Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013 - Happy New Year 2014

I will go in to see the king.
-Esther 4:16

We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thanks for reading - see you back here in the new year. We leave you with images of one of the sweetest little southern chapels we know; the chapel at Palmetto Bluff... simple, solitary, moss-draped. The coastal breeze will find you here and keep you. 

"In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself.  You hold your breath to listen.  You walk up the steps to the front door.  The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing.  For a second you catch a whiff in the air of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you've never been and a time you have no words for.  You are aware of the beating of your heart.  The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens.  Advent is the name of that moment."
-Frederick Buechner

God's gifts: lowcountry winter beauty

"God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame."
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

lone rose - Palmetto Bluff, SC

clean set - Litchfield Beach, SC 

Christmas red - Huntington's Atalaya , SC

basking in the sun - Pawley's Island, SC

Take time out this Christmas break to enjoy the winter beauty all around you.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

shop local: Georgetown

If you have a person left on your Christmas shopping list who's tricky to buy for you may just find that ideal gift in Georgetown. That eccentric gift; that gift for someone who has it all. I mean, who couldn't use an alligator skull with gold teeth, after all?

It's sort of a quirky, odd little town but we like it. Take a stroll and window shop...

You've got to love a town that is so welcoming to dogs. Pluff Mud dog Winston loves to wander Georgetown...

He's even served table-side on the waterfront deck of Big Tuna, where I recommend all of the seafood on the menu...

You can feel good in knowing that your financial support helps to rebuild this vital town after the recent devastating fire...

Cheers, Georgetown. Here's to rebuilding.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

shop local: Trek

If you're thinking about a new bike for your child for Christmas, I highly recommend Trek bikes. We have been using their trade-up program for years and we are on our second upgrade. We blinked and suddenly three years had flashed by and it was time for a larger frame...

Trek Bikes offers 50% trade back value on your child's bike within a three year time period. This is a fantastic way to a) keep moving up at a reasonable price point as your child grows or b) buy a great used bike. PMK tips for getting all of the 50% value back on your trade-in: to get the best out of our bikes, we follow a few rules 1) take great care of your awesome bike, kid. No tossing it on the ground - use the kick stand. 2) keep it in the garage out of the elements 3) oil the chain once a month. (sounds a bit militant, but I'm hoping it instills the same care for their own car one day. But let's not even think about that.) Take your trade-in to the Trek store and they will assess it on the spot and give you your trade back quote towards a new bike.  We also bought this bike rack to bike as a family further afield... 

Get outside and stay outside - even on a chilly winter day!

Visit Trek Bikes of Mt. Pleasant and tell them Pluff Mud Kids sent you!

Friday, December 20, 2013

shop local: ornaments and stocking stuffers

Looking for a special ornament? I've got the spot for you - Sweet Olive has some of the most unique Christmas ornaments in town.

take your time and browse to find the perfect one...

And Sweet Olive owner sweet Melinda will wrap it up for you - bonus!

Now head over to Magnifilous Toy Emporium for their great wall of stocking stuffers...

Two ways to support the local!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

live from the lights

Don't forget the lights this year at James Island County Park... and the sand castle sculpture, roasting marshmallows, rock climbing, and lots and lots of lights!

For all the details click here ( free admission with your Charleston County Park annual membership)

why do they call it a poinsettia, mom?

Did you know the poinsettia is named for one of our own Charlestonians? Joel Roberts Poinsett was born in Charleston, SC in 1779 and was a lifelong politician and SC Congressman. He was also an amateur botanist and, serving as the first US Ambassador to Mexico, Poinsett traveled to Mexico and fell in love with this bright, star shaped flower known as "Cuetlaxochilte". He shipped a host of these beautiful plants back to South Carolina and the name was changed to "Poinsettia". To read more about why the plant is associated with Christmas, click here

This statue of Poinsett is located in Greenville, SC outside the Westin Poinsett Hotel on Main St. There is also a state park in his honor as well as a fantastic covered bridge in the area too. Stay tuned for a closer look at these on the blog here soon...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Charleston Currents feature - December 2013

Stunning night lights. Brookgreen Gardens in Georgetown County offers its annual Night of a Thousand Candles Thursday through Saturday

More winter play activities for the holidays
By LEIGH SABINE, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents
Here are some things for you to consider doing over the holiday season with your family:
Night 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 (Dec. 19-21) are the last remaining nights before Christmas to enjoy the spectacle of these sculpture gardens glowing by candle light. More.
Winter walk in Mount Pleasant. 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., in Mount Pleasant. There are plenty of public spaces to park here, benches to sit, and a big field to run in with children and dogs.
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 cozy 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 Street must see. Retrace your steps to the parking lot and you have completed almost a mile! More.
Polar Plunge: 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.
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! More.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Passing: My Dad

"Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.  I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me."
-Philippians 4:11-13

My Dad passed away all too soon on December 5th, 2013. It has brought my family to our knees and we are struggling to move forward each day. He was a huge force in all our lives and there is a hole in the tight circle of our family.  A few months ago, after telling me in great detail about some of our larger than life family members that died when he was young, he shared that he missed those core people all his life and the memory of them haunted him on almost a daily basis. Now I know exactly how he felt. I will miss him forever.

I wanted to share a list of my Dad's life accomplishments. It's staggering to me to think about how much he worked throughout his life to touch as many lives as possible through his bright mind and strong actions. He inspires me to want to work harder and keep moving forward in a positive direction. I hope he inspires you too...

Boy Scouts of America
-- Eagle Scout

Brilliant High School (grad. 1953)
-- Class President

United States Army (Enlisted Jan 1955 - Dec 1956)
-- 3rd Armored Calvary
-- Nuremburg, Germany

United States Air Force (Enlisted Mar 1957 - June 1966)
-- OSI - Office of Special Investigations
-- RAF Greenham Commom, England
-- Zaragoza AFB, Spain (Married Jacin)
-- Hill AFB Utah (Glenn born)

United States Army (Chief Warrant Officer III June 1966 - Dec 1975)
-- Criminial Investigation Division, Virginia
-- Georgia (Leigh and Carl Born)
-- Saigon, Vietnam, Bronze Star for Valor
-- Stuttgart, Germany
-- Retired Dec 1975 (20yrs 9mos Military Service)

Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (1976 - 1996)
-- Chief of Administration, Instructor
-- Retired, State of Ohio, 1996

Ohio Military Reserve

Park University
-- Established Columbus Branch at DCSC (1996)
-- Helped Establish Branch at Joint Base Charleston (1998)
-- Online Instructor (1998-2013)

Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (2004-2013)
-- Over 100 college accreditation visits in 27 states and Ireland

National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (2003-2011)
-- President, Board of Commissioners

US Army CID Agents Association 
-- President 

32nd Degree Mason, Scottish Rite

Shriners International

Harbour Club, Charleston

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

postcard from Brookgreen Gardens - nine nights of a thousand candles

Our "postcard" of highlights from last year's Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens was our family pick for New Year's Eve. We drove up to Pawley's Island in the early evening and had dinner at the one and only Frank's Outback ( we recommend sitting "out back" on the beautiful, cozy patio. Killer She Crab soup and an impressive wine list) and then drove along to the gardens just as it was getting dark. Pluff Mud Kids were enchanted!  A thrill for the five senses that kids will always rememberNights of a Thousand Candles. This is such a successful event it has been extended to include nine nights. Pick a night and make it a tradition! PMK tip: be sure to bundle little ones up - this event is entirely outdoors and you will want to linger and explore all of the magical gardens.

Did you know there are actually over 5,000 candles all lit by hand?! Incredible. click here to see a glimpse

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lowcountry Christmas for kids: links to love

Run a fun family 5K together this Saturday downtown at the reindeer run. Don't forget your antlers!

Gather creative ideas for gift giving at the local Mt. Pleasant Holiday Farmers Market this Saturday.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island hosts Christmas cookie decorating Saturdays through December.

Looking forward to this year's Mt. Pleasant Christmas Parade this Sunday evening.

The adorable teddy bear teas at Charleston Place downtown are worth the splurge. Sundays through December.

Take a chair and a dinner picnic to the parade of boats downtown on Saturday evening.

The fabulous train at Charleston Place Hotel! And don't miss the 8th annual festival of wreaths benefiting MUSC Children's Hospital.

Make it a yearly tradition - the James Island County Park Festival of Lights featuring literally millions of lights and the best train ride in town!

Stay tuned for more information and pictures from these and other favorite holiday events to enjoy with your family and friends! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ion swamp trail

If you drive up Highway 17 from Charleston or Mt. Pleasant toward Awendaw, you will come to the sign pictured below in the median and that is your landmark to turn left across Highway 17 to enter Ion Swamp trail.

 File this away for your family time over Christmas school break - I can't tell you how much you will enjoy rambling this cool swamp trail through the Cypress knees and pine needles. However, we tried biking it and I would not recommend it as a biking trail for young children. The Cypress knees grow up through the trail at odd angles and there are narrow boardwalks that make it tricky for little ones to manage a bike. This trail is ideal for walking with young children and dogs...

The various types of trees are all marked and there are fantastic educational signs along the way to help kids learn about the swamp as they go. This interpretive trail is a favorite destination for winter guests from out of state.

Ion Swamp Trail
This is a 2.5 mile trail. When you enter off Highway 17, there is a long, gravel road that leads you to the parking lot and trail head.
No amenities (closest are at the Sewee Visitor & Environmental Center and you can also get more information on the history of Ion Swamp Trail here).