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Archive for June, 2008

Part of Forsyth Park playground closed

Monday, June 30th, 2008

forsyth-park-closed-playground.JPGOh how we miss you Forsyth Park tunnel and alligator.

If you’re heading to Forsyth Park this holiday weekend for the first time in weeks, you might be surprised to find the downtown Savannah park’s east playground – the one designed for 2 to 5 year-olds – closed.

It’s fenced off and covered up during the renovation of the neighboring fort. That half of the playground closed in early May and is expected to reopen in a year when the fort renovation is complete.

Don’t worry. The west playground – the one with the mini-rock climbing wall – is open. It also has a climbing tower, slides and swings. The only drawback is it’s designed for older kids, 5 to 12 year-olds. While toddlers do use it (including mine), some of the climbing areas are a little lofty.

The fort is being renovated to be an attractive building housing a visitor’s area, cafe, meeting rooms and restrooms. A bandshell will be added to the south side of the fort. So looks like missing one half of the playground will be worth it in the end.

Got questions about other Savannah parks, city property or services? Call 311 within Savannah or 912.651.6565. The 311 Call Center provides responses to non-emergency requests regarding city services. It’s available weekdays, 8 am-5 pm Mon-Fri. Hooray! A place for answers. You can also make requests online. Click here.

Does your child love ships & cannons?

Monday, June 30th, 2008

If so, then be @ ship.jpgOld Fort Jackson National Historic Landmark around 9-9:30 am Thurs. July 3 to see the destroyer USS Barry arrive in Savannah for the Fourth of July festivities.

The Virginia-based guided missile cruises will receive a cannon salute from Old Fort Jackson National Historic Landmark before tying up on River Street. Sorry, the ship will not be open for public visitation due to security restrictions at the port.

Old Fort Jackson is @ 1 Fort Jackson Road, three miles east of downtown Savannah off President Street. 912.232.3945.

Zoe & Sprout gift certificate giveaway

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Welcome zoe-and-sprout-button-ad.jpgZoe & Sprout, an online boutique that is our newest, hip Southern sponsor.

Zoe & Sprout original baby and toddler onesies and tees are designed to make you smile, laugh, and even blush. Designed by southern mama and chief sprout Amanda Zylowski, who believes babies don’t always have to sport teddy bears, rubber ducks, and flowers on their threads.

southern-belle-onesie-zoe-sprout.gifZoe & Sprout is giving away $25 in merchandise to one lucky SouthernMamas subscriber. To be eligible, email your name and the correct answer to the question below to Deadline is early this holiday week, 9 pm Wednesday July 2. We’ll announce the winner here Thursday.

Quiz question: Zoe & Sprout has baby and toddler twinsets named after a song by a 1970s brother-and-sister singing duo with opposing tastes in music. Name that tune or the duo. Hint: Click here and then click on baby or toddler and scroll through the onesies and tees.

You have to be a SouthernMamas subscriber to participate. Subscribing is free. Click here to do so.

For 2008, Zoe & Sprout has added great twinsets to their line, funky retro items, and eco-friendly organics. Best sellers include, i-shot-jr-tee-zoe-sprout.gifI Shot J.R.”, the “Bo & Luke” twinset, “Southern Belle”, and “The Dog Hates Me”.

SouthernMamas readers receive a 20 percent discount @ Zoe & Sprout by using the code SMAMA2008. Start shopping by clicking here.

In praise of moms who take action

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

heide-paul-elliott.jpgHeide Elliott’s son doesn’t have cancer. But this Guyton mom took time off from work, drove to DC last week with her 7-year-old son and spent five days rallying for more funding for pediatric cancer research.

Heide is one of those moms willing to take action for a cause she believes in, even though her family is not personally affected by the problem she’s fighting. You can about read about Heide (pictured here with her son after they both shaved their heads for St. Baldrick’s cancer research fund raiser) and the need for more pediatric cancer research funding in my column today in the Savannah Morning News Accent section. Click here to read more.

Know of other involved moms like Heide? Please tell us about them. SouthernMamas plans to start spotlighting local moms who passionately take on a great cause. Email us at

Questions about FluMist and autism

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

flumist.gifMedical authorities and some parents of children with autism have long feuded about a link between vaccines and autism. The controversy has even extended to, as you can read in the comments section on this autism post and on this one.

Today, the New York Times broke a story about a 6-year-old’s death that is going to raise even more questions about whether mitochondrial disorders could be set off or worsened by vaccinations and whether those disorders might be linked to autism.

As the NYT reports: “On Jan. 11, a 6-year-old girl from Colorado received FluMist, a flu vaccine, and about a week later “became weak with multiple episodes of falling to ground” and “difficulty walking,” according to a case report filed with federal health officials and obtained by The New York Times.”

“The girl grew increasingly weak and feverish and “became more limp, appears sleepy, acts as if drunk,” the report said. She was hospitalized and underwent surgery and was finally withdrawn from life support. She died on April 5, according to the report.”

The little girl had mitochondrial disorder. Another child with mitochondrial disorder is 9-year-old Hannah Poling, the Athens-Ga. girl you probably read about. Hannah was 19 months old and developing normally in 2000 when she received five vaccine shots.

“Two days later, she developed a fever, cried inconsolably and refused to walk. In the next seven months, she spiraled downward, and in 2001 doctors diagnosed autism,” according to the NYT.

Read the full article NYT here. But be prepared. It’s going to make you want to find out everything you can about these very mysterious mitochondrial disorders.

See a live, local version of “American Idol”

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Get ready for a hometown version of “American Idol” this Fourth of July weekend.

american-idol-logo.jpgRichmond Hill Recreation Association Old Time Family Festival and BBQ @ J.F. Gregory Park will include a “Richmond Hill Idol.” Stephanie Edwards from “American Idol” will kick off the contest at 5 pm Sat. July 5. Then 10 contestants will compete for the RH title.

The festival – which runs noon-dark – is free and open to the public. In addition to “RH Idol,” it will include vendor booths, water rides, games, food and rides for kids of all ages. The festival ends with a fireworks show.

For more Fourth of July weekend events including where to watch fireworks, sign up to subscribe to the SouthernMamas weekly email newsletter, which spotlights best kid-friendly events for the week ahead. Subscribing is free. Click here to do so.

Would you lend your child to NBC’s “Baby Borrowers”?

Friday, June 27th, 2008

baby-borrowers.jpgYou’ve probably heard of (or maybe even watched) the debut this past week of NBC’s new reality series “Baby Borrowers.’’

As a “social experiment” the British-concept puts five young, unmarried couples to the parenting test. The teens are given a succession of people to care for, infants, toddlers, tweens, teens and senior citizens. The show is sure to be a much needed “birth control” for young people. Think “Scared Abstinent.”

Sure, the motive to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy is a good one. But what about the very real infants and toddlers being handed over by their very real parents for inept strangers to take care of? Isn’t this verging on parental neglect?

NBC defends the show by saying a professional nanny is waiting in the wings. Plus, the real parents can monitor “the experiment” on close-circuit TV and can even occasionally step in if things get messy.

Child protection advocates aren’t buying it. Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families cites research on the effect of prolonged separations on small children left in the care of strangers.

Here’s part of Zero to Three’s statement:
“Legitimate social experiments are not conducted on national television or on reality shows. “Baby Borrowers” may have a catchy theme, but it exploits young children with potential harmful consequences. This is no social experiment. It is an extremely misguided endeavor that puts at risk our most vulnerable citizens, young children who need our love and protection.”
Read the entire statement here.

Would love to know what y’all think about this “experiment.” Would you hand over your infant or toddler for such a reality show if, in the end, the show might help prevent teen-age and unplanned pregnancy?

Your Kid’s Weekend Guide

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

farmers-market-logo.jpgStarland’s Farmers Market, 9 am-noon Sat. June 28. Get Georgia-grown organic and traditional produce, artists, food vendors, craftspeople, musicians, street performers and storytellers. In Savannah’s Starland District @ Whitaker and Bull from 40th to 41st. 912. 443.5355.

Disney’s “101 Dalmations” @ Savannah Children’s Theatre, Fri. June 27-Sun. June 29, 2160 E. Victory Drive. Call for show time and ticket prices. 912.238.9015

Summer Concerts in the Square, 11:30 am Fri. June 27. Featuring Silver Lining in Wright Square. Presented by the City of Savannah’s Dept. of Cultural Affairs. Free and open to the public. 912. 651.6417.

“Pink Panther” 7 pm Sat. June 28 @ the Lucas Theatre. Rated G. Admission is $8. 32 Abercorn St. Presented by the Savannah Film Society. 912.525.5050.

Haunted Tour @ Oatland Island Wildlife Center. Investigate Oatland Island’s haunted history with tour guides from Sixth Sense Savannah. 9-11 pm Sat. June 28. For costs, call 912.898.3980

Hilton Head Is/Bluffton area

Bluff Fest, 5-9:30 p.m Sat. June 28 @ the Bluffton High School Stadium. An Independence Day Celebration and Wing Cook-off with inflatable jumpers, live entertainment, face painting, pie bake-off, fireworks and more. 843. 757.1503.

Bug Scavenger Hunt, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m Fri. June 27, Hilton Head Branch Library. For kids 9 – 12 in age. A super crawly evening planned as with a vareity of buggy things throughout the library in this after-hours program, 11 Beach City Road, HHI. 843.342.9200.

Hardeeville’s 2nd Annual Fireworks and Fun, 4-9 pm Sat. June 28 @ the Hardeeville Recreation Facilities behind City Hall. Music and shag dancing, waterslide, games, food, family fun and a fireworks extravaganza. Free admission. 205 E. Main St. 843.784.2231.

Daufuskie Day Celebration, Sat. June 28 @ Daufuskie Island. Celebrate the Native Gullah culture with food, live entertainment, children’s activities and more. Ferry reservations required. 843.384.9941

The winners of the Huggies gift baskets giveaways are…

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

childrens-museum-of-the-lowcountry.gifBrenda Marion and Amy Hoecht.

Congratulations! Y’all each win a “Summer Essentials Kit” gift basket from Huggies Little Swimmers with swim diapers and a sand bucket full of beach necessities.

Thanks to everyone for your tips on best summer destinations with kids.

Amy, whose family lives on Lady’s Island, said her family spends a lot of their summer days on Hunting Island. “They have great programs for children and the beach is beautiful. Just went to the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry in Charleston yesterday and had a blast.”

Brenda said her family’s favorite summer spot is Tybee Island where her son “loves to play in the tidal pools and wade in the waves. We pack up his wagon with sunscreen, towels, beach blankets and our new radio cooler (great father’s day gift for the whole family!) and head to the beach at 6th Street. It’s tough to get Jack to snack without getting sand in all of the food/attacked by seagulls, so we usually head to Marlin Monroe’s for a bite to eat and some shade while still enjoying the great view. He is also at a great age for the Tybee Island Marine Science Center and loves picking up the hermit crabs and conch shells in the “touch tank.”

Be sure to look for another giveaway from a different sponsor to be announced Monday on SouthernMamas.

Cool off in Hull Park Fountain

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

hull-park-smaller.JPGLooking for a little diversion from the pool?

Kids can cool off for free in the popular splash fountains @ Hull Park , the diamond-shaped green spot smack in the center of Ardsley Park. The kid-friendly fountains are in the concrete amphitheater near the baseball diamond. The only drawback is hitting the park at the right time when the fountains are on. There doesn’t seem to be a set schedule. Best bet is 10:30ish to lunchtime.

The park bisects Atlantic Ave. @ 55th Street. There’s also a playground, complete with an unusual find these days, a merry-go round. But be prepared, there’s not much shade other than a picnic pavilion – which makes the splash fountain much more appealing this time of year.