Friday, August 30, 2013

proceed with caution...

Did you know that even a dead jellyfish on the shore can still inflict a sting if touched? The following photos were  taken at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (located along John Steinbeck's famed Cannery Row) this summer with my Canon Powershot waterproof camera and they highlight just how varied and beautiful jellyfish are. If you are ever on the West Coast and have a chance to visit this aquarium, there is an amazing exhibit devoted to jellyfish here.

Meanwhile, back on our local beaches, now is the time of year to feel the sting of the jellyfish. Yesterday morning at Isle of Palms station 21 up to around station 30, there were pockets of jellyfish and of 6 girls surfing, 2 of us were stung - one quite severely. It is something to be mindful of as we head into this long Labor Day weekend as the jellyfish are not always highly visible at the surface and these stings occurred in deeper water while feet were touching the sandy bottom. The link below gives some tips for treating jellyfish stings.

great info on SC jellyfish

link to Monterey Bay Aquarium

Thursday, August 29, 2013

bulls island

This long weekend you could...

take little shell seekers to Bulls Island...

getting there is half the fun. click here for details on the Bulls Island Ferry

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

yoga under the oaks

"The willow which bends to the tempest, often escapes better than the oak which resists it."
-philosopher Albert Schweitzer

In life, I'm finding it truly is better to remain flexible rather than as rigid as an oak. Yoga is one thing that helps me in everything else I do; from the stretching aspect to the meditation. Couple yoga with the beauty of moss draped oaks and you have the perfect combination for peace and tranquility. Could you use an evening of that? Some of the most majestic oaks we've wandered under in the Lowcountry are right here at the Legare Waring House grounds in Charles Towne Landing and there is an upcoming series of yoga sessions offered here aptly titled "Yoga Under the Oaks". I'm liking the sound of this. Are you with me? 

Yoga Under The Oaks
The Legare Waring House at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site
1500 Old Towne Rd.
Charleston, SC 29407

Time: yoga 6pm-7pm, Happy Hour 7pm-8pm
Cost: $5 per session (cash only)
Dates: August 27, September 10, September 24, October 8, October 22, November 5

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Congaree National Park

The coming Fall is a perfect time to visit Congaree National Park in Hopkins, SC just outside of Columbia. When we were there this summer it was incredibly buggy and we had just missed the unique show offered here in the summer months... the synchronized lightning bugs that are known to flash in an awesome display. There are only a few spots in the US to see these amazing bugs and this is one of them. It's also the site of the nation's tallest loblolly pine tree. This park is just an incredibly diverse property and, at over 26,000 acres, there's a lot of ground to camp, fish, hike, and canoe.

A South Carolinian named Harry Hampton (for which the visitor center here is named - see below) started working to preserve this area in the 1950s and the land was officially named a national park in 1976. I love the 2.4 mile board walk here and I would recommend it if you are only spending a few hours in the park. The park is free of cost including the guided tours. 

September is a great time for butterfly sightings here. The park is offering two chances for free programs that are specific to butterfly study.

Congaree National Park
100 National Park Rd. Hopkins, SC 29061
110 miles from Charleston, SC (2 hours) and just 25 minutes South of Columbia, SC
Admission: free
Hours: the park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Harry Hampton visitor center is open from 9-5. Effective October 5, 2013 the center will be closed on Sunday and Mondays and all Federal Holidays.

PMK dog Winston approves! Dogs are welcome if kept in check and on a lead. (currently on a trial basis through October 1, 2013)
Fishing is allowed (currently on a trial basis through October 1, 2013)
*be sure to pack bug spray year round!

There are no canoe rentals at CNP, but you can bring your own.
*the south cedar creek canoe launch is temporarily closed for improvements.   click here for details on where to launch a canoe or kayak at Congaree National Park

click here for more information on Congaree National Park

click here for upcoming butterfly programs at Congaree. These programs meet at 9am at the visitor center.

learn more about conservationist Harry Hampton here

Sunday, August 25, 2013

big sky, bigger voice

"with a little love, and some tenderness"
-Charleston's own Hootie and the Blowfish

Not only is this the perfect evening venue to enjoy music as a family, it's also an ideal spot to catch Hootie and the Blowfish on their home turf. Each year they never fail to please the locals with their singular sound. Their voices carry across the state as they use their might to spread a love of music through providing schools with supplies and instruments; schools that may never have a chance to know the joy of music otherwise. 

Read more about the Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation here

Friday, August 23, 2013

birds of prey

While we were in Portland, Oregon this summer we looked up to see this eagle souring and my sister-in-law was able to capture this picture. Locally here in Charleston, there's an opportunity to see birds of prey in flight at the Birds of Prey center (located in Awendaw, SC) - have you been yet? If your children love birds, they will be inspired by this amazing facility. Another great place to view birds up close is the Caw Caw Interpretive Center and this weekend is a great time to go. The center is hosting an alligator sighting walk from 9am-10:30am tomorrow, Saturday August 24th.

click here for details on the Caw Caw Alligator Adventure

click here for link to the incredible Birds of Prey center

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

on twins - this much I know is true

"It's different when you're a twin. It's complicated."
-from I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

pluff mud kids twins - 3 hours old

Raising children is a constant guessing game. Just when you think you have an age or stage figured out, your child moves on to the next milestone and you're back to the drawing board trying to work out the next steps. Throw twins into the game and things get really interesting. Everything you read about twins seems to be true; they really do sometimes speak at the same time, read each others minds, switch entire personalities just when you think you've got them labeled, etc. Should they sleep in the same crib? Should they have their own rooms? Should they play the same sport and have the same friends? As parents, we make our choices one day at a time and hope for the best.

Today our twins separated for the first time in their lives, each one heading off to their own 4th grade class. How did we make the decision? Ultimately, we asked each one privately after mulling it for a very long time. Twin 1 said " I am afraid my brother will need me". Twin 2 said " I want to try to stand on my own. I just want to try".

At the end of the day, all we can do is raise them well and let them go. We have to give them the chance to try.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Make It Monday - Soosh

He calls it "Soosh" (sushi) and it is his favorite thing in the world. My son would eat sushi every day if we let him and making it himself is the ultimate. We didn't have to look far for help with making our own sushi... grand master Soosh Uncle David does it best.

Start by gathering your supplies and ingredients. You will need:
  • a "makisu" or bamboo mat ( you can wrap this in cling wrap to prevent rice from sticking)
  • "nori" or dried seaweed sheets
  • sushi rice - we recommend Nishiki Japanese Premium brand
  • fresh ginger slices
  • cucumber sliced
  • avocado
  • carrot 
  • seaweed salad (optional)
  • fresh seshimi tuna and salmon and any other meat protein such as chicken, sliced thinly

David prepped all our fillings and always cooks the rice to perfection, which to me is what makes it the best sushi you will ever have...

You'll need a good sharp knife and a platter ready to assemble a make-your-own selection. We don't stick to classic rolls like the California roll but prefer to let the kids concoct their own favorites.

Lay the nori sheet in the middle of the bamboo mat and each child can take a turn at spreading and pressing a small handful of precooked rice onto the sheet with the back of a spoon and their fingers. To keep the filling from filling you up too much, stick to a thin layer and go heavy on the good stuff, the tuna and cucumber, etc. Next, choose your favorite fillings and layer them on top of the rice.

Now roll the sheet in the bamboo mat, pressing firmly as you go.

Let an adult slice the roll and you have a delicious meal!

I love this child friendly site with everything you need to know about making sushi click here for help

To buy everything you need to make sushi, click here Or to shop locally in Charleston try the  H and L Supermarket on Rivers Avenue click here for details and reviews

*Special thanks to Sushi David for yet again the best sushi experience and to little C for that winning smile. All photos courtesy kylie sabine photography

Friday, August 16, 2013

dog days of summer - cool spot #4

4D movies at the SC Aquarium are a great way to stay cool and learn something new in the process. If your child is little and hasn't seen a movie in a theater yet, this is a good testing ground because the 4D films are short and not as loud and frenetic as a kids movie in a regular theater. The 4D aspect is cool in the Aquarium's specially built theater. You can feel water splash, the seat moves, and more for an experience that surrounds you.

Now showing: Nat Geo's Sea Monsters and/or Sponge Bob Squarepants - the Great Jelly Rescue
4D movies are always free with your annual membership!
click here for info on the 4D theater at SC Aquarium

Thursday, August 15, 2013

dog days of summer - cool spot #3

There are no words to describe how much I love this photo and capturing this moment in time off Capers Island, SC. Kids love the thrill of being flung from a tube at a high rate of speed - to them and their Dad the driver, nothing is funnier or more satisfying. These tubes are currently on sale at West Marine in Mt. Pleasant (30% off).

If you prefer a more gentle approach to tubing there are two great SC spots I know of for a lazy ride down a river that requires absolutely no effort on a steamy hot summer day (and a lot less whiplash)...

The Edisto River is a favorite of ours. The drive from Charleston to the Edisto River access at Carolina Heritage Outfitters in Canadys, SC takes about an hour and 10 minutes. This is a 10 mile stretch that you can canoe or tube at your leisure. The steady, easy current pulls you along gradually.

The Saluda River in Easley, SC near Columbia is a beautiful way to cruise along under the bridge at the Riverbanks Zoo. This is a fantastic adventure to enjoy as a family...

Edisto River links:

click here for a great list of public access sites to the Edisto River

We love Carolina Heritage Outfitters and this 10 mile stretch of the Edisto: click here for all the details on rentals

click here for tube rentals at Edisto River Adventures

Saluda River links:

Groupon for tubing deal on the Saluda river!

click here for Saluda River Rafting Adventures

click here for West Marine in Mt. Pleasant, SC - great deals at the moment on tubes and paddle boards too!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

dog days of summer - cool spot #2

When you've pulled every last fun summer trick out of your beach bag and your summer activity funds are running low, there is one thing left for a blazing hot day that never fails to impress kids of any age...

Remember the WHAM-O slip and slide from way back when? The same company still makes them and they are just as much fun today. $15 at Walmart will buy you hours and hours of joy... make a play date or invite the neighbors because it is truly contagious fun!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

dog days of summer - cool spot #1

There are 8 days left of summer before school resumes. Can you believe it? With whatever strength left in you, it's time to retreat from the humid blanket of heat that covers the Lowcountry and make a plan for each of these sweet summer days. For the next few days, we are bringing you some ideas for finding cool spots of fun. Bar plunging in a bucket of ice cold water (that's my niece and son pictured above), here's our pick for the next best thing...

The Carolina Ice Palace is always fun. My twins started with walkers when they were 5 and they are now very competent on the ice (one is a glider, the other is straight up Evil Kenevil). If you rent a walker, you can always push it aside as they gain confidence. The current open skate time is 11am-3pm weekdays and I recommend taking jackets, jeans, and extra socks (it's 57 degrees on the ice). for a complete open skate time schedule click here

 For a few hours you will not only stay blissfully cool, you will laugh out loud, sway to 80s music (like it or not), chase the Zamboni, fall and not care, and feel rejuvenated when you leave because it's always... 

Carolina Ice Palace
7665 Northwoods Blvd,
North Charleston
Admission: Weekdays $7/person (includes skates)
Nights and weekends: 4 and under - $3 plus $3 skate rental, 12 and under - $6 plus $3 skate rental, Adults - $7 plus $3 skate rental
Walker rental - $3
On-site cafe and public tables and seating. You can also bring your own snacks and drinks.

Monday, August 12, 2013

pluff mud mama

"Mama, how can you have a blog called Pluff Mud Kids if you freak out every time you get stuck in it?"

Good point. It's true, every time I get stuck in it I panic as I try to fight my way out and end up sinking deeper and deeper. These shoes were sucked off my feet in a quest for that perfect shell. I never learn.

What is pluff mud? Read more here...

We love this blog called Pluff Mud Perspectives

Friday, August 9, 2013

the list

We made a big list of all the things we wanted to do this summer at the end of the school year and these paddle boats at Palmetto Park were on it. So were a million other things. Three other moms I've talked to this week have all said that there are still many things to get to before school starts. We will try these fun boats out and let you know how it goes because it just might be one more thing to add to your list.

What else is on our list? Oh, not much... just a few more things...

water taxi ride to downtown, Bull Island ferry ride, the beach, any and all water parks, rock climbing at James Island, the beach, outdoor Nerf gun battles, bike riding the beach, sunset dinners, the beach, lots of movies, the beach, the beach, the beach... 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

there is still time

Sometimes all we need at the end of a long day is the evening beach. It has a way of fixing everything wrong with the day. There is still summer left and time to...

catch a clean, gentle evening wave...

there is time to cast an evening net...

there is time to catch a sunset with friends...

there is time to do an evening dance or just bury yourself and never let summer go...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

PMK kids cook - school lunch mini kabobs

At the end of this past school year (third grade for my twins), I have to confess I was so sick of the sight of the daily lunch bags that I threw them away and did a little dance in my kitchen. It's a drill day in and day out, and round about March I find I am desperate for new and enticing ideas. One great idea came from a fellow mom a few years ago and it never fails... the kabob. This is great for kids with wheat or gluten allergies and these kabobs are cold and refreshing on hot days when your child comes in from the playground. We gathered fresh tomatoes yesterday at the market and they are perfect to chop for kabobs...

Your kids can make these the night before and add dry protein ingredients like meat and cheese in the morning before school. Any left-over meat such as chicken cubed from the previous night's dinner can be used. We try to keep juicy fruits separate from pieces of cheese, meat, raisins, etc. You can put absolutely anything yummy on these short, mini kabobs such as pineapple, celery, melon, ham, and salami.  It looks a bit labor intensive, but I promise you will get this down to a fine art and will soon be the fastest kabob builder in town.

We love these LunchBots metal containers from Whole Foods because they last forever and keep the kabobs really cold. Put a napkin or a piece of paper towel in the bottom of the container to absorb any excess moisture from fruit. It's very satisfying when the container comes back home with nothing but the bamboo sticks! Enjoy.

click here for the perfect size kabob sticks at a great price from Amazon

click here for the link to lunchbots containers

click here for lots more creative fruit ideas for kids

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

market cravings - mt pleasant market today at 3:30pm

We are craving fresh wild flowers...

We are craving big, ripe, local tomatoes. We are armed with a list and an idea for a recipe to share tomorrow!

Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market
today, August 6th from 3:30pm til dusk
Coleman Blvd at Moultrie Middle School pavilion

Monday, August 5, 2013


In honor of shark week...

Yesterday was such a gorgeous, sunny Sunday we decided to kayak up the Intracoastal Waterway. We put our kayaks in at the Isle of Palms Marina and headed along the shoreline to the North end of Goat Island.

There are plenty of oyster bed beaches along the shore here to explore. I recommend wearing rubber soled water shoes to protect your feet from these sharp shorelines. Always keep a life jacket on children as the currents can be unexpectedly strong.

We hopped in for a swim to cool off ( I also recommend packing more water and drinks than you'd ever imagine you could drink - this is thirsty work on a hot day). As we swam, we realized we were not alone...

Feeding along the shoreline, this hammerhead shark was happy to share the water with us (believe me, we got out of the water to move to a safe spot to get these photos!). This was our first shark sighting outside of an aquarium and it was awe inspiring to watch. I was surprised to see the feathery edges of his fins and how content he was to glide up and down the same stretch of water for a long period of time.

We saw lots of dolphins feeding around this area too and it is a beautiful spot to take in the bright green marsh at this time of year. For more information on putting in at this location, check the links below...

Isle of Palms Marina on the Intracoastal Waterway
1207 Palm Blvd, Isle of Palms
check out this amazing video! hammerhead filmed by paddle boarder

Thursday, August 1, 2013

return of the natives

Where are you with where you live? Sometimes you have to take a trek to somewhere new and different to really appreciate the highlights of the place you call home. Truth be told, I pre-wrote 2 and 1/2 weeks worth of blog posts about Charleston and SC so that my family could wander far away on an extended holiday. I wanted to see if blogging from afar would really work. In just under 3 weeks we traveled nearly 800 miles of the Pacific Coast, from Portland, Oregon to Big Sur, California hitting "publish" all the way. From snow ball fights at the top of Mt. Hood...

To the base of the magnificent Redwood trees...

From 2,000 ft in the clouds at Big Sur...

To the clear blue depths of Monterey Bay...

To the misty crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge... (* I DO NOT recommend this mode of transportation across the bridge at all. Signing your baby's life away and putting them on the front of a tandem bike is a truly hair raising experience!)

We broadened our horizons and minds on this epic adventure and now we feel grateful to be back home in sweet, sweet, Charleston! There is nothing like coming home.