The Sea Island Farmers Market is Opening on Johns Island!

When the news hit social media that the Johns Island Farmers Market was closing, there was a lot of concern about how loyal shoppers were going to get amazing local vegetables, eggs, and meat. Luckily, the regular vendors had united together to create Sea Island Farmers Market.  The leaders of this movement are familiar faces because they are the owners of Two Fat Cooks.

Two Fat Cooks has some of the most amazing scones, cookies, and pies. Their pimento cheese scones are the best in town! Two Fat Cooks co-owners, Eric Rogers and Kristy Bialas are excited for this new approach to a farmers market and are ready to “get right back into the swing of things.” They are grateful for all of the lessons they have learned as regular vendors at the Sunday Brunch Farmers Market and their years at the Johns Island Farmers Market. Their leadership has made the closing of the Johns Island Farmers Market to the opening of the Sea Island Farmers Market a positive change!

The BEST scones are from Two Fat Cooks

Good vendors are key to a successful farmers market and having vendors vested in running the market as a whole will lead to better customer experience. The regular vendors will be ready to sell fresh produce, eggs, meat, flowers, bread, and so much more on February 1 at the GRAND OPENING of the Sea Island Farmers Market.

Local Produce from Kindlewood Farms

Local vegetables will be available from Fireant, Kindlewood, Island Produce, and G&S Produce. Eggs and meat are available from Wishbone Heritage, Thaddeus, and Johnson Family Farm.

Farm Fresh Eggs – there are even SOY FREE ones!

The other kitchen essentials such as Charleston Spice Company, Counter Cheese Caves, Olinda Olives, Smart Eats Bread, The Blissful Whisk, R&R Honey, The Mini Cakery will also be available every Saturday.

R&R Creamed Honey

Want to indulge in some pure deliciousness? Sample pecan milk from Carya Pecan Milk, grab some jam from Fruit Creations by Jestine or Pat’s Painted Rocks and do not forget the unique traditionally prepared bread from Halfcrown Bakehouse.

Half Crown Bakehouse – bread worth trying!

Feeling a little under the weather? Stock up on local seasonal elderberry from R&D Naturals, foraged herb tinctures from Out of the Weeds, and kombucha from Boochlab.

Locally foraged tinctures by Out of the Weeds

There are also great vendors for unique gifts, jewelry, and skincare. And do not forget about your four-legged family members: Pet wants, Pink House Pups and Malted Mutts have you covered! This farmers market literally has something for everyone, there will also be a variety of food trucks available every Saturday.

Your pet will be stylin’ with Pink House Pups

The vendors and customers have enjoyed the parking and the beauty of the Charleston Collegiate School campus, and Kristy has been impressed by the overwhelming support from the staff at the school. Charleston Collegiate school works hard to build relationships in the community and believes in the importance of local farming along with entrepreneurship.

Charleston Collegiate School students showcase their Swurfers

Kristy Bialas is going to continue the mission of bringing in only local farmers and manufacturers. This ensures customers that they are truly supporting local farms.  Approximately 30-40 vendors have committed to Sea Island Farmers Market, and they are still taking vendor and food truck applications on their website.

Find your favorite vendor Saturday, February 1, from 9:30-1:30.


What is the address of the farmers market? 2024 Academy Rd, Johns Island, SC 29455. Follow the Charleston Collegiate School signs

What are the times and dates of the farmers’ market? Saturdays 9:30am-1:30pm

Is the market seasonal or year-round? All year long!  

Is there parking? Yes! There is plenty of parking on the paved side of the school and in front of the market on the gravel lot.

Will there be any changes to the setup or the grounds of the farmers market? Over time the vendors of Sea Island Farmers Market plan to make the ground more walkable which will help parents with strollers!  

Are you accepting new vendors or food trucks? Yes, applications are available on the website

Are community groups, education tables, or charity partnerships supported? Absolutely! Contact the farmers market off of the website

Moms to See in the 843: Valerie Skinner, Food Blogger & Personal Chef

Valerie Skinner, personal chef & food blogger
Valerie Skinner (with baby James!: Personal Chef & Food Blogger. Photo by LeeAnn Neumann, @chucktownart.

Hey, CHS mamas! I am super excited to introduce you to my friend (and source of daily food inspiration), Valerie Skinner! Valerie is a local personal chef and food blogger (Thyme and Joy). I might be biased (towards wings that is), but my absolute favorite recipe by Thyme & Joy happens to be Instant Pot Crispy Buffalo Wings — just in time for your Super Bowl parties!

Valerie is a “new” mom to sweet baby James. She constantly leaves me in awe of her supreme juggling abilities between her personal chef business, her successful food blog, and #momlife. Did I mention she is insanely smart and insightful? Get your notepad out because we all need to eat, we all need to grocery shop, and Val spills the beans on some grocery shopping tips for us!

Tell us all about you! What brought you (and Thyme and Joy) to Charleston?

After attending a holistic culinary school in NYC, I decided to move to Hawaii on a whim with no job and no friends. I worked many jobs in the health food industry and fell in love with Hawaii. I also fell in love with my now-husband who was stationed on Pearl Harbor on an active submarine. Once his time was up in Hawaii, we got orders to Charleston. When I got here, I was frustrated and lost because I had to start all over again. I decided to get a job at Whole Foods in Mount Pleasant while I started my personal chef business, Thyme & Joy! and slowly worked myself out of my Whole Foods job as I obtained more clients. During this time, I also started a business Instagram for my chef business. Whenever I would post the food I was making for clients, people would ask me for the recipe, so I began putting them on my website. Three years later, my food blog is now an income source for me as well!

What exactly does a personal chef do?!

A personal chef is someone that gives you 10 hours of your life back each week, really! I talk with my clients about their food preferences, and each week I come up with a menu based on them. On their cook date, I will grocery shop for them, cook the meals in their kitchen, package them, clean up, and have meals ready to eat for lunches and dinners that are customized completely to them every week!

Most of us moms are struggling to just get the PB&J slapped together for school lunch. How do you make sense of “healthy” in a diet-crazed culture?

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to see first hand what health means to different people. Some of my clients like Whole30 meals (I’m a Whole30 Approved Chef), some are vegan or vegetarian, and for some “healthy” means being able to sit down and eat a meal with their family that isn’t in the Chick-Fil-a drive-through. These days there are many healthy pre-made options for kids and families and guaranteed options for those who hire a personal chef.


TELL US YOUR SECRETS! As a personal chef, you’re grocery shopping around Charleston for clients all the time. Do you have any grocery shopping tips for moms on a budget?

I am at the grocery store multiple times a week for myself and for clients! Here’s what I found in Charleston:

  • Wholesale clubs will have better prices on better-for-you meats, so it’s worth it to have a membership to one.
  • Publix BOGO gets me EVERY time. I don’t see many grocery stores that do this!
  • Whether you’re a Walmart lover or hater, they have been stepping up their game and carrying more healthy brands.
  • LIDL in Goose Creek is a budget-friendly foodie’s dream! It’s similar to Aldi, but so much better in my opinion and totally worth the drive.
Motherhood often involves finding a balance between a rock and a hard place. We can all use tips on balancing day-to-day activities. How are you finding balance with blogging, work, and #momlife with a little babe at home? 

Truthfully, it’s HARD, and I’ll be honest and say that balance in this arena doesn’t really exist! Being a strong and independent career woman for so long made motherhood completely rock my world in good ways and bad ways. I’ve had to learn to ask for and accept help, and I’ve also had to invest in a team to help out which includes a part-time babysitter and a house cleaner. You really have to think deep down about what is best for your family and make it work if you want it all, and that will include getting out of your comfort zone on the regular. I’m still trying to figure it out, but I believe everything is “figureoutable!”

As a food (and now mom) blogger, what are some of the most common questions you get from other moms on the web?
  • How do you start a blog that makes money? Blogging is a real job despite what it may look like. I spent three years of my life working hard on it with very, very little monetary reward and even now it has its ebbs and flows. Blogging taught me to stay the course, pivot when I needed to, and learn skills I never would have dreamed of learning. Just like anything else worth doing, it takes time, effort, and patience even when nobody is looking at your content.
  • How do you start a personal chef business? I hope to answer this with a full online course and coaching within the next year!
  • How are you enjoying new motherhood? When people say everything changes, they weren’t kidding! The first couple of months were incredibly challenging, and anyone that says it’s blissful through and through is lying, in my opinion. I think it’s important to know that people only portray the blissful moments on social media which can make some feel like there is something wrong with them or the way they are doing things. That’s simply not true! This is a hard gig peppered with amazing moments that keep you going in the hardest of times. Every day I enjoy it more as me and my little guy grow up together, and I am so grateful to have this experience.

Thanks for sharing with us, Valerie!

Check out some of our other Moms to See in the 843!

Moms to See in the 843: Laura Allen and a Guide to Healthy Eating
Moms to See in the 843: Kate Camp & BabyQuip
Budget-Friendly Style Tips From A Local Fashion Blogger & Mom
Moms to See in the 843: G.M. Whitley
Moms to See in the 843: Lindsey Henderson & Activism with Kids
Moms to See in the 843: Gervase Kolmos
Moms to See in the 843: ABC News 4 Meteorologist, Emily Gracey
Moms to See in the 843: Meghan Rowe & White Leaf Provisions
Moms to See in the 843: Biz Foxworth & Brown Fox Coffee Co.
Moms to See in the 843: Dianne Miley, Author & Founder of SOUL
Moms to See in the 843: Renee Smith, Small Boutique Owner

Take the 2020 You Into Your Relationship!

Starting the New Year focusing on the New You? 

That’s cool, but maybe make this the year you focus on growing your marriage, too.

As the years go by in a relationship, it is very easy to view your partner as the one who needs to change. It is easy to blame the other person that the relationship isn’t quite the same as is used to be.


Well, not exactly, it isn’t always that easy. It takes two to tango!

Rather than waiting for your partner to ask you to dance, extend your hand and pull them on the dance floor yourself!

We need to stop blaming our partner for the relationship taking a back seat to an over-scheduled life and start making changes ourselves!

Be the one to take the step toward your partner. Be the partner you want to have!

Take the 2020 You Into Your Relationship! Charleston MomsHere are three tips to grow your marriage in 2020!

Craving a date night?

Don’t wait for your partner to call the babysitter and make the reservation. Plan it YOURSELF! Do it with a smile, and know that spending time together will be good for both of you.

Show interest in your partner’s interests.

Does your partner like gardening? Plant something together. Read up on the basics and watch your efforts take form in the garden. 

Does your partner enjoy fishing? Suggest the whole family goes on a fishing outing! 

Does your partner like running? Sign up for a fun-run that you can do together. 

Showing interest in your partner’s interests shows the interest you have in them! These first steps are often a good reminder of the good things that come from spending time together.

Find a relationship book!

Check out Eight Dates from John Gottman that encourages you to have conversations on the big topics that come up in marriage (sex, money, and trust to give a few examples)!

Growing your relationship can take time and effort (just like individual growth takes too). That is not a bad sign. It is reality! So continue to focus on yourself as you planned for in the new year, but, also, take your partner and your relationship along for the ride!

Becoming a Mom was the Best Thing for my Chronic Pain

Hello, my name is Ashley, and I’ve had chronic pain since I was 16. 

Generally, this is not how I like to introduce myself. I like to think that I am more than the (sometimes) debilitating pain that wracks my body. In all truthfulness, if you didn’t know me in the past, you won’t be familiar with this part of my story. 

The thing about chronic pain is that it isn’t always visible. It’s not something I like to share. I’ve learned how to live life harmoniously with this chronic illness. Unless I cancel on you last minute, I probably won’t share this part of me. 

Becoming a Mom was the Best Thing for my Chronic Pain Charleston Moms
Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

Like most moms, my life changed when I had kids. But because of my chronic illness, it changed in ways I didn’t expect.

My husband and I were both nervous about having kids: What would pregnancy do to the pain levels in my body? How would I do with crawling babies and scampering toddlers?

Turns out, becoming a mom was the best thing I could have done for my body. Here’s why. 

Having Kids Keeps Me Active. 

I love going on adventures with my kids: Hiking, exploring a park, or just playing in our driveway. Before kids, if I were in pain, I would crawl into bed and sleep the day away. Staying in bed all day isn’t possible with kids. The more active I am, the better it is for my muscles. 

Having Kids Forces Me to Slow Down. 

Although my family loves to “go,” rest time is sacred at our house. Before kids, during my full-time job, I would do it all. Then my body would pay for it. I would end up lying on my office floor, begging time to hurry up so I could go home and go to bed. (Yes, at 5:00 p.m.!) I know my limits now. I try to stay active in the morning, during my best hours, and when nap time comes for the kids, I rest, even if it’s just lying down and reading a book. My body needs it. I stay close to home in the afternoon, only venturing out if I’m feeling particularly well that day. 

Having Kids Taught Me about Healthier Eating.

My son was six months old, almost ready to start eating solids when I realized microwaved chicken pot pies and frozen yogurt treats were not a good *daily* lunch (and dinner). I didn’t want to feed my son that food, why would I feed it to myself? That’s when I tied on the apron strings. I started to cook real, whole meals. Who knew? My pain level went down, and I began to feel energized. All my years of doctors, no one had said to me, “Hey, maybe if you changed your diet, you could reduce some of the inflammation you are dealing with.”

Having Kids Makes Me Take Care of Me. 

I’m not that great about epic self-care. You know, the go-to-the-spa or have-a-girlfriends-weekend type? However, I make space for my health needs. I go to the chiropractor weekly, and I am careful about making commitments. I know my limits, and when our schedule is too full, I can’t function. My body cries for mercy, my energy zapped. But taking care of myself is also so beneficial for my kids. It means more outdoor time and a slower pace. These are the things that feed my spirit. My mental health is so essential to my physical health. If I’m stressed out, my body feels it. So, I incorporate daily rituals into my routine to relieve life’s anxieties. 

Having Kids Helps Me Get Out of My Routine.

I like routines. They help me get where I need to be without much thought. (And they help me balance my chronic pain needs.) However, sometimes breaking up the schedule is exactly what my family needs. And every mom knows you have to be flexible when you live with a toddler. Yesterday, instead of going home after school to rest and practice violin, we headed to the beach. It was cold. I was tired, but the warm sun was beckoning. Because I am so consistent with our schedule, I knew I could handle a detour from our routine. Since my parents were in town visiting, it was the perfect time to make a memory. So, I forewent my comfort and chose the adventure.

Becoming a Mom was the Best Thing for my Chronic Pain Charleston Moms
Photo by Taylor Grace Photography

As my children grow, I know I’ll have to re-think some of my strategies. We won’t always be able to stay home in the afternoons. Naptime will morph into a quiet time. The “mommying” part of my job won’t always be so physically demanding.

More than anything, though, my kids make me want to be healthier. I don’t want to miss out. I want to do everything I can to be a part of their world.

I do that by taking care of me.

I choose the adventure.  

Mini Screen Detox: Taking Small Steps to Decrease Screen Time

How do you handle screen time with your kids?

I think a lot of us have been down this road before. We need to get something done, or someone is sick, or you need some time alone, so you turn on the TV or hand over the tablet, hoping it will keep your kid busy for a little bit. Then before you know it, they’ve been watching unboxing toy videos for two hours, and now they’re grumpy and hungry. Plus, they want to make two pounds of glitter slime from a recipe they just found. Mini Screen Detox: Taking Small Steps to Decrease Screen Time Charleston Moms





Screen time isn’t fantastic for our kids, but it’s a necessary evil in my home. We don’t have super strict rules on how much or how little they can have, and sometimes things get out of hand.

I decided in the spirit of New Year’s Resolutions, 2020 will be the year that our household cuts back on screens. Maybe eventually (probably not) we’ll be screen-free, but until then, I’m working on some baby steps to move forward, and, hopefully, if you’re in the same boat, they’ll help you too.

Cutting Back On My Use

My husband and I need to cut back on our screen time while the kids are awake. I will be the first to admit; my phone is glued to my hand. I use it for everything: emails, social media, taking pictures, writing this post, all on my phone. And if my husband can’t be found, he’s likely at the desktop with his headphones on, playing a videogame. These are bad habits we have to break before we can tell our kids they can’t watch another cartoon.

Making Better Schedules

Getting into a new routine can be hard for kids, but having a loose schedule is a great way to cut back on screen time. I’m not saying everything has to be planned hour to hour, but having breakfast time, music time, craft/coloring time, free time (the kids usually go off to play outside or in their rooms), and then lunchtime, has been my loose schedule for the last week. I won’t lie. There was some protesting since it was still winter break, and I cut off screens until after lunch, but they adjusted just fine. Figuring out a couple of easy activities to transition to throughout the day and sticking to it will help your kids realize their imaginations are more fun than the newest episode of Paw Patrol.


Your kids blew through the activities you planned, colored all the papers, built all the blocks, and even cleaned their plates during breakfast and lunch, now what? Luckily, my kids have a couple of go-to’s that will distract them from any topic, even TV at any time. If we have the supplies, we bake. Just a box cake or cookie mix is good enough for them, and it takes up only enough time for them to decide it’s time to play with something else while it’s in the oven. If I don’t have the supplies or time to bake, then I turn on their favorite music. Their playlist is filled with happy pop songs from movies they love, and they stop whatever they’re doing immediately (even whining about their tablet) to start an impromptu dance party. Keep things that your kids love in your back pocket for times when they need to be redirected from the screens.

Have a Time Limit

When screen time does arrive, make sure you and your kids know there is a limit. Set a loud timer, or set the parental controls on their tablets, so it turns off after a certain amount of time. Making sure the screens are all off at least an hour before bedtime has been a lifesaver in our home as well. The kids naturally calm down and are much easier to get ready for bed.

Mini Screen Detox: Taking Small Steps to Decrease Screen Time Charleston MomsFinding a digital balance is an ongoing struggle at my house.

Do the kids still complain sometimes? Yes. But I do feel like they are using their imagination more, and we have more time to do other things because we’re not continually stuck in the next episode loop. They’re still wild, crazy, loud kids, but at least I feel a little better about how they’re spending their time. Plus, their brains aren’t completely turned to mush!

How do you handle screen time at your house? What advice do you have to give? Tell us in the comments below.

Soup Recipes to Keep You Warm This Winter


The holidays are over. No more social gatherings and parties. Life is slowly getting back to normal. And the colder, winter months have arrived. Winters in Charleston are nothing to complain about – the average high in January hovers around 60 degrees. But, when temperatures drop, and the heater kicks on, nothing is more comforting than a bowl of soup. There’s something about it that makes you feel like you’re being wrapped in a warm, cozy blanket. Here are three delicious and easy-to-make soup recipes to keep you warm this winter.

Soup Recipes to Keep You Warm This Winter

Chicken and Orzo Soup

Soup Recipes to Keep You Warm This Winter Charleston Moms

During the workweek, this chicken and orzo soup is one of my go-to meals because I can get it on the table in about 15 minutes. Most likely, you’ll have most of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge. Pick up a rotisserie chicken on the way home from work to make things easier on yourself. That way, you don’t have to worry about cooking the chicken AND making the soup. I’m all about shortcuts Monday through Friday because my tank is usually close to empty when I get home. Also, you can substitute the orzo for any short pasta, like egg noodles, if you want to change things up a bit. Serve this up with a baguette, and you have a quick, easy, and delicious meal.


  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded – OR – 3 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup orzo
  • granulated chicken bouillon to taste
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large stockpot, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and saute the onion, carrot, and celery until translucent.

  2. Add 8 cups of chicken stock to the pot.

  3. Add the orzo and cook the pasta until it’s al dente.

  4. Once cooked, add the shredded / diced chicken.

  5. After you add the chicken, depending on how brothy you like your soup, you may want to add more. Also, this is where I like to taste the broth and see if / how much chicken bouillon I need to add.

  6. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Soup Recipes to Keep You Warm This Winter Charleston Moms

This creamy butternut squash soup screams “cold weather buster” to me. Something about the thickness of the soup gives it a hearty feel – like it will stay with you for a while. Butternut squash is hard to cut through. So, I like to buy the squash that’s already cleaned and chopped. For this particular recipe, you’ll need the two pound container. This soup makes a delicious first course – or pair it with a salad for a filling lunch or dinner.


Roasted Veggies

  • 2 lbs diced butternut squash
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into 1/2 ” rings
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

The Soup

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup white wine (I used sauvignon blanc)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half and half


  1. Preheat the oven to 450.

  2. Put the butternut squash and onion on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper and mix it all around. I like to use my hands for this step. Place veggies in the oven and roast for 25 – 30 minutes until they’re soft and have some brown edges.

  3. Transfer the cooked veggies to a dutch oven and add 1 tsp of olive oil. Stir to coat, cover and cook for 3 – 5 minutes on medium-low until the veggies are really soft.

  4. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Then, stir in the wine and bay leaf for about 1 minute.

  5. Add the broths. Bring to a boil. Then, bring down the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

  6. Remove the bay leaf.

  7. Blend the soup with a hand blender, or use a traditional blender. If you’re using a traditional blender, it’s best to blend in batches, so you don’t get soup everywhere.

  8. Add the half and half a bit at a time to get the level of “creaminess” you want. I usually don’t use the entire 1/2 cup. But it depends on what you like. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away.

  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Soup Recipes to Keep You Warm This Winter Charleston Moms

When I make chicken tortilla soup, I prefer the more traditional broth-based version as opposed to the creamier, Tex-Mex version. To me, the broth-based version is lighter, and you can really taste the fresh ingredients. But they are both delicious. For this particular recipe, I like to top the soup with some grated Monterey jack cheese, chips, and of course – avocado. Everything tastes better with avocado on top, don’t you think? Serve it up with a batch of red wine sangria, and you’ll be happy and warm inside all night long.


Soup ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded OR 3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • granulated chicken bouillon (my favorite brand is Knorr’s)
  • 2-3 tbsp minced cilantro


  • crumbled tortilla chips
  • shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  • avocado slices
  • cilantro leaves


  1. Shred the rotisserie chicken or the cooked chicken breasts. Set aside.

  2. Open the can of Rotel and separate the tomatoes/peppers and juice into two separate bowls. Set aside.

  3. Dice the small onion and begin sauteing in a large Dutch oven with a few swirls of olive oil and the cumin. You want to start sweating out the onions; you don’t want to brown them. Although a little caramelization is tasty. About 2 – 3 minutes.

  4. Once the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and peppers from the can of Rotel to the pot. Saute for about 2 – 3 minutes.

  5. Now, add the 8 cups of chicken broth and tomato juice from the can of Rotel. Stir.

  6. Next, you’ll need to TASTE the broth and decide how much of the chicken bouillon granules you want to add. Typically, I’ll add 1 – 2 tablespoons to taste to ensure my broth tastes like chicken broth and not slightly chicken-flavored water.

  7. Add the shredded chicken and the minced cilantro to the broth. Remember – the cilantro is optional. Especially if you’re one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap.

  8. When you serve the soup, be sure to add the crumbled tortilla chips to make it an authentic “chicken tortilla soup.” I love adding the Monterrey jack cheese and avocado to mine. You can even add more cilantro leaves if you’re a cilantro fan.

What are your favorite cold-weather soup recipes? Drop a note in the comments!

The Type of Friendship I Didn’t Know We Needed

There’s a kind of friendship that I have discovered since having kids that I never knew we needed until I found it. It’s the kind of friendship that makes life with kids so much easier and much more FUN. If you can find a couple that both you and your husband love spending time with, with kids that are similar ages to yours, you’ve hit the friendship jackpot.

The “Couple BFFs” is the unicorn of friendships, because it’s not necessarily easy to find both a husband and wife that you AND your husband not only gel with but actually want to hang out with.

Consider yourself lucky if you find them!

I was just getting to know my friend MaryBeth when we were out for a “Mom’s Night Out” with some other new mom friends. As we were walking to the parking garage to leave, she casually mentioned mid-conversation that her husband likes to fish. My ears perked up. We were new-ish to the area and were trying to meet people. My internal monologue was, “Oooh! Your husband likes to fish? MY husband likes to fish! We’re going to need to start hanging out. Did we just become best friends?!” We had our husbands exchange numbers, and we started hanging out with just our families. That was probably four years ago, and now they are just our best buds!

The Type of Friendship I Didn’t Know We Needed Charleston MomsNow that we’ve found our people, I totally recognize that many of my other mom friends have found their people too! I can’t over-hype how awesome this type of friendship is.

You know you’ve found your Couple BFF’s if:

  1. It’s assumed that you are doing something together once a week.
  2. You love their kids like your own, and you aren’t grossed out if one of their kids is sick.
  3. Your husband hangs out with your friend’s husband one-on-one as much as you hang out with the wife.
  4. You travel well together and can imagine doing big family trips together.
  5. Your kids can play together for long periods of time with minimal drama.
  6. You like the same things, and it’s easy to decide what to do.
  7. Weekend get-togethers turn in to all-day hangouts.
  8. The pressure is off. No need to clean your house or have a big dinner prepared.
  9. Sleeping over at each other’s house on a random Saturday? Not a weird thing to do at all.
  10. You have a group text with all four of you.
  11. Fingers crossed that your kids will get married so you can have your BFF’s as in-laws.

I think people often describe meeting new friends as parents like dating – and it’s true! You have to be brave, get their number, invite them to do something, and follow up if it went well! It sometimes feels awkward to put yourself out there, but just do it. You really have nothing to lose and only really great friends to gain!

Seeing is Believing: Scientific Strategies for Your 2020 Vision

Seeing is Believing: Scientific Strategies for Your 2020 Vision Charleston MomsYour Future’s So Bright, You Gotta Wear Shades 

Forget your 2020 New Year’s Resolutions—they’re coming true! No, you are not dreaming or being indoctrinated into Oprah’s book club to re-read, The Secret. Research shows visualizations and affirmations can help make the positive changes you want to see in your life. However, maintaining them is another story. According to a study in 2014, only 8% of people who set out to achieve their New Year’s goals, actually make them. Only 64% stick it out past one month, 46% past six months, and 8% through the end to long-term achievement.

Don’t fret; the year has only just begun! Hopefully, these psychologically sound goal-setting tools can help.

Scientifically Woo-woo Solutions?

I vented to my sage esthetician during a routine threading. While painfully pulling hairs from my eyebrows, she reminded me of the truth.

“That which you give your attention to expands,” she said.

She expounded on the laws of attraction and how our subconscious mind can learn to accept our patterns of thinking. This causes a change for better or worse in our long-term mindset. This affects our beliefs, feelings, and habits. It’s like gardening. If you offer plants sun and water, (maybe even talk nicely to them) they will grow. 

Planting Seeds

Negative thoughts can grow like weeds and stifle the growth of our desired plants (or goals) if we let them. When we notice something spouting in our garden that we do not want, or something that needs changing, we need to remove it, just as we would pull unwanted weeds.

Fertilize Your Future

Scientific literature supports that the same brain regions are activated when we visualize an action and when we actually perform it. We know that athletes use detailed imagery and visualizations to prepare before events. However, there’s more to it than using imagination and reciting positive phrases to ensure long-term change. It takes strong intentions behind your miracle grow to keep the flowers blooming in 2020.

We begin to grow with these foundational bedrocks

When creating visualizations:
1. Set your goal starting with something fairly easy. Put it all on paper.
2. Create a clear idea or picture (thinking of it in the present, existing how you want it).
3. Focus on it often (in a relaxed way).
4. Give it positive energy (imagine it coming to you, see yourself achieving it).

When creating affirmations:
1. Phrase affirmations in the present tense, not in the future. Ex. I now have a new job.
2. Phrase affirmations positively. Speak of what you do want, not what you don’t.
3. Keep affirmations short and simple.
4. Choose what feels right to you
and what you want (not what someone wants for you).
5. Take an attitude of acceptance for what is (including unpleasant situations or feelings), while taking every opportunity to begin creating what will make you happiest.
6. Believe your affirmations to be true. Ex. I am actively taking steps to . . . . 

Seeing is Believing: Scientific Strategies for Your 2020 Vision Charleston MomsWeathering the Storm in 2020

Some cynics might ask, what if my toddler wreaks havoc in my metaphorical flowerbed? #$%^ happens! You’re right, positive thinking alone doesn’t stand a chance! Gabriele Oettingen, a researcher on human motivation, reveals why conventional wisdom falls short. On her website, she lays out how to WOOP (WishOutcomeObstaclePlan) your life into shape, not to be confused with WhoompOettingen uses a four-step process, incorporating mental contrasting and if-then planning to create a particularly potent habit-fighting fertilizer. 

Use Deets, Not Deet

, you must pick an obtainable wish or something you would like to change or cultivate in your life. Mental contrasting, in a nutshell, involves thinking positively about how it will be when you achieve your goal while thinking realistically about what it will take to get there.

The three W’s can help break this down. W x 3:  What is your goal? When will you achieve it? Why is it important?

Second, imagine how you will feel attaining your goal (can you feel the pride, relief, or happiness that comes from achieving it?) Mental contrasting turns wishes and daydreams into reality, by bringing into focus what you will need to do to make it happen.

Now, step three
. What stands in your way? Are there too many goals, are you distracted, did you forget your goal? Sometimes we “miss” opportunities because we are reluctant to take the necessary steps to reach our goal, especially when it’s too daunting.

And lastly, an if-then plan or implementation intention. Start with taking a goal you want to achieve and then spelling out exactly when, where, and how you will achieve it. Ex. If I am in __ (situation), then I will __ (take this action). Basically, it’s like problem-solving for relapse prevention. Ex. If trying to cut back on emotional eating, you plan to keep a food diary to mindfully think before devouring that extra serving of chips. Or, perhaps, you’ve already thought of replacing chips for fruit.

A New Year’s Resolution to Survive, Embracing the Mess! 

Mama’s be compassionate with yourself while exploring and setting goals in 2020. Consider a gratitude journal to help you focus on the positive you already have in your life (rather than what you feel you lack). Trust your worthiness in achieving your goal. Share your vision with a trusted person for added accountability. Track on your progress regularly. Create a short mantra for your goal that can serve as your daily reminder. Hold the vision and trust the process. 

You can’t force the outcome, just plant the seeds and watch your intentions bloom when the time is right.

Not Single, But Alone

We are not single.

We are married or in committed relationships. We are not single parents navigating the challenges of raising a child entirely on our own without financial or emotional support from the other parent.

No, we are not single, but we are too often doing it all by ourselves.

We are military spouses whose serviceperson is deployed or stationed elsewhere. We are the wives of first responders who work days on, days off, and who often are “on-call” ready to run into work at a moment’s notice. We are the partners of seasonal workers – the fishermen, the oil rigs – who spend months away from us to earn the bulk of that year’s income. We are the silent ones trying to compensate for partners who are physically present but are succumbing to addiction, leaving us emotionally bereft. We are every other type of mom who has a significant other who works odd hours or spends days, weeks, or months away. We are not single, but the daily grind of domestic life falls squarely on our exhausted shoulders most of the time.

We are not single.

We are the ones who can never meet for an impromptu drink with girlfriends because we don’t have another adult at home to stay with our kids. Social outings take more notice than our friends who have only to wait for their husbands to come home from work at a reasonable time. We are the ones who shell out a small fortune every month on babysitting because we need to get out for obligatory work activities, appointments, or just a bit of social relaxation. We are the ones often awkwardly flying solo at couple’s activities ready to answer to the inevitable question, “Where is [Insert Spouse’s Name]”?

We are not single.

We are trying hard to be both mom and dad. We are the solo parent sitting next to other kids’ parents at the dance recitals, T-ball games, kids’ birthday parties, Christmas programs, and other special activities in the lives of our children. We answer heart-breaking questions from our little ones about why Daddy isn’t home/can’t be here/isn’t available. We try to swallow down the bitter pill that comes when we inevitably fail at being both Mom and Dad, and our three-nager screams, “I want Daddy, not you!” We think it, but don’t say our swallowed down response, “There is only me, and I’m doing the best I can!”

We are not single.

We try not to be resentful, and usually, we’re not. Most of us knew what we were getting into when we entered these relationships, but then sometimes like a silent ghost, the anger and resentment sneaks up behind us and penetrates our soul. We can go days without speaking to another adult, weeks without anyone asking us how our day went, months without getting a break to recharge and feel like ourselves again. Or maybe we didn’t sign up for this situation. We knew they were heavy drinkers, but we didn’t realize it would escalate into a full-blown, debilitating addiction. We knew that they planned to open a service-oriented business, but didn’t know that they planned to do it all. We love how they look in their uniforms, but we didn’t look out to see war looming on the horizon, ready to muddy those boots. We love them, but sometimes we are so exhausted, we can hardly breathe.

We are not single.

Our friends may give us a lot of credit – “I don’t know how you do it” – for the times when our partners are away, but they don’t realize that families are living organisms and the time when our spouse is home maybe even more challenging. Our service spouse comes home exhausted from a deployment where they couldn’t tell us where they were or what they did, and they lost people who were like brothers to them that we have never even met. The normalcy of family life is jarring, disorienting, and they don’t know how to relate to their babies who aren’t babies anymore because they missed the birthdays, the holidays, the first words, the first steps, and so many other milestones.  They want to make up for lost time, but they don’t know the routine of the family anymore.  They need time – and so do we – to reintegrate.

No, we are not single.

But we are often alone trying to be two parents for our children when being one can be hard enough. We are stalwarts in our domestic world, but at night, when the silence finally descends upon our home, and we’re lying in bed with our thoughts and fears crowding in, we can’t help but sometimes feel empty because while we may not be single, we are usually alone.

Not Single, But Alone Charleston MomsI want to hear from you! Share your experience.

Weekend Events for Kids


There are lots of great events for kids happening around Charleston this weekend! What’s going on your calendar? Want to see all the kid-friendly events taking place throughout the month? Check out our Mom’s Guide to January: Family-Friendly Events Around Charleston.

Don’t forget to check out our Resources Page for all our local guides – parks & playgroundsphotographersbirthday parties, and more!

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weekendroundup11.8WITH TEXT (12)
Parent to Parent Healthy & Fit Families
Come join us and make a Family Pledge to start 2020 with a Healthy Lifestyle! This workshop will be a FUN & interactive way for families to learn the importance of PLAY, staying active & eating healthy together!
Lights of Magnolia
Wednesday through Sunday, the #LightsofMagnolia begin at 5:30 and end at 9:30 PM. This #FestivalofLights began on November 15 and will conclude on March 15. Twenty-three sets on eleven acres glow throughout the gardens and along the historic Live Oak...
Ice Cream for Breakfast Day
Round up the kiddos, your best pals, grandparents, and cousins and join us on Saturday, Feb. 1 for our fourth annual Ice Cream for Breakfast Day event. We’ll be celebrating from 8 a.m. to noon, scooping our new Skillet Cinnamon Roll ice cream for t...
Lowcountry Parent Character Breakfast
Lowcountry Parent would like to invite you to attend our Character Breakfast presented by Summerville Medical Center! Enjoy breakfast while meeting some of your favorite characters! Characters for this breakfast will include Snow Sisters, Magical Sno...
Story Time in The Cave
MUST Call to reserve your child’s spot as space is limited. Story time for little ones in our Himalayan Salt Cave. How cool is that?!??! Only $10 per child for spending an hour of singing, stretching and reading. If your child is comfortable to...
Build your own Bat Box Class
Bats need our help! Bats continue to experience habitat loss and are running out of suitable roosting sites. Join us for a presentation and workshop on why bat boxes are important, how to build one, and where to install it on your property. Visitors ...
The Little Gym Turns 10!
Join us in celebrating 10 years in the Lowcountry! Drop by between 3pm and 5pm for fun, games, pizza, ice cream, & more! RSVP to join our Birthday Party!
Lights of Magnolia
Wednesday through Sunday, the #LightsofMagnolia begin at 5:30 and end at 9:30 PM. This #FestivalofLights began on November 15 and will conclude on March 15. Twenty-three sets on eleven acres glow throughout the gardens and along the historic Live Oak...
Bowling Summerville Stars & Strikes
99 Cent Bowling – Stars & Strikes
Enjoy 99¢ bowling and 99¢ shoe rental from open until noon. If you feel like “splurging” a little, VIP Lanes will be $1.99 per game (where applicable). Time: 9 a.m. – noon Location: Stars and Strikes, 4570 Ladson Road, Summerville, 29485
Seaside Storytime at the Aquarium
Join Aquarium staff as they interact with live animals and read their favorite marine storybooks to kids Time: 9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Location: SC Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, 29401
Lights of Magnolia
Wednesday through Sunday, the #LightsofMagnolia begin at 5:30 and end at 9:30 PM. This #FestivalofLights began on November 15 and will conclude on March 15. Twenty-three sets on eleven acres glow throughout the gardens and along the historic Live Oak...



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