Category Archives: Parents

4th of July Ideas

It is hard to believe July 4th is this weekend!  Wow, summertime is flying by so quickly.  Thought I would share some of our weekend adventures we have planned.   We are going to miss a great event: West Jefferson’s Christmas in July.

July 3rd, Thursday “Plans”

We are going to have a relaxed day at Honey Bear Campground!  For $10 ($5 per kiddo) we can spend the entire day at Honey Bear and enjoy their fun activities.  Come on out and join us, we have room on the grill.

12:00 pm, Family Menchies treat

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1:00 pm to 3 pm, Water Tower Time at Honey Bear Campground

3 pm to 5 pm, Art in the Park at Honey Bear Campground

5:30 pm, Family Cook Out at Honey Bear Campground

Here are some recipes for a yummy July 4th!!

App Summer Festival also has some excellent events!

July 4th, Friday “Plans” –

Wake Up and Celebrate the 4th of July with Kiddos (activities, books and traditions)

11:00 am, Downtown Boone Parade 

(also going on: 11:00 am, Todd’s Parade, 11:00 am, Banner Elk 4th of July Parade)

12:00 pm, Watermelon and Cake at the Jones House

2:00 pm, Grill Smores’ at Valle Crucis Park and play in the River

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9:00 pm, Tweetsie Railroad Fireworks

(also going on: 5:00 pm, Bethel Blast – this event is FULL of FUN!!,  7:00 pm, Music in the Valle – a more relaxed venue, )

Saturday “Plans” –

8:00 am, Watauga Farmers Market

10:00 am, Honey Bear Campground Holiday Happenings

12:00 pm, Honey Bear Campground Parade (bring your bike / dress up in your favorite 4th attire and join in the fun)

2:00 pm, Blowing Rock Independence Day Parade (Climbing Tower and Bounce Obstacle Course actually starts at 11:00 am to 4:30 pm)

5:00 pm, Mountain Radio, Bluegrass Concert, Honey Bear Campground – Going to be a blast!

6:00 pm, Cool Summer Nights, Tweetsie Railroad

8:30 pm, Honey Bear Campground has two Great Movies – ET & Monsters inc.  Only $5 per car, show up at 6:00 pm, cook out on your grill and then enjoy the movie!  You can also buy smores and roast them on the open fires.  Such a great tradition!

9:30 pm, Blowing Rock Fireworks at the Blowing Rock Country Club

*You may also want to spend the afternoon at Westglow Resort beginning at 5:30 pm or Horn In The West or just found out about The Crestwood Resort & Spa – they are having a Low Country Boil, BBQ, Corn on the Cob, check it out

Whew!  I am excited and exhausted already!  I believe Sunday we will spend on the lawn of Moses Cone Manor with a family picnic!!

What are your family’s 4th of July plans or traditions?  We would love to hear from you!  Subscribe here to stay up to date with HC Mom!

Enjoy our amazing area and have fun with your family growing up on the Blue Ridge Parkway!

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Riverfest: Valle Crucis Park

This past weekend was the 14th annual Riverfest at Valle Crucis Park. It was our first time attending this event but will now be adding it to our list of annual festivities!  Typically, when people inform me of family festivals or grand openings it translates to me as AVOID that location on that day. That being said, Valle Crucis is an incredible host sight for an event. There is so much room to spread out that you never feel claustrophobic or worry about losing sight of your kids.

            The festival was filled with hands-on activities and information for both youth and adults about the benefits of keeping our rivers clean and healthy as a community. Presented by Watauga River Partners, it was great to see the wide variety of non-profit organizations and local businesses come together to teach and advocate on behalf of the natural resources we are blessed with in the High Country. In the hopes of raising my children to be passionate about the outdoors, it is important for me to then extend that passion to preserving it.

            Some favorite take-away moments included the children’s watermelon eating contest for children 12 and under.

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One of my favorite parts of this picture is the “I Love Mountains” temporary tattoo on his arm they gave him at the festival.

 On the other side of the park, River and Earth Adventures (www.raftcavehike.com) provided free tubes for those who wanted to float down the section of the river within the park. I became friends with the owner of the company (Grant Seldomridge) back when I worked with Appalachian State Outdoor Programs in my college years. He and his wife run a stellar business if you are looking for a guided adventure!

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Not sure what YOUR preferences are in a park, but Valle Crucis is at the top of my list.

Well, Valle Crucis and Price Park…

And Wildcat Lake…

And Rocky Knob.

If you haven’t discovered these places yet, I will be happy to introduce you in my future blog posts. I don’t know about you, but I was a little overcome when Summer Solstice came and went the other day. It serves as a reminder to utilize and make the most of our incredible summers and be outside as much as we possibly can!!!

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A special shout out to my awesome friend and local photographer Alicia Greene who took the amazing shots included in this post.   She specializes in outdoor/action photography and is AWESOME with kids!

Her website is aliciaverde.tumblr.com and her email is alicia.verde.photography@gmail.com if you want to contact her for a family session in your favorite outdoor place!

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“Real life is the good stuff, photographically and realistically. When I am given the opportunity to photograph families, I really love being able to find the real moments and bring those to the light. Watching kids navigate the world is one of the great gifts of adulthood. It is also rich to them. It adds richness to our lives. Photography doesn’t have to be complicated to be powerful or professional. My hope is to use my camera to find the real stuff in life and let others know it’s out there. I would love to have the chance to tell your real life story. ”  Alicia Greene

Internet Safety

Child safety (little ones and teenagers) is important to me (and you). It is something I hold very near to my heart.  I will try to keep it light(-:  Please share some of these tips with your family and friends.  You might save a life and a fragile soul.  After you read, I encourage you to share your safety tips.

 More than 550 victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation have been identified by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents in the first eight months of fiscal year 2014.  These are a few tips they have shared with us:

TIPS FOR PARENTS:

  • Talk to children about Internet predators and whether they have ever been approached online. Visit Netsmartz.org for conversation starters on a variety of topics.
  • Keep the computer in a common area of the house, but don’t forget that online technology is also available on cell phones, laptops, tablets and gaming devices.
  • Set limits for what sites can be visited and have your children show you what sites they are frequently visiting.
  • Recognize signs of victimization and grooming. If your child has become withdrawn and isolated from friends and family, you find inappropriate material on the computer or mobile device, or if your child is communicating or receiving money or gifts from an unknown person.
  • Ask them to tell you if anything makes them feel scared, confused or uncomfortable. Let them know that online sexual exploitation of children is a crime and that it should be reported to law enforcement.
  • Encourage them to report cyber bulling, not just when it happens to them but when they see others being bullied as well.

TIPS FOR KIDS:

  1. Never share pictures of yourself online that you wouldn’t want seen by your family, teachers or a total stranger.
  2. Don’t respond to offensive content and don’t forward images or info that might hurt or embarrass someone.
  3. Don’t accept friend requests from strangers. Change your passwords regularly so strangers can’t find you.
  4. Set user profile to private so only real friends can get access. Know who you’re chatting with – a “friend” is not always a friend.
  5. Don’t share personal information online like your full name, school, address or phone number, or user passwords.
  6. Remember that anything posted online lives on forever and can be shared with anyone anywhere in the world.
  7. Stop the harassment. Treat people online as you would in person and don’t be mean or rude. Report cyber bullying to a trusted adult.
  8. Tell an adult if someone makes you feel uncomfortable by their actions or words. If you suspect online “stalking,” sexual exploitation, or other suspicious behavior, report it to law enforcement.
  9. Don’t meet up in person with anyone you met online.
  10. Check your privacy settings on social media sites frequently, as they can reset due to site updates.

Family Time on the New River

Our most recent camping trip was at the New River State Park the weekend of the New River Canoe Race. We have owned a canoe for the past two years and have enjoyed introducing the kids to moving water. We joined two other families at a group campsite at the New River State Park take-out and all got on the river the following day

.New River State Park Group Campsite

Between our three families, there were 10 children all under the age of 13. The group site worked out great because it provided A LOT of room for the kids to play and run around. (Group camping reservation has a minimum of 14 people and a maximum of 45 people) Which is awesome. They slept HARD that night but Ellie still needed to catch up on her sleep during the canoe ride down the river the next day.

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This was our first river trip in which our son, Caleb, would be paddling solo in his own kayak. He had attended roll clinics in a pool before but we knew the first time in moving water would be telling whether he would take a liking to the sport or not. The New River stretch from Zaloo’s to the New River State Park takeout is about a 5 mile stretch with nothing over class 1 rapids. It’s shallow clean water that is great for families. There are also other great stretches of the New River that are great for exploring too and outfitters that can provide all the gear and shuttle assistance you need.
Like anything else with young children, the key to success is a lot of snacks. There is a lot of relaxing and listening /watching wildlife and jumping in and out of the canoe for swim breaks. Caleb did great in his kayak but still needed to take breathers in the canoe and have snacks as well. In that case, we just used a line to attach the kayak to float behind the canoe.
On this stretch of river, we have found a great little lunch island just a bit up from the take-out.

 

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The kids get obsessed with this island because they (sadly) find lots of broken glass pieces from bottles that have been sanded down by the water.  They spend very little time eating and most time collecting their favorite glass pieces and convincing butterflies not to fly away from them.  We used the glass pieces from this last trip to contribute to a Fathers Day craft project.

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It was another great weekend spending time as a family! The next event we are looking forward is Riverfest being hosted in Valle Crucis from 11am-3pm this coming Saturday June 21st. Check out all the fun activities planned for this event on the HighCountryMom.com website!

Outfitters for New River float trips: Zaloo’s Canoes in Jefferson, NC; River Girl Fishing in Todd, NC. Checkout camping and river information on the New River State Park website!

The Mystery Behind Tweetsie and Moses Cone Manor

Our family loves Tweetsie and Moses Cone Manor.  Our first year at Tweetsie Railroad, we were in the Gift Shop and noticed they were selling the movies: Mandie and the Secret Tunnel,and Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure.  We decided to check them out on Amazon. Neat fact for kids of all ages, Mandie and the Secret Tunnel was filmed in part at Tweetsie Railroad and Moses Cone Manor.  What kid does not love looking for “secret tunnels?”  During June, July and August, you and your explorers can take a “behind the scenes” tour of the Manor!!! After you all watch the movies, let me know if a hike at Moses Cone or Trout Lake looks a little different.  It is excited to think you are walking in the same footsteps as Mandie did many years ago. Both movies are also Dove Approved.

Yummy, Late Night Cookie Delivery….

Moms, did you know there is a cookie company in Boone that will deliver warm cookies and milk right to your front door?  Yes they will deliver in Boone!  They offer yummy gluten free options and fair trade coffee!  Maybe you want some yummy cookies for your next birthday party, they cater(-:
Just thought everyone needed to know(-:  Visit www.appcookieco.com to place a delicious order.

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Strawberry Pickin’ Time

strawberries It is Strawberry Pickin’ Time in the High Country.  There are numerous yummy places to start pickin.  We have taken our kids since they were 6 months old.  There is not anything any better than picking your own strawberries and taste testing along the way.

A friend shared one yummy place to try out this May, Howard’s Strawberries, 250 Crater Road, Harmony, NC!  Looks like they open their Strawberry Season next week!  Be sure to give them a call and I will post some pictures of our family trip soon!  Their number is 704.539.4099!

I am hopeful in the end, my strawberries will look like this(-:  strawberries2

Let us know if you have a “local” favorite.

Summer Learning Series – Part 3 – Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco

Chicken Sunday is a meaningful, multicultural story that I used to read to my third grade students during the first part of the year.  The story involves forgiveness, love and honesty as three children find themselves in a bit of unmerited trouble while trying to purchase a gift for Gramma Eula.  On their way to purchase a hat from Mr. Kodinski, they are blamed for throwing eggs at his back door.  They cannot tell Eula why they were near his hat shop but she encourages them to find a way to earn his trust and show that they are not guilty of throwing the eggs.  Pick up the book at your local library to find out exactly what they did to earn Mr. Kodinski’s trust.

Ideas for sharing this story with your children:

  • Read the story together with your children.
  • Discuss the questions found here or add your own.
  • You can also take this opportunity to learn about other cultures.
  • Create Pysanky eggs with a tutorial like this one.
  • Take this opportunity to learn about or review measurements by creating your own “Honesty Soup”.  For example, one cup of truth, two tablespoons of integrity, etc.

No matter the day of the week, I hope you enjoy reading Chicken Sunday!

Adapted from the Heartwood Ethics Curriculum.

Summer Learning Series – Part 2 – Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco

Today we’re continuing our Summer Learning Series, lessons I previously taught, based on The Heartwood Ethics Curriculum.

One of our trademark Boone weather patterns is a good ole summer rain storm.  When these usually arrive after a “hot” day (hot being a relative term for our area), I am reminded of a book that I loved to read to my first grade students when I was teaching classroom guidance as a school counselor. I will never forget a particular first grade class where I brought the book, Thunder Cake.  In this story a little girl is afraid of the approaching storm and the accompanying thunder.  Her babushka (Russian for grandmother) helps her overcome her fear by taking a fun journey to collect ingredients for making “thunder cake.” 

Materials Needed:

Character Trait:  Courage

Lesson:

  • Read the story together and discuss the following questions (or any other questions you may think of):
  • What is the meaning of courage?
    • How did the little girl show courage in the story?
    • How did the girl’s babushka help her face her fear of storms?
    • What are some of your fears and how can we work together to help you work through those?
    • Have you or your child ever helped someone find courage in a fearful situation?
    • Share with your child how someone helped you overcome a fear.
    • Collect all ingredients for the thunder cake and make the cake together.  Enjoy!

I recall one particular class where a little girl asked for a copy of the recipe and went home and made the cake with her mother.  She brought a piece to me the next day!  I’ll never forget that sweet gift and how great it must have been for her to do something fun with her mom, based on a story from school.

My husband recently rode his bike in the Blood, Sweat and Gears event in Valle Crucis, NC and we hosted a “carb load” dinner at our home for some of his pals that were riding, as well.  I took the opportunity to make Thunder Cake and it was particularly a huge hit with my husband.  Who knows, maybe it was because of the special ingredient?  What’s that, you ask?  Well, you’ll just have to read the story to find out!

 

$5 Or Less Rainy Day Summer Fun with Kids

What is a mom to do about all those days that it rains (maybe everyday these days but I would rather deal with a little storm each afternoon than extreme heat)?  There are several things you CAN do when it’s raining so get your galoshes out and let’s get moving!

  • Watauga County Public Library – Always a local favorite for story time!  Story time each day at 11am and Baby Lap Time each Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30am.
  • Boone Bowling Center – Kids fifteen and under bowl free until August 7th!  Note:  does not include shoe rental.
  • Michaels Craft Store of Boone is participating the Passport to Imagination crafting program for kids.  It meets on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am-12pm and $2 reserves a thirty minute time slot for your child.
  • Ashe County Cheese Factory – I thought this place was pretty fascinating as a kid.  Worth a little trip over to Jefferson to watch some cheese production and have a bite of the good ole squeaky cheese!
  • Children’s Playhouse of Boone offers a ton of children’s activities for $5 per person per visit.  If you have a membership, there is no additional charge.  Infants twelve months and younger are FREE.  The hours are Tuesday-Friday 10:00-5:00 pm Saturday 10-5:00 pm in June and July (10-3:00 pm August-May).

Have fun splashing to these fun activities!