From a local designer - look at these great projects for you to consider.
I couldn't help but laugh one of Aw Shucks pictures on their site is this:
Aw Shucks is new for me this year and I had to include it in the Top 6 Patches and Mazes for 2018. Get out and go to a new one. You never know what you'll find that works for your family.
Hodges Family Farm - Address: 3900 Rocky River Rd E, Charlotte, NC 28215
ANNUAL PUMPKIN PATCH – Thru October 31st
Hours: 9:00am – 6:30pm (Closed October 10th and 11th due to rainy weather)
MORE INFO All time favorite on this one.
Red Wolf Farm - Address: 1900 H W Farm Rd, Maiden, NC 28650
MAIZE & PUMPKIN PATCH – Thru October 28th
Hours: 11:00am – 6:00pm (Sat/Sun Only)
MORE INFO Love Love this is new for me and I went this year!
Country Days Corn Maze - Address: 416 Joe Lee Helms Rd, Indian Trail, NC 28079
MAIZE – Thru November 4th
Hours: Fri: 5-10pm, Sat: 10am-10pm, Sun: 2pm-8pm
MORE INFO Corn Maze is super fun!
Triple Diamond Farm - Address: 2260 London Rd, Mooresville, NC 28115
Pumpkin Patch – Thru October 28th
Hours: Sat and Sundays 10am-4pm
MORE INFO Good for younger kids and very "horsey" so if you have a horse lover!
Pumpkin Patch – Thru Novmember 11th
Hours: Fri: 6-11pm, Sat: 11am-11pm, Sun: 1pm-6pm
MORE INFO Waaaay too much to do at this one. I've been twice this year.
Pumpkin Patch – Thru November 3rd
Hours: Sat 9am-4pm and Sundays 1pm-6pm
MORE INFO Don't miss the Hay Bale and Slide...LOL
History of The Jack o' Lantern
As a parent, it’s hard to watch your kids struggle with anything, but watching them struggle to buy a house can be especially tough. We all want the best for our offspring, and owning a home is one of the best ways to build wealth — so if kids are having trouble taking that step, it’s normal to worry about how they’ll manage when you’re gone.
The good news is this: There’s a lot you can do as a parent to help your kids get their feet on the property ladder. Follow this advice and you’ll be able to both assist your children and ensure that your own financial future is secure.
“Because I want to help my child” is a great reason to do just about anything — but a house is a huge financial investment and responsibility, so you need to dig a little bit deeper.
Ask yourself these questions about your child and their life circumstances, as well as your own financial circumstances:
· How does my kid handle finances?
· Is my kid in debt? If so, how much is that debt?
· Does my kid know how to save money?
· Is my kid living in a real estate market where prices are steadily increasing — and if they don’t get in the door now, they might be locked out for years?
· Do I want to transfer my wealth to my kid now, when they arguably need it most, or would I rather wait? How would that decision affect my estate taxes and other financial considerations?
· Is my kid attending a college where they’ll stay for several years? (And would it make sense to buy a house there instead of help them pay rent?)
· Can my kid already qualify for a mortgage? If so, would it make sense to help them qualify for a bigger one?
After you’ve taken time to answer these questions, you should have a better idea of exactly why you want to help your child buy a house. Whether you want to encourage financial responsibility or help your kid buy a bigger house than they could on their own, knowing why will help guide your decision-making during the process.
It’s admirable to want to help your kids — but not at the expense of your own financial well-being. So before you make any tangible offers to help, make a full assessment of your income and expenditures, your savings and assets, and decide how much you can afford to give. Put a dollar amount on it, and don’t be tempted to exceed what you’ve decided you can spend.
There are a lot of options for helping your adult kids buy that will directly involve your credit, too. For that reason, all of the advice that applies to buyers also applies to parents who want to help their kids buy — whether you’re buying a home to rent to your kid, or co-signing or co-borrowing the loan, you’ll want to make sure your credit is in great condition. Don’t open a lot of new lines of credit or make any big purchases on credit, and follow all the standard best practices, too, like paying your own bills on time.
And maybe after all this assessment you’ve come to the conclusion that you don’t have a lot of financial help to give. That’s OK! You should know by now that parenting is about much more than spending money, so think about other ways you might be able to help, from offering advice, to connecting your kid with a mortgage broker or real estate agent, to cleaning and repairing the home when it’s time to move in.
A credit score is really important when it comes to a mortgage loan — it helps the lender figure out how reliable (or not) each borrower is, and it directly influences the interest rate on the loan, which adds up to tens of thousands of dollars over decades.
If your child doesn’t know what their credit score, then help them find it, and then work with them to improve it. Maybe your kid has trouble paying all their bills on time, so help them make a budget or set up automatic payments. Settling debts like student loans or car loans can have a significant positive impact on credit score, so if you’re in a financial position to clear a large debt for your kid, this might be a good time to do it.
Mortgage lenders are also going to look at your child’s bank account statements, seeking red flags like frequent overdrafts. If your kid frequently overdraws accounts, then think about how you might help them balance their finances.
There are essentially two reasons why you might want to encourage your child to save as much as possible right now. One is obvious: Down payments on houses are expensive, especially if you want to avoid mortgage insurance and put down 20% or more on the home purchase. That 20% of a home’s sales price adds up pretty quickly, and most kids probably don’t have tens of thousands of dollars handy in their bank account.
Another reason to facilitate savings for your kids is, again, the fact that mortgage lenders are going to want to see bank statements, and it will help your kid’s mortgage rate if the lender sees a decent savings account that grows over time instead of being wrung dry every month.
As a parent, there are tons of ways you can help your kids save money, including inviting them to come live at home with you again for a spell, which can decrease their rent payment significantly. If you go this route, then make sure that any agreements you make with your kids about rent and contribution to utilities or household chores are documented and signed.
But you don’t have to invite your kids to live at home again; you also have the option of taking over some of their bills (cell phone, car insurance, utilities or others), dropping off groceries or meals, handing down a gently used appliance or car and buying yourself a new one — there are tons of ways that parents can help subsidize a child’s savings account.
Once your kid’s credit is in decent order and he or she has a down payment secured, you might not feel like your work is done. Some parents like to chip in with the actual purchase of the home — and if that’s you, fantastic! Just make sure you know what all your options are before you decide on any given path.
An incredibly common way to help your adult kid buy a house is to give them money for a down payment. This is a significant upfront expense for buyers, who may need tens of thousands of dollars to avoid mortgage insurance, and oftentimes parents make that possible.
But backing up your kid’s home purchase with a down payment is far from the only option open to parents. Some choose to buy the house themselves, either as an investment rental where the kid can stay for a few years before selling, or as a rent-to-own deal where the kid pays the parents back for the house over time. If you have the ability to pay cash for a house, this can be an especially good deal for both the child and the parent: You can set an interest rate that’s lower than what the market’s currently dictating (a win for your kid) and make all your money back plus a profit over time (a win for you).
Other parents might prefer co-borrowing or co-signing a mortgage loan. These can be good options for a kid who can already qualify for a mortgage — often, they can increase their price range with a co-borrower or co-signer. Think about both; a co-signer doesn’t accrue any equity in the home and is responsible for the balance of the loan of the borrower defaults, and a co-borrower does accrue equity in the home, but co-borrowing might have a bigger immediate impact on your credit.
One thing never to forget about adult kids: They are adults, and adults are going to make their own decisions. And some of those decisions might have an impact on your real estate deal.
Decisions that impact your real estate deal go well beyond paint or landscaping preferences. If your child has a common-law relationship or decides to get married while they’re living in a house that they’re renting from you — or a house that lists you as a co-borrower — and things go sour, that partner could have a claim on your real estate, especially if the partner was paying rent or helping with the mortgage.
Make sure that whatever agreements you’re making with your kids are thought through in their entirety, and do your best to consider any changes or contingencies that might change the agreement. Document them and incorporate them into any legal verbiage for your own protection — and to protect your kids, too.
In a society where we refer to our homes as our castles, it makes sense that we also want to feel safe and secure in our residences. But as we spend more time inside looking at screens and less time outside making connections with neighbors, it also makes sense that many homeowners today feel less safe and secure than they did a few decades ago.
The irony is that violent crime rates have decreased even as our feelings of danger lurking around every corner have increased. So what can you do to help assuage your fears — and actually make your community safer in the bargain?
Plenty! Establishing yourself as a community and working together with your neighbors is one of the best ways to increase feelings of safety while actually reducing crime in your area. Here’s how to get started.
Form a Facebook group
Let’s face it: We are all on Facebook a lot more than is probably healthy for us. But this can be turned to your advantage if you leverage it as an asset.
Form a community safety Facebook group that is geared toward your specific community. There is more than likely already a general community Facebook group; join that one, too, and ask the moderators if it’s okay to advertise your safety-focused group there.
It’s up to you if you want to create standards for joining the group. If you decide to do that, it might make sense to recruit a moderator or three to help you manage join requests and to maintain the standards of the group.
You can use this Facebook group to talk about safety issues, advertise safety meetings, make safety-related announcements, and much more.
The great thing about Nextdoor — the neighborhood-focused social network — is that Nextdoor does the hard work of verifying that the people in your neighborhood group actually do live in your neighborhood (no lurkers!).
Using Nextdoor can be another excellent way to figure out which of your neighbors are interested in helping you increase community safety, and to warn your neighbors of any thefts or other safety risks in the area. If you do use Nextdoor as a warning method, make sure you’re providing only factual information and not conjecture or speculation. You want your neighbors to pay attention and act accordingly, not for the conversation to devolve into an argument over whose houseguest might have been trespassing on whose property, or whose kids are inviting unsavory characters into the neighborhood.
To that end, talk to your neighbors online about standards for identifying scofflaws and their behavior (especially underage ones). For example, if there’s a teenager who drives erratically and over the speed limit down a road with small children every day, most parents are going to be fine with identifying the vehicle make, model, and color, the sex and general appearance (clothing, hair color, and so on) of the driver, the time of day they usually drive down the road, and other details specific to this situation. Sharing a license plate number or taking a picture of the driver on social media, however, might be considered a violation of privacy by some parents.
Create clean-up groups
Some safety issues emerge because city and county departments might be strapped for cash or short several employees, and things that ought to get done as a result just … aren’t. Maybe a tree fell across a popular trail and hasn’t yet been cleared, or maybe there are local public-access staircases that are covered with slippery leaves or other debris.
If there’s a safety issue that you can easily and professionally tackle with a group of people, organize one! Use your social media groups or fliers in the local cafe or post office to advertise a clean-up day at the local park or along a busy street. Ask the local dump or trash company if they’d be willing to donate a dumpster or supplies and trash pickup. Sometimes all it takes to make an area safer for everyone is a little coordination and elbow-grease, and the coordination is the hardest part, so try to tackle it and see where it gets you.
Start a neighborhood watch
Do you know all your neighbors? Are you familiar with the cars they drive, their regular visitors, and any special guests who pop in from time to time?
For most people, the answer is “definitely not.” But having a sense of who’s who in your neighborhood can help prevent a lot of crime, from illegally dumping trash to burglary or robbery.
If your block or neighborhood doesn’t already have a neighborhood watch program, consider starting one. The first step is to find neighbors who are interested in participating. Once you have a group of people willing to put in the time, call up your local law enforcement bureau and tell them what you’re doing. Many local law enforcement offices will be willing to send a police officer or two to your neighborhood watch meetings, which can be an invaluable resource for helping you learn how to spot and safely report any suspicious activity.
Coordinate meeting times for your neighborhood watch, which can be held in a community space or even online. Talk about the safety issues that concern you the most, and ask your law enforcement liaisons what you can do to help.
Secure your own space
There’s only so much that neighbors can do to help you keep your home safe. Ultimately, the responsibility to secure your property lies with you — so make sure you spend some time looking at your own home’s vulnerabilities and decide how to fix them.
For example, routinely leaving your door unlocked when you leave the house is a good way to invite burglary. Some smart locks allow you to remotely lock your door if you forget, so it might be a good idea to upgrade your door lock. New camera technologies allow you to see who’s on your front porch when the doorbell rings, and replacing broken or damaged windows is also a good safety move.
You can’t be responsible for everyone’s house on the block, but if you’re responsible for your own, the odds that you’ll experience a safety violation go down. It’s worth it!
Problem-solve using SARA (scan, analyze, respond, assess)
Many police departments use the SARA method to solve problems, and it’s a method that community safety advocates can also use with a lot of success.
The SARA method involves four steps: scan, analyze, respond, assess. First, scan the situation. Take it all in. Try to absorb everything you possibly can about what’s happening. In this step, you are identifying and describing the problem.
Next, analyze the situation. Think about who is involved, what they are doing, what social and economic realities exist that feed into the situation, and try to determine what has caused this situation or problem.
Then, respond to the problem. The response usually works best in a collaborative environment. Ask different people involved in the situation what they think. Involve the community in brainstorming possible solutions and arriving at an option that seems to work well for most people. Form an action plan for what you’re going to do — and do it.
Finally, assess the results. Spend some time looking at how your response has changed the situation (or not). Did it solve the problem? Did new problems emerge as a result of your response? How well did the response work in terms of both process and the impact it had? Who is happy with the results, and who is not, and why?
By using the SARA method for community problem-solving, you’ll help maintain the collaborative philosophy that’s central to any successful community safety program.
Host regular meetings or touch-base sessions
Meetings and touch-base sessions are the glue that holds any community group together, and this rings true for safety advocates, too. The people involved in your community safety efforts will want opportunities to talk to each other, share ideas, brainstorm ideas, or even just to get to know each other.
Take the time to organize regular opportunities for the people in your community to get together and talk about safety. How often you do this really depends on your community; once a month is usually a good rule of thumb for setting up meetings, but some communities might prefer to meet every two weeks, while others don’t see a need for meeting more often than bimonthly. Supplement your meetings with social media Q&A sessions and other ways to involve your community, and consider taking notes at your meetings and making them available in your social media groups, too.
Warn people of suspicious activity
Your law enforcement liaisons will be the best resource for exactly how to do this. Maybe your contribution involves disseminating the police department’s announcements about crime more widely to your community group, or perhaps you can have regular discussions about what’s been happening in the newspaper’s crime blotter.
Talk to your law enforcement partners about which types of suspicious activity they think should include a community warning. It probably will also be helpful to them if you ask about false reports and whether there are any common themes. The last thing you want is for your police department to get tied up investigating something trivial and nonrisky, so make sure anybody warning others of suspicious activity in your community groups understands what types of activity are suspicious and doesn’t raise alarm bells unnecessarily.
Host a self-defense course
Although playground fights may have been a rite of passage for some of us, many of us don’t have any experience with self-defense and wouldn’t know what to do if (heaven forbid) we were actually attacked. A free, local self-defense course with a qualified instructor can give everybody who’s interested a little bit of training and supplement their confidence in being able to take care of themselves under adverse situations.
Ask your local law enforcement liaison if there are any self-defense instructors they recommend or use themselves, then talk to that instructor about whether it’s possible to set up a free class. You can give the instructor the opportunity to plug more extensive training before and after the session. Invite everyone who might be interested, and ask questions of both the attendees and people who expressed interest but didn’t attend. It’s possible, for example, that some women in your community would prefer a women-focused class and decided not to attend for that reason — if that happens, then you’ve got a great case for asking the instructor to come back and teach gender-specific mini-courses.
Share tips for safer landscaping
You might not think of your landscaping as a safety hazard, but think again: Dead or dying trees or carpets of dry pine needles can be a real fire hazard, and if your landscaping allows someone to creep up to your front door unseen by anyone else, that can be a problem, too. And that’s not all. There could be an insect or vermin infestation that presents a safety hazard (wasps’ nests, anybody?).
Landscaping safety might not be at the top of your list of things to address, and that’s okay, but it’s a good topic to consider once the low-hanging fruit has been plucked. Again, your local law enforcement liaison may have ideas and thoughts about which hazards are most critical for your area, so talk to them about the landscaping safety tips they wish everybody knew, then do your best to spread the word.
Coordinate community events to reclaim spaces
Vacant lots or abandoned parks are nobody’s problem and everybody’s problem all at once. There might not be a lot you can do about private property, but if there are any public areas that have fallen into disuse or disrepair, then maybe those would be a good project for your community safety group to tackle.
Just cleaning up the trash and removing dead plants and shrubs from an area can eliminate or reduce new refuse and discourage people from dumping hazardous materials there. If you can take additional steps to repair and revitalize public spaces, so much the better. Your local law enforcement liaison can help you identify spots that could use a little bit of attention and contact the appropriate people in the city and county offices to make sure you’re moving forward with everyone’s blessing.
Document your strategy and analyze your results
There’s nothing wrong with approaching your neighborhood watch with the philosophy of throwing things at the wall to see if they stick — but if you can be methodical about how you document what you’re doing and the results, you may find a whole world of opportunity opens up. Public funds might become available once your local administrators see what a great job you’re doing. Other people might become inspired to join in and help out if you can articulate how you’ve improved the neighborhood.
Talk to the different members of your neighborhood watch and ask if there are any analysts or analytically minded members who might want to take on this task. Ask them to keep notes and track metrics around your activities, and encourage them to report back to the group about what they discover. Your ability to cite cold, hard numbers when you’re having conversations about community safety will benefit you everywhere.
Teach social media safety
Even though billions of people are on social media, it’s still a new world for many of us. As a result, people often post updates or photos on social media that are an actual safety risk.
One obvious example is announcing your vacation plans on social media, or posting photos of your trip while you’re still away. It might not lead to anything harmful, but if someone happens to be waiting for an opportunity to break into your house … well, you just provided them with a good one.
Share safety tips and best practices on social media with your community group, and encourage them to spread the word. The more people know about the risks of posting random life updates on social media, the better — after all, you can always upload those photos of your toes in the sand after you’re back at home, giving yourself a little vacation extension at the same time.
Give neighborhood tours for kids
We don’t let kids run around outside as much as we used to, but it’s nonetheless a really good idea to make sure the children in your neighborhood know how to navigate it. One way to encourage kids to learn more about their neighborhood is to host a kid-friendly tour that parents can join, too.
What should be on the tour? Kids might want to know where the schools, playgrounds, parks, police stations, and fire stations are in their neighborhoods, so include those for sure. It might also be worth your time to talk to retail store owners or other stakeholders in the neighborhood and ask them if they have any information they want you to pass along during the tour. Where can kids go to skateboard without breaking any rules? Does the owner of the ice-cream shop have a bike rack where they can lock up their bikes?
Depending on how many children are in your neighborhood, this might be a one-time activity, or it could be something you repeat several times a year. Talk to the parents in your community safety group to ask them what’s best for them — maybe one of them can help coordinate the tours moving forward.
Set boundaries for where your children may go
If you have kids yourself, make sure that they not only know their neighborhood, but are also very aware of their own boundaries. If you don’t want them venturing onto undeveloped property or beyond certain roads, tell them! Show them exactly where their cutoff points lie and talk to them about what to do if they’re tempted to travel beyond them — maybe after a lost ball. Help them make a plan for how to handle those situations so they won’t be hurt and you won’t be angry.
Making the neighborhood safer isn’t just one person’s job — it’s everybody’s. By joining forces with your neighbors and working with local law enforcement, you’ll be improving safety in your area by leaps and bounds.
Ideas from IDreamofCleanBlog
Saturday April 13th
1) Hop Into Spring - 2pm – 4pm
At my favorite park, Robbin’s Park in Cornelius - free, family event designed for ages 3-12. Participants can enjoy an afternoon filled with fun, including egg-themed activities, egg hunt, arts & crafts, music, face painting, inflatables and concessions.
2) Greystar University Wine Festival - 2pm– 6pm
Greystar Apartments @8708 JW Clay Blvd, Charlotte - 3rd Annual sure to be a great time with many sponsors- this is a huge event around the lake at Greystar. And they said even with the rain tomorrow, they are still pouring :-)
3) 2nd Annual CupCake Wars - 12pm-3pm
At Devaste Vineyards one of my favorites! Benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation $20 for wine and tastings of contestants cupcakes. Stop...nothing better than this!
Celebrating the opening of Charlotte's only reptile specialty pet store and oddities shop! Join us in an extraordinary day of fun for the whole family. Get up close and personal with some of nature's most beautiful and bizarre animals and see our large selection of oddities and curiosities. 3000 Central Ave., Charlotte
Sunday April 14th
5) LKN Clothing Shop Pop Up 1pm-4pm
ut with the old in with the new! Ready for some new clothes? Clean out all your unworn or non-fitting clothes and trade for new to you clothes. Who doesn't like to shop for free? This event will be open to everyone of all shapes, sizes, genders, and walks of life! So bring good condition, stain free clothing and accessories that you no longer wear and let’s swap!
6) Edison Square Vendor Pop Up 1pm – 4pm
Enjoy a day with your friends and family supporting local vendors & businesses while
enjoying music, mimosas & craft beer at Hop & Vine, Abbott’s Custard, Chop & Chisel & Rice ‘n Spice! Hosted by: Hop & Vine - 10070 Edison Square Drive NW, Concord
7) NC Food Rodeo - 12pm – 4pm
8) Earth Fest - 11am
At Daniel Stowe Botanical - Celebrate an early Earth Day with family crafts and educational activities that encourage guests to follow a path to a more sustainable and earth-friendly lifestyle. Live music, lawn games, the DSBG Beer Garden and a spring nature hike are all part of the fun.
Tuesday April 16th
9) Week of the Young Child - 11:15am
At Discovery Place kids in Huntersville - Join them as we host the following activities to put a spotlight on early learners:
10) Mickey&Minnie Visit for Springbreak - 6pm– 8pm
If you can’t make it to Disney, don’t worry!! Mickey and Minnie Mouse will be here from 6pm-8pm so bring the kiddos and the rest of the family out for some great food and great fun!!
***Dine-In Guests Only***
🍔🍔$5.99 Cheeseburger with fries (1/2 pound hand-pattied burger topped with your choice of cheese served with hand-cut fries)🍔🍔
🍻🍻3.25 all pints (32 to choose from!)🍻🍻
🍷🍷1/2 Price Vista Point wine🍷🍷