I know it's hard to imagine as we're gearing up for another winter storm, but the time to sign up for summer camps is almost upon us - in fact, I know of more than one that has already begun registration. As a working mom, I need to enroll my kids for much of the summer so I'm able to get anything accomplished, but most importantly, my kids get to learn and experience things they'd be unlikely to encounter anywhere else. We're very fortunate here in the Triangle to have a plethora of choices - from day camps to sleep away camps, arts-themed to zoo-themed, there is bound to be something that sparks your child's interest.
If you don't know where to begin in the camp selection process, you are in luck - Carolina Parent Magazine is hosting a Camp and Education Fair on Feb. 9th from 12-4 at St. Mary's School in Raleigh. They also have an online directory of camps in the area with links to the various programs' websites.
Over the years, our family has ben to quite a variety of local day camps. Personal favorites have been the Morehead Planetarium, the Town of Cary (in particular nature camps at Hemlock Bluffs as well as Clown Camp), Carolina Friends School's camps (Riverwalking, Extreme Legos, and various fairy-themed programs have been favorites at our house), and the camp at Triangle Day School. This year we plan to try some based at Jordan Lake. Not all of these have complete details available yet, but most should in the next couple of weeks.
What are some of your favorites? I'm always looking for new suggestions!
Oh - and just for giggles, enjoy this little bit of camp nostalgia....
I'm a firm believer in getting away from it all and enjoying some luxuries in life when you have the opportunity - if you can do it with a great friend, even better. For a Christmas gift this year, my husband and that of a friend of mine arranged for us gals to go to the spa for an ultimate Girls' Night Out, complete with a sleepover. Hooray for awesome husbands (and corporate discounts!) - I am a truly lucky lady!
If you've never been to The Umstead Spa and Hotel in Cary, find an excuse and run - don't walk. The Buttermilk and Honey Wrap is amazing (even though it made me hungry - it smelled like the inside of a bakery), especially when paired with a follow-up massage. For dinner, we decided not to leave our robes, so we opted for room service (yes, I know Heron's is fabulous, but the thought of getting all dolled up after being so relaxed was too much for us to deal with). We curled up with a bottle of red (purchased at the grocery store on the way to the hotel, along with some chocolate and Pringles - we like to mix in a little low-brow, too!) and a movie (Austenland - diverting, but mostly blah). Thanks to the wonderful blackout curtains, I didn't wake until almost 9am - truly the biggest luxury of the whole experience!
This was truly my favorite Christmas present ever. For any of you husbands out there, try something like this for your wife - she'll thank you for it!
It's a new year, and before we know it the spring real estate market will be in full swing. If you have been on the fence about selling your current home, now is a great time to put it on the market. In a few months, there will be a lot more inventory - and a lot more competition - so it makes good sense to take advantage of what is typically seen as a slower time of year for home sales.
If you've been thinking of buying a home, it's also a great time to get that process started. I love looking at homes in the winter - it's the time of year when the trees have no leaves and the yard is at its worst and you can see everything around a home. Once spring hits, the trees green up and fill out - the beautiful, lush, private yard you fell in love with in April will look very different come winter, and you may not be quite so fond of what you see then. By buying in winter, you can avoid those unpleasant surprises! And even if you don't think you're quite ready to buy, it's a great time of year to begin narrowing down your neighborhood choices.
Another reason to buy now instead of later? Rising interest rates and home prices. Between November of 2012 and November of 2013, the average home sales price rose by over $16,000 - in that same period, interest rates rose almost a full point (from 3.32 to 4.29 on average). By waiting a year to buy, the average home payment increased by $207 per month! Analysts tell us things are only going up from here, so again, now is a great time to buy.
Interested in seeing what's out there right now? Ready to find out what your home is worth in today's market? Give me a call - I'd love to help you get the ball rolling!
I've never been one to make New Year's Resolutions - I'm pretty sure that if I have to wait for a specific date to try and implement some drastic change in my life, it's doomed to failure. In the last few months, though, I've been doing a lot of stepping outside my comfort zone at work and trying new ways of doing things. It doesn't always come easily, but it's an approach that I'm going to try to add to my everyday life as well.
In that spirit, I thought it might be fun (crazy?) to literally dive into 2014. Some friends and our families spent New Year's at the beach this year, and for the first time in my life I decided I was going to take a dip in the ocean to start of the new year. I was the first one in the water (I'm the splash in the photo - I was underwater at the time it was taken) - I couldn't feel my toes and had to walk back to shore because I was afraid my legs wouldn't be able to keep up with my brain if I tried to run, and thank goodness there was a hot tub waiting back at the house, but it was awesome. Crazy and fun, too.
Crazy, fun, and awesome - I think I'm going to shoot for more of that in 2014.