Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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August 22, 2017

Smarty Back to School Giveaway # 1: Oliver’s Labels

Happy Back to School season, Smarties! Homework, early alarms, and making lunches aside, who else is ready for school?! I am sooooo excited to kick off a Smarty Back to School Giveaway series – for three day this week we’ll give away a fun item that will make the Back to School transition much easier. Day #1 is to get you a little more organized; Day #2 is for the Smarty students; and Day #3 is for the Smarty moms (because don’t we deserve a treat for making it through summer?!). :-) Keep checking in today through Wednesday for some cool Back to School swag!orig_1

First up is my family’s absolute school (and summer camp!) necessity – Oliver’s Labels. We started using these forever-hold gems several years ago and now literally couldn’t live without them. I label everything – from t-shirts to sweatshirts, water bottles to lunch boxes, flip flops, tennis shoes, and more. Oliver’s Labels are so durable that we STILL have labels on clothes that have been handed down from boy #1 to boy #3. No Sharpies for us (although my Sharpies are labeled with Oliver’s Labels!). Read More →

August 21, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Signature Pediatrics: Preparing for the first day of Kindergarten

By Smarty Guest Blogger Holly G. Smith, MD FAAP, Signature Pediatrics

Ready or not – here it comes, the first day of school! No need to worry about what your kindergartener knows or doesn’t know. Kindergarten is the great equalizer for bringing children with different backgrounds up to speed and ready for first grade. But let’s talk about getting your child ready for the first few days of kindergarten.Kindergarten ready

Some simple preparation can help smooth the transition to school. First of all, discuss kindergarten with your child. Talk positively about what will happen at school, the fun things she will do, and about meeting new friends. If you can, explain briefly what the daily schedule will be like. Don’t overdo it – if your child seems uninterested or anxious when talking about school back off a bit and do not force the conversation. The goal is for kindergarten to sound like something to look forward to rather than fear. If possible, visit the school and meet the teacher prior to the start of school so your child will be a little bit familiar with the surroundings on the first day.

Self-reliance for daily tasks is important. For instance, a child should be able to manage his or her own clothing when using the bathroom. If you are packing lunch, make sure your child can open food containers and packages. Prepare your child for transportation to and from school. Let them know who will be picking them up or meeting them at the bus.
One of the biggest concerns for parents is handling drop-off. In general, it is best to make drop-off a brief, positive, reassuring experience. A quick hug and a light “see you later” often works best. Children may cry, and prolonging drop-off by staying with your child often only makes this worse. Do follow the teacher’s lead however, and be prepared to stay for a few minutes if the teacher feels this will be helpful. Some children like to have a token from home to help them feel secure, such as a familiar small toy, sticker or other item. We used a small glass heart that my daughter could keep in her pocket and hold if she needed reassurance. Read More →

Where were you during the eclipse of 2017?

That is a question that our children will think back to for the rest of their lives! Many Charlotteans will be witnessing the solar eclipse very close to the path of totality. For those of you who are planners and total eclipse enthusiasts, you have had your hotel booked within the path of totality for months, even years. For those who are a little late to the game, perhaps you’re waking your kids up early for a road trip into the path of totality. Nonetheless, Charlotte is abuzz with eclipse excitement. FullSizeRender

I have had some people ask me why I am so excited by a minute of activity (in my book the eclipse should definitely be considered more than a minute of activity). My kids even looked at me a little puzzled when I asked them to block their calendars and told them they had to view the eclipse with our family. Without going into scientific details or perhaps spiritual frames of reference, I shot my replies from the hip. Here are my top reasons as to why we must witness the eclipse: Read More →

August 20, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

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

It’s August now and school is around the corner. August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, and now is the perfect time to review all the things you can do to help keep your children’s eyes safe and healthy.

A brief guide to pediatric eye exams

During a pediatric eye exam, an ophthalmic technician will ask you and your child questions about their vision, their medical background, and, if applicable, if they are wearing their glasses regularly. The technician will then perform vision, depth perception, and color vision tests. They will then use a small light to make sure you child’s pupils react normally, and then they’ll check your child’s eye pressure. Additional testing may be necessary if your child has strabismus – misaligned or “crossed” eyes – in order to measure the misalignment.Eye exam girl

After these tests, the technician will put eye drops in your child’s eyes to dilate them. These give the doctor the best opportunity to examine the interior parts of your child’s eye and determine the focusing power of their eyes.

Pediatric ophthalmologists are medical doctors that have completed an ophthalmology residency and a pediatric ophthalmology fellowship. They treat all eye conditions found in children including, but not limited to, blocked tear ducts, strabismus, cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy of prematurity, and uveitis. Read More →

August 19, 2017

Smarty Moms: Lara Fleming & Traci Andrews


I first met Lara Fleming three years ago at a local gym. Our boys had just signed on to do competitive gymnastics and the two of us were like two mama deer in headlights. We had ZERO clue what we were doing and felt like we were not cut out to be the aspiring Olympics moms that our boys wanted us to be. We spent our first away weekend meet together and knew instantly that we were soul sisters. Our approach to sports, parenting and life were very similar. Lara is one of the smartest, most stylish and most hilarious moms I’ve ever met. Her humor is dry and very sarcastic, I found it refreshingly familiar – umm, well exactly like mine. We would often complete each other’s late night text threads (probably after a glass or two of wine:-) with an even funnier one-liner. I absolutely adore this woman – she makes me laugh out loud every time I hang with her!

Noah and Walker

Lara’s son, Noah, fell right off his mama’s tree. He is super smart and witty and a fierce competitor. I had no idea that he was facing daily lifelong struggles. I did however, catch a glimpse of his super anxious mom at each stressful gym meet, and I couldn’t figure out why she was such a nervous wreck after each rotation. I chalked it up to just being a regular gymnastics mom – it’s a very frightening sport to watch your kid compete in.

Fast forward a year later. Noah had recently quit gymnastics and I really didn’t understand why. His previous year was huge for him and he had gotten so good at the sport. Lara said it was too stressful for Noah and his anxiety level was too high. I didn’t press for more information. A few weeks later, I ran into Lara at Flywheel. She said she wanted to chat and fill me in on Noah. It was that moment that I knew something was seriously wrong. She shared her journey that I’m about to share with you. But she also shared something very personal and very terrifying. She shared an audio of Noah having what I thought was a really exaggerated tantrum. Until I listened a few seconds longer. That audio still haunts me to this day, knowing Lara and other moms like her have to face that every single day. It brought me to my knees in prayer – for Noah, for Lara, and for every other family dealing with a very misunderstood disease called PANDAS/PANS.

Recently, Lara invited me to dinner with Traci Andrews, another mom with a child battling PANDAS. They shared their journeys with me as well as information about an upcoming race to raise awareness for the disease. I knew exactly what I needed to do to help them – share their stories with all of Smarty Charlotte in hopes that we can help them make great changes for this disease. We need to support these amazing Smarty mamas and attend their first ever PRAI Awareness Walk & Fun Run on September 16th and shout from the rooftops about PANDAS/PANS. They need our help, Smarty Charlotte. They need us to pay attention to the signs they outline below and create conversations – with educators, healthcare providers and other moms. You’ll be surprised that once you start talking about PANDAS, you’ll find that you know quite a few families who have been silently struggling with this disease. It’s time to end the silence.

Meet Lara & Traci – the biggest warriors in all of the QC. These women are strong and brave, and I couldn’t be more proud to introduce them to you today. Read More →

August 18, 2017

Smarty Giveaway: Win a 6-piece organic cotton towel set from Grund + get 20% off organic cotton home goods!

grund towels

Team CSP was lucky enough to try some of Grund’s super soft organic towels this summer and we instantly fell in love! And guess what? You will too because one lucky Smarty will get to try a 6-piece cotton towel set, valued at $149.99 – and they are offering a super Smarty Steal on all home goods through the end of August! Read on!

About Grund Organic Cotton Home Goods:

At Grund, we believe what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it. That’s why we offer high quality, all natural products that are better for you and better for the planet. As parents, we have many things to worry about, but with Grund’s organic cotton rugs and towels, you can have one less worry on your list. All of our products are made from non-GMO organic cotton and possess ZERO toxic chemicals. We validate every step in our entire supply chain to ensure no harmful chemicals are used from field to finished products. So, you can feel good knowing each towel and rug is responsibly made to the highest social and environmental standards.

The Grund® Organic Towel collection is made of 100% certified Organic Turkish cotton that has been spared pesticides and other toxic chemicals from production through processing. To create these luxurious towels, the Organic Cotton is spun into five separate yarns then loomed into long, two ply, double loops. The end result is uber-plush towels with a soft, fluffy pile that feels good to the touch, is lightweight, and absorbs water easily. They are available in sizes ranging from face towel to bath sheet, and in white, ivory, driftwood, sage, and slate grey. Read More →

Smarty Movie Review: The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle
Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton
Run Time: 2 hours 7 minutes
Rated: PG-13

When Jeannette Walls’ best selling memoir was released in 2005, I was completely absorbed by the unbelievable true story of the author’s bleak and disturbing childhood. The beautifully written account of Walls’ astonishing family history is riveting. So I was more than eager to see the story being told on the big screen by such a fantastic cast of actors.Unknown

Jeannette (Brie Larson) begins her story as a successful gossip columnist in New York City in the ‘80s. She is engaged to a successful financial advisor, lives on Park Avenue and wears designer clothes (shoulder pads and big hair being the rage). Yet as she drives home from a fancy dinner one night, she spots her homeless parents picking through a city dumpster. Jeannette realizes that she can no longer deny her painful family past that she has kept hidden since she first moved to the city. We then flash back to Jeannette’s childhood where a very young and hungry Jeannette asks her mother Rose Mary (Naomi Watts) to fix her some lunch. Rose Mary, an aspiring artist, is too busy painting to deal with something as insignificant as food so she instructs the young child to cook her own meal. This attempt goes horribly awry and the child gets seriously burned when her dress catches on fire. When Jeannette is visited by her family in the hospital, it becomes obvious very quickly that this family is not well. Her father Rex (Woody Harrelson) fights with the staff and eventually sneaks Jeannette out of the hospital to avoid paying the bill. The family then hits the road and they continue to move every time Rex loses a job or they need to skip out on paying their rent. The family of six finally ends up in Rex’s hometown of Walsh, West Virginia where they settle into a dilapidated house without electricity or running water. Rex insists that he will build his family an amazing home on the property with stunning glass walls—a glass castle. Read More →

August 17, 2017

Etiquette for Visiting a New Mother

By Smarty Guest Blogger, Laura N Sinai MD MSCE FAAP, Signature Pediatrics

I hear congratulations are in order! Your friend, sister, co-worker, or even an acquaintance just had a baby. Beautiful pictures are already making the rounds on Facebook, Instagram, and maybe even in an old-fashioned paper announcement. The whole family is smiling and fresh faced in those professional images. They look well rested and happy.

No matter how great those photos look, I can promise you the family is experiencing stress and significant sleep deprivation. It may be a fine time to visit, but here are some rules to make the visit a positive one for everybody, especially for the new mom.

1) First, do not visit a newborn if you are sick.Newborn 2016

2) Wash your hands when you arrive. Please.

3) Leave your children home. As wonderful as your children are, new moms do not benefit from added toddler whining, teenage attitude, or more infants crying. There is plenty of time for playdates in the future. Make this visit about her.

4) Don’t ask to hold the baby. Especially if he/she is sleeping. Many moms feel very protective and uncomfortable with others holding her newborn. Wait for her to offer. Read More →

August 16, 2017

Smarty Scoop On Weekend Events August 18-20

charlotte smarty pants Y guides 610 x 272

Y Guides Open House
Camp Thunderbird
1 Thunderbird Lane, Lake Wylie, SC
August 20, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, Ages 5 and up, Free
Summary: Don’t miss the Y Guides Open House this Sunday at Camp Thunderbird. Y Guides is program for dads and kids (boys and girls) to spend time together while learning life skills such as teamwork, independence, cooperation, confidence, self-esteem and goal setting.


If you have not been to Carowinds this summer now is a great time to check out some of the amazing deals.

Ride: from toddler rides to the top steel roller coaster in the world.
Splash: Carolina Harbor is the largest water park in North Carolina.
Experience: from Snoopy and Friends to Scarawinds to live music. Read More →

August 15, 2017

Head to Camp Thunderbird this Sunday and check out Y Guides!

charlotte smarty pants Y guides 610 x 272

Our Smarty friends at YMCA Camp Thunderbird are hosting an afternoon of fun this Sunday and for a good reason – for you to learn about their AMAZING program called Y Guides. If you’re not familiar with this program, you are missing out. It is hands down our favorite daddy/child activity that builds memories of a lifetime. The Y Guides Open House this Sunday will be packed with F-U-N for your entire family – so load up your Smarty minivans and head to Lake Wylie! Read on!

Camp Thunderbird is hosting the Y Guides Open House to showcase the Y Guides program for dads. Y Guides is unique because it is designed just for dads so they can build bonds with their kids (ages 5 and up) through meetings, traditions, volunteer work and special events together. You’ll also have a chance to meet the creative directors and sample the camp’s popular activities like field games, canoeing, paddle boarding and more. Read More →

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