Sunday, June 28, 2015

Up close: Cypress Gardens

"It is my fixed conviction that if a parent can give his children a passionate and wholesome devotion to the outdoors, the fact that he cannot leave each of them a fortune does not really matter so much."
- South Carolina native, Archibald Rutledge

Check back here this week for more on the gorgeous Cypress Gardens swamp.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"slow parenting" in troubled times

I recently read this article from the Boston Globe heralding the merits of "slow parenting" and I encourage you to take a look at it.  Have you heard the term bandied about recently?

 I keep circling back to this notion and two thoughts strike me ... Why is it that we always need to apply a modern term to things that seem so obvious? Or has our society really come so far away from unscheduled family time that "slow parenting" seems like a unique and original idea? The basic principles of slow parenting build on ideas of quality, unscheduled, family time with a focus on removing haste from the daily life of your child's existence. In the process of writing this blog, I come in contact more and more with families having conversations about stepping back and looking to scale down their schedules. 

With regard to recent events in Charleston, SC and across the south, I for one have been grateful to have close family time with my children to have long conversations and answer the many varied questions they have. It's amazing to me to reflect on the car ride talks, lounging in the pool talks, and discussions that have bubbled up right in the middle of a peach picking excursion. The depth of understanding my eleven year old boys have displayed is staggering. Slowing down gives us a chance to really know our children and keep a check on what's on their minds and in their hearts, especially during these troubling times in our nation. 

In this day and age of chaotic schedules, forging ahead with a plan to adopt a slower pace means taking a stand; swimming upstream if you will. Take that stand. You can never get back these precious slow years of bonding and you may just find, as I have, that you are not alone in craving these sweet, fleeting moments with your family.

Some tips linked here for talking with children about tragedies. 

And these thoughts on an old fashioned, slow summer from last year...

FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2014

saving summer vs selling summer

Remember the old stand by in school when you were tasked with writing about what you did over the summer? I grew up in a nest of ideal, old-fashioned summers filled with swimming in a lake, water skiing, goofing around in a two- kid sailboat, lying in the grass on the hill at the back of our house reading til the fireflies came out, and watching summer storms while eating a Popsicle from the comfort of a lawn chair on the front porch. My mom was the the Kool aid mom and we owned the spare lot with the perpetual baseball game. It was an idealistic time of long, unscheduled days of humid summer... but the years were short.
 My brothers and I never went to morning classes of any kind, much less a camp. My Mum was the camp, providing snacks and a watchful eye from her crows nest at the kitchen window. Back in the days before seat belts and bike helmets, when running the streets of our neighborhoods freely was still PC, we kids had to be hunted down and corralled to go on day trips and excursions which always included collecting rocks for my Mum's rock garden. We tagged alongside my prim and proper British Mum as she stood her ground and bartered with the truck drivers at the local truck stop over the purchase of giant inner tubes as a chief form of entertainment for all the neighborhood kids swimming in the lake.  She was full of suggestions to fill voids of time - there was a grove of low lying bushes to build forts in and a vacant weekend house overgrown with lilac bushes that my little brother and I used for making our special lilac "perfume" concoctions. That was as close as we got to an organized science camp. The biggest expense my parents faced in terms of summer fun were the purchases of a few hoola hoops, those giant inner tubes, and enough cookies to feed a small army on a daily basis. A $200 camp for one week? Never.

 I can't recall ever being bored. The summer always drew to a close with the feeling of regret that there had not been enough time to do nothing. I've always felt that these summers were what taught me to be content with being alone with my thoughts, resourceful about conjuring up simple ways to be creative, and instilled a general sense of calm that has stayed with me as an adult. Looking back I realize that stressed, rushed, andover scheduled are never words I'd use to describe my childhood. I never want to associate those words with my children's life either.

Summer is big business nowadays but we still plan to hold on to our Popsicles, slip-n-slide, water balloons, and nerf guns as long as we possibly can because, after all, the number of summers left is fading faster than fireflies in a jar.

*this post dedicated to CAC, my summer partner in crime and master firefly catcher

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Replay: Out Edisto Way...

Edisto Serpentarium

"All I can say is that almost as soon as I began to read at all I began to like to read about the natural history of beasts and birds and the more formidable of interesting reptiles and fishes."
-Theodore Roosevelt from 'My Life as a Naturalist', American Museum Journal (May 1918)

Did you know that as a young boy Teddy Roosevelt was so enthralled with the study of animals, insects, and slithering reptiles, he opened a natural history museum in his bedroom and charged admission?! What boy doesn't love the irresistible allure of reptiles? The more they creep, crawl, and slither, the more intrigued a boy or girl becomes (much to the chagrin of the child's freaked out mom!). Watch as your child steels their nerve, stands a little taller, and becomes suddenly braver than they knew they could be.

50 miles from Charleston lies one of the best serpentariums we've discovered. You really have to allow a few hours to experience everything on offer here as the property consists of indoor and outdoor habitats and enclosures. I recommend sitting in on a snake show led by Serpentarium experts such as herpetologist Anne Clamp of the original Clamp family who opened the Serpentarium here in 1999...

Anne's got you covered when it comes to fascinating facts about snake species. Don't miss the wall of historical photos and relics depicting her families' long history with herpetology. These photos trace the story of brothers Ted and Heyward Clamp who devoted their lives to snake hunting and charming - truly inspiring.

Your child will come away loaded with new information about some of their favorite creatures. Anne also dispelled a lot of myths regarding snakes too. Many species are actually thriving on Edisto Island! This facility has a shaded snack bar area with umbrella tables, picnic tables on the grounds, cold drinks, and a well stocked gift and information shop...

The Edisto Serpentarium
1374 State Highway 174, Edisto Island, SC
50 miles from Charleston, SC
Admission: Adult (13+) $14.95, Senior (65+) $13.95, Children (4-12) $10.95, 3 and under are FREE. Group rates available.
Hours: now till August 16th, Monday- Sat 10am-6pm (last tickets sold one hour before closing). Open indoor and outdoor.
August 21- Oct 25, open indoor and outdoors Thurs, Fri, Sat only
Programs and Feedings: including venom extractions! click here
For further details and directions, visit their site here

Sunday, June 21, 2015

peace, love, and understanding

We all searched for ways to express our offerings of condolence to the families of the nine shooting victims this weekend. This Father's Day in Charleston will be long remembered - it began with friends gathering to carry flowers, funds, and faith to the Emanuel AME Church and it ended with more friends joining together to participate in the unity chain that spanned the Cooper River Bridge. For whatever solace the families felt today, rest assured we have all received much more back from them as they continue to rally the cry for peace, love, and understanding.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


      photo: Kylie Sabine - Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston SC                                                                                                                      

Prayers go out to those lost in last evening's shooting and for their loved ones.

the thing about sharks

image source:

We have a deep and abiding respect for sharks around here... more of an awestruck fascination than fear. The thing about sharks is, we know that every time we place ourselves in their environment there is the potential for that long-shot encounter in the way of a bump, a sighting, or, heaven forbid, an aggressive encounter. We are surfers, swimmers, boaters, and constant beach goers so we try not to dwell on the law of averages.

 Apparently, scientists of late favor the term "shark-human encounter" as opposed to "shark attack" though it would surely be tough to convince those teens in North Carolina last week that they had simply had an unfortunate "encounter". In this 2013 article, biologist John Carlson (often dubbed "shark hugger" or "shark apologist") attempts to dispel some of the points that often attribute to a shark's bad reputation. 

Now there's a chance to learn more, see more detail, and reach out and touch the sharks we actually love at Shark Shallows at the SC AquariumWe have included a few *cool shark facts by PMK kids!

At Shark Shallows, sharks and stingrays swim together in this newly designed habitat. *Shark fact: Sharks and stingrays have no bones, only cartilage. Sharks can travel up to forty miles per hour.

*Shark fact: Shark fossils have been recorded to date back more than twice as far as those of the dinosaurs, dating them to 450 million years ago and classifying them as truly ultimate survivors. Recently,we visited the Aquarium's trading post and traded shark teeth for this fossilized whale inner ear bone.

             Sign posted on Folly Beach Pier

*Shark fact: Cookiecutter Sharks (as seen here in this video) are named for their cookie-shaped wounds left in victims.
*Shark fact: Could a light blue colored wet suit confuse a shark and prevent a bite? Sharks are thought to be color blind (more here).
*Shark fact: Shark migration and water temperatures detailed here
* Your kids can learn more about sharks here on this excellent website.

Lastly, we leave you with this thought...

This post compiled to a current favorite in our rotation Under The Boardwalk - The Drifters

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Top 5 Cool Local Treats For Dad

  1. Grill out with Dad on a new Big Green Egg Grill - Coastal Cupboard has them in every size and all the accoutrements. 

2. Stay cool inside and study the sharks with Dad at SC Aquarium's Shark Shallows.

3. Cool off with ten pins and a cold one at The Alley

4. Renting a SUP is so easy at Nature Adventure Outfitters - they supply the gear and get your board in and out of the water! ( Located right here on Shem Creek across from Red's)

5. Sit Dad down with a view of the magnificent wall of beers at Edmund's Oast. Life is good... try the pickled shrimp plate.

Tune in tomorrow for more on Shark Shallows at the SC Aquarium!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Make It Monday: Almost Sugar-Free Date Loaf (quick and healthy!)

We have fallen in love with this quick, healthy, keep-'em-full date loaf! We've been playing around with the make up of this basic loaf all week and this is what we've arrived at (it's the almond that gets me - love it, do you?). As you can see, it is so moist and delicious with or without a light spread of cream cheese. You can make it fast in the morning and pack it for the beach or pool for an almost sugar-free boost of protein. 


  • olive oil or coconut oil spray (to coat the bottom of your loaf tin or muffin pan)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 to 3 Tbls chopped dates
  • 2 Tbls brown sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 Tbls cottage cheese
This is SO easy! Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and lightly flour 2 small loaf pans (as pictured below) or 4-6 holes of a muffin pan with the cooking oil.
Whisk together the egg whites, flour, milk, dates, sugar, and cottage cheese. Pour in tins and bake for 20 minutes until brown. That's it! No leftovers, I promise!

My husband is crazy about this - an easy win for Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Top 20 List: Lowcountry Shade Seekers

Top 20 Ideas For Outdoor Play In The Shade:

As we launch into summer and temperatures rise in the Lowcountry, I thought I'd offer up this list of some of our top picks for play in the shade. Come August, this list could be vital for you and your family when you're searching for a way to stay outside and unplugged yet beat the heat. Click on an idea to visit our post detailing each and every one of these favorite destinations in Charleston and across the Lowcountry!
*Hazel Parker playground in downtown Charleston now has even more shade with the addition of a shade awning covering the swings! We have loved this park for over a decade and rely on it as a go-to picnic spot in the heart of the city. Amenities: water fountains, separate areas for age appropriate play, picnic tables, shade trees, covered swings, basketball court, tennis court, and more! 

This post compiled to It Won't Be Like This For Long - Darius Rucker

Monday, June 8, 2015

Make It Monday: Mango Lassi - summer snack

 Love mango? Here's an idea for an ice cold, delicious summer snack that's perfect for sharing with kids. We love this after the pool or beach - 

Mango Lassi
Serving size: 2 ( I stretch it to one adult and two kids)
Nutrition: 200 calories, 9.6g protein, 2.3g fiber


  • 1 medium ripe mango, peeled, chopped and chilled overnight.
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 Tbls lime juice
Blend all the ingredients until smooth. The lime juice makes this sooo yummy. Enjoy!

Happy World Oceans Day! Snapshot from Kiawah Island - where there's a little wave, there's a lotta will.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Happy Summer!

We wrapped up the 5th grade yesterday and today is the first official day of summer vacation! We're packing our boards and making a beeline for Kiawah Island, but I wanted to leave you with a few more thoughts on Charleston's outstanding Spoleto Festival - there is still time to take in an event or some live music...

Last night, The Lowhills showcased Lauren Bevins' incredible sultry vocals and were flanked by Red Cedar Review and the SC Broadcasters. Lots of bang for your Piccolo Spoleto buck! Check the Lowhills link to find out where to catch them this weekend.

Grab lunch downtown on King St. and walk up to Marion Square for the free open air art walk...

Enjoy the rest of Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto - schedule here, and have a happy summer, y'all!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Walk on Wednesday: FREE!

If there's one thing we don't do around here, it's boredom. The "B" word is not one we use... life is too short and too full to ever feel bored, especially when you live in one of the coolest places on earth! One of the main reasons we started this site was to share some of our favorite discoveries and the icing on the cake is that much of what we share is free and accessible to everyone, even if at just certain times of the year. This is one of those ideas I couldn't wait to share because a free day or two has been set aside on the calendar for enjoying the Audubon Swamp at Magnolia Plantation in honor of John James Audubon who used these grounds for inspiration for several of his paintings. This is the first in a series over the coming weeks regarding boredom breaks for kids!

We have long loved this swamp garden at any time of year and in any kind of weather, so if it rains on these upcoming free days, go anyway because the drizzle will only add to the atmosphere (full details at bottom of post).

Here are some quick facts about this incredible swamp:

  • Upon entering Magnolia Plantation, the Swamp Garden is located at the first turning on your left. *For FREE admission to the swamp on these open days, you must first drive to the Plantation entrance and pay for general admission to the Plantation. You will be given a code for the wooden gate that proceeds to the swamp boardwalks (pictured above).
  • Did you know this plantation was founded in 1676? This is the oldest public garden in America.
The boardwalks permit you to wander along and view the waterfowl currently nesting here, including egrets and herons. You will also see alligators and turtles...

Nestled here among the tupelo trees and cypress knees, your kids can easily spy turtles and other wildlife - allow about an hour to walk the boardwalk and take in the swamp before the site closes at 5:30 pm each day.

I guarantee there is absolutely no way your child (of any age!) will be bored in the swamp. Click the info listed below before you go to enrich the experience. 

Audubon Swamp Garden
3550 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414

FREE DAYS: June 14 and 15, 2015 (*free admission to swamp with the purchase of Plantation admission).
PMK tip: take a picnic lunch and eat on the grounds of the plantation. Be sure to wear bug spray and take bottles of water and a camera. To further banish boredom, give your child a camera to wander with and see what they capture! Print some of the photos to put in a summer scrap book or make a collage to help recall this adventure at the end of the summer.

  • Study the work of John James Audubon linked here before you go!
  • More on the history here regarding Audubon's life by PBS.
  • More here on Magnolia Plantation's history.
This post compiled to Call Me - St. Paul and The Broken Bones, featured this coming Sunday at the  Spoleto Finale.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

and the winner is...

"The Dock" won best in show this year at Charleston's Piccolo Spoleto  sand sculpting contest. The details in this sculpture were unreal - complete with a broken board, sea water, and even the metal rings on the sides of the dock posts! Each year, this contest runs along Isle of Palms beach front and the public is welcome to stroll along and view the exhibits as the sand sculptors slave away compacting sand in a race against the ever approaching tide. Below are a few more of our favorites...