The Descent from Hell.

I was that parent, the one on the plane with the screaming child, yup, that was me.  I consider myself a pretty seasoned parent, with three children, the oldest being 8, I have done many things by myself with my kids.  Flying however, was not one of them.  How I managed to get through my 8 years of parenting without taking a child on an airplane says two things.  One, we don’t travel much, and when we do we drive; and two, we generally reserve air travel for infrequent get aways for my husband and I.  Airfare for a family of four can break the budget, airfare for two is generally something we can work out.

This weekend I had to travel for work, I was flying from Myrtle Beach to Atlantic City, one coastal location to another I must point out, and I decided to bring the baby with me. My sister has not seen her since she was 5 days old, and I wanted to see my sister’s babies.

These babies don't cry.

These babies don’t cry.

I also didn’t want to leave my husband as a single dad to three, so off on an adventure we went.  I don’t normally get anxious, it’s not in my nature,  but the thought of flying with a 9 month old infant was enough to make me vomit.  Generaly she is a  great baby, always happy, gives  big toothy grins that can melt a strangers heart, but last night on Spirit Airs flight 350 there were no melting hearts.

The nightmare started when the plane was delayed for an hour, that had me pushing the stroller through the airport in a continuous loop.  I couldn’t tell from the glances if I was getting…”aww look at the cute baby” or “what is that lady thinking flying at night with an infant”  Quite frankly I didn’t care, we were on an adventure.  The nightmare continued when we pulled away from the gate and the lady three rows back had a panic attack, they had to pull the plane back to the gate, and let her and her mother off the flight, then I got a little reprieve from my nightmare, but not for long.

They gave me a window seat.  You actually get more space with the window seat because it is pushed out a little.  Remember that one if you find yourself travelling with a baby.  Some may say the aisle is better, but they told me the window was the best place for a lap infant, and given I don’t have anything to compare it to, I agree.  The woman who checked me in was on team Baby Boo because she left the middle seat empty.  Thank you Spirit Airlines Check In Person.   The man in the aisle seat was 6’2 and on a last minute trip, he offered to buy me a drink, I think he was hoping I might let the baby sip a little, or he was hitting on me, (I doubt it), but I politely declined.   Baby Boo did OK for the first half of the flight, eating puffs, playing with toys, playing peek-a-boo with the grandma behind us, babbling and fussing a little,  then we started the descent from hell.

Ear Plugs Please.  My poor baby started screaming, and I mean screaming like someone was hitting her with a hot poker, I could not get her calmed down, she refused her bottle, refused any of her comfort items, she contorted herself into positions I did not know were possible and screamed and screamed and screamed.  I felt horrible.  There are only few moments in my lifetime of parenting that I could not comfort my child, and this was one of them.  Finally with about ten minutes left she exhausted herself and fell asleep.

My poor Boo.  The good news:  people are kind.  I did not get a single look of annoyance, instead I was greeted by sympathetic looks that non-verbally said to me, “I am a mom, a dad, a grandmom or a granddad, and that was harder on you than any of us or the baby.  Thank God for short flights, kind people, and the lady at the ticket counter who left the middle seat empty.  Here’s to Tuesday morning when we fly back home.


A Stormy Sea Trout

When we moved to Hilton Head, it came with an Honorary Meteorology Degree from the college of  I am a compulsive weather checker, I check the 5 day, the 10 day, the hourly, I look at the radar maps, the works.  The last thing I want is to find myself stuck on the beach with the kids in the middle of a thunderstorm.  I say stuck, because sometimes these storms come out of nowhere in this sub-tropical climate, and with two kids and a baby, getting off the beach in general  makes for good entertainment to those around us.  If we have to do anything quickly it becomes comedy hour.  I try to never have to rush.

One of my first memories of bad weather was Fourth of July in the mid 80’s on a sailboat.  We were on the Chesapeake Bay, and it got nasty fast.  I think my parents were scared, but to my eight year old mind, it was memorable because It was the first and only time I ever got sea sick.  I think I turned green like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Circa 1984

Circa 1984

We do not have a boat yet, much to my husband’s dismay, he would love a small fishing boat, I would love a small boat with a cabin for napping babies, mixing drinks, and using the port-o-pots small boats are famous for.  I am only speculating, but I assume that when we do get a boat, it comes with a neatly framed Doctorate Degree in Meteorology, from the school of google.  Well boat or no boat, storms do roll in, and tonight my husband was fishing when this one came through.

...and the clouds roll in.

…and the clouds roll in.

I used to call him when I would see a storm rolling in and tell him there’s a storm rolling in.  He would laugh and tell me that he was standing on a little piece of sand surrounded by water, of course he knew there was a storm rolling in.  He saw the storm long before I did.   So therefore, I don’t call him anymore, now I just keep checking the front window to see if he is home.    Tonight he got home before the rain started, and didn’t have tales of fighting the big one, but he did have tales of a big mullet in his cast net and a stormy sea trout.

A stormy little sea trout.

A stormy sea trout.

So even when the clouds are rolling in, the fish are still biting.

When Wednesday feels like Friday

It’s Wednesday night on Hilton Head but feels like Friday.  This is normally a terrible realization.  That split second when you think its Friday, and then woops, it’s only Wednesday.  Those weeks usually stink.  It is different today, I truly keep forgetting that my husband has to work tomorrow.  The schools are closed because of the Heritage Golf Tournament, so it really does feel like a Friday.  My daughter is at a friends, the baby is sleeping and my husband just walked down to the pool with the with our son and his friend. So I find myself alone on this Wednesday Friday Night.  To quote Adam Sandler, “Not to shabby”

There are two important things any coastal parent must always have on hand.  One is bug spray.  The blood suckers down here will eat you alive.  The best bug spray in the world is  Cactus Juice. .  I have a hard time finding this locally, I have seen it in one store on the island, down in The Fresh Market Shoppes, in the Hilton Heat Shirt Company.  This is a very typical Souvenir Shop, but one I always take visitors to.  I even found a really cool blue beaded turtle that was lovingly given to a turtle loving friend.   Cactus Juice is on their shelves, along with some really other cute things.  But I have not ventured down to the Hilton Head Shirt Company recently, so I must settle for the an old stand by.

Always in the medicine cabinet.

Always in the medicine cabinet.

I also recently saw a post about making your own bug spray.  I can’t wait to try this recipe from  I love her stuff, she makes all kinds of all natural living recipes and lots of other good stuff.

Wellness Mama Essential Oil Bug Spray

Wellness Mama Bug Spray Ingredients:

  • Essential oils: choose from Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint
  • Natural Witch Hazel
  • Distilled or boiled Water
  • Vegetable glycerin (optional)

How to Make Homemade Bug Spray:

  1. Fill spray bottle (I used 8 ounce) 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water
  2. Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top
  3. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin if using
  4. Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be. My personal favorite mix is: Rosemary, Clove, Cajeput, Lavender, Cinnamon and Eucalyptus… it works great and smells good too!

I mentioned earlier that there were two things a Coastal Parent needed to have on hand at all times, the first was bug spray, the second is beer.  There is something amazing about an icy cold beer on a really hot day.  Something about being so thirsty that all you can think about is an ice cold beer.  Like my bug spray I am generally pretty particular about my ice cold beer of choice.  My preferred cold brew of choice is the very boring Miller Lite bottle.  However, following suit with the bug spray, I am out of Miller Lite bottles, so I am drinking a Longboard Island Lager, “Liquid Aloha” as the can states!

beer and bugs 001

“Liquid Aloha”

I guess you could say it is a back-up kind of night.  I may not have my first choice of things, but I am unexpectedly sitting on my back porch by myself, so my back ups are just fine. After all when a Wednesday feels like a Friday, any beer will do.


The PGA Has Arrived

Every April on Hilton Head Island, the PGA rolls in for the annual Heritage Golf Tournament.  Among the locals, you will find two trains of thought.  One is, stay home, don’t leave your drive way, the island is packed to the gills with tourists who don’t know where they are going, they get lost in our many traffic circles, and jam our bike paths.  I am of the other mind set…BRING IT ON!  I live on the more residential North End of the Island, the Heritage Tournament is played on the South End in the Sea Pines Resort.  Even though I may not be affected by the tournament directly, I can feel the energy of it.  The whole island starts buzzing with excitement during Heritage Week.  The schools are closed, everyone is busy, and the restaurants are packed.

The first year my husband went with our son, our son beat him in a putting contest hosted by a sponsor.  He made four putts to my husband’s three.  At the time he had just turned six and was apparently the talk of the tent.  He still has the prize he won, tells the story proudly, and thinks he is a better golfer than his dad.

The coveted prize in the putting contest.

The coveted prize in the putting contest.

If you happen to find yourself on Hilton Head Island during the golf tournament, enjoy yourself, plan ahead, eat at One Hot Mama’s and bring your plaid.

It’s All About The Pot.

When we decided to pack it all up and move to Hilton Head Island from the Philadelphia suburbs, we knew we had to downsize.   One thing that moving 850 miles on a tight budget will force you to do is downsize your life to that of a minimalist.  I find it very therapeutic. There were some things we agreed we would not be bringing, some we brought and didn’t need (aka the blue sled) and some we couldn’t bear to part with.

We did not bring the antique organ that sat in my husbands foyer for most of his life,  an amazingly ornate and intricate piece, this little piece of history lovingly moved to his sister’s house to be played with by her children.

I miss looking at this.

I miss looking at this.

We should not have brought the blue sled.  Note to anyone thinking about moving to the Low Country of  South Carolina, YOU WILL NOT NEED A BLUE PLASTIC SLED.

This will not happen on Hilton Head Island, there are no hills.

This won’t happen on Hilton Head Island, there are no hills, or snow.

The one thing we never even considered leaving north was his grandmother’s cast iron pot.

The Pot.

The Pot.  Apparently we couldn’t bear to part with the vintage 1970’s green Tupperware canister either, as seen in the background.

This is the pot of all pots.  This bad boy makes the best sauce, chili & soup on the planet.  It really is all about the pot, I don’t think my stellar cooking skills even equate.  This pot is coveted by many, and I sometimes wonder if it is going to be like the old carved bear from College.  This bear, carved out of a log, was kidnapped, held for ransom, screwed to a table, and returned to its owners many times.  I ended up with it and believe it still sits on the porch of my sister’s house.  I fear my husband’s cousin will creep in and creep out with a 25lb cast iron pot on his back.

The days my husband comes home from work and sees the pot on the stove, he is sure to smile, and today was one of those days.   Today I made gumbo.  Being that we are in the South, I thought Gumbo was a good recipe for my first Coastal Parenting dinner.  Dinner is an area of my life that is completely EE.  (EE Stands for Effortless Effectiveness)  Even with three kids, I have a dinner routine down and even in the most frazzled state can put something resembling a family meal on the table, it is something I look forward to, something I enjoy, therefore it is effortless.  Gumbo however is much better if it sits all day, so I started my gumbo in the morning.

This is my gumbo.  The real definition of Gumbo is a spicy chicken or seafood soup, typically thickened with a roux, okra, or rice.  I frequently add shrimp, but have not experimented with any other seafoods.

Today I made Chicken and Andouille Gumbo.  There is not really a recipe to follow, use what you have in your fridge.  I try to keep andouille in the freezer because it is the only ingredient I don’t generally have on hand.

You will need:

Chicken (I prefer dark meat) andouille sausage, bell pepper, onion, celery, tomato sauce, oil, flour, cajon seasoning or use your own, chicken stock.

There is no stock in this picture.  I was making stock in a small pot off to the side because I forgot it this morning at the store.

There is no stock in this picture. I was making stock in a small pot off to the side because I forgot it this morning at the store.

Put a little oil in the bottom of you pan and sear the chicken (on the bone) skin side down.  Turn it a couple times, and once the skin has rendered a little bit, pull it out and add your diced celery, onion and pepper.  I also use a 1/2 a link of sausage with the veg and chop it real small and cook it with the veggies.  It will almost melt and will season your soup.  Cook this until the veggies get tender, then add some flour.  I just sprinkle some over the veggies, the professionals say to use equal parts oil and flour, but since I don’t measure my oil I just eye ball the flour.  I am sure the Fab Food Fairy could help.  Once you cook out the flour a bit, add the chicken stock.  I use what I have on hand, also something I keep in the freezer.   Today I added a can of tomato sauce, sometimes I use tomato paste and some water.  You really can’t mess this up.

I then add the partially cooked chicken and chopped andouille to the pot.  Then turn it on low and walk away. After a few hours your house will smell awesome. When it starts to smell really good, pull the chicken out and let it cool.  Once cool, pull the meat and put it back in the pot.  Some people cook their rice directly in their gumbo, but my husband prefers to have is gumbo over rice.  If you are going to cook the rice in the gumbo put it in earlier than you think you need to, it takes rice a long time to cook on low.

blog gumbo 036

So being that I put this together in the morning, let it sit all day in my favorite pot, and fill the house with love, I was free from 4-5 (my usual cooking time) so we went to the pool.  Happy Gumbo Day.

Beach, City, Suburbs, sometimes it doesn’t matter.

It is early on our little island, and my two girls are awake.  The baby has been up since the 5’s and my 6 year old followed suit.  Sometimes it doesn’t matter where you live, somethings never change, and some things should change.  Early April on Hilton Head is usually a dream, the weather is beautiful, the pools are open, the beaches are not crowded, except for today.  Today it is grey.

A grey morning on Hilton Head Island.

A grey morning on Hilton Head Island.

April, is also the block of time the public schools administer the MAP tests.  Measure of Academic Progress.  My earliest post college career was as a teacher, so I am well educated in measuring academic progress, I am not however a fan of standardized testing starting in Kindergarten.

Last night my 6 year old called me back to her room close to 9 o:clock, which is past her normal bedtime, I was surprised she was still awake.  When I asked her what was bothering her, she, without hesitation told me, “my MAP test is tomorrow, and I don’t know what the symbol means.”  Feeling like a detective I told her I did not know what symbol she was talking about, she immediately sits up and draws an X with her fingers on her covers.  Multiplication, she is laying in her bed stressing about multiplication, she is in kindergarten.  I tried to explain to her that she was very smart, and the only reason why the “X” was showing up on her test was to see how far she could stretch with her knowledge and if she didn’t know the answer to the “X” questions no one would care.  Again, her tears started flowing, and she told me that she cared.  I guess there is something to be said about a child who puts more pressure on themselves then their parents do.

Now, I don’t do stress, I learned this from, and I certainly don’t want my children to do stress.  So I let her get up, watch the end of American Idol and then had my husband carry her back to bed.  She fell asleep immediately, but woke up abnormally early.  This little girl is stressing about a test and it breaks my heart.

There is only one thing to do on testing day, and that is to make a hearty breakfast, I didn’t say healthy, because the cinnamon buns she requested are far from healthy, but add a little fruit and the meal will stick with her for most of the morning.  There are four days of MAP testing, and a few nights ago, she told me she had MAP testing the next morning. So that morning, we all wake up and I make a BIG breakfast.  When I picked her up from school I asked her how MAP was and she started giggling like only a little girl can giggle, she tells me she didn’t have MAP testing, she just wanted a big breakfast.  Little Stinker.

Our hearty, and could be healthier breakfast.

Our hearty, and could be healthier breakfast.

So this morning, I sent her off with braids in her hair, a belly full of food, an extra long hug and warm wishes to not worry about her MAP test.  Beach, City, Suburbs, sometimes it doesn’t matter!

Holy Guacamole!

Living on an island you would expect to find lots and lots of seafood restaurants, and you will.  Some are amazing, some are tourist traps.  I delve deeper into seafood options in a coming blog.  I was completely surprised however by the quality of the Mexican food.  There are some great options if you are looking for a Mexican feast.  Before we moved from the Philadelphia area, I anticipated great low country fare, seafood and Smoked BBQ.  I was absolutely not expecting good pizza, anything that resembled a real cheesesteak or a hoagie.  I once read about a Mexican restaurant somewhere on the island that was back in a corporate park with tables in the parking lot.  According to the article I read, it was the best kept secret for good Mexican food on Hilton Head Island, we looked for it when we first moved here and I haven’t looked for it again, but I will.

It is either an awesome secret, or is gone because we couldn’t find it.   After searching the corporate parks for this hidden gem, and not being able to find it, we decided to head over to Shelter Cove.

Love all the flowers.

Love all the flowers.

Shelter Cove is a waterfront complex with shops, restaurants, and a marina.  I am sucker for a marina, it takes me back to my youth, sadly, the farther I get from my youth the more I like to revisit it with memories.   If you are looking for Shelter Cove, don’t use the Mall at Shelter Cove as a land mark.  As I type, they are tearing it down.

Good Bye Mall:(

Good Bye Mall.  I had never been, I prefer to preserve my big hair and mall memories from Exton and King of Prussia.

Good Bye 1987....out with the Mall.  Malls were what we did back in the day.

They are putting in retail shops, restaurants and another grocery store.


You can still expect to see the huge statue of Neptune welcoming you to Shelter Cove.

soccer and blog pics birthday too 359

Fantastic Photo Op, and fireworks on Tuesday nights in the summer.


Tucked all the way to the left, past the rocking chairs, ice cream place and boats, you will find a little gem we stumbled upon, San Miguel’s.  They have an outside ‘tiki’ bar, live music, tables on a patio with big ceiling fans overhead, air conditioned traditional Mexican decor inside, and a very diverse menu.  I always order Mexican when I go to a Mexican Restaurant.  It is my belief that when going ethnic, go ethnic.  My husband on the other hand loves the grouper sandwich from San Miquel’s.  I love their tacos, and fajitas and my kids love their chicken fingers, tacos, coloring pages and crayons.  San Miguel’s has very good food, a pleasant experience and a fantastic view.

Another Mexican experience I stumbled upon was when I was in the hospital when I had the baby.   I was an emotional hormonal mess, with a 12 hour old baby and no food. Bad Combination.  I cried when they came for my tray and it wasn’t there to remove.   Finally someone sent up a cheese burger wrapped in plastic that looked like it came from a vending machine, again the tears flowed.  The nurses were my great (gotta love a nurse) and the one nurse told me she would come back.  When she returned she was holding a generic white bag.  What she pulled out of the generic bag was so far from generic.  The nurses had ordered lunch from Fiesta Fresh and got an extra bit of deliciousness.  OH MY WORD….the contents of this bag were indescribable.  It was fresh greens in a crispy tortilla bowl, with spicy (but not too hot) shrimp with a cilantro cream dressing.  We had forever talked about having to check out Fiesta Fresh, but hadn’t made it there yet.  Fiesta Fresh is a small take out restaurant mid-island in the BiLo shopping center.

Although they just blend in from the outside, there is nothing boring about what comes out of their kitchen.

Although they just blend in from the outside, there is nothing boring about what comes out of their kitchen.

Authentic Mexican made fresh, with crisp produce, local shrimp and all the good stuff you always anticipate but don’t always get at other Mexican places.  If you are looking for something to take to the beach, bring a Fiesta Fresh Picnic, you won’t be disappointed.  There is not a lot of seating though, so I suggest Fiesta Fresh for a take-out night.

Finally there is what appears to be a little place on the northern end of the island.   It is a little hole in the wall type restaurant that if you drive by during their off time, you may be slightly hesitant to stop there.

This is the front of the building.

This is the front of the building.

(Something about it reminds me of a similar type spot in Richmond, VA Mama Zu’s)  Drive by during dinner and there is not a parking spot to be found.  The yellow paint, and spanish inspired archways welcome you to Mi Tierra.

Turn the corner and you find the 'real' entrance, complete with arches, and a big ol' gringo.

Turn the corner and you find the ‘real’ entrance, complete with arches, and a big ol’ gringo.

If you don’t care about the view, but are looking for truly authentic Mexican Cuisine and a to die for Margarita, check out Mi Tierr, it is a great spot.

Dolphin Head Playground

We moved to Hilton Head Island on July 1, 2010.  This adventure started in a rental I saw online with a lease signed via fax.  We had  never seen the house.  I left Ocean City, New Jersey, where we had been living with my sister, in a SUV packed to the gills, a 5 year old, a three year old, and CadyGirl our 10 year old black lab.  We took two days driving the 14 hours down 95 S,  and pulled in around noon the day our lease started.  My husband and his buddy were about 4 hours behind us in the rented Uhaul and an old but beloved Honda Accord.  We unpacked all day and most of the next, as his buddy headed back north he wished us good luck and good vibes for unpacking.   Shortly after he left, our kids told us they wanted to do something fun, this to parents everywhere is a good indicator that they are bored and could be on a one way trip to trouble.

Our first house.  The only house I ever lived in that I did not see before move in day.

The only house I ever lived in that I had not seen before.

We took a break, got in the car and headed to find a playground.  Prior to this, we had been to Hilton Head one time and one time only, and that was to go house hunting.  As I previously mentioned, we were renting this house, so the house hunt was unsuccessful. The world of renters was actually a nice break from the responsibility of home ownership.  We did not know the area, or the roads, and were not acclimated to Hilton Head Plantation at all.  We knew there was a playground here, but had no idea how to get there.  We were trying to find Dolphin Head, and ended up on Ribault Island.   There is no playground on Ribault Island, but if the gate is open, (and it is usually not) it is an experience to look at the beautiful homes that make up this  ultra-private section of Hilton Head Plantation.

When we finally wound our way along the beautiful tree lined streets, past the golf courses, and lagoons, we found the Dolphin Head Recreation Center.  The Sea greeted us with a warm smile.  For a moment I sat in the car and took it all in.  The playground equipment, basketball courts, Mossy Oaks, Sea Wall and the Port Royal Sound.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  This was my playground, this was where my children would come to swing, climb and spin.  I thought about the playgrounds back in Pennsylvania, and even in all my beloved New Jersey Beach Towns and nothing could compare.  We had made the right choice.

The view from the Swings at Dolphin Head Playground.

The view from the playground at Dolphin Head Recreation Center.

Dolphin Head is so much more than a playground, there is a little beach house you can rent with a full kitchen.  We have had many a birthday and family event in that little house.  There is also a walking path along the bluff and a beach you can walk, play and have awesome scavenger hunts on.   If you walk all the way to the end of the beach and around the point,  you will find yourself at a point between two bodies of water, it is beautiful, and is also my husbands favorite fishing spot.

My husband's favorite fishing spot.

My husband’s favorite fishing spot.

Dolphin Head Recreation Center in located within the private gated community of Hilton Head Plantation.  Unlike Sea Pines, you can not pay to enter Hilton Head Plantation, you have to know someone to visit so they can call in a guest pass.    I believe hands down that the playground at Dolphin Head is the most beautiful playground around, and as an added bonus, if you get there at the right time, you can catch the most beautiful sunset around.

Sunset from Dolphin Head.

Sunset from Dolphin Head.

I will be highlighting many of the playgrounds on Hilton Head, and other coastal towns in the coming months.

Lions, and Tigers, and Gators….Oh My.

Coastal Parenting is a unique life.  Before we sold our house, quit our jobs and moved to an island off of South Carolina to raise our children by the sea, I didn’t really give alligators much thought.   Now I think of alligators daily, you hear stories about them crawling up onto peoples porches, mistaking the backyard pool for a lagoon, and sometimes, (once in three years) they will show up lost and disoriented in the sandy surf of the ocean where they don’t belong.

When we started our hunt for our ‘forever’ house, we were island newbies, and I was insistant that we did not look at a single house on a lagoon.  I had small children and a dog and I had heard too many crazy alligator stories.  I googled alligator attacks on children and found nothing, so I felt safer, but still would not look at property on a lagoon.  Well as life would have it, my ‘forever’ house, the one that spoke to me, directly in my ear with a persistent “buy me, buy me, buy me” the one I made my husband go back and look at 3 times, the one that had more square footage than we ever imagined, but needed a complete overhaul, the house we closed on was on a lagoon.

ImageI talked to the woman we bought the house from and she told us that there were gators in the lagoon, (a given) there are gators in every lagoon, but that she had only once seen one on her side of the lagoon, and never in the yard.  This reassured me a little bit.   So early on, we would see a gator sunning himself on the other side of the lagoon.Image,

He generally does stay on that side of the lagoon, that is where it is sunnier.  The thing about gators that a lot of visitors to our island do not know is that once they are fed by a human, they become more aggressive.  They are not smart creatures, they have been on this earth for a very long time, but I believe they have a very small brain.  So, if you are a visitor to this island, please look from a cautious distance, and



6 Things to do with a Jogging Stroller….when you aren’t a jogger.

I would be lost without my jogging stroller, I mean seriously lost.  I must tell you that I had to fight for my jogging stroller.  My husband thought it was the most ridiculous purchase for one reason, and one reason only.  I am not a jogger.  Not that we keep score, but I won.  When my big kids were little I had a double jogger and I wish I still did.  When we sold our house and moved to a little island off of South Carolina, I ditched the double jogger in NJ and moved with a hand me down umbrella stroller.  Man, how I still regret that decision.

Sleeping in the Jogger.

Sleeping in the Jogger that reclines all the way.

When we got here, I was on a mission for a jogger, it had to be a single this time around since my oldest was now 5,  he was able to walk most of the time, and we were not having any more children…ha ha.  I found one on Craigslist in Savannah and found myself there one rainy afternoon, poking though garages because the seller wasn’t home.  I found my stroller, with her assistance, left 40 bucks under her plant and high tailed it back to Hilton Head.  I realized half way through this craigslist escapade that running off to a city in the rain by yourself to get something from a stranger on craigslist probably wasn’t a very smart move.  But, back to my point, I had my stroller and I was back in the game.

Here are your 6 things to do with a jogging stroller when you aren’t a jogger.

A Jogging Stroller will be your…..

1.  Crib.  All good beach babies learn to sleep in a jogger stroller from day one.  Make sure the jogger you choose reclines all the way.  My double jogger did this, my single jogger…not so much, and  I regret it everyday.

2.   High Chair.   Many a picnic lunch were eaten in the jogger.  Make sure your jogger has a tray.

3.  Play Yard.  Mark your Territory.  The wheels of a jogging stroller make really good lines in the sand.  I highly recommend the feature that allows the front wheel to stay stationery.  This is, from what I hear, an important feature in the running world, but it is also an important feature in the sand world.  Sand can be funny, and has a mind of it’s own.  You can compare it to a football.   Like a football, you never know what direction sand is going to go.  If your front wheel only swivels it can be tricky to maneuver and make straight lines.  Mark out a box in the sand, and put your child’s toys in the middle.  This is their play zone with imaginary walls.  Believe it or not children as young as 2 can learn to stay in their zone.

4.  Time out chair.  I have been known to put my eight year old in the jogging stroller.  When they were younger, they got a time out for throwing sand, a must learned skill for children at the beach.  The first time they throw sand they get a warning, second time is a time out, third time we pack up and go home.  We had to go home twice, and my kids never threw sand again.  In fact they turned into the sand throwing police.  If other children were throwing sand they were quick to tell them to stop.

5.  Beach Cart.    Load it up, seriously, use your space wisely.  I put the baby in a baby bjorn, and load up the jogger.  The handle carries my chair, the sunshade holds the umbrella, the basket carries the sand toys, and the seat carries the towels, beach bag and lunch bag.   When I had the double jogger I would put my littlest one in the seat and make my 3 year old walk so I could use his seat.  Now I only have one baby and two big kids, but I still wish I had a double jogger.

6.  Umbrella.  There have been plenty of times I have forgotten my umbrella, or didn’t think I would need it and did, I have many time relied on my jogger to provide my little ones with shade.  Try not to forget an umbrella, but if you do, be grateful for your jogger.