Living in Cabarrus County, we are lucky to be near North Carolina's largest tourist attraction: Concord Mills.
The 1.4million-square-foot mega mall, built in what was once a dense forest, attracts more than 17million visitors a year. People go there from throughout the Carolinas, and we have only to take a 10- to 15-minute drive to get there.
That convenience is especially valuable to moms. Having a 10-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son, I've had my sanity saved by that mall many times.
For Mother's Day I will highlight a couple of events coming up at the mall that moms may be interested in.
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The first is a search for America's Most Photogenic Baby. Of course, every mom thinks her own baby is perfect, but to be considered, you first must win Charlotte's Most Photogenic Baby of 2010, an annual contest to benefit Levine Children's Hospital.
If you have a child younger than 6 you can enter him or her in any of these categories: precious, comical, beautiful or fashionable. Enter by bringing your baby to Concord Mills for a professional modeling photo shoot anytime 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. next Sunday.
The entry fee is $35, and all photographs will be taken by American Performing Arts Network. There is no additional cost, and parents get to keep the pictures. Then photographs will be on display at Concord Mills for judging and voting June 11-12.
The winners, based on judges' and voters' choices, will be announced with trophies awarded June 13. For details, go to www.photogenicbaby.com.
For the third year, Concord Mills will give kids a chance to make their own edible masterpiece in the Simon Kidgits Club Super-Duper Mini Chefs event. Kids will have access to a "trail mix station with Golden Grahams, chocolate chips and marshmallows, Auntie Anne's Pretzel rolling, candy necklaces, Life Saver gummies and Froot Loops," said Holly Roberson, Concord Mills' director of mall marketing and business development.
It's for kids ages 3-8, and there will be lots of free gifts. This fun, kid-friendly delicacy will be 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Go to www.facebook.com/l/17472;www.akidslife.com for more information.
Concord Mills is especially helpful to moms on steamy, humid summer days when the kids are bored and you are running out of ideas: From June 21 to July 15 the mall will have a free summer camp from 10 to 11 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays. There will be a different activity each day, from live music to bowling to miniature golf to pretzel rolling.
You and your kids will enjoy the air-conditioning as well as all the fun.
So, moms, enjoy your special day today. They say being a mother is the hardest job in the world. I hope you are being pampered with maybe breakfast in bed, a massage or perhaps dinner at your favorite restaurant.
But when the fuse gets short and things get tough, remember we have a quarter-mile-long air-conditioned playground right in our own back yard.
Happy Mother's Day to moms everywhere!