Welcome to GSOFamilies!

Welcome to GSOFamilies - the all-inclusive resource for families in the Greensboro, NC area. Any information shared on our website, twitter page, Meetup group, Facebook page, or Facebook group may also be included on our website! Please see a full listing of our social media and community groups here: http://www.gsofamilies.com/p/gsofamilies-social-media-and-community.html
We’re glad you’re here!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

FREE Ukulele Classes at UNCG

I received this email today, and wanted to pass it along. 

The email I received:
Hello, 
I work in the Music Department at UNCGreensboro, and will be starting the third iteration of a class titled Ukulele for Two (Thursday, January 9). Classes are designed for children ages 8-13, and one parent/guardian. *8-year old participants are welcome. However, to be successful, 8-year old participants need common home-practice time with the adult participant. 
Classes will meet on Thursdays from 6:30 - 7:30 PM in the Music Building at UNCG. Attached to this email is a document that includes the date schedule and materials required for the class. Other than purchasing your own instruments, tuners, and books, there are no costs for participating in the class. The only cost we foresee is parking in the deck at the music building, and the unlikely need for a replacement string (usually Low G - $2.50 per string). Please let me know if you remain interested in participating in participating in Ukulele for Two. And please feel free to let others know about the class. 
Thank you, Sandra Teglas, Ph.D. Program Coordinator Music Research Institute School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (336)256-2581

Attachment: Ukulele For Two Information and Materials  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TOf2kLH0jSIVnuSvUKWn2h7QIILA76STXdYJgvjLuHhfxsZJnhvjtdNwQfeTSModGoHnKQvgVqb58SDh/edit?usp=sharing 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

GSOFamilies $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway!

I just want to say thank you to all of you for helping GSOFamilies grow into the community it is today. To show my appreciation, I'm offering a $25 Amazon Gift Card just in time for some last minute holiday shopping (for you or someone else!)

Enter here, and again - many thanks for being a part of our group!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 2, 2013

Silent Auction Fundraiser for a local 16 year old with cancer

I met the Silent Auction coordinator for this event over the weekend at the GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar. This story touched me. I wanted to share the event and let all of you know about the Silent Auction, and if anyone is interested in contributing - please contact as requested below! Thank you! -Becky



Dear Prospective Partner:

Got Game Fastpitch will be holding a girls fastpitch softball tournament along with a silent auction fundraising event on December 7th & 8th at the Eden YMCA and Freedom Park located in Eden NC. Got Game Fastpitch is a softball travel tournament organization that will host 32 teams in different age brackets on this weekend bringing at least 325 players and their families. All of the funds raised from this event will be used to support a 16 year old that is suffering from a childhood cancer.

Taylor Foster is a 16 year old that loved to play softball until she was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. She relapsed in 2011 and she is still fighting. She loves now to help coach a travel ball team and reach young ladies by inspiring them to never give up and never take things for granted.

We're in the process of collecting merchandise for the event, and I'm writing to request your assistance in making the Got Game Fastpitch’s event a success. By donating an item, you'll be making a tax deductible contribution that will help Taylor Foster continue her fight of cancer.

Additionally, you'll benefit from exposure of your company's name to those who attend the event. The merchandise you give will be on display through the event. As a donor, you'll be invited to attend the event, so you'll be able to meet prospective customers and even possibly find a few bargains of your own.

Won’t you consider donating an item to support Got Game Fastpitch’s event? You may reach me at 336-580-8777, or email me at needacut@hotmail.com by December 5th to let me know how you would like to participate in the Got Game Fastpitch silent auction.

Sincerely,
John Turner
Silent Auction Coordinator

Monday, November 25, 2013

We're adopting!



I've committed GSOFamilies to adopt a family for the holidays. All of the money GSOFamilies is raising from the GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar and GSOFamilies Online Holiday Fair will be used to purchase new items for the family.

The family we have been assigned consists of a Mom, Dad, and 4 children - all girls, ages 13, 9, 7 and 4. The mom is also pregnant and due with a baby boy in March. The family was living in public housing, which was condemned last week. The Greensboro Housing Coalition is in the process of helping the family find housing, but they've been hit hard and need help with everything. See the wish list below.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • Look over the wish list below, and purchase items for the family. Please email gsofamilies@gmail.com to coordinate a drop off/pick up of items.
  • Contribute money to help assist GSOFamilies in purchasing new items for the family. PayPal and Amazon Payments information are below at the bottom of the webpage.
  • Look through your old items. The family is happy to take pre-loved items! Especially for the new baby due in March!
  • Purchase food or a grocery gift card for the family. Email gsofamilies@gmail.com to arrange drop off/pick up.
  • SHARE this information! 
  • Shop at the GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar on Saturday, 11/30 between 10 am and 4 pm (click the link for details). Invite your friends!
  • Participate in the GSOFamilies Online Holiday Fair between now and December 16! Click the link to join the event. Share with your friends!

If you have items to donate/contribute, please email gsofamilies@gmail.com to arrange a pickup of items. If you'd like to contribute money, that would be great! If you go to http://www.gsofamilies.com and scroll towards the bottom of the page, there are several options for online monetary donations or you can send PayPal to gsofamilies@gmail.com with a note that it is for the adopted family. To send a check/money order/cash, please email gsofamilies@gmail.com for the address or I can meet up with you in Greensboro.

I will set up a group shopping date in mid-December if anyone wants to help me shop for the family! 

As of 11/25/13, we've raised $191.52 for the family! THANK YOU!

FAMILY WISH LIST
  • Mother
    • Clothing:
      • Top: Medium
      • Pants: 7-8
      • Shoes: 7.5
  • Father:
    • Clothing:
      • Top: Large
      • Pants:36 x 30
      • Shoes: 10
  • Child: 13 yr old female
    • Clothing:
      • Tops: Size Small
      • Pants: Size 3
      • Shoes: 7
    • Toys: Something to listen to music with 
  • Child: 9 yr old female
    • Clothing: Size 10-11
    • Shoes: 5
    • Toys: Barbies, electronic games, books to read
  • Child: 7 yr old female
    • Clothing: Size 8
    • Shoes: 2
    • Toys: Barbies
  • Child: 4 yr old female
    • Clothing: 5-6
    • Shoes: 11
    • Toys: Barbies and Dora the Explorer
  • Child: Baby Boy (due in March)
    • Needs anything and everything for baby, has nothing.
    • Furniture, clothes, diapers, bottles, car seat, etc. Pre-loved is OK!
  • The family will gladly accept food donations and/or grocery cards as well!
  • They also do not have a microwave and would love to have one!
Let's help this family have a wonderful, memorable holiday this year!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar

GSOFamilies was founded with the intent of encouraging and supporting local businesses. I am incredibly pleased to announce we are hosting the first GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar to help promote and support our local members, crafters, and business people, and provide a venue for easy, local shopping for all of your holiday needs! I've partnered with Lauren from Jump Art 4 Kids and Jillian from Parties 2 Dye 4 to bring this incredible event to you!

Many communities have adopted "Small Business Saturday" as a response to Black Friday. Working with this idea, and combining our desire to promote local businesses, the GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar will be held on Saturday, November 30, 2013 from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm at Parties 2 Dye 4 (2717 Battleground Ave, Greensboro, NC 27408).

Please join us for a fun day of shopping, and support local businesspeople and crafters in the process. We are booked for vendors for the GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar, but have added an additional ONLINE Holiday Fair to help provide an easy outlet for vendors to showcase their wares, and shoppers to connect with the vendors. It is online only, and details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/324177737723427

GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar Confirmed Vendors:
  • 3 Little E's - selling all natural raw goats milk soaps
  • Brandtridge - selling handcrafted copper jewelry, original mixed media paintings, prints of works, glass pendants and candle holders
  • Clean Sweep Triad - offering comprehensive roof, gutter, and home exterior maintenance services
  • Christi's Boutique - selling hairbows, necklaces, cowls, wrap bracelets
  • Created Just For You - selling personalization,T-shirts, mugs, bags, plush with personalized shirts.
  • doTerra with LeAnn Vipperman - selling Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils and products made with the oils
  • Eleven Eleven Creations - selling wreaths, upcycled vintage windows, and small rustic home decor. 
  • Gifts 2 Help Rescues - selling items to raise money for homeless animals. The buyer chooses which local rescue/shelter is to receive the donation from their purchase. The donation on our handmade items (pendants, bracelets, frames, magnets, hand painted glassware, greeting cards, etc) is 25% up to $10. We log all of our donations on our website.
  • Go With Me Tote - selling a unique tote bag made of canvas cotton, that has a metal handle and can be configured 3 different ways.  There are more than 12 different ways it can be used.
  • Green Town Shop - selling vintage--housewares, books, children's items, Christmas items, etc.
  • Greytbeginnings - selling car seat ponchos, crocheted ponchos, crocheted hats for the family, crocheted blankets, PUL changing pads, crocheted wash cloths, stitched blankets, crocheted mittens, and crocheted flower clips.
  • Frost and Fire - selling Handmade Jewelry, Handmade Christmas Items, Handmade Stationary, Handmade Household Decor, etc.
  • Mary Kay with Frances Bevilaque - selling skin care products and make up and teaching skin care one-on-one.
  • Norwex with Rebecca Lange - offering quality products to help you reduce the chemicals in your home and personal care products, saving time and and money.
  • Piedmont Doula Care - a group of three birth doulas, who also offer postpartum, reiki, childbirth education and parenting classes.  In addition, one of our doulas sells homemade goat's milk soaps and other bath products.
  • [table7creative] - selling hand-knit baby and children's clothing and toys; artisan-made knitting gear; other handmade crafts.
  • Vada Dicey Photography - offering professional photography services


Join our Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/179648432227356/
Join our Meetup event: http://www.meetup.com/GSOFamilies/events/149699352/

All profit GSOFamilies makes from this event will be used to adopt a family for the holidays. See this link for details: http://www.gsofamilies.com/2013/11/were-adopting.html. We will also accept donations at the Bazaar. Just to be clear, vendors keep the profit they make from sales at the event.

Every vendor is contributing a product or service valued at approximately $25 that will be raffled off at the event. Every person who attends the GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar will be given one raffle ticket upon entry. This raffle ticket can be used to choose which raffle prize you'd like to win. Additional tickets will be available for purchase at the event for $1 each, 6 for $5, 12 for $10, or 25 for $20. The more tickets you have, the better your chances of winning one or more prizes! Look for the table with the door prizes and corresponding ticket entry information at the event!

Confirmed Raffle Prizes:
If you are a local business and interested in donating a raffle prize, please email gsofamilies@gmail.com prior to November 25, 2013 with your donation information. All profit from the event, including the sale of raffle prize tickets, will be used to adopt a local family for the holidays.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Car Seats and Winter Coats

It's the first really cold day in Greensboro, and I just wanted to share this reminder about keeping your kids safe and warm.

Bulky winter coats and car seats do not generally mix well! I'm assuming you all know the proper safety precautions for installing your child's car seat properly, and using the harness properly. If you need a quick refresher, check out the links at the bottom.

Here's a quick test to determine if your child's winter coat could compress in a crash and put your child in danger:

  • Put your child in his winter coat, buckle him into his car seat, and tighten the straps to where it passes the "pinch test". 
  • Without loosening the straps, unbuckle your child, and remove the winter coat.
  • Put your child back in the car seat without the winter coat, and fasten the straps without adjusting them.
  • If the straps don't pass the "pinch test" then the coat is too bulky to wear in the car seat. 

What is the pinch test?

In order for your child's car seat to provide protection in a crash (which is why we use car seats, right?) the harness straps must fit properly. Loose harnesses can cause injuries or completely fail to protect your child at all. The pinch test helps determine if the harness is properly tightened and adjusted.

  1. Put one finger under the harness near the child's collarbone so you can pull the strap up to "fold" when you pinch it. I use three fingers - my index finger and thumb on top, and my middle finger under the strap. My middle finger pulls the strap up while my thumb and index finger attempt to pinch. 
  2. If you can pinch the straps together, they are too loose. 
  3. Ensure the straps are properly tightened near the child's belly (below the chest clip - which should be -not surprisingly- at the chest, not down at the buckle). 
  4. Repeat the pinch test near the collarbone until you are unable to pinch the straps together.
How do you keep your child warm if they can't wear a coat in their car seat?
Comment here if you have any additional suggestions!


Resources:


Thursday, November 7, 2013

GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar

***VENDOR APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED***

Please view http://www.gsofamilies.com/2013/11/gsofamilies-small-business-bazaar_16.html for updated information regarding the GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar!

GSOFamilies was founded with the intent of encouraging and supporting local businesses. I am incredibly pleased to announce we are hosting the first GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar to help promote and support our local members, crafters, and business people, and provide a venue for easy, local shopping for all of your holiday needs! I've partnered with Lauren from Jump Art 4 Kids and Jillian from Parties 2 Dye 4 to bring this incredible event to you!

Many communities have adopted "Small Business Saturday" as a response to Black Friday. Working along this idea, and combining our desire to promote local businesses, the GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar will be held on Saturday, November 30, 2013 from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm at Parties 2 Dye 4 (2717 Battleground Ave, Greensboro, NC 27408).



If you are a local businessperson, crafter, artist, or are interested in participating in the GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar in any way, please fill out the form below. Vendor spaces will allow for one 6' table plus standing/sitting space.

We are asking vendors to pay a nominal fee of $15, and also donate a door prize (value of approximately $25) to be raffled off at the bazaar. Electricity will not be available for vendors, and while we will do our best to ensure wi-fi is available for vendors, we cannot guarantee availability.

Vendor Application Deadline: November 15, 2013

Vendors will be notified of their inclusion in our event by November 16, 2013, and the Vendor Fee ($15) is due within 48 hours of notification (paid via PayPal, Amazon Payments, Credit Card, Check, Cash, or Money Order) to reserve the space. In the event that a vendor declines the space, we will continue through all applications until all spaces are filled.

All profit from this event will be used to adopt a family (or two) for the holidays. More details will be released as they are finalized.

Vendors, please complete the form below with your interest. We will allow multiple vendors to share a space - we ask that each vendor completes the form below.

If you are a local business and interested in donating a door prize, please email gsofamilies@gmail.com prior to November 15, 2013 with your donation information. All profit from the event, including the door prize tickets, will be used to adopt a local family for the holidays.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Helping a Local Family

One of our GSOFamilies members, Heather Cope, has 5 kids. Her oldest daughter Bailey, a 7th grader, fell 10 feet into a concrete cellar last night (November 2). She was at a birthday party, playing hide and seek in the dark. There was a flight of stairs going to the unfinished cellar (basically a concrete pit), from ground level to about 10 feet underground. She fell over the edge, straight to the bottom, not down the stairs. It was a freak accident. The concrete was broken up at odd angles, which Heather suspects is one of the reasons her injuries are so bad. Heather's husband, Matt, had gone to pick up Heather from the party and arrived just as the mom of the birthday child was on the phone with 911, so he was with Bailey when the EMTs arrived. Heather met him and Bailey at the hospital - and hasn't left.

Bailey's in the ICU and while they haven't yet determined the full extent of her injuries, so far they know her knee is broken and in an immobilizer - surgery is TBD. She has a broken nose, broken eye socket, and both walls of a sinus cavity are broken. This let air into her brain cavity, so they're watching for leaking cerebral spinal fluid. They are waiting for more news on a hemorrhage. Later today they will do another CT Scan to check for fractures to her jaw. The good news is Bailey's neck and back appear intact; she is awake, and fairly lucid but experiencing memory problems.

Heather is a nursing student. Her husband Matt is the sole income provider for their family. Bailey is a soccer player and the oldest of their 5 kids. The Cope family lives in Stokesdale, and will be traveling back and forth to Winston-Salem to the hospital. I've known Heather for almost ten years now, and she has always been there to help others when they need it, even when she hasn't really had the extra to spare - she's always found a way. This accident is going to be difficult on the family - travel to the hospital, keeping the other four kids on their schedule with school and meals, and Matt having to miss work to be with his daughter. Not to mention medical expenses and Bailey's recovery.

Heather asked for Get Well cards and pictures to be mailed to Bailey to help cheer her up during the time she's in the hospital and during the long recovery ahead of her. If you have a few minutes, please consider sending a card or picture (involve your kids!) to Bailey:

Bailey Cope
344 Dogwood Acres Road
Madison, NC 27025

If you'd like to help the Cope family in other ways, I know they'd appreciate gas cards and grocery cards. They are also going to have to rent a wheelchair for Bailey, which is an out-of-pocket expense. I'm not sure if it's something that can be emailed, but Heather's email is naturebaby@triad.rr.com if you need it and I know she does have Amazon Payments if you'd like to just send a few bucks to help her family out (it's free, and similar to PayPal but easier to use). I considered setting up a site through a third party (like gofundme) but the fees are high and I feel like anything should go directly to the family.

UPDATE: There are times in our lives when friends and family ask, "What can I do to help out?" The answer is usually to help them with a meal. When many friends give a meal, this is a meal train. We have set up a MealTrain for the Cope family, to help them out while Bailey is recovering. Bailey is doing wonderful, considering the circumstances, but it is going to take a lot of time and energy to care for her while she's recuperating and recovering. Bailey is the oldest of 5 kids, plus Heather and Matt. Please considering helping out by signing up to bring them a meal here: http://www.mealtrain.com/?id=mpujmd8tc8gt - Matt works at Rice Toyota in Greensboro and can possibly arrange for a drop-off of meals at his work if driving to Madison is too far. 


I will be continuing to edit and update this post with news on Bailey as Heather shares it. If nothing else, please keep this sweet girl in your thoughts as she has an extensive recovery period ahead of her. The family has said they appreciate the kind thoughts and prayers, and adding her to prayer lists is welcomed. 

Thank you, GSOFamilies, for making this community one where I (and others) feel comfortable asking for support when it is needed. I'm so proud of everything GSOFamilies has become and everything we will continue to be and do in the future! THANK YOU!

*****
Update 11/3/13 at 10am:
Heather said the trauma specialists want to wait until tomorrow to get the CT scans of Bailey's face, but have okayed the x-rays of her neck for today. They've started anti-seizure protocol and are having the ophthalmology team come in to look at her eye. After the CT scan tomorrow, they'll decide if she needs any surgery for her facial fractures. Bailey just got a dose of morphine, so she's resting pretty comfortably right now.

*****
Update 11/4/13 at 8 am:
Heather already met with the surgery team, the ENTs, and the orthopedic docs this morning. It looks like the ligaments and muscles in her knee are intact, which means the chance of healing without surgery continues to go up. The ENT ruled out leaking cerebral spinal fluid for now- a really good sign- and said that Bailey will probably not have surgery for any of the facial fractures. She is in really good spirits, and has asked repeatedly about going back to school. Today brings the CT scan of her face, X-ray of her neck and, fingers crossed, a move from ICU to a regular room. Thanks for keeping her in your thoughts and prayers!

*****
Update 11/4/13 at 8 pm:
X-ray of Bailey's neck looks great! No fractures, but a pretty wicked case of whiplash. PT should be by today to teach Heather and Matt how to use her equipment and they are being moved to a regular room. CT scan did not show any more fractures to her face, but did indicate more bleeding near her brain. Bailey's not eating or drinking much and still has the neck brace on. She may be able to go home as early as tomorrow night- everyone agrees that she'll do her best healing at home. Fingers crossed!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Trunk-or-Treat

Thank you to everyone who was able to participate in our first Trunk-or-Treat tonight! I know it was last minute (we only had a few days notice on the location!), so to have 20+ families in attendance was incredible! I think the kids all had fun, despite the cold, and it was great to see so many familiar and new faces!

Jump Art for Kids donated 8 weeks of classes to the trunk with the best decorations - we narrowed it down to two (Lauren's (from Jump Art For Kids) favorite, and my favorite). Help us decide the winner! Voting will only be open for 48 hours, so get your vote in! Winner will be announced Sunday, October 27, at 9pm.

Photo 1

Photo 2



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

GSOFamilies Children's Costume Contest 2013

GSOFamilies Children's Costume Contest 2013 Official Rules

The GSOFamilies Children's Costume Contest 2013 (the "Contest") is sponsored by GSOFamilies.com (the "Sponsor" or "Organizer").

Enter this contest now, and VOTE for your favorite to win!



Enter this contest now, and VOTE for your favorite to win!

ONE (1) GRAND PRIZE: Free Private Birthday Party ($249 value) at Backyard Paradise for 2 hours and up to 16 kids!

ONE (1) FIRST PRIZE:  8 weeks of classes from Jump Art for Kids!

ONE (1) SECOND PRIZE: Date Night from Bizi Kidz! Childcare for your children (1, 2, or 3 kids) for up to 4 hours at Bizi Kidz.

TWO (2) THIRD PRIZE: Make Your Own Tie-Dye Tee from Parties 2 Dye 4!

ONE (1) RUNNER UP PRIZE: A bag of "healthy" treats from Earth Fare Greensboro! All candy is free of artificial flavors and dyes, and uses real cane sugar instead of filler.

All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply; void where prohibited.

ELIGIBILITY: The Contest is open only to individuals, 18 years or older at time of entry, who are legal residents of the United States.

TO ENTER: Submit a photo of your child in his or her costume for 2013. To enter electronically, visit http://woobox.com/rb4zkf. All information provided by entrant must be complete, true and correct. Submissions to the Contest must be received by November 2, 2013 in order to be eligible; entries received after that date will be deemed ineligible to win. All submitted entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned; Sponsor is not responsible for lost, late, inaccurate, incomplete, damaged, illegible, or misdirected entries. All entries may be published on the GSOFamilies.com web site, whether selected for a prize or not. Nothing in these Contest rules obligate Sponsor to publish or otherwise use any photos submitted in connection with the Contest. Each entry must be submitted on an individual basis (i.e., one child per photo) and all photos of the entry must be the original photo of the submitting participant. Exception will be made for children from the same family whose children's costumes "go together". Only non-commercial work may be submitted (i.e., no professional photographs). Entries may not contain profanity, nudity, pornographic images, violent images, anti-competition messages, illegal material, or material that violates the rights of third parties. Entries may not include confidential information, trade secrets, trademarks or copyrighted material belonging to any person or entity other than the participant absent a suitable license or permission agreement (proof of which is required). Entries containing any forbidden matter or material otherwise deemed by Organizer to be inappropriate will be disqualified. Online entries will be deemed submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at time of entry.

JUDGING: The winning entry will be selected based upon the most votes. By entering, you agree to be bound by these Official Rules, and that the decisions of the judges are final and binding in all respects. Voting will end on November 12, 2013 at 9:00 PM, and potential winners will be notified by e-mail on or before November 15, 2013. Based upon the content of submissions, Sponsor reserves the right not to select any winning submissions.

PRIZE AWARDS: Prizes will be awarded by the contributing company within sixty (60) days after winner verification. Only one prize awarded per household. No prize substitution or transfer is permitted, except that Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value for any reason. All taxes and any other incidental expenses on Prizes are the sole responsibility of each winner. Winner names will be provided to the companies who donated the prizes, and the winner must contact the donor company to redeem prize.

GENERAL RULES & LIMITATIONS: By entering, you represent that: (i) your entry is your own original work; and (ii) you own or have the rights to convey any and all right and title in any material submitted as part of your entry into the Contest. By entering, you grant to Sponsor a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to edit, publish, promote, republish at any time in the future and otherwise use your submission, along with your name and likeness, in any and all media for possible editorial, promotional or advertising purposes, without further permission, notice or compensation (except where prohibited by law). By participating in the Contest, you agree to release Sponsor and its parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, employees, directors, officers, and agents from any and all liability, claims or actions of any kind whatsoever for injuries, damages or losses to persons and property which may be sustained in connection with the receipt, ownership, possession, use, or misuse of any prize. Sponsor is not responsible for technical, hardware or software failures, or other errors or problems which may occur in connection with the Contest, whether computer, network, technical, mechanical, typographical, printing, human or otherwise, including, without limitation, errors or problems which may occur in connection with the administration of the Contest, the processing or judging of entries, the announcement of the prizes, in any Contest-related materials, or that may limit prize fulfillment or a participant's ability to enter the Contest. Sponsor reserves the right to permanently disqualify from the Contest any person it believes has intentionally violated these official rules.

WINNER IDENTITY: For the identity of the winner(s), visit www.GSOFamilies.com after November 15, 2013.

Enter this contest now, and VOTE for your favorite to win!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shop Local this Holiday Season!

We've compiled a listing of GSOFamilies fans and members who are local business owners, crafters, etc. and have services to provide and/or products that they make or sell. Please consider shopping locally this holiday season, and supporting local businesses and crafters!
(To be included, please message us on Facebook www.facebook.com/GSOFamilies or send an email to gsofamilies@gmail.com)

Local Shops
  • All About Baby Boutique - www.allaboutbabyboutique.com 410 Blandwood Ave Greensboro (Priscilla LeCompte)
  • Backyard Paradise - We sell playsets, trampolines, basketball goals and more. We also offer indoor play and birthday parties. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Backyard-Paradise/207128562632261 
  • Cherry Pit Cafe and Pie Shop and also Cherry Pit Express (April Douglas)
  • Great Harvest Bread Greensboro bakes fresh daily! Breads & sweets. Also, gift baskets, gift cards. We help many with health concerns: vegan, thyroid, diabetes, allergies, except Celiac since we mill our wheat in the bakery every day. Local owned, local made, support local causes, schools & events www.facebook.com/gr8harvestGSO (Sheila Barth)
Handmade/Homemade
Classes
  • Musik With Miss Evan - music classes for young children (great gift for grandparents to give!) www.musikwithmissevan.com (Evan Logan)
  • Piedmont Cotillions, LLC - offers five week cotillion classes in 7 locations throughout North Carolina. We teach ballroom dance and etiquette to 5th - 8th graders. www.piedmontccotillions.com (Geri Miga Sheffey)
Services
Products
  • doTERRA Essential Oils - Improve your health and your family's health with a medicine cabinet makeover mydoterra.com/leannvipperman (LeAnn Vipperman)
  • Norwex - Creating healthier homes! Clean your home faster, with better results & fewer chemicals, for less money. In home or online classes and demos, willing to trade and barter! www.FastGreenClean.com or www.facebook.com/FastGreenClean (Becky Lange)
  • Origami Owl, Independent Designer Custom Jewelry - I have the ability to bring my jewelry directly to you. We can customize personalized pieces for you or a loved one for the perfect gift! http://annabeckman.origamiowl.com (Anna Beckman)
  • Pure Romance, I sell lotions, lingerie and romance items to help couples stay warm this holiday season. Unlike a lot of other companies that sell similar products, we do our best to keep it classy.  www.sarahcardman.pureromance.com and www.facebook.com/sarahcardmanpureromance (Sarah Cardman)
  • Thirty One Gifts. Nov special medium utility tote for $7 when u spend $35, also some awesome deals for $5 in December. www.mythirryone.com/dionka (Dionka Riley)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

GSOFamilies Online Auction Donation Form

To All GSOFamilies Members and Supporters:

GSOFamilies is a local community of families. As a local mom, I founded the group in May 2012 to provide a comprehensive compilation of Greensboro area family-friendly activities and businesses. The group has grown to over 1000 members on Facebook, over 100 members on Meetup, and over 300 followers on Twitter.

At this time, the cost of running and maintaining just the technical aspects of GSOFamilies through all the growth are overwhelming, and the GSOFamilies group is hosting an online auction to help offset these costs. GSOFamilies is completely free to join, and hundreds of local families turn to our community when seeking local businesses to patronize, and to share personal reviews and anecdotes for raising children in the Greensboro area.

We are asking for donations of items for our online auction. All donors will receive publicity via the GSOFamilies webpage and social media leading up to and during the auction, as well as an official public thank you. The auction will be held online on the GSOFamilies site from November 11-17, 2013. The items you donate will directly benefit GSOFamilies and our members.

With the generous support of people like you, we will be able to continue to support local Greensboro families and provide an often utilized, and very necessary resource for local parents and children. To learn more about GSOFamilies, we invite you visit our website at www.GSOFamilies.com.
Thank you for your time and consideration, and we look forward to your continued support.

Most sincerely,
Becky Lange
GSOFamilies Founder


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Beach Camping with the Kids

We took our kids for an overnight camping trip at the beach last weekend. The weather was idyllic, with highs in the low 80s, and lows in the low 60s, with abundant sunshine.

We set up camp at Brunswick Beaches Camping Resort, a campground we visited about a year ago and enjoyed. We like that the campground had a pool and nice showers and bathrooms - important features when camping with kids :)

We arrived Saturday afternoon, set up our tent (a 12 person monster of a tent), and changed to head to Ocean Isle Beach for a few hours. The beach was lovely, with the very very noticeable exception of the flies. It was horrible! Swarming, biting flies were EVERYWHERE, making it impossible to sit and relax on the beach or play in the sand - the only (minimal) relief was found in the water. The waves were decent, and the bigger kids had a blast boogie-boarding, but the younger ones wanted to play in the sand. The flies were ultimately the reason we left the beach after a short amount of time - there was no way to keep them from biting. Our plans of spending the weekend at the beach had to change!

We returned to the campground to swim and shower before a traditional dinner over the campfire (hot dogs, baked beans, corn on the cob, and s'mores). One of our tent-site neighbors was a gentleman who was riding his bicycle from PA to SC to visit his daughter and celebrate his 60th birthday. It's always neat to meet new people while camping and share stories!

Sunday we woke up and couldn't get the fire going enough to cook the pancakes and bacon for breakfast, so we broke down camp and headed to The Purple Onion Cafe in Shallotte for a late breakfast. From there, we drove up to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher to spend a few hours before heading home. We've used our Greensboro Science Center membership in the past for free reciprocal admission to the aquariums; however, since the sciquarium opened here in Greensboro, it has changed the reciprocal admission policies! With the Science Center Membership we would have been able to get 2 adults and 2 kids into the aquarium for half price. With the NC Zoo membership, however, we were all able to visit the aquarium for FREE!

It was a quick overnight trip to the beach, but the kids had a blast and it was nice to get some ocean therapy in before the weather really cools off.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

We're giving away a dozen long stem mixed roses!

Do you have someone special to whom you want to send a dozen long stem mixed roses? Would you like to receive a dozen long stem mixed roses yourself? With our giveaway, you can treat yourself, or send them to someone else. Enter below using the Rafflecopter form. The winner will receive one dozen long stem mixed roses, delivered to your recipient of choice.

This bouquet of long stem mixed roses will be the perfect way to send your love for any of life's special occasions! A dozen of our finest 16-inch assorted roses are brought together to form a rainbow of color that creates a gorgeous way to express your sweetest sentiments and appreciation, making it the perfect gift for a birthday, anniversary, to say congratulations or to send your get well wishes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Closes to entries 9/10/13 at 11:59 pm. Delivery date will be determined between GSOFamilies and the winner. Photo above is not indicative of actual bouquet to be delivered. Thanks for entering and supporting GSOFamilies!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ukulele for Two class


I received this message today, and wanted to share with all of the GSOFamilies members! What a neat opportunity!


Hello,
I work in the Music Department at UNCGreensboro, and will be starting the second iteration of a class titled Ukulele for Two (Thursday, September 12). Classes are designed for children ages 9, 10, and 11, and one parent/guardian. Classes will meet on Thursdays from 6:30 - 7:30 PM in the Music Building at UNCG.
Attached to this email (linked here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_0pnZ1qQ18FRWdyUHFfZk9iam8/edit?usp=sharing) is a document that includes the date schedule and materials required for the class. Other than purchasing your own instruments, tuners, and books, there are no costs for participating in the class. The only cost we foresee is parking in the deck at the music building, and the unlikely need for a replacement string (usually Low G - $2.50 per string).
Please let me know if you remain interested in participating in participating in Ukulele for Two. And please feel free to let others know about the class. 
Thank you,
Sandra
Sandra Teglas, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator
Music Research Institute
School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
University of North Carolina Greensboro
(336)256-2581

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mountain Getaway

It took us almost a year, but we finally found a weekend that wasn't calling for absurd amounts of rain, and headed to Grandfather Mountain Campground to use our rain voucher from last Labor Day weekend. We had $70 in vouchers, and couldn't use it all ourselves on a tent site, so we decided to rent a Cozy Cabin for a night. It is just a 12x12 cabin, with a double bed and bunk beds, plus a bathroom, shower stall, and kitchenette with sink, mini fridge, and microwave.

Cozy Cabin, Grandfather Campground, Banner Elk, NC


This campground is probably one of the best campgrounds at which we've stayed. It is easily accessible from Greensboro and takes just a bit over 2 hours to get there. The grounds are in good condition, with plenty of tent sites, cabins of various sizes, and RV sites. It is also very family-friendly, with a playground, Saturday night hay rides, and big open fields where kids can play. The people are friendly, and the bathhouse is clean, with hot water for showers. In addition to all that, the Watauga River runs through the campground, which is situation with beautiful views of the mountains. There is also a big field for group tent camping, that has almost zero light pollution and amazing views of the nighttime sky. We were lucky enough to have a clear night to lay under the stars and just marvel at the universe.

Grandfather Campground, Banner Elk, NC

Watauga River, Grandfather Campground, Banner Elk, NC


The campground is located less than 30 minutes from Blowing Rock, so we were able to head over to The Blowing Rock and take in the views of the mountains from a beautiful vantage point. There is a small admission fee to enter, but the spectacular sights are worth the price. There are small trails to follow around to different points to take in the view.
The Blowing Rock, NC
We visited Linville Caverns our last trip to this campground a year ago, which was a great tour of the caverns and history of the area. This time we took time to drive to Linville Falls, and experience the beauty of the park. It is a short hike, but it does have some change in elevation going up and down the trails to the falls. Kids would be OK hiking, but new or unsteady walkers might need some assistance. There are a few trails to different viewpoints, and we were able to take some amazing pictures. I took a short video (26 seconds) of the upper falls going down into the gorge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVDTsHMUpjg


Linville Falls, NC (Upper Falls)
Linville Falls, NC (Lower Falls)


Linville Falls, NC (Upper and Lower Falls)

Linville Falls, NC
Linville Falls = Truly spectacular.


On the way back to Greensboro, we took a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to take in some of the clear views of the mountains. We are all lucky to live so close to such beauty. If you haven't taken the time to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I highly recommend spending a day driving and taking in the sights. It is easy enough to get there from Greensboro, with plenty of stopping points and overlooks to take photos, let the kids out, and have a picnic.

Blue Ridge Parkway view

Blue Ridge Parkway view

All in all, a great weekend away, very affordable, and beautiful scenery.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Guest Post: Museum of Life and Science

One of our family’s favorite day trips to take is a trip to the Museum of Life and Science located in Durham, NC. The museum and all of its attractions take up about 84 acres. Included in your admission cost is an indoor science center, a huge playground, a train caboose, a petting zoo, a butterfly house and insectarium, a dinosaur trail, a woodland habitat and wetland site, and several other outdoor exhibits. There is a wonderful restaurant on the campus and there are also tickets available to purchase for extra for a train ride around the grounds.

My 5 year old, Grayson, loves to see everything the museum has to offer, but he has his three favorites. These top three can absolutely never be skipped when we visit, and considering he is our resident kid “expert,” I will focus on them in this post.

His top choice for what a kid must do when he goes to the Museum of Life and Science is the Dinosaur Trail. The museum’s website says, “On the Museum of Life and Science's Dinosaur Trail, you are entering a world of late Cretaceous, North American dinosaurs.” My son just says “they are super huge and really cool especially the one you can climb on!” The start of the outdoor trail has a Parasaurolophus on which the kids can touch and climb, but the rest are on display only. It is a short loop, but it is packed with loads of cool dinos! There is an Albertosauras, a relative of a T. Rex, and what my son calls “the long necker,” an Alamosaurus (which, by the way, is an impressive 65 feet long). The trail comes to an end at a great fossil dig. The kids can pick up a shovel and dig for fossils that have been trucked in from a site in North Carolina that used to be an ocean floor. Some of the fossils are more than 5 million years old. It’s quite awesome.



Grayson ranks the “Into the Mist” Exhibit in the Catch the Wind area of the museum grounds as the 2nd best thing to see and experience on a visit. I think it is because it feels like either walking on the moon or visiting Bilbo Baggins in The Shire. It is really a unique experience. Be warned, the kids can get very, very wet. A lot of families wear their bathing suits and water shoes to play here and change afterwards. In addition to the mist, the Catch the Wind area has a sailboat pond in which the kids can sail remote controlled boats, an area to jump on bungee trampolines (for an extra cost, I think), and more. We have been to this museum many times, and we never skip visiting the Catch the Wind area. It is really so much fun!



Finally, Grayson says that the Science Center itself is his 3rd favorite stop on our visits to the museum. It is the main building, and it has the gift shop, the ticket counter for admission and train rides, and many exhibits. Grayson loves to don an astronaut suit and sit inside the Apollo Space Capsule. There is also a neat meteorology area where visitors can watch a tornado form and touch it. After, Grayson has pretended to blast off to space and create natural disasters, he likes to sit and build with the massive collection of blocks they have. For the younger children, the science center also has a wonderful play area called Play to Learn with things to climb and build. Truly, a family could spend hours inside and never make it out to see the rest of the attractions.



If you decide to take the trip to Durham, make sure you plan for the whole day. Honestly. My family and I have been a dozen or more times, and we have never seen and done everything there is to do in one day. To us, that’s ok. It makes every time a new adventure!

The Museum of Life and Science is open 10:00am-5:00pm Monday- Saturday and 12:00pm-5:00pm on Sundays. They are open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. Check the website for admission cost and any changes to hours. http://lifeandscience.org/

This post and the accompanying pictures were submitted by Amy Schenck, a Greensboro mom of two.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

$20 Amazon gift card giveaway!

We reached 1000 fans this month, so I think it is time for a giveaway! GSOFamilies has been around for a little over a year now, and it has grown to such a wonderful, helpful, inclusive group of local families. I hope we continue to flourish! I'm giving away a $20 Amazon gift card to one of our lucky supporters. Please use the entry form below to enter - the giveaway ends on August 7 at 11:59 pm. A winner will be notified and will have 48 hours to claim the prize. If it is not claimed within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected.

If you'd like to share this giveaway, please use the following link (copy and paste): http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NzQ1NDc1NzA2MzRhN2E1NTZlNGI4YjI5NzAzYmY5OjE=/

Many many thanks to all of you for being part of this journey!

Becky


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 22, 2013

J's for Jaiden and Melissa Britt Charity Basketball Game

Do you remember the horrible news over Memorial Day weekend, when a pregnant Oak Ridge mother, Melissa Chambers Britt, and her 3 year old son Jaiden were killed after their pontoon boat was hit by a speedboat on High Rock Lake?

Jared Pike from Jared and Katie in the Morning on 107.5 KZL has organized and is hosting the J’s for Jaiden and Melissa Britt Charity Basketball Game on Friday, August 2nd at 7pm at Northwest Guilford High School in Greensboro, NC. The game will accomplish two goals – the first being to honor the lives of Melissa Chambers Britt and Jaiden Britt who were killed over the Memorial Day weekend when their pontoon boat was hit by a speed boat. The second is to raise money for Jaiden’s former pre-school – The Muirs Chapel Christian Playschool. Tickets/Donations are only 5 dollars at the door. Doors open at 5:30pm.

The game will feature former ACC players including former Tarheels Will Graves, Jackie Manuel, Wes Miller, JB Tanner, Scott Cherry, and Charlotte Smith, former Wake Forest players LD Williams, Ty Walker and David Weaver and former NC State player Ishua Benjamin plus other pending invites to former ACC/NBA players teamed up with Melissa’s husband and Jaiden’s father, Clay Britt and his former teammates from his years at Western Guilford High School.

Halftime will feature a slam dunk contest featuring Wake’s LD Williams and UNC’s Will Graves and a 3-pt contest between TV News Personalities.

Katie O’Brien and Producer Whitney from Jared and Katie in the Morning will serve as honorary coaches and Biggie from 2 Guys Named Chris on Rock 92 will MC the game alongside Jared. New WGHP Fox 8 Morning Anchor, Julie Grant, will serve as honorary coach for Team Melissa.

There will be a 50/50 raffle, silent auction and various other activities going on before and during the game. 100% of the proceeds go to The Muirs Chapel Christian Playschool. Nascar driver Kevin Harvick is donating singed memorabilia for the silent auction as well as GI Joe 2 actor Augustus Cho will play in the game, sign autographs and is donating GI Joe memorabilia for the auction. Former ACC players and Mr. Cho are available for interviews upon availability.

This is a personal friend of Jared's and he wants it to be a success. If you're able, please take the time to attend the game (the goal is to sell out the gym for the first time ever!). If you would like to contribute in other ways, please contact Jared at jared@1075kzl.com.

Find more info on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaidenAndMelissa





Saturday, July 13, 2013

Follow Up: New Car Drama

This is a follow up post to a review I posted earlier this week regarding my experience buying a new vehicle from Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Greensboro, NC. You can read the original post here: http://www.gsofamilies.com/2013/07/shopping-local-crown-chrysler-dodge.html

The day I posted my review here on the GSOFamilies blog, I also shared the link via social media to the dealership:
My motives: to let them know I was displeased, but also to share my experience with anyone researching the dealership, with the hopes that what happened to me, won't happen to anyone else. Even shopping at the same dealership, being armed with knowledge is powerful, and having a heads up on what to look out for is advantageous to a shopper.

Shortly after my posting on Facebook, I received a response to my comment from Brian DeFord, the General Manager of the dealership:
I contact him via email, provided him with my telephone number, and waited for his phone call. That same evening, Mr. DeFord called me and we spoke for approximately 15 minutes regarding my experience at the dealership. He was very nice, very attentive to my concerns, and assured me that the experience I had should not have happened and that they specifically train their staff to ensure that problems like what I experienced do not happen. He listened to my viewpoint, and assured me that he would do whatever possible to make it right for me. I told him that all of my problems had been corrected already, and that I was more concerned that a dealership would purposefully participate and encourage such underhanded business. He confirmed that he would address all of my concerns with his staff, and asked if I would be willing to allow him to install the LoJack onto my new vehicle given the confusion regarding the original installation. I agreed, and feel that while I am still wary of the entire situation, I do feel that Mr. DeFord is doing his best to ensure the same problems won't happen again in the future. 

Mr. DeFord followed up to my Facebook post on the dealership's page, and I replied in kind:

Thank you all for reading and your posts, comments, and feedback. The best that can come of this situation is that nobody experiences what I did - knowledge is power! 


This is a follow up post to a review I posted earlier this week regarding my experience buying a new vehicle from Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Greensboro, NC. You can read the original post here: http://www.gsofamilies.com/2013/07/shopping-local-crown-chrysler-dodge.html

Monday, July 8, 2013

Shopping local: Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

After reading this, please see my follow up post - I spoke to the General Manager of the dealership: http://www.gsofamilies.com/2013/07/follow-up-new-car-drama.html

I recently made the decision to trade in my much loved Honda Fit for a minivan. I purchased the Fit a few years ago when it was just me and my two daughters (perfect car for us!) and have loved driving it every day. It gets great gas mileage, is surprisingly large inside, and very versatile for transporting odd sized loads. However, I needed to have additional seating for extra children and made the decision to look into a minivan, provided I could match the payment on my Fit. 

The Dodge Caravan is the most affordable minivan on the market at about $10,000 less than other comparable models from other brands/dealers, and provides some great features on the AVP model, including the stow-n-go seating (which provides extra storage beneath the floor of the two captain's chairs).

However, Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, at 3710 West Wendover Avenue in Greensboro, NC, has given me nothing but issue after issue since the day I went in to make the purchase. Prior to making my purchase, I did my research online, I visited the dealership twice and spoke to the same salesman, and I knew what I was getting into. On Saturday, June 15, I went into Crown Dodge for the third time, with the intent to purchase a minivan that day. It took approximately 7 hours (yes, SEVEN), with lots of waiting. This isn't the first car I've purchased; I've had six vehicles since I got my license at 16: two purchased from friends and family, three new vehicles purchased from dealerships (Ford, Honda, and now Dodge), and a used vehicle purchased from a dealership (Kia). I've dealt with my fair share of dealerships, and always had a relatively smooth purchase transition. Crown Dodge, however, was a complete disaster.

I spent the first 6 hours either with the salesman or waiting on paperwork, agreeing to a trade in value for my Fit, payment terms, sales price, etc. He gave me a monthly payment, with the sales price of the minivan and the trade-in value of my Fit. I agreed. I finally was moved into the office of the guy that does the finance paperwork around 3pm on June 15. He flat out told me when I walked into his office that he was already mentally at the beach on vacation, as he was preparing for his fishing vacation the following week. He was also listening to (and watching?) a fishing tournament on his computer, and kept apologizing for his obvious distraction; apparently, he was missing the tournament this year, after being in attendance for the past several years, and one of his buddies was participating.

There is a LOT of paperwork involved with purchasing a new vehicle, financing it, and trading in the old vehicle. It took us maybe 20-30 minutes to go through it all. That's not too bad! However, the reason it took so little time was the push from the finance manager. He was rushing through paperwork, verbally explaining what the paperwork said, and answering my questions as thoroughly as possible (or so I thought). Since I'm currently in school, my father volunteered to cosign the paperwork with me, which means everything had to be overnighted to Florida, where my parents live, for his signature. It also means I didn't get copies of any of the paperwork to take with me. In hindsight, I should have walked out of the office when I realized I wasn't being given the chance to read the paperwork; it was being covered up and pulled away as soon as my signature was on it to be put in a pile to mail to my dad. However, I was verbally discussing the paperwork with the finance manager, asking questions, receiving what I thought were appropriate answers, and it didn't seem out of place.

I was told I received six years of maintenance, a six year warranty, and the first five oil changes for free. All this for no extra cost! Awesome! The finance manager also told me that because I had a LoJack on my Fit, they would transfer it to my minivan for free too - I just needed to bring the minivan in the following week for about 30-60 minutes so they could transfer it. You know what they say about too good to be true...

I got home, and tried to figure the financing myself. I didn't have copies of the paperwork, and the numbers were't adding up when I sat down to calculate it all. The only figures I knew were the trade-in value for my Fit, the price of the minivan, the interest rate, and my monthly payment. However, I couldn't make the numbers work - I was not able to calculate it to the payment I was supposed to be making each month given those numbers. I called my dad, and told him that when he got the paperwork, I needed him to read it because I was panicking over not knowing why it wasn't working out, and not having copies to read myself.

The Crown Dodge dealership is closed on Sundays, so first thing Monday morning I called, trying to reassure myself and see if I could stop by and get copies, even just photocopies since the originals still needed to be mailed to Florida for my dad. I left a message with the same finance manager at 9:15 am on Monday, June 17. The next day, Tuesday, I called back in mid-afternoon since I never heard from him. He didn't call back Tuesday, either. My father received the paperwork on Tuesday evening, and called me to discuss, since apparently there were charges of nearly $7000 for extended service contract, prepaid maintenance, and a LoJack fee. Additionally, the trade-in value for my Fit was lower than what I had been told. WHAT?!

Now, I'm upset because the dealership won't return my call. I was verbally told "no fee", "no extra cost", "no additional expense", etc. over and over for all the maintenance and service contracts and the LoJack.

Wednesday, June 19, I received a call from a different finance manager at Crown Dodge, asking where the paperwork was since they didn't receive it back from my dad. I asked him my questions, and he said he'd look into it and call me back. I never heard from him on Wednesday or Thursday. On Friday, June 21, the general sales manager called asking where the paperwork was since it hadn't been returned. I told him my questions, and was told he'd call right back after he looked into it. Friday passed, nobody returned my call. Saturday I called the dealership again, and again, nobody returned my call.

Monday morning, June 24, I called the dealership again. I was told, very specifically, that the general sales manager would return my call immediately from his office. Two hours later, I still hadn't received a call, so I went into the dealership to speak to someone in person, since apparently nobody wanted to return my phone calls. I waited quite a while in the lobby for the general sales manager. When I was finally called back to his office, I explained the situation, my questions about the fees for the LoJack, that I was told weren't costing me anything, the difference in the trade-in value between what I was told and what was on the paperwork, and the extreme cost of prepaid service and extended service that I was repeatedly told were included at no cost to me.

The finance manager who had originally helped me was still out on vacation. The general sales manager was incredibly rude and condescending towards me. He tried to bully me into leaving it alone. He tried to intimidate me and make me feel inferior and like I was being difficult. I ultimately told him I was prepared to leave the keys to the minivan with him and walk out the door. Then he changed his tune and said he'd remove the nearly $5000 in extended service contract and prepaid maintenance fees, but he couldn't change the trade-in value of the Fit. I told him that was unacceptable; he called the salesman into his office to prove his point and asked him what the trade-in value of the Fit was that he provided me. The salesman immediately responded with the amount I was stating, not the reduced amount shown on the paperwork. The general sales manager sighed, made a big show of being upset, but said he'd change the trade-in value, and remove the extra service and maintenance fees. I asked about the LoJack, and he said he'd take the fee off, but LoJack is apparently locked into a vehicle VIN number, and they don't "transfer" them and didn't know what the finance employee was talking about when he said they'd "transfer" it for free to my new car. That fee was ultimately removed as well. The manager basically told me to get out of his office, and sign the new paperwork with the salesman.
I signed all new paperwork on June 24 in the office, and it was overnighted to my father in Florida. He received it, signed it, and the dealership confirmed receipt on June 27. We realized that the term for financing was decreased by several months, which was not pointed out to me by the dealership, but I chose not to make an issue of it because I'm okay with the payment and shorter loan term. However,  it should have been acknowledged since I didn't have the original paperwork to compare when signing the new paperwork.

On Friday, June 28, I received a phone call from the salesman stating that they had the incorrect payoff amount for my Fit and I owed the dealership money; he wanted me to bring in a check that day. I was traveling to a family reunion, and told him I'd be back in town the following week, and asked him how it was possible that it was wrong. I heard him get the exact payoff amount on the phone, and asked why I was responsible for the difference. He couldn't give me an answer, and just said that [the finance employee] should have explained it all when I signed the paperwork the first time. Obviously, that hadn't happened since apparently nothing was explained to me by the finance employee the first time around. He rushed me off the phone and just left it with him calling me back the following week after I returned home from the family reunion.

On Tuesday, July 2, I received another call from someone at the dealership, stating that some of the proper paperwork was never signed or mailed and they needed both me and my father to sign it immediately. I explained that I was traveling, my father was traveling, and we had no access to computers, fax machines, or printers. July 3 I received another call about the paperwork from a different person; I explained again that my father was traveling and wouldn't be able to take care of it until the following weekend when he returned home. On Friday, July 5, yet another phone call came through my phone, again asking about the paperwork and how my father and I intended to sign it. I explained, again, that my father was still traveling and I was unable to get to the dealership until either Saturday or Monday. He then informed me that they were waiving the fee for the difference in the payoff amount for the Fit, and asked me to come in to sign the paperwork as soon as possible. I suggested having my father sign it first, then I could come sign it and take the copy with me.

As of today, July 8, I have yet to hear anything. My father has been unable to reach someone regarding it. All this to say, if you're looking to purchase a vehicle from a dealership, please take this ridiculous saga into consideration. This was the absolute worst experience I've ever had buying a vehicle (or buying anything, for that matter). The Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in Greensboro, NC is disorganized, the staff is disorganized, the finance manager outright lied to me more than once when asked pointed and direct questions, the value of my trade in was altered from an agreed upon value to a lower amount on paperwork, the general sales manager was incredibly rude and condescending to me as a customer, and I should not still be dealing with these issues nearly a month after driving off the lot in my new minivan. The whole situation is underhanded, and I feel lucky it was resolved to this point. I also feel like if the dealership felt they were "in the right" with all the added costs for maintenance, warranty, and LoJack, they wouldn't have conceded to removing extra fees so quickly. It seems clear to me that this is how they do business, and it is shady. I should have walked out of the finance manager's office when he was being so quick to pull the paperwork away from me (to add it to a pile to mail to my father) before I finished reading it. I should not have taken him at his word for what I was signing! Hopefully the remaining paperwork will be completed this week, and then I can put all of this in the past.

For what it is worth, I've dealt with Green Ford, Crown Honda and Battleground Kia in Greensboro with no problems. I've rented a vehicle from Crown Nissan with no problems. These issues seem to be exclusive to Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Greensboro.

If you've had good or bad experiences with local car dealerships, please leave the info in a comment to this post!


See my follow up post, after speaking to the General Manager of the dealership here: http://www.gsofamilies.com/2013/07/follow-up-new-car-drama.html

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Guest Post: Greensboro Science Center & SciQuarium - part 2 of 2

This post is the second of a two part series, submitted by Leslie Wannamaker, a Greensboro mom of two boys. Please view the first part of this post, with information on the SciQuarium at the Greensboro Science Center here: http://www.gsofamilies.com/2013/07/guest-post-greensboro-science-center.html



The Greensboro Science Center has plenty to see apart from the SciQuarium. There is the Health Exhibit with lots of hands on activities. There are several kids play areas separated into age appropriate sections. There is a room full of dinosaurs and a long hall of animals and rocks. My son particularly likes the little cubical with all the glow-in-the-dark stones. The weather exhibit is interesting. If your little one is sensitive to sounds, be aware that there is an area where you can feel tornado force winds and it can be rather loud. There are also several Adventure Theatres with free shows. I haven’t seen the meerkats show but I’m told it’s very cute. We did see the Indiana Bones show. It was very cute but perhaps better for older children. It’s about 30 minutes long and my three year old was ready to leave about halfway through. Downstairs, there are lots of snakes and a few other exhibits as well.

The Animal Discovery Zoo is larger than it looks. I actually prefer it to the zoo in hot weather because it’s about 50% in the shade. If you have any little ones who might tire easily, I would strongly recommend a stroller or baby carrier. There are meerkats, tigers, maned wolves, an anteater, a red panda, several birds, many different types of monkeys and much more. The little house has smaller animals like rabits, hedgehogs, and owls. They usually have a volunteer with an animal to pet. If you like bugs, there is an awesome room full of creepy crawlers in the back of the little house. Personally, I leave that room for my husband to take the kids in but the boys do love it.

The wallaby walk-through and the petting zoo areas are fun as well. The animals are very friendly and there is always a volunteer or staff member around to share fun facts about each one. Be aware that there are a few animals allowed to wander the zoo area. The guinea fowl tend to stay close to the barn at the petting area, but the peacocks roam all over. Behind the petting area is the Animal Husbandry building. Duke, the very tiny baby java gibbon, is usually in the window. If you don’t know, the java gibbon recently had a little one but her keepers were unable to keep mother and baby together (she rejected the little one and then was unable to nurse him when they tried to reintroduce the pair).

The Animal Discovery handlers have “keeper talks” each day at different times. They share something interesting about a particular animal and some of these times coincide with feeding or other play activities. The schedule is posted at the entrance to the zoo area as well as online.

In case you are interested, the OmniSphere shows are generally worth the extra ticket cost. The 3D shows are nice for older children and adults. Personally, I love the laser light shows but those typically play in the evenings. The 12:00 kids show, One World One Sky, is a favorite for my son. It features Sesame Street characters Big Bird, Elmo, and a few others. Just be aware that if you leave the theatre you cannot re-enter during the show. The OmniSphere is first and foremost a planetarium. As with most other shows of this nature, it is dark and re-entry during a show would be disruptive to other viewers as well as potentially dangerous for you.

The last thing I will touch on is food. The new Fresh Market Café is now open. The prices are reasonable, but not necessarily cheap. I think it’s about $6 for a sandwich. We’ve only been in for a snack (a fruit bowl and a yummy cookie). They have plenty of selection if you’re interested. Otherwise, you are welcome to bring your own food items. For obvious reasons, food is only permitted in certain areas. There are tables around the pendulum in the lobby and downstairs. There is also a large cafeteria downstairs though starting around noon it can fill up with visiting school groups. Between the howler monkeys and the tigers in Animal Discovery, there is a section of picnic tables. If you are looking for other snack options besides the café, there are vending machines in the cafeteria.

Calendar of Events at the Science Center


This post is the second of a two part series, submitted by Leslie Wannamaker, a Greensboro mom of two boys. Please view the first part of this post, with information on the SciQuarium at the Greensboro Science Center here: http://www.gsofamilies.com/2013/07/guest-post-greensboro-science-center.html

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