Sunday, September 29, 2013

apple picking and Saving the Season

We just returned from a quick getaway in the Upstate to pick apples and trek a trail looking for the first signs of Fall...

The leaves have just begun to turn, adding splashes of color here and there as an early glimpse of what's to come.

The crisp, tart apples plucked straight from the orchard made me stop to wonder why we never seem to find them that way in the grocery store. They are always slightly soft and you never really know how long the trip has been from the tree, to the truck, to the market. It is always such a treat of the season to pull the stem from the tree and take a bite...

It got me thinking about Kevin West's beautifully simple blog Saving the Season and a great apple sauce recipe I found there called Thrifty Apple Sauce. If you like the blog, you'll really love his new book by the same name. You can meet Kevin West this Thursday at the Charleston Library Society as part of their Wide Angle Lunch Series ( click here for more details).

Friday, September 27, 2013

postcard from Georgetown

Did you hear about the fire in Georgetown, SC on Wednesday? After a visit there last Saturday I put this postcard of highlights together and was stunned to learn of the dreadful blaze that swept along Front Street in the historic section of the town. Our thoughts are with the many kind people we met in Georgetown and we are sad for their unfortunate loss of this portion of a town so carefully preserved to date. See the Post and Courier article regarding the fire here.

Zest restaurant 

the one and only Rice Paddy restaurant

River Room restaurant

cool family run in Georgetown - October

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sugar Mama moment and some links to love

I am in the groove of writing posts ahead of time. My father is gravely ill and, in trying to be available to help my parents in this trying time, it helps to try to stay organized and one step ahead here at home and on the blog. I usually post an idea first thing in the morning before we head out for school, but this morning was a bit different and decidedly special. A group of mom friends gathered here for a small group chat given by fellow mom and blogger Courtney Buxton (visit her fantastic blog here) about the benefits of journal keeping and to reflect on the notion of allowing ourselves to take time out to stay in touch with the all of the parts that make us more than just "mommy". We felt further rejuvenated with Courtney's gift of coffee from Southern Season that paired perfectly with these delicious pecan tarts I picked up from Sugar Bakeshop on Cannon St downtown. If you haven't yet discovered Courtney over at A Work In Progress, you should click the link above and spend some time with her. I can truly say she is lovely both inside and out.
While we're live and linkin' it up here today, here are a few more recent links sent in by readers that I hope you'll take a moment for:
Keep the suggestions coming!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hampton Plantation

Do you believe in love at first sight? The minute I first laid eyes on Hampton Plantation I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I can't remember now whether I fell in love with it before or after I read Archibald Rutledge's accounts of growing up on the grounds here but regardless, I could move right in. It's peaceful. Simple. Now, if only it was available. Walk down the sandy, tree-lined path and it suddenly emerges and takes your breathe away...

Sit and rock a while and listen to the silence. There was no one here the day we visited and it gave us the chance to sit and survey the land the way the Rutledge clan must have done way back in 1735. The wildest part for me is that there is absolutely nothing else around... for miles.

There is a gorgeous oak tree in the front lawn that George Washington fell in love with while visiting this front porch. You can sit where he sat and see what he saw and wonder what he might have been thinking (was he sipping a cold sweet tea?)...

Walk along the pathway that Archibald Rutledge writes of approaching on horseback "rode homeward through the breaking storm, and reached the house in full, calm starlight." *

Rutledge describes " the wind's soft wand touched the tall grasses" * - wander the tall grasses here and listen for what he heard ( also watch out for snakes here and on the grounds behind the house. Don't ask me how I know, it's a long story!)

Retreat to the shade of the porch to cool down and joggle for a while on the joggling board. All in all, a beautiful afternoon.
* all excerpts from Life's Extras by Archibald Rutledge 

Hampton Plantation State Historic Site
1950 Rutledge Rd
McClellanville, SC 29458
Admission: grounds are free. The house admission fees are: $7.50 adult; $3.75 SC senior; $3.50 age 6-15 and children 5 and under are free.
Hours: grounds -9am-5pm, daily. Guided house tours Sat-Tues at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm
PMK dog Winston approves! Pets allowed (on a lead) in outdoor areas only. 
For all the information on Hampton Plantation click here

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pluff Mud Kids People - gluten free Pete

Meet sweet Pete. When it comes to choosing a friend, you just can't find a nicer fella. He is a gluten free kid and as far as playdates go, I try to always have gluten free options on hand for Pete, but sometimes it's nice to go out for an after school treat. Metto coffee and tea on Coleman Blvd has a few nice options... 

When it comes to eating gluten free, Pete is one cool customer - he doesn't let it bring him down. What's not to love about a brownie and a mango smoothie?! Pete gives the Metto gluten free brownie a thumbs up.

The fruit smoothies are great and the outdoor patio with the shady oak tree is the perfect spot to hang out in the Fall. Support your local coffee shop and check it out... Thanks, Metto!

Metto Coffee and Tea Mt. Pleasant, SC

Monday, September 23, 2013

Make It Monday- gluten free pumpkin bread that tastes like the real deal

Our goal was to find a gluten free recipe for pumpkin bread that would taste amazing. I think we have it nailed here by combining several recipes. This pumpkin bread is one your kids will love in their lunch!


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, 1/4 cup coconut oil  ( you can use 1/2 cup butter, but I like to use coconut oil- it doesn't taste like coconut and makes the recipe a little healthier).
  • 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup applesauce ( I used Vermont Organic unsweetened applesauce)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can of organic pumpkin (15 oz)
  • 2 cups gluten free flour ( I like King Arthur brand, but to go even more pure and natural, you can also make your own blend here )
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • to taste: nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger (my boys like it very plain so I only used a dash of ginger)

Combine the unsalted butter and coconut oil in the bowl of a mixer and cream them together. Add the eggs, mixing after each. Add the vanilla and pumpkin and mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and then gradually add them to the mix.

If you've ever thought about investing in a Kitchen Aid mixer, I highly recommend it. I've had mine for 8 years and it never fails to make life easier! 

Spoon the mixer into greased, floured baking tins. Line the bottom with parchment paper and your pumpkin bread will slide out easily. We used 2 mini loaf tins and also made 12 cupcakes for lunches...

Bake at 325 for 15 minutes and check with a toothpick - you may need to add a few minutes depending on your oven. If you use one larger loaf tin, bake for 1 hour.
Much love to all our gluten free friends!

Friday, September 20, 2013

One year and counting...

"If there is a book you want to read but isn't written yet, write it."
- Shel Silverstein

Why blog? I have two great reasons for blogging and they are pictured above. This blog begins and ends with them. I started this blog one year ago in an effort to get a better grasp on technology and to share information pertaining to great Lowcountry activities for children. The hidden purpose is that it provides a means to chronicle the discoveries we make as a family and to stay deeply invested in my boys' childhood and in our community.
I love this blog because I am curious. I am curious to see what lies ahead in the coming year; how my boys and the blog will grow and evolve. I have lots of new ideas and I am excited to see where they will take us. I have a list of places to get to in our great state of South Carolina that is about three years long, but as I keep adding to it, I realize I may never "finish" the blog. ( or as one son put it, "Mama, do you think you'll still be alive at the end of this list?" )
I want to thank each and every one of you who reads and participates in this blog. I appreciate the fact you keep checking in. As the daily views grow, it makes me dig deeper and inspires me to keep chipping away at that list one post at a time.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

jam packed weekend

*help celebrate PMK's one year anniversary this week by recommending this site to a friend! If you like it, pass it on.

This shot of the Holy City stopped me dead in my tracks as I ran across the Pitt Street Bridge in the Old Village last Saturday evening.

We live in such an amazing city. It's packed full of a little bit of everything and there is always something fun going on that appeals to any and all families. Here are some highlights for this coming weekend - click on the links for more information. Decisions, decisions...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Crohn's Walk update

This past Sunday at James Island County Park, a walk was held to benefit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation (CCFA). Meet Matthew from Mt. Pleasant...

Matthew is in the fourth grade and living with Crohn's as part of his daily life. To help raise awareness and funding, Matthew and his family, friends, and school participated in the walk on Sunday as part of team "Kids with Guts". This one team alone exceeded it's goal and raised over $10,900. The Charleston walk on Sunday raised $58,000 and there is always room to grow this number... to donate to this cause and learn more about the work CCFA does, visit here.

It's amazing what a strong team can do!

*all photos courtesy Sheri Pilley

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Charleston Currents Feature - September 2013

It's harvest time for kids
By LEIGH SABINE, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents
SEPT. 16, 2013 -- The best part of seasonal crop picking with children is the serious looks of concentration on all the little faces as each child tries to choose that perfect apple or pumpkin.
It can take time to meander through an apple orchard or pumpkin patch; kids study weight, color, size and shape all with the touch of tiny palms smoothing over the surface of each and every possible pick. Each year I remember that this fleeting milestone marks the passing of another harvest season in a childhood that only has so many of these sweet seasons and we take our time to savor that yearly trip to tote home the prize.
Don't forget to take your camera when you head off to gather apples or pick pumpkins as you will look back over the years and realize the criteria of what constitutes "perfect" will change in the eyes of your child as they grow and mature. When kids are tiny, they want a pumpkin that's bigger than they are and they struggle to fit their little arms around it. When they are in middle school perfection can be more about the coolest shape or color. The pictures begin to tell the story and lend clues as to the personalities that are emerging.
Here are a few suggestions for great orchards and patches in South Carolina to help you plan ahead and enjoy the most this season has to offer:
September/October picking in the Apple Orchards:
  • Windy Hill Orchard: We featured this fantastic orchard last year on Pluff Mud Kids blog and loved everything about it from the cider garden to the orchard to the pigs and hens that roam the grounds. We also recommend packing a picnic to enjoy at a covered picnic table or taking part in this year's Apple Harvest Festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 19. Check the website listed here for weekend events and times for picking. U-pick apple picking started September 16. Location: 1860 Black Highway, York, SC. Distance from Charleston: 200 miles. More.
  • Bryson's Apple Orchard: This beautiful orchard rests in the Blue Ridge Mountains fifteen miles from Oconee State Park in Mountain Rest, S.C. Apples are available to pick here from late August to mi- October this season. Picnic tables are available and there is local honey for sale. Location: 1011 Chattooga Ridge Rd. Mountain Rest, S.C. Distance from Charleston: 263.9 miles. More. 
  • Niven's Apple Farm: This location has a fantastic Apple Festival on September 28 this year and its pumpkin patch opens on September 21. There are farm animals, two corn mazes and a playground. They can even host a party or group tour. Location: 130 Orchard Dr., Moore, SC 29369. Distance from Charleston: 195 miles. More.
October picking in the Pumpkin Patches:
  • McLeod Farms: The farm will host a Fall Festival and Pumpkin Tour on October 26.. This farm has it all for Fall! Location: 25455 Highway 1, McBee, S.C. Distance from Charleston: 150 miles. More. 
  • John Wesley United Methodist Church: Located in West Ashley, this pumpkin patch is noted for a worthy cause benefitting the church's mission ministries and the pumpkin growers. Every year, we are impressed with the variety of pumpkins for sale here. Location: 626 Savannah Hwy, Charleston.
  • Legare Farms: "A Lowcountry Legacy" that has a great pumpkin patch and maze on a portion of this 300-acre farm on Johns Island. We have been visiting this farm for the past six years and it is always a special treat. Location: 2620 Hanscombe Point Road, Johns, Island. Distance from Charleston: 15 miles. More.
  • Boone Hall Farms: Coming in October ... I've visited this local favorite since before my babies could walk and it is always a hit at every age. There are tons of activities, a gentle non-frightening tractor ride for little ones, pumpkins, a maze, produce and more. Location: 2521 U.S. Highway 17, Mount Pleasant. More.
  • Hibben United Methodist Church: You will note this patch along Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant and it is always worth the stop. This church fundraiser is important to our community and makes your decorative Halloween pumpkins really worthwhile. It is open October 4-31. Location: 690 Coleman Blvd., Mount Pleasant.
Call or visit the websites listed above to check hours and updates as well as current 2013 fees and admissions. Check in with Pluff Mud Kids too for highlights posted last season and fresh updates in the coming months.
Writer Leigh Sabine of Mount Pleasant offers a monthly look at fun activities for Lowcountry kids. It's based on her great blog, PluffMudKids. Check it out. (Photos by Leigh Sabine.)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Make It Monday - Dippy Egg and Soldiers (gluten free)

*help celebrate PMK's one year anniversary this week by recommending this site to a friend! If you like it, pass it on.

Gluten free. Celiac disease. Colitis. Crohn's disease. Fruit Malabsorption. These are all terms we are hearing more and more in relation to our precious children and it is heartbreaking. A childhood should be filled with running, playing, and laughing; not tummy aches, fatigue, and worse. This week we are taking a look at Gluten free options for kids and will be coming back to you next week with our finds - local products, places to eat, and a few things to make at home.

Here is a protein-packed breakfast that I have eaten since I was a toddler and my children love it too. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Eggs are pretty much perfectly gluten free, but if the chicken was raised on gluten grains there could be traces that transfer to kids who are gluten sensitive (see the article below).

We call this breakfast "Dippy Egg and Soldiers" and little kids learn to love it for the cute egg cup and the fun of dipping the toast in the egg. We boil the egg for 6 minutes, but it depends on how you like it. 6 minutes is not too runny, not too hard-boiled. The bread I served here is a good gluten free one from Whole Foods. Add toasted cheese for the ultimate soldiers! Start your own collection of egg cups...

                                                                 are eggs gluten free?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Whole Foods supports the hive

I captured this happy bee hard at work here in the Butterfly Garden at the Marsh View Trail in Mt. Pleasant this week. It got me to thinking about our friends over at The Bee Cause Project and I headed to Whole Foods to check out their observation hive supporting the project...

In my travels for the blog this week I've met some really lovely people and this is one of them. Meet Michele Ford, a Whole Foods supervisor and a supersweetheart. She was so enthused about the bees and pointed out that the side wall in the parking lot has a spot to study the bees as they come and go (next time you're walking in, stop to check them out. The indoor hive is located over by the flower department)...

The honey is delicious and this makes picking it up a whole lot easier...

*all pictures by Pluff Mud Kids

Checking in with The Bee Cause Project quick facts:

  • There are observation beehives in 15 locations now ( the ultimate goal is 1,000 schools). More hives are on the horizon, literally. Aside from schools, some cool new rooftop hives are to be installed at Rewined Candles and Fuzzco in downtown Charleston. 
  • Many local area business have jumped in to lend their services and creative support to The Bee Cause, such as Gaea yoga and Olivia Rae James Photography, to name a few.
  • School children are fundraising by selling the honey pictured above in an effort to "Pay It Forward" and provide other observation bee hives for area schools.
To learn more about this incredibly innovative program, please visit the link below!

click here for The Bee Cause Project

Thursday, September 12, 2013

put your money where your mouth is

Well folks, yesterday's "live" blog post from Southern Season got shelved as soon as my side kick Pluff Mud Kids Nanna and I stepped inside the door. We were so engrossed and overwhelmed by the selection of goods that we plum forgot we were on a mission. It happens when the two of us join forces.

I loved Southern Season for a great mother/daughter moment to browse. It's not the sort of place for stocking up on anything or a place you pop into if you're limited on time. You will forget your "to do" list, the pile of laundry that awaits you, and even that you have children that have to be picked up from school.  It's perfect if you are looking for a special gift or if you are a foodie and just want to take it all in. I was especially impressed with the tea and coffee section. We found Nanna's favorite English tea at a decent price...

There are also small packets of fantastic herbal options. PMK twins love the minty green tea...

There are lots of specialty items that are hard to find and cute things for kids like these egg cups (see this coming Monday's post on a fun breakfast idea for kids)

Read this article from yesterday's Post and Courier here and then go and browse for yourself. Just make like you're walking into a casino and set a limit on the cash in your wallet... you could get lost and forget what you came in for otherwise! Also, if you have your children with you be forewarned there is a whole wall devoted to jelly beans. 

We drifted further into the adjoining Southerly for lunch and for me the patio was the real hook to this whole experience.  And did I mention the massive space for cooking classes? All in all, a very cool idea for this space on Coleman Blvd.

Southern Season
730 Coleman Blvd., Mt. Pleasant (where the old Tuesday Morning used to be)
Hours: Monday- Saturday 7am- 9pm (for early morning there is a nice little coffee/tea bar right inside the door) Sunday 9am-7pm

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

12 years

We remember it like it was yesterday and are still humbled by all that transpired. Will our children grasp it and reflect on 9/11 too? Will they talk about it at school? Will you discuss it at dinner? Today is a day to reflect and remember.

 -image from Huffington Post

southern season

With school back in full swing, are you finding you have a bit more time to think about a grocery list and have a more peaceful shopping experience? The down side is that packing a balanced school lunch and feeding ravenous children after a long day at school is not without it's challenges. I am constantly on the prowl for inspiration when it comes to providing my family with healthy options and lately I'm hearing great things about Southern Season...

Today I'm making my first trip in with a small posse of food lovers and we'll come back to you this afternoon with a live look at Coleman Boulevard's new addition. Stay tuned...

southern season

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

live from the market

*this week we're on a hunt for the goodness nature provides in our community...

We are coming to you live from the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market thanks to the marvel of technology and a brand new camera (I'm pretty excited about both points considering I didn't even know how to cut and paste a year ago. Embarrassing but true.)

We chose some amazing veggies just now for dinner...

and cooled off with a King of Pops treat! There are some new flavors like this one - minty sweet tea... it was divine.

Which one would you choose?  There's still time - open until dusk (7/7:45ish)

check here for details

Sunday, September 8, 2013

the monarchs are here! the monarchs are here!

*this week we're on a hunt for the goodness nature provides in our community...

This month is a perfect time to take a quick after school wander through the Marsh View Trail Butterfly Garden! Monarchs have taken over.

click here for all the details!