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June • July 2014

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Studies show that children who spend time in the garden develop a love for fruits and vegetables.


Look, I made a carrot! CALL FOR A TOUR. 9 schools in the Charlotte Metro area 1.800.PRIMROSE | Each Primrose School is a privately owned and operated franchise. Primrose Schools and The Leader in Educational Child Care are trademarks of Primrose School Franchising Company. ©2014 Primrose School Franchising Company. All rights reserved. See for ‘fact’ source and curriculum detail.

We accept Medicaid Parents can accompany their child in treatment rooms

CREATING CONFIDENT SMILES! Together with their friendly, caring staff, they have created a fun and inviting atmosphere where your kids are encouraged to feel relaxed and have fun. Proper dental care is an integral part of your child’s overall healthcare, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the experience!

With every visit, we dedicate ourselves to be a caring, supportive and professional practice that knows your respect deserves to be earned!

SOME OF THE SPECIAL SERVICES WE OFFER INCLUDE: TVs Above All Dental Chairs iPads and Games in Waiting Area Ice Cream After Each Visit Digital Patient Records Digital Radiography (X-Rays)

Same Day Treatment when possible Laughing Gas and Oral Sedation Digital Patient Records Hospital Dentistry Modern Sterilization Protocol

Dr. Paul Clarke, DMD Conveniently Located in the Plaza Midwood Area 2620 Central Avenue • Charlotte, North Carolina 28205

980.875.9158 •

Teaching kids to swim since 1996

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Offering morning classes – Perfect for preschoolers!

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ENROLL TODAY 704.341.9673 •


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contents departments

features 24

A Child-Care Checklist . . . . . . . . . . .10 A look at Charlotte’s child care development options.

Book Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Answering the Call . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

Flavorful Finds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

By Angela Braniff The story of how one Mint Hill family sacrificed to make their family complete.

By Kiran Dodeja Smith A guide to the most popular farmers markets in our area.

Ready for Music Lessons? . . . . . . . . .18

Little Ones Loves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

By Kenneth K. Guilmartin Recommendations to help guide your child’s musical development.

A peek at must-have fashion and products.

By Walker H. Doermann

Carolina Cuties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Starring local little ones, as themselves . . .

A League of Your Own . . . . . . . . . . .23 By Molly of Stilettos and Diapers A local fashion blogger shares how to put together the perfect outfit for the baseball field.

A Historical Heritage . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 By Renee Roberson With its rich history and lakeside living, Huntersville makes its mark as a desirable place for families to put down roots.

Cute Companions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 By Renee Roberson Three families find joy in caring for unusual pets.


Summer Fun That Won’t Break the Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 By Stacy Cacciatore Low-cost or free ways to soak in all Charlotte has to offer.

Summer Movies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Make time for free and inexpensive family movies all around the town.

Crazy for Coasters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 By Piper Mitchell Check out three amusement parks that don’t require a trip to Florida.

Road Trip Survival Guide . . . . . . . . . .40 By Sara Kendall Keep them entertained with these fun and simple car ride strategies.

4 | for local moms ... by local moms

cover: Angela and Christopher “CR” Braniff love life with their young family: Kennedy (7), Shelby (5), Noah (2 1/2) and Jonah (7 months). Follow this Mint Hill family’s adventures on their blog,

Photo by Terra Bailey

not another tie

Father’s Day is right around the corner! This June 15, give Dad a gift that’s sure to match his personality type perfectly. For the thrill seeker: Take him to GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville for Arrive-andDrive. This program requires no reservations and is the simplest and most cost-effective way to experience the excitement of high-performance karting on a world-class racetrack!

For the guy who’s always “in training:”

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Tell him about the NoDa Beer Run, a weekly run club powered by OrthoCarolina that ends with a frosty beverage at NoDa Brewing. Choose from one, three and five-mile routes. The club also has benefit runs throughout the year.

If he never misses the Wells Fargo Championship: Purchase some lessons to the Dana Radar Golf School, offered at The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge, and comprised of an award-winning team of certified LPGA and PGA instructors.

If he’s crazy for craft beer: He’ll definitely need to check out Crafty Beer Guys, located in the middle of downtown Huntersville, and their 350 labels of beer, 16 tap hand-built bar and homebrewing supplies. Craft Beer Guys is child, dog and food-friendly, too!

If he gives new meaning to the term “outdoor enthusiast:” He’ll have a hard time choosing just what to do at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, whether it’s whitewater rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, ziplining or a combination of all of the above.

If he loves a good Bloody Mary: Rumor has it that Bruce Julian Clothier has the best Bloody Mary mix in town, and afterwards he can update his wardrobe with fine men’s clothing, shoes and accessories.



renee & kerrie

Sharon Simpson

Sales Executive The older I get, the more I find myself relating to situations like the ones found in the 1989 Ron Howard movie “Parenthood.” One of my favorite scenes in the movie involves actor Steve Martin and the woman playing his grandmother, who often seems to go off on tangents unrelated to the topics of conversation. In this one scene, though, she says, “You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together!” I was reminded of this so-called “roller coaster” on a recent trip to Texas that I took with my husband and kids. Two days before we were scheduled to fly out, my 8-year-old son got a few suspicious-looking bumps on his face, which we attributed to a possible allergic reaction to something he had eaten. The bumps continued to spread, even after we arrived at our destination. Nervous about why he had red bumps on his face that were spreading to other parts of his body with no other symptoms, we took him to a local Urgent Care to get checked out. The doctor seemed a little perplexed but ruled out chickenpox and guessed it was a childhood virus that causes similar looking bumps. We tried to go about enjoying our family vacation with relatives while nervous that our son had a possibly contagious virus. The rash wouldn’t stop spreading until his entire face, arms, chest and back were covered in red bumps. It was unlike anything we’d ever seen before, and we were very stressed out not to be able to consult our regular physician. At the same time as we were dealing with the demands of traveling, being outside of our comfort zone, getting more and more worried about the never-ending rash, I came down with a painful case of strep. Long story short, when we finally returned home a week later, a dermatologist determined my son might have had an undiagnosed strep infection that caused an outbreak of guttate psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis often develops suddenly and affects people under the age of 30. We were so relieved to finally have a diagnosis and begin treatments, which helped clear my son’s skin up within a matter of days. As I’m writing this, the ride isn’t completely over yet—he is now battling eczema but we are doing our best to keep him healthy. When you’re sick as a parent, and traveling, it’s very difficult to make sure everyone’s needs are met, enjoy the trip and help care for children who are ill. But it’s all part of the roller coaster, I know. I can also tell you one other thing for sure—no matter how difficult that family trip was, it is one we will never forget, ever. And that’s okay.



Renee Roberson Creative Director & Co-Founder

Kerrie Boys 6 | for local moms ... by local moms

Beth Packard

Sales Executive

Trisha Robinson

Sales Executive

Taylor Buckley

Social Media Director

Michele Chastain

Contributing Photographers

Photography by Chanda Amanda James Photography Contributing Writers Angela Braniff Stacy Cacciatore Walker H. Doermann Kenneth K. Guilmartin Sara Kendall Piper Mitchell Kiran Dodeja Smith Molly of Stilettos and Diapers Contact Us:

p: 704.677.9159 | f: 1.888.887.1431 P.O. Box 1676 Cornelius, NC 28031 Copyright 2013 by MediaAdventure, LLC Little Ones Magazine is published six times per year. Little Ones Magazine cannot assume responsibility of statements made by advertisers. In addition, though editorial pieces are heavily researched, Little Ones Magazine cannot guarantee their accuracy. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without express written permission from the publisher.

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and keep up with area happenings, great giveaways and more! (search “little ones magazine”) ••••••••••••••••••••

Also, don’t forget to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, which provides a listing of up-and-coming events for the month. You’ll never have to worry about what to do! Sign up on our Web site (

FromBirththroughCollege,yourchild’s healthisourfocus. As an independent solo practitioner, you and your child will come to know and trust Dr Arnold Snitz with your families health and wellness. Even through those pesky teenage years, Snitz Pediatrics will be there to answer questions. You will also find a certified lactation consultant to guide you through a successful feeding experience and even help you choose the proper breastfeeding equipment.

Arnold I. Snitz, MD, FAAP Board Certified Pediatrician Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine


Ginger R. Snitz, RN, IBCLC Certified Lactation Consultant Breastfeeding Equipment & Rentals

Call today to schedule a consultation. New patients are always welcome. Eastover Medical Park, 2620 E. Seventh St. Charlotte, NC 28204-4375 • 704.332.7141 | for local moms ... by local moms


book corner

make reading part of your summer fun By Walker H. Doermann, Children’s Manager Morrison Regional Branch of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

t’s that time of year— summer is here yet again! Between beach vacations and summer camps, make sure to put Charlotte Mecklenburg Library at the top of your list for family destinations this summer. Reading over the summer is vital for children, no matter their age. For younger children, being read to everyday is at the core of building early reading skills, and will help prepare them to enter school ready for success. For school-age children, it is important they read to avoid the much dreaded “summer brain drain” and begin the next school year reading on grade level. Luckily, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Summer Reading program, which runs from June 11 to August 9, is open to everyone, regardless of age! Wee Read: For ages birth through three, the Wee Read program encourages parents and caregivers to read to their child daily, as well as engage in other early literacy activities that incorporate singing, talking, playing, and writing together. Children will sign up and receive a reading record full of fun literacy activities to check off as they are completed. They will then bring the record back to the library to receive their prizes—paperback books to take home forever!

Fizz, Boom, Read!: For ages 4-11, this program encourages children to read 20 hours over the course of the summer. They will sign up and track their time online, and visit their local library to receive fun prizes along the way. Reading just thirty minutes a day will ensure that children complete their goal with time to spare. With a science theme this summer, the program is sure to engage children and get them reading both fiction and nonfiction. Your local library branch will have plenty for your family to do this summer.Check out to find story times, Summer Reading kick-off events, and other special programs for your child. Check out these great books at your local library: My Octopus Arms by Keith Baker (2013) Octopus, what can your eight arms do? And so begins this sweet story of everything an octopus can do with his many arms, from knitting a sweater and playing chess, to washing the dishes and untangling knots, all on the ocean floor. But the best thing that an octopus can do with his arms is give a hug, and so can you! Young children will enjoy the quirky details in the pictures, as well as the comforting cadence of this gentle tale.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera (2014) We’re all familiar with the traditional “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” but this classic children’s song gets a makeover as it is brought to life through Jane Cabrera’s vibrant illustrations. Cabrera incorporates a jungle theme into this book as she guides the reader down the river, meeting various exotic animals as the boat is rowed along. Elephants, monkeys, and lions are just a few of the animals encountered in this story that will have even the youngest readers roaring and growling along. Yoo-Hoo, Ladybug! By Mem Fox (2013) Yoo-Hoo, Ladybug! Where are you? That’s the question asked throughout this fun seek-and-find book. Each illustration contains Ladybug hidden somewhere among colorful animals and objects for your emerging reader to find. Too challenging for your child? No worries, Ladybug’s hiding spot is revealed on the following page. Rhyming text and surprising artwork will keep your young child engrossed until the very last page as they search for Ladybug in the wackiest of places.

{avoid summer brain drain} 8 | for local moms ... by local moms

At Davidson Day School Zach learned collaboration, creativity, and character development...



prepare ffor prepare orr a lif etime lifetime of learning

Reading to Reading to your your young young child child is one of the most most important things ings y ou can do to to prepare prepare your your o little one for for a lifetime lifetime of learning. ning. you Visit V isit /childrren to to find children's children's reading reading recommendations group you. recommendations and gr roup storytimes storytimes at at a library library near y ou.

(704) 416-0101 6-0101 |

Zach is now an independent thinker who will be able to articulate his ideas with confidence at Tulane University.

Call for a Tour Today!

704-237-5229 | for local moms ... by local moms


day care ... the building blocks of your child’s education

10 | for local moms ... by local moms

Finding the right child care for your little one will be one of the most important decisions you will ever make.

When they’re infants, working parents must begin the process of figuring out whether a child development center or inhome caregiver best suits the needs and schedule of the family. As they get older, there are a number of preschool educational options to compare, as well as before and afterschool programs once the elementary years begin. As parents, we all want to know our children are being cared for in a well-rounded environment while also being kept safe. When exploring different child development centers, the Star Rated License is an important thing to take note of. According to the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education, “all license programs, except religious-sponsored programs, have a star-rating similar to the ratings you will find for other products and services”. Before you select a child care provider, arm yourself with as much information as you can. Get recommendations from people you know, tour multiple facilities to see what the structure of the day looks like and what types of enrichment programs are offered. Take a checklist (such as the one posted on the North Carolina DCDEE website under the parents resources) with you so you don’t forget any questions you have along the way. Here’s a look at just a few of the many places in Charlotte designed to enrich and nurture the lives of young children. > | for local moms ... by local moms


Charlotte Care Services, Inc. For more than 30 years, the goal of Charlotte Care Services has been to provide clients with qualified caregivers and offer a quality service in which they can trust and feel secure. Charlotte Care Services was started based on a need in the Charlotte community for working mothers who desired loving and caring in-home child care. Caregivers are available on an hourly, daily or weekly basis. Clients may need a caregiver either on an on-call basis or on-going, either way, Charlotte Care Services can provide the help they require. If you need a traveling caregiver for vacations or work-related travel when you want to bring your family, a caregiver can be arranged. To make sure you receive the highest-quality caregiver, Charlotte Care Services performs an in-depth screening process on each caregiver prior to employment. Visit or call 704.335.0501 for more information.

Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics Healthy Kid’s Learn and Grow Here. Building upon our 12-year history of providing excellent care for the littlest members of our community, Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics is launching the new “Learn Well, Live Healthy” curriculum for the 2015 school year. Physical activity helps children learn and grow. “Learn Well, Live Healthy” uses age appropriate, fun, activities to prepare children for entry into Kindergarten and stimulates growth of healthy brains and bodies. Just as the foundation for school preparedness begins early, so do the habits of good health. Our program

helps children achieve success in both areas. For more information on our programs and services contact Becky Taylor at Got older kids? Our afterschool program provides opportunities to swim, dance, run, play basketball, and get fit in addition to getting homework done before your work day is through. We are where your kids want to be. For more information, visit or call 704.766.2222

Kids R Kids - The Academy at Blakeney Children take in more information during their first six years than they do the remainder of their lives, and Kids R Kids wants to be a part of your child’s development. They offer preschool programs for children ages six weeks to five years, after-school and summer camp programs for children ages five to twelve. Infants as young as six weeks old are involved with stimulating, hands-on play, and the preschool and TK programs guide children through independent and cooperative learning strategies, using imagination and creativity. All Charlotte area Kids R Kids schools are North Carolina Five-Star rated, and are nationally accredited by AdvancED. Several locations are also nationally accredited by NAEYC, and offer a private Kindergarten. The school’s play equipment is state-of-the-art, and Kids R Kids abides by all North Carolina safety regulations on play equipment and their surrounding fall zones. They also have a 2,500-square-foot indoor activity area. For more information, visit or call 704.543.7227.

THE P REMIER PRESCHOOL in Charlotte, Lake Norman, Matthews & Fort Mill Accredited Kindergarten at select locations Secure online viewing of your child Ages 6 weeks – 12 years Age appropriate curriculum Degreed & certified teachers Enrichment activities 6:30a.m. – 6:30p.m.

Summer Camps for school-aged children!

Before & After School programs available ALL LOCATIONS ARE ACCREDITED BY:

ALL CHARLOTTE LOCATIONS ARE 5 STAR SCHOOLS The Academy at Blakeney Private Kindergarten NAEYC Accredited

6250 Blakeney Park Drive Charlotte, NC 28277 704.543.7227 Rea Rd. at Ardrey Kell Rd.


Fort Mill 3009 Highway 160 W Fort Mill, SC 29708 803.802.8977 Off I-77 on Gold Hill Rd. and Hwy 160 near Tega Cay | for local moms ... by local moms

Matthews 5549 Potter Road Matthews, NC 28104 704.821.2005 1.5 miles S.E. of Siskey YMCA at Chestnut & Potter

University Area 2115 Ben Craig Drive Charlotte, NC 28262 704.503.4001 Located off W.T. Harris Blvd and Mallard Creek Rd.

Lake Norman 9620 Northcross Center Ct. Huntersville, NC 28078 704.655.8883 I-77 N at Exit 25

Primose School at Eastfield Village Each Primrose School location in Charlotte is accredited by the prestigious Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a distinction they’ve earned by delivering an early education that meets the highest standards. Primrose’s talented and degreed teachers use their proprietary Balanced Learning curriculum to provide wonderfully enriching experiences that help to develop happy, confident learners. They ensure that these children experience stimulating and meaningful learning experiences during these tender years when their brains are developing faster than at any other time in their lives. And they ensure that there’s lots of fun too! The caring and nurturing atmosphere enhances the learning experience, keeping the children happy and feeling that they are loved, and reassuring parents that they've made an excellent choice for their child. For more information, visit schools/eastfield-village or call 704.947.3266.

They practice the lowest teacher to student ratios available, and adhere to the highest level of safety and sanitation guidelines. The school also practices a “Healthy Eating Initiative,� with a cook on-site to prepare daily meals, which include whole-wheat breads and pastas and fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables as opposed to canned. Stepping Stones Academy also has its very own edible garden. For more information, visit or call 704.799.1500.

Stepping Stones Academy Serving children from infancy through the age of five, Stepping Stones Academy has earned the 5 Star rating from the state of North Carolina, which is the highest rating a preschool can earn. They offer afterschool programs (including pick up from school) as well as summer programs. The goal at Stepping Stones Academy is the education of the whole child in physical, emotional, cognitive, creative and social skills. Their method is to develop a mentally appropriate curriculum that encourages risk-taking, exploration, discovery and problem solving through play.

HFFA Preschool hool & Afterschool chool Programss Enrolling Now! w!

H lthy Healthy Habits Start Here! Here2Grow Preschool provides children quality education and building blocks leading to development of healthy lifestyle habits.

Afterschool features thematic academics, homework assistance, FRPELQHG ZLWK VZLPPLQJ ÀWQHVV classes, sports, and games.

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This community facility lity is owned by The Town off Huntersville | for local moms ... by local moms


Photo by Angela Braniff 14 | for local moms ... by local moms

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Photo by Terra Bailey

By Angela Braniff


By scaling back their lifestyle and utilizing social media, the Braniff family achieved their dream of adopting two sons ur family’s journey to adoption began in 2011, when we had two beautiful biological daughters that I fought very hard to bring into this world. I suffered from severe Hyperemisis gravidarum, a severe complication of pregnancy that results in nausea, vomiting, dehydration and weight loss throughout both my pregnancies. I didn’t think my body could handle another pregnancy, but we knew we wanted more children.

At that time, I approached my husband about adoption. His reaction was like most men, a little unsure and terrified about the cost. We were young, he was still establishing his career and I had just launched my photography business. So we prayed about it, and we both just felt that if God was nudging us to do this, He would provide what we needed. So in the spring of 2011, we announced to our friends and family our plans to adopt internationally. We felt very pulled to the Congo, and the need just couldn’t be ignored. | for local moms ... by local moms


names of people who donated to our adoption, and my prayer is that someday he’ll look at that and know that no matter how tragic his past is, that he is loved, and he was wanted so very much. We were also chosen by an organization called Give1Save1 to create a short video about our adoption and it would be live for one week with the idea that people would donate $1 and share it. We were once again blown away by the generosity of our family and friends, as well as total strangers. In our week as the featured family, we raised more than $3,000.

Photos by Angela Braniff

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With the cost averaging $25,000, we knew we were going to have to get creative! We planned yard sales, sold tshirts and I wrote an e-book about photography and sold it online. We also made changes to our lifestyle. Things like cable TV were cut, eating out often and spending in general was limited to necessities only. We were willing to do almost anything to bring home our son or daughter. After about six months we had saved and raised about $18,000. We never expected it to happen so fast. And in 16

March 2012 we finally got “The Call”— we had a precious bouncing baby boy waiting for us 7,000 miles away. We wrapped up our costs by doing a puzzle fundraiser—where we asked friends and family to donate $5 to have their names listed on the back of a framed puzzle of the world—which was my favorite of all the things we did. It hangs in my son’s room with 1000 | for local moms ... by local moms


Our journey to Noah was not always easy, but the moment I came down the escalator with him in my arms and introduced him to his forever family was one of the most precious moments of my life. Our next adoption led us down a totally different path. This time we pursued domestic adoption. We were matched right away, but just a few days before her due date, our expectant mom changed her mind. We were devastated. We took the summer off from presenting our profile and just focused on our three precious children at home. By the end of summer we felt ready to jump back in. We knew we were going to have to make up the lost money from our failed adoption, but figured we’d have some time. God had other plans. A few weeks later we received an email about a baby boy born in Florida and placed for adoption via the Safe Haven law. I saw his face and melted into a puddle. We didn’t know what to do, because we wanted to say yes, but knew we didn’t have all the funds. We prayed and sought guidance, and in the end, once again, we knew God would provide if it was His will. This meant we had three weeks to come up with $10,000. Sounds insane right? I began mapping out all the different ways I thought we could do this. I wrote a blog post and shared it on Facebook

Photo by Angela Braniff

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early on a Tuesday morning, explaining our situation and what the need was. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle! People began donating and sharing our post. The support came pouring in immediately. I went to bed that night not believing what I had seen that day. The love and generosity was overflowing and we were in awe. The next day, it got even crazier, people saw how close we were to

Summer S ummer e Sitters Sit ters Available! Availab ble! Call C all Today! Today!

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The Braniffs were overwhelmed by the group of family and friends waiting to greet them at the airport following Noah's adoption.

having all the money needed and they kicked it into high gear. By dinnertime we had every single penny we needed. It still gives me chills and makes me teary to talk about it. Everyone from close friends to total strangers gave so generously, and because of that generosity we are blessed to be the parents of one pretty amazing baby boy, who we named Jonah. If adoption is on your heart, please don’t be afraid to answer that call. It’s been a life changing experience for us, and we feel lucky to call these boys our sons. Angela Braniff is married to her high school sweetheart and is mom to four little ones. Between homeschooling and running a newborn/child photography business, she’s one busy woman! Visit her website at

breathe br eathe » live » thrive Wit h 12 With 12 board-certified boa rd-cer tified ph physicians ysicia ns and a nd eight eight office office locations locations Charlotte Carolina Asthma sserving er v ing tthe he C ha rlot te region, region, C a r ol i n a A st hma & Allergy A l lerg y Center C enter helps helps patients patients breathe, breathe, e live live and a nd ultimately u ltimately thrive thrive byy effectively eff ffeectively treating treating and a nd often often curing curing allergy a l lerg y and a nd asthma a st h ma challenges. cha l lenges. Call Ca l l 704.372.7900 704. 372 .790 0 to to schedule schedule an an appointment appointment at at the the location location nearest nearest you. you. www | for local moms ... by local moms


ready for music lessons? there is a lot to consider By Kenneth K. Guilmartin, Founder/Director, Music Together LLC

oday’s cultural norm seems to be a desire to produce children who are smarter and more accomplished at earlier ages. Starting with music-in-the-womb programs for the prenatal set, parents are bombarded with enrichment options for the very young, and it’s hard to judge what is actually developmentally appropriate for your growing child. Is earlier really better when it comes to traditional music lessons? If children can start Suzuki violin at age three, does this mean your child will somehow be “behind” if she waits until age six to begin studying piano? In point of fact, music lessons can all too often be a frustrating and even painful experience for a child who is not developmentally or musically ready for them; and most children—even the obviously musically inclined—can benefit from waiting a little longer to start traditional lessons than the anxious parent might be given to believe. To have a good chance of enjoying and embracing formal music study, a child must have a readiness that goes beyond the traditional prescription of being able to sit still for fifteen minutes, count from 1 to 5, and know the letters A to G. It’s important to consider your child’s temperament, physical development, and level of tonal and rhythmic competence before signing him up for lessons, and to ask yourself what you as a parent want for your child.


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It helps to be clear-eyed about the nature of traditional instrument lessons. They involve learning to read music, which is a complex cognitive process, and they require a high degree of hand-eye coordination. They are inevitably product-oriented, focused on semi-regular recitals at which the student’s learning will be displayed and judged. Reflect on whether your young child is developmentally ready for the pressure of performing a piece in public. Practicing a piece to become performance-ready requires persistence, patience, and commitment, and music study will not magically produce these qualities in a child who is not already showing some sign of them. If your child is easily frustrated and has little patience for repetitious tasks, it’s probably better to continue for a while longer with non-formal music and movement experiences like Music Together classes.





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Temperament and developmental readiness are only part of the equation. Even an exceptionally mature and motivated child can flounder in traditional lessons without the most important readiness factor of all: basic music competence (BMC). This is the ability to sing in tune and move with accurate rhythm. Given a sufficiently rich music environment, tonal and rhythmic competence develop as naturally in a child as her 18 | for local moms ... by local moms

ability to speak her native language. In fact, in world cultures where music remains an integral, active part of daily life, children often achieve BMC at around age three, just about the same time they are developing competency in language. In our culture, however, there is a delay in acquiring basic tonal and rhythm competence. Children grow up apparently surrounded by music but actually at a slight remove from it: their music experiences are often passive, received from CDs or television and offering little opportunity for the active engagement needed for learning. As a result, many children don't learn to sing in tune and move with accurate rhythm until age six, seven, or beyond. Imagine the consequences of this within the context of a music lesson. A child without tonal competence will have difficulty recognizing whether he is playing the correct melody: he may not even have an aural understanding of what makes one note “right” and another “wrong.” If he lacks rhythmic competence, he will likely have trouble understanding the values of notes or keeping a steady tempo. If a child cannot “speak the language” of music by singing in tune and moving with accurate rhythm, how can he be expected to become literate enough to read music? As with language, music mastery happens first at the aural/oral level, through plenty of direct exposure.

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Therefore, the best way to help your child prepare for eventual music lessons is to provide a rich environment with active music experiences. Young children learn through play, so singing, saying rhythmic rhymes, and moving to music are not only fun but beneficial. It’s also an excellent idea for any parent who has dreams of her child playing an instrument to begin taking lessons herself. This will pique the child’s curiosity and present a powerful role model. Children who have been in Music Together classes often demonstrate tonal and rhythmic competence relatively early—perhaps by age three or four— depending on how many semesters they’ve been in the program. While it may be musically possible for such children to start instrument lessons, our own inclination is to allow children a little more time to develop emotionally and

physically before starting traditional lessons,which involve reading music. In the meantime, they can explore rhythm instruments and strengthen their singing and movement skills, all of which will be useful to later instrument study. An ability to improvise and literally “play” music is invaluable to any musician.


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Children develop at different rates physically, emotionally, socially, and musically, so the following can be only approximate guidelines for what might be best at different ages. Threes and fours will continue to thrive in group music classes like Music Together. This allows them a direct, playful experience of music and movement which supports their learning style. Create a music environment at home, too, by integrating spontaneous music play into your daily life. Fives and sixes will enjoy classes such as Dalcroze, Orff, or Music Together Big Kids, which all begin to introduce more sophisticated music concepts within the context of a whole music and movement experience. Seven to nine is often a good time to explore traditional lessons. Choose a teacher you think is a good temperamental match for your child. It’s more important at this point for him to fall in love with his instrument than work with a noted maestro. (That can come later.) Ten and older is not too late to begin! The older child tends to be focused and to progress rapidly. Sometimes, however, he may find beginner music to be “babyish,” so the choice of materials will be crucial. Try Béla Bartók’s Mikrokosmos, a series of books with musically interesting exercises that older children find appealing. Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for children birth through age seven. The Music Together curriculum, coauthored in 1987 by Kenneth K. Guilmartin (Founder/Director) and Rowan University Professor of Music Education Dr. Lili M. Levinowitz (Director of Research), is based on the recognition that all children are musical: all children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning. Music Together offers programs for families; schools; at-risk populations; and children with special needs, in over 2,500 communities in 40 countries around the world. More at and on Facebook at MusicTogether.

FIND MUSIC TOGETHER CLASSES AT THESE CHARLOTTE AREA LOCATIONS: Dilworth-Tom Sykes Parks & Recreation 405 East Park Ave. Charlotte

Lake Norman – Dance Davidson 140 Jackson Street Davidson

Lake Norman – Lake Forest Church 8519 Gilead Road Huntersville, NC 28078

Plaza MidwoodOpen Door Studios 1318 D-1 Central Ave. Charlotte

SouthPark-Jewish Community Center Camp Mindy Cabin 2 Charlotte

BlakeneySteps’n’Motion Dance Studio 8183 Ardrey Kell Road The Fountains Charlotte

Lake Wylie-Carolina Dance Academy 13902 York Road Charlotte | for local moms ... by local moms


flavorful finds 20 | for local moms ... by local moms

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the local harvests A guide to Charlotte’s finest farmers markets

By Kiran Dodeja Smith Photos By Kerrie Boys @ Highland Creek Farmers Market

f you aren't great in the garden but you still long for local foods, then you are in luck. Charlotte is home to many fine farmers markets, with each one boasting its own personality—and specialty items to boot. Some basic tips for shopping local farmers markets: • Bring cash. Some vendors accept credit cards, but not all. • Be flexible. Offerings are based on what has grown/what is in season. If you are dead-set on making a recipe with a certain ingredient, there is a small chance you may not find it. • Be sure to be early. Grab a cup of joe and head out with the family! • Don’t forget your reusable bags. Let’s try that again—don't forget your reusable bags! Below is a list of some of our local farmers markets: Atherton Mill and Market 2140 South Boulevard • Charlotte One of my favorites, Atherton Mill is located in the South End and is certainly not the largest, but boasts a vast variety of vendors offering everything from local seafood, to honey, coffee and homemade pasta. There are samples a plenty and Luna’s Living Kitchen is close by, which makes a great stop post-shopping. Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; see website for times.

oooooooooooo Charlotte Regional Farmers Market 1801 Yorkmont Road • Charlotte s/charlotte/index.htm The state of North Carolina actually owns the area’s largest market, which operates yearround, offering fresh fare. Multiple large “sheds” house everything from fresh produce to pork products; delectable baked goods, fresh cut flowers, goat milk cheese and more. Farmers are often on site to answer questions you may have. The market also includes a Greenery Shed (great greens, bedding, shrubs | for local moms ... by local moms


and more) and Craft Barn with local artisans displaying their creations. Open every day besides Monday during the months of May through September; see website for details.

Kings Drive Farmer’s Market S. Kings Drive and E. Morehead Street • Charlotte simpsonsproduce


Family-owned and operated since 1941, this market is a co-op of farmers who work together to offer fresh and (mostly) local fruits and vegetables. Note that items such as mangos, pineapples and other produce that does not grow in our area are shipped in. Open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday; see website for details.

Davidson Farmers Market Located next to Town Hall between Main & Jackson Streets • Davidson Though out of my neck of the woods (I’m in South Charlotte), DFM is a popular place for Davidson-area folks (and many more, too)! Featuring more than 35 farmer and local producers from a 100-mile radius, DFM is a hot spot on Saturdays from 8 a.m. - noon.


ooooooooooo Matthews Community Farmers’ Market 188 North Trade Street • Matthews Small but mighty, Matthews Community Farmers’ Market’s claim to fame is that all of their produce and other products are all grown, raised or made within 50 miles of Matthews. The atmosphere is lovely and often includes music, chef demonstrations and more. Be sure to come early as quantities are limited and sell out quickly. Open on Saturdays; see website for times.

Highland Creek Farmer’s Market 6213 Bell’s Mill Drive • Charlotte It’s fun, food and community at the BRAND NEW Highland Creek Farmer’s Market, where you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses, artisan food products, fish and more. Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m.; April through October.

ooooooooooo Huntersville Growers’ Market 103 Maxwell Street (corner of Main and Maxwell Streets) • Huntersville The Huntersville Growers Market has been providing the Lake Norman community with healthy, regionally grown produce and baked goods for years. Every Saturday from May 10 through October from 8 a.m.-noon 22 | for local moms ... by local moms

ooooooooooo Waxhaw Farmers Market Located at the corner of Price and Church in Downtown Waxhaw Waxhaw’s market is a non-profit “producer-only” market, meaning that vendors are only able to sell items that are grown, baked or made by them. Thus, shoppers can take advantage of guaranteed freshness (and sometimes uniqueness!) and can ask the vendor about the product directly. Open Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Kiran Dodeja Smith is the mom of four children ages 10 and under and is a fan of “real” food (skip the processed ones, please!)

your own liven up the stands with a “baseball chic” ensemble By Molly of Stilettos and Diapers didn’t grow up thinking baseball season was the greatest part of the year. It just wasnt something our family with three girls did. That changed when I moved to New York, at the age of 18, and fell in love with America’s pastime. I became a NY Met fan, but more importantly, a fan of the game itself. Nothing beats a warm summer day spent at the ballpark. The smell of hotdogs and popcorn. The 7th inning stretch. The crack of the bat hitting a crowd-raising home run. After my love of baseball developed, I daydreamed about being that baseball mom, cheering my kids on from the sidelines. Since moving to Lake Norman, my son has started playing t-ball with LYAA and I’ve become just that. Watching his games is just as exciting as a professional one for me! I'm also thrilled about the new Charlotte Knights stadium. It gives baseball lovers a chance to regularly enjoy the game and provides a great option for a family outing. Whether you’re headed on a trip to a professional stadium, a day at BB&T ballpark, or even your child’s game, try these tips for a “Baseball Chic” look. Flats. I love a fun pair of heels, but baseball is no time for that. There will be stairs to climb and opportunities to jump while cheering for your team. Try a

top of the trends

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trendy flat, like macrame. It’s a light, airy material that’s very versatile. A classic pair of Converse or Toms are other great options. Team Tee. Victoria’s Secret has a fantastic line of women’s MLB ™ apparel that isn’t big and baggy. You can look feminine and sporty at the same time. I like a more neutral color, like grey or white that I can easily match to many pieces in my closet. Skinnies or cutoffs. At a springtime night game, you’ll find me in my favorite cuffed skinny jeans. Summer days call for cutoff denim shorts. You could even try making your own, if you have old jeans that are worn or ripped. Hat. Being outside in the wind is no place for nice hair. Throw on a baseball hat, even if you steal it from your husband like I did. I like to wear my hair down underneath it for a more girly look. Now that the outfit is planned, take me out to the ball game! Molly is a wife and boy mom, just trying to be June Cleaver. A southerner, who after living in New York, California and DC, is back to her roots, now living in Lake Norman. She writes at Stilettos and Diapers about fashion, motherhood and her attempts at mixing the two. | for local moms ... by local moms


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little ones loves

Add a little summer to your baby’s room with this ocean inspired mobile at Bellini

Mom is chic in chevron on a hot summer day! at Pickles & Ice Cream Ditch the t-shirt, you deserve a nice nightie to heat things up! at IC London

Pretend beach play for a rainy day at Toys & Co

24 | for local moms ... by local moms

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Clean and cozy when you are out and about with your little one! at Pickles & Ice Cream

Village at SouthPark 4310 Sharon Road Charlotte NC 704-377-7955 Facebook: ICLondonCharlotte | for local moms ... by local moms


small town big city

#,-)+# & +#- ! More families are discovering why Huntersville is a desirable place to live By Renee Roberson Photos by Photography by Chanda

Photography by Chanda by Brandy

ust a stone’s throw away from Charlotte, Huntersville attracts many families because of its close proximity to the city as well as an abundance of schools, restaurants, shopping and the natural beauty of both Mountain Island Lake and Lake Norman. When my family decided to relocate to the area back in 2003, the town probably had about 32,000 residents—that figure has grown to almost 50,000 residents since the last U.S. Census figures were released in 2012. As the area has grown, it has also become home to more and more companies, such as Rubbermaid, Novant Health, Joe Gibbs Racing and American Tire Distributors, Inc.

Far-Reaching Roots Huntersville’s roots reach as far back as 1873, when the town was originally incorporated, and farmers grew cotton on plantations and textile mills eventually brought more residents to the area. There are also many historical events that happened in the area prior to the founding of the town—such as the Battle of Cowan’s Ford during the American Revolution. Historic Rural Hill, now a popular spot for the Loch Norman Highland Games, Sheepdog 26 | for local moms ... by local moms

Photography by Chanda by Brandy

You Can Always Go . . . Downtown The downtown area of Huntersville was revitalized several years ago with the completion of Discovery Place KIDS, the popular children’s museum with exhibits and activities geared for younger visitors. Across the street from Town Hall and Discovery Place KIDS residents can grab a bite to eat at restaurants such as Lupie’s Café, Café 100 and Mama Mia’s. Several special events are also held downtown throughout the year, such as “A Huntersville Christmas” in December and “Hello Huntersville,” a music and arts festival held in May. On Saturdays from May through October the Huntersville Growers’ Market also sets up at Main and Maxwell Park.

Photography by Chanda by Brandy

Trials, food truck rallies and more was also once part of Revolutionary War Patriot John Davidson’s homestead. Though a suburb of Charlotte, it’s hard to classify Huntersville as just a “small town,” because of how far it stretches across Mecklenburg County. Whether you live in the Skybrook neighborhood bordering Concord or closer to Lake Norman and the town of Denver off Highway 73, there’s never a shortage of things to do in Huntersville.

Outdoor Fun in Nature and on the Water When we want to venture outside, we head to one of the many local parks or Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, where | for local moms ... by local moms


small town big city

you can also find horseback riding and kayak and canoe rentals. There are also more than 25 species of raptors on the self-guided trail at the Carolina Raptor Center. For those who are interested in sailing but don’t own a sailboat, the North Carolina Community Sailing & Rowing Center at Blythe Landing offers sailing lessons and family memberships in an effort to make sailing and rowing safe, affordable and accessible.

Whether you live in the Skybrook neighborhood bordering Concord or

Plenty of Shopping

closer to Lake Norman and the town of Denver there’s never a shortage of things to do in Huntersville.


Photography by Chanda by Brandy

off Highway 73, | for local moms ... by local moms

Birkdale Village, a mixed-use development with apartments and a movie theatre is the perfect place for shopping at both retail chain stores and boutiques, and there are numerous dining options. In the summer, small children love to cool off by splashing in the fountains in the center of the village. And if there are any items we can’t find at Birkdale Village, Northlake Mall is only about ten minutes away off Exit 18. Huntersville has been a great place for our family to grow, and I can see why the area has become more popular in recent years. We are proud to call Huntersville our home.

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cute companions 30 | for local moms ... by local moms

the joys of owning pets that are just a little out of the ordinary By Renee Roberson

ecause both my husband and I are allergic to cats, we’ve always been a dog family, much to our children’s dismay. While they love our small rescue dog, they are also intrigued by the cool mystique of cats, the way they play hard to get, and the gentle way they purr when they are happy. In the past few years they’ve expressed more and more interest in bringing different types of pets into our home, such as guinea pigs, gerbils and hamsters, and we are slowly warming up to the idea. But there are some families who are drawn to more unusual pets, and we found three in the north Charlotte area who all have different but interesting stories to tell about their path to advocacy for their precious pets. | for local moms ... by local moms



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Mooresville residents Jackie and Jerry Phelps have been animal lovers for as long as they can remember, and they’ve turned that love into a family business that includes their daughter, first-grader Sophia. My Animal Guy ( brings wildlife encounters to afterschool programs, into school classrooms, summer camps, and vacation Bible schools. They have so many different and unique animals in their home that they’ve lost track of exactly how many they have. They are passionate about caring for them all, especially if it includes taking in surrendered or rescued animals, such as a colorful Macaw that holds the distinction of being the second largest living Macaw in the world.

The Phelps’ have turned their passion for animals into a family business. With a father in the military and the family constantly moving, Jerry says he remembers always searching out wild animals in every new location as a child. He caught his first poisonous snake at age 6 and charged the neighbor kids five cents each to see it. Jackie and Jerry first met when both were working with animals in television and movie production sets in the Florida Everglades. In fact, they both joke that they decided to catch and release alligators “for fun” in the wild on their first date. I recently visited the Phelps family at their home and got to meet the animals, while learning some interesting facts along the way. For example, I never knew chinchillas can’t take baths with water—their fur is so dense they have a problem getting completely dry. Instead, they take dust baths to help rid their fur of oil and 32 | for local moms ... by local moms

dirt, and it is an adorable sight to see how much they love rolling around in the fine, white dust. Other animals in the Phelps brood include two guinea pigs, four Italian greyhounds, an Emperor Scorpion from Africa, an Argentinian Tegu (who loves his daily scrambled eggs), two degus, and a Blue Tongue Skink. Daughter Sophia loves learning about all the animals and proudly assists in the caring and feeding of them and working alongside her parents as they present their educational programs.

According to Kara, rats are super clean, friendly and can do tricks!

#-&#( #,, + Fourth-grader Caitlin Visser has always been interested in having a hedgehog as a pet after reading the children’s picture book Apple Trouble by Ragnhild Scamell. She knew then she would have to wait until she was older to explore bringing a hedgehog into her home, as well as save up the money to buy one on her own (some hedgehogs sell for more than $200 each). A year ago, Caitlin, who lives in Cornelius, got her wish and purchased a hedgehog named Alice from another family that already owned several hedgehogs. Because hedgehogs are nocturnal, Caitlin doesn’t keep Alice in her bedroom at night. She eats a good

quality dry cat food and exercises on a wheel inside her cage. Caitlin says she cleans Alice’s cage every few weeks but cleans the wheel daily because it tends to get messy. Catilin has also learned that playing with Alice regularly keeps her from being nervous around other people, which will cause her to roll up into a spiky ball for protection. Besides Alice, the Visser Family also has other animals that live with them or on their property, such as ducks and chickens. “We also have a dog, cat and I have two aquatic frogs,” says Caitlin. “Alice doesn’t play with the other pets because she might get hurt or they might get pricked by her.”


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Last summer Davidson fifth-grader Kara Angell was able to bring home two furry companions she had been wanting for a long time—rats she named Cookies and Cream. There are a lot of misconceptions

Caitlin saved up her own money to realize her dream of having her own hedgehog named Alice.

about having rats as pets but if you talk to families and children that own them, such as Kara, they will be quick to dispel any myths. “Lots of people think rats are dirty but the really are kind of neat freaks,” she says. “They clean themselves constantly. People also think the have fangs and bite they are actually cute and only bite when scared.” Rats, which typically have a lifespan of about two to three years, are actually very social creatures, which Kara soon discovered after she purchased Cookies and Cream. She has worked on training them and they now have several tricks they can do for treats. Kara’s mom, Dani, says Kara has also taken the rats to a local park as a way to educate children and reduce the fear many adults have around them. “Each rat has it’s own personality and is unique,” Kara says. “You do want to hold them a lot, too. Get them used to people and just take good care of them.” 33

Photo by By Stacy Cacciatore

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That Won’t Break the Bank By Stacy Cacciatore


Your kids will have a blast at these Charlotte area hot spots explore greenways

y the time summer rolls around my kids and I are more than ready to take a break from homework, afterschool activities and sports that encompass our schedule during the school year. But after a few days of relaxing, I start to hear the familiar drone of, “I’m bored!” In the Charlotte area, there is a plethora of fun activities you can do with your kids that won’t break the bank.

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Visiting a local farm and picking your own local produce with your kids not only teaches them about where food comes from, how it grows and what goes into harvesting it, but it will encourage them to try new and healthy foods. Hall’s Strawberry & Vegetable Farm in south Charlotte 34

offers pick-your-own strawberries and kid activities, including a mini maze, duck race, bouncy ball race and chickens. Bush-n-Vine Farm is located in York County, South Carolina and offers pick-your-own strawberries, blueberries and peaches throughout the summer. Bring a picnic lunch and make it a full-day activity. When you get home, encourage your kids to help you in the kitchen by making a new recipe with your freshly picked produce. Researchers at Teachers College at Columbia University studied how cooking with a child affects the child’s eating habits and found that children who participated in cooking their own meals were more likely to try new foods.

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There are many opportunities in Charlotte to be immersed in the beauty of nature. Visit one of the many greenways, including the Four Mile Creek Greenway in Matthews, Mallard Creek Greenway in Charlotte or the | for local moms ... by local moms

Anne Springs Greenway in Fort Mill. The Botanical Garden at UNC Charlotte offers an opportunity to enjoy a variety of native plants, a rain garden, and stone terraces. The Reedy Creek Nature Preserve has more than 730 acres of hiking trails, fishing and landscapes. You can visit the Backyard Habitat Garden to explore the bird feeding station and butterfly garden. All these green spaces offer an opportunity to take in fresh air, get exercise and go on a nature scavenger hunt. I like to play “Nature Walk Bingo” with my kids. I make nature bingo sheets with images of birds, ants, leaves, dandelions, mushrooms, butterflies and spider webs and bring them with us on our nature walk. It’s a fun way to engage kids in observing the nature around them, while also teaching them about wildlife.


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Several museums in the Charlotte area offer free admission on certain dates or times. The Charlotte Museum of History is always free on Sundays.

This museum features the 1774 Hezekiah Alexander Homesite, which is the oldest surviving house in Mecklenburg County. Reed’s Gold Mine is just outside of Charlotte in Midland. The museum and underground tour is free and they offer panning for gold for only $3 a person. The Mint Museum has locations in both uptown and on Randolph Road and offers exhibits on art, craft, design and fashion. Admission to the Mint Museum is free on Wednesdays from 5-9 p.m. The Billy Graham Library offers a walk through Billy Graham’s journey of faith, his home place and memorial prayer garden, all for free.

Summer of Service with The Lunch Project

yoga @ The Mint

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Head over to NoDa on the first and third Friday of the month from 6-9:30 p.m. for the NoDa Gallery Crawl. You can walk around NoDa, which is Charlotte’s historic arts and entertainment district, to enjoy art, live music and good food. Grab dinner at Cabo Fish Taco while you are in the area and then walk down to Amelie’s French Bakery for a salted caramel brownie for dessert.

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ImaginOn is free and offers many fun activities for children, including the hands on exhibit, “Once Upon a Time…Exploring the World of Fairy Tales,” which takes place from now through September 7. Kids can dress up as Beauty or the prince from “Beauty and the Beast” slide down the beanstalk from “Jack and the Beanstalk” and climb through a tunnel to find “Thumbelina.” There is play @ ImaginOn even a loft for teens to read and relax. You can visit ImaginOn, your local library or bookstore for free story time, puppet shows and activities for kids. No matter what you choose to do with your kids this summer, take the time to enjoy the small things, such as catching fireflies, looking at the stars and simply spending time together. The days are long, but the years are short. Enjoy the long, dog days of summer while they last. Stacy Cacciatore is the mother of two children, ages 7 and 11, and a freelance writer specializing in health, fitness and parenting. Visit her at

photo courtesy


Are you looking for a way to get your children involved in service learning during this year’s break from school? The Lunch Project has designed a program that lets kids get creative with fundraising while helping serve lunches to children in Tanzania. The Lunch Project will hold a kick-off event for interested families on June 14 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 1623 Carmel Road in Charlotte. Children who sign up at the event will receive a free t-shirt to wear during their fundraising events. The organization, founded by Charlotte resident Rebecca Wofford after a service trip to Tanzania, sends the money raised to a local driver in Tanzania, who then purchases the corn and milk needed to make enough porridge to serve the children. The Lunch Project is also able to pay moms in the village a small stipend to serve the food at the school. While kids are welcome to help The Lunch Project at any time throughout the year, the Summer of Service is offered specifically when families have time and space to let the children brainstorm, plan and execute kid-led service projects, explains Sarah Morgan, Education Director for The Lunch Project. Morgan got involved with the organization after her own children held a Summer Olympics-themed fundraiser party at their home in order to raise money for The Lunch Project two years ago. They asked parents to donate the cost of what they would normally pay a babysitter and raised $700 by doing so. Last year, The Lunch Project decided to officially organize the Summer of Service event, and children in Charlotte raised more than 31 days of lunches for Tanzanian children ($85 a day serves approximately 900 meals). Children organized events like Pirate Camp, Hoops for Hunger, tea parties, lemonade stands, yard sales and many others, says Morgan. For more information, visit or e-mail | for local moms ... by local moms



Regal Summer Movie Express Admission to these films is $1 and a portion of the proceeds go to the Will Rogers Institute. PARTICIPATING THEATRES: Regal Phillips Place Stadium 10 Regal Starlight Stadium 14 Regal Stonecrest at Piper Glen Stadium 22 Regal Franklin Square Stadium 14 Regal Birkdale Stadium 16 Regal Manchester Stadium 14

36 | for local moms ... by local moms

Photo by Photography By Chanda

Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. beginning June 17 * Regal Manchester Stadium 14 schedule begins June 10 June 17, 18 . . . ............. June 24, 25 . . . . ............. July 1, 2 . . . . . . ............. July 8, 9 . . . . . . ............. July 15, 16 . . . ............. July 22, 23 . . . . ............. July 29, 30 . . . . ............. August 5, 6 . . . ............. August 12, 13 . . .............

Hotel Transylvania (PG) The Smurfs 2 (PG) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (PG) The Pirates: Band of Misfits (PG) Arthur Christmas (PG) Despicable Me 2 (PG) The Lego Movie (PG) Free Birds (PG) Adventures of TinTin (PG) Rise of the Guardians (PG) Kung Fu Panda 2 (PG) Madagascar 3 (PG) The Croods (PG) Epic (PG) Turbo (PG) Walking with Dinosaurs (PG) Mr. Peabody & Sherman (PG) Rio 2 (PG)

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Cornelius Outdoor Cinema Series Movies begin at dusk at Kenton Place June 11 . . . . . . . June 25 . . . . . . July 9 . . . . . . . . July 23 . . . . . . .

Here Comes the Boom (PG) Hotel Transylvania (PG) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (PG) Despicable Me 2 (PG)

Cornelius Town Hall August 9 . . . . . The Lego Movie (PG) ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Town of Matthews Summer Movies at Stumptown Park Pre-movie activities begin at 7 p.m.; movies begin at dusk. June 14 . . . . . . Monsters University (G) June 28 . . . . . . One Direction: This is Us (PG) July 12 . . . . . . . Scooby Doo (2002) (PG) | for local moms ... by local moms


2 3 +

for Coasters

Plan a theme park vacation they won’t soon forget

By Piper Mitchell


f you close your eyes, you can almost smell the funnel cakes and corn dogs while listening to the screams of excitement a visit to a popular amusement park brings. Luckily for us, living in Charlotte gives us access to a number of entertaining options here and in the neighboring states. “The diversity of new attractions opening for families to enjoy together this summer is incredible,” says Paul Noland, President and CEO of The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). “Whether visiting your neighborhood park or your favorite vacation destination, there are amazing new rides and attractions for the entire family opening across North America.” We’ve gathered three of the best places for kiddie rides, waterparks and thrill-inducing roller coasters that don’t require a trip to Florida.

CAROWINDS 14523 Carowinds Boulevard


Busch Gardens 38 | for local moms ... by local moms

If you grew up in or near North or South Carolina, you probably have fond childhood memories of visiting Carowinds throughout the years, screaming as you plunged from the top of Thunder Road or zipped through the loops on the Carolina Cyclone. Carowinds is now home to the Intimidator, a roller coaster inspired by racing legend Dale Earnhardt, which holds the record for the longest, tallest, fastest roller coaster in the Southeast. Best bets for young children: There are numerous rides for the youngest thrill-seekers at Planet Snoopy, such as the Flying Ace Balloon Race, PEANUTS Pirates, Woodstock Gliders and Woodstock Express. New this year: Carowinds’ water park, Boomerang Bay, has two new waterslides, Surfer’s Swell and Dorsal Fin Drop, debuting this summer. If you’re looking to cool off: Boomerang Bay is perfectly prepared for the summer months with water slides such as

the Down Under Thunder, a fourperson, family-raft slide that takes riders down a four-story plunge, or the Awesome Aussie Twisters, a black hole experience that plunges riders into total darkness. Or envision yourself on a white-sand beach at the Great Barrier Reef, a 25,000 square-foot wave pool.

DOLLYWOOD Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Dollywood is a 150-acre Tennessee theme park and vision of singer/ songwriter and entertainer Dolly Parton, a venture that has grown exponentially in size and scope over the years. Not only does Dolly-wood have a wide variety of rides, games, food and entertainment for even the youngest visitor, but it’s all set against the picturesque

backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains. Kids will love riding through the park on the Dollywood Express, an authentic coal-fired steam engine that takes passengers on a five-mile ride through the foothills of the mountains. Best bets for young children: Amazing Flying Elephants, Blazing Fury, Lemon Twist, Busy Bees New this year: The FireChaser Express is a 2,427-foot dual-launch roller coaster designed for riders of all ages. Perched 12 stories above the park’s Wilderness Pass area, the family coaster leaves the station in one direction before traveling back to return in the opposite direction. If you’re looking to cool off: Dollywood Splash Country, a water adventure park with more than 23 slides and thrill rides, is located right next door to the amusement park.

BUSCH GARDENS Williamsburg, Va. Situated near the banks of the James River in Williamsburg, Va., stepping into Busch Gardens in Williams-burg will make you feel like you’ve stepped into

the Parisian Streets of France or the hamlets of Scotland. The park consists of nine villages centered around six countries (with international fare to match) for families to explore. Whether you’re plunging down the 114foot drop on the infamous Loch Ness Monster or visiting with the regal Clydesdale horses at the Highland Stables, Busch Gardens has the makings of a truly memorable vacation. Best bets for young children: Attractions specifically designed for the youngest guests will be marked with a KIDsiderate® icon, such as Der Roto Baron, Grover’s Alpine Express, Der Autobahn Jr. and Prince Elmo’s Spire. New this year: “London Rocks” is a 25minute music spectacular showcasing the evolution of British rock. If you’re looking to cool off: Visit nearby Water Country USA and hop on a water slide, ride or take in the AQUABATICS! Dive show.

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make traveling with the family fun with these practical tips By Sara Kendall

40 | for local moms ... by local moms

trip survival guide

Special Activity Backpacks

Constructive Games

“I give my children each a backpack and tell them they can fill it with whatever toys they want. I go back in after they’ve filled them, and add markers, pads of paper, and games such as Hangman, Tic Tac Toe, and Mad Libs,” says Mandy Ravin, mother of three children. Consider surprising your kids with a few new games or toys that they find in their backpacks.

Road games are a great way for children to minimize their boredom. Beyond “I Spy” and “Cow Poker,” here are three classic choices.

Healthy Snacks Avoid packing sugar-loaded snacks and drinks. These have the potential to cause unnecessarily high energy levels and raise the risk of carsickness. Make healthy choices for the ride. Here are some suggestions.

Play Twenty Questions. One player thinks of a person, place or thing. Everyone else gets to ask the player 20 questions, which must be answered yes or no. Whoever guesses correctly gets a turn to think up something. Try The Alphabet Game. This is when you search for each letter of the alphabet from signs, storefronts and vehicles. Call out the word. The winner is the one to get through the whole alphabet first. For younger kids, alternating letters or playing as a team, it’s more a challenge game than a competition.

• carrot sticks • mini apples • whole-wheat pretzels • granola bars • whole grain cereals • squeezable applesauce • dried fruit “Instead of packing one big snack bag, I make separate snack bags for each of the kids,” says Ravin. “Doing this gives them autonomy over what they eat and when. This eliminates any arguing over someone getting more than someone else. Sometimes, they even end up trading snacks and I don’t have to get involved in the negotiations at all.” If you think your children can’t handle the responsibility of receiving all their snacks, then explain what you have packed for them, and give out as necessary. Have hand sanitizer and wet wipes for clean ups. Don’t forget a plastic bag to collect garbage.

Planning the Itinerary

or many families, the most popular mode of summer transportation is the family car. Road tripping with kids requires a bit more planning than a trip with your spouse. A little preparation will go a long way to minimize frustrations, save everyone’s sanity, and ensure your family comes back with some great memories.

As best you can, plan the travel to take place when your kids perform better. Consider traveling with little ones through the early morning or night when children are more likely to sleep. Getting out early may also help you avoid some of the worst morning traffic. Two hours of driving, then a break makes a good pattern for car travel. Rest areas are a good choice, since most have a grass area to run and play. A diversion is sometimes exactly what children need and they will happily jump back into the car.

“I always bring a black and white map of the United States that I have printed on cardstock and a set of markers for License Plate Game. As we see license plates from different states, they color in the state,” says Ravin. “We’ve never gone on a trip and seen all 50 states, but we’ve gotten close!”

Electronic Usage “I disallow the use of electronic devices at the start of the trip,” says Ravin. “My kids are always fresh and excited, so I try to keep them electronic-free for as long as possible.” Like Ravin, most parents cave at some point, and let their children use electronics. Prior to the trip, Ravin downloads movies they haven’t seen in awhile or new games. Make sure you have ear buds for everyone, so everyone’s volume is not competing with each other. A successful road trip can be the source of some great memories and will likely lead to your children jumping back into the car for another one down the road. Sara Kendall loves to travel with her two daughters and husband on the road. Like most children, her daughters have their limitations, so she is constantly changing things while en route. | for local moms ... by local moms


Photo courtesy of Discovery Place



Live music, outdoor excursions, parades and Independence Day!



Taste of Charlotte

What: Head to the area’s largest food festival and sample a variety of foods from local and national businesses with this family-friendly event. Admission is free; purchase festival coins for food samples, beverages and children’s activities. You can also participate in a 5K or Cupcake 1-Miler! When: June 6 – 8 Where: Tryon Street (spanning from MLK Jr. Blvd. through 6th Street)

World Oceans Day What: Chat with experts from Polar Bears International and the North Carolina Fossil Club about polar bears and other ocean animals. Explore the many different skull types of marine 42

mammals with naturalist Christopher Baldwin and stop by the Explore More Life lab for an up-close encounter with some marine animals. When: June 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Where: Discovery Place

Summer Pops at Symphony Park What: The summertime tradition of outdoor concerts at Symphony Park continues! Community members are invited to take in five weeks of outdoor concerts with the Summer Pops. Tickets are $10 for adults and free for children under the age of 18 through June. Reserve your ticket for a special Fourth of July concert at $15 for adults. Summer passes also available. When: June 8, 15, 22, 29 and July 3 Where: Symphony Park at SouthPark | for local moms ... by local moms

Farm Day What: Stop in for a visit to Charlotte Nature Museum’s very own little farm and learn about the importance of local farm life with horses, goats, chickens and more. When: June 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Where: Charlotte Nature Museum

Children’s Summer Reading Kick-Offs What: Visit your local branch library and help kick off CharlotteMecklenburg Library’s summer reading program with fun activities. When: North County Regional Library – June 11 at 2 p.m. University City Library – June 12 at 2 p.m. Sugar Creek Library – June 13 at 10:30 a.m. Myers Park Library –

June 13 at 2 p.m. West Boulevard Library June 18 at 11 a.m.

Alien Worlds & Androids What: Step into a world where science is brought to life through interactive exhibits and explosive experiments during daily programs. Connect with the past and visit the future with groundbreaking exhibitions, largerthan-life IMAX Dome films and hands on activities that let you explore more. When: June 28 – Sept. 18 Where: Discovery Place

Symphony in the Park and Fireworks What: Enjoy an evening of live music followed by a spectacular display of fireworks. When: June 28 from 6 – 10 p.m. Where: Bailey Road Park


Novant Health Fourth of July Spectacular

What: Spend your Fourth of July with friends and family in Center

City Charlotte with family-friendly activities culminating in a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m., weather permitting. When: July 4 at 6 p.m. Where: Memorial Stadium

Town of Huntersville Fourth of July What: Join in the fun with bike decorating, face painting, a clown parade, a water fight between the fire departments, music and great food! When: July 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Where: Birkdale Village


Jr ZooKeeper Summer Camps: A full day camp from 9 am - 5 pm with before and after programs for students that need to dropped off early or picked up later. Ages 8 - 16. We also offer Half-Day Jr ZooKeeper Summer Camp for Ages 5 - 10. This camp will run from 9am - 1pm.

Week 1: 6/9 - 6/13 Week 2: 6/16 - 6/20 Week 3: 6/23 - 6/27 Week 4: 6/30 - 7/4 only half day Week 5: 7/7 - 7/11 Week 6: 7/14 - 7/18 Week 7: 7/21 - 7/25 Week 8: 7/28 - 8/1 Week 9: 8/4 - 8/8 Week 10: 8/11 - 8/15

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980-224-3394 Fun Family Fourth of July What: The whole family is invited for games, prizes, music and a people’s parade! Bring the bikes and wagons to the Town Hall Green at 5:30 p.m. for decorating; parade begins at 6 p.m. When: July 4 from 5 – 9 p.m. Where: Stumptown Park

Great American Backyard Campout What: Celebrate this national event at Reedy Creek Nature Center. If your family has yet to experience overnight camping, this event is for you. Registration required. When: July 5 from 4:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. on July 6 Where: Reedy Creek Nature Center

Petpalooza What: Visit with rescued and exotic pets and learn the importance of responsible pet ownership. When: July 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Where: Charlotte Nature Museum 44 | for local moms ... by local moms


fit family fun events

This is an untimed event open to everyone, from couch potatoes to track stars, ages 13 and up! Location: Charlotte Motor Speedway5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord When: Saturday, June 28

July 4th Annual Charlotte Firecracker 5K and Fun Run Enjoy a summer evening of fitness, fun and celebration at the 4th Annual Charlotte Firecracker 5K. Bring the whole family! The 5K course is a rolling loop around the Olde Providence neighborhood and kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy the 1 Mile Family Fun Run. The 5K is chip-timed using the state-of-the-art Jaguar timing system. Watch a video of yourself crossing the finish line and then cruise over to the results tent for live results. After the race join the pool party, music, food and drinks. When: Thursday, July 3 at 7:00 p.m.

July 4th Spectacular 4 Miler Race to the Taste 5K and Cupcake Run/Walk Taste of Charlotte announces the addition of a race as part of the 2014 Taste of Charlotte Food Festival. The race course will follow the city streets Uptown for a beautiful skyline view. Runners can participate in the traditional full-course 5K or can enjoy a lighter menu racing to the end, grabbing cupcakes along the route or they can take it slow and walk while they enjoy their local cupcakes! Location: 4th Street, between Church and Tryon Streets When: June 7 at 9 a.m.

McCarthy Kids' Triathlon Location: Harris YMCA - 5900 Quail Hollow Road When: June 7 at 7:30 - 9:30 A.M. Kids Triathlon: Ages: 5 - 12 years Distance: 75 yd swim / 2 mile bike / .5 mile run Preschool Triathlon: Ages: 3 - 5 years Distance: 25 yd swim / .25 mile bike / 200 yd dash Register at or call 704.716.6929 for information.

King Tiger 5K It's the 11th Anniversary of the King Tiger 5K, presented by Novant Health! A deceptively fast rolling course will take you down the main roads of University City. Location: Run for Your Life-University City When: June 21 7:28 a.m. 5K Baby Joggers 7:30 a.m. 5K Run/Walk 8:15 a.m. 1K Tiger Trot

ROC (Ridiculous Obstacle Course) Race ROC Race is the original game show-inspired obstacle run featuring 12 larger than life obstacles including the infamous Wrecking Ball, the brand new Sweeper, Jump Balls, and the World’s Largest Inflatable Water Slide! Get ready for the craziest 5K of your life!

July 4th is one of our favorite family celebrations and here is the best way to start that day - with a family festival and 4 Mile race! Runners will take to the streets on a course through the Elizabeth neighborhood near Memorial Stadium while the kids can enjoy a fun run! Location: Memorial Stadium-310 N Kings Drive, Charlotte When: Friday, July 4 at 7:30 a.m. 4 Miler Start 8:15 a.m. Race the Stadium 1K Fun Run july-4th-spectacular-4-miler-2/

Safari Run for Missions 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk Fairview Baptist Church is hosting a Safari Run for Missions 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run to raise money for Missions local and abroad! Come out and support a great cause! Join a costume contest for best costume prior at 7:30 am. Come in your best Safari costume! Ticket to Zootastic Park with each race entry. Location: Zootastic Park-448 Pilch Road, Troutman When: Saturday, July 26, 2014 8:00 a.m. 6:30 a.m.- 7:45am- Late Registration and Packet Pick-Up 7:30 a.m.- Costume Contest 8:00 a.m.- 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk 8:30 a.m.- 5K

Build Your Own Boat Festival Become master and commander of your own homemade, human-powered ship during our 3rd annual Build Your Own Boat Festival on Saturday, August 2. Boat builders will have the opportunity to race their home-made vessel down Class IV whitewater against other teams. Location: U.S. National Whitewater Center-5000 Whitewater Center Parkway When: Saturday, August 2 at Time – TBD 45

.-# ,


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' + Support your favorite Charlotte area ice cream shops this summer! Here’s a list to help you get started. Mr. K’s 2107 South Boulevard • Charlotte

s if we needed even more of an excuse to eat ice cream over the summer, did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? Here are a few fun facts about ice cream: • Vanilla continues to be America’s flavor of choice in ice cream and novelties, in both supermarket and food service sales due to its versatility. • America’s top five favorite individual flavors are vanilla, chocolate, cookies ‘n cream, strawberry and chocolate chip mint. • The first ice cream cone was produced in 1896 by Italo Marchiony. Marchiony, who emigrated from Italy in the late 1800s, invented his ice cream cone in New York City. He was granted a patent in December 1903. Source: International Dairy Foods Association • The majority of U.S. ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers have been in business for more than 50 years and many are still family-owned businesses. Source: IDFA ice cream company survey, 2012

Pike’s Old-Fashioned Soda Shop 1930 Camden Road • Charlotte Ninety’s Ice Cream & Sandwiches 9009 J M Keynes Drive • Charlotte Carolina Creamery 11300 Lawyers Road • Mint Hill Carolina Cones 20801 North Main Street • Cornelius Mooresville Ice Cream Company 186 N. Broad Street • Mooresville | for local moms ... by local moms


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Little Ones Magazine  

A local interest magazine targeted to moms in the Charlotte Area.

Little Ones Magazine  

A local interest magazine targeted to moms in the Charlotte Area.