Saturday, May 26, 2012

Where is my second favorite place to go? HARRIS LAKE

A reader (yay, I have a reader) asked where my second favorite place to go is - I am partial to outdoor activities.  I love going to Harris Lake in New Hill because it has two sets of jungle gyms - one for older kids (I am counting my oldest, Jordan, who is 2 as an older kid) and another for my 1-year-old, Dani. (Harris Lake is just off of New Hill/Holloman Road)

It's also incredibly close to my neighborhood, so it becomes my default when I'm tired of the neighborhood playground but don't want to drive to downtown Raleigh.

Harris Lake Park also has walking trails, biking trails and a dock off of which people can drop their fishing lines. My kids love running up and down the dock, screaming, pounding their feet and spit fishing. That's when we peak our heads over the top rail and spit into the water (classy, I know), and the fish just attack the spit.

There's a great open field where my girls like to run, kick a soccer ball and fly kites. We also held Jordan's 2nd birthday there in one of the shelters. It was perfect, inexpensive and it went off so well a good friend of mine did the same for her son's birthday just weeks later. That's a pretty good sign.

We'll probably make it to Harris Lake some time next few weeks. They have a lot of activities at Harris Lake Park, and I plan to attend a few this summer and write about them. You're welcome to look back for photos and more.

HIGHLIGHTS: Free & there are options for older & younger kids
LOW LIGHTS: Ticks! Spray your kids, they are everywhere & they're the small ones & it's located on Shearin Harris Nuclear Plant land so there's a cooling tower in the backdrop (freaked me out at first but I'm very comfortable with it now OBVIOUSLY)
PRICE: Nothing
GAS COSTS: Minimal for those in Holly Springs & Apex


2112 County Park Dr
New Hill, NC 27562


Later Crocodiles

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's Dancy-Dance Time

I love my Thursday mornings at Brueggers Bagels for music time with Miss Tina (10 a.m.). She's energetic, great with the kids and I cannot say enough good things about this toddler activity.

However, I am at a loss to think of any more right now because my little stinkers were a hot mess this morning. As much as I hate to say a bad word about an activity we love, you would never (and should never) believe that my 1- & 2-year-olds behave all the time!

So here goes: Jordan (2) had the death grip on my leg for the first 15 minutes. And since it was cut a bit short today because Miss Tina had to catch a plane, she basically let go of me for three songs. UGH! Dani (1) is usually a champ on Thursdays. She loves to dance, play with the other kids, and give hugs and kisses to Miss Tina's stuffed animals. Not today.

She played "prison break" the whole time. Dani would dance for about 30 seconds, lulling me into thinking she was having fun and behaving. I would then turn to look for Jordan or console her for ... I DON'T KNOW WHAT. When I looked back, Dani was gone. She made a run for the chip display and had her hands on her chosen bag by the time I was able to peel Jordan off my leg and fight through the crowd of people to stop her.
She did this no less than five times in about 30 minutes. And there was so much more, but who wants to hear about all that?

Do I recommend music time with Miss Tina at Brueggers Bagels in Apex off of Williams Street (near Harris Teeter)? YUP, sure do. Do I recommend going with my children? Hmmmm, I'll have to get back to you on that one.

760 West Williams Street
Apex, NC 27502

HIGHLIGHTS: It's free, super yummy bagels, lots of kids to play with, Miss Tina is fantastic!
LOW LIGHTS: It can get crowded (getting there early is a must if you want a good seat), there are super yummy bagels there (and I am perpetually on a diet), and it is a restaurant, so not everybody there is excited about music time
COST: Free, unless you get some food
GAS: My GPS estimated less than $2 to and from Holly Springs

Later Crocodiles

A Rosie Time in Raleigh!

Photo By James Nedock Photography
I had no idea The Raleigh Little Theatre even existed, but this GORGEOUS venue is a great 1-hour stop for you and your kids. I wouldn't plan to be entertained for much longer than that with a toddler though.

You won't believe this place. The Rose Garden behind the Raleigh Little Theatre is spectacular! 
Photo By James Nedock Photography

Now, there isn't a playground or sandbox or swings. It's not that kind of place. It's more of an open area with beautiful flowers, water fountains and a great little stage and set of steps for the kids to run up and down. My kids loved the open areas and the big tree they could climb through.

We actually had our family pictures taken there this weekend. The Raleigh Little Theatre also offers summer camps, school year classes and field-trip opportunities in addition to concerts outside in the summer. From what I could see on the events website, the event usually start around 7 p.m. so perhaps not the best option for my toddlers. But some kids stay up a bit later.

HIGHLIGHTS: Beautiful, lots of flowers and things we normally don't go see, the stairs are awesome for the toddlers to burn off some energy running up and down
LOW LIGHTS: Rose bushes have thorns, we were on high alert after my daughter clumsily walked into a bush, it doesn't keep them entertained long
GAS: It's about 15 miles each way for us, so I'm guessing around $4

301 Pogue Street
Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 821-3111

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

See You at Brueggers?

My mother, and inspiration for most of my mothering ways, made a suggestion that I tell you all where I'm going next so perhaps you can go, too (if it's a scheduled activity)!

Tomorrow I am heading to Brueggers Bagels in Apex at 10 a.m. for music time.

Address & Phone
760 West Williams Street
Apex, NC 27502
(919) 367-7720

Every Thursday at 10 a.m. they host what our family calls "music time." I'm not even sure this is the official name.
This wonderful woman comes, plays music and sings for the kids with a box full of stuffed animals.
I can never remember her name, but my kids love her!

So that's where I'll be tomorrow. Hope to see you there.

Later Crocodiles

A Crafty Little Visit to the Library

(Left to right) Daniel and Jordan display their train craft at the Holly Springs Library on Tuesday.
(Note the mess on the table behind them).

Yesterday morning I was feeling a little crafty. My very fabulous friend, Amanda, invited us to do a train craft with them at the Holly Springs Library for drop-in craft time.

It was pretty fun for my 2 1/2 year old, Jordan, although not a terribly clever craft. The craft leader printed out and cut train cars (4) to be colored or to cover in sparkles and glue by the children. Also, the kids (mostly 18 mos to 3 years) were instructed to glue together the cars. My oldest didn't really get that part, and\ it took her awhile to understand that the sparkles don't stick unless you use glue. I THINK, that's my fault. I'm not very crafty. I don't even think we have a glue stick in the house.  

It was messy; but it wasn't messy at my house!!!!

My 1-year-old, Dani, decided eating the crayons was a better idea than coloring with them. She also tried to color someones shirt. Thankfully, she too had "been there" so the mom (victim of Dani's plot) laughed along with us.

The best part was meeting the other moms and watching them laugh and struggle to instruct their children along with me. Once again, the imperfect outing introduced me to some WONDERFUL moms. The best thing about wonderful moms, they give me more ideas of what to do in the area!!! A couple of them left early (it was not an age-appropriate craft for their little ones) to go to Womble Park. I've driven by but never played there that I can remember.

There are 20 libraries in the Wake County Public Library System. If the other 19 are anything like Holly Springs, there are lots of activities like this one. (Click above for more information) The next scheduled Drop-In Craft for Holly Springs Library is June 20 from 4-5 p.m.

HIGHLIGHTS: Something different for my kids (whose mom is NOT crafty), I didn't have to clean up the HUGE mess Jordan made, Jordan & I both made friends (Kim & Daniel - Daniel is pictured in the top picture)
LOW LIGHTS: My 1-year-old wanted little to nothing to do with it; it was inside when the sun was shining
GAS: Less than $1 for those who live in Holly Springs

300 West Ballentine Street  
Holly Springs, NC 27540
(919) 577-1660



Later Crocodile!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pullen Park: A Stay-At-Home Mom's DREAM!

If you are the mom of a toddler or preschooler in the Raleigh area and have not been to Pullen Park, don't put it off any longer. This place is truly wonderful. When I first heard "park," I cringed. I was NOT about to drive into Raleigh from Holly Springs for a park. There are parks ALL over Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina and Apex.

NOPE, I just wasn't going to do it. But, a new friend of mine wanted to go with her daughter. Since I think she's pretty fabulous, I agreed.

We walked up to the gate and my daughters squeeled with delight as the train horn blasted "CHOO CHOO!" right in front of them. I knew I was going to love it at that moment.

I will warn you, this place is not entirely free. It can be. But you won't want it to be. There are swings (including a tire swing, which reminds me of being a kid in the midwest), jungle gyms, sandboxes (huge sandboxes), music stations, mist sprayers for the extra warm days, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. All that is free. But the train, the carousel and the boat rides all cost $1 per rider (including parents and everyone over 1 year). IT'S WORTH IT. I never spend more than $10 as the rides are pretty lengthy for the money and there is so much to do.

Pullen Park is located off of Western Boulevard in Raleigh. There is a carousel, train, a little boat ride (which I find boring but my 2-year-old absolutely loves), swings, a pond with ducks, picnic areas, shelters, food vendors, huge sandboxes, tons of preschoolers and toddlers, trails for walking & the list goes on. I love this place and try to go once a week.

HIGHLIGHTS: The view, the varity of activities available, the picnic areas & shelters
LOW LIGHTS: Parking, VERY busy on the weekends
COST: Entry is Free as well as parking, Amusements are $1 per person over age 1 (that includes ALL riding parents/grandparents/etc)
GAS: I've never calculated this. I will update later but will say TOTALLY WORTH it either way

520 Ashe Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27606

HOURS (see website for more details)


Later Crocodile

Friday, May 18, 2012

What to do ... What to do

Hi Y'all. I'm Kristin.

I'd like to tell you a bit about myself.

I knew I wanted to be a mom the day I met my husband. But I wanted to be a writer since I was 16. It was a difficult, yet somehow easy, decision to make to stop writing. When I gave up sports journalism in the spring of 2004, my whole world changed. I didn't want to give up one for the other, but sports writing is just not a family-friendly occupation. I am excited to finally be able to bring the two together.

Five years after leaving journalism, I had a baby girl, our first. I couldn't wait to take her to the park, play catch, go fishing & teach her all the things I love to do.

NOW, 3 years later I have to schedule time into my week to stay home with my 2 girls (yes, that's right I am the mother of a 2 1/2 & a 1 year old). There is just so much to do here in the Raleigh area.

It's not likely this will be a daily blog - or even a regular weekly blog (although I want to try). But I want to share with other mommies, stay-at-home or working outside the home, some of the WONDERFUL things I have done in Raleigh/Cary/Apex/Holly Springs/Fuquay-Varina. So when I find something new (to me) I will share it with you.

I prefer the free activities, but that's not always possible. My plan is to give you the details, the highlights, low lights & then the costs. And I am cheap, so I may even factor in gas $$ estimates for the Holly Springs, NC mommies. (My GPS calculates that for me. LOVE IT)

ALSO, I am far from an expert (like I said, my oldest is only 2 1/2). I meet mommies (& a few daddies) all the time who tell me about something new. PLEASE share any ideas with me!

My first activity blog will be about Pullen Park in Raleigh. Why? IT'S MY FAVORITE!!!!!!

Later Crocodile