STEAM Summer Camp with Terrific Scientific and Art Adventures

Ignite your child's passion for science and art!

Charlotte Family Photographer - Photography By Larisa

Ok Mom, are you ready for your close up? Why family photos are so important.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Moms: How I got 3 Hours of My Life Back Each Week

This is NOT an advertisement. This is my real-life experience that I want to share with fellow moms. 

Feeding my brood is a never-ending chore. Combing through the grocery store to stock nutritious, reasonably priced ingredients for 3 meals and several snacks a day takes a lot of time and energy - both of which are scarce these days. 

Photo Credit:https://xothebump.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/1362499_orig.jpg

I used to like grocery shopping, I'd linger in the wine aisle and peruse the cheese options - but now that I have kids it feels more like I'm competing on supermarket sweep. The inevitable 3 ring circus that ensues as I try to navigate the aisles with my three kids in tow is exhausting and SO stressful. I know I'm not alone, I see all you other mamas cajoling away toddler meltdowns with a cookie as you try to Jenga your groceries around your infant's carseat. You're my fellow soldiers in the grocery store trials - but I'm here to tell you there's a better, easier way - a way that allowed me to regain almost three hours a week of my life. 

Photo Credit: http://localbuggy.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/hdr_ExpressLane_green_2012.jp
Nearly a year ago I joined Harris Teeter's Express Lane, their online shopping program. The first time I tried it I used their first shop free option, any new shopper can register and have their first $4.95 fee waived, which allows you to explore the service and see if it works for you. I've seen their website and iPhone app improve SO much over the last year, my shopping experience has continuously gotten easier and more intuitive. PLUS I can shop in my PJ's while I'm watching TV or if I just need a few quick items I can use my app while I'm on my lunch break. 

I was nervous that whomever was shopping my order wouldn't pick out the best produce or meats, but I've been consistently impressed by their produce prowess and meat magic - and if I'm not happy Harris Teeter will make it right. I've literally felt giddy over the time I save, and stress I avoid by using their service. I paid $99.95 to join for the whole year, which is about $8.33 per month, a steal for the service in my opinion. 

Using it is easy. I was already a e-vic member and registered online linking my card to my account. To start shopping you'll select the store you want to pick your groceries up at, you can add a note to any item you are searching for and you can also add a note for your home shopper if there is something you weren't able to find. I haven't had issues with not being able to find what I'm looking for. You can shop their weekly ad, shop by category, or type in the item you are looking for. When you're done shopping you review your cart and select your pick up date and time. 

TIP: If you want to pick up the same day you'll usually need to order by noon, and if you know you'll need specific things later in the week you can schedule your order in advance for pick up in the future. Plus before your order is complete a member of the home shop team will call and ask you if there is anything else you need and give you any other relevant info about your order. 

Not only has the Harris Teeter Express Lane saved me the time I once spent physically shopping in the grocery store, it also allows me to meal plan more seamlessly. I hop on Pinterest and decide which recipes we're going to try out, I check to see what I have in my kitchen and add anything I'm missing to my cart on the Express Lane. 

I also save money, because you can use coupons with Harris Teeter's Express Lane. After I've got my cart filled with what I need I go to SouthernSavers.com and search for each item to see if there is a coupon available in my paper or on a printable format. Harris Teeter doubles coupons up to $.99 every day and up to $2 during their super doubles promotions. I just got a bunch of free things using my mad (EASY) couponing skills during their super doubles event. The amount you save in coupons is applied to your next order, so you do need to keep track of this. 

So that's how I went from a stressed out shopping mess, to a wine-sipping-while-shopping-pajama-wearing-ninja.  To pick up my groceries I simply pull up in my car (no hauling car seats, strollers, kids inside) to the designated home shop area, press the button and an employee brings my groceries out, checks me out and loads the bags in my car for me. Lickety split. That is how you ninja. 

Harris Teeter has paid me nothing to promote this service, I just like to share what I love with my readers. But who knows, maybe they'll see how much I love their service and co-promote a giveaway with me for my readers for a year of free Express Lane shopping? A ninja can dream right? 


Thursday, August 20, 2015

{Giveaway!} Children of America $500 Tuition Credit


Children of America, the #1 preschool in America, offers a warm, fun, environment placing your child's emotional, social, intellectual and physical development as their top priority - all in a beautiful and safe environment. You can register to win a $500 tuition credit by filling out the entry form here to schedule a tour of their childcare center, where their philosophy and goal is to bring the very best childcare experience to every family.

Just a quick peek around their website will tell you one thing - Children of America isn't any ordinary childcare center, it's a step above. Their infant designated room integrates baby signs, a specialized sign language program for little ones to encourage their growth, development and communication with their teachers and family at home. Toddlers build on their skills with Children of America's "I am" to "I can" philosophy which support little ones in their growth and success in learning about their world. Older children benefit from their cycle of Plan, Do, Review during their work time. They participate in small and large group activities during their daily schedule.

If you're missing your cutie while you're at work you're in luck - you can log onto their webcams and catch a glimpse of your sweet pea playing and learning with their secure web cams. Plus you'll get digital updates about your kids throughout your day - and nothing brightens up an inbox more than your kiddos smile! Children of America offers high security to keep your kids safe, starting at the door which require a special PIN code for parents to gain access.


Children of America's Mind & Body Matters Program benefit children and parents with their three core concepts:

  • COA's Just Read - teaching children to read early, and well. 
  • COA's Nutrition Program - registered dietitians implement nutritious meal plans & write a healthy recipe blog for parents
  • Presidential Fitness Program - when started early physical fitness can become an intricate part of children's lives. 
The Charlotte location of Children of America is located at 2102 Ben Craig Dr. Charlotte, NC 28262. But there are locations all across America, click here of more information. Register to win a $500 tuition credit by clicking here.


You can follow Children of America on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This was a paid promotion blog from Children of America, but as always my opinions are my own.

Monday, August 17, 2015

DIY First Day of School Template (must have photoshop)

It's the first day of school and there's so much fun to be had! Check out this free template (you must have photoshop to edit it) for the first day of school template. 



Step 1: You must have photoshop.

Step 2: Download these free fonts from dafont.com 

First Grade: Sketch Block Bold
August 17th 2015: DotNess Medium
I want to be a when I grow up: KG Somebody That I Used to Know
Gold Hill Elementary: Chalk-hand-lettering-shaded
49” tall, 48 lbs: appleberry Regular
Corn on the cob… Windsor Hand Regular
Food Color … Windsor Hand Regular
Years Old: Chalkboard Regular (already in photo shop)
6: American Typewriter Light (already in photo shop)

Step 3: Download my .psd (photoshop) file and edit your fields. It is set up as an 8.5x11 page. It's a large file, so it may take a little while to download. 


Step 4: Save as a jpg and print! 


Monday, August 3, 2015

{Giveaway!} Super League Minecraft Event in Ballantyne

What do you get when you cross Minecraft gamers, popcorn and a giant movie screen? A bigger than life chance to defeat the Ender Dragon!


Super League Gaming is blasting into Charlotte for their mega-sized Minecraft take over of the Regal Cinemas at Stonecrest on Wednesday, August 12th from 4-5:35pm. Be the coolest mom around the biome, and grab tickets so your kids can outbuild and outplay the competition. They've never played Minecraft like this before!


Super League Gaming is an interactive large scale event, allowing kids to get out and share the Minecraft gaming experience with their peers in a live, safe and fun environment. They'll build a sense a of community and team work as they battle and build their way to Minecraft victory. There are prizes awarded for top finishers.

Can't get enough Minecraft? 6-week after school leagues start in the fall with Super League Gaming.

Don't be one of the mobs, get your tickets now by clicking here.

MomAboutCharlotte readers can enter to win a 4-pack of tickets to go and experience the Super League Gaming LIVE on August 12th. To enter you can do any of the following, each will give you one entry to the giveaway.

1. Have your parents comment with your favorite thing about Minecraft on the blog below.
2. Have your parents share the blog post publicly on Facebook (you must change the privacy settings on the shared post to public so we can verify your entry)
3. Have your parents tweet this: @MomAboutCLT ticket #giveaway to @JoinSuperLeague #Minecraft in #Charlotte 8/12/15

This is a sponsored post by Super League Gaming, but as always, all my opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gold, Coral & Teal Nursery: Get the Look


We decided to let the gender of baby number three be a surprise - which meant I was about nine months behind on decorating the nursery when we found out at 41 weeks that we were welcoming a little girl. There was much excitement over the dresses, giant head bows and of course the chance to make a super girly nursery. We chose a gold, coral & teal theme for her room, but I was on a budget so I used many DIY's and coupons to give the room a custom look.


We had done our first daughter's room in pinks, so I wanted something that had the brightness of a pink but wasn't pink. I fell in LOVE with coral, specifically Benjamin Moore's Old World, and decided to pair it with gold and teal accents. The coral color was perfect, but getting the paint for a reasonable price was tough because I didn't want to spend nearly $50/gallon at Benjamin Moore.

Ultimately we chose to have Coral Gables from Benjamin Moore color matched and mixed at Lowes for about half the cost. The color came out closer to Benjamin Moore's Old World, which was just what I was hoping for. I painted the dresser that we got for $200 from a local store. My advice is to sand just the top of the dresser, and use a primer on the rest of it to save time. We purchased the teal drawer pulls at Home Depot for about $2.50 each.


I enlisted the DIY's to reduce cost and add the custom look I wanted. Finding the right color coral was far too hard because I would have had to order online and at a much higher cost and doing it myself. I made the diaper changing pad cover, the crib sheets, the crib skirt, headband holder, and the fabric tassel garland (all DIY's linked later).


We never added closet doors in this room when we bought the house because I couldn't decide on what I wanted there. Ultimately I think we're going to hang antique barn doors, but finding antique looking doors that fit the space has proven to be difficult so I'm using frilly drapes in the meanwhile.


Here she is. My little smiley sweetheart. We all agree that she's just been the happiest little baby we've met, and our family is perfectly complete.

Buy The Look:

Coral paint: Benjamin Moore's Coral Gables color matched at Lowes with Valspar Signature in Eggshell (Comes out to match Benjamin Moore's Old World - which I liked better). $30/gallon (with rebate)

White paint: Benjamin Moore's Pink Frost color matched at Lowes with Valspar Signature in Eggshell $30/gallon with rebate

Coral paint on dresser Benjamin Moore's Coral Gables mixed at Lowes in the Valspar Reserve in satin. $20

1-2-3 primer for dresser. $9

Moroccan Stencil All Over Stencil $45

Stencil adhesive $4 (with 40% off coupon)

Shabby chic white comforter and pillow shams $81

Teal body pillow $9

Circle Dot Teal Toss Pillows $20

Hello Lovely Pillow $18

Gold Circles $12 (2"x72) from The Pink Penny

Ruffle curtains on the closet: $32 (on sale)

Good Night & Sleep Tight pictures $15 each from Hobby Lobby

Drawer pulls $2.50/each at Home Depot $23 total.

Lamp - from my mom from who knows where $free.

Diaper holder - Hobby Lobby $5

Crib - already had $free

Bed with mattress & bedspring - already had but was black and we used 5 bottles of gold spray paint from Hobby Lobby to paint it gold. It smelled badly of chemicals/paint afterward, and took about a month to air out in a separate room with an air purifier running. $30 for paint (had a coupon for each bottle)

Recliner - already had $free

The DIY's involved: 

Diaper Changing Cover: Chevron teal and white fabric from Hobby Lobby here. $8 for 1.5 yards (on sale) DIY here.

Crib Sheet: Fabric from Mary Jo's Cloth Store (aka cloth heaven - the only place I was able to match this coral) $9/yard x 2 =$18 DIY here.

Crib Skirt: Falling gold dot fabric for crib skirt from Mary Jo's Cloth Store. $11/ yard x2 = $22 DIY for a No Sew Adjustable Crib Skirt here.

Name Plaque: Made with a foam core from Hobby Lobby, painted with Pink Frost and letters printed on thick paper from the printer. DIY to come. $3

Fabric Tassel Garland: ($0 using scraps) DIY tutorial here.

Headband Holder: $5 for fabric DIY tutorial here.






Sunday, July 26, 2015

DIY Fabric Tassel Garland for the Nursery



I was looking for an inexpensive easy DIY craft to add some texture and pops of color to the wall I had stenciled for our baby's room. I had done a pendant garland in our son's room, and I loved the look of it - but wanted something a little more feminine for her very girly nursery. I read a few tutorials on Pinterest and ultimately came up with a version of my own.

1. I used two different sizes of scrap fabric. The big ones were 22" long and 8" wide. The small ones were 12" long and 7-8" wide. I purchased the gold and white fabric and the coral fabric at Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Gastonia, NC for $8-$9 per yard. That place is not to be missed if you live locally I couldn't believe all the options they had of my hard to match coral color. The teal chevron fabric was purchased at Hobby Lobby on sale. 


2. I folded the 22" fabric in half, and cut snips at the bottom 1" in width. Then I pulled them 8" leaving 3" for folding.


3. Fold over and secure with stitches.

4. String twine through the pocket you've made and hang.







Thursday, July 23, 2015

Charlotte Knights Stadium

If you've been uptown recently you've likely noticed the beautiful Charlotte Knights Stadium just a few blocks from Trade and Tryon. A few weeks ago a large group in our neighborhood (180 of us!) were lucky enough to catch a game in the Knight's new digs.


Although I'm not a big baseball fan, I found the vista of the field and skyline in concert with an entertaining ball game to be well worth the price of admission. We were lucky enough to enjoy the game during one of Charlotte's many nice (although it threatened storms in the distance) evenings. The seats were comfortable, had a good view of the action and our son enjoyed eating (crushing) peanuts while we participated in the wave, singing take me out to the ball game and the 7th inning stretch.


Baseball games typically equal enjoying a few cold beverages. My husband and I were stoked about the beer selection - it wasn't just your typical domestic drafts - they had many local micro breweries on tap.

There are still several games to catch before the end of their season - Thursdays are "Thirsty Thursdays" with $3 small drafts and $1 sodas. You can buy tickets here.