Sunday, September 30, 2012

Life's a Beach!

 The beach house. We arrived before Gita and her family and settled in. My first impression of the house was it reminded me of my Grandfather's old fishing cabin on a lake in Illinois. The more we looked around, it was clear this was an old fishing cabin, just on the ocean. Nothing fancy, but we just wanted a place on the beach to relax so it suited us fine.
 The description for the beach house mentioned a sound side access. You cross the street and walk through this and you come to a dock. This was their sound side. We were hoping for swimming sound side, but it was just a place for launching a boat or fishing.
 We love being right on the beach so the kids can go back and forth to the house without taking a parent and we could sit on the deck and see the ocean.
 I baked five pounds of tofu before we left Illinois so we could eat sandwiches instead of stopping a lot of the trip to North Carolina. We had a little bit left for sandwiches was we arrived at the beach house. I baked another pound later in the week. We were much more organized food-wise on this trip than any other trip we've taken and it paid off.
 Rob made channa masala before leaving Illinois and packed it for the trip. It was even better after sitting in the cooler for a couple days. He made the brown basmati rice the first night at the beach.
The kids didn't waste any time heading out to the beach after we figured out bedrooms and unpacked clothes.
We may have been in the "off season" (barely), but the water was still plenty warm. We had pretty much perfect weather the entire week.
 Both Gita's family and ours brought a lot of fruit.
More fruit. We stopped at a Whole Foods in Wilmington, NC and brought dried fruit from home. Believe it or not, the kids (and adults, but the kids ate the lion's share) ate almost all this fruit (the limes in the background were consumed by the adults in gin and tonic form) and more.
I couldn't resist these fresh currants from the Whole Foods in Wilmington, NC. I've never seen them here in Illinois. I love dried currants, but these fresh ones were a real treat.
Parker's homeschooling science class has a gnome thing going on that I don't quite understand, but his assignment was to take a picture of himself with the gnome. Mission accomplished.
Gita's hearty beach pancakes. These are her normal pancakes, but we were at the beach and we don't get to eat them since we don't live with them so they will forever be "beach pancakes" to me. A real treat, especially since the rest of the adults were pretty lame and gave the kids "vacation cereal" (granola) most mornings. I brought Luna Burger Kick Start Breakfast Patties (an impulse buy from Common Ground Food Co-op before we left home) and we cooked up a few to go with the pancakes, but I didn't snap a picture. I really like the patties. They are new to us and I love the ingredient list (Spelt Berries, Black Beans, Oats, Onions, Carrots, Kale, Apple, Garlic, Maple Syrup, Apple Cider Vinegar, Kosher Salt, Fennel, Red Pepper Flakes, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Black Pepper) and how they don't mimic meat, they are just good in their own right.
 The kids needed a big breakfast for the fun in the sun. Josie surfed for the first time. She was just a baby the last time we were at the beach.
 Parker tried out Rob's board too.
 The waves were really mushy, but he did pretty well.
More shots of Parker surfing. I wish I had a better camera, but it was fun trying to capture the action.
 Parker was sure he didn't want to surf this trip, but he quickly changed his mind.
Another one of Parker surfing.
Gita brought some frozen Hillary's veggie burgers, some buns, and pickles. We brought broccoli, greens, and Rob mad a half gallon of his tahini sauce before we left. I also brought some sweet potatoes. They all combined nicely into this dinner of veggie burgers, salad, steamed broccoli, and bake sweet potato fries.
 Don't think the boys were the only ones having fun. Josie was thrilled to spend a week with her besties, Indigo and Amara (twins who are almost a year old than Josie). I think of them as the triplets at times because they are thick as thieves.
 See what I mean? They ended up getting the exact same sun shirts. Even in the off season, we had to be a bit careful about sunburn.
The girls and the boogie boards.
Josie controlling the sea.
One evening I made pad thai because my kids requested it when we discussed what to make on vacation. I brought most of the ingredients with me, but I wing my pad thai and it was a bit tricky making it for two families instead of one, but it worked out okay.
Dema on the boogie board.
Josie on the boogie board.
Parker on the boogie board.

Dema had an the best time surfing and Rob didn't seem to mind towing him out to catch the waves. Here are a bunch of pictures of Dema surfing:

Gita used up the broccoli stalks, potatoes, etc. in this delicious veggie soup. We topped ours with za'atar and hot sauce. Gita also made some yummy fresh bread in her bread maker. Genius idea to bring it along. I brought several loaves of frozen bread, but it was so nice to have fresh bread after that was gone.
We usually rent umbrellas and boogie boards, but since the season was over rental were scarce, but we got a pretty good deal on umbrellas, chairs, boards, and sun shirts. I love that we could pretty much leave them on the beach all day without a worry (except keeping an eye on the tide).

The boys love having their own boogie boards.
Rob made a use up the food breakfast with kale, tofu, chickpeas, avocado, and hot sauce. So good, I think we need to have this for breakfast more often.
 When people were tired of riding or jumping the waves, they were happy to dig in the sand.
Or find shells.
 This was just the beginning. This board was covered before they were done.
 Rob found a beautiful one and this is the only one we kept. I believe in leaving the shells where they are and taking pictures, but Rob couldn't resist. Josie made us promise we will take the shell back to Topsail where it belongs next trip.
Pretty shells by sunset.
Use up the food pasta. I brought whole wheat gobetti and we cooked it up with onions, veggies, chickpeas (we cooked the chickpeas before we left for the beach and used them in salads and other things), crumbled the rest of the Luna Burger Kick Start Breakfast Patties, etc.
The last day we headed out to the end of the island and I wish we'd gone sooner. It was beautiful. Here are my boys. Dema and Josie were particularly tired of having their pictures taken.
Parker playing in the sand at land's end.
Awesome dads with the daughters.
 Dema and Amara running on the beach.
 Josie enjoying the end of the island.
 Cool shell.
Poor dead  crab. We saw live ones too, but didn't mess with them. We also saw more fish in the waves one day than I've ever seen in my life. It was beautiful, but I didn't even try to take pictures.
 Happy sun soaked siblings.
 We also had fun inside playing games and reading books and thanks to Gita for capturing it.
 She also took a picture of all of us on our last night at the beach. Wait, where is Gita and why is Rob being so goofy?
Here is everyone! We can't wait for next year!
 We all got up bright and early the last morning to clean up the beach house and get on the road. My family stopped in Raleigh, NC to pick up lunch at Whole Foods, but didn't find a lot so we stopped at the Qdoba next door for a burrito on a whole wheat tortilla.
We did buy some surprisingly awesome vegan nugget things at Whole Foods and the kids ate them in the car.
 Rob driving and driving.
 We stopped in Dayton, OH at Lucky's because we promised Dema after our last trip to NC. He and Josie ordered the grilled cheese.
The rest of us ordered the vegan reuben with sweet potato fries. Good food and it fueled us up enough to skip the hotel stay we were planning and we powered all the way home. Sixteen hours of driving in one day with a couple food stops. I thought this was a thing of the past (pre-kids), but it was really nice to sleep in our own beds that night.
 My last pictures of the trip are of the Ohio countryside and a beautiful sunset.
I can't wait to get back to the ocean, but the prairie does have its own beauty. 


Laura said...

It looks like you all had a wonderful vacation! The gnome thing is from Amélie, right?

carey-olsen family said...

Love seeing all the pics of our meals up there. What a fun and yummy week! You documented it beautifully, too :)