Every Monday, I like to highlight local moms, who are making a difference in the community. Maybe they're building something. Maybe they're creating something. But, whatever they are doing, they are taking risks and finding success as they follow their passions.
And every November, I announce Go Ask Mom's Made by Mom Gift Guide, which features a dozen of these local moms. This year, you'll notice that the gift guide doesn't just include things, but also experiences, which, I think, can sometimes make for the very best gifts.
So, as you plan your holiday shopping, I encourage you to consider these local mom-run businesses and support their amazing work. (And stay tuned next month for a big contest where the lucky winner will win something from each of these businesses!).
Here's our 2016 Made by Mom Gift Guide!
Theatre Raleigh: With Broadway star and Raleigh mom Lauren Kennedy at the helm, the company is expanding its youth series in 2017 with two shows - "The Wolf," which returns for the third season, and "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a new re-imagined version of the Shakespeare classic designed for all ages.
SnickerDoodles: Kids and their parents and caregivers have been flocking to this north Raleigh destination since two local moms opened it earlier this year. SnickerDoodles offers free play, best for preschoolers and under, along with art activities and a snack and coffee bar with items for purchase.
Treasure Quest Mining: When a local family discovered a passion for finding gems and fossils in the dirt, they launched a new company to bring those experiences to all of us. Treasure Quest Mining offers birthday parties and has a pop-up kiosk open at Cary Towne Center, selling a variety of treasure-hunting tools.
The Candy Cottage: The Rocky Mount-based company, launched by two moms, features re-usable gingerbread houses made in Wake County. You'll hear more from them on Go Ask Mom in the next couple of weeks!
Apex Food Company: Launched this year, the business, started by two Apex moms, already has an award-winning product. They specializes in sauces and a relish that are based on recipes originating from India.
Galaxy Fun Park: Ever since the indoor fun park in north Raleigh opened this year, launched by two families, it's been pulling in big crowds. Features include laser tag, go-karts, ropes course, an indoor playground, trampolines, bumper cars, birthday parties, concessions and more.
Bless Your Heart Monograms and Gifts: The Holly Springs gift shop, launched by a local mom after building a popular shop on Etsy with her monograms, features an expanding line of affordable boutique clothing, along with complementary accessories and jewelry and some North Carolina-made products.
Bull City Craft: It's been a big couple of years for Bull City Craft, which opened back in 2011 in Durham and moved this year to a new space at Homestead Market Shopping Center. Since re-opening, the shop has expanded its offering, which includes its first parents' morning and night out programs this holiday season and afterschool programs. The shop offers drop-in art activities for little ones, classes, parties and an art supply shop.
Harry Potter books by Susan Sipal: The Pittsboro mom is an authority on how J.K. Rowling weaved the story of Harry Potter, captivating millions around the world. For the Harry Potter fanatic, her book, "A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter," explains it all. And teachers should check out her latest, "Teaching Harry Potter to Creative Writers."