Saturday, July 25, 2015

the opposite of loneliness

"It is not so much a matter of traveling as of getting away; which of us has not some pain to dull, or some yoke to cast off?
-George Sand, Winter In Majorca. 

The opposite of loneliness for me is a jammed packed family vacation and we are about to depart for one. We are taking a break from tech, so this space will be quiet until August 2. I hope you'll check back then for dozens of new ideas to get us through til the start of the school year.

 I heard something about Paris mentioned, my hand shot up (pick me! pick me!), and I ran for my suitcase. As it turns out, I have been duped into an all-boy, soccer-centric holiday based around Paris St Germain vs Manchester United and Chelsea vs Barcelona. My fellas sure can cook up a scheme... in truth, I couldn't be more excited to tag along with these mega fans. Sometimes the best vacations are new experiences and I'm happy to quietly spectate, soaking up the moments as my little men meet their heroes. Meanwhile, I'm packing up my perfume and any other pretty, girly thing I can squeeze in among the soccer gear with a few new books for good measure:

  • *Reader recommended by 3 people! The Vacationers by Emma Straub: "When I turned the last page, I felt as I often do when a vacation is over: grateful for the trip and mourning its end. - The New York Times Book Review. Read the Review here
And a few more...

  • The Martian by Andy Weir: "An impressively geeky debut." - Entertainment Weekly. Our book club just chose this read and it will grip you from the very first sentence! Read the complete Wall Street Journal Review here. *PMK reader recommended.
  • The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan: Smart. Short stories you will mull over and not forget. We lost this keen writer far to young. New York Times Review.
  • The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer: A how-to on letting life call the shots. Good Reads Reviews linked here.
We hope you and your family are enjoying every moment summer has to offer! If you're looking for fun things to do in the Lowcountry, dig into our archives and see what pops up. See you back here on August 2, and as always, thanks for reading.

- Leigh and the Pluff Mud Kids

Thursday, July 23, 2015

stars and street lamps

Everything looks different downtown underneath the stars. Kids absolutely love discovering downtown Charleston at night and the best part about summer is you can stay up just a little bit longer!

Before you go, check out the great Brian Lies Books website for all his "Bats at night" book series. Our favorite title is Bats At The Beach.

Also fun for kids after dark in downtown Charleston, try the very unique Desano Pizza at night.

Watch for Owls by Moonlight availability at Birds of Prey.

Did you know you can spend the night at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia?

Why take a walk at night? Because...

Displaying photo.PNG

This post compiled to Night Swimming - R.E.M.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Up and Coming: Super Saturday July 25, 2015

Take a look at any given day on the calendar and it's usually packed with incredible choices of family-friendly events in the Lowcountry. This Saturday, July 25th is no exception and I had to call it out as over packed! Listed here are but a few of the options that appeal to us. What will you choose?

  • SC State Parks offers a chance to show love for our fabulous state parks and help curb hunger in our state with their Pack A Park Truck initiative. Click the link for details. This is one we won't miss!

  • Odyssey Board Shop here in Mt. Pleasant will meet you at Isle Of Palms County Park Saturday from 10am to 2pm for surfing tips and paddle board demos.
  • Magnolia Gardens lady bug release is this Saturday (check this link for full story). The June/July issue of Skirt! magazine has a $5 off general admission coupon. Love that!

Friday, July 17, 2015

summer swamp

We revisited Cypress Gardens swamp with friends this week and I have to recommend it for several reasons: It's a great spot to take summer guests so they can really appreciate a southern swamp, it's teaming with wildlife and natural beauty, it's one of the most reasonable day trips from Charleston ( 45 minutes from Mt. Pleasant, $10 adult, $5 child which includes the use of row boats), plus the fact it's a great workout rowing those boats through the lily pads. There's just something about boats... kids LOVE them. We advise going early to beat the heat and full sun. Don't forget to visit the amazing butterfly house! Details at the bottom of this post. Check back here next week for education extensions to use before you go.

Cypress Gardens
3030 Cypress Gardens Rd, Moncks Corner, SC 29461
Click here for directions

Amenities: Butterfly house, row boats, picnic areas, free parking, cool playground, and more!

  • Adult: $10.00
  • Senior: (age 65+) $9.00
  • Children: (ages 6-12) $5.00
  • Children: (ages 5 and under) Free*
    *Does not apply to children in an educational/youth group
Cypress Gardens is open 7 days a week, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The last admission is at 4:00 pm. 
Click here for more details.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

surf odyssey meet-ups

Are your kids working on paddling in and popping up this summer? Surf Odyssey Board Shop has got you covered:

  • Surf Odyssey teams up with Carolina Coast Surf Club to host Kids Beach Day Expo on July 25th. Watch the websites for details.
  • Meet owners Jenny and Brian this Friday night, July 17th at 7:30pm at the shop for FREE Surf Movie Night! Bring your own blankets and chairs and gather in the Commons on Coleman for pizza and yummy treats from the Charleston Baker Gal!
  • SUP on Shem with the Surf Odyssey gang - kids outings on Wednesday and Friday mornings beginning at 9am. Contact the shop to book your spot with the dolphins.

Tell them Pluff Mud Kids sent ya!

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
Instagram @odysseyboardshop

This post compiled to Hey Mami - Sylvan Esso

Friday, July 10, 2015


One for the weekend... Beardcat's for kids. Sullivan's Island happy spot with the best Caprese sandwich in town! (Located below Obstinate Daughter)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hot, Hilly, Crowded: Atlanta For Kids


We just spent an extended 4th of July weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. While there in the beautiful home of longtime friends, we put a team together to train for and then tackle the Peachtree Road Race. Over 60,000 runners brave the heat and hills (there's one at every mile, with "Cardiac Hill" in your face at mile four for good measure!) in this annual 10k race. Prepared for searing heat, we were in fact surprised by cold and constant rain and lightning - no bands, no crowds. Half the battle in any organized running event is just herding a team of people through public transportation (in this case MARTA) to make it to the start line in time, all the while getting your head straight to go for your best time no matter the weather. The run and the weekend were a great success, but Atlanta... oh, Atlanta.

I try to always post positive on this site, but I have to confess Atlanta is not my favorite destination. Born in Augusta, Georgia, I've always tried to like Atlanta but I just can't put it on my list of top favorite cities. The book Hot, Flat, and Crowded always comes to mind in Atlanta. It's no wonder Atlanta's own Anne Rivers Siddons of Peachtree Road fame pulled up stakes and re-rooted herself firmly under the oaks here in Charleston (more here in The South Is Moving On). So here's a little list of what not to do when visiting Atlanta with kids:

  • Don't Be A Weekend Warrior - If you plan to try the Peachtree Road Race 10k, you must train for it. This is a serious 6.2 mile hill workout that requires a scheduled amount of training.
  • Don't Run With Your iphone: Don't wear your iphone in a "waterproof" sleeve on your arm in 6.2 miles of torrential rain. That's all I have to say about that.
  • Don't Take Your Best Camera: That's all I have to say about that too. Note the lack of pictures in this post.
  • Don't Go To Major Attractions Without A Ticket: Guesstimate your time to visit a public attraction, such as the Georgia Aquarium, and buy a prepaid ticket online to avoid crowds and long lines. This Atlanta City Pass is a great way to bundle 5 major attractions in downtown Atlanta.
  • Don't Leave Home Without Water: The best way to see downtown Atlanta with kids is to walk the blocks that surround the major sites such as the aquarium and the museums. It's hot and crowded, so take your own water!
  • Don't Miss: Here are some cool places to visit with kids in and around Atlanta...

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

staycation 2015 and the mystery man behind the blog

Waiting on the next set...

In case you've been a reader of this little blog for a while and have wondered who comes up with all our adventures, the truth is it's not just me. My husband and I are actually pretty private people but long ago decided that some of the places we've discovered on our travels around the state are just too good not to share in the hopes that some other family might enjoy them as much as we have. It also seemed like a great way for me to learn how to use a computer for more than just email, as well as slowly figure out my camera a bit better. It's his idea to keep it simple; no adds or sponsors, just organic information real families can use for mostly inexpensive day trips in the local area and across the state. We've had a ball along the way and this space has pushed us to try new things while learning about the state we call home and have grown to love so much.

However, my husband is, and will likely always be camera shy when it comes to appearing on this site. While he is 100% supportive of this endeavor in every way, I try to honor his privacy and that of my children by only sharing a portion of what we do and where we go... I'm sure you have "secret" places your family wouldn't want to share either! Truth be told, I struggle to keep up with the man behind the blog - he has more energy and enthusiasm for life than anyone I know.

 After 19 years of marriage, he still surprises me with his inventiveness. This week's "staycation" was his idea and has been a whirlwind of water sports and just about anything two young boys would find most exciting...

It's amazing how far you can get on a tank of gas with a heavy picnic. No need to take an expensive vacation - you can feel like you're a million miles away! We took a day trip to an island somewhere off the coast up Georgetown way - his idea, not mine, and an epic adventure it was...

And running... there's been a whole lot of running going on around here which brings me to an upcoming event our family highly recommends. We tried the firecraker 4 miler run at Laurel Hill plantation (linked here) last year and it's a great way to enjoy your 4th of July weekend...

A few more picks for this 4th of July you may like: