Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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February 28, 2017

Invisible Fence® Brand: The fence that is saving our lives (and our pup’s!) – Smarty Steal included!

Daisy: Waiting to make a run for it

Daisy: Waiting to make a run for it

It’s 5:30 pm. Dusk. The kids are doing their thing – waltzing in and out of the house with neighborhood friends, and I’m making dinner. Then, suddenly, SHE escapes. Our 10-month-old miniature dachshund, Daisy. She careens right out of the side door with the kids and BOLTS for the neighbor’s yard.

Hysteria ensues.

We run. She runs.

We run further. She runs even further.

We scream. She runs.

We leap for her. She leaps for a leaf blowing in the wind.

We slip on a muddy hill. She runs likes a gazelle.

She’s a squirrel. And she’s headed right for a MAJOR Charlotte thoroughfare at rush hour.

Finally, she STOPS to do her bizzzzness, and her life is saved. We grab her. She’s five houses away and dangerously close to death by car, but we bring her home safe and sound. My voice is gone. I’m sure someone has recorded the entire thing, and we’re already viral on the NextDoor Neighbors app. The neighbor kid probably needs therapy.

Wine is poured.

That was the scene at my house last month with my kids and new-ish puppy.

It was the scene that proved it all: our li’l hot dog puppy had TOTALLY rocked our world. We were completely thrown by a dog that’s a “runner.” Our first dog, Mollie, was like a cat. She hated to leave the house let alone let us chase her for miles. (She passed away last year, and after waiting a few months, our family decided that we are most definitely dog people, so…that’s where the puppy comes in.) Read More →

January 27, 2017

Smarty Giveaway: Two tickets for the Joined in Education’s ‘How to Raise An Adult’ keynote address and parent workshop


****This giveaway has ended. We have a winner****

Joined in Education, a local group dedicated to advancing early childhood and elementary education in Charlotte, is hosting a two-day educational symposium for parents and childcare professionals on February 8 and 9, and we’ve got tickets to give away! This is a goodie, Smarties. We are SO lucky to have JIE in our city – they’re goHow to Raise an Adulting great things. Keep reading!

The event will include a keynote address on Wednesday night by Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Stanford University Dean of Freshman and author of New York Times best-seller How to Raise An Adult. (If you haven’t read this awesome book, stop what you’re doing. Head to the library, bookstore, or your computer and pick up/order a copy for yourself. It focuses on growing successful and independent children, which, in today’s sometimes over-scheduled and over-parented world, is a good reminder for us all.)

Erin Walsh will anchor Thursday’s parent workshops. She’ll examine the impact of stress on the brain and share practical strategies for raising resilient children. Topics will include: Executive function and success in school and life, finding the “resilience sweet spot,” how to handle perfectionism in children, the power of growth mindset, and setting appropriate limits Read More →

January 12, 2017

Local Charlotte mom’s newly released book shares message of diversity and acceptance

If you’re looking for a sweet gift or just an awesome book to add to your child’s library, check out What Kyle Can Do, a new book released by local Charlotte mom Conni Branscom based on her son, Kyle, who has Down syndrome. 9781943258277-ColorCase.indd

This BEAUTIFULLY illustrated book’s message of diversity and acceptance is important and one you’ll want to share with everyone, especially your kids: children with special needs CAN do things that other kids can do (I love how the word “can” is in red on the book’s cover!). All proceeds from the book will go to Kyle’s Korner Inc., a nonprofit also founded by Conni, which is dedicated to providing adaptive bikes to children with special needs (read more about Kyle’s Korner here).

The history of the book is also pretty cool. It was written eight years ago by Brooke Luckadoo-Hicks, Kyle’s then babysitter, as a senior exit project for Ardrey Kell High School. Years later, Conni developed it into an illustrated children’s book. It’s told from the perspective of Mya, Kyle’s older sister. When Kyle is diagnosed with Down syndrome, Mya wonders if he’ll ever be able to play with her. Over the course of the book, Mya learns of all the great things Kyle can do, like swimming, making faces, and playing baseball. Read More →

January 10, 2017

Five reasons the Apple Watch is #lifechanging

I never thought I’d actually say this, but I flippin’ LOVE my new Apple Watch. I’ll admit it – I was an Apple Watch naysayer for a long time. I thought they were kinda…well, silly. I didn’t want another device, another piece of technology to make me a slave to my phone and computer. But, when one of my friends and I ran recently, she tracked us with her new Nike Apple Watch…and got me intrigued. I’ve been thinking a lot about my safety when I’m running (I guess that’s what growing up means?), and I thought the watch would be perfect to keep me a little safer on my solo runs. I really didn’t think much further than that until my husband surprised me with the Nike Apple Watch for Christmas.img_5769

Now, I know there are a billion technical reasons why “smart” watches are awesome, and I know they’re great to different people for different reasons, but these five reasons are why I, the diametric opposite of a gadget geek, think the Apple Watch is #lifechanging for a busy mama (and as my friends know, I take the term #lifechanging VERY seriously ;-)).

Also note I haven’t taken ANY classes on the watch, and my eleven-year-old son helped me set most of it up so I am sure I missing some amazing functionalities. That being said, these five make me happy every single day. When’s the last time you said THAT about a watch?!

1. I know the weather all. the. time.

This is a biggie for me. Most of the faces on the Apple Watch display the current temperature, and the high and low for the day, so that means with the flip of your wrist, you know the weather. It seems to insignificant, but I LOVE knowing the weather from the second I wake up to the minute I go to bed. I know how to dress for an early morning run and whether or not to make the kids wear pants to school within minutes of waking up – and without waking my other half. Read More →

January 8, 2017

Mark your calendars: Charlotte Checkers’ 11th Annual Pink in the Rink


Mark your calendars now, Smarties. The Charlotte Checkers’ 11th annual Pink in the Rink event is Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. The goal of the game is to raise awareness and funds for the fight against women’s cancers.

All tickets are $16 (which is the Checkers’ group rate), and $5 from each ticket will go back to one of six nonprofits. But, there’s the cool thing: YOU choose which nonprofit receives the $5 from your ticket. At checkout, you’re able to choose from Carolina Breast Friends, Cindy’s Hope Chest, Shirley’s Angels, Go Jen Go, Novant Health Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center, or BCC Rally.

The players will wear specialty pink jerseys that will be up for auction after the game to benefit the above-mentioned charities.

Click here to purchase tickets. Read More →

December 17, 2016

Smarty Mom: Julie Barnett

Photo by Maureen Osbourne

Photo credit: Maureen Osbourne

The longer I am I mother, the more amazed I am at other mothers around me. I’ve been through countless carpool lines, classroom parties, school socials, and play date meet-ups where I’ve chatted with fellow moms – many of us clad in workout gear or coming in all cute and fresh from a lunch meeting for work. So often we make idle chitchat about hectic days, homework assignments, and weekend activities, but rarely do we touch on what WE can do. What WE are capable of (besides managing it all and {hopefully} not drowning). That’s what makes me love weekly Smarty Mom features – it gives us a chance to stop, exhale, and admire the awesomeness of a fellow mom.

And, I am so excited and honored that I get to do that very thing for Julie Barnett today.

Julie and I met years ago through our kids’ school, but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve gotten to know her better as our middles are friends (isn’t that one of the best parts of having a large brood? Getting the chance to become friends with someone you might’ve missed the first or second time around because the ages or genders of your first kids just didn’t line up?). She’s the mom to four handsome boys, but still manages to pull off this incredible sense of calm; and she’s one of those people that you really WANT to be around because she’s just so genuine and kind. Julie’s not only an incredible mama (her sweet boys are proof of that!), but she’s also a gifted artist. I am so in awe of artistic talent and am determined to have original works of art in my house (a slow process, but totally worth it). Julie’s paintings are breathtaking and prove you might not know the secret talents of that fellow carpool mom.

A huge thanks to Julie for letting me feature her so close to Christmas (a Smarty Mom interview on top of a never-ending holiday To Do list is a tall order!). Enjoy getting to know Julie and the awesome Barnett family!

Smarty Mom: Julie Barnett

Smarty Mom Stats:
Married to: to Todd, 19 years
Children: Davis (15), Harry (12), Sam (9) and George (5)
Hometown: Dayton, Ohio
Years in Charlotte: 17 years
‘Hood: Montibello
Alma Mater: University of Cincinnati
Occupation: Artist, Marketing Manager Read More →

December 16, 2016

Smarty idea for giving back: how one Charlotte tween is spreading holiday cheer at Project 658


One of our favorite things to do in Smartyland – especially this time of year – is to highlight li’l Smarties making a big difference in our city AND to inspire others to do the same. Meet Mallory Morgan, a ten-year-old fourth grader at Charlotte Latin School. She recently coordinated and assembled a HUGE (in our opinions) holiday “Basket Brigade” to help some families who are friends of Project 658, a Christian organization that provides services for at-risk families in Charlotte with a key focus on the international and refugee communities. Project 658 provides various types of services to families including tutoring, clothing, English classes, and job assistance and helps them towards sustainability. Read More →

December 9, 2016

Smarty Alert: Donate from your Doorstep During 2ULaundry’s Winter Warmup

You could be a part of a HUGE charity event in the QC, and all you need to do is open your front door. Our friends at 2ULaundry, a personalized laundry service that {we predict} will be your BFF in 2017, and Crisis Assistance Ministry are partnering for the first annual Winter Warmup charity event. pinterest

From December 5 through December 19, simply leave donation items right outside your front door or at a specific location across Charlotte, and 2ULaundry will pick it up – regardless of whether you’re a 2ULaundry customer or not. Their goal is to raise 10,000 pounds of clothing and winter essentials to donate to the Crisis Assistance Ministry, and we KNOW Smarty Charlotte can make a big contribution to that.

New items most needed include hats, socks, underwear, gloves, and school uniforms. Gently used items like shoes, work boots, bed linens, towels, and winter coats may be donated as well. Donors should place new and gently used items in plastic bags on their doorstep. 2ULaundry will send donors a reminder text the night before picking the items up and taking them to the Crisis Assistance Ministry. Donors can schedule a pickup online or by sending a text to (704) 766-8730 with the word “donation.” Read More →

December 8, 2016

Register now for Camp Harrison and Camp Thunderbird

I know it seems like summer just happened, but Summer 2017 will be here before you know it. Take a minute now to register the kids for overnight camps. You’ll not only get early bird pricing, but you can also use it as a stellar Christmas gift. Something to look forward to all winter long.

Camp Thunderbird and Camp Harrison, two of our Smarty team’s all-time favorite camps, are now accepting registrations. Here are details!

Camp Harrison

Camp Harrison is a special place for our family. My older kids will be in their fifth year and my littlest will start his first year this summer. Smarty Jen’s kids have been going for years, too. We pretty much LOVE it. And, it was voted Best Overnight Camp in the 2016 Smarty Awards! Read More →

New Parenting Predicament Podcast: Babysitters, Lies, And The Holidays


We’ve been teaming up with 107.9 The Link’s Matt and Ramona for the newest Parenting Predicaments podcasts. This week we talk about how we go about selecting the right babysitter and lies all parents have told their children. ***Smarty warning: DON’T listen with kids who still believe in the big man in the red suit!! Listen and join the convo, all while wrapping all those presents and running the bazillion errands!

Do you have a topic that you’d like us to cover? Email us here. We’d LOVE to hear from you!

Podcast below. Happy Listening and Happy Holidays!

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