Chattanooga moms have a new resource on their side.
Beth Kaylor, a health care and marketing professional turned stay-at-home mom, launched her website, Chattalittle, in October 2012, and plans this year to continue the site’s growth into the hub for all things kid in the Scenic City.
One mother to another
The impetus for the polka dot, cute-as-a-button website grew out of Kaylor’s troublesome experience researching area parks to visit with her 4-year-old son, KJ.
“I just got frustrated that I couldn’t find one place to get the basic information, to find a list of all the parks out there,” she said. “Some are city parks, some are state parks and some are federal parks, and each have their own sites.”
Kaylor thought surely she wasn’t the only mom in Chattanooga running into the same problem, and for that matter, surely she wasn’t the only mom who could use a single site with information about where kids could eat on the cheap or where to order the best birthday cake—all organized by category and area of town.
Chattalittle was thus born out of a desire to save moms the precious time and energy that is much better spent with their little guys and gals than on the computer searching for current hours and locations of playgrounds around town.
The website features five different categories—"explore," "celebrate," "eat," "learn" and "take care"—and a calendar of child-oriented events in the Chattanooga area.
“I really started with things I was looking for,” Kaylor said.
The "explore" tab includes lists of attractions, cruises and tours, libraries, museums, nature centers, parks, and indoor and outdoor playgrounds; and the "celebrate" tab is a party planner on the go’s haven with a directory of bakeries, party goods and party rentals, entertainment, and venues.
The "eat" category highlights Chattanooga’s farmers markets and the kid-friendly restaurants in town. The "learn" section lists the area’s preschools and pre-kindergartens and introduces visitors to the United Way of Chattanooga’s Project Ready for School. The "take care" tab serves as a directory for pediatric dentists and after-hours urgent care centers.
Chattalittle’s main page features Kaylor and KJ’s adventures around Chattanooga and Kaylor’s blog entries about any number of kid-related issues, such as a visit to Southern Star for kid-friendly dining or the best locales at which to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the family.
What is particularly useful for area moms is the no-nonsense organization Kaylor brings to the business of providing accurate information in a detailed, user-friendly format. The list of attractions and museums not only hits the better-known spots, but also includes hidden gems like the Hixson Flight Museum or the Lynn H. Wood Archaeological Museum at Southern Adventist University.
Her magnum opus, however, is the "kids eat free" spreadsheet that lists 30 restaurants spread throughout all of Chattanooga’s neighborhoods, their hours and locations, and their children’s specials, as well as the days of those specials.
McAlister’s Deli, for instance, offers a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult’s meal during certain hours on Thursday and Saturday. Both Taco Mamacita and Urban Stack feed kids who are wearing the restaurants’ signature T-shirts for free.
Kaylor has done the legwork—each special has been verified with each restaurant—so that other moms don’t have to.
One family to another
The mom lifestyle was actually one Kaylor had thought she wouldn’t have the opportunity to enjoy. She and her husband had tried unsuccessfully to conceive, and Kaylor had reconciled herself to focusing on her career and the family they had with their golden retriever.
KJ was a welcomed surprise and born eight weeks before Kaylor turned 40 years old. As she and her husband adjusted to the new member of their family, her work schedule, which included a good deal of travel, was another element they looked to reprioritize.
Kaylor invested her newly freed-up time and energy into the mom-centric project of Chattalittle with the hopes of helping other moms and shedding light on the wealth of what Chattanooga has to offer families
“There’s so much good to share,” Kaylor said. “There’s a crazy amount of stuff in Chattanooga for kids. I think letting people know and getting the word out there is one of the most important parts of the website.”
She explained that the responses thus far have all been positive. She plans to increase her connection with local children-themed businesses this year to keep the calendar up to date. Those looking to promote an event or series should email her.
One month after launching the site, Kaylor’s hope of creating a hub for Chattanooga moms translated into the best example of how Chattalittle could be more than an online directory. In a November post, she shared the story of family in Dayton, whose 20-month-old son was fighting a rare form of cancer. The Turners were traveling to Nashville each week, where Mac underwent chemotherapy at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
To help make the time the family—which includes four children younger than 5—had together more memorable and less stressful, Kaylor worked with local businesses to organize a fun-filled Chattanooga day for the Turners.
During a two-week break in chemotherapy treatments, the family was treated to a VIP visit to the Chattanooga Zoo—Mac met Wembley the wallaby face to face—with a private guided tour, carousel ride, lunch and an all-inclusive stay at the Courtyard and Residence Inn downtown.
The Creative Discovery Museum also provided a family pass for the Turners to use whenever Mac felt up for a visit.
“I am not sure why I was surprised at how generous local businesses were and how eager they were to help this deserving little guy, but they came through in big ways,” Kaylor said. “It was just an incredible example of how great local businesses can be.”