Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Christmas, Happy 2013

We wish you a relaxing school break, a very Merry Christmas, and a peaceful 2013! Thanks for reading... See you back here in the New Year. Don't forget to take the renewing Polar Bear Swim on New Year's Day on Sullivan's Island at Dunleavy's Pub. 

Ok, there are no actual polar bears, but there are a bevy of creative characters and the kids absolutely love the thrill of the plunge.

PMK tips- on street parking is free anywhere on Sullivan's Island. Park and walk to Dunleavy's pub and follow the crowd from there to the plunge site on the beach. Take towels and dry clothes. Drinks, hotdogs and food, and restrooms available at the pub. Pets on leads welcome!

check for the swim time on New Year's Day. Happy 2013!

Winston approves!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

4D Polar Express

You've most likely seen the movie. You've poured over the beautifully illustrated book. But have you felt the magic of the Polar Express? For the third year in a row, my boys and I can't wait to head to the SC Aquarium in downtown Charleston to experience the Polar Express come alive to all of the five senses. You feel the gentle rumble of the train through your seat, see and touch the snow falling around you, and hear all the sounds of Christmas and the jingle of bells during this abbreviated version (about 12 minutes long) of the original story. This is a great way for Grandparents to hear the sound they love the most... their grandchildren laughing out loud.

The special 4D theater is part of the aquarium and located at the entrance to the aquarium. There is plenty to see inside before or after the movie, which runs throughout the day.

If you're tight on time, pick a few of your favorite areas (one of ours is the touch tank) to visit and then choose a movie time that will draw your kids out of the main aquarium to the theater and exit straight from there. This could be a great new addition to your Christmas break traditions!

visit for more information on movie times.

Download free parking vouchers for the SC Aquarium parking garage and other public garages downtown during the holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

nights of a thousand candles

There is still time to capture a walk by candle light at Brookgreen Gardens. This event is quickly becoming one of the Lowcountry's best kept secrets for a special family tradition. There are thousands and thousands of candles, carolers, and the trees and paths come to life. Your children will love this! 
This Thursday evening through Saturday evening are the last remaining nights before Christmas to enjoy the spectacle of these sculpture gardens glowing by candle light.
Please visit for ticket information.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Life and Art in Charleston 103 - Felice Designs

We took an after school wander up King St. downtown to meet a wonderfully creative artist. Our goal was two fold; we were excited to see Felice Killian of Felice Designs at work, and also shop for a few Christmas gifts. Turns out we came to the perfect place for inspiration!

Very few people get to do what they love to do for a living and this passionate artist has an obvious love of life and her art. Originally from New Orleans, Felice started making jewelry when she was a teenager. Roughly a million beads later, she never dreamed she would still be constantly creating! Any time someone can inspire my children to think outside of the box, it's a definite bonus for us.

 To create her stunning beads, Felice uses these long rods of Italian glass and slowly melts them with a small torch.

Children are mesmerized by the glow of the fire as the glass is turned and melted to a perfect shape.
You must peek into this tiny shop to see this gorgeous, colorful jewelry. Thank you so much for having us yesterday, Felice!

Felice Designs
424 King St.
Charleston, SC 29403
on the corner of King St. and John St.
PMK tip- give Felice a call to arrange a visit to see her in action!

Friday, December 14, 2012

I'd like to thank the academy...a story of music

Once upon a time, two little peanuts arrived; very closely nested. We wondered, will they always be close? What will their passions and interests be in life?

A birthday gift arrived in the form of an old, re-conditioned upright Steinway piano. The twins hammered away at it, and soon enough we found ourselves looking for lessons in Charleston.

What we found was a way of life that has filled our days for over 2 years. The Charleston Academy of Music, led by the talented Eunjoo Yun, includes a dedicated team of incredible teachers in the fields of piano, violin, cello, guitar, and voice. Last night, a recital was held at the College of Charleston to showcase many of the Academy's students, including our very own twins and their first duet...

The Academy encourages students of all ages to "let your music play", and so they did. We were wowed by the Hagood brothers, Camp and Francis, bonding over a Schumann duet...

the talented Benjamin Halford, who brought the house down...

and the ever inspiring Caleb Borick, who presented his brand new piece, 9 minutes long and committed to memory (Beethoven's Sonata No. 3, 1st Mvt)...

Even little feet that barely touch the floor are old enough to begin a path of music at the Charleston Academy of Music. If you have a musical child and you are willing to commit to regular lessons and practice, I recommend that you call the Academy and discuss the various lesson lengths. In addition to your weekly lesson, your child will have the opportunity to participate in monthly performance classes, master classes with experts in their field of music, recitals, and a feeling of community in the study of music.

The Charleston Academy of Music
189 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403

Thursday, December 13, 2012

winter walk to Pitt St.

A rainy day in Charleston is still beautiful, especially to children who love umbrellas and wet walks.
At just under a mile, this is a nice little walk with some points of interest along the way. Start your walk by parking in the Old Village at Edwards park field, 400 Pitt St. Mt. Pleasant, SC. There are plenty of public spaces to park here, benches to sit, and a big field to run in with children and dogs.

A good landmark is this little brick cottage with the bright red door... ( on Bank St.)

March up the hill past the Confederate Cemetery on Carr St. You will walk past the G. M. Darby building ( stop in for a catalog of activities and camps for children). Turn left onto King St. and walk to Pitt St. Turn right on Pitt St. and wander up to...

the warm and cosy Village Bakery. Head inside for a hot chocolate and then carry on to ooh and ahh at the lovely window displays in Out of Hand, a Pitt St. must see.

Years ago, the Christmas windows in New York City sucked me into Bendel's to purchase the only thing I could afford... a hatbox! The ladies at Out Of Hand have done a beautiful job of creating a mini 5th Avenue. Take a peek inside for a few affordable treasures.
Retrace your steps to the parking lot and you have completed almost a mile!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Indigo Books on Kiawah Island, SC

My children and I love walking and biking on Kiawah Island any time of year. In the winter, it's a special treat to visit Freshfields on Kiawah Island to wander and browse in the Indigo Book store. They have an excellent selection of children's books and staff are always on hand with helpful recommendations. Here are a few books for the children on your list:

We love all the books in Karma Wilson's 'Bear' series. Jane Chapman's illustrations are amazing.
Children of all ages look forward to the latest edition of world records. My boys get completely engrossed in these annuals - a must under the tree!
Also, Wonderstruck is a book that intrigues girls and boys with it's intricate drawings and creative plot. A great book to snuggle up with and read aloud to your children - you will get sucked in and be wonderstruck! 
Stop by the coffee shop next door. Java Java is fantastic; their food is consistently good and they have great coffee too. PMK loves- the toasted egg panini sandwich. Great outdoor tables in the sun and clean restrooms too!
Indigo Books and Java Java at Freshfields on Kiawah Island, SC
Free on site parking

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

news and focus

I recently attended a local organization's focus group and an interesting question was asked; how do you get your news? What do you read to stay current? It was intriguing to hear the group's answers. Here is my personal list of news feeds (randomly ordered):
  • The Post and Courier (the good old fashioned paper version for this old fashioned girl)
  • Charleston Currents (online weekly)
  • Charleston magazine
  • Skirt magazine
  • Parent magazine
  • Moultrie News
  • Huffington Post (online)
  • New York Times (online)
  • BBC World on Sirius radio in the car
  • Atlantic Pacific blog and Charleston's very own  (well, I am a girly- girl after all)
Andy Brack's weekly online publication Charleston Currents is a quick, concise study of what's happening locally. I couldn't live without the calendar of events and I look forward to checking in each Monday morning for good news and fresh ideas. A big thank you to Charleston Currents for featuring Pluff Mud Kids yesterday...and in the months to come!
Pluff Mud Kid's dog Winston is in the dog house... again. One moment he's sweetly gazing up at us, as in the shot above. The next moment, he's off like a bandit snatching a purse. The casualties so far this holiday season include a) every last morsel of a small whiskey-loaded pecan pie fresh from the oven and b) 2 large plastic wrapped advent calendars containing 50 chocolates (toxic, but he never missed a beat). Fortunately, the Post and Courier just ran a piece on holiday dangers for pets. What are the chances of capturing a focused Christmas photo given the subject matter?

If you need a little help with that ever elusive Christmas photo too, here is a fun local option:

Santa Paws
(photos of your pet with Santa)
James Island County Park at the Holiday Festival of Lights
December 5,12, and 19th, 2012
Bring a pet food donation for a local animal shelter to receive a discount on your photo
For entry fees and details, visit

Sunday, December 9, 2012

sweet and gentle, naughty or nice

I used to tell my twins over and over to be "sweet and gentle" when they were beginning to learn to play as tiny toddlers. Nowadays, I find I am telling myself  that in times of harried holiday rush.

Take back the reason for the season with an evening of gorgeous music. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra is presenting Handel's Messiah at the new St. Benedict's Catholic Church in Mt. Pleasant on Friday, December 21st. Children as young as 6 are welcome to soak in this incredible piece. PMK tip- listen to the music a few times before you attend so your children will be familiar with the music and get the most out of the performance.

CSO Handel's Messiah
Friday, December 21 2012
7:30pm, doors open at 6:30pm
St. Benedict's Catholic Church
Darrell Creek Trail - off Highway 17 N
PMK tip- study this map before heading out because Darrell Creek Trail is sign posted but not easy to spot from Highway 17 N.
Tickets available at the CSO website or box office
Adult- $25, student 6-22 $10

Friday, December 7, 2012

fresh air

With so much happening around Charleston and temperatures pitching up over 70 degrees, here are 2 fresh ideas to get your children out and about this weekend.

fresh market- We found these mini sweetgrass basket ornaments downtown in the Market for friends overseas. Looking for unique local gifts? You will find them at the Holiday Market this Saturday in Mt. Pleasant. PMK tip- go hungry; this is a great place to find yummy locally made goodies. We usually park off Coleman Blvd. on Fairmont Ave or Pherigo St. and walk one block up to the market and back to squeeze in an extra bit of walking.

Holiday Farmers Market and Craft Show
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Coleman Blvd and Simmons St.
(Moultrie Middle School grounds)

fresh tomatoes- there's nothing like a big ripe, fresh tomato from Lowcountry soil. Grab a basket and pick your own right off the vine at Boone Hall and if you store them in a cool place, they will last a long time. PMK- if it rains a bit today, wear a pair of boots like we did (pictured) as the ground can get very mucky. The baskets are provided.

Boone Hall Farms Upick Tomatoes
$.99 per lb.
Enter off Highway 17 North

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Life and Art in Charleston 102

*A note on last night's TOMP Bike/Pedestrian draft meeting...the gist is that there are plans in the works to update ordinances and work to improve neighborhood connectivity through the addition of shared roads, sidewalks, bike lanes, and shared use paths in key areas of need throughout Mt. Pleasant. According to Christiane Farrell, Director of the Dept of Planning and Development, TOMP seeks to pinpoint these areas of need through public feedback. If you would like to comment on the need for improved bike/pedestrian traffic networks in your neck of the woods, please direct your ideas to Lynette Lynes (TOMP Executive Office Manager for the Dept of Planning and Development) at 

I love the painting "Pretty In Pink" by local artist Jo Sherrill. Every time I look at it, it draws me in and takes me right to the beach; the evening sunset glows and is so soothing. Thank you Jo, for sharing your work here today.

If you're looking for a new bike for Christmas, you can find a great selection at Sweetgrass Cycles on Mathis Ferry Road in Mt. Pleasant. I kept seeing this pink beach cruiser as I drove past, so I had to stop and give it a test drive. It truly is the most comfortable bike in the world. Owner Lee Edwards will walk you through all the options and let you ride any bike you like.

Lots of bikes for the little riders and a great selection of baskets.

Sweetgrass Cycles
234 Mathis Ferry Road
Suite 103
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

she lives amoung us

My children and I have something on our minds of late and it's not Santa. We can't stop thinking about Mary Lee.

She's a 16 foot great white shark who's taken up residence off our coastline; dipping in and out of our harbour and shores. What is she doing...snacking? What exactly do you have to eat to be 16 feet long? Curious? To view Mary Lee's whereabouts, go to the tracker at click on the 'sharks' tab at the right of the screen and click on Mary Lee. Then click on the 'where have I been' button.

Second only to putting a man on the moon perhaps, there is nothing more fascinating to children than marine life. Keep the conversation going this month with a visit to see the scuba diving Santa in the Big Tank at the SC aquarium.

Ok, now it's back to the Santa tracker...

Scuba Santa at the SC Aquarium
11 am daily in December
100 Aquarium Wharf
Charleston, SC 29401
Open daily 9am-4pm

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

wouldn't it be nice...

...if you could bike around Mt. Pleasant with children at ease? I'd order this gorgeous rickshaw, nix the car and the gym membership and never look back!
Or harness the power of twins with a bicycle built for 3...

Want to help the dream become a reality? Come out to the Draft Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan Public Meeting this Wednesday evening.
December 5th - 5:30-7:00pm
100 Ann Edwards Lane
Council Chambers
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
Do it for the future bikers like this little guy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Raised in Charleston

When you're born and raised in Charleston, SC,  the James Island County Park Holiday Festival of Lights is a mouthful that's part of your vocabulary. My Pluff Mud boys just call it "The Lights". As children grow and change, their perception of the Festival changes too. The focus this year for my nine year olds isn't so much about the charming little train, but rather their eagerness to climb to the very top of the climbing wall! Would you dream of missing it?

The first year your little one is old enough to attempt the climb, it is daunting as a mother to see them so high above you... but, there's just something about trying with all their might to reach the top and ring that Christmas bell!

Rock Climbing at the James Island Festival of Lights
James Island County Park
871 Riverland Dr.
Charleston, SC 29412
November 9 through December 31, 2012
visit for a complete list of activities for all ages and details on entry fees