Friday, October 31, 2014

On Halloween

Working with some fourth, fifth, and sixth graders at school this morning, our chatter about costumes for tonight turned to a more enlightening discussion. Was anyone allowed to go out trick or treating alone or with just a group of friends?

Turns out those days are over; overshadowed by a more protective modern day approach to chaperoning the event of Halloween and our precious charges.

 Gone are the days of racing at breakneck pace with a pack of friends, hitting each and every house (back then everyone participated and left porch lights on for costumed visitors) until ten or eleven at night. My siblings and friends and I would cover miles and miles all on our own (without cell phones) and arrive back at home four hours later dripping in sweat on a freezing cold night. We never got sick, we were never terrified, and we were never abducted! Were we just lucky or are times really so different?

The next bit was the best bit, as we dumped our candy haul into a pile on the floor and would spend the next hour sorting brands into piles - M&Ms, Sweet Tarts, Snicker bars and the like... comparing, sharing, and trading.

We never ate much of the candy, as there was, after all, an entire pillowcase full. In the coming week, the bundle would be picked through but most of the candy lost it's appeal and eventually it was thrown away. What could you possibly do with all that candy? (* a modern day twist with a cool answer to this problem is at the bottom of this post).

The fifth and sixth grades mark that awkward phase when a child is too cool for the pageantry of a "cute" Halloween but suddenly self conscious about gamely joining in with the silly, lighthearted part of Halloween. My boys are too grown up for those hilarious matching chicken suits that kept them in fits of giggles, no longer so sure of how they feel about donning a mask to wear to a party (though they wear it about the house building up to the big night).

Is the night of tricks and treats still the same as we guide our little ones around our manicured block in their Pottery Barn costumes? The excitement and mystery and festival of Halloween are still intact. Each year we just stand further and further away to give our kids the illusion of running free.

photo source:

Pluff Mud Kids salute Dr. Randy's Operation Buy Back Candy Program offered by Dr. Randy pediatric and adolescent dentistry. There are two opportunities to drop your candy: Saturday, November 1st at Daniel Island Park Day and at Dr. Randy's office on Saturday, November 8th. For more info, visit operation gratitiude.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

oh my gourd!

I needed three gifts for upcoming events this week... a piano recital centerpiece, a new neighbor welcome, and a Halloween party. I enlisted the help of my boys and put together three flower arrangements for $27 (including tax). Thank goodness for Whole Foods flowers and their wacky pumpkin trees...

You will need:

  • pumpkin carving tools
  • gourds of your choice
  • jam jars (re-purposed. We already had these, so not included in the price)
  • paper towel for lining inside of gourd
  • pink tutu netting fabric (optional). You can also use the fabric the flowers are wrapped in.
  • rubber bands
  • scissors
*Save your pumpkin seeds! Check back Monday for a killer roasted pumpkin seed salad recipe!

Start by cutting the tops or bottoms off your gourds (whichever allows your gourd to sit flat on a table). Next, cut out the center and hollow out your pumpkin or gourd.

Now line the center with a square of paper towel and pink fabric. Next, fit the jam jars into the center.

Now divide the flowers and cut according to height required.

Happy Halloween x 3 for under $30!

Like it? Pin it, share it,! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Make It Monday (on Wednesday) Challenge: Halloween Hoot

A friend sent over this cute video from Family Circle magazine with a challenge to try them ourselves. We got cracking and discovered these owl cupcakes really are easy and quick... finally something your child can really make without assistance ( I made the cupcakes the day before so my boys could focus on the decorating fun ). I always use this Charleston Chocolate Cake recipe for cakes and cupcakes.

You will need: 

  • chocolate cupcakes
  • chocolate icing
  • brown and orange M&Ms
  • Oreos
  • and milk... you're gonna need a glass of milk!

So easy and fun to make!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday morning never looked so good

Stop. Look up, look down...

Children, with simple lives that are not yet cluttered with the noise and traffic of our busy daily routines, still notice every little detail through unfiltered lenses. Give them something wonderful to notice.

Compiled to In a Daydream - Freddy Jones Band

Sunday, October 26, 2014

sky top window

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” 
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

There are phases of childhood that are fleeting. There are windows of opportunity to capture moments of time with your family. The activity of picking apples together in the Fall is one of these windows that you have to grab when the moment is perfectly ripe; wait too long and you just might miss this sun dappled family walk through the orchard.

Our family missed it this year and it saddens me to my core. A testament to our busy life this Fall. Autumn really did seem to sneak up and take us unawares. Last week I made a pit stop at Sky Top orchard in Flat Rock, North Carolina, all alone on my way from point A to point B. Even if you're short on time, I urge you to take a breather here among the apple trees. 

 The time has passed this season, so we file away the memories for 2014 and mark a perfect orchard weekend on the calendar for next year so as not to miss this precious time honored moment of childhood.

We really love this simple, lower sugar apple butter recipe!

The perfect orchard for families:
Sky Top Orchard

This post compiled to Sugar Mountain - Neil Young 

Friday, October 24, 2014

wild blue ropes

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” 
― Ed ViestursNo Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks

This post compiled to "Written on the Sky" - Max Richter 

"You'll have to sign a waiver, ma'am."

Ever cringe at those words as you put pen to paper on behalf of your precious child? In an all-male, adventurous gang like mine, I'm always the only one who hesitates, airing on the side of caution. Case in point, this epic, hair-raising journey across the Golden Gate Bridge with twins perched precariously on the front of tandem bikes. I'll never sign that waiver again!

                                   Displaying photo.JPG

Now here's a waiver I would sign again... Wild Blue Ropes. This newly built, massive rope challenge course on James Island is amazing. We recently had a blast with a group of kids who swallowed their fear of heights and climbed to the sky.

This is just one portion of this massive structure...

There are plenty of trained staff on hand to show your climbers the ropes and make sure they're clear on how to navigate the course using the cable system.

Wild Blue Ropes
Click here for all the details - located just 10 minutes from downtown Charleston, SC

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Alluminate me, Greenville

Reedy River Falls - Greenville, SC. This post compiled to "In a Sentimental Mood" - Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

Some girlfriends and I are heading up to Greenville, SC for the weekend to learn the latest insights on blog and website development, storytelling, and voicing your mission at Allume. I'm always sentimental when I write about Greenville, having had so many fun trips there with my family. Great city. Herewith, some of our favorite highlights:

We ate our way through Greenville, SC and this is what we loved...

Taste test the new french bistro Passerelle perched on the edge of the Reedy River Falls - for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Kids will love the breezy patio overlooking the falls. Passerelle

Sit inside the cool Tupelo Honey Cafe and try everything fresh. Very kid friendly with a great kid menu and gluten free options too - Greenville Tupelo Honey Cafe

Graze as you stroll the open air market right through the middle of downtown - watch this video of the Saturday market in downtown Greenville

Bike the Swamp Rabbit Trail and stop at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery for fresh produce, eggs, jams, honey, and scones and sandwiches. Located immediately off the bike trail! Picnic tables and covered awnings.  Swamp Rabbit Cafe

Soby's on the Side - around the corner from Soby's, this is a great place to grab breakfast on the go.  Soby's on the Side

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Charleston Currents October 2014 Feature

Halloween favorites for young children!
Special to Charleston Currents | permalink
OCT. 20, 2014 -- Halloween is a beautiful time for children of all ages in the Lowcountry... and it doesn't have to be scary.
Parents with young children can find plenty of "spooky" yet decidedly tame activities for little ones that inspire the feeling of Halloween without tears and anxiety. Here are a few of our favorite picks for celebrating Halloween:
  • Celebrate: Our favorite spot for celebrating fall and Halloween with young children is at the Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch in Mount Pleasant. Seven days a week from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31, Boone Hall offers fantastic activities for babies, toddlers and children of all ages. Our top picks are the extensive corn maze, the spooky hayride and the giant trampoline. Don't forget to allow time to pick a pumpkin in the huge onsite pumpkin patch! Visit for all the details and admission fees.
  • Create: Local area craft studios offer excellent opportunities for children to create Halloween inspired crafts in a space custom made for creativity.
    • Rock Paper Scissors in Mount Pleasant offers Halloween themed classes for young children throughout the month of October.
    • Sew Much Better in Mount Pleasant plans seasonal projects for beginning sewers and non-sewers too including a Fall scarecrow coming soon. Call ahead to schedule a class appropriate for your child's age with studio director "Miss Janet".
    • SpaceCraft Studios in West Ashley conducts craft classes for adults and children. To schedule a class or workshop (small groups of up to 6 children), visit their website to reserve a space in this ultra creative studio. Check these crafty studio websites for the latest classes and fees.
  • Walk: Afraid of the dark? Take an early evening walk before a bedtime story to point out all your neighborhood decorations. Walking in downtown Summerville is also a special treat at Halloween! Park along Main Street and check out the spooky decorations.
  • Read/Watch: You can't beat the old 1966 animated classic "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" for a lighthearted look at Halloween customs. Children of all ages relate to the great music and Snoopy's everlasting charm.Some favorite book titles for young children include Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, Say Boo by Lynda Graham-Barber, and Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connell to name a few. Did you know you can even take little ones to trick or treat at their favorite branch of the library on Oct. 31? Use this Charleston County Public Library link for details on program times.
  • S.C. Aquarium Halloween: The S.C. Aquarium offers unique twists for kids with underwater pumpkin carving performed by scuba divers in the great ocean tank on Oct. 24 and Oct. 31, and Trick or Treat for members on Oct. 28. Wear your costume and join your fishy friends in a happy versus scary Halloween environment!
                                                         Enjoy the best parts of a traditional Happy Halloween!

This post compiled to "Champagne Halloween" - St. Paul and the Broken Bones

a space to create... x2!

    West of the Ashley...   

I'm excited to show you two more great spaces for creative children! I recently had the pleasure of meeting Allison Merrick, owner of SpaceCraft Studio in West Ashley. From the moment you walk in, you will love this eclectic little space bursting with creativity. There are classes available for children (linked below) and there's a great "art cart" available for rent to occupy younger siblings. Allison has even installed a 3D printer for instruction in graphics (pictured below). Allison also works closely with Lowcountry Local First to help promote local craftsmen like Hemming Birds Boutique who create beautiful bibs, bags, and other accessories for children.

SpaceCraft Studio
8 Avondale Avenue, Charleston, SC 29407
(843) 284-MAKE
Wednesdays + Fridays, 11am - 5:30
Thursday, 11am - 3pm
Saturday, 11am - 5:30pm
To find out more about Allison Merrick and SpaceCraft Studio click here.


   East of the Cooper...

In Mount Pleasant, artist Amanda Robles has carved out an industrious space for creating. All you do is show up and everything you need for a class is provide, like this adult class for designing a copper cuff bracelet, and for children there's an upcoming Halloween Kids Night and a Pumpkin Carving class. There's something for everyone here...

Rock Paper Scissors Studio
Located in Mount Pleasant on the North side of the Sea Island Shopping Center.
1220 Ben Sawyer Blvd, Suite W
Mt. pleasant, SC 29464
Take a look at what's on offer at Rock Paper Scissors!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pluff Mud Kids people: Miss Janet knows how to sew

Sew Much Better gets crafty this Fall season with an upcoming Scarecrow project. Visit the website or call the studio for details on this child friendly project for beginning sewers and "non-sewers" as well. Details at the bottom of this post.

Have you met Miss Janet of Sew Much Better here in Mount Pleasant, SC? When it comes to sewing with kids, she's our go-to resource. Absolutely everything displayed and created in Miss Janet's studio has been tested, made, and met with her seal of approval before she teaches children how to create the item. We love that! Having worked in textile surface design for many years, you can even see Miss Janet's unique fabrics here in the studio...

                       examples of Miss Janet's textile surface design work

I also love the fact that Miss Janet works with her students to choose patterns and projects, even working with children as young as six years old. I personally know several little budding seamstresses that sew here and love every minute of it. Miss Janet has many repeat customers and has had to quickly expand her student cubbies...

Miss Janet is strongly committed to her students and the community and shares her time between her studio and teaching classes at Wando High School and other area schools. She is passionate about teaching children a skill that can help them throughout life (Did you know that School of the Arts now has a field of study in fashion design detailed here in the Post and Courier?). Miss Janet is enthusiastic, kind and caring, and extremely organized. I highly recommend stopping in to meet her and schedule a class!

     Create matching child and American doll dresses. SO cute. A perfect Christmas gift!

Sew Much Better
708 S. Shelmore Blvd., #104
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
(347) 581-8336 - call for details on pricing and class times
click here to go directly to Sew Much Better FB page to see all the latest projects