Thursday, November 12, 2015

ArtsCenter presents Vamos a la Playa with Mister G!

Brighten up this Saturday the 14th with a fiesta in Carrboro, courtesy of Latin Grammy Nominated Mister G! (And check out the giveaway, our discount code, and show details below too - read on!)

A fluent Spanish speaker, Latin GRAMMY nominated musician Mister G has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and Spain gathering inspiration for his original bilingual children’s songs. In this multicultural program, he seamlessly weaves together Spanish and English lyrics to create irresistible tunes that are both catchy and educational. Using call and response techniques, Mister G enables children to sing along and interact with him throughout the program in both Spanish and English. For English-speaking children, the concert offers a fun introduction to Spanish vocabulary and Latin-influenced music. For native Spanish-speaking children, the songs reinforce the value of their culture and language. Learn more at

“Original tunes full of kid-friendly lyrics, singable melodies, tight harmonies, and just-right arrangements.”-– School Library Journal

“I really can’t say enough about Mister G! In his work with children, he effortlessly combines a worldly musician’s ear, an educator’s eye and a storyteller’s heart.” –
Tim Lightman, Principal, Smith College Campus School

Mister G is a leading figure in the children’s music world. A former indie rocker who was awarded the first songwriting scholarship in the history of Berklee College of Music, Mister G (aka Ben Gundersheimer) tours internationally headlining major venues such as the Hard Rock Cafe, the National Zoo, Strathmore Music Center, the Getty Museum, Chicago Botanic Garden and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

His 2015 release, Los Animales, is an international collaboration featuring some of the greatest musicians in the jazz, salsa and tropical worlds, including GRAMMY winners Arturo O’Farrill, Marlow Rosado, Robby Ameen and Oscar Stagnaro. The album was recorded on tour in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, San Antonio, and San Francisco, with additional studio sessions done in Buenos Aires and Amsterdam. In addition to receiving a Latin GRAMMY nomination, Los Animales won the Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Los Animales is Mister G’s third album of original bilingual songs, following ABC Fiesta (2014 Latin GRAMMY nominee) and Chocolalala (Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner).

Since his 2010 break-out debut children’s release Pizza for Breakfast, Mister G has produced a new, original CD every year. His 2011 album BUGS, was selected as one of the top CDs for children by both Parents magazine and People magazine. Inspired by his background as a classroom teacher, Mister G’s literacy-themed album The Bossy E is a collaboration with GRAMMY winner Charles Neville. Mister G’s story begins when he was just about the same age as his devoted fans. Growing up as the son of noted children’s book author and illustrator Karen Gundersheimer, Mister G learned to value great writing for kids at a young age. After begging his parents to let him switch from recorder to guitar lessons, he started writing his first songs at the age of nine.

Ben’s origins as a bilingual songwriter trace back to his decision to study Spanish in middle school. At the time, he was convinced that he would grow up to be a baseball player and he wanted to be able to speak Spanish to his future teammates. While he never made it to the Major Leagues, his knowledge and love of Spanish have allowed him to carve out a unique path in the children’s music world.

Ben first became interested in writing music for children when he was still performing for adults. In the late 90s, he created an educational side project, “The Roots Music Collective,” with his bandmates. The experience hooked him on the energy, curiosity and creativity of young audiences, and ultimately he decided to combine his background as a musician and songwriter with his passion for teaching children. Inspired by his students (who originally dubbed him ‘Mister G’), he began writing the songs that would comprise his debut family album Pizza for Breakfast.

Details about Mister G's show:

Adults & Children $10, Family Packs $40 (limit 6 tickets per pack), Lap-sitters under age 2 FREE

11:00 am this Saturday!

About the Super Fun Series

The SuperFun Series is designed to get the whole family rockin’ and rollin’ with concerts, plays and performance art that kids and their adults will love. These shows are perfect for young children and those a little older, but can be equally enjoyed by Grandma, Grandpa, Mom & Dad.

AGES: This show is best for young children through elementary school.

TIMING: The concert will last approximately 45-60 mins. Doors open 15-20 minutes prior to the performance.
SEATING: All SuperFun Shows are General Admission. We will have carpets in front of the stage for flexible seating and dancing. Lap-sitters (under age 2) receive free admission, but must be seated on a lap for the entire performance. Please stay with your child at all times.
SNACKS + STROLLERS: You are more than welcome to bring your own snacks into the theater. Our concession area will not be open, but we do have a vending machine on-site, if you need dancing fuel. Additionally, we are located right next door to Amante Pizza and within walking distance to Weaver St Market, Elmo’s, Carrburritos and other local eateries. As for strollers, there are areas in our main lobby (outside of the theater doors) where you can park these during the concert. It’s okay if you need to take yours into the theatre, but please, don’t block the walkways!

Mister G has coloring books on his site you can download: Oh boy! 

Doesn't it sound like a fun morning? 

Best of all, we're offering 4 free tickets to our loyal readers, just comment below! Winner will be drawn tonight, Thursday. If you don't win, you can still get a great deal of 10% off by using code SODUMRG, thanks to our sister site SoDu Parents Posse!

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crossfit Kids Classes at Crossfit Durham

Have you wanted to get your kids active, but wasn't sure what sport or how? Guest Stir Crazy blogger Lea Delicio Hart took her daughter to something fun you might not have considered for kids - crossfit!

Crossfit Kids Classes at Crossfit Durham

Last weekend, we checked out the new Crossfit Kids classes at Crossfit Durham with my 7 year old. My daughter was a little nervous, having seen mom do classes at Crossfit Durham, that she was going to be lifting weights. But as their website says, this is not weightlifting for kids. Which isn’t to say they didn’t have a little fun with weights, using a kettle bell weight to do a move the coach called “The Angry Gorilla.”

Crossfit Kids is open to kids ages 5 to 12, and taught by certified Crossfit Kids trainers who are also part of the day-to-day coaching staff at Crossfit Durham. Classes focus on fun ways for kids to exercise and learn healthy lifestyle habits. Kids do cardio work, skills development, teamwork exercises, confidence building exercises and more.

On the day we visited, the kids did an exercise circuit consisting of forward rolls, box jumps (jumping up onto, and stepping down off of a wood box), squats and sit ups, and played games such as a “musical chairs” style game involving a medicine ball.

Classes are sometimes held inside at Crossfit Durham, and sometimes outside in the park behind Central Park School, where kids might go through an obstacle course or take part in a tug-of-war. Coaches always make sure they have a good warm-up session to get them ready for the day’s activities.

All of the movements are based on learning and practicing functional movements that kids use when they play. On top of that, they weave in lessons that help develop critical thinking and reasoning skills while helping kids learn to value leadership and teamwork.

Throughout the classes, coaches will also address body image. As they put it, they want to teach kids to understand that every body is capable of amazing things, and to build confidence making each kid comfortable in his or her own skin.

What we liked: The coach was wonderful and got right down on the kids’ level. My child was having so much fun that she didn’t even notice she was exercising. The coach encouraged the kids to do their best, but never pushed them beyond their limits. Each child was recognized for his or her successes, no matter what level he or she was at. And last, when the coach introduced a new skill or game, he reviewed each movement, then had the kids practice it, before finally starting the activity. This really encouraged what will hopefully be a lifelong habit of skill development to avoid injuries that come from taking on too much, too fast when exercising.

What we would change: Not much! Classes are a little small right now because they’ve just started, but that means even more one-on-one attention. Even as they grow, they’ve set a limit of no more than 10 kids per class so the coach has time to focus on each child.

Website and other important information:

Crossfit Durham
410 W Geer St 
Durham 27701 
(919) 907-1233

Class times and pricing:
Tuesdays, 4pm to 4:45pm
Saturdays, 10am to 10:45am

Pre-register through their website. First class is free; then $15 per class; a 5-class punch card for $60; or a 10-class punch card for $90

Friday, September 25, 2015

Hideaway Woods at Museum of Life and Science!

Today was the members only preview for the brand new, years in the making Hideaway Woods at Museum of Life and Science. MLS is a Durham institution and the addition of this magical playspace makes it even more wonderful. Here's what MLS has to say about their newest addition: "Hideaway Woods is a two-acre, forested learning environment featuring treehouses, a flowing stream bed, and fanciful nature sculptures. Connected by rope bridges, our treehouse village encourages you to flex your body and imagination all while viewing the world around you from a new perspective (up to 20 feet off the ground)." How can anyone resist that?

Hideaway Woods's entrance is next to where the water spout area used to be (that space is now the sandbox with diggers). There is a giant tunnel that goes underneath the train tracks, and although the train wasn't running today, I know it will make the train ride and walking underneath more fun than ever! A fence surrounds the entire play area, which makes it secure and safe.

Here's the big map at the entrance (sorry for the quality, it was raining so the map was covered by water). The map on their website has not been updated as of today.

The disclaimer on the sign notes "Dirt, bumps, and scratches are part of natural play and may happen here. Be aware of your children as they play." :)

As you leave the tunnel, you are greeted by cross sections of giant trees, hundreds and hundreds of years old, perfect to climb on. 

To your right is Sweetgum Thicket, designed by local artist Patrick Doughterty, which lends itself immediately to imaginative play and hide and seek. It's created with bended branches and twigs, uniquely built just for MLS's space. 

If you continue down that path, you'll reach the bathrooms which also have changing areas (as they wisely anticipated children getting wet - more on that soon!)

Adjacent to the bathrooms at the far back of the exhibit is an area still under construction that is fenced off. The rear of it meets with the train station, but it will only be a passageway for MLS staff. Eventually there will be a permanent gate only they can use. This was a smart idea because it prevents kids from running off to another area without their parents knowing (this is also how Into The Mist works).

As you continue around the path to the left, you'll see the area specifically built for children ages 6 and under, called "Young Explorers". There are logs to crawl in, a table with small wood pieces that can serve as a tea set, and a small "groundhouse" like the treehouses for the big kids except anchored to the earth. It's a lovely little area and surrounded by a fence so it's safety roped off from the busier spaces around it. 

Next is the nature trail, complete with wooden and stone pathways, and a lot of hammocks. They call this the "Sensory Path" and "Sensory Ramble", behind "Lookout Landing". It's nice to be able to explore, as many wooded parts of MLS are understandably off limits. They do have signs warning that visitors should be aware of the possibility of snakes and bugs. This area is definitely accessible to people of all ages, 
although not wheelchairs.

Inside the circular path you'll find a wonderful addition of water play with an accessible recirculating freshwater stream! It's a welcome compliment to Into the Mist because this is an even more refreshing way to beat the heat in the summer. Even in the rain and fall weather, there were kids in bathing suits and my own son filled his boots with creek water and joyfully got soaking wet immediately. Around 2 dozen children played in it at a time and all ages were having a blast although younger tots did need to hold hands. The creek is shallow in most spots and slightly deeper in others, never getting above 8 inches by my estimation. Complete with a miniature waterfall at top and rocks to hop on, 
it truly was magnetic to everyone!

And finally, the pièce de résistance - the giant, interconnected treehouses reaching high up into the trees, just like in every child's dream (and probably a lot of us when we were that age)! 8 treehouses of varying designs are connected by rope bridges, wooden bridges, ladders, nets, and a spiral staircase. The treehouses are definitely big enough for adults but on busy days will surely be packed. I saw children from around 3 up climbing and it is easy enough for younger children to traverse, while still being fun for older kids. About halfway up there is a section with a bridge that is the only way to reach the highest houses, so people must take turns between those going up and those going down. It certainly created a bottleneck, but like everything at MLS was built with intention. I assume that they did this to slow the flow of traffic to the taller treehouses because there could be children who are not as confident going up and down in those areas, so if the population is somewhat reduced it gives them space to overcome their fears. At the top of most of these treehouses are little rooftops with peepholes to look down on Hideaway Woods. Although some of us had a little trouble traversing the rope bridges in larger rainboots (and flipflops could be problematic), it was relatively easy if you are in normal sneakers. Even in the rain, the wood was not slick and didn't feel unsafe. Bonus - there is an enclosed slide to bypass all the treehouses and get down to the creek quicker (and it is quick)!

There is just so much fun packed into one spot, and it's hard to believe that MLS got even bigger and better, but they did it once again! 

The details:
Museum of Life and Science - Hideaway Woods Exhibit

433 W. Murray Avenue
Durham, NC 27704
Phone: (919) 220-5429

Tuesday–Saturday: 10am-5pm (fall and winter hours)
Members-only access at 9am Tues.–Sat.
Sunday: 12-5pm

FYI: It is a member only preview now and will open to all on September 29th. 

What we liked: Hard to decide! I love how it's for kids of all ages, and how it's only got one entrance so you can corral your kids when it's time to go. Big changing rooms for wet kids are so welcome. Basically, it's a feast for the eyes and the senses and will be great in all seasons (but especially summer)!

What we would change: Can't think of anything at all!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

PDQ Durham

Recently, PDQ invited family friendly bloggers from all around Durham to experience their restaurant. (Disclosure: While we did get free food for attending, we did not promise endorsement and the opinions herein are my own.)

If you haven't been to PDQ, you're missing out! It's been around a year and is our favorite fast food place around. Although calling it fast food doesn't really do it justice because PDQ isn't like most fast food. 

Let me count the ways that PDQ stands apart from the crowd:

1) No freezers. No microwaves. All food is fresh. They even make their sauces fresh.

2) They believe in a personal touch. To order at the drive-thru you pull up and speak to an actual person, and the service inside and out is top notch. 

3) Bottled Cheerwine, Yoo-hoo, fresh squeezed lemonade, and freestyle coke products (EVEN served at the drive through) are among the drink options.

4) Hand washing sink for little ones right out in the middle of the restaurant. Super fun and it encourages hand washing! 

5) Happy hour half-off prices on their amazing milkshakes from 3-5pm everyday! They always have the typical vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, oreo, heath bar, chocolate peanut butter, and malt. But they also have seasonal flavors - I have personally slurped down some delicious dreamsicle shakes, as well as s'mores, key lime pie, and salted caramel. Currently the seasonal flavor is cocoa krispies!!!!

6) fresh cut apples served in pineapple juice and a side of caramel toffee dip

7) the most high quality chicken and turkey I've ever had in casual dining. Period. 

8) Everything just the way you want it - sky's the limit. Want your tenders tossed in a sauce? Great! Want to have your sandwich carb-free by wrapping it in lettuce? Sure! It's pretty impressive.
9) Blueberry Cole Slaw and hand cut (seriously you can see them doing it through the window) fries as side options. Plus their peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!!!

10) I could go on and on but I gotta tell you about their new food!

They invited us recently to sit down and check out their brand new menu offerings. Previously they had 9 variations of chicken and turkey menu items, including tenders, salads, and sandwiches. All yummy... (did I mention I go to PDQ a lot?) They just introduced their new Cali Club, which is the first time they've offered the more healthy alternative of grilled chicken served on brioche bun with ranch, crispy bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato. It was of course, amazing, and you can actually now add avocado to any other menu item as well. Just a nice, fresh sandwich, and definitely not something available at any other drive thru you'll find.

They are also offering nuggets for the first time, and like their chicken tenders, they are simply amazing. Just the right amount of crispy and tender because they've been marinated in honey, and are perfect with any of their homemade dipping sauces. My favorites are ranch (best ranch I've ever had. EVER.), creamy garlic and the new honey BBQ. (This is a perfect time to mention that you can buy any of their dipping sauces in a larger container, but keep in mind that since they're made fresh without any preservatives or high fructose corn syrup, they do have to be refrigerated and have an expiration date shorter than anything you'd get elsewhere. I'll take quality any day over something I just forget about in my glove box.) If your kids are crazy for nuggets, you really need to try PDQ's. Even my son who typically won't eat chicken at all chowed down on a basket of these!

We also hadn't ever ventured into the turkey territory of their menu because we love the nuggets so much, so they insisted we give it a try. They have two turkey options - one is crispy breaded turkey fillet with a creamy siracha sauce and wow. Perfection. The other is nicknamed "Thanksgiving on a bun" and it's grilled turkey breast with cranberry sauce. I admit I'll be getting turkey next time I come in. I just had no idea it could be that good. The photo up at the top of the post is of the crispy turkey and it's making my mouth water just writing this - haha!

Next they let the kids make their own shakes (after cleaning the machines well since there are food allergies in my family), what a blast! It's nice to see a restaurant be accommodating to food allergies, especially in casual dining where it's so fast paced. But they truly want to live up to their slogan of "people delivering quality", yes that's what the PDQ stands for!

Lastly, it's so important to note that PDQ is incredibly generous to the Durham Community. They offer Family Night events, where they donate a percentage of an evening's sales back to a school or charity. They can even provide stickers, flyers, and yard signs to help advertise your day. They did a Family Night event for Habitat for Humanity in May, and you know that my other group, SoDu Parents Posse, is really involved in Habitat right now so it makes me happy to see that PDQ supports them. They also have charity gift cards, where an organization can purchase PDQ gift cards at a discounted rate and then make a profit from selling them. I have been to end of season parties for Durham Parks and Rec soccer leagues at PDQ, where PDQ donated a kids meal and shirt to each child. And I've been to PDQ on their beloved teacher appreciation days and mother's day promotions - now that's a delicious reward for a job well done! I just found out that they even host bloodmobile and book drives! (Did I mention they also have fun with their promotions? Like free tenders on national brown shoe day, or free shake if you wear a costume in the restaurant on Halloween?)

Basically, this place is the real deal. Fresh food fast with a focus on quality, personal attention, and outreach. Swing by and you just might get as addicted as I am!

What we liked: The quality of the food can't be beat, and their willingness to innovate, which was something I hoped they'd do. As someone who knows their menu pretty well,  I was ready to branch out, so the yummy Cali Club is a refreshing change. And I love how they give back!

What we would change: I do wish there was an indoor playspace and that it was closer to SoDu, but I get that there's not much they can do about that! Honestly, it's not that long of a drive from Garrett Rd so we often get PDQ and bring it to Old Chapel Hill Road Park for a picnic. 

The details:
PDQ Durham
3301 Watkins Road, Durham, NC 27707
(On the hill above 15-501 near the intersection with 40, next to Freddy's, Mattress Firm and Chipotle, same side of the road as AC Moore, Home Depot and Kohl's)
Hours: 10:30am - 10pm, 7 days a week
Phone: 919-436-3753
On facebook at:

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