School is officially back in session. I’m thrilled to send my daughter off to school (with a mask of course) but the next logistical challenge is already upon us. We have all of two weeks before the first teacher work-day and it’s time to line up our track-out and day camp options. I’ve listed some of our favorite track-out options. Did we miss anything? Let us know!
Locations in Raleigh, Cary, and Wake Forest
Full and half-day options
Activities: Ice skating, hockey, arts and crafts, STEM, Team-building activities
Activities: Driving skills, basketball, arts and crafts, games and team-building, weekly inflatables and wall-climbing, fields trips to swimming, bowling, ice-skating and more
Activities: Math, physics, chemistry, engineering, technology, coding, and more
Activities: Swimming, games, sports, arts and crafts
Full and half-day options
Activities: skill-building lessons, confidence- and team-building games, and more
Activities: hands-on, play-based learning enrichment in activity rooms, play in the museum, and join in active outdoor play
Half and full-day options
Activities: Gymnastics, Legos, Arts and Crafts
Activities: Games, team-building, ninja warrior skill-building
Sensory bins, aside from just being good fun, come with a whole host of benefits for our kiddos. By engaging all the senses in play, sensory bins encourage cognitive development, enhance memory, build vocabulary, and strengthen fine and gross motor skills. Additionally, it introduces the concept of cause and effect and provides ample opportunities for experimental play, problem-solving, and logical thinking.
What’s better than all these wonderful benefits?! The kids love a good sensory bin and it’s a great way to keep them busy during the dog days of summer. So grab your bins and take advantage of these simple ideas. We highly recommend you enjoy these bins outside so that you can fully enjoy the fun your kids are having and not stress about the mess. Just me?
Work Site - Fill a bin with dirt and construction vehicles.
Car Wash - Once the kids have played with their worksite sensory bin, fill a second bin with soapy water and sponges.
Ice Table - Ice and a bit of water. My kids enjoy bringing out the paint and paintbrushes for this one too.
Science Table - Fill a bin with baking soda and give the kids droppers and little cups of vinegar.
Bubble Foam - 2:1 ratio of water to bubble bath. Mix on high with a blender and fill your bins.
Under the Sea - Fill a bin with water, plastic fish, and glitter just for fun. Give the kids nets or even just a strainer from the kitchen.
Edible Sand - ½ C. Corn Meal, ½ C. Flour, 1 Tbsp Oil, 1 Tbsp corn syrup, small sand toys. Find the recipe here.
Shaving Cream Marbleizing - Shaving cream and food coloring. Give the kids a toothpick or wooden skewer and let them make shapes and designs in the shaving cream.
Watermelon - Give the kids a half a watermelon and a melon baller. Have a bowl on the side for their little melon balls. A snack and an activity all in one.
The possibilities with sensory bins are endless. Let us know what your favorites are.
Keywords: sensory bin, toddler activities, fine motor skills, sensory play, cognitive development, water table
When I stay on top of meal planning, it significantly reduces stress and my mental load. So with that being said, I’ve compiled a list of Meal Planning Apps and websites that will hopefully ease some of your mental load. But first, a couple of things to note when choosing the right meal planning tool for you:
Make sure they cater to the right diet (quick and healthy, kid-friendly, vegan, gluten free etc.)
Some apps and websites are free, or offer a free trial
Solid menu and recipe variety (my kids definitely protest repeated meals so I’m all for the quick and easy solutions)
Automatically generated shopping lists
Without further ado:
Our Favorite Meal Planning Tools For Your Busy Family
An add-on to the Cozi Family Organizer, we like this app for the ability to import recipes from the web. If you already use the family planner, you can easily add recipes, make a shopping list and add everything to your weekly calendar. Another wonderful feature is “cooking mode” which will keep your phone or tablet awake so you don’t have to track down your recipe with raw chicken on your hands!
We like Mealime for the ability to personalize your meal plans. They can accommodate tons of different dietary preferences and even note allergies. Even better, you can tell the app which foods you don’t like. An unpopular opinion, I can’t stand bananas and any recipe that features bananas immediately gets chucked. It’s nice that the app does the pre-screen so you don’t have to. You can also choose serving size and how many meals you intend on cooking each week.
This free service has an extensive recipe collection and caters to many different dietary restrictions and food preferences. Yummly has partnered with Instacart so when you plug in your zip code, they autogenerate a shopping list broken down by store isle. Even if you’re not using Instacart to deliver your groceries, your shopping trip is insanely efficient. No more doubling back because you forgot to pick up that one item from the other side of the produce section!
Like others, Pepper Plate allows you to import and sort recipes and auto generates your grocery list. What’s special about this app is their “Cook Now” feature. This tool lets you set up multiple timers to keep track of everything you're making. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find your head spinning from the 4 different timers, not remembering why Alexa is yelling at you.
This free service focuses on healthy eating and unlike other apps, also offers breakfast and lunch options. What sets this tool aside is the focus not just on dietary preferences, but customizing meals for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, digestive health and more.
With both free and paid options, there are two features I love about Big Oven. First, you can take a pic of your family recipes and can upload it into your recipe collection. Second, leftovers! Big Oven has a feature in which you select up to three leftover ingredients and they will make recipe suggestions based on what’s hanging out unused in your fridge. So cool.
I signed up for my first Body Well session (back then it was Body Back) when my oldest was a year old. Hands down the best habit I got from it, aside from a new-found love for exercise, is meal planning. Last week my plans changed suddenly and I found myself without a plan for dinner one day. My stress levels were infinitely higher than normal that day and I wish that were an exaggeration.
Every family meal plans differently and what matters most is finding a routine that works for you. Every Sunday morning, I sit down with my coffee and a whiteboard that lives on my fridge. I scroll through Pinterest (I’m a little crazy when it comes to organizing my boards) or favorite cookbooks (loving SkinnyTaste right now) and decide what to serve each day. Only on weekdays because heck, someone else can worry about dinner on the weekend. I personally aim for one or two days with chicken, one with beef, and 2 vegetarian days. Taco Tuesdays (Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas) are a big hit as is build your own flatbread pizza night. With a menu set, I can create my shopping list and then use the online shopping services provided by Sam’s Club and Harris Teeter. I schedule pickups for Monday and we’re set for the week.
This routine works for my family and it’s so beneficial to find something that works for you. My method is admittedly low-tech. It’s a white board menu and then paper and pen to write out my shopping list. Without fail, I will forget necessary items without the list. It also prevents me from impulse purchases which the bank account likes.
What does your meal planning routine look like? Stay tuned for the next post in which I share some of my favorite meal planning apps and tools!
Ok, real talk mamas. I’ve got 3 kids and figuring out tricks to keep the toddler busy while tethered to a nursing baby is no easy feat. Yes, I have walked around the house nursing the baby while opening an apple sauce or disconnecting stubborn lego blocks. I can say with absolute certainty that it is neither graceful nor effective as inevitably both the toddler and the infant will feel slighted.
So I share with you, in my infinite wisdom, some tricks I’ve picked up along the way to keep older children happy while still bonding with and keeping the tiny human paperweight alive.
Tricks to Entertain Your Toddler While Nursing
If you’ve got a toddler at home with you, mindlessly scrolling through your phone or catching up on Netflix are not options. But there is a way to bond with both kiddos at once.
Keep a basket of favorite books next to your nursing chair. Enjoy some quiet story time together. My kids love to help by holding the books and turning the pages while my hands are full. Fair warning - you may get a little dizzy following the words in a book held by a toddler.
Ask the toddler to help you. Intentionally leave the water bottle on the other side of the room and ask them to go get it for you. It can be their job to keep you hydrated. Hydration is so important while nursing so if this doesn’t work with your kiddo, pick a different object to try it with or just skip this suggestion.
Have toddler accessible snacks on a low shelf. My kids were always somehow starving the minute I sat down to nurse. The apple sauce and fruit are always kept within reach. This has had the added bonus of me not having to get up even if I’m not tethered down by a baby.
Play games like “I Spy” or “Silly ABCs”.
Have other activities ready to go nearby. My daughter loves to color so I make sure that the crayons and coloring page are right there so she can entertain herself and still have me to talk to.
Encourage nurturing play. Have dolls or toys and little tea towels that your big kid can “put to bed” or nurse while you’re taking care of baby.
Have a special box of quiet toys that you pull out only when nursing. Felt books, soft blocks or even Magnatiles. Sensory bins are great too. If the weather is nice, consider a bucket of ice in the backyard while you nurse in the shade. Another fun outdoors one is giving the kiddos a spray bottle of water and a towel to clean.
Practice meditation and deep breathing with your little one. My daughter’s favorite is to breathe in the scent of a flower and blow out a candle. Helps both of us relax!
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you can maintain the quiet so baby can get a good meal. I found that the quiet enabled some wonderful bonding with my older kids that may not have happened otherwise.
Are there any tips that have worked for you to entertain your big kid while nursing? Let us know!
Also - if you’re looking for ideas to get out of the house with your toddler and newborn, consider these great indoor play spaces to keep the big one entertained and contained and come see us for Stroller Strides & Stroller Barre!
Keywords: breastfeeding, nursing, newborn, Parenting, Simple Parenting Tricks , toddler, toddler activities, motherhood
Summer is most definitely here and I can’t think of a better way to entertain the kids than a trip to the sprayground. The Triangle has some amazing splash pads in every corner so grab their swimsuits, snacks, and sunscreen and look forward to some solid naps!
Note that pricing for city pools is pretty consistent. Raleigh residents can expect to pay:
$2 - children 12 and under
$4 - ages 13-54
$3 - ages 55+
Located in South Park, this splash pad is well worth the 2$ admission - free for under 2 and FV residents.
One of our absolute favorites, the kids love this splash pad. And if a morning of waterplay wasn’t enough, this park also features 2 playgrounds, a climbing boulder, cute sheep sculptures the kids can climb on and access to a greenway trail.
Located in Wake Forest, this park has a water feature for every age, a playground, and even grills for a barbecue.
Featuring both a lap and recreation pool, a baby pool with a shower tower, and, obviously, a sprayground. Well worth the cost of admission. City pricing.
Home to what might be the largest baby pool I’ve ever seen, our kids love running back and forth between the sprayground and the wading pool. City pricing.
The best part about this spot is that the sprayground and wading pool are right next to each other and not separated by a fence so the kiddos can freely move from one to the other.
A large pool with diving boards, 2 big water slides, and an impressive sprayground, my kids ask for this pool by name. I never hesitate to dish out the admission for this spot. There are also plenty of spots to sit in sun or shade depending on your preference.
Indeed the sprayground is wonderful. I recommend Hill Ridge for the many other family activities and attractions - train rides, a maze, jumping pillows, and animals. On the pricier end but easily a full day that the kids will love.
The 4th of July is just days away, temperatures are rising, and all I want in the morning is a refreshing breakfast to start my day off right. This recipe from FIT4MOM’s Body Well Nutrition Guide & Recipe Book is made even better when you use some delicious blueberries from one of the many U-Pick farms in the area. I intend to use my blueberry haul from Vollmer Farm in Bunn!
Red, White, & Blue Breakfast Parfait
Makes 1 Serving
¼ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup plain yogurt - coconut or dairy-based (non-flavored)
¼ cup raspberries
⅓ cup raw slivered almonds
1 dash ground cinnamon
Add fresh blueberries to the bottom of a clear jar or small bowl
Next, create a layer with yogurt
Top with almonds and cinnamon
Need more information about the Body Well Coaching group, Gather 30-day Meal Plan or other FIT4MOM programs? Check out www.midtownraleigh.fit4mom.com and stay tuned for more healthy summer recipes from FIT4MOM!
Father’s Day is just around the corner. Hopefully you’re not like me and are scrambling to plan something last minute - mom brain is real - but if you are, here are some ideas to celebrate all the Dad’s in your life.
What dad can resist an adorable pic of the little ones? Join us Wednesday June 16th at 10:30 am at Green Hills Park for a DAD photo shoot! Even better, come an hour early and join us for Stroller Strides!
Can’t join us Wednesday? Come for a Father’s Day themed craft after 9am Stroller Strides on Thursday June 17th at NCMA.
If you’re looking to do something at home with the kiddos, I loved this suggestion from one of our stellar Fit4Mom Midtown Raleigh instructors. “Instead of cards we have a notebook that the kids answer questions in every year and trace their hand/ sign their name. It’s been a hit so far and I love that it’s in one place to keep for years to come :)”
Family Sweat Sesh
Bring your baby-daddy to 9 am Stroller Strides at NCMA on Saturday, June 19th and gift him with a fun family sweat sesh on us!
*Bonus Juneteenth Story Time after Stroller Strides in the West building at 1030a that we encourage you to check out.
Family Excursion on the Eno River
A favorite morning in our family is a hike to Bobbit’s Hole followed by a refreshing swim in the Eno and a BBQ lunch just down Cole Mill Rd at Picnic.
Steak of the Month Club
I don’t know about you but we’ve got some serious carnivores in our family. Support a local business and your carnivores with The Butcher’s Market Steak of the Month Club.
Fine Spirits Subscription
Flaviar brings the distillery tasting experience home. Choose from themed Tasting Boxes that will introduce your lucky guy to new, rare, and exciting spirits.
Therabody Natural Health
For a short time only, buy dad a Theragun Pro and get a free Wave Solo. Theragun is a wonderful percussive therapy solution for tension relief used by athletes around the world.
Post Bedtime Date Night
Once the kids are in bed, pour dad a nice glass of whiskey, give him a massage and just enjoy the evening together. Just like we want a break on Mother’s Day, I asked my husband and he said this was his ideal.
No Dad’s in Your Family?
I grew up with a single mom. That meant she got to play mom, dad, and executioner. I kid...sort of. But Father’s Day was never a thing in my house (shout out to the amazing Fit4Mom Midtown Raleigh team for the above suggestions). My mom’s tradition on Father’s Day is to treat herself along with another friend that was also raising her kiddos solo. They would get together for brunch and a movie and give themselves a beyond deserved pat on the back. This obviously works for two-mom families as well! We see you and we love you.
Happy Father’s Day!
Jogging is a great form of exercise. Maintaining good form with a stroller definitely adds some challenges but is critical to preventing injuries. We’ve gathered a few tips so that your jog can be fun, safe, and effective.
When can I start running with my baby?
For starters, most pediatricians & stroller manufacturers recommend waiting till 6-8 months. It’s important that your baby has good neck control. Some, myself included, will run with the car seat plugged into the stroller. This provides the baby with proper head support but does make the stroller top-heavy. If you choose to start running earlier with the car seat adaptor, take it slow and choose flat, straight paths for your runs.
Are there stroller safety features I need to look for?
When running with a stroller, always use the safety strap around your wrist and lock the front wheel. Especially as you’re adjusting to running with a stroller, choose your paths carefully so you can focus on figuring out this new style of running. This should go without saying but always make sure that baby is safely buckled before any run.
What about my form?
While you are pushing the stroller with your arms, the power should really come from your legs and core. Keep your core close to the stroller to prevent yourself from bending forward. Hold on to the stroller with one arm so you can use your free arm to pump as you would during a stroller-free run. Make sure to switch arms regularly.
Is there anything else I need to know?
Give yourself grace. Running with a stroller is an adjustment. Forget pace and focus on good form. It may always feel challenging because the weight you are pushing (.i.e. your baby) is constantly increasing. If you find that your locked front wheel is causing your stroller to bounce, you're likely pressing down on your stroller handle bar and don't realize you're doing it. Try holding the stroller bar from underneath and see if that helps!
What about the kids?
There’s an obvious additional challenge when jogging with the stroller...the kid. You may have to make frequent stops. The baby is crying or the toddler wants a snack or needs to go potty. For starters, bring snacks, a travel potty, and books or toys to keep your kiddo distracted and maybe even a travel white noise maker. If you’re lucky, the rhythmic rocking of your run will put your child to sleep, but that’s not a given. Be prepared. If it’s really hot, consider a stroller fan. If raining, use a rain cover.
A good jog can give you endorphins and energize you for the rest of the day. Hopefully these tips will allow you to maintain a regular jogging routine that will keep you and the kiddos sane.
North Carolina has way more seasons than my family is accustomed to (California transplants) but my absolute favorite is finally here: U-Pick season! My kids love grabbing their baskets and visiting one of the many wonderful u-pick farms. In no particular order, I present to you our favorite U-Pick Farms in the triangle.
I highly recommend following these farms on Facebook as that seems to be where they update their hours and if fields need to close for ripening.
Lyon Farms, Creedmoor
1544 Munns Rd., Creedmoor, NC 27522
Check Facebook for updates.
Summer: Blackberries, Blueberries, Tomatoes, Peaches
Page Farms, Raleigh
6100 Mt. Herman Rd., Raleigh, NC 27617
Check Facebook for updates.
Buckwheat Farm, Apex
2700 Holland Road, Apex, NC 27502.
Check Facebook for updates.
Phillips Farm, Cary
6701 Good Hope Church Rd, Cary, NC 27519
Check Facebook for updates.
The farm also hosts a lovely farmers’ market and has Christmas trees in the winter.
Granny Pearls Farm, Zebulon
7209 Mitchell Mill Rd., Zebulon, NC 27597
Check Facebook for updates.
June and July: Blackberries
July: Blackberries, Peaches
August and September: Pears, Apples, Grapes
Nili Zaharony, FIT4MOM Instructor
One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend morning (when I’m not at Body Boost of course) is on one of the many beautiful hiking trails we have in the Triangle. If you’ve spent even 2 minutes on Facebook, Instagram or Nextdoor recently, you’ll also be aware that the snakes like this season just as much as we do. Perhaps this blog is a way for me to cope with my own personal trauma from last week’s hike but I’d like to share some tips I’ve picked up for hiking during snake season.
What was my own personal trauma you ask? My 3-year-old blissfully unaware of the tap dancing routine he is performing right over a copperhead. We were enjoying a hike from the Shinleaf campsite (a beautiful hike-in campsite at the northern end of Six Forks on Falls Lake). We (a friend, my 5yo, 3yo, and myself wearing the baby) made it all the way down to the water and were making the trek back to the car when I spot a copperhead and ever so elegantly shriek “Aaaahhhh, snake!” It was shear luck that my 3yo didn’t trample this poor sucker. In my son’s defense, he was very well camouflaged.
I am happy to report that we all made it out snake-bite free. The reality is that he didn’t want to bite us anymore than we wanted to be bitten. But we picked up some tips that I want to share in case we happen upon another of these fellows on future hikes.
Stay on the trail (preferably in the middle). Don’t let your kiddos walk into the brush where snakes like to hide out.
Practice playing “Freeze” in random places. The supermarket, at the playground, during bath time. Make it a game so that when you need the kiddos to freeze, they know exactly what to do and don’t proceed to tap dance over a copperhead hours after you’ve yelled “Ahhhh, snake”. Ok, it wasn’t hours but it sure did feel like it. If you prefer, Red Light, Green Light can serve this same purpose.
Always look down when hiking. The view is nice but don’t forget to watch where you’re putting your feet.
Wear closed-toed shoes. The kids may want their sandals, especially on hot days, but trust me that this is a battle worth having. Insist on proper hiking footwear.
What happens if someone gets a snake bite?
Make sure you have a plan in case someone does get bitten. Our plan was for my friend to pick up whichever kid was bitten and run to the car. My job would have been to call 911 and explain the situation while I got the other 2 kids to safety. Then of course a trip to the ER to let the experts take over.
NC's venomous snakes shouldn’t deter you from enjoying the beautiful nature all around us. You just need to be smart and stay alert. Happy hiking!
Keywords: How to Prevent a Snake Bite, Respond to a Snake Bite, what to do if you are bitten by a snake, snake bite, common snakes in nc, venomous snakes, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, bushmaster snake, copperhead snake, copperhead, poisonous snakes
Nili Zaharony, FIT4MOM Instructor & Mom of 3
Your baby is just about baked and it’s time to pack your go-bag. But what the heck do you bring? Everyone is different. I am personally more of a minimalist. My go-bag included a change of clothes, a phone charger, shower supplies, and two outfits for the baby. Others like to come prepared with much more. So here are my best two-cents of what to include so you can be ready to jump in the car when it’s time.
*Disclaimer - my partner packed his own bag and was also in charge of the snacks
Loose fitting Pajamas and 2 nursing bras (pack an extra shirt or two in case baby spits up (or worse) all over you
An outfit to go home in
Baby’s first outfit - I like to bring a newborn and also a 0-3M size since you don’t know how big baby will actually be
Whatever you want for that post-delivery shower (Shampoo, Conditioner, Toothpaste, Hairbrush, etc.)
Snacks (bags of veggies and fruit, pretzels, or whatever can tide you over. The “suitcase” of snacks was far more important for my partner. We also took advantage of the hospital cafeteria. I needed my post-delivery coffee and turkey sandwich.
Phone Charger with a long cord
Nipple cream - the first few days of nursing can be pretty brutal
Face masks...because COVID
Installed car seat - they will not let you go home without this
Glasses and/or contacts if you need them
A robe and slippers
Flip Flops for the shower
Your own pillow
A nursing pillow (Boppy or My Brest Friend are the most popular)
Nursing pads in case your milk comes in early
Zippered sweatshirt in case you get cold that also provides easy access for nursing
Photo props/outfits if you plan on doing a newborn shoot in hospital (check with the hospital if they allow this in the era of COVID)
Comfy socks, preferably non-slip
Small fan (those hormones can give you serious hot flashes!)
A towel - the hospital ones are pretty thin and small
A book - I brought but was honestly too spaced out to even pick it up
Newborn pacifier for baby
AirPods or headphones if you want to listen to music or a podcast and the significant other is passed out
An extra towel in the car in case your water breaks or you’re leaking on the way to the hospital
Depends Silhouette - the hospital will give you disposable underwear but can be itchy for some. Do not be ashamed of the mom diaper. You will be glad you had it.
Soft, high-waisted cotton underwear with a waistband that sits above your incision
Dry Shampoo and face wipes to help you stay fresh without having to get up and down too much
Things You Can Expect from the Hospital
*This list is based off of my Jan 2021 delivery at "big WakeMed" in Raleigh
Witch hazel pads
Perineal bottle (basically a squirt bottle to help clean down there)
Non-slip socks that don’t stay on your feet
Big Wake also had birthing balls. I didn’t use one but could have asked for one.
In case you haven’t yet asked yourself the question (I know I sure didn’t) - how do you take care of yourself? So much of our preparation is for labor and to take care of the baby. Check out this article for tips on how to take care of yourself once baby’s here.
Keywords: packing list, hospital, hospital list, preparing for labor, preparing for birth, hospital stay, hospital go-bag
Being a mama is the hardest job any of us will ever have...so why should we settle for one day when we can have the whole month? May is the Month of Mama and we’ve got tons of opportunities to celebrate you!
May 6th - 9am Stroller Strides with Alessondra followed by a fun Mother’s Day Craft for the kiddos at 10am (North Hills)
May 8th - 9pm Mother’s Day Eve: Live with The Pump & Dump Comedy Show (Online). To get an exclusive discount, enter FIT4MOM at checkout. Get your tickets now!
May 11th - 10am Popsicles at the Park after Stroller Strides (NCMA Park)
*NEW DATE: May 19th - 9:30am Community Stroller Strides. This class is open to the community though advanced registration is required. Bring a friend who is new to Stroller Strides and get free train rides for both of your families! Click here to get started. (Pullen Park)
May 16th - 7pm Moms Night Out: Sunset Yoga (Green Hills County Park). Leave the kiddos at home and bring your yoga mat & water bottle. Register here.
May 23rd - 10am Prenatal FIT4BABY Social with a special guest speaker/doula
May 26th - Playdate at the brand new (Blue Jay Point Playground- time TBD)
May 26th- TOD Talks (use code "Fit4Mom" for a registration discount)
We hope that you can make it to some of these events and let us celebrate you! Don’t forget, if you’re new to FIT4MOM, your first class is free. Come join our village!
Nili Zaharony, FIT4MOM Instructor & mom of 3 littles
We’ve all had that kind of day. The kids are running amok, daycare or school has a teacher prep day, and you still need to do all the things. Indoor play spaces and cafes are one of my favorite modern day inventions as they provide the (little) kids with a change of scene, air conditioning for you, and a little bit of quiet to get through your emails or finish that presentation...or in my case, write this blog. I give bonus points to any indoor play space that also has coffee.
Here’s a list of our favorite indoor play spaces in the Triangle:
In the heart of North Hills, this adorable space entertains the kids, offers opportunities for parents to get expert advice and find communities through activities and events. Be warned however, they have some adorable merchandise for your kiddos and it may be hard to say no.
This little play cafe in North Raleigh has created the perfect environment for kids and adults to learn, play, and be creative. Their Messy Art Studio is a big winner in our house. As I mentioned earlier, I award bonus points to spaces that also have coffee. Little Doodles offers a good cup of Joe along with other beverages, local treats and snacks.
My children ask for Bumble Brews by name. They have play structures, books, and countless opportunities for imaginative play including grocery shopping, play kitchens, doll houses and so much more. This space in Cary has something for every kid. Bonus points awarded for coffee, as well as draft beers, wine, and snacks depending on your mood.
This brand new play space in Cary has lots of room to run around, a custom designed rocket ship play structure, low ropes challenge course, climbing domes, tumbling equipment and even a baby/toddler zone with sensory activities. Bonus points awarded for coffee, drinks, snacks, and wifi.
Wonderful for parents with older kids, the playset and rock wall are geared towards 5-12 year olds. I will award this North Raleigh location bonus points because, while you can’t get coffee there, Sola is on the opposite side of the parking lot with great coffee and the kids will LOVE the mini donuts.
This incredible indoor playground in Cary can entertain my kids for hours. They have trampolines, slides, play structures, games, and more. It is a shoe-free environment so don’t forget your non-skid socks (or you can buy them there for only 2$).
With locations in Durham and Cary, this unique music themed play space is one for the bucket list. Notasium lets your kids bounce, sing, beat, and slide all while making and playing with music. You can also sign your kids up for lessons on the piano, guitar, ukulele, violin, drums, and many other instruments.
In the heart of downtown Raleigh, this museum teaches all about our beautiful state and has something for every kid, from dinosaurs to the bottom of the sea. Our family’s favorite is the butterfly exhibit.
Make sure you call ahead for any of these venues as most require reservations in order to minimize the amount of people and keep us all safe in this Covid world.
Keywords: Indoor Play, Family Friendly, Play Cafe in Raleigh, Indoor playground Raleigh NC, Indoor play Raleigh, Indoor Play Cary, Indoor Play Area
Nursing a baby is hard work. Staying hydrated, being on call 24/7, finding a wardrobe that makes you feel good and provides the support you need are challenges every nursing and pumping mom face. Your sports bra shouldn’t be another obstacle in your day. We all know just getting out of the house is hard enough! We’ve compiled a list of our favorite nursing-friendly sports bras and the best places to get them in the Triangle.
The key to a good nursing sports bra? Adjustable straps that allow you to both nurse or pump whenever you need and also easily adjust the cup size based on the amount of milk you may have at any given moment.
These are by far my favorite. I’d heard about them for ages before biting the bullet and buying one. It was the first time I realized I didn’t need to wear two sports bras for proper support! Three styles, in particular, are very nursing-friendly; Juno, Fiona, and Rebound Racer.
Where you can find them:
Adjustable in what seems like every way possible, some of our moms swear by SheFit. The price tag is definitely worth it. I have yet to see these in person but they have a handy quiz on their website to help you find the right fit.
Keywords - nursing sports bra, best nursing sports bra, nursing bra, breastfeeding sports bra, sports bra for nursing moms, nursing sports bras in Raleigh
Nili Zaharony, FIT4MOM Instructor
Why is it that everyone talks about baby milestones but no one talks about mom milestones? This question popped into a WhatsApp chat with my cousin. We chat almost every day now since our babies are one month apart (her first and my third). For the first time this week, she left the house and met up with a couple of other new moms for a park playdate. She sat on the ground without any support getting down and managed to get up on her own with baby girl in her arms. She also fed and changed her diaper at the park. It’s not often talked about but these little wins are HUGE!
Being a mom is hard. Being a first-time mom is a shock to the system only made harder if you’ve had a rough pregnancy and/or delivery and recovery. Oh and let’s throw a pandemic into the mix too.
New mom self care is so often overlooked in favor of baby. Consider the frequent visits to the pediatrician as compared to mom’s one 6-week postpartum visit that most often lasts a whopping 5 minutes. But mama, you matter. And so without further ado, here are some tips for you new Raleigh moms looking to take care of yourself and build your mama village.
Mommy and Me Stroller Strides Workout - I joined FIT4MOM after baby #1 and it was a game-changer. It introduced me to some amazing moms who were all either going through the same thing or had been there and could support me through those crazy days. It gave me a good workout, some Vitamin D, and a routine.
WakeMed Hospitals Birth and Family Classes - A variety of classes for new and expectant parents can help answer all those questions you have as a new mom and introduce you to other families. Information has always been key to alleviating my own anxiety.
Triangle Area Parenting Support - This non-profit organization aims to connect, inform and empower parents by facilitating inclusive, research-based, non-judgemental support programs.
HER Health Collective - This dynamic social community brings together moms from all over the triangle and offers a wide range of women’s health experts, mom’s nights in and out, family playdates, book clubs, and more.
Emerald Doulas - With a variety of new mom groups for every type of family, Emerald Doulas comes highly recommended and postpartum doulas can provide some much-needed mom time.
It can be challenging to find time and ways for self care as a new mom and they don’t have to be big. Stick baby in the stroller and go for a walk with a friend (or even just a favorite playlist), grab a cup of coffee, pass baby off to your partner/friend/neighbor and read a book or catch the latest episode of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (if you haven’t seen this, go watch it now. We’ll wait). Whatever fills your cup. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else.
Keywords: New Mom Self Care, Self-care as a new mom, Mommy and Me class in Raleigh, Triangle Moms
The weather is beautiful, trees are blooming, and Easter is upon us. This is my favorite time of year for so many reasons, not least of which is the amount of family-friendly events in the Triangle that my kids are genuinely excited about. This year, strange though it may be, is giving us so much to look forward to and I’m here to share our favorite family events in the Triangle with you.
Please note that most events require advanced reservations in order to maintain proper social distancing and ensure a fun and safe time for your family.
Spring Haven Farm (Chapel Hill) - Egg Hunts with Goats, because everything in life is better with goats. Happening through April 4th, children 3 and under are free and all others are $13.50. Advanced tickets are required but book ASAP because they fill up fast!
Raleigh Parks Scavenger Hunts - Special egg hunts will be offered from Dawn to Dusk everyday through April 5th at 3 Raleigh Community Centers. Pick up a sheet at the front door and enjoy scavenger hunts in search of wooden eggs. Then submit your answers online for a chance to win a prize! Scavenger hunts will be held at Abbots Creek Community Center, Biltmore Hills Community Center, and Tarboro Road Community Center. Events are free and no registration is required.
Hoppy Easter at Old Mill Farm (Durham) - April 1-4, enjoy a 90 minute visit with a giant easter egg hunt and socially distanced visits with the Easter Bunny. Advanced tickets are required and in high demand so reserve now!
Echo Church Egg Hunt and Celebration (Raleigh) - On April 3rd from 11-2, enjoy an Egg hunt and celebration including over 1000 eggs, bike giveaways, free prizes, a raffle, games, kids rides, food and more. The event is free but advanced registration on Facebook is required.
Resurrection Egg Hunt (Raleigh) - Enjoy an egg hunt, games and crafts on April 3rd from 10:30-12 with the Glory of God Christian Fellowship and Athens Drive Baptist Church.
Kid’s Easter Celebration (Clayton) - CandyLand in the Garden on Main Street in Clayton will hold its Easter Celebration from 11-4 on April 3rd. This event will feature the Easter Bunny, live chicks and an egg hunt.
Egg Drop Car Hop (Wake Forest) - On April 3rd, visit Joyner or Flaherty Park where staff will be handing out bags with Easter eggs, crafts and trinkets. These events are free but parents must register for a time slot and sign up separately for each child. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for the Easter Bunny.
Easter Sunday Skate (Raleigh) - United Skates of America will hold a special Easter Sunday Skate on April 4th, including pizza and an egg hunt. Tickets are $15 and must be purchased in advance. They are also hosting an Easter Sunday adult night if you’re looking for a fun post-bedtime activity.
Mordecai Historic Park Scavenger Hunts and take home egg hunt kit - Enjoy a scavenger hunt and take home an egg hunt kit filled with prizes, activities, and your own egg, available in the visitor center through April 3rd. The park is closed on Easter Sunday but “Scavengers” are still invited to hunt.
Pop-up StoryWalk at Walnut Street Park (Cary) - Walk the trail around Walnut Street Park while reading pages from the book “Llama Llama Easter Egg” by Anna Dewdney. The story walk will be available through April 11th.
Easter or not, my favorite way to start the weekend is with a good workout. Check out some Easter weekend classes on Saturday morning at the NC Art Museum Park to energize body and mind before you take on the holiday weekend. You can pick from Body Boost (Mom only) or Mommy and Me Stroller Strides for your littles.
Gather is FIT4MOM's newest tool to help families meal plan and cook healthy meals that the whole family will eat! This 30 day family meal plan is a bite-sized nutrition program that teaches moms healthy habits to implement into everyday life, for the whole family. It was created by our FIT4MOM registered dietician who is also a mom herself!
The program includes a 30-day calendar with daily challenges to encourage healthy habits, 30 recipes you can make in 30 minutes or less, weekly shopping lists, healthy grocery shopping and meal prep tips and follow along cooking demonstrations.
Find out more here!
Keeping the family fed with healthy foods is a full time job! I find that a little prep goes a long way in taking the stress out of making healthy meals happen. Serve this recipe from FIT4MOM’s Body Back Nutrition Guide and Recipe book with a big serving of your favorite steamed veggies and a 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa, rice or cauliflower rice for a colorful, filling and healthy meal that the whole family will love.
Honey Balsamic Chicken
1 lb chicken breasts or thighs, skinless & boneless
1 gallon-size zip-top bag
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
Place chicken in zip-top bag. In small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour into zip-top bag with chicken, squeeze air from bag and seal. Shake or massage bag to coat well. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Grill over medium heat for four to five minutes per side or bake at 375 degrees for 30 min or until cooked through.
BIO: Missy Currin is mom to three and is the owner of FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh. FIT4MOM offers fitness and community for all stages of motherhood. Find out more and get a free trial class here.