Thursday, April 30, 2015

In the Stacks: The books we can't put down

"Up and down the lanes, the last unevacuated townspeople wake, groan, sigh. Spinsters, prostitutes, men over sixty. Procrastinators, collaborators, disbelievers, drunks. Nuns of every order. The poor. The stubborn. The blind.
-from All The Light We Cannot See, by the masterful Anthony Doerr


We've taken a little time out here on the blog to catch up around here - the last month of school has a way of sneaking up on us all and each year I find myself wondering if I have the strength to make it through until that very last day. How busy is your May calendar? Check back on here on Monday for our latest PMK printable family calendar with ideas for activities you don't want to miss. As always, thank you for reading!

We've had some books in our stacks around here that have been hard to put down and you may want to add to your cart if you're looking for a great summer read or a book to travel with.


For Them:

  • What If by Randall Munroe - details here. What child doesn't love odd, ridiculous, scientific what ifs? This is a great pick to read aloud with children - each short story poses a hypothetical question and proceeds to propose a fact based answer to muddle through seemingly improbable scenarios. For example, what would happen if everyone on Earth stood as close to each other as they could and jumped, everyone landing on the ground at the same time? This book is an entertaining way to strengthen summer learning. Pluff Mud Kids give it two thumbs up!


For You:

  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - This book is so beautifully crafted and spins such a thought provoking tale it will leave you wondering how in the world the author came up with the story. Doerr seems to know a little bit about everything and spoon feeds you tidbits of knowledge carefully woven into the plot... it's truly as if he was there and is just retelling you precisely what happened along the way. This is a compelling story about human nature that chronicles the lives of two characters caught up in wartime Germany and Paris. Doerr offers up short chapters that make this a great beach or vacation read. He artfully joins the story lines together and you won't believe the ending! A fantastic read- details here.
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins - You've likely seen this book on all the best selling lists and it's there for a reason. This book is a fast, page-turning, edge of your seat heart stopper. If you liked Gone Girl, you'll love this pick about a troubled girl's daily London commute by train and that incident she witnesses from the train window that will keep you sifting through the details to try and sort out. You'll have trouble turning the lights out and putting this one down!
  • *PMK reader recommendation: The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting For Stone  - If you read Cutting For Stone, you will be thrilled to jump back into Verghese's smooth, elegant writing style... this book is a pleasure to read. Delve into the intimate nature of male relationships as the characters bond over the nuances of tennis and the struggles of the game of life. This book will win you over with it's unique perspective on what it means to be a man - I am always grateful for a reader recommendation that broadens my horizons.  
Enjoy!

This post compiled to Every Day I Write The Book - Elvis Costello

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

blessings


This Sunday: Blessing of the Fleet details here. Perfect for families!


Spend the day on Capers Island - a Lowcountry blessing. How to get there


Did you know Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia has a zip line? We're heading there this weekend to check out what's new and in bloom in the Botanical Gardens (wine tasting there this Friday evening).

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Make It Monday: It's berry pickin' time, y'all!


Pull your rain boots on (the fields are sooo muddy) and get your pie plates ready... the berries are in and they are outstanding at the moment! Below, we offer a list of some of our favorite places to u-pick strawberries.


Check out the following PMK posts:

This post compiled to Stormy Weather - Etta James

Friday, April 17, 2015

mother love


"maternal desire, marrow-deep and stronger than death."
-mother and photographer Sally Mann, in an article featured in the New York Times

I distinctly remember the day I cradled my two year old baby twin boys firmly on each of my hips for the last time, in that instinctual side-to-side sway only a mother knows. I made a quick, decisive  mental note as I felt the whisper of a nerve twinge in the small of my back: This will be the last time I hold my loves together.

I recall what I was wearing that day, what they were wearing (the tiniest, red high-top Converse sneakers you ever saw), the conversation we shared in that moment, and the color of the sky. A perfect mental picture forever preserved. It's my prerogative as mother to pull this clip on the reel of life into full focus; unembellished, unfiltered.

Toil away, encourage, hope, and pray. Skip ahead to this new and present day and we find another snapshot to absorb into mindful memory. They are walking away, this time plodding along in hefty hiking boots that support the strain of the packs they carefully packed themselves, powered by their own steam and enthusiasm to build their own fires, cook their own meals, fend for themselves. 

They may not remember to look back, but mother love has already sealed the moment. 

This post compiled to Landslide - Fleetwood Mac 

"Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too"
-Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

lunch breaks

 The down side of raising tall twin boys is that they are in the middle of another growth spurt and that means they are hungry all the time... ravenous. Fortunately for us, we live in a pretty amazing foodie city!
                
                     
Hampton Park is hosting a special afternoon for a peaceful break from work. How does laying in the grass with a grilled cheese sandwich smack dab in the middle of the day sound? Take a break on Friday, April 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. complete with food and music click here for details.


       Leon's Oyster Shop - kid friendly sunny spots outside! Love it here.

And don't forget about a day trip to ArtFields - this is the 3rd annual art festival held in Lake City, SC. No need to pack a lunch, there are lots of options to grab a bite to eat like Table 118 and The Railway.

          ArtFields wall mural that encouraged visitor participation 

A glimpse from Moore Farms Botanical Garden neighboring Lake City.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Make It Monday: chicken and cashew curry with chopsticks

     *multi pack of chopsticks pictured here from Coastal Cupboard for under $5

We grabbed those 3 days of pollen free living and wiped down every surface of our porch to have a Indian inspired dinner and looked forward to more nights of the same open air dining. We were duped again... it happens every year. Just when we settle into porch suppers, that second wave of deadly pollen blows through the Lowcountry so we hunker back down inside and wait. Those nights are coming though, so here's a yummy chicken dish in which we switched rice for noodles and added chopsticks just for fun.

Chicken and Cashew Curry With Noodles: This recipe is an amalgamation of several different curry recipes...


  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 red chilies
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or blended
  • 2 tsp ginger, blended with garlic
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 2 Tbl sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup cashew nuts
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
  • 15 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 Tbl plain yogurt if desired to bring down the heat (kids might like it milder)
  • fresh cilantro leaves to garnish
  • soba noodles (or whatever noodles you like)
  • a dollop of plain yogurt for the top!
  • Coconut flakes to garnish - try Trader Joe's roasted coconut flakes
Method:

Heat the oil in a large wok or saucepan over low heat and add the onions and all the dry spice ingredients. Stir fry for about 8 minutes until the onions are golden. Add the chicken pieces and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Now stir in the tomatoes, sugar, coconut milk and plain yogurt and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer for about 40 minutes. Place on top of cooked noodles and add fresh cilantro, plain yogurt, and coconut flakes.

We added a side of green beans right in the bowl. Take it to the porch and enjoy!



*We love these Chopstick Kids too!

A Few Favorite Noodle Spots:

This porch supper compiled to Summer Wind - Frank Sinatra

Friday, April 10, 2015

This American Life

In the aftermath of this week's shooting in Charleston, it is impossible to live, breathe, and write about Charleston without pausing to reflect on the tragedy. As our children head off to school clutching newspaper headlines and class discussions are held, we wonder how they can possibly wrap their minds around the events that unfolded in their birth city, the city they are so proud to call home.

As fate would have it, the day before the incident occurred I happened upon this podcast produced by This American Life entitled Three Miles (link here) that chronicles the racial divide between a private school and a public school set three miles apart from one another in the poorest congressional district in the Bronx, NY. I urge you to take the time to listen to the story of the lives depicted here and the outcome that might surprise you. It is a timely and emotionally charged piece that feels important to absorb right at this moment.


I offer up this re-post for the weekend of a peaceful, contemplative space in the heart of downtown that reflects the deeply rooted cultural history of our city. We pray for the families affected by recent events, peace for our fine city, and peace for our nation. 

Hampton Park

  


 One leafy, green patch of Charleston offers shade and beautiful spaces to exercise and play all year round. Located in the center of downtown Charleston, Hampton Park offers over 60 acres of maintained walking paths, a running and biking "track" that rings the park, benches in the shade of beautiful live oaks and many other species of trees, and a pond with a fountain centerpiece. Free from the worries of traffic, this is a boundless play space for children of all ages. 

  • Be sure to visit the gazebo surrounded by a garden of roses.
  • Read this article about the statue dedicated to Denmark Vesey, a historical figure in Charleston with a controversial story. The statue is located near the gazebo and can make for an interesting part of a scavenger hunt.
  • Make time to find the bridge over the pond - kids love it!
  • Pluff Mud Kids highly recommend taking a picnic. There are endless perfect spots to have a snack in the shade here.


Click here for Charleston Parks Conservancy's map, details, and directions

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hunting Island Lighthouse - hits of history

As more and more people are choosing homeschooling and seek alternative school options that offer out of the box curriculum, we all seem to be looking for that chance to go a little bit deeper into areas our children show an aptitude for or keen interest in. In the state of South Carolina, we are so spoiled for extensions to lessons in a wide range of American history. Herewith, some hits of history (in quick, blog fashion) from one of our favorite SC destinations... the Hunting Island Lighthouse:
  • The lighthouse was built in 1859 and has 167 steps. This is the only publicly accessible lighthouse in the state of South Carolina.
  • Civil War Link - At the beginning of the Civil War, the lighthouse was dismantled by the Confederates in fear that the Union soldiers would claim it for their own and use it for navigation.
  •  In 1875, the lighthouse was redesigned to travel! Clever craftsmen sought to preserve the lighthouse by creating a shell of cast iron segments that could be taken apart, moved, and reassembled at a safer location. This maneuver actually took place in 1889 when the lighthouse was moved 1.3 miles inland due to beach erosion. 
  • In 1893, a hurricane caused the steamship City of Savannah to run aground off the shoreline here.
  • The lighthouse was deactivated in 1933 and is currently used for historical tours. The eroding shoreline continues to threaten the lighthouse, claiming more ground each year. 

  
The stunning view is well worth the trek to the top. We chose to tent camp on this particular visit. Our camp site was just behind the row of palm trees at the edge of the beach (you can request one of these semi-primitive sites that you park and walk your gear into).





Hunting Island Lighthouse
click here for all the details on this lighthouse located within Hunting Island State Park.
If you go, please note the following:
  • Children must be taller than 44" to climb to the top of the lighthouse. Something for younger children to study now and look forward to climbing later!
  • There is a $2 admission fee per person to climb to the top.
Book link: We love the Lighthouse Keeper series - check it out here


This post compiled to Shallows - Daughter

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

oreo


You know it's truly Spring when the Spring Oreos hit the supermarket shelves. Who can resist? Are you an eat-it-like-a-sandwich type or a pull-apart-and-eat-the-center-first type of Oreo fiend? Grab some milk and take a moment with your Oreo to enjoy this video:




  *image source: adweek.com

funny little video (by wacky Wes Anderson) about mini Oreos your kids will love!

This post compiled to Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard - Paul Simon. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Up and Coming: April in the Lowcountry


“She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    "Winter is dead.” 
― A.A. MilneWhen We Were Very Young


APRIL 2015

  • April is open season for the butterfly house at Brookgreen Gardens and the gardens are open until 8 p.m.
  • April 1 - May 27 - Something special for date night or girls night out - Wine Strolls on Wednesdays at Middleton Place can't be beat.
  • April 4 - 12 - "The tennis" is here and kids age 15 and younger get in free this year! Details  on Family Circle Cup at Daniel Island.
  • April 7 - Mt Pleasant Farmers Market is back! Tuesdays from 3:30 p.m. until 7 p.m.
  • April 12 - Second Sunday on King St. - the food, the live music, the shopping.
  • April 12 - Blues by the Sea at Kiawah Island - a free concert at Freshfields.
  • April 16 - The Pitt St Stroll in the Old Village, Mt. Pleasant - every third Thursday of the month!
  • April 17 - The next Citadel Parade - an awesome sight for kids.
  • April 18 - 19 - Free days at Fort Moultrie honoring National Park Week's opening Weekend.
  • April 24 - May 2 - ArtFields returns to Lake City, SC featuring Pluff Mud Kid's own artist Brenda Gilliam!
  • April 26 - The Blessing of the Fleet offers good tidings for our local shrimp boats.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Easter Eggs


They say that childhood is the sweetest season of life - embrace it, treasure it, and make it last as long as you can! Are you ever too old to decorate Easter Eggs? Never! Here are a few ideas for extending your decorating time... turn on some good music, make a cup of tea, and get cracking!

You will need: glue dots, glitter, adhesive foam dots (for a 3D effect), standard color dye, and a golden egg kit. Here are a few shots from as we are just getting started:










We wish you and your family a very Happy Easter!

This post compiled to Sugar - Maroon 5

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Unplugged SC: campfires

"Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong."
- George Carlin, American comedian 


We hope you are enjoying a lazy Spring Break, whether in town or out of town. We have taken some time out to unplug and unwind. Camping, exploring, and day-tripping are perfect ways to make the most of a staycation. Herewith, a few top picks if you're craving a quick local getaway this week!


  Hunting Island Beach - tune in tomorrow for more info on the Hunting Island Lighthouse




*88 miles south of Charleston, SC:
  • Hunting Island Beach - One of the South's most beautiful - and popular - camp sites. This site books out a year in advance, but you can get lucky with primitive(ish) tent camping.
  • Day trip from Hunting Island to Beaufort, SC
  • Add a splash of history and education at neighboring Parris Island Museum at the Parris Island Marine Base.   
And closer to Charleston, SC: