Jake definitely gave me a run for my money this year. He is rambunctious and giddy and willful and very invested in understanding every single thing.
This year we celebrated Jake’s birthday in the most fitting way I could imagine: with a mountain of candy and a giant board game. Jake’s sweet tooth rivals mine, and he has spent the last year in a quest to become a board game geek like his daddy. (It should be noted here that his favorite game is called Just Desserts, which is a game where you feed pretend customers all their favorite sugary treats, and that when we play Candyland, he cherishes the pink dessert cards so much that I have a hard time convincing him to keep them in the stack.)
Happy fourth birthday, Jake! I can’t believe how big you are, and I can’t wait to see how you grow over the next year!
Two weeks ago, we went camping as a family for the first time ever.
After I got over the trauma of packing (you guys: packing everything you could possibly need for your shelter and all your activities outside and food cooked over a camp stove, which you also have to bring along…why did I want to do this, again?), plus my fear of the bear wandering around the state park we camped in, I really had a magnificent time!
We went with my best friend and her family, who are expert campers. They did not even mock me as my tiny percolator boiled over repeatedly, or when I admitted I had left some of the ingredients for our joint dinner on my counter at home. They laughed at me when I whined about how the shower only spouted water for 8 seconds at a time (literally). They waited patiently for Jake as he slowly hiked up his first mountain, and they raced around the campsite with my kids, who were loving all the time outside!
The best part of this whole adventure, obviously, was making s’mores.
How do you like your s’mores? Do you like to toast your marshmallow nice and slow or are you a down-and-dirty, set-it-on-fire type? Either way, you should really consider ditching the campfire (I’m thinking of you: it’s too hot outside for fire!) and making these fancy pants s’mores with toasted marshmallow ice cream instead.
A few months before Caitlin was born, Dave and I spent a weekend in Staunton, VA. We arrived on a cold Friday night and when we woke up on Saturday morning, it was a wintery wonderland. By noon, there was over a foot of fresh snow on the ground, and the temperature was about 9°Fahrenheit.
And there we were, staying in a B&B (which meant there was no food after 10am), me in my third trimester…and I had forgotten to bring boots with me. After a very ridiculous attempt to drive to the main drag of Historic Staunton (a drive which, thankfully, did not end with us trapped in a snowbank), we concluded that we would have to hoof it and hope that some brave souls had opened their restaurants despite the treacherous weather.
Lo and behold! We found a gelato shop, The Split Banana. Who eats ice cream when it’s so cold and icy and windy that their eyelashes are practically stuck together? Us. That’s who.
It was during this frozen weekend that I discovered the best ice cream ever: it was unbelievably creamy, and smooth, and bittersweet, and chocolatey, and vegan, and perfect. According to the poor guy working the counter scooping ice cream, their chocolate sorbet was made entirely from unsweetened chocolate and sugar! I can do that!
Although it was kind of silly to be eating ice cream when we had practically turned into ice-pops ourselves, it was so worth every delicious spoonful. (Plus, I’m pretty sure we shivered off the calories.)
Over the last month or so, Jake has developed quite an obsession with the book Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems. He carries it around the house with him. We read it at least once a day and up to four or five times in a row, if we have the patience. Jake likes to sit down to read the book aloud (quite accurately, I might add) to his baby sister, and he has on many occasions just recited various sections to himself when the book isn’t on hand.
Get your cold ice cream for a hot day!
I have to admit that I love this book, and not just because I am amused that all Jake’s favorite books are somehow about dessert. The crisis Gerald goes through, trying to decide whether he can bear to share his very favorite thing, the greedy rationalizations partnered with loyalty and affection for his best friend—they ring so true!
But it has always puzzled me that Gerald’s ice cream is green. I mean…green. (Maybe because real elephants are herbivores?) Nothing against mint or pistachio or matcha ice cream, particularly…I am just surprised to see such a grown-up color in a children’s book.
But maybe this is a good thing: expanding my kid’s horizons in the name of ice cream and reading!
I told Jake we would make Gerald’s ice cream…and then we set out to combine two classic green flavors, with tremendously delicious results!
As you may know, it’s National Ice Cream Month. A month I intend to celebrate enthusiastically! (Okay…I may have jumped the gun a little and started celebrating early. And I will probably still be celebrating in August.)
Initially I really struggled to figure out what ice cream recipes to share with you this month. What could be better than Nutella ice cream or cookies and cream ice cream or cake batter ice cream? I am quite predictable in my ice cream selections…and I just didn’t see how I could come up with something new to try when I had already turned all my favorite things into ice cream!