Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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December 21, 2014

Smarty Cooking School: Pinterest Nibbles

It comes as no surprise to those who know me, that I love me some Pinterest! The concept (IMOHO) is genius! An on-line idea board that stays organized!! Yes please! I must say, you really can have a board on any interest you have…and I mean any!

Some of my favorite boards are my food boards (shocking, I know!). I have one called ‘recipe related’, which is basically anything that I think looks yummy and would love to try, but there are quite a few on there, so it will take some time to get to. My board titled, “Make this week”, are recipes that I actually do try, or at the very least are in my lineup. The one I go to quite a bit during the holidays is my trusty “Something to Nibble” board, of which I keep recipes that I can bring to parties. Not at all surprisingly, it’s pretty bacon recipe heavy LOL!

I’m not gonna lie, not all of the recipes I’ve made from Pinterest are winners. Some of them are big disappointments, made even worse with titles like, “BEST EVER CHICKEN”…ummm, NOPE! “To die for pumpkin muffins”…”I’m dyin’, ‘cause they be so dry!” But some are absolute winners (yes sometimes with a tweak here and there), but with the holidays around the corner, I thought I would share some of my favorites cocktail nibbles with you!

Sweet and Salty Bacon and Nuts
* Sweet, salty and BACON? ‘Nuff said! There is also a video on the food network of Giada making this that kind of helps to watch it first.
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SUNDAY SMARTY SHARE from SHARE Charlotte: Green Teacher Network

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

Gardening has a magical quality when you are a child. – Barbara Damrosch

“But where’s the carrot?” This is the question a little neighborhood boy asked me one day as I was showing him our backyard garden. The carrots, it turned out, were right in front of him. But because he’d never seen a carrot outside a grocery store (or “in the wild” as I described it to him, to jazz it up a bit), he had no idea the green tufts shooting out of the earth at his feet were attached to something edible.
SHARE a Teachers Building Garden Boxes

My backyard garden is gone, set aside for other priorities that life brought my way. But even if we don’t have the time or space for a personal garden, Green Teacher Network is working to make sure kids experience gardens, and where their food comes from, through school gardens.

Right now they connect more than 800 teachers and informal educators to a schoolyard gardening network through professional development workshops, creation of a specialized curriculum, and more. They support 145 local schools engaged in school gardening, and coming up in 2015 they have exciting plans to develop a market for schools growing “crops” to sell to local Farm to Table restaurants. Read More →

December 20, 2014

Smarty Mom: Mandy Solcum

This is the time of year when we reflect on the passing year and our blessings. For many of us it may be hard to find the good that we were given. It has been a tough year for many of us. A year of struggles and sacrifice, a year filled with sorrow and despair. I have a dear friend that continues her battle to live and survive with cancer, another that was diagnosed 3 weeks ago with an aggressive form of breast cancer, another whose husband was diagnosed with colon cancer, one who lost her father, one that lost her mother and one that lost her marriage. So many struggles that sometimes it is so very hard to reflect on our many blessings. As we reflect and remember this past year, I hope that you can find the great daily gifts that you received. I wish for you all to find some good in everything that you have been given. photo 2

This is why today I want to introduce you to a very special mom, Mandy Solcum. Mandy and her husband Wes moved to our street a couple years ago. The most adorable young couple that always carried big smiles on their faces and hearts. They were blessed with the most perfect baby boy, Drew, shortly after they arrived to our street. This snuggly sweet baby that I could not wait to cuddle and get my baby fix from. At just 6 weeks old Drew was diagnosed with Infantile Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and what is amazing to me is how Mandy and Wes have counted their daily blessings and provided love and strength for Drew and one another during the most difficult time in their lives. Mandy’s strength and courage has amazed me. Her positive attitude and outlook is one to be admired. I wanted to share her story to you, because through everything that she has endured, she counts her blessings each and everyday and is so thankful for all that God has provided. Smarties, I am happy to introduce you to Mandy Slocum, super strong mom extraordinaire!

Smarty Mom: Mandy Slocum

Name: Mandy Slocum
Occupation: Nurse Practitioner
Hood: haha.. not sure what hood means but we live in the south Charlotte hood if that’s what you’re looking for ;)
Originally from: Goldsboro, NC
Family: Husband – Wes, Drew who just turned 2, a baby girl on the way due March 23 and our lab Colby who’s 4. Read More →

December 19, 2014

Grandparents Gifting: Activities & Camps Under the Tree

JMSD Spring 2013 Recital

Our Grandparents Gift theme this year is all about camps and activities! Our parents are often asking what the kids really want for Christmas. They want to give something special that the kids will enjoy. My number one reco is camp or a session of their favorite activity. Granpdarents will feel good about the experiences they are giving to their grandkids as well as feel good about helping you out. Because let’s face it. If you have more than two kids, camps and after school activities can get pretty expensive.

Following are Smarty ideas for Grandparents Gifting:

We adore Jami Masters School of Dance in Park Road Shopping Center and Charlotte School of Ballet in Cotswold/Myers Park. Both have classes for all ages and amazing camps all summer long!

Lots of ‘lil Smarties love the new Carolina Flipz behind Carolina Place Mall. We hear they are the B-E-S-T at teaching handsprings! My son just started his first year of boys team gymnastics at Charlotte Gymnastics Academy. He lives to flip and would welcome this gift any day! Read More →

Fitness Friday from Title Boxing Club: How to Torch Those Extra Holiday Calories

From our friends at Title Boxing Ayrsley and Charlotte

‘Tis the season for spending extra time with loved ones, which is great, except it may leave you with a little less time to work out. Plus, you’ll be more likely to indulge in certain not-so-healthy foods. And while we know it’s hard to resist your favorite holiday meals, rest assured that there are plenty of ways to burn off those extra calories during winter. Luckily we’ve got some creative ideas on how to balance out the yummy holiday fare.
Title Boxing tumblr_inline_ngddeil6EV1t19sr3
Shopping counts as cardio, right? It sure does! Checking out your favorite shops at the mall is a fun, easy way to burn calories. The best part is you don’t even need to spend any money… simply go window shopping for a couple hours and you’ll get a good workout in the process. Or just exchange the gifts you don’t want. We won’t tell!

Clean up after your guests. You’ll probably have lots of people over during the holidays, so use housework as a way to fit in some exercise while being productive. Vacuum, mop, sweep, or scrub away the calories! And while you’re preparing dinner, turn on some upbeat music to get your dance on while you cook.

Contrary to popular belief, snow is actually your friend during winter! Why? Because it gives you so many reasons to move and work off those calories. From shoveling to snowshoeing, skiing, and snowboarding, to snowball fights and snow angels… snow leaves you with no excuses to not work out.

Ice-skating is another winter activity that counts as both exercise and a great time. Head to your nearest rink with your closest friends and enjoy yourselves for about 90 minutes. Read More →

December 18, 2014

Smarty Alert: Sky Zone offers ‘Drop & Shop’ this holiday season

Smarties, we are exactly ONE WEEK out from Christmas morning. ONE WEEK, people! And, the kids get out of school…ummmm…in two days. According to our calculations, that’s only two meager school days to get the rest of our To Do list done (but, if yours will be anything like ours, those two days will be filled holiday programs, parties, half days, and more). That’s why, when we heard that Sky Zone is offering a “Drop & Shop” for kids ages 8 and up, we said:

Sign. Them. UP.Sky Zone Charlotte

For only $25 per kid, Drop & Shop activities include:

– 2 hours of Open Jump (which our lil’ Smarties are obsessed with)
– (1) Slice of pizza & (1) Fountain Drink
– Sky Socks (which could double as Barre socks in a pinch)

Sky Zone says that certain terms and conditions apply and that it cannot be combined with other offers. Drop & Shop is valid at Sky Zone Charlotte until 01/04/2015. The perfect amount of time to get all the shopping done…and all of the returns made.

We love Sky Zone for three huge reasons:
1. Our kids love it.
2. We can work or socialize while they jump (who KNOWS what could be accomplished if we could drop them off for two hours!!)
3. Our kids are wiped out afterwards. Read More →

Charlotte’s Best Christmas Lights

Load up your mini’s, get your kids in their pj’s, pack a thermos of hot chocolate roadies and enjoy the last week of Christmas! We’ve put together our best list of Christmas lights of the season. If we’ve missed any, leave a comment below and we’ll share the news. There are loads of last minute Griswolds, and we want to give all of them props!

1. Hillside Hunger Drive-Through in Myers Park – Hillside Drive has coined the holiday ball craze throughout the city. Cutest idea we’ve seen in years! Hillside families have banded together with the cutest and most creative handmade chicken wire balls (or you could go all Martha Stewart and order fancy versions) hung high from the trees. They have a drop-off for canned goods for Loaves & Fishes. This photo doesn’t do it justice – the cool factor is that almost every house on the street appears to have agreed to a competition of who can hang theirs the highest. So fun!

2. The South Charlotte Santa on Sherwood Forest Drive off Colony Road. This is one of the most impressive streets in all of Charlotte. They hand out over 10,000 candy canes each season and collect donations for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Read More →

Smarty Alert: LAST CALL to enter the “Favorite Things” Giveaway!


Enough about the kids, let’s talk about what WE want to see under the tree (or what we are hoping to give our gal pals this year!). Team CSP huddled together and came up with a list of a few of our favorite things from the past year that we’re either hoping to find under the tree with our names OR we’re hoping to surprise a friend with. And, of course, a Smarty list is never complete without a few delicious giveaways. Read on, get some ideas, and enter to win some super fun gifts!

Read all about it here – remember, you can’t win if you don’t enter! We’ll pick our lucky Smarty tonight at 7p!

Merry, merry!

December 17, 2014

Smarty Scoop on Weekend Events: December 19-21

Discovery Place

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

FRIDAY, December 19

Gingerbread Lane 
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., Charlotte, NC (704) 248-4055
December 11 – December 28, 9:00am – 5:00pm, Free, $1
Summary: Visit The Ballantyne to view an enchanting display of gingerbread creations.  Attendees may vote on their favorite entries with $1 minimum donation per vote. All proceeds will benefit Levine Children’s Hospita

Christmas Town USA
Downtown McAdenville
Main St., McAdenville, NC (704) 823-2260
December 1-26, Mon.-Fri. 5:30-9:30pm; Sat.-Sun. 5:30-11pm, All ages, Free
Summary: Guaranteed to be one of the most amazing lights displays you have ever seen.

Charlotte Ballet: Nutcracker
Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC (704) 372-1000
To see the 2014 schedule click here
Summary: Charlotte’s favorite holiday tradition – Nutcracker – celebrates the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Bring your family and friends along for this holiday voyage featuring choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, live music from the Charlotte Symphony and over 100 performers. You’re guaranteed a magical snowfall at each performance!

Read More →

Sea Life Aquarium welcomes Scuba Santa

Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium is putting a fun twist on a holiday tradition this year with a visit from “Scuba Claus” and his elf. The brave Santa and elf are greeting guests in a 117,000-gallon Ocean Tank through Christmas Eve. They also were on hand over the weekend to announce the aquarium’s $500 holiday shopping spree giveaway by carrying a beribboned box to the bottom of the sea floor.

To enter to win the $500 Visa® gift card prize, visitors must fill out an entry form and drop it in the box located at the Ocean Tank viewing window. Until the winner is announced on Dec. 25, the $500 prize will be housed inside a clear, acrylic box submerged inside the Ocean Tank. Blacknose sharks, armed with rows of sharp, serrated teeth, will guard the box while it’s inside the tank (Sea Life assures us that while blacknose sharks they’re actually quite docile – but we’re pretty sure no one is diving into a tank full of sharks to steal the prize ;-) ).

Scuba Claus and his elf will greet visitors from inside the Ocean Tank on Dec. 13, 20, 23 and 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. General admission tickets can be purchased for as low as $14 online at

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