Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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April 29, 2016

Smarty Alert: The Kindermourn Hope Floats Duck Race is this Sunday!

Kindermourn Hope Floats Duck Race

Mark your calendars, Smarties, KinderMourn’s Hope Floats Duck Race is this Sunday, May 1, at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Kindermourn is a wonderful organization that supportsthe cause of comforting bereaved parents and grieving children.

The 12th annual event from 2 to 4:30 p.m., rain or shine, will host thousands of local Charlotteans for live music, family-friendly activities and the signature duck race. The day’s wacky highlight comes at 3:30 p.m. as 15,000 yellow rubber duckies – each one “adopted” by a KinderMourn supporter – race down the rapids to the finish line. Among the prizes is $2,500 in cash if your duck finishes first. The real winner, of course, is KinderMourn, which counts on the duck race to raise 20 percent of its annual budget. This year’s goal: $135,000.

Ducks can be “adopted” at Severe weather such as a sudden thunderstorm is all that keeps the ducks from racing. The event is free. U.S. National Whitewater Center parking is $5.

The brightly colored ducks have come to symbolize the hope that the bereaved find in KinderMourn. Since 1978, the nonprofit has offered professional counseling, support groups, after-school and summer camps for parents who have lost a child, and children and teens who have lost a family member or friend. In 2015, more than 4,000 people participated in KinderMourn offerings. In addition, KinderMourn’s Helping the Hurt program was offered in 80 Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, helping 1,200 students deal with a death in their family. Read More →

Smarty Movie Review: What you missed while you were raising your kids, Part II

We are continuing our series on movies that you may have missed while your focus has been on surviving those first years of motherhood. This week, let’s take a look at some classic chick flicks and romantic comedies.

It used to be that romantic comedies were released all the time. These days you are lucky to find one good one a year. Want to know why? Streaming services have caused DVD sales to drop dramatically. To find new revenue, movie companies have increased their reliance on foreign markets like never before. So what translates best in other countries and other languages? Superhero movies, action flicks and franchise films based on familiar concepts (like Transformers and Ninja Turtles). What doesn’t translate well to other countries? You guessed it—romantic comedies and love stories. So since they are becoming a dying breed, let’s take a look back at some gems that you may have missed:

The NotebookThe Notebook (2004, Rated PG-13)
What’s the recipe for a great film? Take a terrific story with interesting characters, add two fantastic actors, sprinkle in some Charleston SC magic and you have created something incredibly delicious. Beautifully filmed by director Nick Cassavetes (the son of co-star Gena Rowlands), the story follows poor country boy Noah (Ryan Gosling) who falls for wealthy city girl Allie (Rachel McAdams). As their love blooms, their difference in social status is too much for Allie’s mom (Joan Allen) and she works to keep them apart. Gosling is mesmerizing as Noah and McAdams is perfectly cast as feisty, stubborn, spoiled Allie. The fact that these two became a couple after filming is no surprise as their chemistry is fantastic. While they sadly didn’t last together in real life, they will forever be linked together in my mind in this perfect southern tale.

PhantomPhantom of the Opera (2004, Rated PG-13)
In case you’re wondering where my love for Gerard Butler began—it all started with Phantom of the Opera. You may have seen this story on the stage, but it is beautifully adapted to the screen by Joel Schumacher in this gorgeously shot film. Butler’s voice is more rock & roll than previous Phantoms, but the soundtrack is still wonderful. I don’t understand why Emmy Rossum and Patrick Wilson don’t sing more in their careers—their voices are incredible as lovers Christine and Raoul. If I could sing like they could you would’t ever get me to shut up! Read More →

April 28, 2016

From the Smarty Health Corner and Levine Children’s Hospital: What you need to know about drowning

CSP Team Note: We recently interviewed Dr. Sean Fox, an emergency room doctor at Carolinas Healthcare System and Levine Children’s Hospital. This is an EXCELLENT reminder for all of us as we get ready for summer fun. It’s a must-read! Thank you, Dr. Fox!

By Dr. Sean Fox, Carolinas Healthcare System and Levine Children’s Hospital

For many, summer fun is often closely aligned with the water – whether it’s the pool, the river, the lake or the ocean. Unfortunately, this joyous time can become tragic quite unexpectedly and rapidly. Of all of the potential hazards that exist, submersion injuries (usually known as drowning) are the third leading cause of accidental death in children in the United States (and are actually a significant problem worldwide). Working in the Emergency Department at Carolinas Medical Center and Levine Children’s Hospital gives me the amazing opportunity to help care for our community’s children – but it also exposes me to the more sinister side of summer fun. Many times accidents occur without warning and are truly unpreventable, but when it comes to submersion events and injuries, some attention and vigilance can truly help prevent our children from being placed in harm’s way.

Drowning doesn’t always look like it does in the movies. What are some real-life warning signs?

Two groups of children are particularly at risk for having a submersion event: infants/toddlers and teenagers (especially males).

Infants and toddlers are, obviously, dependent upon their guardians to keep them out of danger. Infants suffer submersion injuries when not properly supervised while bathing. Infants lack the mobility and strength to get themselves out of trouble – so close supervision during bath time is key. Toddlers actually have the highest rates of submersion injuries. They also often lack the mobility to help get themselves out of trouble, like falling into a bucket containing water in the garage or yard or, slipping into the neighbor’s pool. Toddlers are very curious by nature and that curiosity often leads them to exploring dangerous environments, like the pool edge. Once again, appropriate supervision is the most important guard against a devastating submersion injury. Having two children, I do know that toddlers can sometimes “outsmart” their guardians (that may have happened to me once or twice). So, other safety measures are important to help avoid disaster. First of all, a designated supervisor should also be within arm’s reach of a toddler when near a watery environment (for example, a local pool). Toddlers do not thrash around like you may see in the movies. They lack the strength to get to the surface of the water many times and may not even make any noise. Drowning can occur silently and without commotion – which is why the supervisor must be attentive to the child and not get distracted by other activities. Yes, I enjoy the pool deck as well and would much prefer to sit and read my book (… or play CandyCrush), but even this distraction is enough to prevent my ability to detect a toddler’s distress in the water. Obviously, the supervising adult should also be sober. Read More →

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events: April 29-May 1

Discovery Place

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

Camp Harrison Green Bus
7901 S NC Hwy 18 | Boomer, NC 28606
Sunday, May 1st
Chapel Service, 11AM
BBQ lunch and Bluegrass, Noon
Tours and Activities Open, 1 – 4PM

Adventure awaits at the 2016 YMCA CAMP HARRISON Open House. Bring your camper and experience the fun of camp first hand. You’ll have a chance to try out some of our exhilarating activities, see our facilities, and meet our well-trained staff. Not to mention, you can interact with other campers too! Come see for yourself all the challenging, safe and life-changing experiences in store for you at YMCA CAMP HARRISON. Summer is fast approaching and we CAN’T WAIT to see you!

Schoolhouse Rock Live!
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte
300 E. 7th Street, Charlotte, NC
April 8 – May 1, See website for schedule, Ages 8-14, $12 and up
Summary: Learning never rocked this hard! This musical adaptation of the classic TV show uses clever songs to teach about history, grammar, politics, math and more. Sing along with “Just a Bill” and “Conjunction Junction” with your own kids! It’s one act and recommended for ages 6 and up, so fun for the entire family! The show runs April 8-May 1.

Read More →

April 27, 2016

Smarty Giveaway: Win a FREE week of Discovery Place KIDS Camp, a $180 value!

Discovery Place Kids Knights and Fairies


It’s time for yet another CAMP GIVEAWAY! Today we bring you a week of camp from our Smarty friends at Discovery Place KIDS-Huntersville. One lucky Smarty will win a FREE week of Knights and Princesses Camp:

Knights and Princesses
(1 Camp admission)
$180 value
Ages 3-5
July 25-29; 9 a.m. – noon
Calling all knights and princesses. Travel back to medieval times and stretch your imaginations through this fantasy Camp. Build a castle worthy of the royal court.

Discovery Place KIDS: An Adventure in Learning Through Play

Discovery Place KIDS is a children’s museum featuring developmentally-appropriate experiences that encourage interactive learning through play. By participating in rich play integrated with imagination and fun, kids explore their world, discover how to get along with others, test their skills and muscles, try out new ideas and develop confidence.

Discovery Place KIDS Camps
An adventure in play is available all summer for ages 2 – 8. From art to animals and cooking to LEGOs, there’s a new theme each week to keep little minds growing. Bring your friends or make new ones as we have fun experimenting with new ideas and learning new skills. Read More →

April 26, 2016

From the 2016 Smarty Summer Camp Corner: Small Hands Big Art

By our Smarty friends at small hands big art

MIXED MEDIA CAMPSsmall hands big art giraffe

small hands big art offers enriching and fun half day summer camp programs that will educate, inspire and entertain your creative young artists!  And best of all – our summer camps don’t require four applications of sunscreen! During the mixed media art camps, children age 4 – 14 explore painting, drawing, 3D sculpture, collage, assemblages, printmaking & more! Students are segregated into different age groups to work on age-appropriate projects, or may work on the same open-ended project with modifications for their age.  We also have several sessions carved out exclusively for Teens ages 12-15 (see schedule below).  Weekly summer art camps are the perfect opportunity to dive into lengthier projects like papier mache, batik painting, assemblage sculpture or clay. For die-hard campers who return year after year (or week after week), they catalog all projects each student has completed  & make every effort to avoid repeating projects!  Watch our Mixed Media Summer Camp Video! Read More →

April 25, 2016

Balance is Bullsh!t

Here are some facts about me:

I’m a wife. I’m a mommy to two. I work full time in a demanding industry. I’m up at 4am every day and usually go down around 10pm. In the hours between, it’s packed with daycare prep, breakfast prep, internal meetings, creative briefs, client meetings, communications planning, work fires, grocery shopping over lunch, setting doctor appointments, paying bills, fighting Charlotte traffic, towing kids to swim lessons, prepping dinner, doing baths, fighting kids’ bedtimes and working on meeting prep a little more. Go to bed. Wash, rinse, repeat. balance

It’s crazy. Most days the adrenaline carries me through.
Often I’m asked: How do you keep it all together?
The real answer is I don’t!

Lately, I’ve been reading about other parents that are confessing how difficult it is to keep it together. (Insert huge sigh of relief here). These parents include a Charlotte dad that is also an entrepreneur and a Charlotte mom documenting her struggle working after having her first baby. I also recently attended a webinar by Mom Complex (a business dedicated to working moms) and it started with “Balance is Bullsh!t”. What an empowering statement. Just hearing another working mom say those words aloud halted me in my frantic rush and allowed me to feel good about what I do every day.

As mothers, we all need to give each other a break. Smile more, sympathize more, share your victories and your struggles more. The biggest takeaway for me in this process is that I’m not doing it alone. I have a huge support system (thanks hubby, family and friends!) and there are millions of others in this world going through it, too.

A few tips that have also gotten me through include the following:
– Take time for me. I like to take what I call “Jen days”. These are days that I take off work, drop the kids off and usually go back home and cross things off my to-do list. It’s not glamorous by any means, but boy does it feel good!

– Put time on your calendar for your personal needs. When I was pumping at work, I would block off three thirty-minute windows on my work schedule so nobody could book meetings during that time. It was also a helpful reminder to keep pumping!

– Put the phone down. This is one I often struggle with still. My goal is to put my phone down when I walk in the door so I can focus on my family, not the obnoxious red numeric alert over my email icon on my phone (I’m one of those people that has to have it cleared)!

– Sneak in errands when you can. I try to grocery shop over lunch or run other errands so that I can enjoy my time at home with my family doing FUN stuff.

– Don’t do it all. I quickly realized I need to say NO and that it’s ok to do that. I don’t need to be on every committee or spearhead every activity. There are plenty of other talented people that can take those reigns.

Those are just a few things I do. Smarties, how do you respond to “How do you do it all?” and what are some of your tips to staying sane?

April 24, 2016

From the Smarty Health Corner and Levine Children’s Hospital: A Commitment to Cancer Patients Well Beyond Treatment


This story proves just how incredibly lucky we are to have Levine Children’s Hospital in our backyards. It was originally posted on their blog, and we thank them for the opportunity to share with Smarty Charlotte!

Winning a battle with cancer takes a group effort. For young patients who have come through cancer and are now facing life with new hope, learning to move forward after recovery is also a group effort.

Today – for the first time – the majority of children diagnosed with cancer can expect to be long-term survivors. However, survivorship comes with the shadow of other health risks, and it takes careful monitoring to ensure that every patient who beats cancer continues to not only survive, but thrive.

Enter the Survivorship Clinic at Levine Children’s Hospital. Under the leadership of Jennifer Pope, MD, the team educates cancer survivors about their past medical history while guiding them to live their best life.

“I’m so proud that once pediatric patients are done with therapy, we don’t just leave them. We are committed to them until they become adults,” says Dr. Pope.

The survivorship team is multidisciplinary; it consists of a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a psychologist, dietitian, teacher, social worker and child life specialists. The clinic takes place every Wednesday morning, with each cancer survivor coming in once a year. Right now, there are 200 active survivors in the program. Read More →

April 23, 2016

Smarty Mom: Erin McDermott

Erin McDermott Fam

Erin McDermott is my absolute favorite millennial mom. She launched a super successful jewelry biz right out of her Myers Park home. She can rock a pair of overalls while holding a babe on her hip. Her instagram feed is absolutely adorable – whether she’s draping her English bulldog “Sukie” in her fab gems, or jet-setting to a friend’s wedding, or designing her next jewelry must-have, Erin McDermott oozes cool and seems to breeze through motherhood at ease.

We adore Erin’s fabulous sense of style, her amazing creativity, her precious personality and everything about her gorgeous family that is soon to be expanding.

Smarties, I’m thrilled for you to get cozy with the AMAZING Erin McDermott!

Smarty Mom Erin McDermott

Smarty Mom Stats:
Mom of: Coco – 16 months & one on the way
Years married: 6
Years in Charlotte: 7
Hood: Myers Park
Hometown: Williamsburg, VA
Occupation: Business owner, jewelry designer Read More →

April 22, 2016

First Communion & Graduation Gifting: Erin McDermott Pearl Cross Necklace 25% off and BOGO Lucky Elephant Tassle Necklace!

Just in time for First Communion and graduation gifts, we bring you an amazing Smarty Steal from our favorite local jewelry designer, Erin McDermott.

First up…

The freshwater pearl cross necklace or bracelet

Erin McDermott Freshwater Pearl Necklace

These pearl ensembles are perfect for that special girl in your life transitioning from one chapter to another. Whether the occasion is First Holy Communion, graduation, flower girl – these cross gems are darling! And for CSP readers only, they are 25% off through May 15th! Enter code “smartysteal” at checkout.

Next up…

Buy one-Give one and get a FREE little girl Lucky Elephant Tassle Necklace

We have the CUTEST Buy One-Give One offer for the Lucky Elephant Collection. It’s spring and everyone needs a white lucky elephant in her life. And every little girl likes to be just like her Mom. It’s the perfect marriage. For every lucky elephant (adult) necklace you purchase, you get a FREE little girl lucky elephant tassle necklace! Read More →

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