A Cottage by the Sea

I have always dreamed of living in a cottage by the sea, the charm and cozy feeling that comes with a cottage when you can smell the salt air is something that I long for, something that soothes the mind, body and soul.  When we moved to Hilton Head in 2010, we looked at cottages by the sea, but as a primary home to a family of 5 with a dog, a quaint cottage just wasn’t practical.  However, every summer I take the kids back to my old stomping grounds of Ocean City, New Jersey, and for two weeks I get to live my Cottage by the Sea dream.

My Cottage by the Sea.

My Cottage by the Sea.

My good friend Michelle is lucky enough to own a cottage in Ocean City that she rents out.  Michelle has been in our lives for many years, spending Christmas Eve sleepovers at our house, and visiting me when my baby was born, needless to say, she is special to us, and I have fallen deeply in love with her cottage. I am not sure when the cottage was built, but it is loaded with beachy charm, original built-in cabinets in the kitchen, big white woodwork, hardwood floors, an enormous front porch and a palette of soft colors that awakens the inner beach bum in anyone.

This reminds me of the original Butler's Pantry that was in the house my husband grew up in.

This reminds me of the original Butler’s Pantry that was in the house my husband grew up in.

It is not big, but it is functional.  I am here with my kids, all three of them, while my husband stayed back on Hilton Head, so for the four of us it is perfect.  For all our visitors, it has also been perfect.  One night we had three moms and nine kids sleeping here, it accommodated all of us.  Another night we had 5 kids and 6 adults, again, it accommodated us all.

I have been living the epitomy of coastal parenting the last few weeks, walking to the beach, boardwalk, arcade, mini-golf and ice cream!  Soon I will be back on my little island, some people say the beach is the beach, but each little beach community is different, has a different vibe and energy, and I love them all.

Love Ocean City, NJ.

Love Ocean City, NJ.


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.

Following a Dream

This is my debut blog on Coastal Parenting.  I can not take credit for the idea, a great friend and fellow blogger, www.fabfoodfairy.com suggested this blog and thought it would be a great fit for me.  Almost three years ago, my husband and I took a leap of faith, we sold our house, quit our jobs and moved 850 miles south to a little barrier island off the coast of South Carolina.  It had been a dream for a long time, and three years later here we are still living our dream.

sandy piggies

When we moved  my children were 3 & 5, and we rented a house sight unseen off of craigslist.  Three years, two houses, and one surprise later we find ourselves with a mortgage, and a beautiful baby!  Parenting at the beach is unique.  We still have Saturday’s on the soccer field, and birthday parties, but our soccer fields share a parking lot with the beach, and are birthday parties are usually sandy.

I hope you enjoy this blogging adventure as I take you through tips and tricks, recipes and adventures all geared towards parents who  love or live at the beach.