Mommy-Daughter Road Trip

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Like hippies travelling to Woodstock, Sisi and I set forth on an epic road trip from OC to San Fran to see her (our) favorite kids' band, Okee Dokee Brothers.  Normally the trip isn't really epic- it takes about 8 hours to get to the Bay Area.  I used to make the drive up to college in one trip (with an in-n-out break halfway) but when you're 7 months pregnant and have to pee every hour or so, the trip becomes an epic 5 day journey.  We had so much fun travelling just the two of us.  We might make it a tradition!  I've been annoyed with California lately, but this trip made me fall in love with my home state all over again.  There is so much natural beauty and charm beyond suburban O.C.

Our first night in Arroyo Grande, about halfway up the coast, we rented a Tepee on someone's ranch off Airbnb.  It had a full bed and rustic but nice bathroom facilities.  It felt pretty adventurous to be camping (er glamping?) without Joe there to protect us.

Arroyo Grande is so amazing.  Joe and I daydream about moving up there, buying a few acres of land, building a small eco-friendly house from scratch, and surfing every morning.  And when I daydream something, I usually find a way to make it happen :)  It doesn't hurt that my BFF lives there, too.

Next stop, San Jose, where we stayed with my college friend Kim and Sisi bonded with her daughter, Lilybeth.

And the absolute highlight of the trip, the Okee Dokee Brothers concert!!!  If you're a parent and have never heard of this band, I beg you to give it a listen.  It's bluegrass/folk music that kids love and parents secretly love, too.  I looked around at the audience and all the parents were beaming and singing along!

I got to meet the band afterward and tell them about how I started playing the Banjo because of them, and how Sisi and I drove 8 hours just to see them.  I realize now how crazy that sounds.  I'm totally a Okee Dokee groupie.

Using a jump rope as a microphone, Lilybeth inched her way closer and closer to the band until they were actually a trio.

Such nice gentlemen.  I love that they promote getting into nature and minimalism, two of my passions :)

On the way back down South, we stopped at the Monterey Bay Aquarium..  We ate at Sea Harvest Fish Market afterward- 6 HUGE bbq'd oysters for 13 dollars, folks!  Well worth the drive up just for those!

We stayed with my bff and her darling family in Pismo Beach for one night.  Sisi and Olive had somuch fun giggling and playing and singing together.  It makes my heart pitter patter when my daughter plays with my friends' kids.  It makes me realize how grown up we all are, with houses and families of our own.  Gone are the days of watching Napoleon Dynamite in pajamas while drinking boba milk tea in our crappy college apartments.

Angel showed us city folks a good time by taking us to her favorite farm and apple orchard.  

And then we came home and ate boatloads of sushi with Joe.  We missed him so much, but I think it was super special to strike out on our own for some extra bonding time before baby Matteo (90% sure that's his name) arrives in less than 2 months.  

Have you ever taken a mommy/baby road trip?  You should.  


A Paleo Halloween?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Paleo Halloween requires a little creativity and advanced planning, but it is indeed possible to enjoy the festivities without eating a year's worth of high fructose corn syrup in one night.  This year Sisi wants to be a dinosaur and trick-or-treat with her gal pals down the street.  I'm already busy making her semi-homemade costume.  It's lime green with yellow spikes and she's going to look ridiculously cute in it.

In past years, Sisi wasn't all that aware of candy and it was easy to take away the bad stuff and give her some frozen bananas or homemade cookies instead.  This year, she knows what candy is, and she is begging me to let her try a lollipop for the first time. Here are some ideas to make Halloween more paleo-friendly:

1.  Do a Halloween basket:  Let the kids trick-or-treat all they want, but at the end of the night, have a special Halloween gift basket ready and make them hand over the crap in exchange.  Some things I will be putting in Sisi's Halloween gift basket this year:

  • stickers 
  • micro machines or dinosaur toys 
  • dinosaur book
  • homemade cookies
  • stuffed animal 
  • homemade turtle candies (using super dark chocolate, homemade coconut sugar caramel, and raw nuts.) 
  • Trader Joe's honey peppermint patties (these are very sweet so I will be regulating her intake, but they are as healthy as store bought candies get as they are made with only dark chocolate, honey and peppermint oil.) 
  • organic lollipop (trying to find one without sugar but it's challenging!)
  • organic fruit snacks/fruit leathers/raisins
  • 85% dark chocolate bar 
As long as it's personalized and wrapped up all pretty, I can't imagine any kid being too bummed about trading in the crap candy for the Halloween basket!  It's still got sugar and fructose, but whatever.  At least it's not pop rocks and pixie sticks.  

2.  Do a Halloween Store: Instead of putting the items above in a gift basket, you could easily set up a Halloween store with price tags that say "1 candy" "2 candies" etc, and have the kids use their trick-or-treat candy as barter.  

3.  Take it to the dentist: I've heard of dentists buying Halloween candy by the pound and giving money in exchange.  Pretty cool deal.  Do you think the dentists and assistants chow down on it after hours?  Probably :)

4.  Halloween Fairy:  My chiropractor thought of this one.  She has her kids leave their candy sacks by the front door, and when they wake up in the morning, the Halloween fairy has magically taken them away and left something awesome, like legos or cowboy boots.  This is great for parents who want to avoid all sweets, even "paleo friendlier" ones.   

5.  What to hand out?  Not only do I want to limit Sisi's candy intake, but I can't in good conscience give out crap candy to the neighbor kids. Not everyone feels this strongly, but I just can't pass out fun sized diabetes and cavities.  I just can't.  So Joe thought of a genius idea- let's pass out quarters!  What little kid doesn't love money?  We don't get a lot of trick-or-treaters, so it won't break the bank or anything.  We're also going to pass out mini water bottles for the parents and glow stick necklaces for the really little kids who will just swallow quarters.  Other ideas of things to pass out are the mini Lara Bars, trail mix, fruit snacks, bouncy balls, stickers, balloons, etc.