Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Live from Blue Bicycle Books

A fresh space for bibliophiles... a warm, inviting nook for kids!

* A great list of books for kids
* Huffington Post picks 20 top reads to enjoy with kids

Blue Bicycle Books
420 King St., downtown Charleston, SC
click here for directions and parking tips

Camp - Write of Summer

Have a child with a big, beautiful brain that loves to read and write? 

If I could wedge one more camp into our busy summer it would be this one and I'm still thinking it through... Blue Bicycle Books offers it's highly regarded summer writing program just once a year to enhance your child's writing ability and keep the creative juices flowing through the summer down time. "Write of Summer" is now in it's 12th year and there are still plenty of options open for downtown and Mt. Pleasant sessions. Check out this great link with all the details on camps and registration as well as testimonials. 

Have you visited Blue Bicycle Books lately? They have been under renovation and were operating in this cosy book nook next door...

Now in a new space (tune back in for a live post later today) offering the same great new and used books...

(*top photo: kylie sabine photography)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

great run, great cause, great family day out

There's still time to register for a great family 5k run on Daniel Island Mother's Day weekend. Postpartum Support Charleston is hosting a fundraising fun run 5k on Saturday May 10th, 2014 that starts at 8:30am. The run is followed by a family fun day at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island.
Here are some quick facts and links:
  • Race registration is $25; $30 for stroller registration; $15 for children 10 and under.
  • To register by mail, complete the 2014 Moms’ Run entry form and mail the form along with payment to Postpartum Support Charleston, 636 Long Point Road Unit G #45, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464.
  • Packet pickup will be 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, May 9th at Fleet Feet Sports in Mount Pleasant (near Whole Foods). 10% of all sales made during packet pickup will be donated to Postpartum Support Charleston.
  • For all details and information please visit Postpartum Support Charleston site here
(*photos courtesy Postpartum Support Charleston)

Daniel Island is such a beautiful place to run - come out and join us! To read more about this organization, check out this PMK story from last year.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Live from the patch: strawberry fields (and poppies) forever...

It's that time of year again... red, luscious strawberry picking time. I was on a mission this morning to pick, at the very least, my birth weight in strawberries. I grossly underestimated the volume of homemade jam my twins could consume through the year and didn't put up near enough last year. This year, I've got my game face on! Here are some highlights:

Ooops, sorry got distracted by the poppies! Turn off Hwy 17 N onto Long Point Rd. and you will see the entrance marked with UPick signs in the poppy field...

Follow the curving dirt road along until you see the UPick tent where you can pick up baskets or 5lb buckets for picking. Pay when you leave - $1.89 per lb. They accept cards and cash payment. Blueberries will be ready in June! Happy picking!

Boone hall Farms U Pick
2521 Hwy 17 N, Mt. Pleasant Sc 29466
click here for website details
(PMK tips- Do wear old shoes or flip-flops and be prepared to get dirty. There's water available to wash off with. Take water to drink and a sun hat and watch out for ant hills. 
See this post from last year on making organic strawberry jam!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Live from Magnolia Park and Community Garden- Let the planting begin!

Charleston Parks Conservancy programs director Jim Martin is on hand here with lots of community volunteers today laying out and filling in these vegetable garden beds at Magnolia Park and Community Garden in West Ashley. They picked a gorgeous day to get the Spring planting started. If you are interested in leasing a garden plot, there are 40 here available as well as eight community beds that will service local food banks and shelters. Simply brilliant!

Meet Leslie Wade, a trained horticulturist and the community garden's coordinator. Leslie has an interesting background in therapy garden horticulture (more on this in a later post) and is on hand to help you if you wish to volunteer in the garden or lease a garden bed of your own.
 Contact Leslie at  

Let your garden grow! Visit Charleston Parks Conservancy 

weekend roundup

It's the weekend and it's a busy one. Here are a few things we thought looked interesting. What will you choose?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

shades of green

    (Dewees Island- April 2014)

"Nothing in America lasts long. If a product or enterprise doesn't constantly reinvent itself it is superseded, cast aside, abandoned without sentiment in favor of something bigger, newer and alas, always, always, uglier. And then there is the good old Appalachian Trail, still quietly ticking along after six decades, unassuming, splendid, faithful to it's founding principles, sweetly unaware that the world has quite moved on. It's a miracle really."
-From A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson 

On Dewees Island there is a ferry that runs it's residents and visitors back and forth to the mainland. We recently spent a blissful week coexisting with the Island regulars and on this ferry I met one of the Island residents who shared his time between Dewees and Missouri and had this to say "How green are we really? I mean, for most of us these "green" homes are second homes, we take a private ferry to and from the island daily, and climb into our over-sized SUVs on the mainland. It's a little bit like Leonardo Decaprio with his multiple homes and private jet yet driving a Prius! I mean, how green are we really?" This man had gone to unbelievable lengths in a 3 year project to restore a home that would capture a small green slice of heaven on the Island and we both laughed at what "saving green" meant in that process. 

Do you make an effort, no matter how seemingly small, to measure your green footprint? The folks at the Charleston Parks Conservancy and East Cooper Land Trust have been thinking green for years and with the help from people like you and I, they can continue to makes great strides toward saving our local green spaces. One way I use this blog as a tool in volunteering for this cause is through writing articles like this one for the Moultrie News in honor of Earth Day and spotlighting green this week. Want to get your hands in the soil too? The Charleston Parks Conservancy does an amazing job of securing volunteers to help maintain the land it cares for and you can help out tomorrow...

(photo: Charleston Land Conservancy)

Check out this event detailed in the following press release from the Charleston Land Conservancy:
Planting Begins at Magnolia Park and
Community Garden in West Ashley

CHARLESTON, S.C. – On Saturday, the Charleston Parks Conservancy will be working with local residents on planting their first garden plots at Magnolia Park and Community Garden, a new public park and garden in West Ashley.

The City of Charleston park is located at the intersection of Sycamore Avenue and Magnolia Road in West Ashley near the Avondale community. The Conservancy, along with dozens of volunteers, has spent the last several months readying the property for spring planting.

“The vision for a community garden in this space has been a long time in the making and we’re delighted to see the first community members working in their beds this week,” said Jim Martin, Conservancy programs director. “This is a yet another example of how the Conservancy works with neighborhoods to create beautiful public spaces.”

The garden has 40 plots available for leasing along with eight community beds where volunteers can learn about growing vegetables. The fresh produce harvested from those community beds will be available to those volunteers and donated to local shelters and food pantries. Additional plans include educational programming and gardening classes at the park.

Conservancy staff horticulturists have been preparing the beds this week, and volunteers will assist in filling the beds with soil beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, April 25. The first crop of gardeners will meet at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 26, at the park for an orientation and to begin planting their individual beds. The introductory cost to lease a 4-foot by 8-foot raised bed is $50 for 2014. Once all the beds are leased, interested individuals will be added to a waiting list.  

With help from the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy (now the East Cooper Land Trust), the Charleston Parks Conservancy acquired the 3.7-acre property in 2011 with the help of the Charleston County Greenbelt program. Donations for the development of the park also came from local residents and businesses as well as a $20,000 Lowe’s/Keep America Beautiful Community Improvement Grant.
Last year, the Conservancy donated the property to the City of Charleston for use as a public park.

Students from the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston designed and built a 400-square-foot shaded pavilion that will be used for community gatherings and a potential farmers market, as well as storage for gardening supplies.
For questions about volunteering in the garden or to lease a bed, contact Leslie Wade, the Conservancy’s community garden coordinator, at

About the Charleston Parks Conservancy 
The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting people to their parks and in turn increasing the quality, awareness, appreciation and usage of Charleston’s parks and green spaces. The Conservancy opens doors to individuals and communities in Charleston wanting to engage with their parks and green spaces in a kaleidoscope of positive ways. With the help of its Park Angels volunteer force, the Conservancy seeks to rally community support and pride behind the effort to create a lasting movement. For more information about or to support the Charleston Parks Conservancy, please visit

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Camp: Chemistry 101

Have your kid's science experiments moved beyond the kitchen table?

My boys are wrapping up their fourth grade year. Ever since they were very little (starting around age 2) we have been conducting little science experiments. My Mum always said " put them in water and they're always happy" and so I bought a water table that was just high enough for them to stand at with test tubes and beakers - we called it "'tippen' and pourin'" and it would keep them happily occupied for at least a solid hour which was a saving grace with twins. These experiments spread to the kitchen table, kitchen counter, and the bathtub; tippen', pouren', measuring, testing. 

Skip ahead all these years to a recent school conference in which one teacher commented that math and science seem to be my son's jam and asked "is there anything you can do to foster this curiosity this summer?"... as luck would have it, some months ago while pursuing camp catalogs, I discovered an interesting camp offered at Trident Technical College. As part of their Kid's College program Trident offers a chemistry class taught in a real chemistry lab. What could be better for kids with math and science brains? They also offer cool cooking classes in their culinary and pastry program in a commercial kitchen. For all the information on Trident's extensive camp offerings click here. This could be the brief reprieve from the hot summer sun you're looking for!   

*I also have to tell you how much I recommend that long loved water table...

Similar one here from One Step Ahead

Or this cool one with an umbrella

Preschool-style wooden water and sand table that would last forever

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Charleston Currents- April 2014

ArtFields in Lake City offers something for the whole family
By LEIGH SABINE, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents

APRIL 21, 2014 -- Last year, Pluff Mud Kids trekked to Lake City on a day trip to investigate a brand new twist on art and design. For the grand opening of this new and unusual art festival, the creative team behind ArtFields pulled out all the stops to reimagine Lake City as a giant museum, spreading art across every surface, wall and nook and cranny in everyday spaces such as shops and restaurants.
That out-of-the-box thinking encouraged children and families to walk right up and be involved and immersed in the art, which was one of the aspects that most appealed to my children.
Leaving their thoughts written on a wall at the "Before I Die" installation was empowering and helping spray paint a massive wall mural alongside real artists was a thrill for 9 year olds. My kids were able to see and understand sculpture, photography, the texture of oil paint, the art of graffiti and the idea that anything and everything can be created from basic materials and creative brain power.
Another key point to engage your children throughout the day is through participation in the voting process for their favorite works of art. Your votes count toward big cash prizes awarded to winning participating artists. With the addition of food and music and beautifully-designed gallery spaces, your family can spend an entire day peacefully wandering the small campus of Lake City. (There is also a free shuttle service this year which is helpful for families with small children).
You will come away deeply inspired and perhaps find new ways to tempt the creativity in your child. 
The following are highlights to look forward to for this year's festival which commences April 25 and runs through May 4:
  • Community Mandala: Beyond the Crossroads will pair 2013 People's Choice Winner, Kirkland Smith, with attendees as they create a sacred mandala from disposable materials.
  • 2013 Winners' Gallery will feature artwork on display from the inaugural ArtFields Art Competition winners-Top Prize Winner Jim Arendt, Juried Prize Winner Leanna Knapp and People's Choice Winner Kirkland Smith, at the Jones-Carter Gallery.

  • INSIDE OUT Project is part of a worldwide photography exhibit that seeks to express the scope of humanity through portrait photography, and will feature portraits of 55 Lake City venue owners/operators as they prepare for ArtFields.
  • Plein Air workshops will show artists how to create artwork on-location at two Lake City outdoor locales: the Imperial Tobacco Building led by William McCullough and Moore Farms Botanical Gardens led by Karen Weihs ($45 advance; April 30 and May 2, limited space available).

  • "Before I Die" Wall allows the public to share their hopes and dreams on a chalkboard in a public space in downtown Lake City.
  • ArtFields Portrait Contest with local farmers as the subjects is a high-speed, high-stakes paint-off. The best in show will receive $1,000 (May 3).
  • Chalk-n-Talk invites kids of all ages to create masterpieces with chalk on the sidewalks of Lake City with help from local art teachers (May 4).
  • Making it Grow, an Emmy-winning ETV show, invites attendees to be part of an audience when it tapes live at ArtFields. Host Amanda McNulty will discuss agricultural and gardening topics (April 26).
  • Farmers andArtisans Market allows visitors to experience sustainable agriculture and curated crafts from South Carolina vendors each weekend of ArtFields.

  • Color Me ArtFields 5K -- "Be the Canvas" is a 5K run and walk for all ages that ends with a splash of color for participants (April 26, registration required).
  • Live music with The Black and Blue Experience (April 26) and Touch Band and Show (May 3).
  • Fields to Fork Dinner celebrates Lake City's agricultural roots with a three-course dinner featuring food from local farms and entertainment from Mac Arnold and Plate Full O' Blues ($125, May 1).

  • ArtFields After-Dark 'Arty will entertain partygoers with a laser light show, glow-in-the-dark wearables and techno tunes from DJ B Mack at the historic
  • Bean Market ($15 in advance/$20 at door, ages 21 and over, May 2). 
To read more about our experience last year at ArtFields, click here. For tickets, directions and other general information, visit the ArtFields website here. Lake City is located in Florence county, 89 miles from Charleston.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Camp: The Gibbes for kids


 As we head toward summer and make plans for trips and adventures, I've also spread calendars and planners across the kitchen table to better wade through and mull the multitude of summer camp options. I've been bogged down with the added strain of comparing schedules with all our friends. One organized (and well seasoned ) mom who has done this for many summers with three children emailed me in December in preemptive strike mode. "Get  your plans together quick before all the camps are fully booked - the good ones go fast!", she cautioned. Really?  Has "selling summer" become the number one game in town?
 My twin boys are 10 years old and we have never really done camps, so this new approach to mapping out summer is new to us. We tend to take day trips, bigger trips too, and spend the remainder of our long summer days at the beach or pool. I have been truly blessed to spend this fleeting time with my children all the while realizing the days were numbered. The long awaited time has arrived to change up our normal summer routine with the addition of a few carefully selected camps tailor made for my kid's unique interests. Last summer I began to realize it's hard to scare up a play date as everyone is tied up in camps, so in terms of socialization it's important to join in to stay connected. My little partners in summer fun are no longer content to hang out with mama for the duration - I lack the camaraderie that their peer group can offer. No boy really wants to rely on his mom as a Nerf gun battle partner! And so, into the summer camp fray we head - cautiously optimistic that this could prove to be our best summer yet.

In the coming weeks, PMK offers up some camp options that we have researched with care. I closely scrutinize everything I choose for my boys and I would take the same approach to anything I would recommend here for your children too. For each camp I feature, I have talked with many former campers to get a good indication as to the caliber of the program and I am only including the best ones I could find here. Recently, my son took a 6 week art class offered by the Gibbes Art Museum in downtown Charleston to test the waters in preparation for the camps planned there for the summer. It was a great experience with a fantastic art teacher who introduced the class to many techniques. The class was an hour and a half of solid, organized creativity in a small group setting. We are excited to jump back in to the camp offered this summer...

(photo by Aidan, age 10)

Summer Art Camp for Children Ages 4 – 7 and 8 – 12 
June 9-12, June 16-20, June 23-27, July 7-11, July 14-18, Aug 4-8
$175 Museum Members, $200 Non-Members
  • Campers will work with practicing artists and museum teachers, explore the museum’s galleries for inspiration, and create their own fantastic artwork!

  • Classes will be held across from the museum at the Circular Congregational Church. Campers will meet at the Gibbes each morning.

  • Contact Rebecca Sailor at or 843-722-2706 x41 for more information.
(information provided by Gibbes Museum)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter lovelies

Easter has always been my favorite time of year - a time of renewal and beauty, fresh air and a fresh attitude as we are released from the grey winter season. Herewith, a couple of recent images that cued the change of season... Happy Easter.

(Easter bonnet by Flap Happy - available at Raggamuffin's in Mt. Pleasant)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

sun block

We took some tips from readers on sun block and tested them this week. Our favorites? My son has sensitive skin and for that reason I have long loved Alba brand - you can find it at Whole Foods however, the lavender one caused a skin reaction so we have learned to stay away from fragrance of any kind. In terms of reasonably priced all-over coverage, the Coppertone Sheer was a winner. Hands down, my favorite new product for this summer beach season is Zinka from California. I love this thick, creamy, zinc for it's stay put power and the one pictured above is a skin colored tone. It really works! click here to order online 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hampton Park - Spring 2014

Learn to ride a bike here, picnic here, butterfly watch here... whatever you do here, it's beautiful and hard to leave.

click here for map and park details

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Surf Skate Paddle

Odyssey Board Shop's business card reads "surf skate paddle" and that really is what they're all about. Owner Brian Schipper and his wife have created a pit stop for surfers, paddlers, and skate enthusiasts to drop by and grab what they need - if Brian doesn't have it he'll help you figure out where to get it. Knowledgeable about life in the water from his many surf trips, he's happy to share his love of the ocean, earth, and life. You have to stop by and meet this guy...

I first met Brian and his wife surfing on the Isle of Palms and watched him work a ride out of even the most insignificant wave on sheer will power. He has a creative flair too shown here in his own line of skate socks...

The couple are currently busy working on developing a skate park across the street from their shop to provide a safe space for kids to learn to skate. The shop will host a fund raiser to support the project in May (more on this to come).

Odyssey Board Shop
217 Lucas Street  Suite M
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
(in the shops in the Commons off Coleman Blvd)
click here  for details

Monday, April 14, 2014

Make It Monday- Playdough

Playdough is a great idea for down time at home over Spring Break - it's so easy! Here's a simple recipe:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 Tbls cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbls oil
  • food coloring
Method: combine the first three ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In a separate pan, heat water, oil, and food coloring of your choice while gradually adding in the flour mixture. Stir constantly...

When the playdough has thickened, remove the pan from the heat and turn the playdough out onto a counter surface. As it cools, work the playdough together with your hands and roll it with a rolling pin. Voila!

Friday, April 11, 2014

local music: Brotherman

We are packing up to head off on a Spring Break adventure sans electronics, but I have written up some posts for next week to send your way - summer camps, Easter with kids, and the best products for your beach bag. Thanks for reading!

I leave you this week with Pluff Mid Kid's pick for live music. Life is too short not to enjoy local music whenever possible. My husband didn't want a big party for his birthday; just a quiet gathering. So I kept the invites to a minimum but turned up the volume on the back yard band. I chose the singular styling of Dwight Huthwaite and Patrick Norris of Brotherman. You can find them at or visit their FB page. Catch them next at Red Drum on April 17th from 8-11pm. I can't recommend them enough. Fantastic.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

around town...

We found some interesting things going on around Charleston, including bunnies at Gwynn's for Easter - that's right, real live bunnies your kids can visit anytime. Check out the links below for more on what's going on...

  • Your next 5k is right around the corner... Where the Wild Things Run at Caw Caw Interpretive Center. Run it or walk it with your little ones!
  • The Spring Concert Series at Freshfields Village starts this Friday and runs every Friday through April from 6-9pm. Bands include 4/11-Shrimp City Slim, 4/18- Shem Creek Boogie Band, 4/25- Port Authority
  • The Terrace Theater and Magnolia Gardens host the premier of "Bears" with a small petting zoo in the lobby on April 19th. Visit the link for details.
  • Speaking of theaters, did you see The Grand Budapest Hotel? I saw it at the Terrace and thought it was rubbish (the only saving grace was that you can buy a beer at the Terrace). When it was over, the man behind me said "Thank God!"  What did you think?
  • Artfields  is coming! What's the buzz all about? Check the link to see how the second year has grown to include so much more.
*special thanks to Gwynn's of Mt. Pleasant and to Sydney for shopping with me

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Easter at Middleton Place

What would hunting for Easter eggs at America's oldest landscaped gardens look like? Something like this...

Easter Eggstravaganza - April 19th, 2014
Time: begins at 10:30am
Middleton Place
4300 Ashley River Rd.
Charleston, SC 29414
Free with general admission - don't forget your basket
click here for information and reservations