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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

From Crooked to Confident: Our Journey with Dr. Tom’s Orthodontics

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This article is written in partnership with Dr. Tom’s Orthodontics. All opinions are our own.

Do you have a kid who is definitely going to need braces and maybe even can’t wait to get them so they can have straight teeth? My daughter Elizabeth has begged us for braces for years as she is self-conscious about her teeth being crooked. However, every time we had an orthodontic consultation, we were told that her mouth was not ready yet. Finally, this spring, we got the news that she had been waiting for from Doctor Tom’s Orthodontics that Elizabeth’s mouth was ready for braces. 

Doctor Tom's Orthodontics

We know that many of our readers also have kids who will need braces. Plus, you probably have a lot of questions (we did!). We’ll be sharing our braces journey here on Kidding Around so that you know what to expect. You’ll also learn why Doctor Tom’s Orthodontics is a spot you should include on your list of local orthodontists to consider.

Meet Dr. Tom: 30 Years of Experience in Greenville

Dr. Tom is a Greenville native with over 30 years of experience crafting smiles for our local kids. His dedication to excellence and personalized care makes him a go-to orthodontist for families across the Upstate. And trust me, once you meet him, you’ll understand why he has over 150 reviews on Google with a 4.9-star average.

His practice, Dr. Tom’s Orthodontics, was voted by our readers as a 2024 KABOOM Awards Winner.

How Do You Know If Your Kid is Ready for Braces?

The journey kicked off with a free consultation, where Cathy, the Treatment Coordinator snapped some x-rays and made sure our paperwork was entered correctly. After everything was in the system, Dr. Tom examined Elizabeth’s teeth and laid out a treatment plan. The plan included what types of correction Elizabeth’s teeth would need, any necessary dental appointments, and the predicted length of the treatment.

A consultation to learn if your kid needs braces and what they will cost is absolutely free, no strings attached!

The office even offered to send the x-rays taken to our pediatric dentist to save costs at our next dentist appointment. We left with everything we needed to make an informed decision. Dr. Tom even offered to record his assessment on my phone so I could share it easily with my husband.

Dentist and child after receiving braces at Dr. Tom's Orthodontics

Dr. Tom’s Office is a Space Designed to Make Kids and Parents at Home

At Dr. Tom’s, the office is more than an orthodontic clinic; it’s a kid-friendly space that helps ease stress. From the cheerful greetings to the personalized name boards adorning the walls, every detail is designed to make kids feel right at home. And let’s not forget the prize wheel the kids can spin at the end – Elizabeth’s favorite part of every visit!

At Doctor Tom’s, parents are welcome to accompany their child in the treatment room, because let’s be real – sometimes your kid wants you there for support. In addition, with an average of just three office visits per year during school hours, your kid will miss a minimum of school.

Oh, and did I mention the little free library in the lobby? Elizabeth is a bookworm, so she had fun picking out a new book and maybe next time we’ll bring one of our favorites to leave for another child.

For parents that need to bring work along to appointments, the lobby also has several workstations complete with outlets.

Picking up a tie dye t shirt from Dr. Tom's Orthodontics.

Top-notch Treatment, Tailored for You

Dr. Tom’s all-inclusive fee covers everything from the initial exam and consultation to office visits and retainers. And if you decide to move forward, they offer a monthly, no-interest payment plan to make it easier on the budget. Yep, you heard that right – no surprise fees or hidden costs, just a straightforward path to a dazzling smile.

And speaking of retainers, Dr. Tom has got you covered with three replacements included in the fee. Because let’s face it, kids will be kids, and retainers have a knack for disappearing into thin air (or the school lunch trash can)!

New set of braces from Dr. Tom's Orthodontics.

SPEED Braces: A Smile Above the Rest

At Doctor Tom’s, it’s not just about straightening teeth; it’s about boosting confidence. That’s one of the reasons that they provide the modern option of SPEED braces. The SPEED braces are only ⅓ of the size of traditional braces and use a spring clip to move the teeth. This new technology isn’t only less visible but is more comfortable, traps less food, and can even result in less visits.

Are You Curious if Your Kid Needs Braces?

If you think your child might need braces, it costs nothing to set up a free consultation. Just call Doctor Tom’s office at 864.329.1971 or fill out the form on their website.

We are looking forward to seeing Elizabeth’s smile transform over the next two years and we’ll share her progress here!

Phone Number: 864.329.1971
Address:  20 Creekview Ct Ste A, Greenville, SC 29615
Website: drtomsortho.com

10 Things To Bring Along When Hiking with Kids

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If you’re out hiking with kids anywhere in the Upstate, SC – or anywhere actually – we’ve got a list of 10 things you may want to consider carrying with you.

Things to bring along when you are hiking with kids

Our area boasts hundreds of miles of trails, from an easy stroll to strenuous trails up mountaintops. Lots of these trails are perfect for kids! I’ve come to enjoy hiking with my family, rarely hitting the same trails twice because there are just so many to choose from.

I’ve been hiking with my youngest from the time she was just three months old and strapped to me in a baby carrier (she’s eight now) and time in nature is something that has become almost a weekly ritual for us.  There has been a lot I’ve had to learn, including what to carry with me when we hike.

Hiking Grandfather Mountain

Nature Equals Adventure

I wasn’t always so interested in hiking with my kids though. Hiking with kids is an adventure in itself. I started hiking just a handful of times a year with my two kids. I then added more and more hikes every year, learning something new every time.

Now it’s an adventure I take with my two kids that we all enjoy and love. Remember to start with easy trails. Be careful not to overestimate your – and your kids’ – abilities and get in a situation that you aren’t prepared for. Older kids can typically handle more challenging hikes, plus they can help carry more items!

But what do you bring with you? That’s what I’m going to cover here. Most seasoned hikers will tell you to bring the “Ten Essentials” – wise advice, whether its a local trail or national park. These essentials vary a bit and I’ll add some to this list but will also incorporate what I’ve learned in my years of hiking experience as well. 

Hiking in Greenville, SC with kids

If you’re thinking of getting started hiking find more tips for hiking in our Newbie Guide to Hiking, which you may want to take a look at first.

You’ll find places in this post on hiking trails with young children that are great for kids.

Hiking with young children

10 Things to Take With You When Hiking with Kids for a Successful Hike

#1 Water

Don’t forget the water, especially in the summer. Getting dehydrated should not be on your to-do list. Make sure all the tops of the water bottles are closed tight and aren’t leaking into your backpack (I’ve learned the hard way on this one). There are also kid-friendly backpack style water bottles like this one. In cases of emergency, I also carry a LifeStraw, a straw with a personal water filter you can use and drink safely from streams or other water sources. 

#2 Snacks

Snacks on hikes are vital. They almost made it to the top spot in this list. Kids are whining? Give them a snack. Kids complaining they are tired? Give them a snack. You want your kids to make it to the waterfall? Bribe them with a snack. Kids love a good snack after a long hike!

#3 First Aid Kit

I always have carried band-aids with me but have since added more to my little portable First Aid Kit – namely antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, Neosporin, and After Bite to deal with stings (this is the product I’ve used the most). 

#4 Sunscreen

We do a lot of hiking and swimming in the summer and carrying extra sunscreen is important. 

#5 Map

I always screenshot a map of the trail I’m planning to hike on my phone and then take a photo of the map, if available, at the trailhead, if I don’t have a hard copy. This is especially key in more remote places that are less traveled. I used the AllTrails app but love Gaia as it’s usually more accurate. Maybe even plan out a scavenger hunt along the trail for fun!

#6 Trash bag

I always carry a plastic grocery bag we use for trash, both ours and the trash we find on the trail. Pack out what you pack in – a big part of the Leave No Trace principles. If you have a kid in diapers, take those diapers out of the forest with you and dispose in a trash can. Same with dog waste – it’s not ok to leave waste on trails or in trash bags on trails.

#7 Flashlight or headlamp

I’ve never had to use this on a hike but always carry it just in case. In our area, it’s not uncommon to read local news stories about people getting lost in the woods, especially over the summer since more people are out on the trails then. 

#8 Pepper spray or some kind of protection

I’ve never had to use this but after an alarming number of loose dog encounters, I now carry both pepper spray and a small, handheld zapper. A lot of people like to carry bear spray in the off chance of an encounter with aggressive wildlife. 

#9 Rain poncho

Getting caught in the rain, especially if it’s cold or when a chance storm hits, isn’t fun. Keeping kids protected with lightweight rain gear is a good idea. 

#10 Firestarter

Bring matches and something to use for tinder (dryer lint works great) in case you need it. 

Some other suggestions that may be helpful are a knife, a plastic tarp you could use as a makeshift shelter, and extra socks. If you’ve got a baby with you, be sure to bring extra diapers and wipes.

So, strap on your hiking boots and get hiking!

Winter hiking

Hiking in Greenville, SC

Love to Explore the Outdoors?

Check out our Guide to Hiking Near Greenville, SC, with trails for all abilities and ages!


Making Life Easier: Resources and Services For Families in Upstate, South Carolina

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Are you in need of services in Greenville, SC to help your family and you live your best lives? Maybe you are looking for resources to help you navigate a particular issue. We have compiled a multitude of lists and guides that will help you navigate your daily life a little more easily. Peruse our growing resources and services page as we work to help make life a little easier. 

Resources and services guide to the Upstate of South Carolina

Who Has KABOOM? Top Resources Voted By Our Readers

The KABOOM Awards are our annual best-of contest. The results give our readers a list of Greenville’s best resources and services.

Services and Resources for Upstate Families:
Reader-recommended and Researched

We have asked our readers and researched some of the best places for various services near Greenville, SC. Many of these services are things you would need during your daily life, and hey, we are all just trying to make life easier! Check out these reader-recommended reviews of services throughout the Upstate.

Reader-recommended places for kid’s haircuts.

Reader recommended nail salons near Greenville, South Carolina

Reader-Recommended Nail Salons in Greenville, SC & Spartanburg, SC

Where to do grocery pickup or delivery in Greenville, SC

Grocery Delivery Services in Greenville, SC

Services Near Greenville, SC

Get mommy and me manicures and pedicures at these upstate nail salons.

You can get free school supplies near Greenville, SC at one of these back-to-school events.

These local retailers are the Where to Buy School Uniforms That Fit Your Child.

These piercing studios in Greenville, SC are a safe place to get your kids ear’s pierced.

Growing your family can be expensive, but our information about parenting on a budget can help save you some money!

If you have a newborn, money can be tight! These 11 tips on Budgeting for Your Baby may be useful.

Have a little water lover? These recommended places are the Best Swim Lessons in Greenville, SC.

Have it all! Connect with your kids with ideas in our Working Parents Guide to Greenville, SC.

Women's consignment stores in Greenville, South Carolina

These women’s consignment stores will keep you on budget while staying in style!

Kids Consignment shopping in Greenville, SC

Buy or sell gently used clothing at these reader-recommended Kids Consignment Stores Near Greenville, SC.

Where and how to shop to save in Greenville, SC

Here is where to shop to save while you budget shop at these local retailers.


Family Resources & Guides To Greenville, SC

If you are new to the Greenville area or are in need of information about the Upstate, these guides and resources can help you navigate the Upstate a little better. Listings in these guides offer contact information, the services the company or facility offers, and links to their business page. These guides and resources are organized to make it easier for you to navigate, saving you a little time during your research!

The Ultimate Homeschool Guide to the Upstate, South Carolina.

Kidding Around’s Ultimate Homeschool Guide.

Special needs resources in Greenville, SC

Our Special Needs Guide for resources and services near Greenville, SC.

Guides and Resources for Upstate Families

Help your parents retire comfortably with Dan Hamilton’s Guide to Retirement Communities.

Use our KA Ultimate Birthday Guide to plan every aspect of your child’s birthday party

Need a reputable photographer? Our Ultimate Guide to 30+ Photographers near Greenville, SC will help you choose the perfect photographer for any occasion.

The KA Ultimate Guide for New Parents includes information on baby, maternity, and postpartum care near Greenville, SC!

Our Guide to Private Schools near Greenville, SC has over 30 schools that will give your child a premium education for your child that aligns with your values.

Looking for Charter Schools? Our Guide to Charter Schools near Greenville, SC has information about all of the charter schools in the Upstate.

Are you thinking about moving to Greenville, SC? Then our Guide to Moving to Greenville, SC has tons of information to help you find a great place to live, including things to do once you get here!

You will also find the best suburbs to live near Greenville, SC and why in our list of the Best Suburbs Near Greenville, SC.

Here is where you can buy local, farm fresh eggs near Greenville, South Carolina!

Have a kid who turns 6 this year? You HAVE to check out the Pepsi Party Pack your child will get for free from Pepsi of Greenville.


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.

Parent tips for farm trips
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.

Raising Relationships Podcast: Improving Connections with Young Children

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If you are a parent and a podcast lover, then the Raising Relationships podcast is for you! The podcast, created by the South Carolina Infant Mental Health Association (SCIMHA), offers parents and educators extra support and guidance for building strong bonds with young children in their lives. The podcast also discusses the rise in preschool expulsion, and what parents and educators can do to reduce these numbers. Thank you to SCIMHA for sponsoring this article.

We spoke with Amaris Gibson (MA, LPC-A, IMH-E® Infant Family Specialist) who is co-host with Tiffany Stenson (Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Training Specialist) to learn more about the themes of the podcast. We also discussed why your child’s mental health and socio-emotional development is so important. The open discussion format of the podcast explores the realities and difficulties of raising and connecting with young children.

The Raising Relationships podcast artwork
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The Ultimate Guide To All Seven School Districts in Spartanburg, SC

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Have questions about Spartanburg County schools? 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 schools in Spartanburg, SC. 

spartanburg county schools

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

School buses lined up

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 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
  • Byrnes Freshman Academy
  • 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

Details about Swofford Career Center

Swofford Career Center is open to students in the 10th-12th grades in Spartanburg Districts 1 and 2. There are multiple programs; enrollment is limited for each one and priority is given based on grade level. They partner with multiple businesses in Spartanburg County to help support their programs.

To enroll, students should request a form during registration at their home high school in District 1 or 2 and turn the form in to their guidance office.

Swofford Career Center Programs

  • Auto Collision
  • Automotive Tech
  • Carpentry
  • Culinary Arts
  • Electricity
  • Engineering Drafting & Design
  • Graphic Communications
  • Health Science
  • Horticulture Sciences
  • Intro to Teaching
  • Machine Tool Technology
  • Media Technology
  • Networking
  • Protective Services
  • Welding

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. Most 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

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?

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?

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. 

Easier holidays and low-key Christimas

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.

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

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