Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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November 25, 2014

American Girl Doll Giveaway

Samantha Doll and Book-Hi Res SittingIn honor of Smarty Holiday Gift Guide Week (and Crown Town finally getting its own AG Doll store), we bring you a maj giveaway! One of you lucky ducks will win American Girl Doll, Samantha™.  She is back from the archives!

The Samantha™ Doll retails for $115 and is part of the American Girl BeForever™ line of dolls and books. First introduced in 1986 as The American Girls Collection, the line gives girls today the opportunity to explore the past, find their place in the present, and think about the possibilities their future can bring.

There are currently eight BeForever characters in the line – all of our favorites!

* Kaya, an adventurous Nez Perce girl with a deep respect for nature and a dream of being a leader.
* Caroline, a heroic girl who must test her bravery and wits to help her family during the War of 1812.
* Josefina, a quiet New Mexico girl who uses her heart to heal others in 1824.
* Addy, a courageous girl who escapes slavery and keeps her family strong in 1864.
* Samantha, a kindhearted girl in 1904 who won’t let “proper” society stop her from helping others.
* Rebecca, a lively girl who wants to shine bright for others in 1914 New York City.
* Kit, a clever girl with a can-do attitude who creates better tomorrows in 1934.
* Julie, an upbeat San Francisco girl who stands up and fights for what’s right in 1974. Read More →

November 24, 2014

Smarty Holiday Gift Guide: Ages 0-2

The 2014 Smarty Holiday Gift Guide is sponsored by our favorite local toy store, Toys & Co in Cotswold and Park Road Shopping Center. Find everything on your child’s wish list and then some at Toys & Co! And guess what? They will wrap every gift BEAUTIFULLY and oh-so-expertly – so you don’t have to pull an all-nighter on Christmas Eve!

This is our BIG week here in Smartyland – our annual holiday gift guide. We divvy ‘em up by ages and our Smarty bloggers get to work helping Santa figure out who gets what. To kick off our week of toy guides we’ve asked our “baby Mama’s” Jennifer Voorhees and Karly Barker to compile a list of some of their family’s favorite toys from years past as well as what they’re getting their tiny tots ages 0-2 this year. Without further to-do, lets get to that shopping list!

Karly’s recommendations:

Bringing Home Baby Kit

Since we are expecting baby #2 and about to rock our two year olds life, we are trying to stock up on baby gear so she can do things just like Mom when the new bundle arrives. I love this Bringing Home Baby kit from Toys and Co.

Clay and Play Box

My doctor recommended early on that I stay away from toys that have blinking lights and music, ones that don’t ignite creativity. Of course, we still have lots of those around the house (everything with a grain of salt, right?) but I’ve tried to stick to that rule whenever possible. We have loved collecting craft kits to help her create things at home. We love this Clay and Play Box from Melissa and Doug. Really, we love anything from Melissa and Doug at our house.

Do-A-Dot Art Markers

On that same note, we discovered these Do-A-Dot Art Markers (although they seem like paint to me) one Saturday morning at the kids craft station at the Atherton Mill Farmers Market. They are mess free paints and we are HUGE fans at our house.


Art Smock

And why not a little art smock for your little artist, while we are at it!


Melissa and Doug Stacking Train

For the littlest tots we have loved this stacking train at our house. It’s worked for Annie from about 9 months to 2.5. Even her older friends seem to love it. And I love a good wooden toy.


Melissa and Doug Blocks Read More →

Smarty Book Club Review: THE MARTIAN

Third in our Smarty Book Club series by our new literary Smarty writer, Kimmery Fleischli

The Martian

One night three years ago, my father—my healthy, funny, beloved father—went to sleep and did not wake up. He was a truly brilliant guy. In my belligerent youth, I failed to appreciate this as unique. I just thought all men had an encyclopedic knowledge of everything from foreign policy to structural engineering. In my house, if some highly complex piece of machinery broke, my dad did not truck over to Lowe’s and buy a new one. He’d dissemble the thing down to its component parts, deduce how it worked, and whip up a new and much more efficient one out of some toothpicks, duct tape and gum salvaged from the trash. (Side note: duct tape is featured prominently in THE MARTIAN. Men love duct tape…cliched but true.“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”) Anyway, now of course I realize my dad’s ingenuity was one of the most remarkable things about him.

So reading this novel was bittersweet for me. After only a couple pages, I was whimpering ‘Daddy, DADDY,’ inside my head. Like my dad, astronaut Mark Watney is one of those guys who can figure out anything. Even if you don’t live with one of those guys personally, you know the kind I mean. (And if you want to delve into the Mr. Fixit phenomenon further, read some reviews of Mark Watney’s character on Goodreads. Women absolutely LOVE this guy.) Read More →

November 23, 2014

SUNDAY SMARTY SHARE from SHARE Charlotte: Holiday Giving Ideas

By Kimberly Paulk,, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store. – Dr. Seuss

Looking for a way to give back as a family this holiday season? Many families get involved through their local church or community center, but if you’re looking for something new or a little different, we’ve got some suggestions for you!
SHARE 11.23

Photo credit: Alexander Youth Network

Changed Choices invites you and your family to share the joy of the holidays with women who are separated from their kids and community due to incarceration. You choose the number of cards you’d like to write, and you’ll receive instructions about sending mail to jail or prison and a confidential return address to use. Read More →

Check out Sea Life’s newest creature this holiday season AND give to the food bank

If you’re looking for something to do with the kids or the visiting fam this holiday season, here’s an idea. Sea Life Aquarium Charlotte-Concord just got a new sea creature, a shovelnose guitarfish. Shovelnose guitarfish are recognized by their pointed snouts and guitar-shaped bodies. Sea Life’s is named Anberlin after the Billboard charting alternative rock band. And, now through Nov. 26, visitors to Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium can donate canned goods and other non-perishable food items to support Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Guests will receive $5 off their Sea Life ticket upon donating one item to the food drive at the admissions desk. LOVE this – having fun and giving back!
Sea Life Guitarfish2

Here are a couple of fun facts about shovelnose guitarfish to share with the kids when you visit: it’s a member of the ray family but is commonly mistaken for a shark because of its long tail and dorsal fins. It’s a peaceful creature and is generally found swimming along the bottom of the coastal seafloor. Read More →

November 22, 2014

Smarty Moms: Kelly Brooks and Kimberly Paulk

We are absolutely thrilled and honored to introduce you to two ladies doing incredible things here in Charlotte – Kelly Brooks and Kimberly Paulk. By now we’re sure you’ve seen (and hopefully used!) our weekly Smarty SHARE Sunday posts from SHARE Charlotte. They are an absolutely gem on our site – every single week, SHARE Charlotte (a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with Charlotte’s local nonprofits) introduces us to nonprofits in our area. If you’re EVER looking for a way to get your family involved in our community, start with SHARE Charlotte.SHARE team-edited

These two Smarty Moms are working on something big this holiday season – #GivingTuesdayCLT. We’ll let them explain more, but look for Smarties all over Charlotte to be participating the Tuesday after Thanksgiving! We love the idea and can’t wait to see the good it will do.

Smarties, Meet Kelly and Kimberly!

Smarty Moms: Kelly Brooks and Kimberly Paulk

Smarty Mom Stats:
Married to: Paul, 13 years
Children: Olivia, 11 & Kasey, 10
Occupation: Small Business Owner: Founder, SHARE Charlotte
Hometown: Horseheads, NY
Years in Charlotte: 7
Alma Mater: State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany
‘Hood: Foxcroft

Married to: Shawn, 16 years
Son: Ethan, 12
Occupation: Partner, SHARE Charlotte
Hometown: St. Petersburg, Florida
Years in Charlotte: 9
Alma Mater: University of Denver
‘Hood: The Forest Read More →

November 21, 2014

Making HUGE strides with the Ballantyne Reading Academy for the Very Young (& a Smarty Steal)

The school year is in full effect. Things seem to be running smoothly and then you get your preschool calendar and there it is, January conferences. For preschool children this January conference is when you meet with your teachers to determine if your child should be taking the Transitional Kindergarten fork in the road, or sent directly to Kindergarten. My last child at this crossroad was a boy with a late summer birthday – no brainer for TK; but my youngest child is a bright little girl with a November birthday. My gut is telling me that she will be scooted right along to Kindergarten. (Crossing my fingers!)BRA Soph and Lisa

For parents of these children, you find them in Kindergarten classes with half of the kids attending TK and already reading. My son was this child and it gave me some comfort knowing that he was ahead of where he should be. My daughter will be on the opposite path, or actually right where a Kindergartner “should” be. So to make us feel a little better going into school next fall, we began researching some early reading resources to get the leg up that we wanted for her.

So with that in mind, I found the Ballantyne Reading Academy for the Very Young and the owner, Ms. Lisa Palladino.

I instantly fell in love with Lisa. She immediately made Sophia feel at home and secure. She conducted baseline testing on Sophia’s pre-reading skills. She tested her identification of both upper case and lower case letters as well as the matching sounds. She investigated her print awareness and reading comprehension skills and made notes of areas of improvement. She talked with me about discoveries and the personalized program she wanted to develop based on Sophia’s unique needs.

Since Sophia is very much a “girly-girl,” Lisa’s lesson materials often involved books and activities that appealed to her personality such as “Beatrix Potter’s Appley Dapply Nursery Rhymes” for the short A sound and a “Tea party” for the letter T. “Frozen” was of course used for letter F activities too. Read More →

Fitness Friday: Title Boxing Club – When Crunches Aren’t Enough

From our friends at Title Boxing Ayrsley and Charlotte

Unfortunately, in order to improve posture, balance, and positioning — all of which are crucial to boxing — you actually need to go beyond doing crunches to build your core muscles. But before you go running the other way, you should know that since punching actually requires you to engage your abs, back, hips, and thighs, strengthening your core will only give you an advantage. Luckily we have plenty of ways to easily work on your core either from the comfort of home or at the gym. And you do want to add more power to your punch, right? Well then, listen up!Title Boxing Nov 21

– Grab a medicine ball and do 10 to 12 seconds of chest passes.

– Do press-ups with your feet on a stability ball. It may take extra effort to keep your balance but try to perform 10 of these to work out your abs, shoulders, back, and arms.

– Use your ankles to pick up the stability ball and lower it without letting it touch the floor. Lift your legs and aim to repeat 20 times. Feeling the burn, yet?

– You can also do planks with a stability ball. Start by holding for 30 seconds and built up to a minute. You can do it! And if you don’t have a stability ball, a regular plank or side plank will also do the trick. Read More →

November 20, 2014

A MUST Event for Parents of 4th/5th graders: Girlology & Guyology on Dec 7

Our Smarty friends Girlology & Guyology will be hitting the road and heading to Charlotte on December 7th. Not familiar with this AMAZING program for moms & kids, then read on!

melisa_trish Girlology

What began in 2003 as a grassroots outreach of busy clinical practices, is now a growing national brand with the voice parents trust for age-appropriate, medically accurate, engaging and cringe-free messages about growing up safe, healthy and informed, especially when it comes to sexuality. Girlology and Guyology are helping kids face puberty and growing up with knowledge and confidence. And they are helping parents start conversations that matter. Join this crew on December 7th and learn everything about puberty and staying healthy (and nothing more!). There’s no discussion about exactly how babies are made, but all the other stuff and in a super fun and safe environment. I took my oldest to a Girlology event a few years ago and it was so amazing. My daughter left actually wanting to get her period, they made it sound that cool! These ladies are fun, funny and informative – no awkwardness about it! I will definitely be taking my 5th grader to a Girlology event in the near future! I hope you’ll join me! Hurry, spaces for this popular event fill up FAST! To register, click here. Read More →

November 19, 2014

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events: November 21-23

Discovery Place

Smarty Scoop is proudly sponsored by Discovery Place, Discovery Place KIDS – Huntersville and The Charlotte Nature Museum.


Our Soccer Shots Fall FUNfest will be on Saturday, November 22nd. This FUNfest will be our biggest and best yet; you do not want to miss it!

It will be held at the soccer fields at Calvary – 5801 Pineville Matthews Rd., Charlotte, NC 28226, and we’ll be there from 11:00 – 2:00. We will be finishing up our Saturday morning seasons that day, so be sure to come celebrate with us after your session ends. There is plenty of parking, restrooms, and places to hang out, plus all the activities are FREE! We’ll also have plenty of cool food options for purchase, and we’ll be raffling off several free seasons and Soccer Shots gift packs.

THURSDAY, November 20

UniverSoul Circus

Old Freedom Mart
3146 Freedom Drive, Charlotte, NC (800) 316-7439
November 18-23, See website for schedule, All ages, $15.
Summary: A must see… enjoy one of the most entertaining and interactive circuses in the world.

Charlotte International Auto Show 
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College St., Charlotte, NC (704) 364-1078
November 20-24, See website for schedule, $10, Kids under 12 free
Summary: Over 400 vehicles…nearly 6 football fields in the display area! Experience the latest in automotive technology! Fun for the whole family.

Read More →

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