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November 2013 • Free


The Year’s Best Toys, Games and Dolls

Emily Maynard

Raising Kids Who Care




special advertising sections

hooray for the holidays | NOVEMBER 2013 A & open houses

Douglas T. Hugh R. Black, II, C. Thomas Humphries, Vandana K. William S. Johnston, D.O. M.D. M.D., MBA Patel, M.D. Ashe, Jr., M.D. Arboretum 8045 Providence Rd., Suite 300 704-341-9600 Mallard Creek 10310 Mallard Creek Rd., Suite 101A 704-503-4888

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Snowy vistas and twinkling lights are the backdrop for your mountain holiday tradition. Choose and cut your Christmas tree at an area farm, shop for gifts at boutiques and specialty stores, and enjoy award-winning restaurants.

800-852-9506 :: | NOVEMBER 2013


Fall Into Family Fun at CTC! Hansel & Gretel - Oct. 26-Nov. 10

In this clever adaptation, a family gathers around the dinner table and Mother tells her children the story of Hansel & Gretel. As the story unfolds the family embraces their roles in this “play within a play” with a “happily ever after” ending. For 7+

Billy Jonas - Nov. 16-17

One of the region’s most exciting singer-songwriters returns to the CTC stage with his high-engery, uplifting mix of “witty, smart, raw” family-friendly music (NY Times). Tickets are going fast! For 5+

Coming for the Holidays: Miracle on 34th Street (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) A Commedia Christmas Carol (Dec. 14-29) 704-973-2828 Join our E-Club for news and offers all season long!

Reach new & expectant parents through Charlotte Parent’s


baby toddler guide

With more

than 25,000 births in the region last year*, there are a lot of parents in need of baby products and services.

Santa Train and Cookies & Cocoa with Santa

Santa Train

Nov. 29-30, Dec. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22

Connect with these parents by placing an ad in this annual guide.

AD DEADLINE: Dec. 6 * (Mecklenburg, Gaston, Lincoln, York, Union, Cabarrus, Iredell county data 2012 Statistics)




Celebrate A Railroad Christmas!

A day time train ride with Santa and his helpers as they hand out oranges and candy canes. Stay to make a craft! COOKIES & COCOA


An evening train ride to the Roundhouse to sit on Santa’s lap, share cookies and Visit for more! cocoa & make a craft! Exit 79 Off I-85 Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14, 20-21

411 S. Salisbury Ave Rides at 5:30 & 6:30 p.m. 7:30pm (tentative) Spencer, NC 28159 Advance tickets only! 704-636-2889

november 2013


22 An Interview With Emily Maynard Her take on life as a single mom, and making the holidays special

27 Raising Thankful Children

How to make it a season of giving, not just receiving

29 Parades and Holiday Happenings Mark your calendar for area parades, tree-lightings and other festive events

30 29

30 Holiday Gift Guide: Part 1 Our top picks for toys, games and dolls

27 4 9 12 13 16 19 20 21 39 40 51 52

in every issue

from the publisher family fyi doc says chalk talk step up food for thought mother of style growing up getting out daily calendar a good sport carolina smiles


November 2013 • Free

29 30 22 24


The Year’s Best Toys, Games and Dolls

Emily Maynard

Raising Kids Who Care





special advertising sections

hooray for the holidays & open houses

Cover Photo By Becca Bond, | NOVEMBER 2013




Thanks and Gratitude


eing thankful is good. From gratitude journals to volunteering, this is the time of year when we are constantly reminded to be thankful for what we have, to help others and live in a mindset of abundance. Serving others provides unintended rewards. I was reminded of this recently, when attending a memorial service for my friend Belmont, who lived to the respectable age of 99. I met her when I was seeking a volunteer opportunity for our son, Crawford. I wanted something hands-on and personal—something we could do together. So, I connected with a Care Team at our church, and thus began our friendship with Belmont. The first year, Crawford and I took her to the store, helped her with her shopping list and carried her groceries back to the apartment each month. He enjoyed our excursions, and so did I. But later, as he got older, school schedules, homework and sports practices got in the way, and eventually I was the only one making the trips to visit Belmont, but I didn’t mind. I enjoyed our time together. We frequently talked about what was happening with our kids, and her grandson. (Funny how that is with moms of any age.) And whenever Crawford could join me, she would light up when he entered the room. In fact, I believe she liked seeing him a lot more than me. We didn’t meet often, but our time together was always sweet. What I will remember most of all about my friend, is how she gave me something back...gratitude. Being grateful doesn’t always come naturally. Children today are growing up in a world of entitlement, where they are conditioned by society to believe having the latest and greatest gadget is important. Our job is to teach them what matters most. For our family, that’s good old Southern manners (like saying “please” and “thank you”), caring for others and being thankful for what you have. I hope my son will live a life of gratitude, and instead of volunteering just to fill the requisite number of service hours for his college application, he will serve others gladly, making a few new friends along the way. In this issue, we explore ways to help you raise thankful children on page 27. This feature will give you ideas on how to get started, but I encourage you not to stop there. Find your own way to serve, and like the Murdock family on page 10, look for ways to get the whole family involved. You’ll be grateful you did. Many thanks,







ART DIRECTOR Melissa Stutts








CONTACT US Phone: 704-344-1980 Fax: 704-344-1983 214 W. Tremont Ave., Suite 302 Charlotte, NC 28203 Circulation 109,000. Distribution of this magazine does not constitute an endorsement of information, products or services. Charlotte Parent reserves the right to reject any advertisement or listing that is not in keeping with the publication's standards. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Published by Carolina Parenting Inc.

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Public or private school? Home-school or charter? We know the choices are vast. That’s why we created our Education Guide to aid in the selection process. Read it on your tablet.

With Daddy Derek, A Crafty Mess, At Home With Kids and The Daily Post, see what our parent bloggers have to say about life, kids and more.






Mommas do know best. See which pediatricians Charlotte-area moms recommend.


CONTEST “ADVENTURES IN OUTER SPACE” CONCERT TICKETS Enter to win a family four-pack of tickets to “Adventures in Outer Space,” Nov. 16 at Knight Theater. Brought to you by the Charlotte Symphony Lollipops and featuring the Grey Seal Puppets, this musical production will take your family on a cosmic journey to galaxies far, far away.



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Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade Kicks Off Holiday Season


hether watching from the sidewalks along Tryon Street in uptown Charlotte or on television while the turkey roasts in the oven, longtime Charlotteans anticipate the annual uptown parade on Thanksgiving Day. Families and friends have gathered for more than six decades to watch loved ones who are marching, riding on floats or performing in the parade. Children catch the magic of the season as they watch some of their favorite characters and songs come to life on the street. Even adults admit that it’s hard not to smile

with the promise of the holiday. The parade, which dates back to 1947 and long known as the Carolina’s Carrousel Parade, is now the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade thanks to new sponsor Novant Health. In 2012, U.S. News & World Report named it one of America’s Best Thanksgiving Day Parades. In 2013, parade-goers can experience real, larger-than-life floats, memorable performances and special appearances. Uptown Charlotte will come alive with holiday characters, snow globes, toy soldiers and more. The

parade also includes a special recognition of military servicemen and women. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28, and runs along Tryon Street through uptown Charlotte, as it has in years past. The parade also airs on WBTV (times TBD – check your local schedule). You can snuggle up in pajamas with a mug of hot chocolate and watch from the comfort of your own home, or grab your hat and gloves head uptown. Either way, make it a tradition to start your Thanksgiving Day with one of the nation’s biggest Thanksgiving Day parades!

Belmont resident Andre Echevarria and his son Jacob Echevarria, 7, are the creators of FPM Play, a podcast designed to get kids talking with parents about how current pop culture relates to them. Topics have included Minecraft, Marvel movie madness and Boy Scout requirements. The fatherson team is always looking for guests to co-host and share their opinions and reviews on the latest video games, movies and media that kids are talking about. For more information, email

62% of parents describe child-care experiences as “very meaningful.” Source: Pew Research Center Time Use Survey

Find the latest information about this year’s parade at | NOVEMBER 2013



good deed: The Murdock Family



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get real with

Brandon Pollock Quick stats: Age 26, K104.7 FM afternoon radio personality … Family tree: Lives with wife Lauren Pollock, daughter Brynley, and two dogs in Cornelius … Favorite indulgence: It’s a tie between chocolate pie and my wife’s blueberry cobbler … Favorite outing: With my family, going for a stroll in Davidson, grabbing lunch at Toast or some ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s along the way. Without family – golf! When Bryn gets older I really want to teach her how to play – or have someone else teach her because I’m not the best golfer. Either way, I think it will be a good way to spend some quality father-daughter time … Favorite local eats: Bad Daddy’s Burgers in Birkdale … iPod: From Led Zeppelin to Rascal Flatts and even a little Southern Gospel in between … Latest read: “Becoming Baby Wise” and “The Total Money Makeover” … DVR: “Breaking Bad,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Duck Dynasty,” and “Cold Justice” … In your bag: iPhone charger and way too many pens (I admit, I’m a pen thief) … Can’t live without: Coffee, Chapstick and flip flops … Stress buster: playing golf, a Sunday afternoon watching golf, a day by the pool with family, or just a relaxing day with my two girls (four girls if you include the dogs). 




Sean and Amber Murdock believe in giving back to the community, and feel it’s important to share that spirit of service with their children — Eden, 6; Evan, 5; and Ethan, 4. “We want to instill in our children that life is not always about what you get, but most often, what you are able to give to others,” says Amber. To establish a practice of giving back, the family picks a charity together to sponsor on each child’s birthday. The family chose the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte as its charitable organization for 2013 birthdays. As a family, they cooked breakfast twice at RMHC, and also baked cookies for families at RMHC. They have selected the Hospitality House of Charlotte and the Bright Blessings organization for the upcoming year, beginning with a Purpose Party at Bright Blessings in December for Eden’s birthday, and brunch preparation and cookie-baking planned in the spring and summer of 2014 at Hospitality House for Evan’s and Ethan’s birthdays.

The Murdock family clockwise from top left: Amber and Sean Murdock, Eden, 6, Ethan, 4, and Evan, 5.

CMS Students Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists Eleven CMS students join approximately 1,600 others from across the country vying for 800 achievement scholarships worth approximately $2.5-million. The semifinalists are Natasha C. Dease, Brianna G. Hardeo, Tranice R. Warner from Cato Middle College; Wesley J. Simmons from East Mecklenburg; Tiauna Dodd from Mallard Creek; Stefan J. Pratt-Brown from Myers Park; Brittany Rowell from Northwest School of the Arts; Chelsey M. Thomas from South Mecklenburg; and Elijah N. Davila, Ebony L. Hargro and Michael A. Parkins from North Mecklenburg.

To my 4-year-old, sex means the determination of sex — boy or girl. Not an act of love between two people. Sex: girl! Shertana Millen, via Facebook

Fun with


Actors ages 15-19 who sing and dance are invited to an open casting call for the production of Fun With STEM, Nov. 8 from 1 to 6 p.m. at Spirit Square. The musical production by Learn With Laughter includes live action, robotic puppets, magic, multimedia segments and live music, and will be performed for 5,000 elementary school students and the Charlotte community at Blumenthal Performing Arts Booth Playhouse, March 27-April 6, 2014. Actors are asked to bring a picture and resume and prepare a song to sing a cappella. More at

Operation Christmas Child National Collection Week Let your child feel good about giving a gift to a child in need and open an opportunity to discuss life in other countries by packing a shoebox filled with small toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and other fun things for Operation Christmas Child. Drop off the shoebox gift during Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week, Nov. 18–25 at one of 12 collection sites across Charlotte. By donating $7 online in addition to the packed shoebox, a special label can be attached to the shoebox gift that allows children to track the box to its destination. samaritanspurse. org. | NOVEMBER 2013


fyi : : WELLNESS

The Emotional Building Blocks of an Adoptive Family

b e r is Ad o ve mr e n e ss M o npti o n o N wa th A


tarting an adoptive family is essentially the same as creating a biological family: It starts with a whole lot of love, high hopes and strong expectations. Brought together through planning or fate, the beautiful patchwork of DOC SAYS an adoptive family can shine and inspire like a close-knit family BY DR. ANNE WALKER made through genetic ties. While there are special concerns about planning an adoptive child’s emotional and psychological future, one of the most helpful strategies is to treat your child exactly as if he or she were your biological child. Once you become committed to raising an adopted child, consider these key issues as an adoptive parent. No exceptions. All families thrive best when there is a nice mixture of nurture and expectations, of love and structure, and of caring and growing together. This may sound simplistic, but when families make exceptions for their adopted children (“Aw, we should not push her since she’s adopted” or “Aw, he cannot help himself since he is adopted”), trouble usually follows. Talking about adoption. Preschoolers need just simple facts: You are ours, you are adopted and we so love you! In elementary years, more detail can be shared, but be careful about going overboard. Your child doesn’t need to know the details of your failed infertility work-up or the reasons their biological parents were unable to raise them. Continue to affirm the truth of the adoption, how wonderful it is for all of you and how glad you are that you are a family. Tackling the past. In domestic adoptions and foster-care adoptions, there are many complexities of a child’s past, sometimes interactions with birth parents or biological parents. These situations often lead to tangled issues that are best addressed with professional counselors and other help. Affirming your love and intent to be the new and steady parent, the “forever family” for the child, goes a long way to soothe these patches of uncertainty and questioning in an adopted child’s life. Creating family bonds. There is the potential for an adopted child, especially an older child, to have difficulty bonding, creating a condition known as reactive attachment disorder. A child suffering RAD can have difficulty learning to love and trust a new parent. Training on how to recognize and get help for RAD is available for adoptive parents. Fortunately, this is actually quite rare in children adopted before age 2 or 3. Just like a biological child, an adopted child is most content if you keep upward momentum going with your child by having a vision for his future and keeping in close touch with his day-to-day life. Anne E. Walker, MD, is an international adoption consultant and practices general and adolescent pediatrics at Novant Health Walker Pediatrics in Charlotte. She and her husband are parents of three children they adopted from Russia.




The cold sore virus may help kids with cancer. Researchers have found that by injecting a modified cold sore virus directly into a solid cancer tumor, the virus can zap the tumor, but doesn’t affect the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor and other cells throughout the body. A win-win for researchers and children battling cancer!

Beverages associated with professional athletes are more likely to be favorites of children. A recent study, however, shows that 93 percent of 46 beverages endorsed by athletes receive 100 percent of their calories from added sugars. Children perceive the products to be healthy based on the athlete’s credibility as living a healthy lifestyle. Researchers hope the results encourage athletes to endorse healthy beverages and foods for the health of children who admire them.

Results from a study tracking bedtimes and behavior of children found children with irregular bedtimes are more likely to have behavioral difficulties at age 7. Children who switched to a more regular bedtime had clear improvements in their behavior. Study authors conclude that the effects of inconsistent bedtimes are reversible and encourage health care providers to check for sleep disruptions as part of routine health care visits.




Tactile Travel Fun Just in time for the trip to the grandparents’ house, Mead DryErase Tangrams help children build problemsolving and basic geometry skills. Based on traditional Chinese puzzles, the nonslip geometric shapes come in a portable travel case and can be arranged to create different designs.

Developing More Awareness of Geography


eography Awareness Week is Nov. 17-23. It was established 26



years ago to encourage citizens young and old to learn about the interconnectedness of the world. Many of today’s schools do not focus on teaching geography, so this week is a good week for parents to start taking up the slack and help their children learn more about the subject. A wide array of activities, volunteer opportunities and events for children and

families can be found on The most appealing aspects of this site are the missions that help you and your children explore your own communities, looking at them through geographic activities. Some intriguing missions from last year include making a “smell” map of your neighborhood, living on a budget of only $1.25 a day, watching sunrise at sunset, and keeping a ship’s log for five days. Completing different missions enables your children to earn skill badges.

App Alert

The videos on this website are another educational aspect that can increase your children’s knowledge of geography on such topics as earthquakes, tsunamis and the wildest weather in the solar system. Kids can also enjoy the cartoons. Use this week and subsequent weeks to learn more about geography and have fun together completing the missions. Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 publications to their credit.

Finding the most ageappropriate apps just got easier, thanks to an app store for kids on iTunes. Simplify app searches by age categories, top-paid apps, best free apps or quick-link categories, including First Words and Numbers, and Create and Play.

Tip When a child is struggling in school, pay attention to problem behaviors at home that may be repeating themselves in the classroom. | NOVEMBER 2013



2013-14 Education Guide


20 13 -20 14

Enroll Now for First CMS Magnet Lottery




• The big list of preschools, private, public and charter schools • 575+ education resources • Learning in the digital age • Kindergarten readiness • Strategies for a less stressful test day



Gifted e&d Talent Pick up your copy today!


View the digital edition

If you have a rising kindergartener, or are interested in the ST Pre-K magnet Montessori program or any magnet programs through Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, it’s time to get your Is the book Textpaperwork ? together for enrollment. Students must be enrolled d Dea by Dec. 6 to be eligible for the district’s first magnet lottery. Why Boys Falling magnet lottery applications will be available from areOnline Behind Jan. 11-Feb. 11, 2014. For more information email or call 980-343-5335. TEST TAKING RATEGIES






What’s Next for Public Education in Charlotte? Public education options in the Charlotte area are expanding with more charter schools and magnet programs on the horizon. On Nov. 9, Staying Ahead Carolina and UNC Charlotte is hosting a forum at the UNCC Center City campus that explores the four C’s of public education – Choices, Challenges, Changes and Coordination – and the impact on students and community. Topics include public school choices, the most pressing challenges facing public education, changes to address students’ educational needs, and how various public school entities can coordinate efforts to build upon infrastructure and systems. Forum panelists include Dr. Heath Morrison, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools superintendent; and Eddie Goodall, president of the NC Public Charter Schools Association. The event is free, but registration is required at






Fall Leaf Candle Jar A perfect Thanksgiving Day table centerpiece

SUPPLIES: • Glass jar (a Mason jar works great) • Fall leaves* • Mod Podge • Paintbrush • Acrylic spray (optional) • Raffia • Tealight candle



1. Brush outside of jar with an ample coat of Mod Podge, avoiding the bottom and the top ridges (if using Mason jar).

2. Attach leaves one by one, arranging and slightly overlapping as you go, but don’t cover so much that light cannot shine through. Smooth down the edges and brush with additional Mod Podge as necessary to adhere them well. Let dry. 3. Once dry, brush with one more coat of Mod Podge and let jar dry. Tip: Use a dabbing technique on glass where there are no leaves. This will look nicer than brush strokes once dry. 4. If desired you can also seal with a coat of acrylic spray after Mod Podge is dry. 5. Tie raffia bow around top and pop in a tea light. Your candle jar is ready for your Thanksgiving table. * You may use pressed and dried fall leaves. Or if you are short on time and don’t have the two weeks necessary to properly dry leaves, use artificial silk ones. Just make sure your leaves don’t contain rigid veins and are pliable enough to adhere to the jar’s curves.

- Renee Canada

No long lines, limits, or chaos. Skip the big box stores & shop comfortably this holiday season.

10225 Park Rd. Charlotte NC 28210 | | NOVEMBER 2013



Holiday Shopping Tips for Blended Families


hile eating lunch with my daughter’s second-grade class at school, I overheard this statement coming innocently out of a child’s mouth: “I am lucky. Since my parents are divorced, I get two of everything.” STEP-UP BY KAREN ALLEY As a stepmom, I both rejoiced and cringed when I heard him say that. For kids whose parents are divorced, having duplicates of some things is inevitable. Game consoles come to mind as items that are not easily transported from one house to another. What child needs to have two 2014 Madden Playstation games, or two American Girl “look-like-me” dolls? If we are constantly playing catch-up with our ex-spouse, or trying to make the child’s time at our house perfect by giving into their every desire, we aren’t doing the kids any favors.

As we head into gift-giving season, here are a few suggestions to help make your child’s dreams come true while avoiding unnecessary duplicates. Communicate. As with practically every aspect of co-parenting, keeping the lines of communication open is important when it comes to presents. You might have plans to buy your child something only to find out that your ex-spouse’s parents already have it as their gift. Avoid the frustration by talking to each other early about what you plan to buy, and talk to your extended family as well. Split the list. We all try hard to get our kids what they ask for, especially when children are young and Santa Claus is so important. Luckily, most kids ask for more than one thing. You know well before the holidays what your child wants, so when

“I saw it in charlotteparent!”



you’re talking with your ex-spouse, go ahead and decide who will buy which of the big items. Try to keep in mind the gifts belong to your child, not to you or your house. Making an effort to cut down on duplicate toys means that when you only buy one of something, your child needs to have it available at both parents’ houses. Baby dolls and video games might end up traveling from one house to the other, and that’s OK. The holidays can be stressful for blended families, but with a little work and communication, you can help make happy celebrations for your kids at each parent’s house. Karen Alley is a freelance writer who is proud to be part of a blended family.

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fyi : : LIFE Parenting Toolbox: Being Thankful


Good ideas to slow down, reflect and record family memories

Thanksgiving Cooking Apps

“Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book” by Diane Muldrow (A Golden Book, $9.99) takes you — and your kids — back to a time when picture books cost $.25 and were sold not only at bookstores, but at five-and-dimes and department stores as well. Good advice is as valuable now as it was then. Flip through pages of iconic Golden Book art paired with helpful tips such as “Go on a joyride!” with art from “Tommy’s Wonderful Rides” by Helen Palmer, to “Be a hugger” with art from “George Finds a Grandpa” by Miriam Young. Enjoy art by Richard Scarry, Mary Blair, Eloise Wilkin and other famed illustrators.

1. How to Cook Everything

2. Epicurious Recipes 3. Whole Foods

Market Recipes

4. Martha’s

Everyday Food

Seeds of Thought offers an opportunity to write and digitally store a letter to yourself, your children, or an important friend or family member in a secure time capsule, which can then be delivered to the recipient up to 20 years in the future. A great way for grandparents to record and share memories grandchildren. Prices start at $15.


Dinner Spinner Source:

Eco-tip: Get ahead of the last-minute holiday hustle by planning to exchange gifts during Thanksgiving with friends and family you may not see in December. Not only will you save on postage, but thinking ahead could also prevent going overboard on boxes and packaging materials.

choices ... WINTER WARM-UP

Made from 100 percent New Zealand Wool in a fair-trade environment to be water resistant, Knitwit beanies are soft, and oh-so-toasty. And some come with matching mittens. Look for Hello Kitty and Sesame Street friends, as well as a multitude of other cuddly options. $46.99 for hat and mitten set,

With the squeeze of the bulb, Flipeez action hats come to life with ears, paws and tails that flip up. Unique characters like Huggy Monkey and Curious Owl, keep kids warm and smiling. Soft-fleece linings, and one-size-fits make them good for ages 4-104. $19.95.

Made by a California mompreneur with three girls under 3, this Turkey Crochet Hat is sure to be a fast favorite with the kids. Sizes available for babies to tweens. Made to order, with a two-week turnaround, so order soon to get in time for Thanksgiving. $25; patterns also available for purchase. | NOVEMBER 2013


Specializing in pediatric speech | language and occupational therapy | apraxia | language | sensory/motor | autism | stuttering

Now Registering! 2014 Social Skills Groups We are proud to have been named a 2013 Family-Friendly 50 company by Carolina Parenting, Inc. Speech and Occupational therapy appointments available for preschool and school aged children. Come join us in our new facility with over 8,100 square feet: 3 large sensory gyms, 2 large social rooms, individual therapy rooms, oral motor/feeding room. Tours available on request.

Call (704) 708-8314 for information.

fyi : : LIFE Thanksgiving Book Nook Emily Nanney with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library suggests these stories to read with children as Thanksgiving approaches. “I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie” by Alison Jackson is a twist on the traditional story of “I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” In this author’s telling, not only is pie swallowed but also cider, squash and turkey. A must read with preschoolers for Thanksgiving that is sure to become a family favorite to read each holiday. (Puffin, $6.99). “‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving” by Dav Pilkey is a takeoff on the traditional “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” with a rhyming Thanksgiving twist. In the book, school children visit Farmer Nuggett’s turkey farm just before Thanksgiving. After the visit, the children are inspired to show their families how to be especially thankful. Great for elementary-age kids. (Scholastic Paperbacks, $6.99).

“The tale of Tom Turkey, as told, a sly and magnificent bird, was wanted as our national symbol, but the bald eagle was preferred,” declares author Carol Crane in “P is for Pilgrim: Not Represent Actual Size. Ads designed by Charlotte Parent are the property of Carolina Parenting Inc. A Thanksgiving Alphabet.” The book provides facts about Thanksgiving from when the Mayflower arrived in 1620 to present day traditions of baking pumpkin pies, and includes informational text about the government, Native Americans and Pilgrims, and Thanksgiving Day Parades. Colorful illustrations by Helle Urban correspond to each letter of the alphabet. (Sleeping Bear Press, $7.95). Reach parents looking for summer camp options!

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Last year, over 20,000 unique visitors checked out Charlotte Parent’s Online Camp Fair.* More than 74,000 Charlotte Parent readers plan to send their kids to summer camp in the next 12 months.**

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*Google Analytics **June 2012 CVC Audit






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his is the time of year when Call 1 800 CAN LEARN ® November 2013 704.248.5226 pumpkin and pumpkin-centric LIKE US ON FACEBOOK for possible specials on tuition foods are everywhere — from local 1. Check lattes to pumpkin soup. Why not join inthe appropriate box below and note changes, if any. (Maximum two proofs.) 2. Sign, dateand and return via fax noted above e-mail no later than OctOber 15, 2013. the seasonal fun while pumpkins are ripe


Cannot be combined with any other offer. New students only.

locations: 4701 Park Road, Charlotte - 704-522-7511 and 9601 Holly Point Drive, Huntersville - 704-896-3931 This ad will run as is and you will be billed accordingly if changesTwoorarea approval are not submitted by return date noted above.

perfect for cooking and baking with this familyfriendly batter bread recipe. Out of pumpkin?APPROVED AS IS APPROVED w/CORRECTIONS NOTED SUBMI Feel free to substitute any other winter squash or use raw grated sweet potatoes instead. Include a cOupOn On charlOtteparent.cOm fOr the mOnth fOr $50

for a l 2013-14 g n i k o o Your coupon will L beoonline for one full c month AND on the bottom of our monthly e-newsletter. o new s rh child? OPEN HOUSE r you __________________________ o f ___________________________________________________________ _____________________ INGREDIENTS: CALENDAR Signature Date Website address •• 2 cups •• 1/4 teaspoon n

shredded raw pumpkin (or any other winter squash) •• 3 local or organic eggs •• 1 3/4 cups organic sugar •• 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (not the low- or fat-free kind) •• 2 cups all-purpose flour

baking powder

•• 2 teaspoons baking soda •• 2 teaspoons cinnamon •• 1 teaspoon salt •• 2 teaspoons vanilla •• 2 (1/4-inch) slices fresh

Find local private school open house dates.

minced gingerroot

•• 1 cup toasted pumpkin

the twelve days of

seeds or pepitas

•• 1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

1. Shred the shredded pumpkin and reserve. 2. Beat the eggs with the sugar, and yogurt until smooth. 3. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, minced ginger, vanilla, pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips, mixing just until all ingredients are combined. 4. Add the shredded pumpkin. Mix well.

5. Pour into two greased and floured and then parchment paper lined (8-1/2-by-4-1/2inch) loaf pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. 6. Allow the bread to cool in the pans completely before turning it out to slice and serve.

historic downtown Waxhaw 4 weekends of events beginning November 29

Nov. 29 Dec. 6 Dec. 6 Dec. 7 Dec. 13-14

Dec. 15 Heidi Billotto is a culinary expert who hosts cooking classes throughout the Charlotte area. Find her on Twitter @HeidiCooks.

Holiday Festival of Lights, 5:30 pm Senior Citizen Christmas Party, Noon Main Street First Friday, 5:30 pm Ginger Snap 5K Race, 8 am Live Nativity on Waxhaw United Methodist grounds, 6:30 pm, 7 pm, 7:30 pm, 8 pm Christmas Parade, 3 pm followed by Snack with Santa Carriage rides every Friday and Saturday night through December 21st

Experience the Magic of Yesteryear

704-843-2195 | NOVEMBER 2013


fyi : : LIFE

MOTHER OF STYLE »»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»» BY WHITLEY ADKINS HAMLIN

Chic Local Designs


This month we bring you a sampling of stylish threads and accessories for the entire family, highlighting some of Charlotte’s best in local design. Ooh, La La. Trends are definitely fun and exciting, but they aren’t always practical. Finally there is a line of women’s clothing dedicated to making comfortable, quality everyday pieces. T-shirts in a variety of shapes and designs, maxi-dresses and stylish sweatshirts; all sound the trumpets for La Senorita Jolie! My cut-off denim summer shorts have met their fall match with the Gabriella Racerback Maxi-Dress. Gentleman, and Ladies. Belk just got a little more hip, which means Charlotte did, too. Identical twins Chip and Pepper Foster have been producing and designing quality denim for more than two decades. Their jeans have been worn by celebrities and sold around the world, so trust me on this one. The brand produces denim styles for men and women. Starting at just $68, this is one line of comfortable, cool

denim you can’t afford to miss. Little Sercies. Local working mom and clothing designer Emily Chandler has recently introduced a new line of appliqued and monogrammed children’s clothes and accessories. Called sercie by e.f. chandler co., her Etsy shop is overflowing with precious fall, winter and holiday designs. Get Moving. Active families, look no further than Reckless Running. The brand belongs to Davidson husband and wife duo Anthony Famiglietti, a two-time Olympian, and his wife Karen, a Parsons School of Design graduate who has worked for brands such as Rebecca Taylor, The Limited and Gwen Stefani’s Lamb. Bridging the gap between competitive and everyday athletes, Reckless Running was created out of a need to provide athletic clothing that is comfortable

Cuffs made of repurposed wood by Green Market Girl.

and practical. Apparel includes racing singlets, T-shirts, sweatshirts and baby onesies all made from sustainable products. Got Cuffs? Dilworth designer Green Market Girl makes cuffs for men and women, earrings, coasters and wine racks. All products are made with repurposed wood. Items start at $50, and while Greenmarket Girl styles evolve with the current fashion trends, I know you’ll find these products to be trend-setting. Available at Boulevard at Southend, Frock Shop and Pura Vida. Whitley Adkins Hamlin is a local stylist and mom of two boys under age 5 who lives in Charlotte. Read her Mother of Style blog at

Comfortable and practical athletic wear by Reckless Running.

Appliqued children’s T-shirt by sercie by e.f. chandler co.

Chip and Pepper Foster denim at Belk.

Maxi-Dress by La Senorita Jolie.





Risky Business: Helping Children Manage Risks




very parent wants his or her child to soar, but daring to dream big means learning to take appropriate risks — and learning when to hold back. Cultivating a healthy GROWING UP approach to risk is vital to BY MALIA JACOBSON helping a child achieve his or her full potential. Whether your child is a timid toddler or a thrill-seeking teen, you can teach appropriate risktaking — and help your child take flight. Malia Jacobson is a nationally published health journalist and mom of three.

0-6 years


A child’s willingness to try new things — food, clothing or the new jungle gym at the park — is a good indicator of his tolerance for risk. A child who avoids risks and dislikes new experiences may be labeled shy, stubborn or picky, but these labels skirt the truth. In reality, a riskavoidant child simply needs extra time to process new experiences and places a premium on making a good choice. Parents can help risk-adverse kids step out of their comfort zone by dialing down pressure around simple choices. Let a child choose when to try a new food instead of coaxing her, for example, or let her know that you won’t be disappointed if she doesn’t climb the jungle gym today. Making sure your child knows that she’s loved unconditionally — regardless of how a choice pans out — can increase her willingness to take small risks.

7-12 years


School-aged kids are old enough to learn about the many shades of risk, good and bad, says licensed marriage and family therapist Amanda Lis. “Not all risk is bad — some risks are positive. Taking risks like trying out for a team and being accepted can build confidence.” As grade-schoolers become more independent, they need to learn how to recognize dangerous situations and safe people to talk to or appropriate places to go when they need help, says Lis. “Asking children what they perceive as risky, or to name situations in which they feel at risk, can guide parents in knowing which topics could be an issue.” At this age, critical thinking is still under construction, so practicing how to react in a dangerous scenario can be helpful. Giving kids a “script” so that they know what to say in a stressful or risky situation is another important step.

SCREEN SCENE 13-18 years

Teens and risk go handin-hand — or rather, smartphone-in-hand. Tweens and teens can easily put themselves at risk by sharing too much information online, says Charlotte father of three Paul Adkinson, creator of ZABRA, an online service that sends detailed reports to parents about risks kids are taking on social media sites. “Young people now live in a world of oversharing,” he says. Teaching older children good cyber habits can help keep them safe online. Tweens and teens should set their profiles on social media sites to “private” so that people they don’t know won’t have access to their personal information. If your teen is on Facebook, you should be, too — parents should always “friend” or follow their teen on social media. “Parents should let their kids know that it’s OK for them to be on Facebook and Twitter, but that they should be careful in terms of what they share,” says Adkinson. “A good rule to live by is to never post anything that you don’t want the whole world to see.” | NOVEMBER 2013


Emily Maynard with her daughter Ricki Hendrick, age 8, at their Charlotte home.








How This Single Mom Makes the Holidays Sensational

Emily Maynard is known as being many things. She’s the most popular female figure in “The Bachelor” franchise history. She’s the beautiful subject of endless tabloid speculation, even now, more than a year after she starred as “The Bachelorette.” The role that Maynard has always been most comfortable playing, however, is mom to 8-yearold daughter Ricki Hendrick. For the five or six of you out there who have not heard the story, Maynard was engaged to racecar driver Ricky Hendrick when he was killed in a plane crash. Days later, Maynard discovered she was pregnant. Daughter Ricki has never known her father, and Maynard has never experienced a day of her life when she wasn’t a single mom. We sat down at a local Starbucks to discuss her life now, and how she and Ricki make the holidays special. | NOVEMBER 2013


Q. What is life like for you and Ricki around the holidays?

Q. Who do you turn to for help?

EM: Honestly, for the first couple years after Ricki was born, it was really hard for me to get into the whole holiday spirit. Any mom will tell you that it’s easier to be the child than the parent at the holidays, and I also just had this heaviness in my heart every holiday season. But once she got to an age where she could understand Christmas, I wanted to give her traditions, the same ones my mom gave me, and it brought out the Christmas spirit in my heart, too.

EM: I feel like, I had Ricki at such a young age — you learn to do a lot on your own. But I think that God never gives you more than you can handle, so you learn to do it. But, I have my Life Group (through her church), and I lean on them a lot. Sometimes it’s just nice to know you’re in it with someone else. My mom is always saying, “Just wait. One day you will be married and you’ll look back on the days where it was just you and Ricki and be thinking, ‘That was the time of my life.’” My big thing is — during the holidays but also every day — I try to wake up really early and do my Bible reading, and I pray every day that [God] would help me see the world through his eyes. That helps me realize what the holiday season is all about. My faith really keeps things in perspective, 1,000 percent.

Q. Are there any special traditions that you and Ricki celebrate around the holidays? EM: We do some of the usual stuff, like cookies for Santa, and we always go to church on Christmas Eve and we go over to Ricki’s other grandparents — I call them my in-laws but they’re really like my own parents. Then the next day they come over and help her put together all the toys I didn’t know how to do!

Q. As a single mom, what are some of the challenges you face around the holidays? EM: It’s hard because it’s all on you, it’s a lot of pressure. I remember my mom and dad having fun putting out all the presents — my dad would take some jobs, my mom would take others. That’s hard to do as a single parent.

Single Mom Holiday Survival Tips “The holidays can be a difficult time to be alone, especially when you are away from your child for any reason. Creating your own family traditions and rituals can help to create memories,” says Jennifer E. Sipp, child, adolescent and family psychotherapist with Lakeside Psychological Services in Huntersville, “promote bonding and togetherness, and give everyone something to look forward to.”

::Make special plans. You may choose to hold your own holiday dinner, get-together or gift exchange either before or after your child transitions to the other household. Fun holiday-related activities at home or out can also become tradition, such as going to see holiday lights, baking cookies or going to a movie.

::Stay connected. While your child is away, schedule times when you can connect via phone or video call. Send “love notes” or brief letters with your child, for him or her to open nightly while away.

::Schedule “me time.” Use the alone time to nurture and take care of yourself as well. Indulge in something you love to do that may be difficult to accomplish when your child is home. Read a favorite book, go for a massage, go out with friends, or just enjoy a quiet evening at home.




Q. Has faith always been part of your life, or is that more recent? EM: It’s definitely always been a huge part of my life, but in the last couple years, looking back on the show — even though things didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted — it’s such a blessing because it really strengthened my faith and my relationship with God.

Q. Do you host holiday celebrations or are you a guest? EM: I am not much of a cook! I’m trying, but at the holidays, no way. I think that would be what pushes me over the edge!

Q. How do you manage personal relationships and social invitations as a single mom, especially around the holidays? EM: Ricki goes to her grandparents once a week, so I kind of have the day to do whatever I want. I may get together with friends or get everything done that I need to. I’m a homebody, so that’s my favorite thing to do — just stay at home. People are like, “You have one night out! You should go out and do something!” But that’s what I like to do.

Q. When do you think is a good time to introduce a boyfriend to your daughter? EM: That’s something I’ve struggled with. It’s hard, and I don’t think there is any right answer. I try not to rush it, and Ricki has met very

DSBG Holidays 3.475x4.5 Ad-1_Layout 1 10/16/13 7:08 AM Page 1

few guys I’ve dated. I think it’s best to introduce him as a friend. I think that moms just know. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t, but you learn.

Q. Do you have tips for other single moms about making time for themselves, as well as making the holidays special with their kids? EM: Ricki goes to bed early. That’s something I hope that all of my kids, if I ever have any more, will adhere to. That’s when I get everything done. Also, a huge part of my life is giving back, and I think it’s so important to instill that quality in my daughter. We donate coats to A Child’s Place, and get an angel off the Angel Tree — that’s the time we enjoy together the most.

Organic rhythms of nature and abundant fascinations come together to create a new holiday harmony this year at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Explore the special tapestry we’ve woven – a natural winter wonderland that’s like no other. Our contemporary yet elegant lighting display will brighten Charlotte Symphony your holidays and our fire pit will keep you and your loved ones warm.

CP AD 3.475” x 4.5” 10/11/13

6 5 0 0 S o u t h N e w H o p e R o a d, B e l m o n t, N C Ad va n ce T i c ke t s a t 7 0 4 . 8 2 5 . 4 4 9 0 o r w w w. D S B G . o r g

Q. What are your favorite holiday childhood memories? What do you want to try and continue with Ricki? EM: Every year, my mom would hide a ring in an ornament on the tree. Then, for my 16th birthday she had all of them put on a charm bracelet. So I’ve been doing that with Ricki. Amy Salvatore Reiss is a freelance writer and mother of two who lives in Davidson. Her favorite holiday tradition with just her and her girls is taking them to see the “Nutcracker” at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center each year.

Win What Emily’s Wearing Win something new for you this holiday. We’re giving away the jewelry ensemble Emily is wearing on the cover, including the Sedley necklace and Morgan bracelet from her collection.

Enter to win now!

Thu Dec 5 7:30 pm, Fri Dec 6 8 pm, Sat Dec 7 2:30 & 8 pm & Sun Dec 8 2:30 pm Belk Theater | Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

704.972.2000 | NOVEMBER 2013


Emily’s Holiday Picks

Emily Maynard recently started her own jewelry line with Towne and Reese. Her designs are made with mixed metals, hammered hardware and natural stones, and all of the items in her collection are named after her daughter’s friends. Following are Emily’s picks for jewelry and coordinating outfits to wear for a great girls’ night out, a date night or a holiday cocktail soiree. These items and more are exclusively available at

Girls Night Out

Date Night

Holiday Cocktail

Claire necklace-$45 Baylor earrings-$55 Ava bracelet-$45 Bethany bracelet-$65

Mason earrings-$55 Lane cuff, $65 Anna Banks ring-$55

Virginia necklace-$85 Taylor earrings-$65 Ashley ring-$50 Morgan bracelet-$90

“This is my favorite type of jewelry combination because it’s such a statement that you can keep your outfit pretty simple! Try jeans and a black blazer, or even a cute LBD.”

“I love wearing each of these pieces separately, but together they are even more fun! I would wear some dark skinny jeans, a bright colored top, and some sky high heels!”

David H. Moore, DDS, MS, PA

Wishing you and your family a very special Thanksgiving Our 3 Locations: Cotswold/Midtown University & Davidson Phone: 704-377-3687




“This set is absolutely perfect for a Holiday Cocktail party, especially if you’re wanting to sparkle! I would wear all black, either a jumpsuit or dress, and some fun, bright colored heels!”


The holidays should be a time to reflect on our blessings, but when Santa brings up the rear of the Thanksgiving Day parade, he ushers in what sometimes feels like the season of getting. | NOVEMBER 2013



lthough most of us are able to provide our families with the basics of food, shelter and clothing, rampant commercialism surrounding the holidays can make kids feel deprived, even if their toybox is already overflowing. With easy credit and inexpensive toys made overseas, today’s kids often don’t want for anything — or at least not for long. Parents seldom complain that their kids don’t have enough toys, and those toys didn’t all come from us. When the holidays roll around, grandparents, aunts and uncles like to buy gifts for the kids; add Santa to the mix and the present pile grows. Younger children especially can be overstimulated by all the toys, and as a result don’t play with them for long. So what can we do as parents to help our children be thankful instead of contributing to the next entitlement generation? A few ideas:

Before the holidays, try doing a toy clean-out. Help kids

choose which toys they no longer play with and donate them to charity.

Build charity into your holiday budget. There are many

organizations that collect new toys for children in need. Let your children help pick out a small gift and then take them with you to drop it off. Explain that not every child gets all he or she wants for Christmas. If they are old enough, encourage them to contribute some of their own money toward the gift. Do the same with food. Explain that not everyone has enough to eat. The little ones won’t quite get it, but you’ll plant a seed. Consider volunteering with your children at a soup kitchen or with another group that feeds the hungry.

Give the gift of “experiences.” If your children already have more than enough toys, consider asking grandparents and other relatives to give something different such as a holiday outfit or book. Another




idea is to ask for “experiences” instead of toys, such as tickets to a holiday show.

Encourage children to give presents. This helps to shift

the focus to giving rather than getting. No need to buy gifts — kids can draw a picture or make a simple craft for relative, or they could help bake cookies for the neighbors.

Have them write thank-you notes. These are appreciated, especially for out-of-town relatives who don’t get to see your child open his or her gift. For the preschooler, you can write the note, then let them decorate or color the card. Older children can write their own cards.

Please say “thank you.” It sounds simple, but teaching

basic manners at a young age makes a difference. They may only do it when reminded at first, but eventually it will become a habit.

Start family traditions that focus on your blessings. One

fun idea is to make a list of the things they are thankful for. This can be done in the form of a craft, by having them make or color a “thankful tree” (draw a tree and write the things for which they are thankful on the leaves), or a “thankful turkey” (write on the turkey’s tail feathers).

Encourage thankfulness year-round. At dinnertime, try

going around the table and having everyone mention one thing they are thankful for. Charities often say that they receive many contributions during the holidays, but they need help the rest of the year as well. Continuing charitable giving after the holidays is a good way to remind our children — and ourselves — of all the things we have that are worth appreciating.

Tiffany Guerzon is a freelance writer and the mother of three children.


& More

Holiday Happenings

s d i k r fo Get into the spirit of the season at one of the upcoming tree-lighting celebrations, parades and festive seasonal events. Santa will start making his rounds at these events. Mark your calendar so you don’t miss out. All events are free unless otherwise noted.

T R E E L I G H T I N G S A N D PA R A D E S SouthPark Tree Lighting Celebration. Watch as Santa lights the tree, plus family-friendly activities and a holiday movie. Nov. 22, 5-9pm. Symphony Park, 4400 Sharon Road. 704-364-4411. Concord Christmas Parade. Nov. 23, 2:30pm. Union Street, Concord. Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade. Nov. 28, 10am kick-off. Tryon Street to Stonewall Street. Light Up Cornelius. See the inaugural tree lighting, plus choirs, dance performances, children’s activities, carriage rides and a visit from Santa. Nov. 30, 2-6pm. Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Ave., Cornelius. 704-892-6031. Mount Holly Christmas Parade. Nov. 30. 3pm. Downtown Mount Holly. Hometown Holiday Festival and Tree-Lighting. Carriage rides, tree lighting with special pyrotechnics, and a visit from Santa. Dec. 1, 3-6pm. Matthews Town Hall, 232 Matthews Station St., Matthews. 704-321-7275. Christmas Town Festival. See Santa between 6 and 9pm. Tree lighting, Dec. 2, 4:30pm; yule-log ceremony, Dec. 13, 5:30pm. Legacy Park, Elm Street, McAdenville. 704-824-3551. Belmont Parade. Dec. 3, 4pm. Downtown Belmont. Christmas in Cramerton. Arts and crafts vendors, kids activities and music before the Christmas Parade, followed

by the official town tree lighting. Dec. 5, 2-6:30pm. Cramerton Town Center, 155 N. Main St., Cramerton. 704824-4231. Rock Hill Christmas Parade. “Light the Night” parade with more than 80 entries and Santa. Dec. 6, 6:309pm. Winthrop to downtown Rock Hill. 803-325-2500. Christmas in Downtown Monroe. Christmas tree lighting, plus carriage and trolley rides, a petting zoo, and guaranteed snow. Dec. 7, 6-9pm. Downtown Monroe, 113 W. Morgan St., Monroe. Fort Mill Christmas Parade. Dec. 7, 11am. Fort Mill Town Hall, Fort Mill, S.C. 803-547-2116. North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade 2013. Dec. 7, 1pm. Marches from Davidson to Cornelius along Highway 115. 704-596-0342. Gastonia Christmas Parade. Dec. 8, 2pm. Downtown Gastonia, 615 W. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia. Kannapolis Christmas Parade. An illuminated night parade. Dec. 14, 6pm. Downtown Kannapolis, Main and 1st streets and West Avenue, Kannapolis. Light Up Lowell. Holiday festival and tree lighting. Dec. 14, 2-6pm. Parade at 3pm. Downtown Lowell, 101 W. First St., Lowell. 704-824-3518. Waxhaw Christmas Parade. Have a snack with Santa after the parade. Dec. 15, 3pm. Downtown Waxhaw, Waxhaw. 704-843-2195.

H O L I D AY H A P P E N I N G S Southern Christmas Show. Shop holiday crafts, gifts, decorations and art. $3-$17; Children under 6 are free. Nov. 14-24; Mon.-Tues., 10am-6pm; Wed.-Sat., 10am9pm; and Sun.: 10am-6pm. The Park Expo, 2500 E. Independence Blvd. 704-376-6594.

Santa Train. Enjoy a train ride with Santa and his elves. $10-$14; Children under 2 are free. Fridays-Sundays, Nov. 29-Dec. 22. See website for train departure times. NC Transportation Museum, 411 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer. 704-636-2889.

Christmas Wonderland of Lights. Drive through two miles of forest decorated with more than 1 million lights, plus pony rides and a petting zoo. $5. Nov. 15-Dec. 31. Sun.-Thurs., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm. Zootastic Park, 448 Pilch Road, Troutman. 888-966-0069.

Christmas Town USA. Drive through or park and walk to see more than 375 trees all aglow. Expect delays on weekends. Dec. 2-26. Mon.-Fri., 5:30-9:30pm; and Sat.Sun., 5:30-11pm. Main St., McAdenville. 704-823-2260.

Holidays at the Garden. Visit Santa and make a naturebased craft with Mom or Dad, plus more 500,000 lights. $5-$12. Nov 22-30; 11am-9pm. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 South New Hope Road, Belmont. 704-8254490.

Christmas in Davidson. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage and hay rides, a doggie fashion show, plus Santa’s house. Dec. 5-7. Free. See website for various event times. Downtown Davidson.

Speedway Christmas. More than 3 million lights, an infield Christmas Village and a chance to drive the track. $20 per vehicle. Nov. 23-Dec. 30. See website for times. Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy. S, Concord. 704-455-3200.

Christmasville. Ice skating, Ferris wheel, carriage rides, gingerbread house contest, arts marketplace and much more. Dec. 5-8. See website for events schedule. Old Town Rock Hill. 803-329-8756.

S ee OnStage on Page 42 for holiday per formances. | NOVEMBER 2013


Holiday GIFT GUIDE: part B


efore you head out to pick out that perfect present for the little one you love, check out the first installment of our annual Holiday Gift Guide. The editors at Charlotte Parent — and sister publications Carolina Parent and Piedmont Parent — reviewed and collaborated to pick these favorites from top toy product lists, parent recommendations and product samples.



AGES 0-4

1 // Cat Preschool Construct Dough ™ Deluxe. Experience a new way to build your construction site. Place the dough onto each freewheeling Cat machine and watch as it’s transformed into custom “I” beams and other assorted construction shapes. Includes one can of dough and accessories. Ages 3-5. $13.99.

2 // PlasmaBug Rider. This rider is sturdy and light with front and rear compartments to store a child’s favorite toys or snacks while he zooms around the house. It swivels to easily fit through small spaces, making it a perfect toy for indoor play. Ages 18 months+. $60.

4 3

3 // Big Hugs Elmo. The most responsive Elmo ever. When you hug him, he hugs back. Big Hugs Elmo also features fun songs, dancing and fun imagination scenarios so kids can pretend. Ages 18 months-4 years. $59.99.

4 // Mooshka Tots Doll. Collect all these adorable, washable and colorful dolls. Each comes in a gift box with a finger puppet doll and a paper-doll chain. Ages 2+. $12.99.

5 // My First Crayola Mess-Free Touch Lites. With no muss or mess, this is perfect for the little artist. Tiny fingers can draw and scribble with their finger, or use the stylus. Each color has a corresponding tune to combine art and music. Ages 24 months+. $28.99.


6 // Wiggimals. These soft, round animals move and shake to encourage babies to crawl in pursuit. With the touch of their heads, the Wiggimals make animals sounds, play “Old McDonald” and travel around the floor. Ages 6 months+. $14.99.


7 // Begin Again Buddy Blocks. Made from sustainably harvested rubber wood, this puzzle is perfect for the ecofriendly family. The four-piece puzzle makes six different sea creatures, including an octopus, crab, sea turtle, starfish, ray and shark. Ages18 months+. $13.

7 30



AGES 5-9

1 // NFL Rush Zone Board Game. Players split into teams and a coin flip starts the game. The offense rolls dice to keep the drive alive, while the defense tries to sack the quarterback and force a turnover. Average playtime is 20-30 minutes per game. Ages 7+. $19.99. Available at Toys “R” Us and Target.


2 // Nerf N-Sports Cyber Hoop. Turn any room into a


virtual stadium. To begin play, fans simply download the free app on to their iDevice. Players can select from one of five basketball challenges to start shooting hoops. The set transmits players’ scores to the iDevice, and the app provides exciting commentary, tracks game stats and captures games on video. Ages 8+. $19.99.

3 // Codee. Codee is an activity toy, puzzle, building toy and collectible all in one. Made of flexible, linked blocks marked with letters and symbols, Codee twists, clicks and transforms into characters, animals, vehicles and more by following a simple code. Codee Starter Packs come in monster and robot themes and include one 64-link Codee strand, accessories and two creation codes. Ages 7+. $7.99. Available at Toys “R” Us and Target.


4 // Mega Playscape Creativity Kit. More than 1,100 craft supplies are tucked inside this kit with foam and felt stickers, pom-poms, pony beads, and chenille stems. Included are idea sheets for bookmarks, flowers, jewelry and pom critters. Choose from girl- or gender-neutralthemed kits. Ages 5+. $12.99.

5 // Bitty Baby From American Girl. Girls can select their own 15-inch Bitty Baby with 11 choices in a variety of skin tones and hair colors. Includes “Bitty Baby and Me” picture book. Ages 3+. $80.


6 // Appleletters. A game for early readers where players work together to build a “word worm” by adding words to the head or tail. Ages 5+. $14.95.

5 6 | NOVEMBER 2013


1 2

AGES 10+

1 // Aerobie SkyLighter Lighted Disc. Light up the sky with this LED-powered translucent disc, which features a cushioned rim for soft catches and long, accurate flights. Ages 10+. $14.99.

2 // Crayola’s Marker Maker. Create custom markers in minutes using the product guide or your imagination. The kit includes a marker maker unit, color guide, three bottles of ink, marker labels and two storage boxes to hold the markers. Ages 8+. $24.99.


3 // 14-in-1 Solar Robot. This solar-powered robot transforms into 14 modes, including a dog wagging its tail, a beetle that runs, a crab that walks, a surfer, a speedster, a zombie chaser and more. Ages 10+. $35.99.

4 // Perplexus Epic. Bend, twist and turn your way around 100 gravity-defying barriers in this maze game, where players maneuver a small marble around a transparent sphere to develop motor and dexterity skills and improve hand-eye coordination. Players can race each other or the clock. Ages 6-12. $29.99.


5 // Lego Chima: The Lion Chi Temple. Help the Lion and Eagle tribes fight enemy tribes to restore balance to Chima. The set includes a drawbridge, claw bikes, a reptile raider, an eagle drone, a rotating tower cannon and more. Ages 8-14. $119.99.

6 5

6 // What’s Up? Journal. Capture pictures, keepsakes and dreams in this hardcover spiral-bound journal, which includes 20 pages (40 layouts), graphics, Japanese-style washi tape, pearls, rhinestones, stickers, keepsake envelopes and more. Ages 7+. $24.99.

7 // Dabble. Spell five words with just 20 letters as quickly as possible. Five words must be comprised of a two-letter, threeletter, four-letter, five-letter and six-letter word. Ages 10+. $24.99. Available at Barnes and Noble. 8 // Slicer Sled. Sled on snow- or grass-covered slopes with this innovative product, which works like a regular sled in the snow but features a hollow, double-walled construction with two “icers” that can be removed from inside the sled and frozen to form thin ice blocks that attach to the bottom of the sled. In above-freezing outdoor temperatures, the melting ice provides a slippery surface for winter sledding fun all year long. All ages. $79.99.









Hooray for the Holidays! Holiday Shopping at The Baby Grocery Store If you have a new or expectant parent on your gift list, you can’t go wrong with a gift card from The Baby Grocery Store, a philosophy-first company. They stock floor to ceiling with organic baby food, diapers, wipes, toys, carriers and the full line of Honest Co. products.

The Baby Grocery Store 10225 Park Road 704-543-8635

Santa’s Workshop Christmas at Historic Latta Plantation

• Plantation Christmas: Nov. 29-30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Celebrate a 1860s Christmas and meet a Victorian St. Nick. • Homeschool Christmas: Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Learn about Victorian Christmases, make a craft, and more. • Candlelight Christmas: Dec. 14, 6-9 p.m. Stroll by candlelight through an 1820s Christmas and see dancing, meet animals in the barn, and smell cooking in the kitchen. Historic Latta Plantation 5225 Sample Road, Huntersville 704-875-2312

Santa sets-up his workshop in order to spend time with some lucky children. Garden “elves” help children create a special gift for someone on their list, decorate cookies, sing their favorite Christmas tunes and more. A professional photographer will be available to take pictures. Dec. 7 and 14, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Call 704829-1252 to reserve your spot. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden 6500 S. New Hope Road, Belmont 704-829-1252

Krueger Reindeer Romp Join the Harris YMCA, Dec. 14, for this popular holiday event! Fun for the entire family — 5K Run/Walk at 8 a.m. and for the youngest runners, Santa’s Express Fun Run at 8:45 a.m. Hot chocolate and snacks at the finish line, pictures with Santa and prizes for best costume. Register online at before Nov. 22 and receive a hooded sweatshirt! Harris YMCA 5900 Quail Hollow Road 704-716-6800 | NOVEMBER 2013





Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade Novant Health, Charlotte Center City Partners and Carolinas Carrousel Inc. are proud to announce the 2013 Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade. Novant Health has signed on as the parade’s title sponsor for the next three years, guaranteeing this tradition in Charlotte will continue for a 67th year.

Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte 704-332-2227

Christmas in Downtown Monroe Enjoy downtown Monroe’s annual Christmas tree lighting featuring wandering carolers, live music, carriage and trolley rides, food vendors, a Christmas petting zoo, downtown business open houses, and guaranteed snow! Meet Rudolph, Frosty and Santa! Dec. 7, 6-9 p.m.

Downtown Monroe

Holidays With the Charlotte Children’s Choir

A Prime Time Holiday offe rs the music of the season for all ages, from children to senior citi zens. Bring the whole family! Dec. 14 at Sharon Presbyterian Churc h. Christmas With the Charl otte Children’s Choir an d Charlotte Bronze needs to be a part of your holiday celebration. Joyous children’s voices and brilliant ringing of the bells will put you in the holiday spirit. Dec. 21 at Myers Park Baptist Church. Charlotte Children’s Ch oir 704-374-1892 charlottechildrenschoir.or g

Nutcracker The holidays aren’t complete without seeing the “Nutcracker,” Charlotte’s favorite holiday tradition. With more than 100 performers, live music from the Charlotte Symphony and a magical snowfall at each performance, it’s the perfect outing for the entire family. Tickets to “Nutcracker” make great gifts for teachers, clients and neighbors. Dec. 13-22. Belk Theater 130 N. Tryon St. 704-372-1000

Holiday On Ice

Holiday on Ice returns Nov. 22 for the 2013 Season. Continue the tradition at the coolest place in the city, an outdoor ice skating rink in the heart of uptown. Don ’t miss this holiday favorite as we share the tradition from our family to yours. Open Nov. 22-Jan. 5, 2014, with extended holiday hours Dec. 20-Jan 5, 2014.

NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza 400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd .







A TK‐12 Christ‐centered,  College Preparatory School

TK‐8 OPEN HOUSE November 14 | 7:00 p.m. !""#$%&&'(()#*+,-.#/+01-'2.#34#5!6"7

Our open house will open more than doors for your child.

It will open a world of opportunities beyond their imagination. Our focus on students with learning differences and all types of ADHD means your child receives an education that helps close the gap and provides a path to educational success. OPEN HOUSE Tuesday, Nov. 12th 8:30 am



RSVP by Nov 7th

Sunday, Nov. 10th, 2013 1:30 pm 704-365-5490 or DISLECKSIA: THE MOVIE

CHARLOTTE PREPARATORY SCHOOL PLEASE JOIN US FOR AN ADMISSIONS OPEN HOUSE Thursday, November 7 – 9:30 a.m. Focus on Montessori Early School Tuesday, January 14 – 9:30 a.m. Pre-K – 8th Grade 5146 Parkway Plaza Blvd. • Charlotte, NC 28217 • 704.365.5490 •




Crosland does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, marital status, disability, religion, creed, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational programs, admissions, financial aid policies or employment practices.






OPEN HOUSES Offering Junior Kindergarten – 8th grades

More than a superior education. Admissions Open House Dates: Tuesday, November 12th at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, December 12th at 6:30 p.m. Please email to RSVP or for more information.


13120 Grand Palisades Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28278


NOV 14 9:30 AM

Transitional Kindergarten through 12

Palisades Episcopal School is a school honoring Christ and committed to providing a classical education challenging the mind, body and spirit.

Visit Our Fall Open Houses At Our Outstanding High Schools

November 16th 10:00am - 12:00pm

Charlotte Catholic High School 7702 Pineville-Matthews Rd.-Charlotte, NC

November 23rd 10:00am - 12:00pm 2011 Crusader Way Huntersville, NC

Admissions: (704) 370-3273

MACS admits students of any race, color, sex, religion and national or ethnic origin.

For more information and directions visit 36


| Scan this code or visit for a personal invitation from our Head of School




voted #1 half Day pre-school Learning is lifelong. You CAn’t stArt too soon.

Programs for 18 months to 5 years. • Toddler • Preschool • Pre-K • Transitional Kindergarten

now touring for Fall 2014 school Year

Ivybrook Academy is a half-day preschool that will transform your child’s educational experience from ordinary to extraordinary



rI o vA t e sCh o

pr e sC h o o l




best Weddington Campus - 704.845.2310 • Fort Mill Campus - 803.802.2390 | NOVEMBER 2013


Epic fun for families in Uptown Charlotte, brought to you by EpiCEntrE. There’s lots for families to do in Uptown Charlotte and EPICENTRE wants you to know about it.

SiMpLy EpiC MESSAGE FroM EpiCEntrE: EpiCEntrE also recommends the following Uptown family events: Light the night Walk

kids club central celebrates fall sports! SUnDAy, noVEMBEr 17: 2-4pM We’re celebrating football, hockey, basketball and more with mascots, games and lots of prizes. Radio Disney Charlotte is here, and we’ve got a few great surprises in store.

You don’t have to be a member to attend, but membership is free. Visit and click on the Kids Club Tab.

Nov. 2. 4:30-8pm n Romare Bearden Park n 300 S. Church St. Carry a red illuminated balloon during this 2-mile walk to commemorate lives touched by cancer. The evening includes music, family activities, entertainment and refreshments.

nASCAr Chase Driver Appearance: Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon

Nov. 5 n NASCAR Hall of Fame n 400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd. Watch your favorite drivers at the race then meet them in person on Tuesday at a Q&A session!

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

Nov. 5-10 n Belk Theater n 130 N. Tryon St. Watch this magical production of a classic fairytale by the world’s most successful choreographer and his company.

Hansel & Gretel

Oct. 26-Nov. 10 n Wells Fargo Playhouse n 300 E. 7th St. When her kids refuse to eat their dinner, a quick-thinking mom dives into this classic tale.

the novant Health thanksgiving Day parade

Nov. 28 n Uptown Charlotte n Tryon Street to Stonewall Street Celebrate the holidays by bringing your family out to the parade. See various types of entertainment and beautiful floats!

World’s Fairs

Through Jan. 19 n Mint Museum Uptown n 500 S. Tryon St. Charlotte, NC 28202 Experience the international exhibition with outstanding examples of glass, furniture, jewelry, ceramics, precious metalwork, and textiles displayed at the world’s fairs between The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in London in 1851 and the New York World’s Fair in 1939.

7th Street public Market has something for everyone and makes a great destination for families. the public market provides high-quality, fresh, and affordable food from local farms and regional purveyors. in addition to promoting local and regional farmers, food artisans and entrepreneurs, there’s always something new going on whether it’s a themed party, special activities or an event. Be sure to check our calendar for upcoming happenings at







You’ve never seen dogs do tricks like this before! Watch as nimble canines play Flyball, a team relay sport for dogs that consists of jumping a set of hurdles, catching a tennis ball and finally repeating the hurdles before three more dogs do the same. Catch the fastfooted action and a pet costume contest at The Apple Cider Classic. Free. Nov. 2, 8am-5pm, and Nov. 3, 8am-4pm. Cabarrus Arena 4751 Highway 49 N., Concord 704-920-3976

Credit Donna Bise/CTC

Patrick R. Brown as “Scar” in "The Lion King" National Tour. © Disney. Photo Credit:  Joan Marcus.  

November 2013 go. see. play. 8

Fall is in full swing and there is no better way to celebrate than with some fun outdoor activities at Gobblefest. Kids can bounce in the inflatables, enjoy s’mores, take a hayride, and even watch an outdoor movie. This is a great event for the family and everyone in the community. Free. 5-7pm. Harris YMCA 5900 Quail Hollow Road 704-716-6835



The Carriage House at Johnson Farms 1360 Brawley School Road, Mooresville 704-663-2233

Knight Theater 430 S. Tryon St. 704-372-1000

Meet the cast of the Academy of Dance and Fine Arts “Nutcracker” up close and personal at the Nutcracker Tea. Fully costumed dancers share the Nutcracker story through dance and narration, and afterwards, characters greet and serve the guests tea at Nutcracker-themed tables, take photos and sign autographs. $15. Noon; 2 and 4pm.

Hear musical themes from your favorite space movies, including “Star Wars,” and “Superman” at the Charlotte Symphony Lollipops Adventures in Outer Space. Come early for the musical petting zoo where kids can play with instruments, and make art and crafts to get in the spirit. Venture to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art after the show for Family Day activities. $15.50$24.50. 10am. See page 47 for Charlotte Parent Reader discount. | NOVEMBER 2013


1 FRIDAY Afternoon Adventures. Celebrate the teacher workday while developing literacy and critical-thinking skills through books and hands-on activities. 2pm. Mint Hill Public Library, 6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road. 704416-5200. Britax Car Seat Checks. Learn the correct way to install a child seat, from certified child passenger safety technician. No appointment needed. Free. 8-11:30am. Britax North American Headquarters, 13501 S. Ridge Drive. 704-409-1695.

2 SATURDAY Animals From the Farm. Meet live animals and their caregivers at the Back Country Farm. $6-$10. 10am-2pm. Schiele Museum, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia. 704-8666900. Apple Cider Classic. Watch dogs show off amazing tricks at the Region 9 Flyball Tournament. Free. 8am-5pm. Cabarrus Arena, 4751 Highway 49 N., Concord. 704-920-3976. Classroom Central Field Day. Come out for a day of food, fun and friendly competition. Proceeds buy school supplies for students in need. Registration required. $5; Free for children. 1-4pm. American Legion Memorial Stadium, 310 N. Kings Drive. Friends’ Pop-Up Book Sale. Get great deals on books and other materials to benefit Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Free. 9:30am-1:30pm. South County Regional, 5801 Rea Road. 704416-6600. Light the Night Walk. Join in a two-mile walk to commemorate lives touched by blood cancer. The evening includes music, family activities, entertainment and refreshments. Free. 4:30-8pm. Romare Bearden




Park, 300 S. Church St. 704-705-1840. Musical Petting Zoo. Make your own music with a plethora of woodwinds, brass, percussion and stringed instruments. $5-$8. 11:45am-12:45pm. Harvey B. Gantt Center, 551 S. Tryon St. 704-547-3700. President James K. Polk Birthday Celebration. Watch a costumed interpretation of the Polk family, openhearth cooking, time-period music and dance, and hands-on games for children. Free. 10am-4pm. President James K. Polk Historic Site, 12031 Lancaster Hwy., Pineville. 704-8897145. Saturday Art Session: Dia de los Muertos Skull Collages. Create a colorful skull collage with paper, paint pens, and sparkly materials, and view performance masks of Mexico on view in the galleries. $5-$10. 11am-3pm. Mint Museum Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St. 704-337-2000. ScanFest 2013. Offers a glimpse of Christmas in Scandinavia with entertainment, food and celebrations that represent the cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Free. 10am-5pm. Carolina Courts, 7210 Stinson Hartis Road, Indian Trail. 704-996-3731. Statesville Pumpkin Fest. Arts and crafts, food, entertainment, cornhole tournament, pumpkin-pie eating contest, and kids zone. Free. 10am-5pm. Historic Downtown Statesville, Statesville. 704-878-3436.

3 SUNDAY Reedy Creek Eco Race. Test your will and wit using compasses, a GPS and your senses. 10-adult. Free. 2-3:30pm. Reedy Creek Nature Center, 2900 Rocky River Road. 704-432-6460.

4 MONDAY Watch the Skies: Astronomy in Your Backyard. Learn about stars and constellations with the Charlotte Amateur Astronomy Club. Bring your telescopes. 12-adult. Free. 6pm. Matthews Regional Library, 230 Matthews Station St., Matthews. 704416-5000.

5 TUESDAY Smart From the Start Parent Education Seminar. For parents of children ages 3-6 to learn specific and pragmatic ideas for brain-friendly learning. Free. 7pm. Charlotte Christian School, 7301 Sardis Road. 704-366-5657.

6 WEDNESDAY RAY Fit Play. Tots can engage in structured activities designed to enhance motor skills, balance, handeye coordination and overall fitness. 2-4 years. $1. 10-10:45am. Ivory/Baker Recreation Center, 1920 Stroud Park Court. 704-432-4580. Charlotte Mocha Moms Open House. Meet current members of Queen City Mocha Moms and learn more about the membership and leadership opportunities. Kids are always welcome. Free. 10am-noon. First United Presbyterian Church, 406 N. College St.

7 THURSDAY Special Education Law Workshop. Learn how to effectively advocate for your child with special needs. $10-$15. 10am-12:30pm. Achieve Consulting Services, 220 N. Tryon St. 980-989-0098.

8 FRIDAY Gobblefest. Join in community, carnival fun with s’mores, inflatables, an outdoor movie, and face painting. Free. 5-7pm. Harris YMCA, 5900

Quail Hollow Road. 704-716-6835.

9 SATURDAY Astronomy Adventure Family Day. Join in a day of adventures that will take you out of this world. $3-$5. Noon-2pm. Museum of York County, 4621 Mt. Gallant Road, Rock Hill. 803329-2121. Guiding Parents to Services. Join SMART START of Mecklenburg County for a workshop for parents of young children with an Autism Spectrum diagnosis. Free. 10:30am. ImaginOn, 300 E. 7th St. 704-4164600. Military Timeline. Visit with Cherokee warriors, WWII G.I.’s and grunts from Vietnam, and learn how their equipment and experiences have changed in the past 300 years. Weapons-firing demonstrations throughout the day. Free. Sat. 10am-4pm; Sun. 10am-3pm. Fort Dobbs, 438 Fort Dobbs Road, Statesville. 704-873-5882. Rural Hill Sheepdog Trials and Dog Festival. Bring the family for sport dog demos, kids games and hay rides. $7-$10. 8am-5pm. Rural Hill, 4331 Neck Road, Huntersville. 704-8753113. What’s Cookin’ at Latta. See openhearth coking in the plantation kitchen and cabins. $7-$8; free for ages 5 and under. 10am-4pm. Latta Plantation, 5225 Sample Road, Huntersville. 704-875-2312.

10 SUNDAY Military Timeline. Visit with Cherokee warriors, WWII G.I.’s and grunts from Vietnam and learn how their uniforms, equipment and experience have changed in the past 300 years. Weapons-firing demonstrations throughout the day. Free. 10am-3pm.

daily calendar Fort Dobbs, 438 Fort Dobbs Road, Statesville. 704873-5882. Nutcracker Tea. Learn more about The Nutcracker ballet story as dancers share the story through performance, narration and costumes. Tea, lemonade and treats will be served. 5-12 years. $15. Noon, 2 and 4pm. The Carriage House at Johnson Farms, 1360 Brawley School Road, Mooresville. 704663-2233. Rural Hill Sheepdog Trials and Dog Festival. Bring the family for sport dog demos, kids games and hay rides. $7-$10. 8am-5pm. Rural Hill, 4331 Neck Road, Huntersville. 704-875-3113.

11 MONDAY From Page to Screen. Watch the film adaptation of “Charlotte’s Web” to see the beloved book come to life. Ages 5-11. Free. 2pm. Plaza Midwood branch library, 1623 Central Ave. 704-416-6200.

12 TUESDAY Autumn Art. Collect fall foliage to make art. 5-7 years. Registration required. $10. 3:30-4:30pm. Wing Haven Gardens, 248 Ridgewood Ave. 704-331-0664. Coffee With the Superintendent. Have coffee with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools superintendent Heath Morrison and share ideas about district initiatives. Free. 7:30-9am. Reid Park Academy, 4108 W. Tyvola Road. Free Tuesday Sponsored by Duke Energy. Explore exhibits and see a special showing of Rudy and Roddy. Visit the Planetarium at 7pm. Free. 4-8pm. Schiele Museum, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia. 704-866-6900.

13 WEDNESDAY Fashion Photography Workshop. Learn about and explore a career in photography with professional fashion photographer Todd Youngblood. Ages 12-18. Free. 3pm. Independence Regional Library, 6000 Conference Drive. 704-416-4800.

14 THURSDAY Teddy Bear Party. Sing, dance and do a craft as part of the Crazy Play Day Series. 3-6 years. Registration required. $2. 6-7pm. Ivory/Baker Recreation Center, 1920 Stroud Park Court. 704-432-4580.


Adventure Seekers Kids Night Out. Have a pizza dinner, play games, build a fire for s’mores, take a night hike, and even practice archery skills. 7-14 years. Registration required. $25. 5:30-9pm. Anne Springs Close Greenway, 841 Springfield Parkway, Fort Mill. 803-547-4575.

16 SATURDAY A-Maizing Corn. Explore the truly amazing story of one of the world’s most important foods. $6-$10. 11am and 2pm. Schiele Museum, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia. 704-866-6900. Family Fun Day. Blast off for an adventure in space by creating a space adventure comic strip, producing a Sol LeWitt-inspired drawing and sculpting an alien/human hybrid. Free for children, adults $4. Noon-4:30pm. The Bechtler Museum, 420 S. Tryon St. 704-353-9200. Turkey Talk. Get up close to a wild turkey and learn about turkey traits. $6. 10am-1pm. Charlotte Nature Museum, 1658 Sterling Road. 704-372-6261.

17 SUNDAY America Recycles. Recycling activities and crafts, including holiday recycling activities, fishing for litter game, and preschool play area. $3-$5. 1-4pm. Museum of York County, 4621 Mt. Gallant Road, Rock Hill. 803-329-2121. Kids Club Central: Fall Sports. Celebrate football, hockey, basketball and more with mascots, games and prizes, plus Radio Disney. Free. 2-4pm. Epicentre, corner of Trade and College Streets. Sunday Fun Day: Spirit Dreams and Spindle Whorls. Explore the spiritual and symbolic artwork of the Pacific Northwest, then draw and stencil your own art, and make a Spirit Dream bracelet. $5-$15; free for children. 1-4pm. Mint Museum Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St. 704-337-2018.

18 MONDAY Learn, Connect, Play. Participate in board games that encourage cooperation, problem solving, letter and word recognition and critical-thinking skills. Ages 8-18. Free. 3:30pm. Beatties Ford Road Regional, 2412 Beatties Ford Road. 704-416-3000. | NOVEMBER 2013




Narnia. Enter Narnia, a magical world filled with creatures and spirits of myth and fable, and good and evil. $10. Nov. 9-17. See website for performance times. 704-892-7953. 307 N. Armour St., Davidson.

BLUMENTHAL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. See this magical production of a classic fairytale by the world’s most successful choreographer and his company. Starting at $20. Nov. 5-10. See website for performance times. 704-372-1000. 130 N. Tryon St.


19 TUESDAY Furry Friends. Learn about fuzzy critters and what they do to get ready for the chilly weather. 3-5 years. Registration required. $10. 10-11am. Wing Haven Gardens, 248 Ridgewood Ave. 704-331-0664. Pig Party. Squeal in for an “oink” of a good time, with pig-inspired stories, crafts and songs. Registration required. Free. 6-7pm. York County Library, 138 E. Black St., Rock Hill. 803981-5888.


ACT 1 Theatre. The award-winning upper school ACT 1 drama team presents a double feature including Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” and “A Village Fable.” $7-$10. Nov. 6, 7pm. 704-366-5657. Disney’s My Son Pinocchio Jr. Join Charlotte Christian middle school students take you on a hilarious journey through a classic fairy tale. $7-$10. Nov. 14-16, 7pm. 704-366-5657. 7301 Sardis Road.

Little Tykes Painting. Get messy and creative with paint. 2-5 years. Registration required. $2. 10-11am. Ivory/Baker Recreation Center, 1920 Stroud Park Court. 704-432-4580.



Billy Jonas. Composer, songsmith and multi-instrumentalist Billy Jonas performs original songs and improvisations with voice, guitar and “industrial re-percussion” – a collection of instruments he made from found and recycled objects. 5-adult. $14. Nov. 16-17, 11am and 1pm. Hansel and Gretel. Gather around for this new twist on a classic fairy tale. Ages 7+. $14+. Saturdays and Sundays, Through Nov.10. 704-973-2780. Miracle on 34th Street. Celebrate the holidays with this adaptation of the classic 1947 film. 6-adult. $12+. Fridays-Sundays, Nov. 22-Dec. 22, 7:30pm. ImaginOn, 300 E. 7th St.

Dinosaur Thanksgiving Feast. Enjoy a dino-size Thanksgiving feast with dinosaur crafts, activities, stories and snacks. 6-9 years. Registration required. Free. 4-5:15pm. York County Library, 138 E. Black St., Rock Hill. 803981-5888.

FULLWOOD THEATER Nutcracker. Watch the classic Christmas tale performed by the Matthews ballet. Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 30-Dec. 8. See website for performance times. 704-321-7275. 100 McDowell St., Matthews.

HALTON THEATER Charlotte Symphony Youth and Junior Youth Orchestras Fall Concert. Enjoy the musical stylings of the Charlotte Symphony Youth and Junior Youth orchestras. $6-$8. Nov. 26, 7:30pm. 704-651-2957. 1206 Elizabeth Ave.

KNIGHT THEATER Adventures in Outer Space. Dress in your intergalactic-inspired costume and enjoy music from “Star Wars,”“E.T.” and “Superman!” performed by the Charlotte Symphony. $15.50-$24.50. Nov. 16, 11am. 704-972-2000. MattyB LIVE in Charlotte. This 10-year-old rapper has made himself known for his G-rated, yet complex rap lyrics that encourage kids to follow their dreams and believe anything is possible. Starting at $20. Nov. 3, 4pm. 704-372-1000. 430 S. Tryon St.

MATTHEWS PLAYHOUSE Willy Wonka. Enter a world of pure imagination with Charlie Bucket as he takes a tour of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. $9-$10. Fridays-Sundays, Nov. 8-17, 2 and 7:30pm performances. 704-846-8343 . 100 McDowell St. East, Matthews.

MCCOLL CENTER FOR VISUAL ART The Dresser. Watch as Joseph Hershcer gives multiple performance of himself interacting with his kinetic machine that helps him get dressed. Free. Nov. 9. 1-5pm. 704-332-5535. 721 N. Tryon St.




22 FRIDAY All About Thanks and Giving. Learn about the first Thanksgiving, read a story and do a special craft. 3-8 years. Registration required. $2. 6-7pm. Ivory/Baker Recreation Center, 1920 Stroud Park Court. 704-432-4580. SouthPark Tree Lighting Celebration. Watch as Santa lights the tree and enjoy fun kids activities and a family-friendly holiday film. Free. 5pm-9pm. Symphony Park, 4400 Sharon Road. 704-364-4411.

23 SATURDAY Backcountry Harvest Day. Explore the truly amazing story of one of the world’s most important foods. $6-$10. 10am-4pm. Schiele Museum, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia. 704-866-6900. Charlotte Checkers 5K and Fun Run. Come out with your family for a run in uptown Charlotte. Celebrate your victory at the post race party, then later watch the Charlotte Checkers take on the Rockford IceHogs. Registration required. $5-$25. 7:45am 5K; 8:30am Kids Fun Run. The EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St.

Concord Christmas Parade. Parade floats, bands and Santa. Free. 2:30pm. Union Street, Concord.

24 SUNDAY Carolina Renaissance Festival. Last day for this year’s Ren Fest! Take a time machine back to 16th-century Europe with arts and entertainment for the family, including outdoor theater, circus entertainment, jousting and food. $11-$21, free for ages 5 and younger. 10am-5:30pm. 16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville. 704-896-5544. Charlotte International Auto Show Family Day. See 400-plus vehicles and play in the family entertainment zone with a climbing wall, virtual NASCAR simulator and small inflatable. Charlotte Bobcats’ Rufus, Charlotte Checkers’ Chubby and Charlotte Knights’ Homer will be there, along with Santa and Ms. Claus. $10; free for ages 12 and under. 10am-6pm. Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St. 704-364-1078.

25 MONDAY Family Storytime. Bring the whole family for stories, songs, and movement activities that support early literacy skill development and foster a love of books and reading. Free. 11:15am. Steele Creek, 13620 Steele Creek Road. 704-416-6800.

26 TUESDAY JYO and CSYO Fall Concert. Enjoy the musical stylings of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra. $6-$8. 7:30pm. Halton Theater, 1206 Elizabeth Ave. 704-651-2957.


literacy skill development and foster a love of books and reading. Ages 3-11. Free. 6:30pm. Hickory Grove, 5935 Hickory Grove Road. 704-416-4400.

28 THURSDAY Thanksgiving Charlotte South Park Turkey Trot. Bring the whole family for a 1-mile fun run, 8K run, Baby Jogger 8K, 5K, or Tot Trot. Registration required. $10-$45. Begins at 6:30am. Morrison by SouthPark Mall, 4400 Sharon Road. Mooresville/Lake Norman Turkey Trot. Join in the 5K and Kids Turkey Dash. Proceeds benefit Mooresville/ Lake Norman Christian Mission to help local families in need. Registration required. $20. Begins at 7:30am. Mooresville Christian Mission, Mooresville. 704-6821350. Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade. Celebrate the holidays by bringing your family out to the parade. See marching bands, floats and more. Free. Tryon Street to Stonewall Street.

29 FRIDAY Creatures of the Dark. Watch as skilled interpreters labor by open hearth and outdoor fires roasting, baking, and stewing traditional holiday foods. $6-$10. 11am. Schiele Museum, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia. 704-866-6900. Plantation Christmas. See period Christmas decor and baking, meet a Victorian St. Nick, and learn about period Christmas traditions. $7-$8; free for children under age 5. 10am-4pm. Latta Plantation, 5225 Sample Road, Huntersville. 704-875-2312.

Evening Family Storytime. Stories, songs and movement activities for all ages that support early

The Carolina Renaissance Festival

continues Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 24.

Kids will love the rides and jousts, while you enjoy arts and crafts, outdoor theater and more. $11-$21, free for ages 5 and younger. 10am-5:30pm. 16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville. 704-896-5544.

Jackson woke with his eyes crossed one morning, sending his parents on a mission to find a cure. They eventually found just that after meeting with Dr. Erin Schotthoefer at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. See how Jackson’s vision was restored at

GOODSENSES.COM | 704.295.3000 | NOVEMBER 2013 CEENTA_Charlotte_Parent_Sidebar.indd 1


7/10/2013 1:36:12 PM

Season of Light. Discover how many holiday customs developed and how they involve lighting up the winter season. $6-$10. 11am and 2:30pm. Schiele Museum, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia. 704-866-6900.

30 SATURDAY Light up Cornelius. Watch the inaugural tree lighting and enjoy choirs, dance performances, children’s activities, carriage rides and a visit from Santa. Free. 2-6pm. Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Ave., Cornelius. 704892-6031.

Plantation Christmas. See period Christmas decor and baking, meet a Victorian St. Nick, and learn about period Christmas traditions. $7-$8; free for children under age 5. 10am-4pm. Latta Plantation, 5225 Sample Road, Huntersville. 704-875-2312. Season of Light. Discover how many holiday customs developed and how they involve lighting up the winter season. $6-$10. 11am and 2:30pm. Schiele Museum, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia. 704-866-6900.



DISCOVERY PLACE Animal Grossology. Learn about the disgusting things animals do and how they can be fun, funky and fascinating. $5-$17; includes museum admission. Through Jan. 1. Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm; Saturday, 10am-6pm; and Sunday, Noon-5pm. 704372-6261. 301 N. Tryon St.

MINT MUSEUM World’s Fairs. Experience the international exhibition with outstanding examples of glass, furniture, jewelry, ceramics, precious metalwork, and textiles displayed at World’s Fairs from 1851-1939. Through Jan. 19. Wednesday, 11am-9pm; Thursday-Saturday, 11am-6pm; and Sunday, 1-5pm.704-337-2000. mintmuseum. org. 500 S. Tryon St.

MUSEUM OF YORK COUNTY Way Back When: Ice Age Beasts of Carolina. Travel back in time to the Carolina Piedmont during the “Ice Ages” when massive mastodons browsed our woodlands, and giant ground sloth ambled along the forest edge. $3-$5, includes museum admission. Free admission on Sunday. Through Dec. 31. TuesdaySaturday, 10am-5pm; and Sunday, 1-5pm. 803-329-2121. 4621 Mt. Gallant Road, Rock Hill.

SCHIELE MUSEUM Mammal Safari: Journey of Discovery. Meet live animals from around the world, see awesome mounted specimens from Africa, Asia, North and South America, and enjoy cool hands-on interactive exhibits designed to bring out the explorer in all of us. $4-$7, includes museum admission. Through Dec. 31. Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 1-5pm. 704-866-6900. 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia.

The Charlotte Parent calendar lists free and low-cost local events targeted to children and families. Time, dates and details subject to change. Call venue to confirm. Want to get listed? Go to, then click on Submit an Event.




early december 1 SUNDAY

Hometown Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting. Holiday fun with take-away crafts for kids, carriage rides, tree lighting with special pyrotechnics and visit from Santa. Free. 3-6pm. Matthews Town Hall, 232 Matthews Station St., Matthews. 704-3217275. Nutcracker. Watch the classic Christmas tale performed by the Matthews ballet. Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 30-Dec. 8. See website for performance times. 704321-7275. 100 McDowell St., Matthews.

5 THURSDAY Christmasville. See Rock Hill transform to a holiday wonderland with events that include carolers, carriage rides, music, contests and more than 20 tons of real snow! Free. Dec. 5-8. Old Town Rock Hill. Rock Hill, SC. 803-329-8756. Christmas in Davidson. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage and hay rides, a doggie fashion show, plus Santa’s house. Dec. 5-7. Free. See website for various event times. Downtown Davidson.

6 FRIDAY The Nutcracker by Charlotte Youth Ballet. Opening day for the holiday tale come to life through beautiful choreography and costumes by CYB. Dec. 6-8. $11-$25. See website for performance times. Halton Theater, 1206 Elizabeth Ave. 704-3303534.

7 SATURDAY Light Up MillBridge. Visit with Santa to take pictures, sip on hot cocoa, warm apple cider and snack on holiday treats. Free. 5:30-7pm. MillBridge, 1401 MillBridge Pkwy., Waxhaw. Passport to Christmas. Explore other cultures with games, crafts, stories and foods. 6-12 years. Registration required. $5-$20. 8:30am-noon or 1:30-5pm. JAARS Center, 7405 JAARS Road, Waxhaw. 704-843-6130. Sensory-Friendly Films: Frozen 2-D. Watch a movie with lights up and the sound turned down. Families can also bring in gluten-free, casein-free snacks. All ages. $4-$6. 10am. AMC Concord Mills and AMC Carolina Pavilion, 8421 Concord Mills Blvd and 9541 South Blvd, Concord and Charlotte.


TERRIFIC TEEN? We are looking for local high school students with outstanding character, leadership, talent and heart to be featured as a 2014 Terrific Teen. NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN DEADLINE: NOV. 30, 2013 | NOVEMBER 2013



Just in case you missed a day...

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Play in the Shade at James Boyce Park If getting back to nature is the goal, try this south Charlotte park that is part of the McAlpine Creek Greenway. Surrounded by shady trees, the playground feels like it’s in the middle of the woods. Equipment is divided into areas for kids age 2-5 and 5-12, and is in pretty good condition with mulch underfoot. There are swings, including baby swings, along with the usual slides, climbing equipment and nearby picnic tables and picnic pavilion. This park has nice bathrooms, multiple drinking fountains and a large parking lot. Though the playground is rather small, the park itself is big, with plenty of room for running around, as well as paved and unpaved trails for strolling and biking. In fact, one frequent user said though the playground often has three or four families using it at any given time, the park is busiest because of its numerous pathways.

—Heather Bailey

Visit website for multiple locations throughout North Carolina

NC_CharParent_QTRSqr4c_0213.indd 1

2/13/13 4:47 PM







at The Singing Christmas Tree for KIDS

Creating a magical holiday experience for children is what Carolina Voices does each season through its popular Singing Christmas Tree for KIDS performances at Ovens Auditorium. The show offers a one-hour showcase of singing, puppetry, dancing and a visit from Santa, perfect for children age 3 to 10. Putting the production together starts early in the year under the direction of Drew Allison from Grey Seal Puppets, who creates the storyline and the puppets that star in the show; and Pete Leo, artistic director of Carolina Voices. We asked Allison about how the process works.

Can you give us a sneak peek at the storyline for this year’s Singing Christmas Tree for KIDS? DA: Our concept this year is the idea of “Where is Christmas?” Sure there’s Christmas-sy things happening all around us, but really, where is Christmas? Is it at the North Pole? Is it in Bethlehem? Where is it? Our protagonist, Roquefort the Mouse, feels he must find out and sets out on a trip all the way around the Singing Christmas Tree to discover the truth. Turns out Christmas has been right under his nose the whole time!

When did you start working on this year’s script? DA: Earlier than folks think. We usually start batting ideas and concepts around in the spring and meet with Carolina Voices in early summer. When I tell people that I’m heading to a Singing Christmas Tree meeting and it’s the middle of May, they are stunned.

Who builds the puppets we see on the stage in The Singing Christmas Tree for KIDS? DA: At Grey Seal Puppets we have always designed and built our own characters. That has always been part of the allure of puppeteering. As a puppeteer, you can take an idea all the way through the creative process, from thinking of the initial concept to performance. How many puppeteers do you use on stage to create the characters in the show? And when do rehearsals start? DA: Each year we look at our performance concept, then the outline and the final script to determine the number of puppeteers needed. This year we are using four puppeteers to perform the puppets. We usually begin our rehearsals in mid-November. For more information on The Singing Christmas Tree for KIDS, visit For more information on Grey Seal Puppets, visit

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Norman Huynh, conducting • Grey Seal Puppets

Take off for galaxies far, far away on a cosmic journey fueled by music from Star Wars, E.T., Superman, and “Planets” pit-stops. Festival and musical petting zoo begin at 10am.

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Educating Mind, Body, and Soul

With an accelerated curriculum and nurturing environment, SouthLake Christian Academy prepares students to excel in academics, athletics, and the arts while inspiring them to live their lives with wisdom and moral integrity.

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D From: Telephone: E Lynnwood Equestrian Center F November 2013 704.248.5226 L Come to the barn and Party with the Ponies! R I • Supervised ring riding E V • Miniature pet pony & donkey 1. Check if any. (Maximum two proofs.) E the appropriate box below and note changes, E • Pizza, drinks & decorations • Special present for the birthday child R 2. Sign, date and return via fax noted above or e-mail no later than OCTOBER 15, 2013. Y or approval are not submitted by return date noted above. Visit This ad will run as is and you will be billed accordingly if changes Issue:


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Looking for a preschool where children love to learn?

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1. Check the appropriate box below and note changes, if any. (Maximum two proofs.) 2. Sign, date and return via fax noted above or e-mail no later than OCTOBER 15, 2013. This ad will run as is and you will be billed accordingly if changes or approval are not submitted by return date noted above.


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The Fine Art of Sportsmanship


y daughter Sage, 6, has turned into a big Carolina Panthers fan. She went from not caring about football A GOOD SPORT to not caring BY BRUCE SNYDER what opposing fans think. Now she looks forward to watching football with me. I have to admit, it’s a cool feeling. I always sort of figured my son, Brayden, would be the pigskin enthusiast, but right now at just 3 years old, he is more interested in just throwing a football (or anything else he can get his hands on). Sage, on the other hand, seems to really enjoy the sport’s pageantry and excitement. Most of all, Sage has learned to talk smack. My princess realizes that generally it is not OK to be mean to other people, unless they root for the

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other team. Then all bets are off. It all started a few weeks ago when the Panthers were playing (and pounding) the New York Giants. We were at a sports-themed restaurant. There were a lot of football fans rooting for their various teams. Sage seemed to enjoy the hooting and hollering. Soon she was asking me questions about how a team scores and what various penalties mean. When the Panthers finally got into the end zone, the place went wild and Sage broke out into a huge grin. After learning the Panthers were leading and about to win, my kindergarten kiddo started hollering “Go Panthers!” And “Giants stink!” The New York fans sitting across from us couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm. My wife and I couldn’t

help but grin as well. After all, Sage has learned how much fun it is in the South to watch sports. When we finally left, Sage told anyone who would listen that the Giants were terrible and the Panthers were the best. From that point on, she has constantly asked me who the Panthers play next, and whether they will win. Being a longtime sportscaster, I try to stay impartial, but I have to admit, this father-daughter bonding time has meant a lot. Since sports take place all year, I look forward to many hours with my princess, watching and explaining, and of course, teaching her to be a good sport as well. Bruce Snyder is a longtime sportscaster who lives in Charlotte with his wife and two children.


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More cute pictures from our readers. We love seeing the smiles.

Send your smiles to Include the child’s first and last name, and age. Non-professional photos only. Photos must be high-resolution.




don’t make a big

mistake before

the big


misuse of prescription drugs is a growing cause of death among teens today. and it happens when friends share their medication at school functions and social events. it also occurs when teens take medicine intended for other family members or use their own medication improperly. the confidential carolinas poison center help line is open 24/7 if you need help or want to know more.

sharing pills can kill.

Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s

Nutcracker Photos: Jeff Cravotta

December 13-22 | Belk Theater

Charlotte’s Favorite Holiday Tradition

Over 100 performers - led by NCDT’s nationally acclaimed professional dancers - and live music from the Charlotte Symphony Presented to the community by:


Meet the Stars!

Special d perform aytime students ances for & visit ncd seniors

Join us for a Matinee Magic reception immediately following all Nutcracker matinee performances. Your child can meet and take photos with the stars of Nutcracker, receive a performance poster to have autographed and enjoy tasty snacks. Reception tickets are just $5 in advance, $10 at the show.

Charlotte Parent November 2013  

Family and Thanksgiving

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