Asheville North Carolina: My Love Story

Our Asheville weekend

Since 1999 I wanted to visit Asheville, North Carolina. I had never been there and I’m not sure why I wanted to go.  In fact when I graduated from Western State College in Gunnision, Colorado I had full intentions of packing up my 87 Tercel and driving east with my dog Summit. Destination: Asheville, North Carolina. I can’t tell you what was pulling me there but I can tell you that I never made it. I got a job as a reporter for a small paper in Denver and never looked back.

My husband and I moved to the Raleigh area about 2 years ago and visited Asheville for our 5 year wedding anniversary. It  was a whirlwind weekend of hiking, eating and well….more eating. This started my love affair with the city.

Everything that you read or hear about this lovely gem is true. The food is great, the vibe is brilliant and people are fantastic. In fact I would move there tomorrow. I have lots of little stories to tell about our weekend getaway but will write up some personal reviews about our weekend in another post. In a nutshell, Asheville is a great place to go for a romantic weekend without the kids. But it’s also a fantastic family spot.

This is kind of my push to get that going. *insert* smile.


Make us the Deep Fried Ambassadors: My Fair Ladies -The Wrangler Edition

My Fair Ladies

If one one deep fried ambassador is good imagine how tasty 3 would be! Giving you three unique perspectives on the 2011 NC State Fair, we three fabulous ladies will cover the full gamut of food, rides, entertainment, competitions, exhibits and fun “only at the Fair” odd bits. Telling the story through photos, videos and, of course, wildly entertaining words, this gaggle of gals is sure to make everyone want to come out to the Fair.

  • The Kamikaze – aka Rebecca Aslaksen – Nothing stops this Fair enthusiast. No food will be left uneaten, no ride unridden. Put a plate before her and she will devour it. Beat: Food & Rides
  • Fairly Odd – aka Dawn Crawford – Fun just got a little funky at the State Fair. Get a backstage look at the music, the best of our state’s produce and livestock and side-shows. Exploring the entertaining, wacky and downright odd parts of the Fair. Beat: Competitions & Entertainment
  • The Wrangler – aka ME! Valentina Garcia Gerdes from Worldview Mother – Armed with sunscreen, family meet-up points and a purse of non-sugary snacks, this mom knows how to make the Fair fun for all ages. Beat: Family Activities & Exhibits

And here is my story of why I want to be a Deep Fried Ambassador:
I’m always looking for awesome adventures with my family. The State Fair holds a treasure of fun, out of the ordinary activities. My goal as The Wrangler blogger for the 2011 NC State Fair blog will be to inspire families to kick-up their heels and venture off the beaten path.

If I didn’t step out of my ordinary suburban life every now and then I would seriously loose my mind. I’m a sucker for all things Americana and I get a nostalgic feeling when I get around the smell of a state fair.

I don’t really know what draws me to seek unique cultural experiences like the state fair. Perhaps it a combination of my Latin roots and coming to the United States at such a young age, but I am drawn to these learning and growing opportunities, especially when it comes to my local community.  As a journalist by nature and trade, I am compelled to help others find out about what is current and happening in their local environment. That’s why I want to be The Wrangler mom and a Deep Fried Ambassador.  And I want to encourage families to venture off their beaten path, to step out of your box and get out of their daily life activities and into something fun and exciting.

I live in Johnston County, in Clayton to be exact, and relocated here from Denver, Colorado just last year. I’m a Latina with Midwest upbringing and a mountain heart.  And I credit my background with my zest for learning through others.
I’ve only lived in North Carolina for a year but already feel like a local. Armed with my new and shiny GPS, my vivacious 5-year-old and my iPhone we ventured out pretty quickly.  Within my first month in the Triangle we had experienced to the Museum of Life and Sciences in Durham, Marbles Children’s Museum and the NC State Farmers Market. Not to mention the beaches!!

People tell me I’m so brave to venture out so quickly but really I’m just curious and want to experience all that North Carolina has to offer. I’m a mom on the go and proud of it.  Plus, as I mentioned before, I would loose my mind if I didn’t learn something new and exciting on a frequent basis.

When you roll up my life experience you’ll find a journalist, a mother, and a socially driven communicator. I can’t wait to be the Deep Fried Ambassodor!! And it’s okay to eat cotton candy for dinner every once in a while. It’s going to be okay.

Get your Marbles on!

Hockey at Marbles

Don’t let being new to a city slow you down let alone intimidate you. I know it’s scary driving around with tots in tow but get a GPS, hop online and search for fun things to do. When I’m new to a town I love to jump in news Websites and Chamber of Commerce sites. You can easily find out what’s going on around town and what family friendly things are going on. Bug Playing hockey at Marbles.

First on my Raleigh agenda is the Marbles Kids Museum.  Before we left Denver a group of my mommy friends from the Website gave us a membership to Marbles. I honestly didn’t have an expectations so bug and I drove there one day to check it out.

All I can say is WOW! This is one heck of a museum. It’s of 3 levels filled with imaginary play, creative play, exploration and movement. I think I fell in love at first site. The entrance is marvelous and it has ample space and you never really feel crowded.

We love every part about it but my son is a sport enthusiast so we spent about 2 hours at mock ice rink that is sponsored by the local hokey team the Hurricanes. There’s also a mini soccer area, dancing, rock climbing, surfing, biking and a mini yoga mats and a mini music station for kids to get their groove on. I also love the attention to the world and other cultures. You know that gives Marbles a thumbs up from me.

If you’re in doubt about Marbles you shouldn’t be. The museum is so much fun and it’s well worth getting a membership. Get out and have some fun!

Palabra de la semana: Manzana

This week we went with a word we already use and know in our family vocabulary but you can never practice enough. I love the word Manzana en Español (apple) because kids and adults alike can practice their pronunciation.

Here is what my son did...I'm such a proud mama.

Instead of a family project we went upstairs to  his bedroom and played around on his chalkboard wall for about a half hour. I wrote the apple out  and had him practice right next to mine. Then as animated as I could be I said “ahora cual es la palabra en español?” and he shouted “MANZANA!” It’s important when teaching kids to be animated and keep it fun. When the fun gets squeezed out of the picture you’re going to lose interest. I only say this because it’s happened to me. I get to serious with bug and he simply gets frustrated.

After we practiced the English words he watched as I wrote the word in Spanish (Manzana). Another thought to keep in mind is to  also say letters in Spanish and English as you go,  so your children  can continue to practice the alphabet in both languages.

I really encourage parents no matter what your second language is to interject words into your vocabulary.  Your children will love picking up a second language.


Globo: nuestra palabra


Mirando a nuestros globos


If you are not a fluent speaker in any language, but you want your family to be exposed to one, I suggest taking baby steps. You can do this! Palabra por semana or Word of the week is geared toward families who may not be fluent but want to teach their children a few words.