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September 2013

Mom's beach day: Ten years in the making


Last time I came to the beach alone, I was very pregnant with my first child. I remember my ugly red maternity suit and the need to dig a big hole in the sand for my belly so I could lay down. I also remember having the fear of going into labor or worse - having to pee.

I was nervous about those little things but more importantly about the fact that a new person was going to be in our lives very soon. Would I still be me once that baby came? 

Every mom's fear of losing herself. 

I needed to get that last solo beach trip in to just be before the little one arrived. That's all I remember about that day.

Ten years have past. Almost exactly. Now I'm here once again alone with my thoughts on the beach.

I've been wanting this day to come for so long. And it is glorious.

Since that last beach trip ten years ago, my first born has grown into a beautiful almost ten year-old breathtaking girl. I've also had a son in that time who has been making my heart skip a beat every time I think of him for the past 5 years. There have also been some sad times and some stressful times, but it has all been so wonderful I can't complain. 

Now both kids are in school full time and I can take a breather to see if I am still me.

So today I sit here alone, but not lonely. First thing I did when I got here was say a prayer of thanks.

Thank you God for this life.

For putting me in charge of two children who are perfectly molded to fit in my arms and my soul.

Thank you for giving me a husband who loves me and is my partner in every way possible.

Thank you for this beautiful day.

I am thankful for school to teach my kids all that I can not.

I am thankful for the sun and the ocean and the beautiful sounds I hear right now… a mom and her young son playing Frisbee… the waves quietly roaring… the occasional cackle of a seagull.

 ...And quiet.

I do not feel guilty being here. I feel full. I feel like this day was made for me. To let me know that while this life is nowhere near done, it's going great so far.

And I am still me. 

I have not lost a thing, only gained more love, happiness and appreciation for all that surrounds me.

So I dig my fingertips and toes in the sand to stay grounded and breathe in the salt air. 

...And smile because life is truly good.

Spicy roasted almonds and walnuts recipe

On my quest to make some wholesome snacks for my family, I often go through the pantry to see what I can use.  For some reason, we have about a million pounds of almonds and walnuts in there right now.  

We will have no problem throwing some of them in our salads, smoothies and breakfast cereals.  And I am planning on using some of the almonds to make almond butter per my friend Stephanie's recipe at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom.  

...But I came up with this savory little ditty, too.  And it is GOOD.


Spicy Roasted Almonds and Walnuts

    • 2 cups unsalted whole almonds
    • 2 cups shelled walnut halves
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1/8 tsp (or more if you are daring) cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp salt

Put nuts in a large bowl and toss with olive oil.  Mix all the spices together in a separate bowl and then toss with the nuts to coat.  Spread the mixture in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 300° for 30-40 min stirring occasionally.  Let them cool and save them in an airtight container.  You can eat them warm, but I prefer them at room temp when they have a chance to regain their crunch.

This recipe is adapted from one I read in the cookbook Men's Health Muscle Chow.  I liked their idea, so I went with it to form my own recipe.  I hope you like it!