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The Five Forks Library is the Envy of All Other Libraries

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Libraries are great. They have free Wi-Fi, story time, free DVDs to rent, and you can read until your heart’s content. But all libraries are not created equal. The Five Forks library branch of the Greenville County Library System made all the other libraries jealous. Here’s why.

What makes the Five Forks library branch so great?

With it’s 28,000 square feet of floor-to-ceiling windows, bright colors and inviting decor, a fenced-in play porch for the little kids, a quiet room that is as peaceful as a spa, and a teen room with giant bean bag chairs, this library is incredible.

Five Forks Greenville library

Kids Area

When you walk into this gorgeous glass-walled and colorful building, make a left and go straight to the massive kids’ area. Sectioned off by age group in the main space are reading tables, computers with games and headphones, and play tables with toddler games. Attached to the kids’ space is an entirely other room for story time, complete with enough space for kids to run circles around each other and parents to sit on the side benches and watch.

Off the kids area is also an outdoor play porch with stackable cubes and picnic benches. There is also a family bathroom and a nursing room.

*High-five* Greenville Library system.

Teen Room

Next to the kids’ space is an enclosed teen room that overlooks a field next door and is outfitted with private cubicles and giant bean bag chairs. There is art on the wall by local students and all the latest books that teens care about.

And it says “TEENS” on the door, so it’s cool.

Main Space

The Five Forks Library has a huge meeting space for local groups to rent out plus an enclosed room on the other side of the library that can be used for crafts or homeschool groups (the floor is waterproof because….crafts).

You can bring your coffee and relax in the designated space near the front of the library where drinks other than bottled water are allowed and read or work. If you need a laptop, rent one out with your library card. You can use it throughout the building.

Near the giant windows is plenty of seating to work or read or ponder life. The quiet room has several tables and chairs with ottomans where guests can read quietly away from the rest of the library. It is decorated with really cute wallpaper and relaxing yellow and green colors. It’s my favorite room.

Greenville County Library Five Forks branch Simpsonville

The Return of the Books

Returning books to the library is not usually exciting. It is at the Five Forks Library though. Head inside and immediately to your right is the cool returning-your-books contraption. Place your book in the slot and watch it go up a conveyor belt, be read by a machine, and then onto another conveyor belt where it is dumped into a giant bin of its friends where it will be returned manually to its proper place in the library.

Kids love watching this. Adults love watching it. And it gives you an incentive to return books that you should be returning anyway to avoid late fees.


Monday – Thursday: 9 am – 9 pm
Friday -Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 2 – 6 pm

Five Forks Library
104 Sunnydale Drive, Simpsonville

Visit the Five Forks Library Website.

What’s your favorite thing about the Five Forks Library?

Greenville County Library System

Here’s everything you need to know about Greenville County Library System.

FREE Home Depot Kids Workshops (2023): Quality time with the kids

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Looking for the next FREE Home Depot Kids Workshop Kit? I have always looked forward to the first Saturday of the month for the past several years as it has been my mommy-daughter date at the Home Depot kids workshop. I grab my coffee and my two young kids get their hammers and paintbrushes and we build whatever the kids’ workshop has deemed the project of the month.

And it’s all free! Home Depot offers workshop kits for kids, including all materials needed to complete the project, totally free. These projects are an amazing way to spend some quality time with the kids, without spending a dime. In this article, we’ll take you along on our visit to a Home Depot Kids Workshop and tell you exactly what to expect when you visit!

This article includes:
Kids Workshop: The Next Project at Home Depot
2023 Home Depot Kids Workshop Schedule
How Do the Free Kids Workshops at Home Depot Work?

Home Depot continues the kid workshops in 2023 on the first Saturday of each month. In-person workshops and take-home projects are both available!

Home Depot Kids Workshop Schedule

June 2023 FREE Workshop: Putting Green on June 3rd, 2023

Time to hit the putting green this June. Or, at least make one! The next Home Depot Kids Workshop Kit of 2023 is an adorable desk-top toy putting green. This just might make a nice Father’s Day gift, hand-made by his kids!

Home Depot Kids Workshops in the News

We sat down with local news outlet, Fox Carolina to chat about these workshops.

Experience The Home Depot Kids Workshop

We love taking kids to the Home Depot workshops. We pooled our experiences in this review, so you’ll know what you can expect when you attend.

First, the Home Depot has workshops of all kinds for their customers and they have these awesome kids workshops on the first Saturday of every month from 9 am-Noon.

They provide all the materials you need to make whatever the craft of the day is and you just show up with your kid. With the take-home kits, you’ll have to do some of that yourself.

You, and your child, don’t need any kind of handyman experience. I’ve certainly made mistakes helping my daughters build all sorts of stuff but it’s a great learning time for all of us and it also helps with hand-eye coordination for the kiddos.

Building and Painting

The crafts always consist of something that you have to hammer together and then paint. My daughters both are great with handling a hammer and have only hit my fingers a few times. They also absolutely love the painting part too.

We have made all kinds of stuff together – a birdhouse, a car, a plane, a mailbox, a little sled, a planter (these are all kid-size, not big people, normal-sized things).

Thankfully there are instructions on how to put it together. I also cheat and see what the other parents do.

Free Home Depot Kids Workshop Kit, working with Dad on a project

How Kids Workshops at Home Depot Work

Check out your local Home Depot by going to the kids’ workshop link to make sure they have the kids’ workshop available. Most of the stores in the area have them.

All you do is show up between 9 am and Noon (look around for the area where they have the workshop or ask an associate) and the nice people at Home Depot will give you a packet that contains the craft, along with a kids apron and a commemorative pin. My daughter has a bunch of pins on her Home Depot apron At the stores, Home Depot has benches and tables set up where you can sit down and get to work. They provide the little paintbrushes, the hammers, and the paint. I try to have my kids wear clothes I wouldn’t mind getting paint on because it can get a little messy.

I have to stop myself from helping them too much because it’s so fun. I’ve seen parents really get into it and do all the painting while their child watches. It’s a kid’s thing so let the kids do it! And they are learning how to woodwork in the process, which helps build their confidence.

More Details: Free Home Depot Kids Workshop

The kids’ workshops are on the first Saturday of the month. I started taking my oldest daughter when she was 3-years-old, which worked out great and my youngest when she was around two-and-a-half. It really depends on the child and how many kids you can control at once.

I have found it’s an awesome parent-kid date idea, especially for parents whose time is more limited during the workweek.

2023 Home Depot Kids Workshop Kit Schedule

Free Home Depot Kids kits are available the first Saturday of the month for completion in-store.

January 7th, 2023: Snowball Game
February 4th, 2023: Valentine’s Vase
March 4th, 2023: Pinball Game
April 1st, 2023: Poolside Birdhouse
May 6th, 2023: Flower Planter
June 3rd, 2023: Putting Green
July 1st, 2023: Fireworks Bean Bag Toss
August 5th, 2023: Treasure Chest

More 2023 events coming soon!

Past Projects Included:

Toss Game
Valentine’s Photo Box
Window Bird Feeder
Mother’s Day Fence Picket Planter
Fish Tank
Constellation Viewer
Summer Camper
Pencil Desk Organizer
Fire Rescue Boat
Scarecrow Napkin Holder
Train Ornament
Santa Letters Mailbox

Don’t want to wait? Purchase Wood Kits for Kids

This section contains Amazon affiliate links.

You can purchase woodcraft kits for children instead of waiting for the free Home Depot kits each month. Help children develop woodworking skills, practice following written directions, get a little creative, and just enjoy some quality time with you!

You also find some of the Home Depot Kids Kits on sale at Home Depot online. You can even purchase a kid party pack. What a great idea for a kids’ party!

Bird Bungalow

Mechanical Model Cars

Candy Dispenser

Home Depot Free Kids’ Workshops FAQ

How do I sign-up for the free Kids’ Workshops at Home Depot?

Sign-up at Home Depot Kids. It just takes a minute and it’s the best way to make sure there will be a kit there for your kids.

Are the Home Depot Kids’ Kits hard to build?

Don’t worry. Picture instructions are included and you don’t need any special prior knowledge of building things to complete the project with your kids. Just go and have a good time. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Are the Home Depot Kids’ workshops really free?

Yep. Totally free. Sign-up and then spend a little time building something fun with your kids. Few things in life are free anymore and opportunities to do something cool with your kids for free are definitely limited. We love that Home Depot is keeping these workshops free. Go make some memories. You’ll never regret spending time with your kids.

What ages are good for the Free Home Depot Kids’ Workshop

We’d recommend about age 3 and up. At 3, the kids will need lots of help from you. but as kids get older they’ll be able to do more and more of the project independently.

Are there more free kids’ workshops and events at other stores?

  • Lowe’s offers similar Free Kids’ Workshops once a month.
  • And, JCPenney offers free kids craft events each month.

  • So mark your calendars and have fun!


    Find Fairies in This Fairy Garden Trail FREE in Hendersonville, NC

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    Have you found the fairies in Hendersonville, NC? Bullington Gardens in Hendersonville, NC, just a little over an hour north of Greenville, SC has an adorable fairy garden over the summer. And it’s free. 

    What could be cuter than finding fairies in the woods? Finding them in a beautiful and fun trail at Bullington Gardens in Hendersonville, NC, of course. 

    C.S. Lewis, a prolific and famous author of the Narnia chronicles, wrote this to his goddaughter, Lucy, in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe:

    My Dear Lucy, I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C.S. Lewis

    As a grown-up, are you ready to be old enough to read – or see – fairy tales again? If so, step into the Bullington Gardens Fairy Trail.

    Fairy Trail at Bullington Gardens

    The Gardens

    Bullington Gardens is only a little over an hour north of Greenville and is a beautiful spot to stop and literally smell the roses. The gardens are public and encompass 12 acres right in the middle of the apple orchards in that part of Western North Carolina. 

    They also do several events and programs aimed at education and carry on the legacy and vision of Bob Bullington, who collected many unusual trees and plants. They often have school groups come out and learn about horticultural science. 

    I found the gardens to be just beautiful and so peaceful. The volunteers I interacted with were all so kind and helpful. It’s really a great place to visit for any occasion. 

    The Gardens received a grant for new restroom facilities, where were scheduled to be completed by April 2023. We have not been able to confirm if this has happened yet.

    The Fairy Trail 

    The fairy trail is exactly as it sounds except cooler. The trail winds through shaded woods and guests are encouraged to find all the little fairy houses and trolls and llamas and bridges. It is really fun and entertaining! 

    The little worlds that the fairies inhabit are all unique and my kids and I just loved trying to find them all and figure out what was happening in each scene. The exhibits change every year (photos are from the summer of 2022) but the creativity and genius stay the same. 

    The trail isn’t long, maybe a quarter-mile on natural, unpaved ground, but there are plenty of fairies and gnomes to find. Be sure to stop at the side trail before you get to the very end where there are lots of fairies and trolls and toadstools and gnomes doing yoga amongst the trees. 

    Bullington Gardens asks that guests be respectful of the fairies, only touch gently, and to stay on the trails. The trail is one way only so if you want to take your time, go for it but make room for others to pass. And please follow the rules of Leave No Trace, don’t litter, and don’t move the fairies from their little houses.

    The Fairy Trail is open Mondays – Saturdays from June 1 – August 31, 2023 from 9 am – 4 pm. 

    Fairy Market

    During the summer of 2023, the Fairy Market will be set up at Bullington Gardens on June 24, 2023 from 9 am – 3 pm. This event will include face painting, arts and crafts, a photo booth, Dulcimer lessons, and storytimes for kids. You can also buy adorable fairy accessories like wings and crowns or purchase your own fairies for a garden at home. Definitely a not-miss summer event.

    This year there will not be timed entry so it’s first come, first serve. Per the gardens, parking is limited and please do not park on Zeb Corn Road.

    Tips on Visiting the Fairy Trail and Bullington Gardens 

    The gardens are open year-round but the Fairy Trail is only open June 1 – August 31, 2023, Mondays – Saturdays from 9 am – 4 pm. 

    There is no charge to visit the fairies or Bullington Gardens but as a nonprofit, they gladly accept donations.

    I saw some people with strollers but I’d say that unless you have an all-terrain stroller, it’s best to carry your littles or baby wear. The trail is natural, so not paved, which makes it hard to roll wheels on.

    Please keep your children and dogs on the trail and don’t litter. The trail is one-way only.

    Bullington Gardens recieved a grant for new restrooms that were supposed to be ready by April 2023 but we have not been to the Gardens since then and have not been able to confirm this information yet.

    Nearby Things to Do in Hendersonville

    There are plenty of cool things to do in Hendersonville to make your trip up to the see the fairies a day trip.

    You can visit the goats at the Carl Sandburg Home (be sure to get pizza at the nearby Village Bakery), let the kids play on the awesome playground at The Park at Flat Rock, check out the free train museum, or visit the aquarium in downtown Hendersonville. Apple orchards open up in July usually so you can add those to your day trip as well.

    Bullington Gardens
    95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville, NC 

    Hendersonville, NC

    Check out our full guide to Hendersonville, NC and don’t miss out on any of the fun!

    Hike Through a Revolutionary War Battlefield & Living History Farm at Kings Mountain State Park

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    If you’ve never heard of Kings Mountain State Park or maybe it’s crossed your radar and you want to learn more, we’ve got all the details on why this park is a history-lover’s paradise that also has lakes, hiking trails, and equestrian trails.

    Two children running towards a tall white monument surrounded by trees at Kings Mountain State Park.

    One day I was specifically searching out less-traveled hiking trails and state parks that I could take my kids to. Since my third grader is studying South Carolina state history, I was hoping to throw in a few places that could also serve as teaching lessons. Kings Mountain State Park fits both of those goals. 

    A State Park and a National Park

    Kings Mountain is the site of the Revolutionary War battle that took place on October 7, 1780. Thomas Jefferson called it “The turn of the tide of success.” It was the first major battle the Patriots won over the Loyalists since the British invaded Charleston in May of that year. So this was a big deal. It was also fought between Americans except for Patrick Ferguson, a British national, who led the Loyalists in the battle and ultimately perished on that day. 

    The Kings Mountain State Park and the Kings Mountain National Military Park are right next to each other. Coming from Greenville up I85, I had to drive through the national park to get to the state park and was momentarily confused I had messed up directions somewhere. You also cross into North Carolina and then back into South Carolina to get to the park so I was sure I had went the wrong way. But I didn’t!

    There is a visitors center at the National Military Park where you can watch a video about the battle and learn more about the history. It has artifacts and exhibits talking about the battle but it was closed when we went because of the pandemic. There are restrooms and an amphitheater for events there as well. 

    Kings Mountain State Park

    Kings Mountain State Park is one of the 47 South Carolina State Parks and one of 16 that the Civilian Conservation Corps had a hand in building during the Great Depression. It’s located a little over an hour from Greenville past Gaffney. 

    The park has a really neat Living History Farm that shows that a Carolina farmstead may have looked like in the Upstate during the revolutionary era. There is a two-story farmhouse, barn, smokehouse, carpenter/blacksmith shop, sorghum mill and cooker, corncrib, and cotton gin. My kids loved checking out these structures and reading the informational stands along the way. 

    Wooden Revolutionary War era gears and wheels

    There are events that highlight the farm and what it was like living there so be sure to check the website for updated information and dates. 

    Kings Mountain State Park also has 20 miles of equestrian trails, a 1.2 mile nature trail, and 16-mile hiking loop of moderate difficulty. 

    Two lakes are part of the state park and you can either rent canoes and kayaks or launch personal non-motorized boats for a small fee. You can fish in these lakes but no swimming is allowed. 

    Picnic shelters, a playground, volleyball court, basketball court and ping pong table are available for use for guests when covid-19 restrictions are lifted. 

    If you like to camp, that’s also available at Kings Mountain State Park. There are 15 equestrian campsites, 115 standard camping sites with electricity and water, and 10 tent sites without water and electricity. The park can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet as well. For groups of up to 30 people, the primitive camping site serves them well, as there is water and toilets nearby.

    There is a small fee to enter the state park. If you have a State Park Passport, then it’s free.

    Walk the Kings Mountain Battlefield

    The Kings Mountain Battlefield Trail is located within the Kings Mountain National Military Park adjacent to the state park. There is no fee for the military park. 

    The 1.5 mile battlefield trail is rubber-paved and takes you through the forest and along the ridge where the battle between the Loyalists and Patriots took place on October 7, 1780. It’s a foot traffic trail only except for motorized wheelchairs. You could take a stroller but you’d need to be careful because there are hills. 

    Wooded area with metal silhouettes of Revolutionary War era soldiers.

    I loved this trail and my kids really enjoyed the nature walk combined with the historical aspect. There are several information stands along the way that tell you what happened right where you are walking. There is even a phone number you can call for an audio tour.

    There are several monuments along the way, including the Centennial Monument, U.S. Monument and Ferguson’s Grave. One of them looks identical to the Washington Monument except on a smaller scale. My kids were convinced it was a pencil. 

    We all really enjoyed the trail and learning component. We even got to see where President Hoover stood to address a huge crowd of 70,000 in the forest to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle. And the trail is so peaceful and quiet despite what happened there more than 200 years ago.

    Perfect for Field Trips

    Kings Mountain National Military Park is ideal for field trips. They even have a curriculum filled with materials for learning (looking at you, homeschoolers) and a Traveling Trunk that has lesson plans, 18th century clothes, and games. I don’t think I’ve seen this kind of educational opportunity anywhere in the Upstate. If I’m missing those places, tell me in the comments!

    Two children reading an information sign.

    I didn’t know about any of this until after I went to the battlefield but I do plan to return and check out some of these learning materials. I’m a big advocate of kids experiencing history rather than learning about it in books. You can do both, of course, but for me personally, I will remember something I learned if I went to see where it happened and saw artifacts or things from the place itself. I love those kinds of history lessons. 

    Have you been to either Kings Mountain National Park or Kings Mountain State Park?

    Kings Mountain State Park
    1277 Park Road, Blacksburg, SC 

    Kings Mountain National Military Park
    2625 Park Road, Blacksburg, SC 

    Hiking in Greenville, SC

    Looking for more hiking ideas? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Hiking for Families and Kids.

    Takeoff Mini Golf: Plane Ride for Kids Birthday Parties in Greenville, SC

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    Think your child would like to visit Takeoff Mini Golf for a plane ride for their birthday? This is such a unique birthday party package sure to make any kid soar with delight.

    Birthday parties give me anxiety. I’m not one of those moms that likes to plan them so when the opportunity comes along for a turnkey birthday party, count me in. Thankfully, a lot of businesses around the Upstate totally understand moms like me and have countless options for awesome birthday parties where parents have to do nothing but show up. Thank you to all of them!

    But one birthday party package is extra special and that one is offered at super cool Takeoff Mini-Golf right next to Runway Park in downtown Greenville.

    Take off Mini golf plane photo
    Photo credit: Walker Weathers

    Celebrating Memorial Day Weekend Near Greenville, SC: Events and Things to Do

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    Looking for family-friendly celebrations and Memorial Day events? Greenville, SC has several that honor and celebrate the military members in our family and community who have passed. Most people also have a long weekend to enjoy and will be looking for things to do near Greenville, SC this Memorial Day. Our list includes ceremonies and salutes, plus fairs, family events, and fun things to do.

    memorial day events greenville sc

    11 Tips on Budgeting for Your Baby

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    Babies are crazy expensive but there are absolutely ways to ease the burden of those expenses, which we are going to tell you about right here!

    Estimates vary but experts on budgeting say the costs associated in the first year of your baby’s life could add up to thousands of dollars after you factor in co-payments, childcare, formula, clothing, cribs, diapers, etc.. Yup. But take a breath and don’t worry, there are lots of ways to cut this number down.

    First, you may want to check out a calculator online to estimate expenses. This baby calculator is fun because you can choose which things you are going to pay for and what they will cost (new baby clothes the first year: $600 – ha, not with our budget list here!) and then uncheck thsoe things that you know you’re not going to be paying for and see how low you can go. This Bump calculator is a good one also that can help you to calculate what you think you may spend.

    Special thanks to our readers who gave us lots of great ideas when we asked them their best baby budgeting tips!

    Look at Your Insurance

    If you haven’t looked at what you are going to pay for your ob/gyn visits, routine tests, and labor and delivery through your insurance, look at it now. It’s almost always under the “maternity” section. If you’re not pregnant yet, see how much you are expected to pay and start saving little by little so you’re not stuck with some huge, unexpected bill. If you are pregnant, check to make sure your doctor and hospital are covered. If you are giving birth at home or at a birthing center, call your insurance company to see if any of those costs may be covered under your plan or what can go towards your deductible.

    Gradually Stock Up on Essentials

    Once you find out you’re pregnant, start purchasing diapers and wipes every time you go to the grocery store/Costco/Sam’s so that you’re aren’t overwhelemed when the baby comes. You’ll be so tired and having all those diapers and wipes on hand will be a lifesaver – you won’t need to run out of the house at 1am to get diapers!

    Shop Thrift Stores, Consignment Shops, and Facebook Marketplace

    When I had my first baby, I was determined not to buy anything brand new. Babies grow out of clothes extraordinarly fast and you can almost find near-new clothes at thrift and consignment stores, big consignment sales, and your local Facebook mom groups like KidSift or Buy Nothing groups here in Greenville.

    Also, don’t be afraid to take hand-me-downs from friends who want to give them to you. I absolutely love giving my friends and family clothes and shoes that my kids have outgrown and gladly accepted boxes of them when I was pregnant.

    This goes for both clothes and baby gear. One of our readers aptly noted: “No sense spending $200 on a baby swing when you can buy the same one for a fraction.

    Use Cloth Diapers

    I cloth-diapered both my kids and it was so much easier than I thought it would be, plus the patterns and diapers are adorable. These diapers aren’t from the 1800s. They are super modern, easy to clean, and can save a ton of money in the long run. One detailed analysis of cloth vs. disposables over 30 months came out with spending about $770 on cloth diapers (including the cost of washing the diapers) to over $2,300 for disposables.  There are a lot of different comparisons on the cost but in the end, the cloth is almost always cheaper – and they have resale value.

    The cloth diapering world can be overwhelming but don’t be intimated. Do your research, buy used, and save money!

    One of our readers said this about cloth diapering: “Invest in cloth diapers. Especially if you plan to have multiples. I only had one, but I only paid $100 to diaper her for 3 years.

    baby in a cloth diaper

    Start Living on One Income

    One of our readers said that her and husband started living on one income before she even became pregnant so that she could stay at home when the baby came. That’s dedication and extremely smart.

    Save for Higher Education Immediately

    Once your child has a Social Security Number, you can open a 529 account. South Carolina’s 529 program is called Future Scholar and it’s basically a long-term investment account where you can automatically withdraw money each month that is set aside for higher education. This is something my husband and I did immediately for our kids once they had their SSN and it’s on auto draft so we don’t have to think about it.

    Even if your kids are out of the baby stage, it’s never too late to start saving for higher education since it’s so incredibly costly.

    Ask for Gift Cards on Your Baby Registry

    As babies grow, they need different things and if you ask for gift cards on your baby registry, it’s a great way to knock off some of those later expenses for your kid down the road.

    Don’t Feel Like You Need the Fanciest Baby Gear

    An UPPAbaby stroller and Mesa Infant Car Seat is currently $1,300 on Amazon and a Hot Mom Baby Stroller will run you $600. Look, your baby isn’t going to be in these strollers very long and oh my gosh, that’s a lot of money for baby gear. A Graco stroller is great – even better if you get it at the thrift store (it’s typically a good idea to buy car seats new or gently used though, just check the expiration date and make sure it wasn’t in a previous accident) – and you don’t need to spend a rent or mortgage payment on it. Don’t feel bad if you’re not that mom rockin the trendiest baby gear or expensive baby clothes.

    Babies Don’t Need All the Things

    Diapers, wipes, a crib or bassinet, clothes, and food are pretty much the essentials of what a baby needs. I loved my jogging strollers when my kids were little because I could get a workout in but I never used an actual stroller and preferred to use a baby carrier instead.

    Baby toys, books, annoying musical play mats, baby swings, and so many other things just take up space and are useless within a few months. If you feel like you need any of these things, go the used route and see if you can find them for free or cheap.

    Ask Your Friends if They are Getting Rid of Stuff

    We all have too much stuff, right? If someone asked me if I had some baby clothes, strollers, crib mattresses, or literally any baby thing lying around that I wanted to get rid of, I would have jumped at the chance then. A neighbor posted in our neighborhood Facebook group that she needed a crib and I happened to have ours just sitting in a closet and was absolutely thrilled to give it to her. I got more space in my house and she got a crib – win/win!

    Free Breastpumps Through Insurance

    According to our government, your insurance must cover the cost of a new breastpump. Speak with your doctor and insurance provider on how to go about making this happen if you’re breastfeeding. Both my electric and manual pumps totally saved me while breastfeeding, especially when my maternity leave was up and my baby had to take milk from a bottle. Big win here for moms since breast pumps can cost you several hundred dollars.

    For things to do with your baby, ideas on date nights with your baby, reader-recommended daycares and OB/GYNs, see our Ultimate Guide for New Parents in Greenville.

    What other baby budget tips would you add to our list?

    SUMMER FUN: Kids Ride Free on this Scenic Bryson City Train in the Great Smoky Mountains

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    The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has an excellent summertime deal for taking a scenic train ride out of the historic depot in North Carolina’s Bryson City. Train lovers, this is your chance to take the little ones in your family on an adventure, for much cheaper. Kids ride free on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad out of downtown Bryson City, NC this summer! The depot is only about two hours from Greenville, SC and you can stay overnight in the North Carolina mountains or do a day trip.

    Great Smoky Mountain Trail: Summer Kids Ride Free

    I always thought there was something oh-so-romantic about riding an old steam locomotive train. Maybe it’s just because it’s not something we do often in today’s modern world or that the old photos of these trains often had women with beautiful, full dresses and lace umbrellas and boots – something I always thought was pretty cool.

    While I don’t have a hoop skirt – and won’t anytime soon – luckily you don’t need one to ride the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. This is the same Bryson City train that does the Polar Express during the Christmas season. We’ve got all the details on a pretty awesome deal they have for families over the summer though!

    Kids Ride Free on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad


    Walk Across This Flowering Bridge Straight Out of a Fairy Tale in Lake Lure, NC

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    Only an hour from Greenville, SC is a true labor of love and beauty at the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge (where “Dirty Dancing” was filmed). We tell you all about it and other things to do in the area. 

    Hearing about how amazing something is and going to see it are two different things. I had no idea how incredible the Flowering Bridge really was until I saw it for myself. A stop makes for an awesome day trip – don’t worry, I will give you lots of ideas on what to do there.

    lake lure flowering bridge

    7 Ways Parents Can Get in a Good Workout

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    Working out when you have kids can be a challenge but getting in exercise has so many benefits that it’s a good thing to make the effort. We’ve got lots of ideas for you on how to accomplish that goal! 

    I’ve always been athletic and have enjoyed working out because it makes me feel strong and healthy. The health benefits to exercise are numerous (lowers blood pressure, eases anxiety, helps with depression, etc.) but making the time to break a sweat is no easy task once kids come along. My kids are 12 and 8 now so we’ve transitioned out of some of these ideas but I’ll give you lots of suggestions for working out from when your kids are babies through high school!

    Use a jogging stroller

    These were my lifelines when my kids were little. I jogged everywhere with my oldest kid and then got a double stroller so I could cart around both of them when my second came along. It was easy to make time to do, a fantastic workout, and the kids seemed to be entertained. I’d usually start at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe, run for a few miles, turn around, and motivate myself with coffee and a scone when we returned. 

    The Bon Secours Wellness Arena also lets the public walk their concourse indoors most Tuesdays & Thursdays for free.  And we have several stroller-friendly trails in the Upstate you can walk. 

    Get a baby carrier 

    Another lifesaver: my Ergo baby carrier. I used this for everything but most especially loved it for hiking. It was a great way to get in a workout while also introducing my kids to nature. 

    When kids are older, there are hard framed carriers you can buy (go get fitted at REI and either get it there or get it used from Facebook or consignment shops). I tried one and didn’t like it but many, many parents love these. Just be sure to get the right fit. 

    bouldering at projectrock

    Involve the kids

    Now that my kids are older, it’s a lot easier to get in a workout and involve them alongside me. 

    We love hiking, as our readers will well know! I’ve taken my kids all over the place hiking and they are such troopers (bring snacks since they make great bribes). We’ve worked up more difficult trails like Table Rock Trail and have hiked about eight miles inside the Grand Canyon but even when they were younger, we would hit up easier trails like many of these in our area that still provided a great opportunity to get moving.  

    Biking is another way to involve kids, especially once they are able to ride a two-wheeler on their own. We have lots of great biking trails in our area that you can utilize.  And if you go to the beach for vacation, don’t forget your bikes or rent bikes there as it’s a fun way to exercise together, even on vacation!

    Another way to get in some movement with your kids is to just take a walk around the neighborhood. We love this just for a quick time to get outside. If your kids are little, you can push them on their tricycle or they can use a scooter or balance bike. 

    I’ve recently discovered how much fun indoor rock climbing is! My kids and I have really enjoyed our local rock climbing gyms and you can even bring a little one inside while you climb and kids switch out watching him or her.  

    If you’re really athletic, go play baseball, basketball, soccer, or tennis. We have courts and fields all over the Upstate. 

    Lastly, get on the water. I love to kayak and paddleboard and my kids have gotten into it so now we do a lot of this over the summer at our local lakes. This is a great workout that can do double duty and involve swimming. 

    Make use of early morning hours 

    This is how I get in my workouts nowadays. I get up early and get in my workouts before everyone else wakes up. I found a great online workout site that I’ve been using for years where I can choose workouts that involve HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or use my weights with a strength training workout or do a more gentle Pilates workout. 

    If I don’t workout in the morning, I’ll never get to it. 

    Find a gym with childcare 

    There are several gyms with childcare in our area, many of which include the service in your membership. This is a pretty good excuse to let the kids play with other littles while you get in your workout. 

    Join a mom workout group

    There are a few mom groups in our area that get together for workouts where you can bring your kid and their stroller or go for hikes together. These are great for both exercise and meeting other moms. 

    Make it fun 

    My kids love trampoline parks so when we go, I’ll usually join them in jumping around and doing obstacles. This is absolutely a workout! 

    We also love roller skating so I’ll rent skates and skate along with them for a couple hours – also an amazing workout. Or if you’re headed to a local zipline or obstacle course like Flying Rabbit, join the kids while they traverse the ropes course in the air. I’m always surprised how worn out I feel afterwards. 

    You can definitely find things to do in our area that are fun, engaging, and can help you feel strong and be healthier so you can be there for your kids. 

    What would you add to our list?