When we tell Max that we are going to the beach, he is overcome with excitement. The word “beach” is repeated again and again and again, an unremarkable word that sounds utterly charming when he says it. I don’t actually mind hearing this word said over and over, like a toddler incantation.
But I do mind the insistent way he immediately heads for the door, stopping only to grab his shoes along the way. Still clad in his footed pajamas. So then we have to be the spirit crushers, and by definition, the tantrum midwives, reining in the excitement and telling him that we can’t go right this minute. Preparations still need to be completed.
I used to raise an eyebrow at the beach-goers lugging around bag upon bag just to spend a few hours in surf and sand. Now I get it. I am now the person I never wanted to be.
In order to go to the beach with even one child, things are needed – bottles of water, food, toys, sand castle toys, extra clothes, food, blankets, camera, food, large trucks to roll over the sand and haul rocks, containers for rock collecting. Food is clearly a most necessary part of the beach-going experience. It can’t just be any food. It has to be the right kind of food - handling heat well, tasting good, curbing hunger, portability.
I would like to point out that while we have budged on this whole “why so many bags” deal, we will never be the people who return to their vehicles in a busy parking lot and then spend 20 minutes dawdling while other cars wait and wait and wait for this most precious of spots. We never cease to be mystified by the massive delay between returning to one’s car and the pulling out of the spot. We are, and always will be, quick. Like bunnies.
Finally, and it has gotten easier with repetition, provisions are obtained and gathered, and we get to the beach. And after having to spend inordinate amounts of time running after a little guy and stopping him from running right into the ocean and being swept away by a wave, and after spending time in the sun and in the sand and trying not to fall when running after the toddler and making attempts at not twisting an ankle while traipsing along on all the rocks on the shore, one most definitely gets hungry.
So we sit down on our garishly, outlandishly, colored beach towels imprinted with ridiculously clichéd images of flip flips and beach balls, and pull some things out from the designated “Food Bag” for a beach picnic. Like Quaker’s Mixed Berry Cookie. It totally fits our beach needs - doesn’t melt in the sun, sweet berries in a whole grain cookie make for deliciousness, curbs hunger with those 10 grams of whole grains per serving and all that fiber, and it is quite portable. These cookies have become part of the beach food arsenal.
And while we munch on our Quaker Mixed Berry Cookies we take a moment to look out at that gorgeous Pacific Ocean and relax. Just for a moment.
Attempts were made to turn me into one of those nature-y outdoorsy sorts of people. Success was not the result of these endeavors.
The exception is the beach.
It has the following things going for it:
deliciously salty breeze
soothing sounds from crashing waves
an appealing blue/green color
possibility of whale/dolphin spotting
crucially, availability of bathrooms
Though I love being at the beach, the actual process of getting to the beach can be a hassle. One doesn't just decide to go, and then "poof" there you are laying supine while rays of sunshine embrace you in their warmth. Oh no. Things must be gathered. Bags must be packed.
Check out the slideshow above to see what Home Skillet includes in their beach food arsenal.
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