American Indian Heritage Celebration

The NC Museum of History honors the American Natives of North Carolina with the annual celebration of American Indian Heritage. Did you know for example that Miss NC 2013 is an American Native? That NC has the largest Indian population of any state in the East? Or that there are eight recognized tribes in our state? Learn these and more facts, and have some direct encounters with the music, dances and cooking – if you’re lucky you might even run into Miss North Carolina Johna Edmonds. The event is taking place in the NC Museum of History and on the Bicentennial Plaza right outside the museum, and lasts from 11am to 4pm.

First impressions from Maker Fair NC

Here some first impressions from Maker Faire NC.
Open today until 6pm – much more stuff than last year, so come on out!

Felted electronics = Feltronics

spoonflower-powered make and sew kit

Awesome self-designed tank differential gear made in Lego

Grand Re-Opening of Around Town at Marbles (Sat 6/1/13)

The “Around Town” exhibit at Marbles has been closed for a few weeks because it was being updated and remodeled. (“Around Town” is the large exhibit when you come in, with the bus, the grocery store, the ambulance, the stage, and of course the train table.)


Most things are reportedly still there, and a new farm-themed topic has been added, to introduce kids to NC livestock and crops. I’m glad to see that the new train table is actually bigger, I was a bit worried it would have to make place for something else. (“Don’t mess with Thomess!”) I think we were actually there the last day that it was open, and it would only be appropriate to go back on the first day it re-opens.

Beyond the new exhibits, I also spotted a beautiful new mural by Denise Hughes, which is in my eyes one of the nicest aspects of Marbles. (I also like her recent work in the recently opened toddler room.)

Caribbean Instrument Petting Zoo (5/25 2p)

This Saturday, the Cameron Village will turn into a zoo of sorts, but no animals will be there; no, the “petting zoo” will be filled with exotic instruments from various Caribbean islands and from Nigeria. Members of the Raleigh/Durham Afro-Caribbean Association will show the instruments and provide opportunities to explore them up close.

Antique Car Show at Oak View Park (Sat 5/4)

Oak View is one of our favorite parks, often for is relative tranquil setting. But this Saturday, it will be buzzing and humming and roaring with the sounds of dozens of antique engines. The local chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America willl have its Spring Meet there, and the public is invited.

I haven’t been to this park when it is crowded, but it might be a good idea to park at the Olivia Rainey library, and take the short walk through the park. (Use 4016 Carya Drive in your GPS, or take the first left after turning onto Carya Drive, followed by a second left into the parking lot.)

This is an all-day affair, from 9am-4pm. One thing not to be missed is the Ford Model T quick assembly, which the club will perform at 11:30a and 2:30p. An entire Ford Model T will be assembled from a pile of parts to driving condition in a matter of minutes.

The Wienermobile is coming!

Have you also secretly dreamed about what your kids will be when they graduate college? Lawyer, ballet dancer, nuclear engineer? You probably realized by now that they’ll do what they will, but how becoming a brand advocate for Oscar Mayer and drive cross country in a giant hot dog? This dream comes true for 12 marketing or PR college grads every year, who get selected by Oscar Meyer to do just that. Check out their and visit two of them this Saturday when they are in the area.

9am-12pm, Walmart near Brier Creek (Hwy 70& I-540, specifically 10050 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh NC)
1pm-4pm, Walmart in Morrisville (Hwy 54& I-540, specifically 1001 Shiloh Glenn Dr., Morrisville)


Hot Dog! by Bill on Capitol Hill

Kids Exchange (Feb 2013)

Kids Exchange: is a massive parallel consignment sale for children’s clothes, toys and equipment (strollers, high chairs, etc.) Here some practical tips:

How many Elmo eyeballs in this picture? (from KidsExchange 1/2012)
  • Check their guidelines and hours. 30,000 buyers in one giant room. You don’t want to be there at peak hours, and you want to understand the system. Consider your first visit a trial run.
  • Bring a stroller or radio flyer cart. Without the kids. (They have shopping carts, but often run out.)
  • Almost everything gets automatically marked down 50% on Sunday. Plan accordingly.
  • Have a plan of what you need, or it can be overwhelming. First time we went (while expecting our first one), all we bought was a bag with 17 baby socks for a $1 total. Can’t go wrong with that! Everything else was too overwhelming. (See next point.)
  • Don’t go looking for “a stroller”. There are hundreds of them for sale there. You can do research, decide that you probably want a Britax B-Ready, and pick from the 25 available one that matches your idea of price and condition.
  • If you sell stuff (or volunteer) you get to buy early on Thursday when only sellers are permitted.

Finally, don’t think this is just for families with budget constraints. Yes, it is typically cheap (but check carefully), but I also value the huge selection when compared to baby stores and the ease of shopping; twice a year everything in a location. And as a parent, you should have no problem putting up with the head-spinning craziness of it all.

Finally, if you do go and are impressed by the massiveness of the event: Yes, it is the largest consignment event in the nation, and they have now started franchising the concept. But Raleigh is – you guessed it – number one!

Friday 9-6, Saturday/Sunday 9-5. NC State Fairgrounds.

Marbles Kids Museum (8/4/2012)

I would be surprised if anyone reading the Daddy Weekly hasn’t yet been to Marbles. So this is not to ‘present something new’, but to talk a little bit about Marbles and perhaps mention some of the lesser known corners of this large building.

First off, Marbles is changing from time to time. A relatively new exhibit is the corner one level above the gift shop, with a focus on health and sports; a similar topic was there before, but it was all redone a few months ago and is called Power2Play. The newest exhibit to open is “BB&T Toddlers Hollow“, a forest-themes exhibit for kids under 3. (We’ll check that out soon.)

Have you found the pirate ship? It is one of my favorite exhibits, and tucked away in the very back of the ground floor.
How about the garden? Exit behind the pirate ship to find nature and fresh air.

Did you know about First Friday Kids Camp? Drop off your pre-registered, potty-trained, well-behaved preschool or elementary school kid, and enjoy First Friday or just a night off. (Although I have to say, my son enjoys tagging along to various galleries just as much.) $20 for 3 hours is good deal; both for the parents and for Marbles.

Are you a member? For families visiting frequently, it does pay. A family of four (4x$5) will have paid for the annual membership ($100) after just five visits.

So what’s not to like about Marbles? It can get crowded. And while exhibits change, it is largely static. The corporate sponsorships are a tad too dominant, in my view. But these are details, given that Marbles is an excellent indoors playground.

Pirate Ship by chrisdaniel, used under the CC BY-NC-SA license.

Traveling with little children

“Traveling with little children”. You don’t need an article on this, just Google that sentence and you’ll find a ton of resources. But nevertheless, I have to add my two cents, especially about traveling alone with a lap child (under 2).

  • Google “Traveling with little children” or similar phrases, and just surf for a few minutes. If it doesn’t keep you from going, at least you learn something.
  • Find out the specific policy of the airline in mind before you book. Some won’t let you book a lap child online, some will charge for a checked stroller while others won’t, there may be weight limits on the stroller and all these things change constantly.
  • Similarly, some airports have playgrounds after security. Check ahead of time. PHL, BWI and ORD are good.
  • Since everything is a tad harder, ‘make the easy things easy’. Arrive early. Be prepared. Pack lightly. Make a list of what to pack. Preventing preventable issues will let you focus on the unpreventable ones.
  • For two parents, one lap child is manageable. If you’re alone, a short domestic flight with a lap child is feasible even if the seat next to you is booked. On the other hand, I gambled on having a free seat next to me on a red-eye to Europe. I am really, really glad it actually was free, and I would not take that gamble again. (Although whenever I had someone next to me even on a short flight, they asked on their own to “sit somewhere away from the baby”, more or less diplomatically.)
  • Bring entertainment and food. iPad, books, chewy granola bars, milk/juice.
  • Use the bathroom before the flight, or you have to be really creative where to put the baby when you have to go. And by the way, small planes don’t have changing tables at all.

The upside, you ask? A really close bonding experience, for one thing. All the short flight I took so far were enjoyable, and the money on a separate seat would’ve been wasted.