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Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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February 22, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Levine Children’s Hospital: Heart to Heart: Two Families Journey Together to Transplant

CSP Team Note: February is National Heart Month, and we’ve teamed up with our partners at Levine Children’s Hospital to bring you a patient story that will definitely leave a lasting impact on you. Meet Ayden and Travis, two little boys whose paths crossed while waiting for new hearts – read on to see how their journey has affected both families…for the better. Take a minute to watch the awesome videos – they will give you chills! Note – this post was originally published on the Carolinas Healthcare System’s blog.

By the time Aydan and Travis were admitted to the hospital – just weeks apart – the two little boys had what doctors determined to be days to live before their hearts gave out.

Aydan was 3, and Travis was a mere 3 months. Both had serious heart failure that put them in danger of losing their lives.

The pediatric cardiology and heart surgery team at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Children’s Hospital suddenly had two young patients in need of heart transplants. Their job: to keep both boys alive until transplant, with no way of knowing how long it would take for a heart to become available for either of them.

Doctors recommended an interim solution called a mechanical heart, which would essentially pump their blood and keep all their organs functioning until a new heart was available.

“I’ll never forget when the doctor told me that the only way that Aydan would live is if we did a surgery to get him on a mechanical heart,” says Miriam, Aydan’s mom. “But he also told me that there was another mom, Allyson, just a few rooms down, whose little baby was just put on that same mechanical heart, and that I should meet her.”

A Bond Forms

Miriam and Allyson — Travis’ mother — met, and the two moms struck up a friendship that soon developed into what Allyson calls a sisterhood.

At first, they’d check in when they saw each other in the hallways. Then, they started sitting in each other’s rooms. As time went on, they’d look in on each other’s son even when the other wasn’t there. Read More →

February 17, 2017

From the Smarty Education Corner and Charlotte Latin School: The Balmy Days of Winter


by Mary Yorke Oates, Director of Admissions, Charlotte Latin School

February and January are usually a time of snow days, ice storms, and “late starts.” Instead, I have seen boys and girls in shorts and windbreakers, skipping in and out of the school yard. Outdoor play has been delightful, and the children are engaged in an even more meaningful way with these balmy days of winter. With Chinese New Year, Martin Luther King day, the Inauguration, and our Global Studies focus on Egypt, this time of year is full of great learning opportunities. Our youngest students cement skills and acquire impressive tools for the academic journey ahead. In grades TK through 1, while students read, write and actively engage in math thinking; they also weave current events into historical moments. Lower School halls are filled with art projects such as Robert Indiana’s LOVE design so familiar to us this Valentine time of year, Paul Klee’s famous cats, and impressive face jugs help children understand the connection between self-portraiture, expression and pottery. The face jug collection alone celebrates the influence of Chinese and English cultures on society linking our own American roots to the tradition from our backdoor neighbors in Catawba County. Read More →

February 14, 2017

From our Smarty friends at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: Love your Library

Love Your Library - Top Photo

By our Smarty friends at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air. It doesn’t have to be just about chocolate and greeting cards, why not spread love and kindness in our community while we’re at it? Charlotte Mecklenburg Library appreciates the love you show the Library every day of the year, as users, advocates, volunteers and supporters. We want to use this opportunity as a way to let you know we love you back!

During the month of February, we invite you to share the love in many different ways with special events, storytimes and community service projects. Or just visit us to check out a book – it always warms our hearts to see you.


Let Off Some S.T.E.A.M.
Cornelius Library
February 18 at 2 p.m.

Let off some S.T.E.A.M. with some post-Valentine’s Day magnetic experiments, including magnetic mazes and slime. Then, put your math skills to the test with geoboard and tangram fun. To register for this K-5 program, call 704-416-3800. Read More →

February 13, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Signature Pediatrics: Is My Child Too Sick for School/Daycare?

By our Smarty friends at Signature Pediatrics

It’s Sunday afternoon, or perhaps Tuesday evening, and your 7-year-old is acting crabby. You touch his forehead and yep, it’s warm. Oral temperature of 100.9 Now what? You’ve got one really important work meeting tomorrow, and 5 items on your to-do list. You never really thought you’d do all 5, but had hoped accomplishing 2-3 was a reality. His fever is under 101 so you wonder “can I just give him some ibuprofen and send him to school tomorrow anyway?”Signature Pediatrics

Having an unexpectedly sick child can really throw a monkey wrench into the week’s plans. And determining when your child must stay home from school or daycare for illness isn’t always easy. But there are some straightforward rules on the matter.

First the bad news. We know that most acute illnesses affecting kids are viral and contagious. We also know that while a child has fever he/she is especially contagious. And, of course, children with fever are not going to be able to concentrate and follow along in the classroom or participate in daycare. So children with fevers should stay home until they are fever free for 24 hours without the help of ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Officially a fever is 100.4oF (38 oC) so our 7-year-old in the above vignette is staying home. Read More →

February 7, 2017

From the Smarty Education Corner and Providence Day School: Lessons Learned – Building your parent–school partnership

By Smarty Guest Blogger Rachel Spector

Two years ago, during the application process, I picked my daughter up from her 3rd grade “buddy visit” at Providence Day School. When she got into the car, I cautiously asked her how her day went and with a huge grin she began, “It was the best day ever! The cafeteria is awesome, the kids were great, we heard a cool story and look at the picture I made!” She continued to tell me detail after detail about her day and ended with what I had been hoping to hear. She exclaimed, “I love it here!”

Photo courtesy of Providence Day School

Photo courtesy of Providence Day School

PDS was a new school for both of my children. As the end of their first year approached, I thought about the incredible bond they were developing with their new school community. Through thousands of hours and the gamut of experiences, PDS was becoming a partner in helping my children become their best “selves.” At the same time, I began to wonder what my relationship was to this new community that had become such a big part of my family life?

My outlook on this parent-school relationship became similar to making a new friend. I quickly realized just like building the foundations of a friendship, a strong parent-school partnership started with good communication, collaboration, being supportive, trusting, and sharing in experiences. Read More →

February 3, 2017

Fitness Friday: Maintaining New Year’s Resolutions and Ways to Keep Pushing to Your Goals

By Smarty Guest Bloggers Flywheel Instructor Jennifer Dufresne & FlyBarre Instructor Kasey Waters

First up Jen shares first about New Year’s resolutions and ways to stay on track.

They are a great way to reset your focus such that you can direct your energy towards a goal that seemed out of reach at one time. But what happens when activities start to pick up again and unplanned events make reaching those goals more difficult? How do you stay on the grind? Below are a few tips that I suggest my clients consider when looking to stay on track.Jen Dufresne

Write down your goals and reflect on them regularly (private or public). Maybe your resolution was as simple as drinking more water, maybe it was as complex as completing a Flywheel Challenge. Tell people about it. Take ownership in your goal. There is no better way to hold yourself accountable than to stare your goal in the face. That said, take time every few weeks to reflect on your progress. Are you where you want to be? What can you do better?

Find an accountability partner. As a busy mom, I find that if I make a “date” with a friend to do a workout, I am 99% more likely to show up than if I tell myself I will do it in my head. Find a friend that shares the same excitement towards your resolution as you do. Encourage each other.

Sign up for a challenge, race, or competition (if that’s your thing). With the added pressure of an event to prepare for you, you will more than likely follow through with the groundwork to reach your goal – regardless of what else is going on around you. Read More →

January 27, 2017

Beech Mountain Resort: A Family Affair


By Smarty Guest Blogger Shawn Williams, Beech Mountain Resort

When people ask me what I do, they always look surprised to hear me say, “I work for a ski resort”. My responses to their next round of questions usually include “Yes, I live in Charlotte; Yes, there is good skiing in North Carolina; Yes, I realize it was 65 degrees in January last week; And yes, I’m a pretty good skier”.

Operating a ski resort in the South has its own sets of challenges and creates some pretty crazy days. Even crazier is when I look back at how our family got into this business. My grandfather, Ray Costin, was a heck of a businessman. Most of his career was spent in real estate development and construction, however in 1974 he was presented with an opportunity to become involved with some ski resorts (Bryce Mountain, Massanutten and Blue Knob). Having never been involved in this industry prior to that, he quickly became enamored by it. So in 1986 when Beech Mountain Resort was facing financial hardships under their current management, he jumped at the opportunity to purchase the resort and focus his interests on turning it around. Yep, he bought a ski resort! This is where my family really became entrenched in the North Carolina ski industry and our wild ride began.Beech Winter (3 of 18)

My father, John Costin, began working along side my grandfather, serving as General Manager. This meant my family split a lot of our time between Charlotte and Beech. We basically grew up on the mountain every weekend as kids. Mom would load the 5 of us up every Friday after school and drive 3 hours to the mountains, with only the radio and conversation to keep us entertained. Clearly my mom is a saint because she did that all winter long with 5 kids. I mean she made 3 different stops for fast food because no one ate the same stuff. They tossed us out on the mountain to ski in whatever the weather had for us that weekend- no complaining just go. It was awesome. We spent all weekend on the Ski Team and “working” if my dad needed some help. Looking back, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. Read More →

January 24, 2017

Present over Perfect

By Smarty Guest Blogger Julie Tassy, owner, Sercie and Ella B. Candles

Not that you need one more thing on your list. We’re only a few weeks into our new routines, our 21-day fixes, our “Make my abs great again” mission, our new sales and team-building goals for the year, and we’re tired. Who has time to read a book?

I can’t decide if I fit my life. I feel too big for my skinny jeans and too small to tackle my roles as wife, mother, business owner, friend, sister, daughter… you get it. I’m just one person. One person who kept adding things to my job description.

I am in a love/hate relationship with excess. I like more. I like bulk. I like Costco. But I don’t have a garage, and cabinet space is limited in our old ranch house. Where is all of this supposed to go? And, even though it’s a great deal, if half of your produce rots before you can use it, is it really that great? More is just more of a headache. More stuff to throw away.

We keep adding without taking away. Buying new and not getting rid of old. And before we know it, we feel like Mama in the Berenstain Bears, shouting “Too Much Stuff!” Because our lives are as limited as the 1960s closets at the Tassy house. I guess they didn’t buy in bulk when our house was built.

This year, I feel a call to simplicity. Taking things off my list that other, capable, intelligent people within our company can and will do. It’s not a loud voice calling, but a whisper from my heart that longs for peace more than applause. I don’t need to hear people say, “Wow, how do you do it all?” Because I can’t.

And then this book showed up on my radar. Two of my friends were reading it, so I ordered a copy for myself, and wow. Wow. It shed light on what the real issue is. I’m striving for perfection, and it’s keeping me from the life I really want.
Present Over Perfect.jpg

The same week that Amazon delivered this book, I was given an opportunity to close my booth at Cotswold Marketplace. I say given, because it was a gift of simplifying my life. I hesitated, because I don’t like to move forward and let go. But, a lot has happened since I started as a vendor there. My little personalized gift business sprouted a Neighborhood candle line that has grown into a real business. Ella B. Candles now employs 20 people and has a national presence in almost 1,000 retail stores. And I just can’t do it all. Duh. And neither can you. So, I’m receiving the gift of simplifying. Read More →

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: Know Your Doctors

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

Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. has nearly 100 healthcare providers with different jobs and titles. What do these titles mean and what care does everyone offer? This is the first in a series explaining who our providers are and what they do to keep you and your family healthy.

What is an Otolaryngologist?

An Otolaryngologist, also known as an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor or ENT, is a physician trained to treat diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat, sinuses, larynx, and mouth, as well as neck and facial structures. Otolaryngologists are trained in both medicine and surgery, and can therefore offer the most appropriate care to their patients without needing to refer them to other doctors.

Photo courtesy of CEENTA

Photo courtesy of CEENTA

How does someone become an Otolaryngologist?

Like with other medical doctors, an Otolaryngologist must receive undergraduate and medical degrees, and then complete an internship and residency. ENTs also have the option of completing a fellowship in one of eight subspecialties of their choice. Those areas are allergy, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, the head and neck, laryngology, otology/neurotology, pediatric otolaryngology, rhinology, and sleep disorders. Read More →

January 17, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Signature Pediatrics: Keeping Kids Active in the Winter

By our Smarty friends at Signature Pediatrics

How can we help our children get exercise when the weather doesn’t cooperate? This can be difficult on the cold winter days, and in the hottest summer months as well. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 18 get 60 minutes of “moderate” exercise daily. This does not need to be all at once, and can be broken into smaller chunks of time, such as four 15-minute periods.image1

There are many indoor activities that children can enjoy. Indoor sports such as basketball, tennis or indoor soccer are good ways to get your child’s heart pumping. Swimming is a wonderful year-round indoor activity, and taking swim lessons or signing up for a swim team are great ways to promote this life-long activity. Of course, these more formal activities generally require a membership or fee, and transportation.

When stuck at home on a cold or rainy day, think of simple childhood games to get kids moving. Many require little supervision or cost.

– Games with balloons, such as balloon volleyball and keeping the balloon in the air are fun and easy.

– For kids who enjoy a little competition, races such as the potato race are great. (Place two wide mouthed jars or small bowls at a finish line. Mark a starting point about 15 feet away, and give each child a potato. They’ll race, carrying the potato between their knees, to see who can drop it into the jar first, no hands allowed. If racers drop the potato, they must go back to the starting line).

– Consider choosing active video games such as those on the Wii or Kinect, or simply turn on the radio and start your own dance party!

There is no reason why you can’t go outside on cold winter days. Don’t forget that if dressed warmly.

– Playing running games such as tag or red light/green light

– Taking the dog for a vigorous walk will help them keep warm, and as an added bonus they will probably sleep better at night!

Signature Pediatricsshcp-logo
6115 Park South Dr. • Suite 105
Charlotte, NC 28210
Phone 704-944-8388
Fax 704-944-8389

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