Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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October 17, 2016

What is diversity?

In light of recent events in Charlotte, as well as working with diverse students, I have been exploring relatable, easy to understand ways to discuss diversity with children. So if you have moment to talk about diversity with your child, here is a roadmap that I put together. Enjoy talking about your differences and similarities! image1

Diversity: the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization.

Now let’s use the word diversity in a sentence:

The school aims for diversity in its student population. The city is known for its cultural diversity.

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary

How are we similar?
– We all have feelings and want to be love and respected.
– We want friends and to be included.
– We have skin, hair, ears, noses, eyes, arms, and legs.
– Sometimes we play the same sports or participate in the same activities.
– Sometimes we celebrate the same holidays.

How are we different?
– Hair color and texture, eye color, skin color, freckles, and body shapes and sizes.
– Languages, religions, cultural traditions, and beliefs.
– Hobbies, jobs, interests, and talents. Read More →

October 3, 2016

Teaching Children the Importance of Giving and Receiving Grace


Have you even reflected on what grace means? Do you live and model a life full of grace? While in church yesterday, the word grace graced the sermon multiple times and inspired me to jot a few notes down to reflect upon afterwards. I realized that grace extends beyond the church walls and religious readings; that it has a very necessary place in our everyday lives regardless of religion. While listening, I realized grace can be a difficult concept for kids to grasp, nevertheless a very necessary concept.

Grace is essential for growth in self-awareness, confidence, hospitality, and emotional wellbeing. Grace is also essential in parenting our children, so that they feel feel loved no matter the circumstances. When we offer our children grace after they have wronged, we converse over the matter rather than reactively punishing and perhaps sending them off to their rooms without proper dialogue. Ultimately our children want to feel loved, and grace offers them that and so much more. Now, I totally understand that grace can run out and phones have to be taken away, but at least try parenting with grace first and foremost. One day you will receive grace in return and will know you have modeled and passed on an invaluable lifeskill. Read More →

September 19, 2016

The Quest for Happiness and Your Bucket List

We make to-do lists and mental notes everyday. Perhaps imagery pops into your mind of goals you seeing yourself accomplish. You see yourself eagerly getting through these lists, yet you never actually do. At least not yet because there is always tomorrow…

A moment. Think about that word and then think about all that can happen in one single moment. A lot can happen. Meaningful moments and opportunities are presented to us everyday, but they are often taken for granted or overlooked. They are presented in the form of each new day that we awaken to, but we let the word procrastination slip into action all too often.images

We skirt around them, leaving our reminders in our peripheral vision. I do it everyday. We don’t always attack our goals or desires head on. Valid excuses like kids, work, activities, and not enough time blur our quest. And what exactly is the quest? The quest has always been and will always be the same for everyone: happiness. We all desire to live a happy life.

Happiness is attained differently by each one of us. We are all born with a different sense of purpose that requires us to travel down varying paths. No one is right or wrong. If you are listening to your true self, then you are right. If we all walked in one another’s footsteps, not a lot of change and impact would happen in the world or within ourselves.

So what do these lists have to do with happiness? You are probably thinking that they are arduous and time sucking. I am not talking about the grocery list, carpool reminders, or even work agendas. I am talking about your happiness goals or the life experiences you wish upon- also known as your bucket list. Have you even written them down? What comes to the top of that list when you open yourself up to the world, when you allow yourself to come into focus? Read More →

September 5, 2016

When friendships change

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time, as well as a time of adjustment. New teachers and classmates bring on a new chapter where new stories have yet to play out. The tone of the year can be shaped by friendships within the classroom, as well as friendships that accidentally or intentionally were left behind with the last school year. image

They’re tied at the hip. Her name is the first name to be eagerly requested when a bring-a-friend opportunity arises. There’s no hesitation on the other side of the phone when the invitation is extended. They are all giggles, smiles and nonstop chatter when they are together. Since day one, they have embraced one another in friendship. Others see that there is something special between them, an undeniable connection, one that would be predicted to last. And then one day it’s just over. There’s no warning, not one indication that it is about to be over. The phone stops ringing, text messages are no longer reciprocated and calls are unanswered. Read More →

August 22, 2016

Teaching kids lifelong skills through DIY projects

This summer has been a summer of projects…for me, mostly. While I do pick up the phone and call handymen and experts, I first ask myself if I can fix the problem myself. I research YouTube and other online resources and then off to HomeDepot I go. I find satisfaction in completing the work myself, saving money, and learning a new skill.
ML Sanding
However, I have been leaving a step out. While my kids ask if they can help me, I often dismiss them too quickly, thinking I can get the project done faster without their involvement. Plus, I kind of enjoy the quiet, focused time without too many questions. I now realize that I should take them up on their curiosities and offers without looking at the clock or looking for perfection.

After battling several things in our home going awry at the same time this summer, I called out for help. An appliance repairman showed up on the scene when water started leaking out from our dishwasher. My husband and I had looked up how to fix the problem and the real problem turned out to be that we watched the wrong DIY video- it was overcomplicated and intimidating. And who pointed this out? The appliance repairman said he felt badly taking our money for such an easy fix. We then proceeded to get into a deeper conversation. Read More →

July 30, 2016

Smarty Mom: Patricia Snow

I remember the first time I met Patricia Snow over 13 years ago, when she met me with a huge smile. Over a decade later, I have never seen Patricia without a glowing smile and a welcoming heart. She instantly makes you feel at home no matter where you are. You are never a stranger in her company. And through the years, Patricia has gone back to school to earn her MBA, has had a career in consulting, started her own business, gotten married and had her first baby, and most recently, twins. And somehow Patricia makes all of this look so easy, as she smiles and gives you her time. Please enjoy getting to know one amazing Charlotte mom, while you draw inspiration from her ability gracefully wear many hats. Ramon and Patricia 060

Smarty Mom: Patricia Snow

Mom of: Ruby, 8 and twins Luna & Lucas, 7 months
Alma Mater: North Carolina State University and MBA at Duke
Married to: Ramon Lopez
Hometown: Yadkinville, NC
Occupation: Owner of Ruby’s Gift and Consultant at Wells Fargo Read More →

July 25, 2016

Encouraging our kids and parents to accept failure as a positive experience

Failure. It’s not a word any of us like to say, experience, witness, or anticipate. Perhaps the anticipation of failure is the one we fear the most, so we avoid putting ourselves and our children in its uncomfortable path. We were born to succeed after all. No one ever received a shiny blue ribbon for failing. In fact, failure often left you hiding in the back of the room. Failure produced those stabbing looks from our parents that we then saw in our own reflection. Unknown

After reading a recent interview with Sara Blakely, the billionaire behind Spanx, the word failure changed it colors. And my fears lessened as I thought about some ideas I have been holding onto for a long time. My fears lessened for my kids, as the word failure lost its stigma. They need to fail. I have needed to fail. I have failed. Failure is most often a prerequisite for success.

Sara’s father used to ask her, “What did you fail at today?” While I may have asked my kids that question on a rare occasion, in a very round about way, I have never asked them that question in such a direct manner or with the frequency that Sara’s dad asked her- which was daily. “How was school?” or “How did your test go?” are the questions that are usually asked with too much routine. I wonder if I even know that I am asking them half the time. And when my kids bring home less than perfect grades, I squirm a little, feeling like I am failing them somehow or that they are not working hard enough. The word failure colors the moment, as we try to decide whose fault it is. Read More →

July 4, 2016

Diving into swimming in Charlotte


Your child wants to join a swim team or participate in swimming! That’s great! Swimming is a life skill that provides athletic conditioning for almost all of the muscle groups. But many of us may be intimidated by the swimming schedule that we hear about. From my own personal experience, the schedule was no different than any other sport. At the ages of nine and ten, my son swam year round for ATOM (Aquatic Team of Mecklenburg) and practice was only three nights a week. I got to sit in air-conditioning, while catching up with friends or reading. Now, as my kids have gotten older, they have expressed interest in swimming again. So I recently sat down with TEAM Charlotte’s Associate Head Coach/Head Age Group Coach, Kristina Bond, to find out more about the world of year-round swimming Charlotte. But let’s start with lessons and seasonal swimming first.

Why should I invest in my child’s swimming?

– Learning to swim well helps prevent drowning
– Swimming promotes fitness, strength and coordination.
– Swimming is an individual and team sport.
– Swimming is relatively injury free, unlike many other sports.
– Swimming is a lifetime sport.
– Swimming motivates kids to self-improve. Read More →

June 13, 2016

Let your child be bored this summer

Thinking back to my own childhood summers, I recall sitting on my bedroom floor. While the space around me was quiet and my body still, my mind began to wonder and explore. As I dove into my thoughts, another world opened up to me. From there, I would spring into action and into my world. The world that I loved immersing myself into, the world that was often sidelined during the school year.

Growing up, I never went to one camp. Not one. When we weren’t traveling, I was home. And in that space, I created my own world. My bike became my horse more times than I can count, taking me through pastures, far-off places, and endless stories. I asked my horse to go faster while peddling as fast I could around my yard. We jumped over streams and fences until we could run no more. I would then lead her to the barn, telling her I would return the next morning. I would then lie in my bed, imagining what it would be like to be on a real horse during all those adventures. IMG_1704

Blankets became rafts, indoors and out. Sometimes I was stranded for days, hungry and not sure when I would find shore. Other times, my sister would join me for a feast while we floated down river. The water would splash onto the raft, as the currents sped us along. I still remember the larger crocheted holes serving as leaks we had to repair. Read More →

May 30, 2016

Investing in quality one-on-one time with your children

I truly cannot believe another school year has flown by. Weren’t we just school shopping and now here we are right around the corner from back-to-school flyers again. I always tell my friends with younger kids, the older they get, the faster time flies. It scares me. Honestly it frightens me. Time is this mystical creature, who allures us into thinking it’s timeless. In reality, it slips through our fingers and fools us into thinking we have so much of it on our side. We do and we don’t. It all depends on your strength to hold onto it. As a parent, the most important investment of our time is with our children. Mai-Lis and family

Since my kids were in daycare, I have always thought about the importance of one-on-one time with each of them. Even if I only gave them 15 minutes, they seemed lighter, happier, more connected, and the same went for me. It all started with a cup of decaf. I would pick up (my then three year old son) early from daycare and take him to Caribou Coffee where he would order a small decaf with room for cream. We would then sit and chat before going back to pick up his sister. Lessons were learned and thoughts were exchanged: like you cannot call a man wearing an eyepatch a pirate or ask why someone is so big. I loved the way we would walk out of the coffee shop, hand in hand, hearts full. My eyes tear now, thinking about the time that has passed, as he approaches 13 this summer. Read More →

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