Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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July 10, 2017

Smarty Summer Butterfly Project

If you’re looking for an easy, fun (and no mess) summer project to inspire wonderment in your children, then you definitely should check out the butterfly project we just completed. And you might be surprised by the childlike excitement that you too will experience.

We ordered painted lady butterfly caterpillars from Carolina.com and within a week, six little guys arrived in a small plastic covered cup containing all the food they would need to make their transformation. I found it amusing that the website Carolina.com takes one to a website dedicated to insects and educational items and not the Panthers, Tar Heels, or Gamecocks. Who knew!

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The caterpillars were not very active upon arrival and were less than one inch in size. Within a day or two, they started feeding while leaving small web trails. They were like toddlers practicing walking. And if you think your kids grow quickly, watching caterpillars grow is like watching the world through a time lapse lense. Read More →

June 26, 2017

Bunny story: part two

A couple weeks ago, I shared a story about our bunny Andie, specifically why we rehomed her and what we all learned from that chapter in our lives. Our daughter took it the hardest, ultimately blaming herself for not stepping up to the responsibility of pet ownership. We had many conversations about the lessons that surfaced, lessons that I knew would not remain on the surface but would ingrain into them.IMG_7804

We had no idea exactly how profound the bunny experience was for our daughter. After tears dried and life shuffled us all into next chapters, unbeknownst to us, Addie kept going back to reread those painful pages over and over. Behind closed doors, she was working on how to make a wrong a right. She needed redemption. And she missed her fuzzy friend.

For six months, Addie researched hamsters: the different types; necessary care; food; toys; cage requirements; handling requirements; and costs. She filled the pages of a one-inch binder, complete with tabs to delineate all hamster categories. She watched hours of educational videos, read blogs, and studied websites. We had no idea until she presented us with a letter and a YouTube video to show us why she was ready to take on the responsibility of pet ownership all on her own – she even saved up enough money pay for everything. Read More →

June 17, 2017

Smarty Mom: Amelia Abbott

Smarties, meet Amelia Abbott, a woman effecting change in the Charlotte community. When Amelia sees a need for volunteerism, awareness, compassion, and advocacy, she doesn’t just join the ride, she helps create the movement by mobilizing others through Do Good Charlotte. Her passion breeds action that directly affects our neighbors, causes, and organizations right here. I am grateful to have women like Amelia and the other founders of Do Good Charlotte in our city, helping to create better worlds for all of our children! unnamed-8

Enjoy getting to know one of our Smarty neighbors and consider joining Amelia on her mission to make Charlotte an even greater city!

Smarty Mom: Amelia Abbott

From? Bronxville, NY, a small suburb outside New York City.
Years in Charlotte? 13 years
Children? I have two fantastic kids – Wilson, age 9 and Jorie, age 6.
Alma Mater? Randolph Macon College in Ashland, VA.
Former career? Before moving here I worked in political fundraising in Washington, DC, and then did event marketing/sales here in Charlotte.

We want to know more about Do Good Charlotte! Can you share?

Do Good CLT is a group of women, mobilizing locally, to propel positive systemic change through community-building, volunteering and advocacy. We currently focus our efforts in the areas of women’s rights, education, immigration and racial reconciliation. Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations actively working in these areas, we seek first to listen and learn, and second, to identify volunteer engagement opportunities for our members. Through these relationships, we strive to form meaningful connections across the lines of race, class and status. In addition to volunteerism, Do Good CLT supports educational, community-building initiatives through participation in cultural events, facilitating panel discussions at our general membership meetings, hosting a Do Good CLT book club, and meeting with city leaders on relevant issues. Read More →

June 5, 2017

How a rabbit taught our family lessons

If you follow my posts, you know I write from the heart. When I first started writing for Charlotte Smarty Pants, I have to say, it felt a little uncomfortable. Why? One word: vulnerability. Once I post, I know I am potentially opening myself up to judgement.Andie

I have a story to share involving a parenting decision that has received applause and scorn at the same time – it’s a story that I haven’t shared with many because quite honestly, it makes me feel vulnerable, and it still has the potential to unsettle me. Here is the story of Andie:

Andie was a miniature Netherland dwarf rabbit, our pet of two years. Her runt size made her the smallest of the dwarfs and allowed her to live inside, in a cage, in our sunroom. Andie was ridiculously cute. Seriously. And debunking all rabbit truths, she never bit a single person, never chewed a single item, and even loved hanging out with our dogs. Andie possessed all rabbit perfectionisms. But we were not perfect for her. Read More →

May 16, 2017

How will your future chapters read?

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope your day was filled with loving gestures and special moments. Yes, being a mom is one of the most rewarding yet challenging experiences, so we all appreciate the recognition and sentiments. And keeping in line with true mothering fashion, the day is never 100% about us. It trickles down to our kids too, as we reward them with many hugs and kisses for their carefully written out thoughts and creations. Hallmark may be making a mint but in the end, we are the ones who are truly richer. Mother’s Day makes us all slow down and pause – one of my favorite places to go.images-1

But what happens outside of being a mom? Recently, I have found myself in the same conversation with many women who all seem to be in a similar place: their children are growing increasingly independent, leaving them with more time for self reflection. No longer are we defined solely by motherhood. We can and do aspire to contribute to our own self development and set our sights on future chapters. Read More →

May 1, 2017

Presbyopia and a light-hearted look at phone addiction

The other day I found myself in deep thought about a light subject: my phone. Lately I have been more aware of my phone usage since my 40-something year old eyes are starting to bark at me. After I ignore them all day, they send in the headache to do the heavy work, to really drive home the message: either I am on my phone/computer too much, the blue light is really effecting me (hello insomnia), and/or I need reading glasses. This launched into a one and a half hour eyewear search while my daughter was at field hockey practice. Searching for reading glasses/anti-blue light glasses on my phone was not the brightest idea; when I finally looked up, my eyes felt like they had been pulled, twisted, and dried out. The irony is uncanny. Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 6.11.00 PM

Later that evening, after showing my husband his high school reunion page on Facebook (he isn’t on it but spent the next hour exploring through my account), I started to think about all the time I potentially have spent on my phone. While I don’t consider myself a heavy user of my phone (denial?), I admit I am on it more than I should be. If I added up all the hours over my lifetime, would it all add up to thousands of hours or even worse, several years? According to research, women spend up to two years of their life applying makeup/getting ready. I know I spend more time on my phone than I do in the bathroom mirror (insert wide-eyed emoji here).

I also realize the progression of this article is like the first bullet point below: not only have the need for reading glasses ensued from my (potentially) excessive phone usage, but the “H” used to be lowercase in my ADhD; now my brain bounces like it’s a party up there 24/7. Read More →

April 3, 2017

In like a lion, out like a lamb

March was fierce. We had (hopefully) our last cold spell – one that has left a lasting impression on a few of my plants. March doled out some pretty crazy storms too. Queens Road West lost several of their willow oaks, one of which fell into a home. And then there was March Madness and the almost South Carolina vs. North Carolina game. images

As exciting as all the above was, March had his lion grip on me for a different reason. He stalked me with anticipation, watching my head spin, noticing my disorientation. I know I wasn’t the only one wandering the open plains in attempt to find home. I pictured thousands of other rising 9th grade parents walking in circles too, not confidently knowing what direction to start out in. Wait, did I hear myself say “high school?”

High school!?

HIGH SCHOOL?

How is this possible? In what feels like just a second ago, I was singing the theme song to Go, Diego, Go with my son and watching him play on his Razor scooter in the driveway. The big milestones soon followed: the first day of kindergarten (I cried just a little), the first day of middle school (I teared up just a little), and now we have weathered high school registration (no tears, but my eyes were very wide). Read More →

March 20, 2017

Creating quality time together

Friday and Sunday evenings are often dedicated to family time in our household. Other days, we are pulled apart by agendas, homework, meetings, flights, sports, and other weekday activities; all of which is par for the course in most families. While we still have dinner together most weeknights, we don’t have the opportunity to spend too much quality time together outside of that meal. Because I get antsy for time with my family, I try to find smaller opportunities to sneak time in together. I don’t need to preach what you already know: a little time goes a long way. Increments of time are little golden nuggets, valuable no matter how small. Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 10.51.57 PM

Here are some of the ways how we create family time in the Bahr household:

Work alongside one another

In fact, I am writing this as my son sits next to me doing his homework. Not a writer or nothing to write? Then pay bills, answer emails, or look up that unanswered question on Google. You can both work to keep one another on track while enjoying time together. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being in the same space together.

Get cooking

After a week of trying to prepare meals quickly, enjoy slowing down on Friday evenings while involving your kids in the meal prep. I know I appreciate help in the kitchen when we can afford the time and my kids enjoy learning a new recipe. Read More →

March 6, 2017

The benefits of intergenerational experiences

The way life is structured today, we are insulated from a lot of experiences prior generations benefited from. Our social lives are often structured according to age: grades/schools, careers, ages of our kids, retirement communities, church groups, book clubs, as well as fitness classes. Our families often live hours or plane rides apart, making opportunities for intergenerational get-togethers infrequent. As a result, we tend to interact on most days with peers who are in similar age groups. Specifically, the predominant influencers in many of our children’s lives are their peers.image1

However, intergenerational experiences contribute to our children feeling more connected, allowing them to see beyond their own horizons. Throughout my own life, I have reflected on how intergenerational interactions have made me feel, how they have shaped me, and how those interactions broadened my horizons.

Just yesterday, we participated in an intergenerational baking activity with members of our church. The youth gathered in the older members’ homes and collaborated on a recipe together. I saw how special the opportunity was while observing the bakers of varying ages interact with one another. The youth and adults felt important, as well as a sense of belonging to a community.

On the drive home, I shared stories about how similar interactions throughout my life gave me a greater appreciation for people of all ages and taught me about the world. While sharing these accounts, I thought about how amazing it would be to allow my kids the opportunity to experience some of the same (minus the paper route). Read More →

February 11, 2017

Smarty Mom: Leslie Mueller

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Meet Leslie, one of those people who leaves you feeling refreshed, someone who grounds you while making you laugh. With all the chaos in todays world, Leslie creates order and sensibility to it all while being a mom to three boys. We all know Charlotte can be a culture that’s all about keeping up with the Joneses – Leslie reminds us the only people to keep up with is your family; specifically your kids. And did I mention that she has the best sense of humor?!

Married to: Kevin Mueller
Kids: Brady (11), Alex (8), Matthew (6)
Years in Charlotte: 16
Originally from: I was born in Arlington, TX, and moved to San Francisco, CA, when I was 13. I attended college at UC Santa Barbara and then moved to San Diego, CA, where I met my husband. I still consider my hometown to be Danville, CA, since this is where my family and friends reside.

Tell us about your journey from the West Coast to the East Coast:

My journey to the East Coast was supposed to be a temporary one: I was 24 when I moved to Charlotte and I was young and in love. My husband had accepted a job promotion to Charlotte and we thought, “What is there to lose? If we hate it, we can always move back.” Charlotte was a relatively new city and many people from the West Coast were unfamiliar with it. I can still remember my friends mixing up Charlotte and Charleston, as well as North and South Carolina. Now with Wells Fargo’s headquarters being in San Francisco and the purchase of Wachovia, I don’t think my friends mix up Charlotte very much anymore. Charlotte looks nothing like it did 16 years ago! I can remember exploring the city and thinking “Okay, I have seen all the neighborhoods and the downtown. Now, where is the rest?” Coming from a larger city, I felt like there had to be more to uncover. Little did I know that 15 years later there would be so much growth and development in this city that I could hardly keep up with all there is to see and do. Read More →


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