Missing the Beat

Last week so much time was spent on kickball and on Friday’s dinner (drool over the menu here) that I hardly had time for anything else. It went by in a rush. It took me until today to get caught up on emails and gossip. I was seriously behind, and realistically, it’s only going to get backed up again. That’s just how summer rolls.

This week, we’re gonna try to take it easy and eat a lot of popsicles. It’s the only week of the summer where both boys are home for the entire week and there aren’t any camps or plans with grandparents, and we’re headed to Eastern Washington–to sunny Lake Chelan–at the beginning of the weekend.

We stay in a little time share condo that Joe’s been going to with his family since he was a kid. It’s small–barely enough room for all of us, with a little poorly stocked kitchen. This means that we eat a lot of meals that are easy to prepare and require a minimum of devices and gadgets and pots and pans. I don’t like to bring a lot of things with us, since with 5 of us in the car it gets pretty full pretty fast.

I do like to bring a lot of pre-planned and pre-prepared foods to reduce the amount of time spent in the kitchen or at the store for forgotten items. When I’m on vacation, I wanna be on vacation, dammit!

So, I’ve been thinking about it for a few days and what I’ve come up with stinks. I’m totally out of ideas and I can’t stand to look at Tastespotting or Pinterest any more than I have to. I don’t want to eat pasta or tacos every night, even though I do love a good taco bar.

I’m calling on you, dear friends, for some advice. I’d love to hear your favorite easy to prepare meals for weekend getaways in hot locales. We like to keep it fresh and simple with lots of veggies; not a lot of spice since the kids are kinda picky; and of course, kosher.

If you’ve got any bright ideas, share them here and let’s see what we can come up with!

Birthdays Rain or Shine

Remember back when I said that the beautiful weather we were having was bound to be temporary? Well it was true. The weather around Seattle has pretty much reverted back to fall weather, except that it’s daytime for about twice as long. I’ve been keeping myself busy though–mostly going to birthday parties.

About this time 2 years ago, I was spending a bit of time with tiny babies. We had several friends who all had babies within about 2 weeks of each other, and it was very exciting because we had just announced that we ourselves were going to be having a baby in October (Lilli’s originally expected birth-month).

And at this same time just last year, I was preparing to launch this baby–the blog you are reading now. (Big plans for that birthday–not all of them cake related!)

And the list goes on with a whole bunch of other May birthdays in our family: the births of both my mom (57 yrs ago) and my dad (56 years ago), Joe’s mom (60 years ago), the twins’ mom (32 years ago) and also the twins themselves (9 years ago).

With so many birthdays this month, we have been busy indeed. Busy making cards and birthday treats. Busy picking out the perfect children’s books as gifts for our youngest friends, busy painting wrapping paper especially for them. There has been brunch parties and dinner parties, kid parties and grown up parties. Who doesn’t love a month full of parties?

Of all the treats I made this month, probably my favorite was a set of cookies for one of those young friends. It was a glorious sunny day when we were planning to spend the afternoon celebrating the birth of Niko, and I wanted to make a special treat for him. I had some gingerbread cookie dough saved in the freezer from when Lilli was on an “I’m the gingerbread man” kick the week before, so I took out the last of it and cut out one cookie for each of the letters in his name. I baked them just right, and then I let them cool.

I frosted them with a thick, lemony, and not too sweet icing and dipped each one in a rainbow of sprinkles. The sprinkles are the key. Bright and cheerful and fun, they make just about any birthday treat that much better.

The best part about these cookies is you don’t even really need a recipe. Just use any dough that would be rolled out and cut, and decorate with a thick frosting that dries hard–I used about 1 cup of powdered sugar turned into a thick paste with the juice of about 1 lemon. Dip the cookie frosting side down into a dish full of whatever sort of sprinkle you want and let it harden before you pack them up.

It’s easy enough that you can do it even if you have 100 birthday parties to go to all at once and they made exactly the statement that I wanted them to make: that I took my time and made something special just for the birthday boy.