I couldn’t be more proud to introduce you to this week’s Smarty Mom, Katie M, VP of Mommyhood of Triad Smarty Pants. Katie and I go way, way, way back. We both worked at a crazy fun ad agency back in the day pre-kids. We spent many a nights cabbing home from Have A Nice Day Cafe (yup, we’re old goats now, pretty sure that place doesn’t exist anymore!). Katie is a PR genius and is always coming up with the coolest ideas to promote TSP, which BTW, kicks some serious Smarty booty! We continue to cross-feature TSP articles because these girls just rock! Katie is mom to two beautiful children, Emily (5) and Henry (3, almost) and married to awesome hubby, Charlie. Katie is brilliant, resourceful, and just a hoot to be around. Her children are exactly the same – they all have an infectious personality.
Let’s meet Katie.
What is your favorite part about launching and working on Triad Smarty Pants?
Working on Triad Smarty Pants has been such a blast! While I’ve always loved having
something to do on the side as a stay-at-home mom (mainly freelance writing projects), managing Triad Smarty Pants has been the perfect “freelance” gig yet! Not only do I get to work with old friends from Charlotte (and continue a project that was so near and dear to Jen B), but I also get to meet new, and amazing, moms here in the Triad – and learn something new every day. I am continually amazed with the Smarty Moms we profile and the incredible tips and ideas we get from other moms and guest bloggers. I worked in advertising and public relations for years, and Triad Smarty Pants has helped me keep that one foot in the door of this creative world. I love being able to brainstorm new ways to promote TSP and the businesses we feature and work as part of a team with all the Smarty Pants girls here in the Triad and in Charlotte. As a freelance writer I was on my own a lot and it can get lonely! This opportunity has been the best of all worlds, and I still get a little freaked out when I see how many readers we have following our site. It’s a great feeling, but it’s even greater knowing we helped form a community where moms can come together and share ideas, advice and information. I wish Smarty Pants was around when I was pregnant with my first and getting acclimated to being a first-time mommy!
As a stay-at-home/working mom, what would you say is your biggest challenge?
Fitting it all in! It’s easy to get swept away in emails and ideas working on Triad Smarty Pants, but there are also other very important things in my life I want to focus on: my family! Fortunately right now I get a few hours each morning to dedicate to TSP while my children are in school. I used to get a few hours during nap time but just recently lost that. And then I’m back on the computer after my kids go to sleep (sometimes at the dismay of my husband – yikes!) – but at least I’m not “working” EVERY night. I’m lucky that my family is supportive and I am grateful that TSP is the kind of job that lets you work when you want to. I can still go to the gym, shop, meet with friends, and be there when my kids get home from school. You just have to be organized which is something I’m getting better at thanks in large part to my TSP business partner, Rachel H, who is perhaps the most organized person I know. Unfortunately, the two things that keep getting pushed to the bottom of my To Do list each week are laundry and cleaning. However, maybe I’m doing that subconsciously 🙂
You moved from Charlotte almost six years ago. What is the biggest thing you miss here?
My friends! I lived in Charlotte for 10 years after graduating college and it’s where I met some of my dearest friends. Thankfully, Charlotte is only an hour away so it’s easy to visit. And it seems every time I come back there is something new in Charlotte which makes it fun.
What is your favorite part about your new life in W-S?
My husband and I say all the time how lucky we are to have landed in such a family-centered town. It seems every one I meet is a stay-at-home mom and there are a million parks and kid-friendly places to go. Winston-Salem might be half the size of Charlotte, but it’s a city in itself and we are so close to two other cities too – Greensboro and High Point – so we have everything we would need when we want it. And much like Charlotte, Winston-Salem is ever-evolving and it seems something new is always springing up in our city.
What is your favorite activity to do with your children?
We recently started doing movie nights every so often, and I love having a fire going with some popcorn and watching something we all like to watch (which isn’t always so easy). Plus, we just moved to a house that has a finished basement which is now our playroom/den and I love playing down there with the kids – surrounded by their toys and games – and having fun without thinking twice about the mess we’re creating! In the warmer months, I love “exploring” with the family. We try to do a lot of day trips to different parks, hiking trails, lakes, etc. We are definitely a family that likes to get out when we can!
Favorite mommy-time activity?
Besides going on good run, any kind of pampering is good mommy-time for me. Getting pedicures or even just getting my hair done. And I love being able to catch up on all the latest Hollywood scoop in People and US Weekly!
Favorite date-night venue?
We love our Parents’ Night Out at our local YMCA branch! For $15, our kids get to play for four hours and have pizza while we get out! When it’s warm outside, we make it a twice-monthly ritual and play tennis – and then go out for appetizers and Happy Hour. At least we try to be “good” first 🙂
Funniest thing your kids have ever said?
This was the hardest question to answer because I can never remember their funny comments – and they have a million of them! But the two comments that come to mind are recent ones from my two-year-old son. He just learned who our president is, but calls him “Broccoli Obama.” And on our last grocery trip, he pointed to a package of raw chicken drumsticks (the kind with the skin halfway on), and said, “Look Mommy, a pack of pee pees.” Needless to say, I will never look at raw chicken drumsticks again!
Best birthday party you’ve ever attended/hosted?
We’ve been to a bunch of great birthday parties at all different kinds of places, but this past Christmas break both my children were invited to holiday parties which I thought were a great idea for the kids. One family had a party at Bounce U (we were asked to bring a canned food item instead of a gift for a family in need) and the other party was held at the child’s home and all the children baked Christmas cookies. Both were fabulous ideas and my kids loved it!
Best place to score kids clothes?
We’ve been pretty lucky scoring hand-me-downs (in great condition!) for my son since he’s been born, and just recently had to really start shopping for my daughter (she used to be the recipient of some great hand-me-downs, ie: Lilly Pulitzer, Ralph Lauren, etc!). So, for the trips where I know we need a lot of clothes at a good price, I usually head straight to The Children’s Place.
Best book you’ve read lately?
Love historical fiction with books like Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett and The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance – both by Philippa Gregory. I want to read more from her series!
I will always love Office Space. It’s been out for years, but it kills me every time I watch it. If only I had the same guts when I worked in cubicle-world!
Smartiest way you save $
Hate to say it, but grocery shopping at Walmart! And sticking to a grocery list with a meal plan for at least the week. My husband also brings his lunch to work everyday, I rarely eat lunch out, and as a family we go out to eat – or order in – about once or twice a week. You can really see the savings quickly when you do this.
Favorite CSP/TSP article so far
I really like the funny random blogs that are written on both sites. Like “Mommy Brain – It Really Does Exist” on CSP, and “Is It Just Me” on TSP. Plus both CSP and TSP ran “How Old is Too Old” with different perspectives and got great comments from each city.
Minivan or SUV & why?
Minivan. My husband is pushing for me to trade it in for an SUV but I just can’t part with the remote controlled doors and the feeling like you’re in a traveling living room on road trips!
I wish someone told me sooner about…
All the private consignment sales and clothing swaps. I never knew these existed before working on Triad Smarty Pants! It’s almost like an underground network among moms. If only I had known about these before I sold all my daughter’s infant and toddler clothes to a resale shop! I’m in on it now, though!
I could not live without my…
Internet access. I’m addicted. I do everything, and find everything, online. How did our own mothers manage?
Our Smarty friends at Discovery Place continue to roll out new activities and exhibitions resulting from their ongoing renovations with KidScience, a new area for little ones to get their hands and minds on science. The new KidScience is an early childhood exhibition where young children, ages 0-7, and their caregivers learn about science and math as they experiment, create and play together.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that KidScience is the best new Smarty playground in town, so click here to register to win today! CSP and our friends at Discovery Place are giving away a family 4-pack to 2 lucky Smarty readers!!
KidScience opens Saturday, February 13. This giveaway ends Wednesday, February 10th. Even if you don’t win, you can still visit KidScience for less just because you’re oh-so-Smarty…click here for your $2 off coupon good through April 30th.