Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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March 25, 2017

Smarty Mom: Emily Ratliff

Ratliff Front Porch Photo July 2016

When I first met Emily Ratliff, she looked familiar – we actually both commented on how familiar we looked to each other and laughed at the small-town-ness of our city. I’m sure somewhere along the line we’ve run into each other at the mall, a grocery store, a park, or at a stoplight (we Charlotte moms are never really strangers to each other, right? We rival Kevin Bacon and his six degrees any day of the week), but it wasn’t until a mutual friend and Kindermourn connected us that I had the honor to actually meet her.

Emily lost her precious daughter, Claire, to neuroblastoma when Claire was just over two years old. Since then, she and her husband, Kevin, have started an amazing organization called Claire’s Army. I’ll let Emily tell you a little more about what they’re doing and how you can get involved, but know this: Emily, her family, and Claire’s Army are one of the reasons Charlotte is the BEST city in all the land.

And, it’s women like Emily who make up the backbone of our awesome city – the backbone of us – and who we should be supporting unconditionally because she. is. us. Emily’s family could be ours. She’s the woman behind you in the checkout line, she’s the driver of the SUV beside you at the stoplight, she’s the mom schlepping her kids in and out of Target on a Tuesday morning. And, Claire could be any one of our kids.

Emily is familiar to me because’s she a Charlotte mom. But, here’s the thing: she’s a Charlotte mom doing extraordinary things – all in honor of her extraordinary Claire.

Read on to learn more about Emily, Claire, and Claire’s Army. I hope you feel moved to join in on the army. And, I hope it also moves you to join in on The 13th Annual Kindermourn Hope Floats Duck Race coming up Saturday, April 30 from 2 pm – 5 pm at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. If you haven’t been touched by Kindermourn yet, I guarantee you or someone you know has (remember that Charlotte small town thing?). Adopt a duck here or just come out and join in on the fun. It’s one of our favorite family events that benefits one of the best organizations in town.

Smarties, enjoy getting to know this week’s Smarty Mom, Emily Ratliff! And a HUGE thank you to Emily for sharing her sweet family with us.

IMG_5260Smarty Mom: Emily Ratliff

Married to: Kevin
Children: Claire (our angel in heaven who is now 7), Sydney (3) and Walker (8 months)
Hometown: Technically I was born in Minneapolis – but have lived here since I was 2
Years in Charlotte: I moved to Colorado after college, so technically, I’ve been back here for 14
Occupation: Executive Director of Claire’s Army
Alma Mater: UNC Chapel Hill Read More →

March 24, 2017

Fitness Friday: Check out Carolina Barre & Core for your teen!

Carolina Barre Core Ansley

Carolina Barre & Core is the perfect supplement for your teen’s sports workouts. Whether she plays soccer, lax, field hockey, cheer or anything in between – a barre workout will enhance her performance. Research has shown that core conditioning will make you a better athlete, no matter what your sport. And our friends at Carolina Barre & Core (CBC) have special teen pricing just for you!

My 10-grade daughter, Ansley, plays field hockey as her primary sport. This is her off season and since December, she has been working out at Carolina Barre & Core and she absolutely LOVES it! When she first started, it was kind of fun for me to watch her shake at the barre during every exercise – afterall, I’ve been a barre addict for years and I know all too well the pain of the shake and burn:-) But she is now a barre pro and stronger than ever. She now seeks out the shake so she can get the best workout every time.

Here’s what Ansley says about barre:

Barre is more than a strengthening class, it’s a total body workout for me. It targets your core, gluts and thighs. During class, when you feel the burn, you know you’re doing it right and making changes. I can see such a difference in all of my workouts now – I’m an all around better athlete because of barre!

Whether your teen is in the middle of a sport season or not, Carolina Barre & Core is a great workout program for her. They have classes every day after school at 4:30p, 5:45p and 7:00p, so there is something that fits her schedule. The instructors are amazing – Anz comes home all the time talking about how much she loves them! I also love the fact that we can do barre together – as mom and daughter and we both get an incredible workout. On the weekends, we love to do barre and head over to One Life Raw Juice Bar next door and do some quality mother/daughter bonding. It’s the BEST! The Plym gals HIGHLY recommend CBC!! Read More →

Smarty Movie Review: ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Beauty and the Beast
Directed by: Bill Condon
Run Time: 2 hours 9 minutes
Rated: PG

Disney is continuing their recent tradition of turning classic cartoons into live action films with the release of Beauty and the Beast. Considering how much money this film has already raked in at the box office, you have probably already seen the film. In case you were one of the few families who didn’t crowd into the theaters last weekend, allow me to tell you a little bit about the story.MV5BMTUwNjUxMTM4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODExMDQzMTI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_

Based on the 1991 animated feature, Beauty and the Beast tells the classic tale of a vain and selfish prince (Dan Stevens) who is cursed by an enchantress to live as a horrible beast unless he can find true love. When crazy old Maurice (Kevin Kline) becomes imprisoned by the beast, daughter Belle (Emma Watson) comes to his rescue and takes her father’s place as a prisoner in the castle. Over time, Belle learns that there is more to Beast than meets the eye and you surely know what happens next!

Before I delve into details of the new film, let me take a moment to remind you of the perfection of the 1991 version—a film so adored that it was the first full length animated feature to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture—pretty impressive! I first saw this film in college and since my daughter was born I’ve seen it countless times. It is by far my favorite Disney film and Belle has always been my favorite princess. I know all of the songs by heart and can recite large amounts of dialogue—heck our first family dog was named Belle! So my daughter and I were giddy with excitement to see the newest version—especially since it featured “Hermione Granger”—my daughter’s favorite Harry Potter character along with an absolutely stellar cast. Read More →

March 23, 2017

Smarty Summer Day Camp 2017: Providence Day School – Accio Fun!

PDS_summerprograms logo (1)

By By Diane Sutton, Director of Summer Programs, Providence Day School

My daughter is part of the “Harry Potter generation,” and she absolutely devoured the books throughout her school years. Attending her first Harry Potter camp through Providence Day’s Summer Programs was truly magical for her. Fifteen years later, she still recalls the experience with delight. The next generation of Muggles can also enjoy the magic and wonder of Hogwarts as Providence Day continues to bring the world of Harry, Ron and Hermione to life as part of a summer’s worth of fun and adventure!

Not a Potter fan? There are so many other wonderful ways your children can spend their summer at PD. Miss Ava the Science Lady will have your budding scientist getting messy with Ooze, Glop, & Slime…..or creating beautiful artwork as they learn about light and color in Nature’s Art. Your young animal-lover can get close to real wild animals in Wildlife Wonders, or learn about the differences between domestic and farm animals in Pet Pals. Gamers can create their own Minecraft® server or design their own 3D game. Techies can take home their own drone in Miss Ava’s Innovators and Inventors.

Photo credit: Providence Day School

Photo credit: Providence Day School

Read More →

March 22, 2017

Enter NOW to win a FREE Springfree Trampoline – valued at up to $2,299!

Springfree March-Lead-Gen-Contest_banner_610x272

Spring has officially sprung and what better way to ring in our favorite season than to win a FREE Springfree Trampoline! Our partners over at Springfree are giving one away. All you have to do is click here to enter – easy peezy! Enter now – contest runs through March 31st. You can’t win if you don’t enter!

In case you haven’t heard, here’s Springfree Trampoline (from the source!):

The Safe Choice is Now the Smart Choice

Smart Innovation
We are committed to getting kids outside and active through safe, outdoor play. Our latest innovation, tgoma is the only digitally interactive trampoline game system that engages the entire family in backyard fun. Read More →

Smarty Giveaway: Sweetness Squared Cookie Decorating Box

**This giveaway is closed. We have a winner!**

We’ve got a SWEET giveaway for you this week, Smarties, just in time for Easter. Sweetness Squared

Meet Sarah, owner and baker at Sweetness Squared. She’s a stay at home mom to three kiddos. In August 2013 she and her husband were blessed with sweetness squared! Twins!! They went from being a small family of two and doubled into an active family of four. While she stays at home, she is pursuing one of her passions…baking. Cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, cookies – she custom makes it all from scratch in her home.

And guess what, we’ve got a box of amazing, homemade cookies with your name written ALL over it (and go ahead, put your name on them before serving them to your mother-in-law at Easter brunch – we won’t say a THING! ;-)).

Smarty Giveaway: One box of Sweetness Squared cookies

One luck Smarty wins a Sweetness Squared Cookie Decorating Box (value at $12.00 per box). The box will include one dozen cookie with 2 buttercream icings (all made from scratch). Winner can choose from 4 different cookie shapes: flowers, butterflies, bunnies or Easter eggs. Read More →

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events: March 25-27

Discovery Place

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

Camp Harrison March Tour
YMCA Camp Harrison
7901 S. NC Why 18, Boomer, NC
March 26, 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Free
Summary: Join us for tours and s’mores!  Pack a picnic, bring the bikes, plan a guided hike or take one on your own. We just want you to see our beautiful camp and have a great day!  When you arrive, we’ll direct you to our spacious parking lot.  Our staff will be on hand to answer questions, show off our incredible facilities, (including our land and water programs) and share how time at YMCA Camp Harrison will give your child the fun and adventure of a lifetime.

Carowinds Opening Weekend
14523 Carowinds Blvd., Charlotte, NC
March 25, 10:00am – 10:00pm, All ages, See website for cost
Summary: Let’s get this party started! Our 2017 season kicks off on March 25 with tons of fantastic prize giveaways, awesome music and good times. This is definitely a momentous event you won’t want to miss!  Read More →

March 21, 2017

Smarty Summer Day Camp 2017: Palisades Episcopal Summer Camp

By Smarty Guest Blogger Amie Berryhill, Palisades Episcopal School Summer Camp Director

Palisades Episcopal School Summer Programs are all about nurturing the mind, body and spirit of our campers!

Our staff of trained teachers will build up their minds and help children avoid the “summer slide” through daily math games, reading time and educational field trips. Campers will visit the public library each week to check out books related to the camp themes. We will travel to a variety of museums and planetariums! Older campers will learn the importance of strategy and financial responsibility through Connect Four and Monopoly tournaments!

PES 1 Read More →

March 20, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Signature Pediatrics: Starting Solid Foods (or What in the World am I Supposed to Feed My Baby?!)

By our Smarty friends at Signature Pediatrics

Rice cereal, egg white vs yolks, gluten, dairy, peanut butter, “baby-led weaning”— controversies and changes in feeding recommendations over the past few years have caused some confusion over the best way to start solid foods in infants. Let’s start by saying we all agree that babies need to be fed! It’s the what and when that seems to be ever-changing.

Photo cred: www.pregnancyandbaby.com

Photo cred: www.pregnancyandbaby.com

A brief review of feeding practices in the past century reveals that in the early 1900’s many infants weren’t fed solid foods until almost a year of age, and green vegetables were sometimes not introduced until age 3! In the 1930’s 4-6 months of age was recommended for starting baby food, and by the mid 1960’s the age of solid food introduction had steadily decreased to the point that 80 % of infants had already started cereal by 1 month of age.

So, what are the most current recommendations?

They are relatively straightforward and simple, and unlike many things these days the “rules” have even relaxed a bit!

Timing: Solid foods should be introduced between 4 and 6 months of age.

Breast milk or formula alone provides sufficient nutrition for most infants until 4-6 months of age. It takes until about 4 months of age for the intestinal and kidney systems to mature enough to process other foods, and by this age most infants have developed the skills to accept and swallow a food. Read More →

Creating quality time together

Friday and Sunday evenings are often dedicated to family time in our household. Other days, we are pulled apart by agendas, homework, meetings, flights, sports, and other weekday activities; all of which is par for the course in most families. While we still have dinner together most weeknights, we don’t have the opportunity to spend too much quality time together outside of that meal. Because I get antsy for time with my family, I try to find smaller opportunities to sneak time in together. I don’t need to preach what you already know: a little time goes a long way. Increments of time are little golden nuggets, valuable no matter how small. Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 10.51.57 PM

Here are some of the ways how we create family time in the Bahr household:

Work alongside one another

In fact, I am writing this as my son sits next to me doing his homework. Not a writer or nothing to write? Then pay bills, answer emails, or look up that unanswered question on Google. You can both work to keep one another on track while enjoying time together. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being in the same space together.

Get cooking

After a week of trying to prepare meals quickly, enjoy slowing down on Friday evenings while involving your kids in the meal prep. I know I appreciate help in the kitchen when we can afford the time and my kids enjoy learning a new recipe. Read More →


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