We gave ourselves a beach day on Wednesday, in celebration of our 14th anniversary. When the kids were really small, beach days were too difficult to take on--there were naps to consider, and diapers (dirty diapers + sand + no public bathrooms = stuff nightmares are made of) and the challenges of feeding small ones at regular intervals--not to mention trying to make it back home before too far past bedtime and the ensuing sleep-deprived meltdowns. Some day we'll be able to come to the beach for the day, we told ourselves, and we reached the some day a couple of years ago. We live only two hours away from a great family beach location, and it's easy to get up, get out the door, and be at the beach setting up our umbrella by 11:00 am.
It didn't hurt, either, that we picked one of the hottest days of this heat wave to spend bobbing up and down in the cold waves of the Atlantic.
We were worried all day on Tuesday that the beach day would be a disaster. L.'s had a hard time enjoying anything we do outside of the house lately (or letting us enjoy anything we do outside of the house), and I've been despairing about this turn of events, turning the worry around and around in myself, steeling myself for disappointment, preparing myself for the worst.
But then a wonderful thing happened: within 30 seconds of unloading our bags and dumping the buckets onto the sand, L. tore off his shirt and raced into the waves. He spent the next several hours in and out of the water, body surfing, crashing into the foam and having a perfect, happy-kid-at-the-beach time.
The sky was a clear blue, the sand hot and soft on the toes, and just perfect for sandcastle building (and sitting in).
Of course I enjoyed packing a picnic lunch for our beach day. Packing picnics is one of my favorite things to do, hands down. I made mock chicken and apple wraps for us grownup people, peanut butter & nutella sandwiches for T., and one of our new summer favorites: Summer Edamame Salad, which is less of a mouthful to say than Summer Edamame, Walnut, Feta, and Dried Fruit Salad, but all those great things are in there. I love this salad--it proved to be a favorite at a recent potluck, and it's easy to put together--plus, you can tweak the amount of nuts or dried fruit, feta, and even the dressing to your liking.
Summer Edamame Salad
1-2 bags frozen, shelled edamame, cooked (if you're making this for a potluck, make 2 bags)
1-2 cups dried cranberries, cherries, or pomegranates, or a mixture of all three
1-2 cups chopped walnuts
1/2 cup- 1 cup your favorite goddess dressing (Trader Joe's makes a really tasty one, too)
1-2 cups crumbled feta
Dump everything except the dressing into a bowl. Stir gently to mix ingredients together. When you're sure you have the right amounts of walnuts, or dried fruit, or feta, add the dressing. You can make it creamier by adding more of the dressing, or less creamy--it's up to you!