Oh my, what a day! Two special days at once - Fathers' Day and the Summer Solstice! As a girl who likes to celebrate, I can say that two celebrations at once is double the fun.
But it's also double the work.
Last night, I was up until the wee hours making preparations. There was baking and pureeing and brewing and slicing and sewing to be done and I had a mind to just dig in and have fun with it.
For all but our very first solstice beach trips, we have just gone over to the Gulf Coast to catch the sunset and maybe have a picnic and some ice cream if we were lucky. We've been talking for a couple of years about heading over to the Atlantic for the sunrise instead. And even though we didn't end up staying overnight as we had initially planned, we had the fun of waking up at 3:00 AM to pack kids and beach gear and foodstuffs into the car. And I don't really mean that sarcastically. There is something hushed and exciting about waking up in the early dark hours in preparation for something really fun.
And all was going well until Emma, well, I'll just come out and say it - Emma threw up. All over her floor.
But don't fear. She often will do that as she's getting rid of some kind of virus. It's like her body's way of giving germs a final heave-ho (haha!). So, we made the call to stick with our plans and head for the beach.
We arrived just in time for the sunrise, even though the actual sun was obscured by heavy mists and clouds.
No matter. We had vegan blueberry muffins (ohmygooness! very tasty!) and coconut lattes ready for breakfast. That's all the sunshine you need!
We really enjoyed watching all the ghost crabs dig their holes. They're so funny, climbing out sideways with claws full of sand that they throw as far as they can. There was a really big one right by our beach quilt and we named him Mongo. He and another dude of similar size had a bit of territory dispute at various points in the morning, but no harm, no foul. All was well and they each retreated to their own holes.
We all took many shell-hunting expeditions up and down the shore.
The Solstice is the only day of the year that I really let my kids bring home shells - otherwise we'd have a house full of them by now. We set them, with a bit of sand from their beach, into a glass milk jar and display all the jars from all the previous years together. There were so many to choose from! Emma and I particularly liked finding the ones with holes in them as we could imagine turning them into various articles of jewelry. We brought home plenty of those, so look for jewelery-crafting posts coming soon!
Being a knitter, though, I like to think in colorways, or the particular color schemes of a dyed batch of yarn. There were two that stood out as the most prized colorways this year and we named them after the treats they made us crave.
Behold, Toffee Cream:
(the top two were my favorites)
And Raspberries & Cream.
In what would have been a romantic and fitting conclusion to such a life, we nearly lost Emma to the sea. She was playing in the waves with Daddy, was unwittingly overtaken and knocked clean off her feet by a wave. Chris grabbed her by the ankle just in time to rescue her. Though she survived (and was hardly in any danger, really), she did find that she was far more connected with the shore than she was before The Incident.
Once we all grew too hot and tired to continue our revelry, we showered off (especially Emma, whose swimsuit bottom was positively drooping with sand) and drove home, enjoying the watermelon lemonade that I'd made the night before. It's not summer without lemonade, right?
You really do need to try this recipe. It makes a mess in your kitchen, but it's really worthwhile. The recipe calls for frozen lemonade concentrate, but I couldn't find any without corn syrup in it, so I had to make my own. It was easy peasy. Just reconstitute the homemade concentrate by mixing equal parts watermelon juice and concentrate. This won rave reviews in the car.
After we all showered at home (with soap!), we headed over to my mom and dad's house for a Fathers' Day lupper (that's a lunch/supper because we ate right in between the appropriate times for either meal). A mess of Mexican stuff was served and I provided my famous salsa and, of course, dessert. My baby brother's going to be a daddy this year, so I prepared a favorite of his - authentic key lime pie. This recipe was also a big winner, but go ahead and make it with two cans of sweetened condensed milk and 3/4 c. key lime juice. It's so worth it! It was really easy to put together. So easy that I'm afraid to share it with you. Once you see how easy it is to make your own key lime pie, you might not invite me over under the pretense of serving me dinner just so that I might bring one of my homemade key lime pies. Not that I was envisioning ingratiating myself to my circle of friends with this recipe...
Also for my little brother's first Fathers' Day, I made him a little somethin'. My brother has a problem with changing diapers. He has a really strong aversion to, um, excrement of any sort. So I made him these little Pee Pee Teepees. If you can't figure out how they work (on a little boy), email me and I'll explain a few facts of life to you.
I found a really easy tutorial online and once I made sense of it, they came together very nicely. It's a great little boy baby shower gift. (Dang. I was going to link to it, but I can't find it right now. I'll edit it later to add the link if I can dig it up.)
So, if you're counting, yesterday I made:
Lemonade concentrate, watermelon lemonade, vegan blueberry muffins, three key lime pies (one vegan for me!), eight pee pee teepees, coconut lattes, and salsa.
I could not have done it without the help of my friend, my partner, my stability, my husband. He's the one that runs around behind me, cleaning up the messes I make and ensuring that the children are as safe as possible, regardless of what I entice them to do. I was teasing him yesterday about being so predictable in his behavior patterns and he said to me, "Honey...but...stability is the spice of life!" I laughed so hard I nearly fell off the bed. In truth, he and I are so opposite, but that's how we find our balance.
And if you made it all the way through this post, you are probably as tired as I am.
Daily Bliss: with a day like this, who can pick a favorite happy thing!
Wake-up Playlist: Kings of Leon, Notion & Missy Higgins, Where I Stood