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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Parents: You Don’t Need to do All the Christmas Things

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The Christmas season is supposed to be all about joy, peace, and a fleeting holiday spirit that seems to be gone quicker than a wispy trail of smoke once the dishes are done after Thanksgiving dinner. It’s all of a sudden a whirlwind of school holiday parties, making a list of gifts and going all out to fulfill that list, trying to create magic at home with an elf just because everyone else is seemingly doing it, taking a holiday overnight trip, and trying to see all the Christmas lights and displays because your family will be deprived if they don’t do that. 

This is for all you parents who are hanging by a thread trying to make this season the most spectacular of all for your kids and just don’t know if you can hang on much longer. To all of you: you don’t need to do all the things. 

Your Christmas tree doesn’t need a giant stack of presents under it. Your kids don’t need the latest toys. You don’t need to stretch yourself so thin trying to cram the most you can into this holiday season. You and your kids are not deprived if you don’t do it all, buy it all, and sacrifice your sanity for an experience, toy, or magical experience that will soon be forgotten. 

Don't do it all at Christmas

You don’t need to do it all

Last year, parents estimated they would spend about $276 on Christmas gifts for each of their kids and a whopping 41% of Americans were willing to go into debt for gift-giving. Meanwhile, the estimated worth of unwanted gifts hovers around $15 billion. Those aren’t small figures, especially in today’s world where many families are struggling with everyday bills. Kids don’t need the latest toy, the most expensive phone, and all the other material things that they’ll forget in a month’s time. Smaller gifts or experience gifts, like memberships to places you and your family go often (hello, SC Parks Pass!) go a long way towards making great memories together all year long. 

I’m not sure why we parents sometimes feel like we need to do all the things during the Christmas season. Maybe social media, maybe endless ads, maybe just talking with friends about all the cool stuff they are doing, or maybe it’s what our parents did with us that we are trying to replicate with our own kids. Whatever the reason, it’s totally fine – more than fine – to back off from the deluge of activities that come with this season. 

You aren’t depriving your kids if you don’t do it all

Your kids will be okay if they aren’t doing everything their friends are doing and it’s a good opportunity for them to learn that not doing everything their friends are doing isn’t something to be ashamed about. We all have our own struggles and priorities and I think it’s good to learn early on that kids don’t need to fit in to have fun. I wish I would have learned that a lot earlier than I did in life. 

I didn’t grow up doing a ton of activities during the Christmas season. Sometimes our family would take a trip together, which was a blast. We would go during Christmas and experience it in another state or town and have fun together exploring a new city and making dinner together in a small kitchen in our hotel room. It was awesome.

We didn’t do parades but we did go drive around looking at Christmas lights in neighborhoods with popcorn that we cooked over the stove and tried not to let explode all over the kitchen. We had fun decorating our Christmas tree together. One year my dad found a tree that legit looked like the poor little tree from Charlie Brown’s Christmas and it turned into the joke that never ended year after year since we couldn’t do worse than that tree. 

I don’t remember the gifts I got or gave. I don’t remember sitting for Santa photos. The memories from the Christmas season that remain are those with my family. I do remember one gift: it was tickets to a New Jersey Nets (a professional basketball team) the day after Christmas or so. I had played basketball with a passion as a tween and teenager and that gift was special. That’s really all I remember in terms of gifts. 

Choosing sanity

Because of those memories and because I have zero desire to drive myself crazy during these weeks leading up to Christmas, I intentionally try to minimize what we do. While I love writing about new activities for Christmas for Kidding Around, aside from those excursions, I try to take these weeks of Advent to spend quality time together with my kids. We go look at Christmas lights, go ice skating, go to live nativities and remember the real reason for this season, take time to volunteer, and read books together on Christmas. And, I intentionally try to not go overboard on gifts for my kids. 

I want to get to Christmas and not be completely worn out or fed up or just plain unhappy. After all, this is indeed a season of joyful expectation. If you’ve got to seriously scale back your calendar to be happier and less stressed, then by all means, do it. You truly don’t need to do it all so your kids can experience the magic of the season. They will remember the special moments with you above all else and that’s what matters.

10 Parent-Hacks for Amazing & Memorable Trips to the Farm this Fall

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Want to make sure your family trip to the farm is amazing? Farms in the fall are perfect places for family fun and lots of memory-making. But, bringing your whole crew anywhere can sometimes be a little stressful, right? So, we have some tips to help you make your fall farm trip easy with nothing but fun and happy faces.

Tips for family trips to the farm
Famoda Farm

Wear the correct clothes.

A farm is a great opportunity to take some adorable, matching farm-themed photos, but it’s important to realize that it is a farm. Farms have dirt, fire ants, and typically a lot of sun. Cute smocked outfits, warm “fall” clothes, and open-toed shoes might look great in photos but may not be comfortable, practical attire for having fun at the farm.

If your main goal is photos, consider either outfit choices that are comfortable and can get dirty or take your photos and schedule another visit for full farm activities.

We recommend wearing:

  • Clothes that can get dirty
  • Closed-toed shoes that are comfortable for walking such as tennis shoes or boots
  • Layers, even on cooler fall days it can feel really hot in the sun especially if you spend an hour wandering in a corn maze.
  • A hat or sunglasses if it’s a sunny day
Moo Cow farms cow cuddling
Moo Cow Farms

Bring snacks and water.

Most farms will allow you to eat on the property or at your car. Some serve food, but not all. Most do not have a place to refill water bottles.

We recommend making sure you have plenty of food and water.

There will likely only be porta-potties at the farm so plan accordingly.

Wear your sunscreen. It can get hot in October in our region.

Apple slingshot
Apple slingshot at McLadke Orchards

Go over farm etiquette before getting out of the car.

It’s important to go over basic farm rules with your kids if they are unfamiliar with farm etiquette. Farming is hard work and it’s important to respect the farmer’s property.

Follow all farm signs and rules.

Be sure to treat plants with respect. Only pick what you plan to pay for and don’t destroy farm property such as forming new paths in a corn maze.

Don’t throw produce such as pumpkins or corn unless it’s part of a farm-approved game.

Watch your kids closely. Farm equipment can be dangerous.

Don’t feed animals unless signs give permission to feed them and only feed animals food that is approved by the farm.

If you have the opportunity to touch or hold animals, remind your children to be gentle.

Feeding animals at Goat Daddy's Farm
Goat Daddy’s Farm

Be prepared before you get lost in the corn maze.

Corn mazes are fun but they also are in direct sunlight and involve a lot of wandering around trying to figure your way out.

Your kids will likely insist on picking all of the turns which often results in walking in circles for hours.

  • Make sure your preschooler/toddler understands that they have to stay with you because losing a child in a corn maze is more excitement than most of us want when visiting a farm.
  • Take a photo of the corn maze before you enter. That way if you get lost and tired, you can still find your way out.
  • If all else fails, follow the wall-hugger trick.
  • Make sure you have your water with you.
  • Go to the bathroom before your start the maze.
  • If your kids are little, they usually won’t know the difference between the entrance and exit so you can always have a short visit into the corn maze and just exit out the way you came before everyone gets tired.
Corn maze
Denver Downs

Pick the right farm.

If you want to pick apples or pumpkins, make sure the farm lets you pick them before arriving. Some orchards and farms only sell pre-picked produce.

Some farms allow you to enjoy all the activities for one price, whereas others charge per activity. If your main event is picking apples, paying once for the jumping pillow or hay ride might be the right choice. If your main activity is playing at the farm, consider one with an all-inclusive price.

Denver Downs Slide
Denver Downs

Check to see what forms of payment they accept.

Some of the farms in the region only accept cash or check. Make sure you are prepared.

The Ultimate Guide To All Seven School Districts in Spartanburg, SC

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Have questions about public schools in Spartanburg County? With seven different Spartanburg County school districts, it can be a little confusing for newcomers or parents with rising kindergartners. We are breaking down the different districts and providing the most used info, so parents can easily navigate the Spartanburg County School Districts information. 

A Little About Spartanburg County School Districts

Spartanburg County is the fifth-most populated county in the state of South Carolina with a population of over 300,000. Spartanburg County schools serve over 45,000 students.

For those who have relocated to the area, the primary difference about the schools in Spartanburg is that there is not a central Spartanburg County School District. Instead, Spartanburg County schools are operated by seven different school districts; each school district operates as its own entity. There is not a singular Spartanburg County school district or one school board website, but each of the seven Spartanburg County School Districts has a website where you can find the information you need for each school.

We have also created the Guide to Spartanburg Private Schools, which not only lists all the contact information and website links for each public school district, but also lists all of the charter, virtual, and private school options in Spartanburg.

Applying For School Choice In Spartanburg County School Districts

Spartanburg County School Districts offer parents the option of applying for limited school choice. Students may attend another school in the same district if there is space available. Remaining in the program is dependant on discipline and attendance. However, once a student is accepted in most cases their place is secured for the duration of them attending that particular school. Any younger siblings would also be grandfathered in. Availability varies by district, as well as school, and other circumstances. School choice applicants are not able to ride the school bus home, as the buses that service that school, would not be zoned for your neighborhood. 

Should parents want their child to attend a school in a different Spartanburg County District, students would need to apply for out-of-district status and be accepted. Additionally, out-of-district residents are required to pay out-of-district tuition of several thousand dollars per school year for their children to attend. This includes the option to transfer to a Greenville County School District School

Quick Guide To The Seven Spartanburg School Districts 

More information about each district in not only Spartanburg County, but the entire state, can be found on the South Carolina Deprtmant of Education’s Website.

The Great School’s Website can provide parents with additional info like school rating, and ratio information. Ratio is the average student-to-teacher ratio and is an important factor when selecting a school. 

Quick Profile of Spartanburg County School District 1

Spartanburg School District 1 is primarily made up of students from Campobello, Landrum, and Inman.

  • Campobello Gramling School
  • Holly Springs-Motlow Elementary
  • Inman Elementary 
  • Inman Intermediate
  • New Prospect Elementary
  • O.P. Earle Elementary
  • Landrum Middle
  • Mabry Middle
  • Chapman High School
  • Landrum High
  • Swofford Career Center (Shared with District 2) 

Spartanburg School District 1 Quick Links

Quick Profile of Spartanburg County School District 2

Spartanburg School District 2 is primarily made up of students from Boiling Springs, Chesnee, Mayo, most of Valley Falls, and a portion of Southern Shops.

  • Boiling Springs Elementary School
  • Carlisle-Foster’s Grove Elementary School
  • Chesnee Elementary School
  • Cooley Springs-Fingerville Elementary School
  • Hendrix Elementary School
  • Mayo Elementary School
  • Oakland Elementary School
  • Shoally Creek Elementary School
  • Sugar Ridge Elementary School
  • Boiling Springs Intermediate School
  • Boiling Springs Middle School
  • Chesnee Middle School
  • Rainbow Lake Middle School
  • Chesnee High School
  • Boiling Springs High School
  • Swofford Career Center (Shared with District 1) 

Spartanburg School District 2 Quick Links 

Quick Profile of Spartanburg County School District 3

Spartanburg School District 3 is primarily made up of students from Cowpens, Pacolet, and other areas of Spartanburg.

  • Cannons Elementary School
  • Cowpens Elementary School
  • Pacolet Elementary School
  • Clifdale Middle School
  • Gettys D. Broome High School
  • Daniel Morgan Technology Center

Spartanburg School District 3 Quick Links 

Quick Profile of Spartanburg County School District 4

Spartanburg School District 4 is primarily made up of students from Woodruff. 

  • Woodruff Primary
  • Woodruff Elementary
  • Woodruff Middle
  • Woodruff High

Spartanburg School District 4 Quick Links 

Quick Profile of Spartanburg County School District 5

Spartanburg School District 5 is primarily made up of students from Greer, Duncan, Moore, Reidville, and Wellford.

  • Abner Creek Academy
  • Duncan Elementary School
  • Lyman Elementary School
  • Reidville Elementary School
  • River Ridge Elementary School]
  • Wellford Academy
  • Beech Springs Intermediate School
  • Berry Shoals Intermediate School
  • D.R. Hill Middle School
  • Florence Chapel Middle School
  • James F. Byrnes High School

Spartanburg School District 5 Quick Links

Quick Profile of Spartanburg County School District 6

Spartanburg School District 6 is primarily made up of students from Moore, Pauline, Roebuck, and Spartanburg.

  • Child Development Center
  • Anderson Mill Elementary
  • Arcadia Elementary
  • Fairforest Elementary
  • Jesse S. Bobo Elementary
  • Lone Oak Elementary
  • Pauline-Glenn Springs Elementary
  • Roebuck Elementary
  • West View Elementary
  • Woodland Heights Elementary
  • Fairforest Middle
  • Gable Middle
  • R. P. Dawkins Middle
  • Dorman Freshman Campus
  • Dorman High School
  • RD Anderson Applied Technology Center

Spartanburg School District 6 Quick Links

Quick Profile of Spartanburg County School District 7

Spartanburg School District 7 is primarily made up of students from Spartanburg (Eastside and Downtown).

  • Adult Education of Spartanburg County
  • Carver Middle School
  • Cleveland Academy of Leadership
  • Daniel Morgan Technology Center
  • Drayton Mills Elementary School
  • E.P. Todd School
  • Jesse Boyd Elementary School
  • Mary H. Wright Elementary School
  • McCarthy Teszler School
  • McCracken Middle School
  • Meeting Street Academy
  • Pine Street Elementary School
  • Spartanburg High School
  • The Franklin School
  • Valkyrie Middle College
  • Viking Early College
  • Virtual Program – Spartanburg County
  • Whitlock Flexible Learning Center

Spartanburg School District 7 Quick Links

Important Facts About Spartanburg School Districts

When shopping for a home, parents should find out which school district the home is zoned for. A general map of the school districts can be found on the Spartanburg County Website. However, you will need to contact the individual school district to find out which schools your child will attend. It is common for families to purchase homes in a specific school district with the intention of their children attending those schools. Take into consideration the growth of the area and possible overcrowding at schools when basing your home purchase on school selection. 

Staying Informed During Inclement Weather And Closures

Each School Spartanburg School District offers parents multiple ways of keeping in touch during the year. Your Child’s Spartanburg School District will have a Facebook page, where things will be posted like weather closures, and other important info. You can also follow Kidding Around on Facebook and join our Kidding Around Spartanburg community group, where we often share updates posted by the different school districts. Usually once one Spartanburg County School district announces a weather-related closure, they almost always follow suit. 

Registering A New Student In Spartanburg County Schools 

For your child to attend kindergarten, they must be 5 years old on or before September 1st of that school year. You will need your child’s birth certificate, current proof of residence (such as a mortgage statement or utility bill), and a South Carolina proof of immunization certificate from your child’s pediatrician. The online registration links for each district can be found in their “Quick Links” section. 

Continuing Education In Spartanburg County, SC

Spartanburg is also home to several higher education institutions including Converse College, Wofford College, USC Upstate, Spartanburg Community College, Spartanburg Methodist College, and Sherman College of Chiropractic

25 Things Your Child Must Do In Spartanburg Before They Grow Up

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Childhood goes by quickly. It’s a fact of life we, as moms, know all too well. It seems like just yesterday when you held your baby in your arms. Now that baby is in 3rd grade. Make the most out of these special years — make some memories! We’ve put together a bucket list for your kid’s childhood; things they must do before they grow up.

Must do list for kids in Spartanburg

Feed the Ducks at Milliken

Milliken Corporation Headquarters is located in Spartanburg just off Pine Street and Interstate 585. It is a large and beautiful campus, often confused as a park as it features more than 500 different trees and shrubs, 15 decorative fountains and six ponds. The Milliken Arboretum is a nationally recognized greenspaces on 600 acres at the Roger Milliken Center and is now one of the largest corporate arboretums in the Southeast. The campus is open to the public and Spartanburg families have been making memories at these duck ponds and picnic spots for generations.

Note: Some healthy foods to feed ducks include corn, peas, oats, or birdseed.

Have his/her own Library Card

Our Spartanburg County Library system is awesome. Every child should be a card carrying member, and have the responsibility of checking out and enjoying his or her own library selections. There are also interesting activities and programs offered at each location for kids and families. Having a library card and participating in library activities should be enjoyed by each Spartanburg child.

Attend Panthers Training Camp

In late July and early August, the Carolina Panthers move to Wofford College and hold their training camp right here in Spartanburg. All the practices are free and open to the public. It’s a great chance to see the players up close and there are also usually kids activities going on around the field.

Eat at Wades and the Beacon

No doubt, we could (and may) make a list of 30 places in Spartanburg you should eat, but there are a few restaurants so iconic, that should make every list about Spartanburg. When I asked my family what should be included on this list, they all either said the Beacon or Wades!

Explore Downtown Spartanburg

Downtown Spartanburg is becoming quite the place to be! There are new restaurants, shops and activities opening all the time. You can find something new to do, eat or buy almost any day of the week, any time of the year. An afternoon or even a whole day can be spent exploring the
downtown area of Spartanburg. Here’s a map of all the great things Downtown Spartanburg has to offer.

Skate at Roebuck Skating Center

Kids have been celebrating birthday parties and Friday nights at Roebuck Skating Center since 1978. The local hangout has recently updated their entire facility and the venue now includes a 3 story, 2500 square foot, indoor playground.Take the family, lace up your old school skates and show the kids how it’s done.

Go to Spring Fling

Spartanburg has welcomed spring with a huge street festival, the Spring Fling, for almost 40 years! Admission to Spring Fling is free and it’s a weekend full of food, vendors, music and fun. There are four entertainment stages, exciting new attractions every year, a Family Fun Zone and LOTS of food and market vendors. It will become one of your family’s favorite annual Spartanburg traditions.

Visit HubCity Railway Museum

Railroad transit shaped the history of Spartanburg and the HubCity Railway Museum is the place to go to learn all about the history of trains in our city, as well as Spartanburg history in general.

Go to Summer Camp

There are a ton of summer camps in our area depending on your child’s interests. Summer camps are a great way to make lifelong friends and develop personal knowledge and skills. Summer Camps are also a great way to experience all Spartanburg has to offer families!

Tour Local Colleges

Spark kids’ interest in higher education by visiting one of the many colleges in our area. Your family can tour the campuses and attend collegiate sporting events at a variety of beautiful upstate schools. Wofford College, Converse College, University of SC Upstate, Spartanburg Methodist College and Spartanburg Community College are all within Spartanburg County, or you could travel a little further and visit many others like Clemson, Furman, or Bob Jones.

Visit Hatcher Gardens

This public botanical garden and woodland preserve is a gem right in the heart of Spartanburg. Its a beautiful escape any time of the year, but
Hatcher Garden in the spring is really something every kid should experience. This 10-acre garden, primarily planted by volunteers, offers a
woodland setting with trees, shrubs, flora, waterfalls, creeks ponds, and both paved and natural paths. The garden is open during daylight hours and is free to the public.

Attend a Show at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium

Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium has been and institution in Spartanburg since 1951. It has a seating capacity of 3244 and one of the largest stages in the southeast. Here, Spartanburg hosts Broadway shows, comedy acts, celebrity speakers, sporting events, a variety of musical entertainment, family shows and trade shows. Over the years the auditorium has hosted top name acts including Taylor Swift, Harry Connick Jr., Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Matthews, Kenny Chesney, President George Bush and President George W. Bush, Lady Margaret Thatcher, Carol Burnett, Tom Brokaw, Broadway shows of all kinds, and family shows such as Sesame Street Live, Barney Live, Magic of David Copperfield, Peppa Pig and the circus. As a bonus, its right across the street from Krispy Kreme, so you can walk there for a treat after the show.

Visit the BMW Zentrum Museum

There’s no denying that the BMW plant is a huge part of Spartanburg’s identity. It is the only BMW manufacturing plant in the US and there is also a very interesting BMW museum here too. You’ve probably passed this cool building facing Interstate 85 at the edge of BMWs campus. The Zentrum is a state of the art facility, with free admission, where you can learn history, see the cars, and even grab a bite in the cafe. Learn as a family, how BMW plays a huge part in our economic culture.

Explore our State

The glory of our state is not contained to Spartanburg and the beauty of it is you can get to any part of our great state in a few hours. Spartanburg kids should explore as much of South Carolina as possible while growing up, from the coast, to the mountains, farmlands to the cities.
There’s a little of everything here. Spartanburg kids are blessed to grow up in such an awesome city and state.

Step back in Time at Walnut Grove Plantation

Charles & Mary Moore settled in what is now the Roebuck area in 1767. The home is now part of the Spartanburg Historical Association and open to the public. Spend a day touring the house, outlying buildings, property’s cemetery, and nature trail, to see how some of the first residents of our area lived.

Explore Other Cultures

The Spartanburg International Festival began in 1985 and has grown into one of our most anticipated annual events. Its usually held in October and celebrates the many diverse cultures of our residents and businesses. It’s a full day of music, art, dance, food and international fun!
Your family will enjoy celebrating Spartanburg’s rich international culture.

Enjoy Spartanburg Parks

We are fortunate in Spartanburg to have a thriving Parks and Recreation Department. Spartanburg kiddos should visit as many of these parks as possible. The Spartanburg Parks website gives you a list of all our parks, by location and amenity.

Star Gaze in the Country

There are numerous places in Spartanburg where you can get away from the city lights and urban development so you can really see the stars. Pick a comfortable, clear night, and find a remote corner of Spartanburg where you can look up and experience stargazing in the country.

Enjoy Strawberry Hill USA

The Shed at Strawberry Hill USA is a simple, historic peach shed built in 1955 and used as a peach packing shed through 1989. The original packing shed was transformed into a premier roadside market by 1990 and as of 2017, Strawberry Hill U.S.A. is the largest strawberry farm in SC with 115 acres. Peaches are still the primary crop with close to 1,000 acres in production but you will also find summer squash, cucumbers, cantaloupes, runner beans, and pumpkins grown and sold at Strawberry Hill. You will get a taste of farm life as you see the tractors pull around the shed with a load of fresh peaches or strawberries fresh from the field. You can also visit the adjacent family restaurant and ice cream parlor. The Shed is closed
for the season until Spring 2018 but the cafe and ice cream parlor are open year round.

Shop at the Farmers Market

Hub City Farmers’ Market will start their 15th year this April. The primary market, the Saturday Market, offers a variety of produce, meats, eggs, plants, artisan crafts, and prepared foods. It is a great place for families to shop, and a runs from 8 am-noon, April – December.

Hub City Farmer's Market in Spartanburg, SC

Play a Sport at Upward Star Center

Upward Star Center is a huge sports complex located just off Interstate 85 in Spartanburg. They offer baseball, basketball, cheerleading, football, lacrosse, soccer, softball, volleyball, rock climbing, camps and more! Its a great place for Spartanburg kids (and adults) to learn and develop a sport, make friends and memories.

Splash at Shipwreck Cove

Shipwreck Cove Water Park, in Duncan, SC, is technically part of Spartanburg Park and Recreation but deserves it own spot on the list as Spartanburg’s only water park. This family-friendly water park offers fun for all ages and is open from Memorial Day until Labor Day each year. There is a larger pool for older kids with rustic pirate play ship and multi directional water cannons, two large flume slides on it’s main pool, a kiddie lagoon with misting water features, a lazy river around skull island with inflatable tubes, and certified lifeguards on duty at all times.

There is also a snack bar and a playground area of the neighboring Stone Ledge Park.

Celebrate a Dickens Christmas

A Dickens of a Christmas has become a community tradition that festively celebrates the start of the Christmas season. The “Charles Dickens” period event offers a Christmas Market, carolers dressed in victorian costume, horse-drawn carriage rides, live Christmas music, living window displays, ice skating on Morgan Square, and of course the official lighting of the Denny’s Christmas tree. Your family should experience Spartanburg’s signature yuletide celebration.

Volunteer at the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen

The Spartanburg Soup Kitchen has been serving meals to the hungry in our area for more than 35 years. Located in downtown Spartanburg, they are open at lunchtime 365 days a year; and serve between 350 and 500 guests per day. The Spartanburg Soup Kitchen relies solely on the donation of time, money, and goods from individuals, groups, small businesses, and corporations.

Volunteer opportunities are available daily, between 9:30am and 1:30pm. Help  is needed with food preparation, organization and unloading of donations, assembling children’s take-home bags, dishwashing, food line servering and after lunch clean up. To volunteer, contact Director, Lou Sartor at 864-585-0022 or visit their website.

Visit Chapman Cultural Center

Chapman Cultural Center is the hub for the arts in Hub City. Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg Regional History Museum, Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg Gallery, Student Galleries, John F. Green Spartanburg Science Center, The Spartanburg Little Theater, Spartanburg Youth Theater, Spartanburg Philharmonic, and Ballet Spartanburg are all located and/or perform here. The Chapman Cultural Center should be a place every Spartanburg child visits, and often.

What’s on your child’s must do list before they grow up?

Meet Jaime Brown
Jaime Brown grew up in Spartanburg and Greenville where she met her future husband in the 6th grade. After marriage and a few kids they moved away for a decade and now find themselves back in the Upstate with their four daughters ages 18, 14, 7 and 4. Having a college age child, high schooler, elementary aged fireball, and a special needs preschooler keeps her very busy but she loves each stage and encourages other moms
to enjoy motherhood. Jaime enjoys rediscovering the city where she grew up with her family. Bonfires, good coffee creamer, date nights, international travel, frugal interior design, and sleeping children are some of her favorite things. You can connect with her on instagram or her blog.
instagram link: https://www.instagram.com/jaimelbrown/
blog: coming soon

The Trick to No-Stress Lunch Box Prep

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It’s barely October and I’m tired of making lunches. Can I get an Amen? I’ve been making my kids pack their own lunches for at least 2 weeks now, but I’m pretty sure I’m being judged in car line because the teachers know I’m the mom that allows a sleeve of saltine crackers, a Zaxby’s packet of ranch dressing, and a questionable unicorn cupcake from last week’s birthday party head out the front door, disguised as lunch. I can do better. My kids deserve better midday fuel in their cute little bodies. So, I decided to try prepping a whole week’s worth of lunches in one afternoon. And guess what I discovered – it’s totally doable!

My plan for school lunches

Fruits and veggies

Chop/cut fruits and veggies and put in snack size plastic bags. I opted for oranges, grapes, apples (soak in pineapple juice to keep from browning) carrots and celery. Try cucumbers, broccoli, strawberries or blueberries (no chopping required). The options for this are endless. You can even add a little ranch dressing or fruit dip. Yum!

Sandwiches or wraps

You can try freezing these and depending on your lunchbox they may be thawed by lunch. Refrigerating works for us.

Meat and cheese sandwiches are super easy and kids love them. Just hold off on putting condiments or veggies on sandwiches because no one likes soggy bread. Pack the extras separately, if needed.

Peanut Butter & Jelly, because who doesn’t love PB&J? A professional chef friend taught me that the best way to make a PB&J sandwich stay fresh is to put peanut butter on both pieces of bread, then jelly in the middle – it works!

Package salads

These can be a side or an entree depending on how large you make them. If we have chicken during the week, I will cut up our leftovers and put in baggies for my kids to add to their salads.

My kids love Caesar salad and it’s easy to keep fresh. I buy a big pre-washed bag and sort it into small containers with parmesan cheese and croutons on top. The dressing is packed separate in snack sized ziplock bags or small containers.

Pantry items

These last more than just week which is nice! Stock up on pretzels, chips, individual applesauce, granola bars, cookies, boxes of raisins and anything else your kids will eat that won’t go bad quickly.

The key to this plan is planning ahead and making sure you stock items your kids will eat. There’s no point in stocking your kitchen full of super healthy, expensive food if they aren’t going to pack it and eat it. Find healthy, fun, yummy things they will be excited about throwing into their lunch boxes each morning.

My kids select what they are in the mood for that day and put it in their own lunchboxes each morning. They maintain their independence and some control of their lunch, plus I don’t feel guilty (or get judged) about what they are eating. It may take a few weeks, or even until Christmas break to figure out what quantities and combinations work for your family, but I promise planning and prepping for the whole week will make your school mornings easier.

What are some of your family’s favorite lunchbox items that can be packed ahead?

Meet Jaime Brown
Jaime Brown grew up in Spartanburg and Greenville where she met her future husband in the 6th grade. After marriage and a few kids they moved away for a decade and now find themselves back in the Upstate with their four daughters ages 18, 14, 7 and 4. Having a college age child, high schooler, elementary aged fireball, and a special needs preschooler keeps her very busy but she loves each stage and encourages other moms
to enjoy motherhood. Jaime enjoys rediscovering the city where she grew up with her family. Bonfires, good coffee creamer, date nights, international travel, frugal interior design, and sleeping children are some of her favorite things. You can connect with her on instagram or her blog.
instagram link: https://www.instagram.com/jaimelbrown/
blog: coming soon