Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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December 7, 2017

When and How Should I talk to My Child About Sex?

By Smarty Guest Blogger Laura N Sinai, MD, Signature Pediatrics

The ‘50s model of sitting your teenaged son or daughter down at the kitchen table for the one and only big sex talk is behind us. And that’s a good thing, because sex is a topic that will and should come up for you and your children from toddlerhood until the day they move out. Of course, your approach will change as your children grow, but don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s a topic that can or should be delayed.



Sex education really begins with knowing what part is what. Bath time with a toddler is a great opportunity to teach the accurate names for all body parts. Along with a name, throw in a little information about what each body part does such as noses are for sniffing. The bath is also a great time to discuss the importance of privacy – another key element of sex education. This is easiest to explain by teaching that private parts are the parts covered by a bathing suit. Privacy means two things. First, that these areas are kept covered except when you are in private. And second, no one is allowed to touch a person’s private areas except: 1) parents when helping with a problem/bathing 2) doctors when parents are present and 3) the child himself.

Little children have plenty of simple questions about sex. Keep in mind that at this age they don’t even know they’re asking about sex. Preschoolers may ask how babies get into and out of a mommy’s “tummy”. They are usually curious about why boys have a penis and girls have a vagina. At this age, the answers should be factual and short. A brief “the baby comes out of the vagina or a doctor takes the baby out” is usually sufficient. Similarly, a brief explanation of procreation is all that is needed: “Mommies have eggs (just like chickens, only smaller!) and Daddies have sperm that when mixed together grow into a baby”. Most preschoolers will move on to the next subject quickly. If you can’t come up with a simple answer to a surprise question, start by asking them what they think the answer is while formulating your own.

One of the most important aspects of these early conversations is teaching your child that his/her questions will be respected and answered truthfully. Setting this expectation will hopefully lead to his/her ability to ask you the hard questions as they get older. A helpful preschool appropriate book is “What’s in There?: All About Before You Were Born”. Read More →

Smarty Birthday Party: Discovery Place Nature

By new Smarty blogger Stephanie Wallace

Since becoming a mother the days just seem to fly by. Before I know it we have gone from anticipating the ball drop on New Years to hanging Christmas lights in December and I often wonder where the year went. Throughout the year we celebrate many things but one of my favorite things to celebrate are the birthdays of loved ones. My children’s birthdays are especially important because it gives me the chance to reflect on how much they have developed over the past year and reminisce on the moment they came into the world and I became their mother. What better way to celebrate such an important life moment than with a party?!image2

This year my kind, charismatic, animal loving daughter tuned four years old. For the past three years we have celebrated with a birthday party that included friends, balloons, candle filled cakes and lots of stress. Like any party you want everything to be perfect but now that I have three little ones it has become increasingly harder to plan perfect parties. To be honest it’s hard for me to plan breakfast most days let alone a special event! So this year I decided to call in reinforcements to execute a fabulous fourth birthday celebration! Read More →

December 6, 2017

Smarty Podcast: A chat with Julie Tassy and Ella B. Candles


Welcome back to the Charlotte Smarty Pants podcast series, which is powered by Charlotte Star Room, Charlotte’s premier boutique music development and corporate video production studio + the best Pop Star birthday parties in the QC, AND professional voice lessons in a studio.

Today we’re talking to Ella B. Candles creator Julie Tassy. Julie is one of our favorite local mompreneurs – you’ll see just why we love her in this podcast! You can always purchase Ella B candles in our favorite stores all across Charlotte. Visit to find your closest retailer.

Want more Smarty podcasts? Click here and share, share, share!

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December 5, 2017

From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: We love book clubs, yes we do!

CSP Book Club Post Image

Book clubs offer a great outlet for family and friends to spend time together, have deep conversations about important topics, laugh, cry and best of all to read! Whether you are part of an already established book club, would like to join one or are interested in starting a club of your own, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is here to help!

Find your book club’s next great read at the Library

Did you know that the Library offers book club kits? Part of the Library’s mission is to provide opportunities for personal success in reading and learning to everyone. Enter book club kits.

Each kit includes 10 copies of a book for use by your book club, biographical notes on the author, sample discussion questions, read-alike lists and tips for a successful book discussion. Kits can be checked out for 6 weeks to ensure your club has plenty of time to read and discuss. There are no renewals and customers may only have one kit checked out at a time. Librarian tip: if you are part of a book club that meets monthly, have two members work in tandem to place holds for book club kits; this way, you can discuss your current book while handing out the title for next month. Read More →

November 28, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: Bringing up blepharoplasty

By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.

Do your parents have dark circles around their eyes? Do they look tired even if they got a full night’s sleep? Do they have difficulty seeing out of the corners of their eyes? If so, the skin around their eyes may have started to sag or the fat has started to protrude, and it may be time to talk to them about a facial plastics procedure called blepharoplasty.

What is happening around their eyes?

Woman smiles blepharoplasty

As we age, the skin around our eyes becomes lax and stretches. The fat, which normally sits around the eyeball, herniates through weaknesses in the fine membranes, resulting in visible lumps or bulges. These changes tend to narrow our eyes. While these changes are inherited in some cases, for most people they start to develop in their early 30s. Not only can this make our eyes look smaller and tired, in some cases it can impair our peripheral vision. Peripheral vision is the ability to see things to the sides of us when we are looking straight ahead. Read More →

November 24, 2017

From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: Volunteering with the Library

Volunteer Blog Top Image

It’s that time of year again – for family gatherings, being thankful and giving back. While the Library may not be the first place you think of when choosing an organization to support through volunteerism, it is because of our many dedicated volunteers that Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is able to expand our capacity to serve and do more for the community.

In the last year, more than 1,400 volunteers donated 61,000 hours of their time to support the Library – valued at more than $1.8 million in donated services. Thank you to those who have given of their time so generously to help the Library improve lives and build a stronger community.

Here are a few ways you can get involved too!

Become a library volunteer

With 20 locations across Mecklenburg County, opportunities to get involved aren’t hard to find. Are you looking for a way to help children improve their reading skills? Do you have a green thumb and can help maintain library greenery? Or, do you have a knack for organization and want to help by shelving books? Check out the Library’s website for these volunteer opportunities and more. Read More →

November 21, 2017

Please Remove Technology from Your Preschooler’s Holiday Gift List

By April Whitlock of Fundanoodle

Fundanoodle no tech 2

As the holiday gift giving season approaches, I am begging parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles of preschool age children to strike any touchscreen based gifts off the shopping list.

And I’m not asking you to do this because I own a non-tech, hands-on learning products company. Though, interestingly, I think the founder of all things “i”, Steve Jobs, would have agreed with me since he didn’t allow his own children to use the iPad.

This request comes from years of observing young children in the classroom, meeting with teachers and discussing motor-skill development with occupational therapists. The steady decline in children’s motor skill development is intense, especially over the last 10 years with the prevalence of touchscreen technology being made available to children at younger and younger ages.

“As a pediatric Occupational Therapist, I now get referrals because typically developing, bright children are unable to unzip their lunch boxes or open containers, “said Michelle Yoder an occupational therapists and Center Manager for Carolinas Rehabilitation Pediatric Therapy in Pineville. She continued, “Children often lack the visual motor skills and endurance to color a picture. Their fine motor skills and hand strength are so weak that they are unable to use scissors to snip paper. They can’t put their coats on for recess, button their shirts or manage their clothing at potty time. Many of them are not ready for Kindergarten.” Read More →

November 20, 2017

From the Fletcher School: The Orton-Gillingham Approach to Teaching: How It’s Implemented & How It Benefits A Child’s Learning

An interview with 3 Associate-Level Certified AOGPE Lower School Teachers at The Fletcher School

About our interviewees:

This spring, three Fletcher teachers will be presenting at the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) conference. Held in Charlotte, the conference will be focused on “Unraveling the Mystery of Dyslexia”. In their presentation proposals, Christi Kubeck (M.Ed, A/AOGPE, 3rd grade teacher), Stephanie Sanders (MS, A/AOGPE, 4th Grade teacher) and January Reed (M.Ed, A/AOGPE, 3rd Grade teacher) demonstrated their knowledge and expertise in assistive technology and how it compliments the Orton-Gillingham (OG) approach, resulting in tremendous positive impacts on student learning. Working in teams, they submitted two presentation proposals, both of which were accepted for this conference.

(Photo/Mike McCarn)

(Photo/Mike McCarn)

What’s New in Assistive Technology?, presented by Christi Kubeck and Stephanie Sanders, will focus on specific built-in iPad features, including apps and strategies that support reading comprehension, speech/oral expression, written expression, executive functioning, and data collection using digital portfolios. The session will explore the rich set of accessibility features Apple devices offer and how you can customize them to help diverse learners succeed.

“Appy Hour: Innovation with iPads”, presented by Christi Kubeck and January Reed, will empower educators with innovative lessons to remediate struggling readers, improve spelling, and increase attention using the iPad. During the presentation, a variety of apps will be presented that educators can use to enhance the Orton-Gillingham lesson. The activities will keep students on-task and engaged while sharpening essential reading and spelling skills. Read More →

November 12, 2017

Smarty Cooking School: Sweet Potato Casserole from Beverly’s Gourmet Foods

sweet potato casserole 11

I’m Beverly, and I’m excited to partner with Charlotte Smarty Pants as a new food blogger. I started my business, Beverly’s Gourmet Foods, in Charlotte 13 years ago. We specialize in vegetarian, vegan, and prominently gluten free food, conveniently packaged into healthy meal components for busy families. As a working mom who grew up on a farm in Charlotte, I’m passionate about healthy, local, nutritious food that is delicious and easy for busy families. If you’re eating food from Beverly’s Gourmet, it’s the same quality as if I’d come to your house and cooked it for you.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Between the rich foods, the gratitude, and the great reason to bring a family together around a beautiful table, it’s one of the best times of year. To kick off my relationship with Charlotte Smarty Pants, I thought I’d bring you a Thanksgiving recipe that’s versatile, delicious, and something everyone in the family will love. We make sweet potato casserole as part of our Thanksgiving offerings every year, and we’ve heard that kids and adults alike enjoy it. It’s also a great option to make ahead and freeze if you want to plan ahead for the busy holiday season. Read More →

November 9, 2017

3 Smarty Tips to Help Your Child’s College Essay Stand Out

By Amy Haskell, founder of Total Writing Enrichment, where she helps teens master college admissions essays that stand out; she founded her company with a mission to ease stress, build confidence and teach writing skills to teens.


If you have a high school student, you know it’s never too early to start thinking about college. This time of year, students are perusing college options and narrowing down their choices – in fact, some early admission applications were due Nov. 1. Short of sharpening their pencils for those nail-biting ACT exams, one of the most difficult parts of preparing a college application is the much-dreaded, often-procrastinated, admissions essay. A common lament: “Can I pleeaase work on this later?”

Maybe your child already selected his or her top college choices, filled out applications and completed the essay. (Congrats!) Or perhaps your student needs a few reminders not to wait until 11:59pm the night before an application is due to hit “send.” Either way, getting the college essay nailed down early (ideally before the holidays or sooner if applying for early admission) will make the entire application process go more smoothly.

If your student leaves enough time for revisions and follows some tried-and-true advice, there’s a good chance the essay-writing process will be no more difficult than picking out posters for that first dorm room!
While solid grammar, engaging storytelling, and a clear essay structure are a must for any essay, here are three less-common tips for students on how to keep essay writing effective and manageable: Read More →

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