Sunday, October 26, 2014

William's Gourmet Kitchen

What it is:  I've been eyeing William's Gourmet Kitchen nestled at the intersection of Hwy. 54 and Hwy. 55 since it opened not too long ago.  However, since its hours are limited I hadn't been able to stop by yet.  A few weeks ago, my son and I were finally able to stop by when we met my husband for work.

When we arrived at lunch hour, the restaurant was packed.  We snagged the last spot in the parking lot (but don't worry, there's plenty of parking in nearby attached lots).  There were lots of people sitting both inside and outside enjoying their meals.  We headed in where we ordered at the counter.  Their menu was so big that I felt like I didn't have enough time to look over all of their delicious options from breakfasts to burgers to sandwiches, soups, and salads.  Everything sounded delicious.  The one negative was that I didn't see a kids menu.  However, when we got up to the counter, I asked the cashier if they had any kids options and they did have several including grilled cheese, ham and cheese sandwich, and quesadillas.

My husband and I each picked out a sandwich.  I got mine with a side they call "angry mac and cheese" and it was delicious.  My husband ordered the Philly cheesesteak and I ordered a turkey and cranberry sandwich.  You could tell that they really put time and care into their ingredient.  Each item on the sandwich was fresh and well made.  In writing this post, I was looking over their menu again and can't wait to go back to try something else.  Maybe next time I'll head back and check out their breakfast menu.

What we liked:  We loved the quality of their food.  Everything we tried was delicious.

What we would change:  Their hours are a little restricted because they are not open for dinner on Saturday and are completely closed on Sunday.  However, if you can find a weekday time free, it's definitely worth it.

Website and other important information:

Website: http://williamsgk.com/

Address: 2114 East Hwy. 54, Durham, 27713

Hours: Monday-Friday: 7am-8pm, Saturday: 7am-3pm

Photos:


(the kids' meal-we added the fruit on.)


(my meal with the angry mac)


(my husband's Philly cheesesteak)


(The view of the counter from our seat)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

School Information Series: Triangle Presbyterian Preschool and Kindergarten

Submitted by Autumn Boyer

School Type: Private Parent Participation Preschool and Transitional Kindergarten

Triangle Presbyterian Preschool and Kindergarten (TPPK), a ministry of Triangle Presbyterian Church, offers half-day programs for 2-year-olds through transitional kindergarten:
  • Two-day 2’s (Age 2 by 8/30): MW or TTh, 1:5 ratio, two classes
  • Three-day 3’s (Age 3 by 8/30): TWTh, 1:5 ratio, two classes
  • Four-day Pre-K (Age 4 by 8/30): MTWTh, 1:6 ratio, two classes
  • Five-day TK (Age 5 by 11/15): MTWThF, 1:7 ratio, one class

The school day is 9:15am-12:15pm with an optional Lunch Bunch until 1:15pm for an additional $5/child/day

Most notably, TPPK is a parent participation program. The professionally trained teachers are assisted in the classroom by parents on a rotating schedule (except for the TK). Parents also take on an additional responsibility during the year such as setting up tables for a potluck, being a class photographer, or one of many other options. The participation requirement does not merely reduce tuition costs (which it does) or serve logistical purposes, but is central to the school’s mission to be a place “where children, parents and teachers share a participatory learning experience in a Christian atmosphere.” In the 3’s and 4’s classes, paid assistants work 1-2 days a week and parents assist on the other days; the TK class has a paid assistant every day.

TPPK supports “learning through play and experience.” Curricula include music and movement (including Music with Mar for 3’s and up), Handwriting Without Tears (3’s and up), Everyday Math for the TK students, and weekly chapel (which families are welcome to attend). The school is also guided by the principles of Conscious Discipline. According to the CD website (http://consciousdiscipline.com/about/conscious-discipline-for-teachers.asp): “Conscious Discipline integrates social-emotional learning, discipline and self-regulation so you spend less time policing behaviors and more time teaching vital life skills.” The Conscious Discipline practices at TPPK include Baby Doll Circle Time for 2’s, Safe Place in each class for 3’s and up, calming breathing techniques for all ages, School Family commitments, and more. 

My older child is in his third year at TPPK (now in Pre-K) and my younger child is in the 2’s class. I am also serving in my first year on the school board. By assisting in the classrooms I have learned so much about my children’s classroom experiences and how they relate to peers and adults, teachers’ strategies for guiding behavior that I hadn’t thought of, enriching play activities I can replicate at home, the classmates and their families (which is particularly beneficial when my child is invited to a birthday party – I’m not attending with strangers!), and more. Overwhelmingly, I have found TPPK to be wholly positive, nurturing, enriching, and engaging for my children. The teachers and staff are incredibly supportive of the children, families, and each other. I am grateful for the friendships and acquaintances I’ve made with other parents and for the opportunity to work alongside the teachers from time to time. For my children, I am confident that they are in capable hands and are learning in a context of compassion.

How to Apply: Application forms are available on the website and enrollment for new students begins in the spring. TPPK admits students on a tiered priority basis: (1) enrolled students, (2) siblings of enrolled students, (3) new students who are members of Triangle Presbyterian Church, (4) new students from the broader community. Although TPPK operates under the guidance of Triangle Presbyterian Church, fewer than 10% of our students are members of TPC. There is no religious requirement to attend; TPPK is non-profit and non-discriminatory.

Upcoming Events:
Tours are offered on the following Thursdays at 9:45am:
  • Oct 16, 2014
  • Nov 13, 2014
  • Feb 19, 2015
Open House for prospective families is Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 9:45am.

Where They Are:
5001 Tudor Pl, Durham, NC  27713. 
TPPK is located in South Durham just off Hwy 54 between Fayetteville and Hope Valley Road/Highway 751.

Preschool Director Nicolette Granata
nicolette.granata@tppk.org
(919) 544-2872

For photos, tuition, staff bios, parent handbook, and much more information, visit the website:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Adult Workout Series-Week 3

Here's another great quick workout that you can squeeze in quickly and feel great afterward.  Thanks to Justin from Chapel Hill Training for keeping us all healthy.  You can check out the other two workouts in this series and his series on workouts you can actually do with the kiddos here.

Great work last week all! This time we are going to continue with the short and efficient workouts. We 
will focus on arms, core, and the legs. Please let us know if you have any questions.

6 rounds of:

*15 Hip Bridges-Lying on your back, position your feet on the floor with bent knees. Your heels 
should be 12 inches from your hips. Keeping the entire foot in contact with the floor, push through 
your heels to lift your hips off the ground. Squeeze the glutes and pause at the top of the movement. 
Return the hips to the ground.

*20 Full Plank Knee Ins-Start at the top of a pushup position, with your hands under your shoulders 
and your body in a straight line. Alternating, bring one knee in towards your chest, keeping your core 
tight. Avoid rounding your lower back. Bring the leg back to the start position and switch legs.

*30 Jumping Jacks-Simultaneously move the arms and legs laterally until the hands touch overhead 
and the feet are split. Return medially to a standing position.

Check out Chapel Hill Training's Facebook Page for a great October Workout Challenge-a series of two weeks of daily workouts posted free for you to enjoy!  

Monday, October 13, 2014

NC Jelly Donuts

Everyone knows that my family and I love a good donut (or two), and we're so excited that Durham has some of the best donuts around.  Well, when we heard about another one just outside of Durham getting rave reviews we had to check it out.

What it is:  NC Jelly Donuts is a small donut shop that has two locations in Mebane and Burlington.  We chose to stop at the one located just off of I-40 at exit 153, only one exit away from the Tanger Outlet Mall.  We walked in, and the donuts looked delicious but it looked like a typical donut stop to me.

Then, when the lady came out from the back, I asked her what their specialties were.  She showed me several donuts that could be filled with a variety of icings on top-chocolate, maple, and powdered.  Then, she showed me about 10 fillings behind her.  They actually filled the donuts at our request, right in front of us.  I thought that was a fun touch especially for kids to watch-they could pick their frosting flavor as well as filling type.  We selected chocolate frosting with buttercream filling, powdered sugar with strawberry filling, and maple with apple filling, yum!

I was still worried, however, that the fillings would be too sweet.  Then, I tasted them.  While I thought the buttercream was a bit too sweet, my son loved it, and the fruit fillings had just the right level of sweetness.  Yummy!  I had also ordered a few of their regular donuts and they were light, fluffy, and equally delicious.  So, if you're heading to the outlet mall, any of the great museums in Greensboro or Alamance County, or driving down to Charlotte, it's definitely worth a stop.

What we liked: The donuts were delicious, and filling the donuts right in front of you was definitely a fun touch for the kids.  Plus, their location right off of the freeway is very convenient for long drives.

What we would change:  Of course, they are located a bit too far away from Durham to make it very convenient, but if you're headed that way, you should give them a try.

Website and other important information:

Website: http://ncjellydonuts.com/

Address: 126 Millstead Dr, Mebane, NC  and  3260 S. Church St, Burlington, NC

Photos:


(their case of yummy donuts)


(our haul)


(my view as I was driving away)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The NC Museum of History

What it is:  This huge museum sits across the street from the state capitol building in Raleigh and next door to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. However, we've never stopped by.  I always have felt that my boys weren't old enough to really appreciate their exhibits.  Now that they are 4 and 6 years old, I felt that they were finally ready to enjoy it.

So, on a teacher workday my four year old and I headed on over.  There's a really convenient lot next door to the museum and while it cost us $6 for the several hours we were there, I was happy to pay it for the convenience and since the museum was free, the overall cost was still pretty low.

We were lucky that we visited on one of the first two Tuesdays of the month because on those two days they have a great Time for Tots program for 3-5 year olds.  You can register online for the hour long program and it only costs $3.  It was a well-organized program that includes a little group lesson, a craft, and a story.  This time, we were learning about musical instruments, specifically those featured in bluegrass music.  So, the kids got the chance to see, touch, and hear the instruments.  Then, they each made their own paper banjos.  We finished the lesson with a trip up to the actual museum to see a blue grass exhibit and read a book.  My son had a great time and both of us learned a lot.

After the Time for Tots, we wanted to explore the rest of the museum.  So, the first thing that we did was head up to the lobby.  Up there, they have a kiosk with signs about their backpack program.  You simply take one of those signs up to the information desk, hand them your driver's license, and you are given a backpack full of activities for 3-5 year olds for a given section of the museum.  We had a great time with the Native American backpack.  It had a guidebook for navigating you through the exhibit, and games, items, puzzles, and more that you could get out and explore at various points of the tour.  It was perfect for getting little ones in to the museum.  Simply take the backpack back at the end of your visit to get your ID back.

Once we gave back the bag we explored the rest of the museum.  Even without the backpack my son still enjoyed looking at the rest of the museum.  They had desks with people explaining various artifacts, items to touch, a few interactive scenes, and a LOT to look at.  I feel like we had a lot of fun and learned a lot!

What we liked:  We loved the Time for Tots as a way to introduce the younger kids to history in a fun and engaging way.  They program was also well organized and well thought out.  The backpacks were great and made the rest of the museum accessible for them as well.  In addition, admission to the museum was free!  The location next door to the Museum of Natural Sciences means that you could definitely spend the whole day exploring in that area basically for free (except for parking).

What we would change:  For children under the age of 3, I feel like the museum is not really very appropriate.  In addition, without the backpacks, the 3 and 4 year olds could wear out pretty easily.  It is a bit tricky to find the entrance of the museum.  It's actually up some stairs facing the Museum of Natural Sciences, and the Time for Tots is in one of the classrooms downstairs.

Website and other important information:

Website: http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/

Address: 5 East Edenton St., Raleigh, NC 27601

Hours: Monday-Saturday-9am-5pm, Sunday-Noon-5pm

Photos: 


(The musical instruments from Time for Tots)


(making the homemade banjo)


(listening to the story)


(the backpack kiosk)


(an interactive NC display-my son really liked this.)


(an exhibit where you could milk a cow...moo!)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Compare Foods

Check out this post from Zion about another great grocery store option in town!

Recently they opened a new grocery on Holloway St. in Durham.  I am so happy that a grocery finally opened in this busy community and I couldn't wait to check it out.  There are also two other Compare Foods in town: one off of Roxboro and one of of 15-501 business if those are more convenient for you. If you have never shopped in Compare Foods before, here are a few pointers on what to expect.  

1. Huge aisles - For some reason they are larger than average,  but are still manageable.

2. Diversity in every section - Their produce, meats, and seasonings sections will have a wide variety of things you have never seen or heard of.

3. The meat department really took me by surprise at how low the cost for cuts of ribs and chicken went for.  I purchased 8 slices of pork ribs packaged for $5.87. That was a steal!

What we liked: The store is clean, well tended to, and I couldn't get enough of the ethnic variations of spices and products I could buy.

What we would change: All of the employees were not uniformed so if you need help it could get tricky figuring out who to ask.

After you see the pictures you may think you're looking at Kroger or Food Lion, especially by their well kept produce department which I am in LOVE with!







Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Week Two Workout

Here's the second workout in Justin from Chapel Hill Training's Adult Workout Series.  This workout series is for parent to do whenever they have a short piece of kid-free time.  If you'd like to workout with your kiddos, check out his Working out with Kids series.

Great job last workout everyone! This workout will focus on fat loss again as well as sculpting your
arms, legs, and core. Let us know if you have any questions. It is going to be a fun one!

Complete as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes. You can do it!

1. 8 knee pushups

• Lay on the floor, placing your hands in line with your chest. From there inch your hands out until your elbows are at a 45 degree angle to your body. Flex the core and chest muscles, pushing off the floor.

2. 10 chair squats

• With your feet about hip width apart, and toes facing forward, push the hips backwards. Bend at the hips until your knees are at 90 degrees, and tap the seat of the chair. Focus on looking forward and keeping the chest up.

• 20 second plank

• Begin laying stomach down on the floor. Brace your core and raise your weight onto your elbows so that your body is in a straight line. Knees should be off the floor. Hold this position for time.