This week, I am so pleased to present our Smarty Mom, Holly Dede, who I met through Charlotte Mothers of Multiples (CMOMs), an organization that supports and connects mothers of multiples in the Greater Charlotte area.
When I first moved to Charlotte, I found CMOMs and it was an amazing resource to connect me with other parents going through the same highs and lows that come with raising two or more babies at once. It helped me feel connected in a place where I didn’t have friends or family.
When I first met Holly I was in awe at how pulled together she was…fashionable, confident, upbeat and seamlessly pulling off being a mom to twins, running a successful real estate and home staging business, homeschooling her kids, traveling the world and volunteering her time to organizations like CMOMs. She’s an amazing mom and, more importantly, an amazing human being and I’m so excited to share some insight from Holly below…
Married to: The love of my life, Bernard
Mom of: Rocco and George
Years in Charlotte: 15
Hometown: Montgomery, AL
Alma Mater: Huntingdon College
Recently life awarded me the opportunity to be home full-time with my 2 year old twin girls for about 6 weeks. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about what was in store for me as the last time that I was their sole caregiver during the week was a year prior and they definitely weren’t as quick on their feet or opinionated back then. So, I began researching and planning activities that I felt would be fun, educational and easy for one person to execute successfully with two toddlers. So, I revisited The Little Gym of Charlotte which we had looked into a few months prior and boy am I glad I did!
First and foremost, the fact that it is an enclosed space covered in soft surfaces was glorious to me; I didn’t feel that if I ran after one or helped her learn to do a somersault that I would lose the other one or risk her being seriously injured. THAT was peace of mind from the second we walked through the doors.
Second, within the first 45 minutes of the very first class, I saw my kids grow in how they interacted with others and loved seeing their pride as they realized they could do all these cool new things. The classes and teachers are really amazing at helping build language skills, confidence, fine motor skills and cooperation. Read More →
I’ve been wanting to try out making play-doh at home for a while. So recently on one of our drizzly days, I figured what a perfect time to keep my girls entertained by making some of this magical playdough (playdoh, whichever).
For me, it was important this stuff was edible, or at least safe if it ended up in one of my toddler’s mouths. I knew they weren’t going to outright eat it, at this point in their toddlerhood, but they may be curious to lick it and it would definitely be all over their hands if they were helping me make it.
Most recipes online call for cream of tartar, which we don’t have just lying around in our pantry. I simplified: Read More →
DawnSignPress is the most amazing producer of learning materials, for children and adults, to learn American Sign Language (ASL). The books, movies and activities they offer were instant favorites in our home. I’m still working with my girls to teach them, but the fact that they gravitate toward the books we have from DawnSignPress make it easy to teach a couple new signs a day. If you’re looking for a way to teach your kids, or maybe learn yourself, I highly recommend you check out dawnsign.com and get their materials. I’ve used lots of different books to learn ASL and I am so impressed with the DawnSignPress materials, the illustrations and how engaging they are.
There are, sometimes, obvious reasons to teach a child sign language; maybe they are hearing impaired or deaf or maybe their parent, sibling or other family member is hearing impaired or deaf. Sometimes, it’s none of those things and a parent feels that teaching a child some basic signs for everyday communication will allow their child to convey their thoughts earlier than they are able to speak the words.
I am not a doctor or speech therapist, so I can’t speak for the real, science-based, developmental benefits, or lack-thereof, for teaching your child to sign. However, I am a big believer that teaching your child another language is always important. Read More →
Living in South End with toddlers is usually wonderful because we have tons to see and do within walking distance. However, we’re usually at least a 20 minute drive from anything specifically-geared to toddlers.
One of our monthly traditions has become taking the girls for a treat at Golden Cow Creamery which happens to be right around the corner from us. I say monthly, but this has only started last month. We really try not to give our girls sugary snacks and just a few months ago a taste of ice cream would get mixed reviews and little excitement.
However, our almost-two, independence-seeking girls are now feeling empowered and overjoyed to enjoy their own ice cream cone once-in-a-while and we’re happy to oblige for a change of pace.
Golden Cow Creamery makes small-batch ice cream from scratch with local North Carolina ingredients. You don’t see any artificial ingredients and they offer vegan options, as well, if you or your kids are dairy-free. You’ll find your typical flavors each time you go, but there are always some “specials” that you can try if you’re feeling adventurous. Read More →
When I think about how difficult it is to get my girls to let me cut their nails, it makes me wonder how anybody is ever able to successfully cut a toddler’s hair. All those questions were answered when I stepped foot into Snip-Its Huntersville (They have a location in Charlotte, too!)
We took this little Smarty, Jameson (20 months old), in for a haircut and as soon as I walked in, I wanted to get a haircut too! Snip-its has created a fun, toddler haven with wonderful staff who obviously love kids. They seem to have the patience and ability to deal wonderfully with the uncertainty of toddler moods and attitudes. Read More →
Once my twin girls hit the 18 month mark, I was looking for fun activities around Charlotte for the weekends that would give them the opportunity to socialize and learn. I came across Tinkergarten via a Facebook post by a mom in NY (where we are originally from). After a quick search, I realized that Tinkergarten had classes all over the United States, including Charlotte, and the classes were all held outdoors in various parks.
Tinkergarten offers classes once-a-week for 8 week sessions with “Leaders” who help facilitate the activities and exploration. The classes also include a pretty wide range of ages, 18mo-8yo, which I was weary about, at first, but it ended up being a pretty fun experience. The older kids seem to take the younger kids under their wings and I enjoyed watching my little ones trying to imitate the movements the older kids were doing. It was actually a pretty cool collaboration of ages that I think benefited all; the younger kids developed new motor skills and the older kids learned patience and sharing.
This is an awesome option for parents who don’t get outside much with their kids or for stay-at-home parents who need something to do during the week, on their own, with minimal headache; This is a totally doable and fun solution. You can absolutely manage multiple children, of the same or different ages, and you can sip your coffee and mingle with other parents as your kids explore.
All-in-all, I love that Tinkergarten is built on fostering imagination and getting kids away from the technology that is consuming our lives. I love that kids learn collaboration and the group makes parents and kids feel safe. When I remember being home, alone, with the two girls and scared to go anywhere on my own with them, I realize that Tinkergarten would have been a perfect activity to bring them to.
Price: About $160/child for 8 weeks. Discounts offered for multiple children.
Tip: If you’re afraid of getting dirty, this isn’t for you. This is a play-in-the-mud and love it activity.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve had a few rainy days, so I’ve been revisiting some of my old favorites for indoor activities to do with the girls. We cherish our time outdoors because not only does it make the day go quick, but energy gets burned and new discoveries are made. However, staying indoors is sometimes unavoidable and mommy’s creative-brain has to kick in to keep the girls entertained and happy.
These days, as the girls are approaching two years old, finding new activities has been slightly easier. They are able to do more, understand more, and create more than they could a year ago. A year ago, every single thing was going in their mouth so I was looking for activities that were fun, safe and edible.
One of our favorites was finger painting with Greek yogurt that I would make into “paint” by just adding a few drops of food coloring. You don’t have to use Greek Yogurt, but that’s what we have at home, that’s what the girls eat anyway and I find the consistency to be a little easier to work with than more liquid varieties.
Step 1: Scoop some yogurt into several different cups.
Step 2: Add a few drops of food coloring to each cup.
Step 3: Mix, Mix, Mix until smooth and vibrant.
Step 4: Put your little ones in their high chairs, or wherever you designate as painting zone.
Step 5: Place a scoop of each color on their table, mat or whatever they are working on.
Step 6: Get the camera ready and enjoy your 20 minutes of peace!
TIP: I like to get the girls down to just their diapers before painting begins. It makes for an easier hose-down after. This works great before nap-time because they have full bellies, a fake mini-bath, warm PJs and it’s lights out within minutes.
Okay…we LOVE the Regional Farmers Market. You can substitute any farmers market for this one, but when we plan an activity to tire our toddlers out, we try to choose one that involves a lot of walking and a lot of exploration. The size of the Regional Farmer’s Market helps check off all the necessary requirements to deliver exhausted, full-bellied and happy toddlers that will nap for at least 2 hours giving you and hubs (or wifey) some peace and quiet.
I’ve included the hours for the Regional Farmers Market below, but we went on a Saturday when it opens at 8am. We were there by 8:15 with two overall-wearing, pig tailed toddlers, ready to explore the wonders of all things yummy. Getting an early start also allowed us to avoid the suffocating heat of the late-morning and afternoon.
I highly recommend leaving the stroller at home, especially if you have an 1:1 adult: toddler ratio. This will force them to walk…a lot. At first, they were a little overwhelmed by the crowd and amount of stuff, but as soon as they saw a bucket full of blueberries, it was game-on. Read More →