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, 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!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Navigating the Holidays with Young Children

Navigating the Holidays with Young Children

The holidays are typically a time of great joy, but they can also come with challenges for you and your children due to increased activities, demands, and emotions running high. Here are a few research-based tips to help foster family togetherness, gratitude, and well-being during this hectic season.

1. Establish a few simple family rituals that everyone can participate in and commit to doing them every year. These needn’t be expensive and can include such things as:

  • Decorating the house festively, whether with a tree, wreaths, or decorative candles; making and choosing ornaments or stockings; constructing dreidels or Kwanzaa flags (these will depend on whether & what you’re celebrating).
  • Choosing and/or making a family holiday card and/or table placards for guests.
  • Making, a few “signature” family recipes for yourselves or others to enjoy.
  • Working on a few manageable home-made gifts (e.g., consult the web for instructions on making bath salts, hot chocolate mixes, “bread in a bottle”, bookmarks, and such). Be selective here so that you don’t overwhelm yourself or your child.
  • Outdoor activities that are available where you live, such as skating, sledding, hiking, or taking walks to look at neighborhood decorations with a hot beverage in hand.
  • Reading a favorite book or watching and discussing a favorite movie.

The key is to commit to doing these activities together. Research shows that rituals foster closeness and good health, particularly in times of stress, as is common during the holidays. Over time, predictability of rituals will help children to transition to the holidays, which can be trying due to changes in routine and the onset of strong emotions. Keep in mind that even happiness and excitement can be a source of dysregulation for kids.

2. Take the opportunity to foster gratitude in your children, particularly with regard to giving to others. This is most effective when your child can participate actively in the process (e.g., deciding to give to person or animal causes; helping people in the hospital or in a homeless shelter) and when it is concrete rather than abstract (i.e., giving something tangible such as food or a teddy bear in person, rather than sending a check). It is also helpful to use induction, or explanations, of why it’s important to give to others. Finally, pointing out to children that they are great helpers (rather than thanking them for helping) helps them to internalize this quality as a personal attribute of their own and will encourage them to want to engage in such behaviors independently in the future.

3. With all of the goodies that tempt us over the holidays, we tend to eat more and put on weight. You can model healthy eating behaviors by allowing your children to enjoy the special treats of the season, guilt-free, while encouraging them to practice healthy moderation. Discussion about choices (“Which one will you have right now? Which one do you want for later?”) rather than rigid rules (“No more!”) will help somewhat, but keep in mind that it’s ok to be more liberal in the context of recognizing this special time of year. To compensate for the extra calories, model active behavior by staying off the couch, putting away the gadgets, and heading outside (which can tie into your rituals, as noted above).

For all of the activities above, take advantage of teachable moments that encourage the development of cognitive and social skills. For example, making recipes involves using math -- do some fun drills or age- appropriate measuring demos with your child. Explain the quantities in the recipe as you make them. Work on color and shape naming when arranging or constructing decorations. To promote language skills, tell stories while you’re doing activities together.  Above all, have fun!

Dr. Janet Boseovski is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the DUCK Lab (Development and Understanding of Children’s Knowledge) in the Psychology Department at UNCG. Located in the Eberhart Building, the DUCK Lab and Memory Development Lab (MDLaB: Memory Development Learning and Brain) are a non-profit research center dedicated to the study of children’s cognitive and social development.  We welcome parents and children to participate in our studies, all of which are presented as fun games for children. We provide free parking, treats, prizes, and coffee for parents, and we are available at your convenience. Please contact us at childdev@uncg.edu or 336-256-0048 for more information and also see previous GSOFamilies post (http://www.gsofamilies.com/2014/07/uncg-memory-development-lab-and-duck.html).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Child Development and Memory

Post from Child Development Researchers at UNCG

Memory is an important human capacity that allows us to mentally relive our past. Our memories form the basis for our sense of self, guide our thoughts and decisions, influence our emotional reactions, and allow us to learn from our mistakes.  Given this importance, developmental researchers at UNCG are dedicated to studying how our memory systems develop.  We study how children think and learn, and how the brain areas that support memory develop in infancy, childhood and adolescence.  Below we briefly describe some strategies parents/guardians can employ to promote the development of strong memory systems in children, based from research findings.

1) Provide a healthful, nutritious diet and encourage physical activity.  It has been shown that the brain is sensitive to good nutrition and health.  This is especially critical during pregnancy and in the child’s first few years of life, when the brain is rapidly changing.  But even after this period, good nutrition and health remains important.  New research suggests that certain areas of the brain continue to develop later than previously believed.  For example, brain regions that support memory (hippocampus and prefrontal cortex) show changes even into late childhood and adolescence.

2) Speak with pre-school and school-aged children often about their day and other past events. Research has shown that parent-child conversations have an impact on memory development. Ask questions and provide narrative structure when talking about memories of past events with your child. Carefully listen to your child as they report on past memories, while also expanding on the events during the conversation, and providing comments that confirm or negate the child’s statement (e.g., “That’s right”, “Yes”, “No”).  It has been shown that parents who more often use this type of “reminiscing” style have children who remember past events better than those whose parents were less elaborative.

3) For pre-verbal infants and toddlers, memory games are a fun way to engage with children and also help them learn.  For example, you can play the “imitate me” game:  perform multiple simple actions using different objects, and then give the objects to your infant (immediately or after a delay) and encourage them to do the actions just like you did in the same order.  This is a method that researchers often use to test memory in infants who can’t tell us what they remember. As infants grow, they remember more actions, remember more actions in the correct temporal order, and remember for longer and longer delays. Infants and children are fascinating and remarkable learners!

                        -- Dr. Jeni Pathman, MDLaB Director, Psychology Department, UNCG

The Memory Development (MDLaB: Memory Development Learning and Brain) and the DUCK Lab (DUCK: Development and Understanding of Children's Knowledge) are a non-profit research center dedicated to the study of children’s cognitive and social development.  We are located in the Eberhart Building at University of North Carolina Greensboro. We are thankful to the parents and families who support our research.

For more information about the research center, please visit previous GSOFamilies post (http://www.gsofamilies.com/2014/07/uncg-memory-development-lab-and-duck.html).  We can be reached at childdev@uncg.edu or 336-256-0048.

Monday, September 29, 2014

GSOFamilies 2nd Annual 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 GSOFamilies 2nd Annual 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!

The GSOFamilies 2nd Annual Small Business Bazaar will be held on Saturday, December 6, 2014 from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm at First Friends Meeting House (2100 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27403). The event will be in the downstairs Fellowship Hall (not the main upstairs sanctuary). Join the Facebook event here https://www.facebook.com/events/460364854103198/ and/or the Meetup event here http://www.meetup.com/GSOFamilies/events/210271172/

Confirmed vendors:
Birch Tree Crafts - Hand made crafts such as jewelry, scarves, baby blankets, picture frames, and a few paintings.  The bulk of the items will be hand made jewelry.
Paisley Pants Studio - Christmas ornaments, paper crafts, gift baskets.
Hopestrings - Teething/nursing/fabric necklaces. Fabric bracelets in 3 sizes - 2 adult sizes and one child size. All handmade. Also some doTERRA oil things like sprays. But the necklaces and bracelets are the main focus.
Premier Designs Jewelry - Jewelry and jewelry supplies.
Fiddler Farms - Handmade soap,  candles,  lotion,  and other bath products.
Bling-Badda-Bling - Unique necklaces, bracelets and rings made by hand.  Bold and dramatic statement pieces that attract attention, interest and engagement. Playful and colorful theme bracelets depicting sea scenes and holiday cheer with universal appeal. Affordable, signature pieces for the little black dress, professional attire and students ahead of the class!
Origami Owl - Living Lockets, charms,  chains,  earrings and bracelets.
Rebecca Lange, Norwex Independent Sales Consultant - Helping you improve quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in your home, kitchen, cleaning products, and personal care products.
[table 7 creative] - hand knitted wearables and toys, resin/epoxy magnets and jewelry.
Abby Staves, doTERRA Wellness Advocate - I sell a wide variety of essential oils, supplements, and wellness products to enhance and improve your health and lifestyle.  I offer lots of different informative classes that cover many different topics!  Please contact me about hosting a class!  Hostesses will receive some great oily gifts from me.
Painted Events - Services, Bridal & Event makeup, gift certificates,  themed parties. Christmas, birthday, new years, Superbowl, corporate events. I also sell handmade jewelry.
B. Creative - hand crocheted scarves, and hats,  Novelty children hats.  Christmas decor.
Brass Rayle Studio - Matted prints of art work, Small framed art work
United Society of Friend’s Women (USFW) - Lb. size bags of pecans, Cup ‘O Recipe Cups
Ava-Anderson - Organic, Non-Toxic products including: make-up, skin care, baby care, pet care, household cleaners, pet care, and more.
Tupperware - Exceptional designs for categories including food preparation, cookware, knives, upscale serveware, time savers and more!
MDLab and Duck Lab of UNCG - We are setting up a recruitment table with information about our developmental psychology labs and offer toys and crafts for the kids attending the event

Door Prizes:
Birch Tree Crafts - A necklace and matching earrings.
Mrs. Wannamaker's Tutorial - One free initial evaluation for new students (a $30 value) or one free session for returning students (a $35 value).
Paisley Pants Studio - Bath Towel cake
Hopestrings - Adorable handmade Mommy and Me bracelet set.  Mom can wear a triple strand bracelet that is stylish and comfortable and can also serve to keep a baby distracted with something clean and safe to play with or chew on. The child's size can be tied as a single strand for a bigger wrist and doubled for a smaller one. Safe and comfortable for a little one to wear. Value $23.
Premier Designs Jewelry - $25 Premier Designs Gift Card, redeemable through Kristen Brown, Premier Designs Jewelry Lady
Fiddler Farms - Gift Basket with handmade bath and body items.
Bling-Badda-Bling - Original impressionistic oil painting, framed.
Origami Owl - Core Chain and dangle
Rebecca Lange, Norwex Independent Sales Consultant - $25 Norwex Gift Certificate, redeemable through Rebecca Lange, Norwex Independent Sales Consultant
[table 7 creative] - knitted hat or toy, set of magnets and/or stitch markers for knitting
Abby Staves, doTERRA Wellness Advocate - Introductory Kit of doTERRA essential oils, retail value $26.67
Painted Events - Face painting/ cheek art, or glitter tattoos for up to 15 children/ adults. 1 hour max. (Normal rate is $60.00 an hour for parties).
B. Creative - Origami snowflake ornaments
Brass Rayle Studio - Piece of art
United Society of Friend’s Women (USFW) - Door prize donation info coming soon!
Ava-Anderson - Ava Anderson Lemon Body Scrub
Tupperware - $49 value, Rectangular Cake Taker

GSOFamilies Small Business Bazaar 2014

If you are a local businessperson, crafter, artist, or are interested in participating in the GSOFamilies 2nd Annual Small Business Bazaar in any way, please fill out the form below. Vendor spaces will allow for one 6' table plus standing/sitting space. You must provide your own table!

We are asking vendors to pay a nominal fee of $30, and also donate a door prize (value of approximately $25) to be raffled off at the bazaar. Proceeds from the raffle will be used to adopt a local family for the holidays, on behalf of GSOFamilies.
Electricity will be available for vendors (please bring your own extension cord), and while we will do our best to ensure wi-fi is available for vendors, we cannot guarantee availability.

Vendor Application Deadline: October 30, 2014 (update 11/3: we still have 3 spaces available, first come, first served!)

Vendors will be notified of their inclusion in our event by November 7, 2014, and the Vendor Fee ($30) 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.

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. We are limiting the event to 20 vendors.

If you are a local business and interested in donating a door prize, please email gsofamilies@gmail.com prior to November 15, 2014 with your donation information. Proceeds from the raffle will be used to adopt a local family for the holidays, on behalf of GSOFamilies.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Interactive Resource Center and Homelessness in Greensboro

Have you heard of the Interactive Resource Center (IRC)? Do you know much about homelessness in Greensboro? I admit, even though I consider myself to be fairly on top of what's going on in our community, I didn't know enough. I still don't know enough. However, today I had the opportunity to help move some cots into the IRC for the people who are about to be displaced by the emergency closing of Heritage House. I was helping a friend who works at the IRC with the cots, and she was kind enough to give me a tour and more information on what the IRC is and what they do for the people in our city who are managing homelessness. I was blown away by this wonderful resource center. They have amenities on site to help meet basic needs (showers, laundry, barbershop) but also provide a computer room, a mail room, a phone bank, a day room, a medical clinic, and more. They also house the Artifacts Cooperative, The Greensboro Voice, Changing Gears, and Food Not Bombs. On top of all that, they have edible landscaping and gardens.

There are plenty of ways to help the IRC throughout the year. Read about these opportunities on their website http://gsodaycenter.org/get-involved/ and http://gsodaycenter.org/support-the-irc/

However, right now, the IRC needs help! They need VOLUNTEERS, BLANKETS, SHEETS, TOWELS, PERSONAL CARE ITEMS (shampoo, soap, shaving cream, toothpaste/toothbrushes, etc), and certain kinds of NON-PERISHABLE FOODS. (IRC is not a food bank, but will be serving as an emergency shelter so their requests are specific - please email gwen@gsodaycenter.org for appropriate items).
*If you have any of these items to donate, and aren't able to travel to the IRC to drop them off, please contact me (Becky) at gsofamilies@gmail.com and I will work with you to coordinate the collection of items.

IRC #CommunityWorks

From the IRC website:
"We didn’t start this week at the IRC thinking that we would need to provide emergency beds by next week, but we are up to the challenge.

Like everyone in the great city of Greensboro, the IRC is prepared to work with our  partners and the City as we all coordinate a response to the emergency closing of Heritage House.  According to WXII, the City of Greensboro must shut down the 178 unit-building due to at least 800 code violations. Learn more about the City effort to coordinate assistance here.

The IRC is preparing to open as an Emergency Shelter to residents of Heritage House starting July 30th, 2014 when property is boarded up.  IRC staff, along with our partners at the Greensboro Housing Coalition and many other locations, will work with residents to find permanent housing solutions.

Transitioning from day services to additionally being open for nighttime emergency shelter will necessitate the IRC to operate on a 24 hour basis for the immediate future.  In preparation for the Emergency Shelter opening,  we are asking for community support at this time to help us purchase cots and bedding. #communityworks

Please consider supporting this emergency funding campaign here."

This graphic shows the services offered at the IRC:
IRC Services
This graphic shows a snapshot of what they did in January 2014 - pretty incredible, right?!

Interactive Resource Center snapshot - January 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

UNCG Memory Development Lab and DUCK Lab recruiting parents and children

The Memory Development Lab at UNCG collaborates with the DUCK (Development and Understanding of Children's Knowledge) Lab, another developmental lab at UNCG, to create potential opportunities for recruitment. They are a non-profit research center dedicated to the study of children’s social and cognitive development, located in the Eberhart Building at University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Our research provides insight about children’s skill and strategy development that informs educational curricula and interventions. Our studies investigate how young children develop control over their thoughts and behavior. This skill enables them to understand concepts at a deeper level and to act appropriately in many contexts. For example, we are interested in how children decide if a person is good or bad, or whether children benefit from talking to themselves.

We are also interested in how children of different ages learn about past events. To do so, we might ask children to study pictures on a computer screen, or participate in staged events in the research center. We then ask children questions about the events they experienced. We might also ask families and children to visit a local museum and take photographs. We then ask children about the events they experienced at the museum using their photographs. All of our studies involve fun games that children 
typically enjoy.

Participants in our studies are volunteers in the Greensboro community who generously offer their 

time to help us run our studies. We greatly appreciate the support that we have received from each and every parent and child in the Greensboro community!

Parents and their children are very important for their research to be successful. The studies investigate how young children develop control over their thoughts and behavior, and how children of different ages remember past events. The studies are designed to be similar to games and try to provide us insight in social and cognitive development.

From the brochure:
A typical visit to the center will begin with one of the researchers greeting you at the parking lot across from the Eberhart Building on Walker Avenue (just past Tate Street). We will have a complimentary parking pass for you. A quick elevator ride to the fifth floor will take us to the center, where we have a fun waiting room for you to relax in while your child (and their siblings) play.

During a typical session, your child will be asked to participate in short games with the researcher, such as playing with a new toy, following instructions to complete a task, or answering questions about different scenarios.

The sessions include breaks and are designed to be fun for your child. They are typically 20-45 minutes long. At the very end, your child will be given a prize as a token of our appreciation!

If you would like to be contacted about specific studies or to learn more please visit:
uncg.edu/~mdlab/signup - You can decide if you would like to participate once we contact you with more information.

In case you want more information, both labs have websites: http://www.uncg.edu/~mdlab and http://www.uncg.edu/~s_marcov/

If I sign up to participate, can I still say no based on my availability?
Of course! If you give us your information, we will contact you about specific studies. You can always let us know that you are busy and we will try again in the future when you are available.

Will I be compensated?
Your child will receive a snack and a small prize (e.g., toy; book) in all of our studies. A few of our studies offer monetary compensation.

Will I have to pay for parking?
No, a researcher will greet you once you arrive and you will be given a parking spot and a free parking pass near the building.

How long are the studies?
When we schedule the appointment, we will let you know how long the study will be. Studies can last between 20 to 90 minutes.

Why should I do this?
Your participation helps not only further knowledge of children's social and cognitive development, but also helps graduate and undergraduate students earn their degrees.

Do you do assessment?
We study group patterns in development but we do not diagnose or assess individual children.

What if I cannot come in during regular hours?
We will plan our schedule around yours. We can set up appointments in the evenings and on weekends.

What if we come to the center and my child doesn’t want to play?
We want this to be a FUN experience! Participation is always voluntary and if your child is not in the mood to play with us, we will follow his or her lead and end the session. Your child will get a prize regardless of whether he or she completes our tasks.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Greensboro is GREAT for Families!

Greensboro has a lot to offer people of all ages. I moved to Greensboro for college in 1999, and have been here ever since. I've owned a local business, and started my family. My oldest is in a magnet school through Guilford County School system, and my youngest will join her when she's old enough to attend school. Greensboro really is a great place to raise a family, and we have an abundance of affordable or free options to learn, grow, and play. Many of the people I've met through GSOFamilies are transplants to the Triad area - so what is so appealing about Greensboro? I polled the GSOFamilies Facebook group and have compiled the responses below. You can also view our Best of Greensboro directory for all sorts of family-recommended businesses!

GSOFamilies LOVES Greensboro, North Carolina!

The Greensboro Science Center
The Greensboro Science Center is probably one of the top family attractions in Greensboro. It has several components, which are all included with your admission. The museum is indoors, where kids can learn about dinosaurs, fossils, weather, the human body, and more. Kids Alley is a separate space within the museum for kids to play and explore their imagination. The Carolina SciQuarium has penguins, otters, stingrays, a fishing cat, snakes and fish, turtles, and a shark tank. The Animal Discovery Zoo outside has a petting area at the Friendly Farm, and a touch area in Discovery House, plus an assortment of animals like crocodiles, tigers, wolves, anteaters, gibbons, lemurs, a red panda, wallabys, giant tortoises, and (my personal favorite) the meerkats. Finally, the OmniSphere has a 40' dome ceiling and shows incredible 3D movies (there is an extra fee for the movies).
Tip: You can read a few reviews by local families of the Greensboro Science Center on our Local Outings page http://www.gsofamilies.com/p/local.html

Farmer's Markets
Greensboro has several farmer's markets. You may have heard or read about the growing trend of Eating Local and Buying Local, or Farm to Table. The Piedmont Triad Farmer's Market is open year round, has a booming outdoor/seasonal selection of produce from local farms, and also is home to the Moose Cafe and A.B. Seed Co. This is what we call the "big" farmer's market, but that doesn't mean it's the only one. The Greensboro Farmer's Curb Market is open on Saturdays year-round, and Wednesdays during the warmer months. It is a more intimate location, and can get quite crowded, but also boasts special events like Strawberry Pancake Day, Blueberry Day, Farmer's Appreciation Day, and other events with live music, all for free (of course you pay for the food you eat or buy, but there's no admission charge). There are several other farmer's markets that pop up during the spring, summer, and fall, but these two are the main ones. If you can't make it to the market on a regular basis, many of the farms offer CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) where you can buy a share each week and it will either be delivered to you or to a specific location for pick-up. It is an affordable option for many families, as the prices are extremely good for the quantity of product.

The Parks
Greensboro has a really incredible park system. Greensboro Parks and Recreation manages 170 parks, gardens, and special facilities within the city.  These parks offer everything from summer camps and sports, to environmental programs and outdoor adventures. The parks have recreation centers and shelters for rent for picnics and parties. We have public gardens, the greenway trails, and city lakes to boat, fish, and enjoy. Greensboro even has two free spraygrounds, one at Barber Park and one at Keeley Park that are great summer spots to take the kids. Many neighborhoods in Greensboro have their own park, which helps facilitate neighborhood camaraderie. Furthermore, Guilford County also maintains several parks in the area, offering a variety of activities like swimming, sports, fishing, boating, picnicking, and hiking. The Guilford Courthouse National Military Park is maintained by the National Park Service and is full of history and trails to enjoy.

And not just the weather, either! Between the end of November and beginning of February, an area of downtown Greensboro is turned into a winter wonderland at Winterfest, and features an outdoor ice skating rink with a 100 ft. ice slide, a light bridge for night time skating, snack shack, music, seating for spectators and the opportunity for birthday parties or private party rentals. The Festival of Lights happens in downtown Greensboro at the beginning of December, and is one of my personal favorite family activities in Greensboro. It features carolers, live musicians and entertainment, food trucks, local crafters and businesses, and of course the tree lighting! The Greensboro Holiday Parade is incredible and features floats, marching bands, and the giant Macy's style balloons. Check out our photos from the 2013 parade. You also don't want to miss the balls in the trees in the Sunset Hills neighborhood. The homeowners put up hundreds of lighted balls high in the trees and take collections for local food pantries. It is such at attraction now that they even have a night 5k run/walk!

The Food
Greensboro is home to dozens upon dozens of locally owned, incredible restaurants. Sure, we have our fair share of chain restaurants (who doesn't?) but there are just as many, if not more, local restaurants to get your grub on. There's no way I can cover all of our great eateries in one paragraph, so please feel free to comment on this post with your favorites too! Read the recommendations on our website, too. Some of the notables to Greensboro are Yum Yum Better Ice Cream and Hot DogsNatty Greene's Brew PubM'Coul's Public HouseSushi RepublicSmith Street DinerIron Hen CafeCheesecakes by Alex, and Crafted: The Art of the Taco. Plus, if you're at Friendly Center, don't forget to stop by Great Harvest Bread Company for a slice of bread, and The Juice Shop for a smoothie!

The History
I took a tour of downtown Greensboro through Carolina History and Haunts and thoroughly enjoyed myself while learning more about the history of this town. Greensboro has a LOT of history, from Civil War battles to the Woolworth's Sit-In to protest segregation, the city has been a central location for significant historical dates and movements. The Greensboro Historical Museum has free admission and provides an opportunity to learn about the city. The International Civil Rights Center and Museum is housed in Greensboro, and numerous parks and markers around the city detail specific events and locations marked in history. Just outside of Greensboro is the Old Mill of Guilford, a fully operational, water-powered 18th century grist mill.

Cultural Arts
If you're looking for music, dance, or creative arts, the Greensboro Cultural Center is your destination. Just around the corner is Greenhill, the home for art in NC and home to ArtQuest, an inspiring hands-on art space for exploration and creativity. ArtQuest offers classes, camps, and parties for children. Of course, don't forget the Greensboro Symphony, the Carolina Theatre, and the upcoming Greensboro Performing Arts Center.

Festivals and Entertainment
Greensboro has so many festivals each year that it is hard to remember them all. We already mentioned the Festival of Lights above, and the Holiday Parade. There's also the Fun Fourth, which includes the Freedom Run, Block Party, Parade, Street Festival, and of course music and fireworks. New this year is Juggleboro. Then there's the regular events like First Friday and Around We Go Indie MarketMusic for a Sunday Evening in the Park (MUSEP)Beach Music in the Park, and all the fun that happens at Center City Park like Fitness by the Fountain, Center City Cinema, and Tunes at Noon. The Greensboro Arboretum hosts Summer Solstice, and Bicentennial Garden hosts Parisian Promenade and Art in the Park. One of the cutest events is the Mad Hatter Tea at the O'Henry Hotel - travel through the rabbit hole and enjoy the magical world of Alice in Wonderland. Don't forget about the minor league baseball team, the Greensboro Grasshoppers! This is by no means an all-inclusive list - so please comment on this post with any other festivals and information!

What did we miss? Please comment or email gsofamilies@gmail.com with your additions! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A magical Frozen birthday party with Anna and Elsa

My youngest daughter turns 4 this month, and we had her birthday party celebration yesterday, May 10, 2014. The plan was to have all of our friends join us for a cookout in the backyard, with an extra special surprise appearance by Princess Anna and Queen Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen. The massive downpour right at the start of the party foiled our cookout plans, and we ended up with about 50 people inside our house for the party. It was crowded, but still a lot of fun!

Birthday Girl Lorelei with Princess Anna and Queen Elsa

I found Tale As Old As Time Parties through a friend on Facebook. Gotta love social media! It's two high school girls who dress up as Disney princesses and come to your child's birthday party (or whatever party) and do kiddie makeup, story time, temporary tattoos, photo ops, and autographs. I have to say, it is a completely brilliant business idea and I'm a little envious that two high schoolers thought of it. You can see the girls in their characters here on their website http://www.taleasoldastimeparties.com/#!page3/cee5 and you can definitely tell they are dedicated to this business.

Makeup for the birthday girl

Makeup for the birthday girl

My girls are currently obsessed with the movie Frozen, so Anna and Elsa were the natural choice for our party. I kept their appearance a surprise from the kids, and Anna and Elsa apparently have cell phones because they called me from down the street when they arrived to let me know they were on their way to the party. The price was incredibly reasonable for 1.5 hours and the characters were great at fielding all of the questions a room full of kids can throw at them about every.single.aspect. of the entire movie. The princess and the queen applied makeup to the kids, and helped sing Happy Birthday to my daughter. While the kids (and adults) were eating cake, Anna and Elsa read a story to the kids, and then it was time for temporary tattoos, autographs, and pictures.

A goofy picture with Princess Anna and Queen Elsa

I am so impressed with Tale As Old As Time Parties. Their costumes were phenomenal, and they stayed in character from the time they walked up to the house until after they left. Even their mannerisms, postures, and the way they spoke matched the movie characters. My girls not only believe that Anna and Elsa were here, at our house, to celebrate Lorelei's birthday party...they also believe that I am the absolute coolest and best mom EVER because I knew how to get Anna and Elsa here.

Story time with Anna and Elsa 

Basically, this was THE best birthday party, and Tale As Old As Time Parties made all the difference.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Help Wanted!

As GSOFamilies (and now TriadFamilies) have grown, I am looking for a few volunteers to help me with the groups. Time commitment varies, I have tried to include as much information as possible in this post, but if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me GSOFamilies@gmail.com and we can chat! I firmly believe that this group has grown and thrived because of all of the people involved in making it a supportive, informative, helpful community. If you have a few minutes, or a few hours, to commit to helping the group continue to grow, let's work together!  Ideally I would like to find several volunteers for each position, and I will work with you on training and being part of the team.

POSITION: Event Coordinator

  • Purpose: The purpose of the Event Coordinator is to provide options and activities and events for local families to have the opportunity to meet each other.
  • Duties: The event coordinator will plan and schedule at least one event per calendar month.
  • Time Commitment: One event or activity per month, on an ongoing basis. If you choose to plan additional events, that's fine too!
  • Description: Keep it simple! It can be a family event, an adult event, a moms-only or dads-only event, or really anything you're willing to plan and invite others to attend with you. Our community is unique because we encompass both online interaction and in-person activities. If there's something you like to do on your own with friends, with your significant other, or with your family, and you don't mind inviting others to accompany you, this is the volunteer position for you! What about a day trip to the zoo? A morning at the Science Center? A playdate at the park? Coffee with the girls? Date night with other couples? Girls night out? A trip to the movies? Skating? There's so many possibilities in this area! If you are interested in inviting others to join you at an event you'd be doing anyway, at least once per month, let me know! GSOFamilies@gmail.com (Note: Events will be shared across GSOFamilies and TriadFamilies sites)

POSITION: Online Discussion Facilitator
  • Purpose: The purpose of the Online Discussion Facilitator is to encourage conversation and discussion in our online forums at www.TriadFamilies.com
  • Duties: The online discussion facilitator will log into the forums and help encourage conversation and discussion by posting new topics, replying to others' posts, and generally helping keep the forum active. 
  • Time Commitment: A few minutes each day, several days a week, should be more than sufficient to ensure the forum conversation and discussions are thriving
  • Description: If you have a few minutes each day and enjoy reading and posting in forums, this is the position for you! Simply take a few minutes to reply to posts on the forums, start new posts, and generally help the conversations flow. If you see something questionable or a thread starts to turn into a debate, please alert an admin.  If you are interested in being part of the TriadFamilies team as an online discussion facilitator, let me know! GSOFamilies@gmail.com
POSITION: Pinterest Pinner
  • Purpose: The purpose of the Pinterest Pinner is to pin relevant and applicable pins and information for the Greensboro and Triad area to the GSOFamilies pinterest board.
  • Duties: The Pinterest Pinner is responsible for pinning new posts to the GSOFamilies Pinterest board at least once a week. 
  • Time Commitment: A few minutes each week
  • Description: If you're a fan of using Pinterest, this volunteer position is for you! You'll be added to the GSOFamilies group board, and can pin information relevant to families in the Greensboro and Triad area. Email me with interest! GSOFamilies@gmail.com
POSITION: Guest Blogger
  • Purpose: The purpose of the Guest Blogger is to submit short reviews and personal experiences with attractions and events in the Triad area and elsewhere for inclusion on our website under the Travel or Local Outings headings. 
  • Duties: Guest Bloggers can submit as many or as few posts as they wish, at any time interval. 
  • Time Commitment: The amount of time to write one post (you can see examples on www.GSOFamilies.com just click on Travel or Local Outings)
  • Description: If you enjoy sharing your experiences and opinions with others, this is the position for you. The time commitment is minimal - just visit a local park, attraction, event, etc. and write a short post about your family's experience. Or, if you take a day trip or a vacation, write about your adventures - including where you stayed and what you did. Families are ALWAYS looking for personal recommendations! Email me with interest - GSOFamilies@gmail.com

I will also be looking for assistance with events, marketing, and charitable drives at various times throughout the year. If you have ideas or a desire to work on a larger-scale project for the community, please contact me so we can chat and brainstorm!

Many many thanks!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snow Cream Recipes

As we're preparing to be hit with several inches of snow, here are some snow cream recipes I've collected from various sources online. I grew up in Cleveland and never even heard of Snow Cream until I moved to NC - I might need to try this with my kids today!

How do YOU make snow cream? Share your recipes, comments, and add-ins as a comment!

Some suggestions I've read:

  • Add in chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or sprinkles
  • Use food coloring to change the color
  • Use different flavorings in place of (or in addition to) vanilla
  • Use chocolate milk instead of regular milk
  • Top with syrups or candy
  • Use almond milk, coconut milk, or other alternative milk instead of cow milk
  • Sweeten with maple syrup or honey instead of sugar

Snow Cream Recipes

Snow Cream I (makes 4 servings)
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 gallon snow
Directions: In a large bowl, combine evaporated milk, eggs, vanilla and sugar until smooth. Gradually stir in snow until mixture reaches desired consistency. Eat at once.

Snow Cream II (makes 8 servings)

  • 1 gallon snow
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk
Directions: When it starts to snow, place a large, clean bowl outside to collect the flakes. When full, stir in sugar and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency. Serve at once.

Snow Cream III (makes 6 servings)

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 gallon clean fresh snow
Directions: Stir sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually stir snow into milk mixture until your desired consistency is reached.

Snow Cream IV (makes 8-10 servings)
  • 8 cups snow, or shaved ice
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions: Place snow or shaved ice into a large bowl. Pour condensed milk over and add vanilla. Mix to combine. Serve immediately in bowls.

Snow Cream V (makes 4 servings)
  • 1 cup half and half or milk
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar (adjust to your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 to 6 cups clean, freshly fallen snow
Directions: In a large bowl combine half and half, vanilla extract and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Stir in snow, a cup at a time, until the ice cream magically forms! Freeze for several minutes if desired before serving.

Happy Snow Day!

How do YOU make snow cream? Share your recipes, comments, and add-ins as a comment!

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