Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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February 27, 2017

I officially have a kindergartener!

I recognize this feeling. It’s a pit in my stomach, my throat tightens up and my eyes well up with tears. I first had this feeling about halfway through my first maternity leave. It’s that moment when you realize the clock is ticking until you return to work and your little one is in the care someone else other than you. It was rough and tough, but I eased my way back into it and rocked it (if I do say so myself). My daughter thrived at daycare and I got back into the swing at work.

My second maternity leave went smoother. I still shed tears going back to work and leaving my sweet baby boy, but I knew better what to expect this time. starstudent

But now it’s back. The clock is ticking again as I realized that enrollment is open for CMS. My first baby, my sweet girl is in her last year of preschool and she will be heading off to kindergarten this fall. I am proud of her – she’s more than ready. Me on the other hand…am not.

As I completed the enrollment forms, I can barely see through the tears in my eyes. As she talks with excitement about having her own desk, I smile and nod while I secretly feel a sinking in my belly. Read More →

February 26, 2017

Sunday Smarty Share from SHARE Charlotte: Did Someone Say Rapper’s Delight?

By Addie Rising,, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits.

Last week I got a chance to spend an afternoon with some kids — OK … they were young adults — Uptown. They performed a talent show for me and few others It was pretty awesome.SHARE Charlotte Feb 26

A few rapped, one danced and another danced with her 3-year-old daughter. It was a wonderful way to spend a Friday afternoon and for a little while I think we all forgot where we were and why those young adults were congregated there in the first place.

You see, we were at The Relatives On Ramp Resource Center located Uptown just blocks from the hustle and bustle of the thriving banking world. This resource center provides on-site counseling and other programming for youth and young adults who may be experiencing homelessness and who need some assistance getting on their feet. Some of these kids (yes, they were kids) have aged out of foster care, some have been in jail, some have children of their own. But all are struggling to come up with the basics in life. Read More →

Playing for Others hosts two great events to honor disabled

Playing for Others, (PFO) a nonprofit group that works with teenagers to train them to be more compassionate and philanthropic citizens, is celebrating 10 years of work in our city with two super fun events this week: Heartbeat and the Red Carpet Buddy Event for their musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”


First up is their premier event, Heartbeat, an event where PFO teens create and perform original works of art to honor other Charlotte area nonprofits. This year, Heartbeat will take place on Friday, March 3 at 8:00pm at the McGlohon Theater. It’ll be a one-of-a-kind event honoring 12 local nonprofits through music, dance and digital art.16-17_HeARTbeat_Social_Media-2 (1) Read More →

Smarty Alert: This Week’s School Open Houses


Don’t miss this week’s School Open Houses we’ve listed below. This is NOT the full Open House listing for each school or school system – it’s just this week’s. For our full listing of open houses, please see our 2016 Smarty School Open House Guide.

Tuesday, February 28, 10:00-11:30 – The Fletcher School

February 25, 2017

Smarty Mom: Carrie Hanson

You never know where a friendship will turn up. You never know where you will find someone that you have been missing and not even know it until you meet. When my oldest, Molly, made her middle school cheer team last year, it never crossed my mind that I may gain new friendships. I also didn’t realize that I would be sitting through weekly football games and then followed by four basketball games a week!IMG_7492

Last year I dreaded the arrival of basketball season and the many hours I would accumulate in a middle school gym that was loud (very loud) and sometimes a bit smelly. A group of us “cheer moms”, (did I just refer to myself as a cheer mom, for real???) began sitting together and chatting it up to help the time pass by. As the season progressed, the games became much more enjoyable to attend. This year I actually looked forward to games where I could sit and share with my “cheer mom” friends. We compare middle school teen stories (actually nightmares) that we are living, shared recipes and travel recommendations. Lots of laughing and appreciated advice all around.

Today I am sharing with you my “cheer mom” friend, Carrie Hanson, Executive Director of Girls On The Run Charlotte. I love this organization and what it stands for and how it is received in our community. I love how their message of empowerment and strength is mental and physical. The happiness and love that all of their volunteers hold is unique. Cheer season is officially over and the girls will be going to different high schools next year, but our friendship will remain; we spent way too many evenings in a sweaty gym or on the sidelines of a football field to let that diminish.

Smarty Mom: Carrie Hanson

Husband: David, works at Bank of America and trains for Ironman races like it was his job.
Kids: Kira (6th grade) Kylie (8th grade) Andrew (11th grade)
Dogs: Watson & Sonny (2 year old Whoodle brothers) and Casey (14 year-old grumpy Shih-Tzu)
Hometown: I grew up in Ann Arbor, MI and lived in Atlanta, GA for 15 years before moving to Charlotte. We currently live in Providence Springs.
Job: Executive Director of Girls on the Run Charlotte.

Tell us about your job.

Girls on the Run is a positive youth development afterschool program for girls in 3rd-8th grade. Started in 1996 right here in Charlotte with just 13 girls, GOTR is now in all 50 states serving over 200,000 girls each year! We inspire girls to recognize their inner strength and celebrate what makes them unique. Trained coaches lead teams of 8-15 girls through our research-based curriculum which includes character development and life-skills lessons and of course running. Over the ten-week season, the girls develop essential skills to help them navigate their worlds and establish healthy habits. Each season, the girls complete a community service project showcasing their teamwork and empathy skills. They come up with the idea for the project and execute it themselves. Projects my teams have done include hosting collection drives for local animal shelters, making cards and gifts for Levine Children’s Hospital and creating goodie bags and guides for new students coming to their school mid-year. The program culminates with a celebratory 5K event where the girls realize that they can accomplish more than they ever imagined, giving them a tangible feeling of accomplishment. Read More →

February 24, 2017

Fitness Friday: Join in on the Pure Barre ‘Carolina Shake-Off’


We’re headed straight for March Madness, and our friends over at Pure Barre Ballantyne, Pure Barre Myers Park, and Pure Barre SouthPark have made the month fun even for those who don’t follow basketball. From March 1-31, Pure Barre is challenging Y-O-U to complete 20 classes in 31 days (according to our calculations, that’s just 5 classes a week – that’s lay-up easy). Those who successfully complete the challenge get their next month for $125.

And there’s a fun twist on it, too. Studios from across the state will be competing against each other in a “Carolina Shake-Off.” The studio with the most completed challenges wins the big trophy (and maybe a tiny bikini to show off the new summer bod?).

If you’re a new client, you can buy a 1-month unlimited package for just $99. If you’re an existing client and are not already in a monthly package, you can purchase one month for $150. You never know, that one month might just be the jumpstart you need to be summer-ready.

C’mon – get in on the fun. We HAVE to beat Raleigh at the VERY least, y’all! 😉 Read More →

Smarty Movie Review: And the Oscar Goes To….

It’s that time of year—the Academy Awards! Oh how I love awards season and the Oscars are the biggest and brightest show of them all! I can’t wait to see the stars, the dresses and the big winners! There really are some terrific films nominated this year. If you want to do some last minute binge watching to get ready for the big day, here are the nominees for Best Picture.


MV5BMTExMzU0ODcxNDheQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDE1OTI4MzAy._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_One of my favorite films of 2016, Arrival is anything but some mindless sci-fi action flick. When twelve alien spaceships appear on Earth and spread around the globe, there is worldwide fear and confusion—why are the aliens here and what are their intentions? Linguistics professor Louise Banks (the always amazing Amy Adams) is brought in to advise the military on how to communicate with the aliens. Louise is joined by physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) as they meet the squid-like creatures (dubbed heptapods) and begin the difficult job of creating a common language. At the same time, experts in other countries are using other strategies to communicate, and tensions increase when China and Russia have differing views on the heptapods’ motives. Ok—I am betting that you might be rolling your eyes at this point thinking that you would never be interested in this film but I can’t tell you much more of the plot without ruining it for you. Just give it a chance—it’s out on DVD and it’s a brilliant film. In my humble opinion, Amy Adams was completely robbed of an Oscar nomination as she is my pick for Best Actress of the year. I watched this movie with my 13 year old space loving son and we had the most amazing conversation afterwards—it’s a movie that you will be thinking about for weeks and you’ll want to analyze and discuss with anyone and everyone who has seen it. Read More →

February 23, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: what are laryngitis and hoarseness?

By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.

Vocal hoarseness is something that can affect people of all ages. But what is hoarseness and how do you treat it? Otolaryngologist Darrell Klotz, MD, of Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. joins us this month to talk about it.

It’s a common occurrence: your child has been playing with sick children or has been running around yelling a lot, and before you know it they’ve lost their voice.

When people talk about losing their voice, many use “laryngitis” interchangeably with “hoarseness.” However, they’re not the same thing. Laryngitis is the inflammation or swelling of vocal folds, and is the most common cause of hoarseness. Laryngitis can be caused by a cold or the flu, acid reflux, overusing the voice and having bad vocal habits, and irritation. However, hoarseness can also be caused by benign lesions on the vocal folds, or possibly even cancer.TeengirllaryngitisWeb

While no single age group is prone to voice disorders, people who use their voices the most – parents, for example – can have more issues with hoarseness, Dr. Klotz said. They are unable to rest their voice when they have even a mild case of laryngitis because many people depend on them to keep up their responsibilities.

If you or your child does come down with a mild case of laryngitis – caused by a cold, flu, or upper respiratory tract infection, for example – the best thing to do is stay well hydrated and rest your voice, Dr. Klotz said. Laryngitis is the equivalent of injuring your ankle and having it swell. You wouldn’t run on a swollen ankle, so you shouldn’t speak when you have laryngitis. Read More →

Smarty Giveaway: Win a FREE week of TRY CAMP at YMCA Camp Harrison, a $450 value!

Camp Harrison Giveaway

It’s time for an awesome CAMP GIVEAWAY! Today we bring you a free week of TRY CAMP at YMCA Camp Harrison – woot, woot! One lucky Smarty will win one week of TRY CAMP from May 31-June 3. Read on!

If you’ve got a child who is interested in trying resident camp but feels a little nervous about going away for a week or more, YMCA Camp Harrison offers a TRY CAMP session. Specifically designed for first time campers, this four-day, three-night session will allow your child to see what camp is all about. Campers will sleep in cabins, make new friends, and experience the fun of mountain biking, climbing walls, water inflatables and more! This mini-camp is a great way to test the waters and prepare your child for a longer camp session in the future. Even in this shortened session, you’ll be amazed by the incredible development your child will experience.

More on YMCA Camp Harrison:

Camp Harrison Climbing Wall

Located between Lenoir and North Wilkesboro in North Carolina, YMCA Camp Harrison offers exciting opportunities for all who come through our gates. Campers choose from a broad range of activities empowering them to create adventures which fit with their unique interests and personalities. All campers spend time enjoying God’s creation, building relationships and challenging themselves as they learn new skills.

As a Christian organization, we desire that each camper understands what it means to have a relationship with Christ. Morning watch, vespers services and nightly cabin devotions highlight our Christian values through the study of God’s Word, worship songs, testimonies and more. Read More →

February 22, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Levine Children’s Hospital: Heart to Heart: Two Families Journey Together to Transplant

CSP Team Note: February is National Heart Month, and we’ve teamed up with our partners at Levine Children’s Hospital to bring you a patient story that will definitely leave a lasting impact on you. Meet Ayden and Travis, two little boys whose paths crossed while waiting for new hearts – read on to see how their journey has affected both families…for the better. Take a minute to watch the awesome videos – they will give you chills! Note – this post was originally published on the Carolinas Healthcare System’s blog.

By the time Aydan and Travis were admitted to the hospital – just weeks apart – the two little boys had what doctors determined to be days to live before their hearts gave out.

Aydan was 3, and Travis was a mere 3 months. Both had serious heart failure that put them in danger of losing their lives.

The pediatric cardiology and heart surgery team at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Children’s Hospital suddenly had two young patients in need of heart transplants. Their job: to keep both boys alive until transplant, with no way of knowing how long it would take for a heart to become available for either of them.

Doctors recommended an interim solution called a mechanical heart, which would essentially pump their blood and keep all their organs functioning until a new heart was available.

“I’ll never forget when the doctor told me that the only way that Aydan would live is if we did a surgery to get him on a mechanical heart,” says Miriam, Aydan’s mom. “But he also told me that there was another mom, Allyson, just a few rooms down, whose little baby was just put on that same mechanical heart, and that I should meet her.”

A Bond Forms

Miriam and Allyson — Travis’ mother — met, and the two moms struck up a friendship that soon developed into what Allyson calls a sisterhood.

At first, they’d check in when they saw each other in the hallways. Then, they started sitting in each other’s rooms. As time went on, they’d look in on each other’s son even when the other wasn’t there. Read More →

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