Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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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


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 →

February 6, 2017

Family First

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” – Mother Teresa

“I have plans with my friends all weekend” your kids say when you ask about their weekend. Or sometimes the roles are reversed, “Kids, make plans, I/we are busy all weekend.” Then Monday’s storm continues into the rest of the week and the following weekend turns into the weekend prior. At the end of the month, you find yourself reflecting, realizing that you really haven’t been together as a family all drawing

This scenario doesn’t play out in our household quite like this, but I could easily see how it could, especially as our kids grow into more and more independence: everyone has their own calendars and agendas, their to-dos, and places to be. Weekends turn into picking up, dropping off, handing over car keys, passing one another quickly in doorways, and communicating via text. Way before it gets to this level of coexisting with one another, I hit the brakes; we hit the brakes.

We tell the kids, “Tonight is family night or today is family day or it’s family weekend.” They have grown up hearing our time spent together as stated. But it’s not spending, it’s investing. When you put your immediate family first, you never look back with regret. You know you have laid a foundation that is stable while emphasizing the importance of being there for your family. When your family needs you, you make yourself present. Read More →

January 23, 2017

Know Thy Neighbor

There are stories all around us just waiting to be told. Some have been trapped for decades within our neighbors who we have yet to notice are even there. Other stories hang in midair, as if time was placed on pause when our neighbors began to tell them and we didn’t really listen. While other stories become part of us, weaving their words into our souls where we cherish them weathers sign

I had seen Mr. Weathers for years dutifully, yet lovingly, helping the children of Selwyn Elementary and Alexander Graham Bell Middle School cross Runnymede safely. It was no small feat, as the crosswalk sits around a bend and slightly downhill. Moms, dads, dogs, strollers, and kids of all ages cross there twice a day. When my kids were little, I walked them to school several times a week and every time Mr. Weathers greeted us like we were the most important people in the world. And when the next group of walkers came across his crosswalk, they too were the most important. When I finally stopped and listened to Mr. Weathers and his 84 years, I learned why his story was a bestseller.

After sitting with Mr. Weathers over breakfast, engaging with him at the crosswalk, speaking to him from my car at the traffic light, and talking to him on the phone, I realized where his magnetism came from, why so many stopped and really listened to him. And then about a week ago, Mr. Weathers stopped. He used to say he helped God’s kings cross the street everyday. And now I imagine him helping us all cross the street from above. Read More →

January 9, 2017

A New Year, a New Chapter

It’s a new year, a new chapter. You just refreshed your outlook on life: time to make your New Year’s resolutions. Starting January first, you implemented your new 2017 list. Unless you didn’t…yet. After all, you may need a month to just get into a new way of thinking, a new routine, to buy that membership, to pick up that book, to structure your schedule, to think about executing your resolutions. December stole all your time with her holiday dazzle, leaving no time to plan for January resolutions. Anyway, it felt far enough off anyway. You had time. Or at least you thought you did. images

I was on a call the other day and the person on the other end said, “Well it’s already the middle of January or might as well be.” My heart stopped. How does this keep happening? The passing of time that is. And when I later walked by the hall mirror, there was no way I was going to look into it. Because I knew what I would see. A pro. A real pro. The one who puts pro in procrastination. Me.

Okay, okay. Maybe I am being somewhat dramatic. Procrastination doesn’t always apply to my life. It just depends on the circumstance and ultimately the presence of one important factor: the deadline. A hard, non negotiable deadline will certainly keep the majority of us on task. Since the beginning of time, our brains have prioritized the tasks and to-dos that would otherwise threaten our survival. We inherently prioritize anything that puts our basic needs – or our most prized wants – in jeopardy. Read More →

November 29, 2016

25 days of Gratitude and Beyond

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust

The Holiday season reminds us to enter into a deeper place of gratitude. In the midst of the hustle the season unfailingly delivers, nestled in the in-between moments, are golden nuggets of gratitude wrapped in unadorned paper. We are reminded to carefully unwrap these moments and study their content: blessings come in the largest – as well as the smallest – of packages and are often unassuming while not beckoning for our attention. gratitude-quotes-02

While many of us make a habit of expressing and noting gratitude year-round, sometimes we fly past the opportunities too quickly while being pulled towards the next task on our agenda. Life is full and demanding, and it takes intentional effort to slow down and give gratitude our undivided attention. It requires effort.

Amongst family gatherings during Thanksgiving, gratitude is passed around the dinner table; many of us take time to prepare our thoughts of gratitude in the same way we carefully prepare our favorite dish. We humbly give thanks to the day-to-day happenings as if seeing them first time. We gather at the table with anticipation and leave satiated, full in body and spirit. Family walls come down – every family has that member who invariably takes on the role as gardener, who sews the seeds and brings in the sunshine. Love grows and we are reminded of what is special about each and everyone in our lives. Read More →

November 5, 2016

Smarty Mom: Liz Bundon

Liz Bundon Kids

{Photo Creds: Wanda Koch Photography}

If you have taken a yoga class with Liz Bundon, then have left your mat feeling impacted in the hardest, yet softest of ways. Liz guides each class through a practice to strengthen the physical, while always addressing the strength and support that we seek internally through yoga: you leave her class feeling mentally and physically stronger, more centered and lighter. About a year ago, I wrote a blog for Charlotte Smarty Pants entitled, “Where are you going to look today?” The inspiration for that article came to me on my mat while practicing with Liz as my teacher. A really impactful yoga teacher will not only help evolve your yoga practice physically, but will stretch your mind as well. I ran into Liz recently and thought, I want to learn more about her yoga journey. And I know many of you will enjoy connecting with Liz through her own words too! I have a feeling teacher certifications may be on the rise in Charlotte! Read More →

October 31, 2016

Trick or Treat

Once upon a time, Halloween was about my kids and I shopping and making costumes together. We went online and to stores, I shared ideas that were welcomed with great consideration, and we established a list of options. Then a new chapter began this year when my 11 year old ordered her costume all by herself and my 13 year old decided not to get one at all. I wasn’t even in the mix, well other than giving the final approval for the type and expense of the costume. image-1

For as long as my kids can remember, we had our Halloween tradition. A family who we have known since my son was thirteen weeks old would come over to our house. The kids would get into costume together, faces would be made-up, hair was tended to, and giggles were plentiful. We ate dinner and drank out of skull cups. Pictures were taken and more laughter abounded.

At that point, it was officially kickoff time! We left our bowl of candy on our front porch with a sign that read “please take two pieces,” since we all wanted to experience trick-or-treating with our kids. And yes, that bowl was probably emptied by that kid at some point. None of the four adults could bear to miss the speeding across lawns, the knocks at doors, the sound of their sweet voices saying “trick-or-treat” in unison, or the tripping and stumbling over their bags of candy. And along the way, we were able to catch up with neighbors who had become distant due to life’s chaos, met new neighbors, saw good friends, and enjoyed strolling carefree while taking in our children’s’ excitement. Read More →

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 →

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