” Wilcox said. For first-time travelers, Wilcox said


he tries to tell people to make sure they have emergency contacts lined up. Also, he said it’s a good idea to make a full color photocopy of your passport to keep somewhere, like your checked luggage. That way, if you lose your passport, you can use the copy to get a replacement at a U.S. embassy. “One thing (travelers) forget about is to call their credit card companies and advise them that they’re going overseas and the time period that they’re going overseas,” Wilcox said. “If you use a card outside the United States, and you don’t call ahead of time, they’ll deny the charge. If you don’t call ahead of time, that creates all kinds of problems.”

Passport information For first-time passport applicants, an application can be filled out online or in person. The application, however, must

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be submitted in person and not signed until instructed by the passport agent. Many public facilities, including post offices, clerks of court, public libraries and other government offices are designed to accept passport applications. A list of facilities, along with more details on the information below, can be found at You must also appear in person if you are younger than 16; a previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under 16; your previous passport was lost, stolen or damaged; your previous passport was issued more than 15 years ago; or your name changed since your passport was

FAMILY TRAVEL ◆ SUMMER FUN issued and you cannot legally document your name change. When submitting your application, you must also provide one piece of evidence of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate, and a form of identification like a driver’s license. A passport photo also is required. There are several requirements here that must be met: the photo must be in color, printed on photo-quality paper, be 2-by-2 inches in size, taken within the last six months, show a full-face view directly toward the camera, and more. It costs $165 in application and execution fees to get a first-time adult passport, or $140 to renew one. Passports are valid for 10 years. For a person under 16, it costs $120 to apply for a first-time passport book and card or to renew one. All minors regardless of age, including newborns and infants, must have their own passport when traveling internationally by air. (Different rules apply if traveling to another country by land and sea.)

Parents or guardians must prove their relationship to the minor applicant upon application.

Immunization information Doctors recommend keeping up to date on routine vaccines, such as influenza, chickenpox, polio, measles/ mumps/rubella, and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus, before traveling overseas. To have the most benefit, see a health care provider at least four to six weeks before your trip to allow enough time for the vaccines to take effect. The time could also allow you to start taking medications to prevent malaria, if needed. If your travel plans include visits to more than one country, tell your health care provider so you can receive the appropriate vaccinations and information for each destination. The only vaccine required by International Health Regulations is yellow fever vaccination for travel to certain countries in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America. Meningococcal vaccination is


required by the government of Saudi Arabia for annual travel during the Hajj. Recommended vaccines as well as international health alerts can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website,

On the plane When traveling by air, remember to have any liquids, gels or aerosol you plan to carry on properly packaged. The 3-1-1 rule refers to 3-ounce or less bottles, stored in a 1-quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag, with one bag per passenger. Medications, baby formula and food and breastmilk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding the 3 ounce rule, and are not required to be in a zip-top bag. To avoid problems at the security checkpoint, declare these items. They might get additional screening. If you’re concerned about possibly losing any liquids, gels or aerosols in your carry-on luggage, place it in your checked baggage.


kids’ voices

A special day with Mom

With Mother’s Day coming up on May 8, we asked fifth-graders at Black Mountain Elementary School to describe a special memory of time spent one-on-one with their moms. Here’s what students in Jessica Autrey, Ivy Helms and Teresa Spring’s classes told staff writer Barbara Blake. “I had an awesome day with my mother back when we lived in Georgia, when I was only 5. First, we ordered pizza. I told funny preschool stories, and my mother made me laugh. We took two strips of our napkins and made accordions. Next we went to get our nails done. Mama got her nails painted clear, and I wondered why she chose such a plain color. I got my nails painted bright neon blue. I felt like my role model, Cinderella. To end the day, we went to Publix, my favorite store around. On the way back home I fell asleep. It was one of my favorite days with my mother. I think I will remember it for at least two years.” Grace Hunnicutt


“I was jumping on my trampoline and my mom had the sprinkler set up under the trampoline, and when I started jumping she turned on the sprinkler and I got soaked. So then I got the water hose and started spraying her with it, and that is when the water war started. We stocked up on water balloons and water guns, and I got to nail her with a water balloon right to the back of the head, and it was brutal combat. But then she had a bunch of balloons and made a very nice sneak attack like a ninja around the corner and hit me right in the back. (Eventually, the water war was over.)” Kincaid McGee

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“The most awesome thing I ever did with my mom was to go on a Sandy Bottom Trail Ride (in Marshall). First we got our saddle bags and went to the mounting block, and the man said, ‘This here’s Chessie and Rose, and ya’ll will be ridin’ them.’ Chessie’s pace was sooooo slow, I had to shake my reins every second to keep her at a slow walk. I wailed, ‘Mom, can we switch, please!’ ‘No, we can’t switch, but I can give you a switch,’ my mom said. My mom grabbed a stalk of wheat and handed it to me. I whupped that horse on the rear and she moved! It was amazing.” Anna Evans “The funnest thing I did with my mom was when we were on the beach together. We made a sandcastle, collected shells, coral and shark teeth, and we swam and boogie boarded. My mom and I love the beach; we have a really good time whenever we go. My mom and I really love to spend time together. My mom is awesome, and the best beach buddy ever.” Lauren Boyd

“Mom and I wanted to do something together and I suggested a bike ride. We wanted exercise, so she agreed. We got our bikes out of the garage and rode down our driveway. We rode on the road for awhile, then tried this trail, but it was too rocky so we decided to go on home. At home we decided to do a bike ride regularly. That’s one of a lot of great memories about my great mom.” Ben Craig “When I was 8 years old my mom took me to the nail salon for the very first time. It was cool because before we went, she took me to the bookstore and got me a Justin Bieber poster magazine thing. I got bright orange and lime green for my toes. They massaged my feet and legs with hot lotion, then they scrubbed my feet and it tickled, and my mom and I were talking about some of the craziest stuff ever. After all the nail salon stuff we went to eat at KFC. When we were done we went home and told everybody about our wonderful day together.” Arianna Dubose



guest column

Mom’s best gift: She gave me the theater By Norman Bossert Special to WNC Parent The Washington Anta Theatre in New York was sided with aluminum. It looked so cheap, like a strong wind could blow it over. Nevertheless, a crowd of people were lined up, milling and talking and laughing. Men were in suits and ties, ladies in dresses and fancy pants-suits. I was very young! My mom, standing beside me, and towering over me, was also very young. My dad was not with us. He worked long hours in a business of his own. Mostly, Mom and I were silent as we walked through the doors and showed our tickets, and walked to our seats. The play was “The Man of La Mancha.” I don’t know how she knew, but somehow my mother knew that that play and that experience would change my life forever! Weeks before my mother took me to New York to see the play, I had the oddest experience. She and Dad purchased the cast recording. I put it on my Magnavox record player before I went to bed at night, over and over again, and listened and listened and listened. One night after the lights were out, I


fell asleep and I dreamed. I dreamed the whole play, from curtain up, to curtain down. It was so real that at one point, I woke up. To this day, some 50 years later, I can still remember the details of my dream. Little did I know that when the lights in the theater went dim, and the lights on the stage came up, and Cervantes came walking down the steps into the dungeon, that my dream was to come alive on the stage, almost exactly as I had seen it alone, in the dark of my bedroom, in between wakefulness and sleep. The songs and the performance moved me and filled me with ideas. Something even odder happened after that … and it happens still. Whenever I hear music and whenever I read a book, I can close my eyes and see it come alive in my imagination. Today, I am a school principal, but I started acting in high school. In college I performed in more plays than I can count. I even dabbled in professional theater. As an elementary teacher, I stayed after school and directed little children in theatrical productions, and I took them to see plays performed. As a high school teacher I started a drama program. And here, in Western North Caro-

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lina, I’ve performed a few times and directed plays a few times. Through the magic of the Internet, my former students write, recalling their experiences … some of them have even made theater their career choice. My mother gave me many gifts. But I think, in retrospect, the best one I ever got was theater. That day at the Washington Anta helped me find a vision for my life, a focus on the power of words, and inadvertently started me on a career path. What Mother couldn’t know is that in giving me that gift, she also gave it to thousands of children, teens and adults, many of whom have shared it with others. When I was old enough and “The Man of La Mancha” was in revival at Lincoln Center, I purchased tickets for my parents to see it, together. My mother no longer towers over me. She is not young, and neither am I. And as Robert Frost would say, “… as way leads onto way…” events have altered us both. But I will, for as long as I have breath in my body, be forever grateful to a mother, my mother Charlotte, who knew what I needed, well before I did. Bossert is the principal of Black Mountain Elementary School.



the artful parent

Make mom a gift with shaving cream By Jean Van’t Hul WNC Parent columnist Shaving cream marbling combines one of our favorite kiddo art materials (shaving cream!) with a beautiful product (marbled paper) that can be used for cards and book covers among other things. What a perfect Mother’s Day gift for a child to make for a mother or grandmother (perhaps using Daddy’s shaving cream). As a parent, shaving cream is not exactly my favorite art material — it’s on the messy side (although it cleans up easily) and is a bit stinky for my taste. But shaving cream is the most-asked-for art material in our home. My 5-year-old loves the stuff. She loves squirting it out of the canister and watching the foam pile up. She loves to squish the shaving cream with her hands and she loves to paint with it. Shaving cream is the ultimate sensory experience to her. And she’s a kid who is all about the sensory experience. She paints her body if given half the chance, loves bubble baths, buries her body in the sand box, and as a toddler used to take her shoes off at the sight of gravel just so she could walk around on it barefoot. Shaving cream art is perfect for kids like her. There are several fun kids’ art activities to try with shaving cream, including painting on poster board or the

Shaving cream is the art material of choice in Jean’s house. bathtub walls (squirt shaving cream, rub it around the paper or wall with hands and brush, add paint as desired) and drawing on the window or a mirror (squirt shaving cream on window or mirror, smooth it over surface with hands, use finger to draw in the shaving cream, letting the light shine through). These are wonderful process-oriented art projects, but they don’t leave you with much to show afterwards. But there is one shaving cream art activity that combines the sensory, processoriented fun of shaving cream with a beautiful finished product that any child would be proud to give as a gift to Mom or Grandma this Mother’s Day — shaving cream marbling! Here are the instructions for this easy project.

Jean Van’t Hul blogs about children’s art and creativity at The Artful Parent (


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Shaving Cream Marbling (Ages 2 and up) Cardstock or poster board (We use poster board and just cut it into smaller pieces first.) 1 canister shaving cream Paint (tempera or liquid watercolors) Dishpan or large baking dish Chopstick

1. Spray shaving cream in the bottom of the dishpan. Use hands to smooth out the surface.

2. Dribble two or more colors of paint over the shaving cream.

3. Using chopstick, swirl the colors together for a marbled effect. Continues on Page 26



Shaving cream Continued from Page 25

4. Place the cardstock over the paint/ shaving cream combo and press lightly with your hands all over the back of the cardstock. 5. Lift up. There will be a layer of shaving cream covering the cardstock. Scrape it off with a piece of cardboard or a spatula, then set aside to dry. 6. Repeat process, squirting more paint on top of the shaving cream and swirling it around.

7. Now you have beautiful marbled paper that you can use for any number of projects, including cards (glue a square of the marbled paper onto the front of a blank card) and handmade blank books (see following instructions).


Blank Books (Ages 3 and up) These simple books, shown above, can be used for notebooks, sketchbooks, recipe books, or to write and illustrate a story. Marbled cardstock Blank paper (copy paper is fine) Stapler 1. Fold 5 sheets of paper in half. 2. Fold 1 sheet of marbled cardstock in half. 3. Slip the folded paper into the folded cardstock cover. You can trim the paper and/or the cover until both are the desired size. 4. Use a stapler to staple the spine of smaller books. For larger books, you can use either a large swing-arm stapler (Kinko’s has one), sew it on a sewing machine or sew it by hand. 5. Your blank book is finished! Add a title if you like — Mom’s notebook or Grandma’s recipes — before presenting your gift.

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Swim teams compete through the summer at meets.


SUMMER Area swim teams give kids a chance to learn, compete

By Rachel Connor WNC Parent contributor Summertime and swimming are synonymous. Many parents can recall trading school books for swimming suits at the start of every summer. Now, as you search for similar experiences for your children, consider Asheville’s Summer Swim League. Most of the teams in the league began because many Asheville area parents desired summer swimming options for Continues on Page 28



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their kids, said Moni Hill, one of the founders of the West Asheville Waves swim team and mother of two young swimmers. “Kids are the reason we started the West Asheville Waves,” she said. The developing league includes the following summer teams: Hendersonville Country Club, Biltmore Forest Country Club, Asheville Country Club, Swimming Stars at Mars Hill, East Asheville Recreation Club, West Asheville Waves at Asheville School, Asheville Racquet Club, Biltmore Park Swim Club and Mountain Lights at Recreation Park by WNC Nature Center. “The league is growing a lot. It is fun, and kids like being at a pool during the day,” said Alan Barry, owner of Mountain Lights team and coach of yearlong Asheville Swim Club team (see Interested in Year-Round Swimming sidebar). “Kids (also) like to be on a swim team, and parents like to have physical activity for their kids.”



Asheville Swim Club is one of the year-round swim teams in the area.

Getting started Signups for the summer league are held throughout the month of May, though some coaches will accept new swimmers at any time during the sea-

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son. The league’s season lasts about two months — from June 1 until July 23. The Mountain Lights team begins practice in early May.

The costs for each team also differ, as some teams are only open to club or pool members. West Asheville Waves, Mountain Lights and Swimming Stars require no membership, just seasonal fees, which are as follows: West Asheville Waves, $200 for eight-week session; Mountain Lights, $250 for 10 week session; Swimming Stars, $150 for three days a week and $175 for five days a week.

Experience required Many of the league’s coaches agree that swimmers should have some stroke knowledge and be able to swim half of the length of the pool (25 yards) before they join a team. In Biltmore Park, children should be able to swim the width of the pool by themselves, and East Asheville Crocs verifies that children can swim three-fourths of the length of the pool (50 yards). For children who cannot yet complete these tasks, swimming lessons are recommended. (See the box on lessons for details.) “One of the differences between swim

ASHEVILLE SUMMER SWIM LEAGUE TEAMS Asheville Country Club, Lorena Wiedeman, Asheville Racquet Club, Donna Cannone, Biltmore Forest Country Club, Jenny Pritchard, Biltmore Park Swim Club, Michelle Arwood, East Asheville Recreation Club Swim Team, Kevin Kiser, (practices at East Asheville Pool)

lessons and swim team is that during swim lessons, the child is mainly given the goal of learning the basic skills of swimming,” said Kile Zeller, coach of the year-round Smoky Mountain Aquatic Club swim team. “Swim team furthers these skills and adds an aerobic component to it by introducing the concept and skill of doing laps to work on skills as well as cardiovascular fitness.” Ages for the league range from 4-18. But many coaches said that on average,


Hendersonville Country Club, Steve Bradshaw, Mountain Lights, Katie Brooks, (practices at Recreation Park Pool, near WNC Nature Center) Swimming Stars at Mars Hill, Kitty Schmidt, West Asheville Waves, Frank Kriegler, (practices at Asheville School)

kids are usually ready to be on a team at 6. “Six years old is a great age to start swimming on a team, but we’ve have kids as young as 3,” said Michelle Arwood, coach of Biltmore Park Swim Club. “Usually they are the sibling of an older team member and are really comfortable in the water.” For meets, children compete against Continues on Page 30


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other swimmers in these age categories: 6 and under, 8 and under, 9-10, 11-12 and 13 and older.

Level of commitment Swimming in a summer league also allows kids to experience the sport in a low-key environment. “I recommend our league simply because it offers you a taste of what being a swimmer is, without investing in a year-round team,” Arwood said. Most of the teams practice between three and five times during the week and compete in Saturday morning meets. Meets usually run about four hours. “Training up to five days a week for some kids really shows them how hard work and commitment pays off with swimming faster and more efficiently,” said Kitty Schmidt, coach of Swimming Stars. Each team participates in at least four meets over the summer. At the fourth



Swim teams in the Asheville area take swimmers as young as 4. and final championship meet, medals are awarded.

Swim team benefits Many league coaches suggest that knowing how to swim is a safety necessi-

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ty, and parents should introduce their children to water before they are even able to swim. “Survival is at the top of the list,” Arwood said. “Taking your child to the pool on a regular basis, getting them comfortable and willing to try new



Victoria Oslund swims at the YMCA National Championships in April for WNC’s Pirhanas.

things in the water is the best prelude to learning to swim.” In an addition to safety, the summer setting provides a healthy backdrop for competition against kids in similar age groups. “Summer teams let kids meet new friends and are a positive atmosphere for competition,” Schmidt said. Similarly, Kevin Kiser, team coordinator for East Asheville Crocs, noted the swimmers are held to standards.

“Kids in the summer league are judged on the technique and time. They are disqualified if certain strokes are not performed correctly,” he said. “But we also try to make it a learning and fun environment.” Many parents and coaches hope that swimming on a summer team will do for their children what it did for them. “It gave me a lifelong pleasure of swimming,” Hill said. “The benefits last a lifetime.”


YMCA of Western North Carolina, YWCA of Asheville, Buncombe County pools, (June and July) Asheville city pools, (summer only) Patton Pool, Hendersonville, (summer only) Smoky Mountain Aquatic Club, Additionally, some of the Summer Swim League coaches offer lessons

INTERESTED IN YEAR-ROUND SWIMMING? Asheville Swim Club, Alan Barry, YMCA, Kiki Farmer, Smoky Mountain Aquatic Club (Waynesville), Kile Zeller,



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Cathy Ball and her husband, Jeff Long, and daughter Addie Long outside Asheville City Hall.

Planning for a city and a family

A later-in-life mom, Cathy Ball is Asheville’s public works director By Barbara Blake WNC Parent writer Cathy Ball, 45, has been public works director for the city of Asheville since 2009. She and her husband, Jeff Long, a turf specialist at Asheville Municipal Golf Course, are the parents of daughter Addie Clyde Long, 4, and she is the stepmother of Ryan Long, 19.

Ball received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Tennessee Technological University and a master’s in public affairs from Western Carolina University. Before joining city government in 1997 as city engineer, she worked for nine years for the city of Greenville, S.C. Q: When you were a young girl, did you have some idea that you would some-


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day go into engineering? A: I grew up on a farm and spent most of my time outside. I was not a typical girly girl. I had more interest in worms and crawfish than I did in dolls. At an early age, I had some teachers who quickly recognized my love for math and science combined with my love for being outdoors, and suggested civil engineering as a profession. I have never looked

back since. Q: When you were studying engineering in college, were you in a distinct minority as far as gender? A: I attended college in the mid-’80s and, as a female, was in the minority. I never felt like an outsider or that I met with any resistance because of my gender. I have always felt that I had an advantage over the typical engineer because of the nurturing aspects of my personality. Q: When you were starting your career, did you feel an advantage/disadvantage being a woman? A: I recall early in my career getting advice from peers to make sure contractors knew they could not walk over me because I was a woman. Unfortunately, I made several mistakes in trying to be someone I was not. It was not until I realized that I could assert myself by having knowledge and treating people with respect that I truly gained the respect of contractors and co-workers. Later in my career, I felt being a female was initially an advantage in the hiring process, but I had to be able to demonstrate that I knew what I was talking about. Q: What’s a typical day like for you, being the mother of a 4-year-old? A: My day is always different. I have been blessed with a daughter who wakes up smiling and laughing. My days always start off good. She goes to preschool at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and has great caregivers. Just like most moms, I never feel like there is enough time in the day to get everything done. Q: Does Addie ever come to work with you? Addie attends night meetings with me sometimes. There have been a few embarrassing moments, like at a community meeting when I was speaking and she decided she would pull my shirt down to get my attention. Q: How much time were you able to take off when you had Addie? Was it hard to return to work? A: I took off 12 weeks. I enjoyed my time with her but I was ready to go back to work. I am not sure that I would be a great stay-at-home mom. But it was very Continues on Page 36



Continued from Page 35

important for me to make sure she had great child care while I was at work. Q: What do you enjoy most about Addie, and about being a mother? A: Everything. She is everything I could ever have imagined. I was 38 when I decided I wanted to have a child. Prior to that, I could not understand why people would make a conscious decision to bring a child into such a difficult world. I was driving on I-240 and had a “heartleap.” I instantly felt love inside me that could only be shared with my child. My husband was a little taken aback with the sudden change, but was on board from that moment forward. Q: What are some of the wonderful parts of parenting that you weren’t expecting? A: The most wonderful part of parenting is hearing my daughter say “Mommy,


I love you.” It literally takes my breath away. Q: What do you enjoy doing as a family? A: My husband and I have always struggled with our weight, so we try to do physical activities like walking and biking. We tend to be extreme homebodies. I interact with people all day in my work, so I like the peace and quiet of being at home with my husband and daughter. I love downtown. We just attended the circus at the Civic Center and had so much fun. I think Jeff and I enjoyed it as much as Addie. Q: Are you a serious cook? A: Absolutely not. I do not like cooking or housekeeping, but ironically enough I really like eating and living in a clean house. Jeff was a fireman for 13 years before we married. He is a great cook and much better around the house than I am. Q: Do you and Addie have anything that’s just for you two? A: We have lots of things we do together. We talk, we make pinkie promises and take dance classes. We typically

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spend Saturday mornings together having fun like going to the library, park and unfortunately grocery shopping. The most important message I want to pass to her is unconditional love. Q: Do you and Jeff ever get a date night? A: In four years, I think we have only had two date nights. We went out to eat and to the movies. We had to force ourselves to do it because we thought we should. Of course, we ended up talking about Addie the entire night. Both Jeff and I were 41 when we had Addie, and we were ready to be full-time parents. We tried for about two years to get pregnant. We tried medication without success. I finally tried acupuncture and we were pregnant in six weeks. Q: What are some things you do just for you, to keep sane and healthy? A: I love arts and crafts. I am currently quilting a pillow for my niece out of old flannel shirts that my dad wore before he passed in 2002. I find it very therapeutic and comforting. It is helping me keep perspective on what is important.

growing together

A chance encounter can mean everything

By Chris Worthy WNC Parent columnist

I don’t believe in coincidence, so it must have been fate that I was in the hallway between classes instead of running from one end of campus to the other. I asked him to join us for a Friday night out. It would be a group of friends. It would be fun — I’m pretty sure I promised that. Fast forward several hours when the rest of the group had dropped out, for different but equally legitimate reasons. Suddenly the group had become two and wow, that really sounded like a date. A less trusting person might have thought I orchestrated the whole thing. I didn’t, I swear, though that remains a

somewhat disputed fact even today. Ultimately, I couldn’t find a way to escape the dreaded phone call, telling him that it would just be the two of us — if he still wanted to go. He was given ample opportunity to back out. That fact definitely isn’t in dispute. That “not a date” of pizza and a movie was 24 years ago this month, a number I can’t even begin to comprehend. We were kids who knew nothing. Seriously, we knew so little, we had an in-the-red deficit of knowledge. But if you had asked me after that purely platonic night out, I don’t know if I could have denied that he was the one. More than two decades later, we have learned and lived an awful lot. Given the chance to be with anyone from any time, I would choose him without a moment’s hesitation. The fact that he would still choose me is mind boggling and makes


me know that I have been blessed beyond measure. I find myself wondering who my children will marry, assuming that is the plan for their lives. We joke that my daughter’s husband will need to match her sense of humor (no easy task) and my son’s wife will need an exceptionally high tolerance for electronics as a line on the budget. For each of my children, I pray they choose to spend their lives with someone who makes them laugh, who is of strong faith and sure character and who is, first, a true friend. That’s no small order. However they arrive at that chance encounter, I hope they don’t back out. Sometimes you make your own luck. Chris Worthy is an attorney who took down her shingle to be a stay-at-home mom. Contact her at


Beware the unhealthy oatmeal

By Tom Perry Gannett

Pumpkin pecan oatmeal

Oatmeal is very healthy. But you do have to pay attention to what you add in,“ said Diane McIlhon, a licensed dietitian at the Mercy Weight Loss & Nutrition Center in Clive, Iowa. Consider that the following recipe from Quaker Oats has 330 calories per serving. Serves 4. 3 cups water 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional) 2 cups oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked) 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar One 8-ounce container vanilla low-fat or nonfat yogurt 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped toasted

Finding a dietitian or nutritionist to bad-mouth oatmeal — unless it was in a cookie — would have been difficult just a year ago. But this winter, McDonald’s rolled out Fruit & Maple Oatmeal and some food critics complained that the product was deceptively unhealthy. The 280 calories in the product, “is only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin,” a New York Times writer observed. Still, some see it as positive that a fast-food company has placed a food as nutritious as oatmeal in the spotlight. The more consumers who look at oatmeal and give it a chance, the better, said Diane McIlhon, a licensed dietitian at the Mercy Weight Loss & Nutrition Center in Clive, Iowa.

“A whole-wheat cereal with milk is going to be very good for you,” she said. “But with oatmeal, you get the fiber, and


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pecans In medium saucepan, bring water, pie spice and salt to a boil; stir in oats. Return to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cook 1 minute for quick oats, 5 minutes for old fashioned oats or until most of liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Stir in pumpkin and brown sugar; cook 1 minute. Let stand until desired consistency. Spoon oatmeal into four cereal bowls. Top with yogurt and pecans. Microwave directions: In 3-quart microwaveable bowl, combine water, pie spice, salt and oats. Microwave on high 6 to 7 minutes for quick oats and 9 to 10 minutes for old fashioned oats or until most of liquid is absorbed. Stir in pumpkin.

that is going to make you feel full longer.” While some have been highly critical

of McDonald’s oatmeal, McIlhon said whatever warts the product might have, “oatmeal is going to be better for you, nutritionally, than a sausage biscuit.” At Quaker Oats, meanwhile, the hope is that Americans will perhaps take a closer look at oatmeal and see it as a wholesome, inexpensive food that really is easy to make at home. “While choosing oatmeal at a fastfood restaurant is a good alternative in comparison to other fast food breakfast options, making Quaker Oats at home can be less expensive, just as convenient and healthier,” Samantha Raymond, a spokeswoman for the company said, pointing out that oatmeal costs about 40 cents per serving. Oatmeal dishes can be made much more interesting with add-ins. Of course, creator beware. Some add-ins are going to be less healthy than others. Quaker Oats, for example, has a website with several dozen recipes, including some with add-ins such as bacon and maple syrup. Click on “Cooking and Recipes” at




Don’t be scared of dark, leafy veggies. Try these recipes for a burst of flavor (and vitamins) By Ron Mikulak Gannett News Service Among the first vegetables to spring forth in April and May and the last to fade in the fall are the various leafy greens of the brassica family. This large, diverse group of vegetables grows easily and abundantly in backyard gardens, and shows up in at first heartening, and then after a while dismaying, quantities in farmers markets and community-supported agriculture boxes. They sprout quickly and are unfazed by suddenly cool nights or even late nips of frost. Likewise, a second planting late in the summer provides another crop of vibrant greens that tolerate well the crisp days and chilly nights of fall. Some think that a hard frost will actually sweeten the flavor of greens in October and November. So, remember the recipes worked out today, and return to them in five or six months. All leafy greens — from delicate spinach and the almost ephemeral sorrel to the sturdy chards and assertive mustard greens to the robust collards and kale — are easy to cook. All have to be washed well, in at least two coverings of water, sloshed around to free any mud or bugs. But if you are going to cook them immediately, they don’t have to be spun or dried. The more delicate greens cook with just the water that clings to them from a good washing. Collards and kale need just enough water to steam them and keep them from burning in the pot. All greens wilt down and lose volume as they cook. Some, like sorrel and baby spinach, almost comically shrink in the cooking pot — a 3-quart pot packed with fresh spinach will yield just enough to


Fastest pasta with spinach sauce You can use long pasta, such as linguine, but this is a good topping for unconventional shapes, such as campanelli (bells), shells, orecchiette (little ears) or spirals. 1 clove garlic 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste (optional) 1/4 cup dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 pound pasta 1 pound spinach, washed, tough stems removed,

roughly chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it generously (2 tablespoons is not too much). Meanwhile, mince the garlic as finely as possible, and combine it in the bottom of a warm bowl with the red pepper flakes, chopped tomatoes and olive oil. Place the pasta in the pot, and cook until it is nearly done (test by tasting). Plunge the spinach into the water, and cook until it wilts, less than a minute. Drain quickly, allowing some water to cling to the pasta, and toss

serve two as a side dish. All greens are nutritionally rich in fiber, vitamins and trace minerals, even as they are low in calories. Kale, chard and spinach are important sources of calcium and iron for vegetarians.

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pasta and spinach in the bowl with the garlic and olive oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and serve. Serves 4. Easy variations: In addition to or instead of the dried tomatoes, use Kalamata olives (about 1/4 cup), drained capers (about 2 tablespoons), toasted breadcrumbs (about 1/2 cup) or minced prosciutto (about 1/4 cup). Use other greens, as long as they will cook quickly. Try chopped leaves of kale, collards, Swiss chard, turnip or mustard greens, or bite-size florets of broccoli.

At farmers markets, I love to look for small, young beets sold with their deeply colored red-green tops, a truly economical purchase. I slice off the beet roots, pull the leaves from the leaf ribs, and have thereby three different vegeta-

Fast seasoned greens

2 cups water 3 tomatoes, about 1 pound, or one 16ounce can diced tomatoes 1 teaspoon salt 3 pounds greens (turnip, mustard, collard, kale or mixture) 2 large onions 3 cloves garlic 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1/2 pound lean ham 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste Bring 2 cups water to boil in a Dutch oven. Dip whole tomatoes, if using, in it for 30 seconds each, then set tomatoes aside. Add 1 teaspoon salt to the water. Meanwhile, wash greens well; remove and discard tough stems. Cut greens into thin strips. Put them in boiling water, reduce heat and simmer greens uncovered for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and chop onions; peel and mince garlic. Heat oil in a wide skillet, and add onions and garlic, cooking over medium heat as you finely chop ham. Add ham and red pepper flakes to onions, stirring briefly. Peel and core tomatoes. Cut them in half horizontally, and use your index finger to scoop out most of the seeds. Cut the tomatoes into chunks, and add them to skillet when the onion begins to color slightly. Cook until tomatoes are soft. Combine tomato mixture with greens, and serve in a bowl with cornbread to the side. Serves 8 or more as a side dish.

bles. I steam or roast the beets, saute the stems with butter and braise the leaves — not for the same meal of course. Chard stems also can be eaten, stripped of the leaves and chopped, mixed with diced onion and pepper, for a colorful vegetable saute the day after you steam the leaves. While all of the leaf vegetables under Continues on Page 42



Greens and goat cheese tart Fresh goat cheese gives this tart a melt-in-your mouth tenderness. Pastry crust: 1/2 cup butter, cut into 8 pieces 1-1/3 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 egg Filling: 1 small bunch kale (4 to 6 cups chopped) 2 bunches scallions 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 eggs 4 ounces fresh goat cheese (an herbed or peppered cheese will also work) 2 cups whole milk Crust: Combine butter, flour and salt in a medium bowl, and use a pastry blender or 2 knives to cut the butter into the flour until the


mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat egg with 4 teaspoons of water, and blend into flour mixture with a fork until the mixture holds together. Flatten the dough into a round about 1 inch thick. Wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill while you prepare the filling (or up to 2 days). Filling: Remove and discard tough stems from kale. Wash the kale, then gather it in a bunch and slice it into ribbons. Remove and discard roots and wilted tops of scallions. Chop scallions. Heat olive oil in a wide skillet over high heat, and add scallions. Stir a minute or two, then add kale and 1/2 cup water. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender and water has evaporated. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, combine red pepper, thyme, salt, eggs and goat cheese

in a large bowl. Beat to combine well, then add milk and stir to combine. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Roll the pastry dough to fit a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate or fluted tart pan. Fit pastry into pan, trim it and prick the bottom with the tines of a fork. Line the crust with aluminum foil, then fill with rice, dry beans or metal pie weights. Bake

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crust for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and remove aluminum foil and weights. Reduce heat to 375 degrees. Spread kale in the bottom of the pie shell, then pour custard over top. Bake 45 minutes until filling is puffy and browned. Let it stand 5-10 minutes before cutting into wedges. Serves 8.


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consideration here are excellent side dishes by themselves, they also work well in a variety of configurations — as soups, in pasta sauces, in frittatas or quiches, or mixed with other vegetables. Kale chopped, steamed and mixed into mashed potatoes makes the archetypal Irish dish colcannon. I first had baby spinach sauteed with onions and garlic and tossed with orecchiette pasta in Italy. A famous Portuguese soup simmers kale with potatoes, onions and smoked sausage for a hearty one-pot light meal. While kale, mustard greens, beet tops, turnip greens, collards, spinach and sorrel all have their own special qualities of taste and texture, many can be easily substituted in most of the recipes below. Only sorrel, with its especially delicate texture and tart taste — as well as its relative scarcity in most American markets — needs to be treated specially.



librarian’s pick

A white rabbit tries on different personas

In spring, possibilities abound. It would be a cold, hard heart indeed that did not thaw at least a little at the sight of the first snowdrop peeking up through winter mud. Author Kevin Henkes’ stories are known for their nimble conveyance of everyday childhood dramas. In “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse,” the readers squirm sympathetically at Lilly’s discomfiture over getting in trouble after disobeying her teacher. In “Wemberley, Worried” readers recognizes Wemberley’s long list of fears and concerns as their own. In his new book “Little White Rabbit,”

Henkes once again demonstrates his stellar storytelling and illustrating skills, this time by capturing the cheerful, expectant spirit of spring. The story begins with a scene showing a winsome white rabbit bouncing across a field full of yellow and white dandelions. It turns out that Little White Rabbit is in a contemplative mood. As he hops along through the tall grass, he wonders what it would be like to be green. The next page reveals a two-page spread in which Little White Rabbit is no longer white. He is a soft, new green. Everything around him is green too: a frog, a turtle, grasshoppers, butterflies, leaves. At each stage in his journey, Little


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Jennifer Prince Buncombe County Public Libraries

White Rabbit wonders what it would be like to be something else. The illustrations depict his imaginings. When Little White Rabbit wonders what it would be like to be tall like a fir tree, he imagines himself standing tall, nose to beak with a flying bird. When he sees several butterflies fluttering through the air, he wonders what it would be like to fly. He imagines himself aloft, long white ears flapping as he keeps pace with dozens of butterflies. The manner in which Henkes’ illustrations are presented helps tell the story. While Little White Rabbit hops along, the illustrations are centered on the page amid a wide, white border.

When Little White Rabbit imagines, the illustrations are presented on a two-page spread, color and image spread from edge to edge. This small to large motif adds the idea of imagination being beautiful and endless. Rendered in color pencil and acrylic paint, Henkes’ illustrations are buoyant. Spring green and soft, clear blue dominate, while accents of pink and yellow add subtle contrast. The colored pencil applications give the illustrations a soft-focus look while the acrylic paint gives Little White Rabbit and the other animals definition and substance. “Little White Rabbit” is a delightful story to share with toddlers and preschoolers. It is a story that children will want to visit again and again. Look for this title in the Buncombe County Public Libraries. Visit for more information and for a schedule of weekly story times at each library location.

area story times Buncombe County Public Libraries

Visit Black Mountain, 250-4756 Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday Mother Goose: 11:30 a.m. Tuesday Toddler: 10:30 a.m. Thursday East Asheville, 250-4738 Preschool: 11 a.m. Wednesday and Saturday Enka-Candler, 250-4758 Mother Goose: 11:30 a.m. Thursday Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday Toddler: 10:30 a.m. Thursday Fairview, 250-6484 Mother Goose: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Thursday Toddler: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday Leicester, 250-6480 Mother Goose: 11:30 a.m.

Tuesday Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday North Asheville, 250-4752 School Age: 3:15 p.m. Thursday Preschool: 11 a.m. Wednesday Toddler: 10 a.m. Wednesday Oakley/South Asheville, 250-4754 Mother Goose: 11 a.m. Thursday Toddler: 11 a.m. Wednesday Preschool: 10 a.m. Wednesday Pack Memorial Library, 2504700 Mother Goose: 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays Toddler: 10:30 a.m. Thursdays Family: 10:30 a.m. Saturdays Skyland/South Buncombe, 250-6488 Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Thursday Toddler: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday Swannanoa, 250-6486 Preschool: 11 a.m. Thursday Mother Goose: 11 a.m.


Wednesday Toddler: 10 a.m. Thursday Weaverville, 250-6482 Mother Goose: 11 a.m. Wednesday Toddler: 11 a.m. Thursday Preschool: 11:15 a.m. Tuesday West Asheville, 250-4750 Mother Goose: 11 a.m. Monday Toddler: 11 a.m. Wednesday Preschool: 11 a.m. Thursday

Henderson County Public Library

Visit No story time in May.

Barnes & Noble

Asheville Mall, 296-7335 11 a.m. Mondays and 2 p.m. Saturdays

Spellbound Children’s Bookshop

19 Wall St., Asheville, 2322228, Tuesdays: 10:30 a.m. (ages 3-5), 3:30 p.m. (ages 5-7).


dad’s view

Why must play involve a ‘date’? By William Scott Tiernan WNC Parent columnist

I was hoping my daughter Sophia wouldn’t start dating until, say, 30. But kids these days do things earlier than their parents did. Like master technology. And date. A few months back Sophia was invited on her first play date. To me a play date was like a pig pickin’: I’d heard of one, but I didn’t know how it worked. Was it something that needed to be planned? Did you meet on common ground? How long did you wait to call after the first date? I’ve been told arranging play dates for kids is important. Kids’ interaction with digital media has skyrocketed, and we’re well past the age of unsupervised soccer in the


street. The common ground then is a bit of face time in a mildly structured setting. What’s not to like? Nothing really, except the name. Sophia had a blast on her first play date. Same for subsequent dates with other friends. The problem is that she now covets play dates like they are precious objects, ancient coins to be collected and polished and stored in a secret box. When I ask her about school she’s likely to first mention who is having a play date with whom. The whole thing feels less like play and more like speed dating. By adding the word “date” we’ve burdened joyful child interaction — play — with a layer of social complexity unnatural for children. Noted kindergarten teacher and early childhood researcher Vivian Paley got it right in her book, “You Can’t Say You Can’t Play.” But the play date says otherwise.

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First, like Facebook, a request can be refused. Often for a benign reason, like a doctor’s appointment or being out of town … but still. In kid speak, “No, Jennifer can’t do a play date” can translate as, “No, Jennifer doesn’t like you.” Second, it attaches expectations to play. How’d it go? That’s the first question you’d ask a friend after a first date. It’s the same question a parent asks a child after a play date. Why? Because the parent arranged it. It was premeditated. Planned. Thus, a parent projects his or her own results-oriented anxiety on the child. Third, whether it goes well or not, a play date requires follow up. Reciprocity. If your child is invited on a play date, you as a parent are expected to return the favor at some point. Great if Play Date No. 1 was a meeting of future best friends. Not so great if Child A used Child B as a punching bag.

As someone who’s more socially capable than a rock but certainly not the life of the party, my ability to broker play dates for Sophia is marginal. I know I should reach out more, but something holds me back. Maybe it’s my fear that the whole thing feels a bit artificial. That it feels like a popularity contest. That it feels like Facebook for kids. Speaking of Facebook, when Mark Zuckerberg dropped the “The” from the social website’s name, he brilliantly stripped the site of its pretention. Parents should take a cue. Can’t we drop “date” from the “play date” equation? A few weeks ago, Sophia and I found ourselves at Fun Depot. We were about to leave when a friend from school arrived. After 10 minutes in the climbing room, the two girls were joined by a threesome of sisters. Five girls then, charging through tunnels and plunging down slides, oblivious to their parents, liberated from social expectations. They certainly weren’t dating. Instead, they were doing what kids do best. Playing. Email William Scott Tiernan at



divorced families

Dipping your toe in the dating pool Moving on is hard, but it is inevitable for adults in families going through the process of divorce. It is a process of modeling for our children that life goes on and that this can be in a positive way. The hard part is that children don’t necessarily like it. Until the first parent of a divorce actually gets remarried, children may hold on to hope that their parents may eventually get back together. Even if you have been dating for a while, your kids may surprise you at the point you actually get remarried (or solidly committed to another person) with a variety of emotions and behaviors. This is part of their grief. How do you handle this? Remember the steps from Divorce 101: reassure them of

your love and commitment to them; acknowledge their feelings and ideas for appropriate expression; and hold the line on inappropriate behavior. But we are way ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk about the fun of dating. I will try to highlight those issues relevant to divorcing parents: ◆ If you are separated and not yet legally divorced, strongly consider talking to your attorney about the risks involved with predivorce dating. ◆ If you are just considering dating, beware of rebound. This bears repeating. Beware of rebound. Use trusted friends and relatives to guide you concerning the choice and speed of a relationship. ◆ If you have not dated in some time, the world has changed. Get realistic — not cynical or optimistic — advice from those who are in or have recently been in the dating pool. ◆ Try not to take dating too seriously.


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By Trip Woodard WNC Parent columnist

Give yourself a learning curve and time to figure out what or who it is that you are really interested in. ◆ If your children ask, don’t be dishonest. Let them know you are dating, but it is not important for them to meet anyone that you are not considering to be serious. ◆ If you use an Internet dating service, never post pictures of your children. This also bears repeating. Never post pictures of your children on an Internet dating service. ◆ As you feel more serious about your partner, slowly introduce him or her to your children. Remember that what you are doing for yourself you are actually doing for them. You are teaching them to be brave and to believe in the future. Trip Woodard is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a clinical member of the N.C. Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Contact him at 6068607.




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calendar of events

Things to do

May 3

Jonathan Scales Forchestra Show Asheville’s steel drummer Jonathan Scales and his band perform at 6:30 p.m. at The Hop, 640 Merrimon Ave., Asheville. Visit Wee Naturalist program N.C. Arboretum offers a Wee Naturalist class for ages 2-5 with activities like nature walks, garden exploration, stories, crafts and visits from animals. Sessions are 10-11 a.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. Theme for May 3 is “The Water Cycle.” $6 per child older than 2. Younger siblings and adults free. $20 “Wee Card” is good for four visits. Registration not required. Children older than 5 not permitted. Visit or call Michelle Pearce at 665-2492.

May 5

Mom2Mom Pardee Hospital offers a free social network for nursing mothers. Meets 10 a.m., first Thursday of the month at Pardee Hendersonville Family Health Center

medical office building, 709 N. Justice St. Babies and children welcome. MOMS Club of Hendersonville open house MOMS Club of Hendersonville hosts its annual open house with free food, door prizes and a chance to meet other at-home moms. At 9:30 a.m. at East Flat Rock Park, Spartanburg Highway and Blue Ridge Road. Rain date is June 2. Visit or call Kerry at 692-7724. Special Olympics Spring Games Buncombe County’s Special Olympics athletes will compete in track and field events. Opening Ceremonies at 9:20 a.m. with a Parade of Athletes and lighting of the Olympic Torch. Free and open to the public. Call Grace Young at 250-4260 or email

May 6

Alex Krug Trio Show Asheville band Alex Krug Trio brings a guitar, upright bass, fiddle and original songs to The Hop West, 721 Haywood Road, West Asheville. At 6:30 p.m. Visit Music and Movement Hands On! A Child’s Gallery offers Music and Movement with Jenny Arch at 10:30 a.m. Free with admission. At 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit

May 6-7

Garage Sale Hendersonville’s First United Methodist Church’s annual garage sale with proceeds benefiting local missions and special needs. Sale is 8:30 a.m.-4


p.m. May 6 and 8:30 a.m.-noon May 7. At the corner of Church Street and Sixth Avenue, Hendersonville.

May 7

Babysitter’s Training class For children ages 11-15. Learn how to care for a child. Basic first aid included. 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Asheville-Mountain Area Chapter, American Red Cross, 100 Edgewood Road, Asheville. $45. Visit or call 258-3888. Camp Cedar Cliff open house Try archery, BB guns, zip line, climbing wall and more as the camp opens for a day of summer fun. With lunch, face painting and inflatables. Free. At the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Call 450-3331 or visit Cane Creek FCCLA Yard Sale Cane Creek Middle School’s FCCLA club hosts a fundraiser to help send members to the national conference in Anaheim, Calif. 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the gym at Cane Creek, 570 Lower Brush Creek Road, Fletcher. Vendors with handmade crafts, clothing, toys, sports equipment, more. Concessions available. To rent a table or for details, contact Mary Mauney at 628-0824. $1 admission for ages 15 and up. Civil War-era Fashion Show and Tea Smith-McDowell House Museum hosts a fashion show and tea highlighting the Civil War era at 11 a.m., which follows the Confederate Memorial Day ceremony. Fashion show is $10 for adults, $5 for children. Reservations required by May 5. Call 2539231 or email At 283 Victoria Road, Asheville.

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calendar of events Continued from Page 53 Claxton Elementary PTO book fair Claxton Elementary School’s PTO will host Bookfair Event Day from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Asheville Mall. Book readings and activities for elementary-aged children. Percentage of sales from May 5-11 will support the PTO. Contact Amanda Van Cleve at 216-2428. Cradle of Forestry Songbird Celebration Celebrate the songs of migratory birds that arrive from their tropical winter homes at their summer homes in the mountains. Family oriented activities from 1-4:30 p.m. $5 for adults; free for younger than 16. Visit or call 877-3130. Francine Delany PTO Spring Fling Francine Delany New School for Children’s PTO will host its annual Spring Fling, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Carrier Park. With inflatables, games, crafts, food, more. Visit or call 236-9441. Great Smoky Mountain Trout & Heritage Festival Educational tent, fly-fishing demos, kids activities, heritage area, music, craft vendors, Trout Race and more. Fried trout dinners. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in Maggie Valley. Visit or call 926-0866. Hershey’s Track and Field Youth Program Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts hosts a track and field event for ages 9-14. At 9 a.m. at Asheville High School, 419 McDowell St. Open to all levels of skill including beginners. To register, contact Kim Turner at 232-4526 or



The Bright Star Touring Theatre will present “Jack’s Adventure in North Carolina History” on May 7 as part of Asheville Community Theatre’s family series. See details below. Nesting Party Nest Organics hosts a nesting party for parents and parents-to-be. Learn about cloth diapering, baby wearing, more. With refreshments and store discount. From 2-4 p.m. at the store at 51 N. Lexington Ave., downtown Asheville. Free. RSVP to 258-1901. Ramble Run Event with 5K and 12K races through Biltmore Park and The Ramble in South Asheville. Both races offer

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parent-child team options. Visit Saturdays at ACT family theatre series Bright Star Touring Theatre will perform as part of Asheville Community Theatre’s Saturdays at ACT family theater series. At 2:30 p.m., see “Jack’s Adventure in North Carolina History” on the Mainstage of Asheville Community Theatre, 35 E. Walnut St. Tickets $5, available at the door on the day of the show.

WEE RECYCLE Rainbow Recycling presents WEE RECYCLE, a fun program about recycling for kids of all ages. Make and take your own bag monster. At 10:30 a.m. at Pack Memorial Library, 67 Haywood St. Call 2504700. Whole Bloomin’ Thing Spring Festival Wayneville’s Historic Frog Level hosts its annual festival, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Growers and artists, live music, children’s activities and more. YMCA parents’ night out Downtown Asheville YMCA offers a parents’ night out for children ages 2-12. Activities include swimming, arts and crafts, inflatable obstacle course, snacks and a movie. Register online or in person (at least 24 hours before scheduled program). From 6-10 p.m. the first Saturday of each month. $15 for members ($30 for nonmembers), with $2 sibling discounts for everyone. Call 210-5622 or visit

May 8

Mother’s Day Honor your Mom! Tiny Tykes Day Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department hosts Tiny Tykes Day, a free festival for children younger than 5. Children’s music songwriter Roger Day will perform. Includes inflatables, firetruck, miniature train rides, crafts, face painting, more. From 2-5 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 50 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Call Candy H. Shaw at 251-4042 or or Jessica

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calendar of events Continued from Page 55 Johnston at 251-4041 or Western District 4-H Horse Show At WNC Agricultural Center, McGough Arena. Call 688-4811.

May 9

Park Ridge Childbirth class Park Ridge Hospital’s The Baby Place offers its childbirth class in a one-day session, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Course covers nutrition and fitness for the expectant mom, labor, delivery options ranging from low-intervention to natural to traditional childbirth, and newborn care. A tour of the Baby Place is included. Register at $90. The hospital is at 100 Hospital Drive, Hendersonville.

May 9-13

Dollywood’s Penguin Players Buncombe County Public Libraries celebrate Children’s Book Week with the return of Dollywood’s Penguin Players. They will present “Otis” by Loren Long. A tractor, Otis roams the fields after a hardday’s work and plays in the haystacks. His determination shows there’s a place for everyone. The 20minute production is filled with sing-alongs with music written by Dolly Parton. It will be presented at these branches: ◆ May 9: Fairview, 2 p.m. ◆ May 10: Skyland/South Buncombe, 10:30 a.m.; West Asheville, 6:30 p.m.


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◆ May 11: Enka-Candler, 10:30 a.m.; Black Mountain, 3:30 p.m. ◆ May 12: Pack Library, 10:30 a.m.; Oakley/South Asheville, 3 p.m.; North Asheville, 6:30 p.m. ◆ May 13: Leicester, 10:30 a.m.; Weaverville, 3:30 p.m.

May 10

Pan Harmonia kids concert Kate Steinbeck, artistic director of Pan Harmonia collective, hosts a spring festival with three miniconcerts for kids. The first is 6:30 p.m. May 10 at The Hop Ice Cream Shop, Merrimon Ave., Asheville. With Steinbeck on flute, RiverGuerguerian on percussion and storyteller David Novak. Free. Visit

Starts May 10-11

Play & Learn Parents/caregivers and children ages 3-5 in Buncombe County who are not in regulated child care can attend a series of eight free Play & Learn group sessions. Five groups offered: 10 and 11 a.m. Tuesdays, May 10-June 7; 10 and 11 a.m. Wednesdays, May 11-June 8; or 10 a.m. Thursdays, May 12-June 9. All sessions at Family Resource Center at Asheville City Schools Preschool, 441 Haywood Road. Each 45-minute session focuses on pre-literacy skills for children and educational information for parents. With songs, puppets, dance, games, crafts and hands-on activities. Registration required. New and returning participants may register as of May 2. Register by email ( or phone (350-2904). Children must

be at least 3 years old on or before start date. Younger siblings may attend, but materials are not provided for them. It is understood that children attending kindergarten in the fall will not be able to attend sessions that extend past the beginning of school. For information, call Marna Holland at 350-2904.

May 10-12

Letterland at Tweetsie Railroad Tweetsie Railroad transforms into Letterland, bringing letters to life in an event for all ages. Meet some of Letterland’s favorite characters, ride the Ferris wheel, train and more. Visit

May 11

African drum class Hands On! A Child’s Gallery offers an African drum class for ages 4 and older. 10-11:30 a.m. $15 ($10 members). At 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit Call 697-8333 to register. Behavioral Family Strengths First Presbyterian Church of Swannanoa hosts the Rev. Bill Christian, a pastoral counselor at Black Mountain Pastoral Care and Counseling Center, to talk about “Behavioral Family Strengths.” At 5:30 p.m. Visit Holistic Parenting Forum The Holistic Parenting Forum is a free group that meets monthly to provide support, education and resources for a diverse community of parents committed to natural living. All meetings take place on the second Wednesday of every month at Earth Fare in West Asheville from 6-8 p.m. Children are welcome. For more information, call 230-4850 or email shanti-

BUNCOMBE COUNTY KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION Children must be 5 by Aug. 31 to enroll in kindergarten. For detail on what to bring to registration, visit Contact individual elementary schools with any questions and to schedule an appointment time for registration. May 2: Enka district May 3: Roberson district May 6: Owen and North Buncombe districts Science Wonders on Wednesdays The Health Adventure’s monthly program features experiments and demonstrations for the whole family. Free with museum admission or membership. Offered the second Wednesday of the month, 3:30-4 p.m. Visit or call 254-6373. At 2 S. Pack Square, Asheville.

Starts May 11-12

Preschool art sessions Roots + Wings School of Art offers four-week art sessions for ages 3-6. Sessions are 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesdays, May 11-June 1(focus on collage and painting animals) or 3:30-4:30 p.m. Thursdays, May


12-June 2 (focus on drawing skyscrapers, cars and more). $50 per child per session. Classes at The Cathedral of All Souls, 3 Angle St., Biltmore Village. Visit or call 545-4827.

May 12

Homeschool Outdoor Adventure Home-schooling families can spend the day canoeing along the French Broad River as part of Asheville Parks and Recreation’s Outdoor Adventures. Canoers must be able to swim and feel comfortable in a canoe. Trip subject to change because of water levels. Leave from Montford Recreation Center at 10 a.m. and return at 4 p.m. $14 residents, $15 nonresidents. Call 251-4029 or email Origami Folding Frenzy Learn new folds, share favorites, and meet fellow origami enthusiasts. All levels welcome. Paper is available at the museum store or bring your own. Cost is museum admission. From 4-5 p.m. the second Thursday of the month at The Health Adventure, 2 S. Pack Place. Call 254-6373 or visit

May 12-15

Lake Eden Arts Festival Music festival with crafts, dancing, kids village, performances from international to local acts and more at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain. Children 9 and younger are free. For tickets, call 68MUSIC or visit

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calendar of events Continued from Page 57

May 13

Celebration Singers of Asheville golf tournament The Celebration Singers of Asheville host their thirdannual charity golf tournament at Black Mountain Golf Course. 8:30 a.m. shotgun start or reserved tee times. $75 includes golf, cart, breakfast, lunch, prizes, more. Visit or call 230-5778. Geology Rocks Hands On! A Child’s Gallery offers a class for firstgraders and above. 3:30 p.m. At 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit Call 6978333 to register.

Starts May 14

Fit Families Asheville Track Club presents the Fit Families program. Get fit together by bringing the family to Carrier Park off Amboy Road on Saturdays in May and Thursdays and Saturdays in June to train for the Bele Chere 5K and fun run with ATC coaches. Young runners divided into exercise groups by age; ages 4-11. Runs May 14-July 30. $65.for 19 sessions or $37 for Saturdays only. Includes materials, snacks, incentives. Fun run participation is additional $10. Visit

May 14

Black Mountain Garden Show and Sale The sixth-annual Black Mountain Garden Show and

Sale will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sutton Avenue. With vendors and gardening information. Free children’s activities from 1-4 p.m. North Buncombe Elementary Yard and Craft Sale North Buncombe Elementary School PTO hosts its second-annual Community Yard and Craft Sale fundraiser, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. in the school parking lot, 251 Flat Creek Church Road, Weaverville. Reserve at $20 or $25 spot by may 9. Call 645-6054 for reservation form. With refreshments and prize raffle.

May 14-15

Chimney Rock Park Girl Scout overnight Chimney Rock Park offers Girl Scout Day for scouts of all ages with hands-on nature programs. Participants receive a Chimney Rock badge. Overnight option available. $12 per scout (adult chaperones required, one adult free per 10 scouts); $9.50 each additional adult; $8 additional for camping; $4 for nonscout children. Visit

May 15

Celebration Singers of Asheville concert The Celebration Singers of Asheville perform their spring concert “Celebrate the Beautiful World!” at 4 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 20 Oak St., Asheville. Featuring songs from Mozart to pop music. Donations appreciated. Visit or call 230-5778. Low Country Boil Hands On! A Child’s Gallery and Blue Water Seafood


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host a Low Country Boil, 3-7 p.m. at Camp Tekoa. With live music and outdoor activities including Duck Derby and Explosion Palooza. Visit or call 697-8333 for information.

Starts May 16

SAT prep class UNC Asheville offers an SAT test preparation course, Mondays and Wednesdays, May 16-June 1. $295. Call 250-2353, e-mail or visit

May 16-17

‘Creative Parents Raise Creative Kids’ Author and blogger Whitney Ferre speaks about her creativity program for parents. On May 16, Ferre will give a free talk, “The Creative Generation: Raising Kids to Create Change” from 6-7 p.m. On May 17, she will lead two workshops, 2:30-4 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. Learn simple, fun, quick activities to do at home using inexpensive art supplies. Workshops are $35 per person. Child care available for $5. All at Vance Elementary School, 98 Sulphur Springs Road, Asheville.

May 17

Gardening with Herbs Fairview Library offers a program on Gardening with Herbs for Flavor and Flower, with Alison Arnold, former director of horticulture at N.C. Arboretum. Free. Call 250-6484 or email

Hula Hoop Jam Black Mountain Library offers a hula hoop even for all ages at 7 p.m. Rain date is May 24. Call 250-4756. Improv Hour Bring a prepared skit, poem, etc., or just be ready for fun at this open improve hour directed by Chris Martin. At 6:30 p.m. at The Hop, 640 Merrimon Ave., Asheville. Visit Wee Naturalist program N.C. Arboretum offers a Wee Naturalist class for ages 2-5 with age-appropriate activities like nature walks, garden exploration, stories, crafts and visits from classroom animals. Sessions are 10-11 a.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. Theme for May 17 is “Water Motion.” $6 per child older than 2. Younger siblings and adults free. $20 “Wee Card” is good for four visits. Registration not required. Children older than 5 not permitted. Visit or call Michelle Pearce at 665-2492.

May 19

‘Peaceful Mind, Open Heart’ Public talk by author and Zen teacher Anh-Huong Nguyen, sponsored by Asheville-area faith communities. At 7 p.m. at College Chapel on the Warren Wilson campus. $10 suggested donation. Children, families and beginners to meditation are welcome. For information, contact Nan Jarema at 458-6558 or

May 19-20

The Success Equation Children First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe

Continues on Page 60



calendar of events Continued from Page 59 County host The Success Equation, a summit to create a community movement to end child poverty in Buncombe County. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May 19 and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. May 20. Contact Shelley Booth at for information. Location is TBA. Child care planned.

May 20

Stereojunk show Asheville band Stereojunk brings energy and original songs to The Hop West, 721 Haywood Road, West Asheville. At 6:30 p.m. Visit Teen Awesome Group The Weaverville Library Teen Awesome Group has begun the creation of a book movie trailer for “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” by Carrie Ryan. At the May meeting, help select scenes and ideas to represent in the trailer and help write the trailer script. At 4 p.m. Call 250-6482. YMCA parents’ night out Downtown Asheville YMCA offers a parents’ night out for children ages 2-12. Activities include swimming, arts and crafts, inflatable obstacle course, snacks and a movie. Register online or in person (at least 24 hours before scheduled program). From 6:30-9:30 p.m. the third Friday of each month. $12 for members ($24 nonmembers), with $2 sibling discounts for everyone. Call


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210-5622 or visit Youth Dance Waynesville Parks and Recreation hosts a dance for grades 3-5. $5. Visit or email

May 20-22

‘Peaceful Mind, Open Heart’ retreat Weekend mindfulness retreat with author and Zen teacher Anh-Huong Nguyen, sponsored by Ashevillearea faith communities. From the evening of May 20 to 3 p.m. May 22 at YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain. Children, families and beginners to meditation are welcome. Tuition is $160 ($105 for commuters), or $60 for part-time day tuition. To register, call Maggie Schluback at 669-9169. For information, contact Nan Jarema at 458-6558 or

May 21

Fairview Preschool open house Fairview Preschool will host an open house, 10 a.m.-noon, as it registers for Fall 2011. Classes for ages 2, 3, 4 and 5 (pre-K). Classes will meet 8:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Behind Fairview Library, at 596 U.S. 74, Fairview. Call 338-2073, email or visit Lure of the Dragons Festival Lake Lure hosts dragon boat competition, with entertainment, food and kids’ activities. All day. Visit

calendar of events Lunch N Learn: The Stars and Stripes Smith-McDowell House Museum offers a program for elementary-aged children and adults. Learn about flag history, flag etiquette, more. Hot dog lunch (vegetarian option available) and take-home craft. Program covers flag-related requirements in Cub Scout and Brownie programs. Children attending without a parent must be at least 9 years old. $10 per person. Reservations required. Call 253-9231 or email by May 19. At 283 Victoria Road, Asheville. Spring Fling Waynesville Recreation Center hosts Family Day in the Park with the Kiwanis. Food, inflatables, games, summer camp information, kids dog contest, more. Visit, email or call 456-2030, ext. 2506. Teddy Bear Tea Party Historic Johnson Farm hosts a Teddy Bear Tea Party for ages 3-7 with stories, songs, parachute play, bears and snacks. Kids should bring a favorite bear. Kids free, adults $5. Call 891-6585. WAMA Jam Music & Arts Festival Enjoy music of all varieties at the West Asheville Music and Arts Festival, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. at Erwin High School Sports Complex, 60 Lees Creek Road, Asheville. With arts and crafts vendors, food, and children’s area with inflatables, pony rides, educational exhibits and more.

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calendar of events Continued from Page 61

class for ages 4 and older. 10-11:30 a.m. $15 ($10 members). At 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit Call 697-8333 to register.

May 21-22

May 27

Backyard Family Campout Diamond Brand Outdoors hosts an overnight campout at Fletcher Community Park. The retailer will provide camping gear. Evening includes s’mores, a night hike, campfire stories and games. $10 reservation fee, with all money donated to Fletcher Community Park Development Fund. Contact Gary at or 209-1538. Chimney Rock Park Boy Scout overnight Chimney Rock Park offers Boy Scout Day. Rock climbing and camp overnight option available. $12 per scout (adult chaperones required, one adult free per 10 scouts); $9.50 each additional adult; $8 additional for camping; $4 for nonscout children. Visit

Physics Phun Hands On! A Child’s Gallery hosts Physics Phun! for third-graders and above. At 3:30 p.m. at 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit Call 697-8333 to register.

May 27-29

AKC Dog Agility Trial Watch dogs jump, race, climb and more. 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at McGough Arena, WNC Ag Center in Fletcher. Free. Spectators welcome. Please leave your dogs at home. Call 697-2118. Mountain Sports Festival A weekend music and sports festival that celebrates community, athletics and local business at Carrier Park. Sporting competitions for kids and adults, children’s area and more. Visit

May 23

YWCA Wellness Open House YWCA of Asheville hosts a Wellness Open House, 4-7 p.m., at the Y, 185 S. French Broad Ave., Asheville. With local health practitioners, free chair massages, health screenings, prizes and more. Visit or call 254-7206, ext. 203.

May 28

Used Book Sale Friends of the Weaverville Library Used Book Sale is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. With fiction and nonfiction, children’s books, audio books, movies and music. Call 2506482.

May 24

Red Hot Sugar Babies show Red Hot Sugar Babies perform vocal and instrumental jazz of the Roaring ’20s and ’30s at 6:30 p.m. at The Hop, 640 Merrimon Ave., Asheville. Visit Wee Naturalist program N.C. Arboretum offers a Wee Naturalist class for ages 2-5 with age-appropriate activities like nature walks, garden exploration, stories, crafts and visits from classroom animals. Sessions are 10-11 a.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. Theme for May 24 is “Water Animals and their Habitats.” $6 per child older than 2. Younger siblings and adults free. $20 “Wee Card” is good for four visits. Registration not required. Children older than 5 not permitted. Visit or call Michelle Pearce at 665-2492.

May 25

Apollo 13 talk Former NASA engineer Merlin Merritt will give a talk

May 30


May 31

about his experience with the Apollo 13 program and his experience with NASA (he trained the flight crew of the Challenger shuttle). At 6:30 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 531 Haywood Road. Call 253-7301.

Crazy Chemists Hands On! A Child’s Gallery offers a class for ages 3 and older. Learn to make plastic dough. At 10:30 a.m. $5 (free for members). At 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit Call 6978333 to register. Sirius.B show Sirius.B, performs high energy gypsy folk funk at 6:30 p.m. at The Hop, 640 Merrimon Ave., Asheville. Visit

May 26

June 2-3

Trinity Robinson competed in last year’s Buncombe County Special Olympics. This year’s olympics will kick off early May 5. For details, see item on Page 53.

African drum class Hands On! A Child’s Gallery offers an African drum

‘Coppelia’ Ballet Conservatory of Asheville performs its spring ballet, “Coppelia,” at 7:30 p.m. June 2 and 5 and 8 p.m. June 3 at Diana Wortham Theatre. The ballet tells the story of a girl and boy who fall in love, a mysterious toy maker and a magical toy shop. Visit or

June 3-12

Day out with Thomas the Tank Engine Thomas the Tank Engine visit Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock. Take a 25-minute ride with a full-size Thomas the Tank Engine and meet Sir Topham Hatt. With storytelling, music, activities, more. Adults (13 and older) $34; ages 3-12, $22; children 2 and under are free. Visit or


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Kids page


Puzzles for Parents Because of the number of calendar submissions for May, the crossword and Sudoku puzzles do not appear in this issue.



W N C PA R E N T | M AY 2 011

WNC Parent May 2011  

WNC Parent May 2011 Edition

WNC Parent May 2011  

WNC Parent May 2011 Edition