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Strawberries on Sunday

2016 May 19
by Becky

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After last year’s successful strawberry picking adventure, I made sure to put it down as an option for every open weekend this month…just waiting for the day we didn’t have plans and could make the short drive over to Belleville, IL for our berry fix. The season goes by fast and I didn’t want to forget!

It was cold on Saturday, but Sunday promised to be gorgeous so we met friends at Eckert’s bright and early to beat the crowd. We arrived to a close-to-deserted farm and hopped on the wagon ride with our baskets at the ready. I wasn’t totally sure what Finn would do this year, as last year he spent the whole journey happily strapped to my back.

He figured things out pretty quick.

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And I didn’t even get a shot of Ethan for the first 15 minutes because he high-tailed it to the middle of the field for some serious berry hunting. He and Stu made finding the perfect strawberry their mission and had overflowing baskets in no time.

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The wind was blowing so we were grateful for our sweatshirts, but the sun kept us warm and cool mornings are apparently the best time to pick berries anyway so yay. Ethan and his buddy Joaquin were perfect gentlemen, walking through the fields, wisely choosing the best berries to add to their collections. What a great way to spend a morning—burning some energy and being close to nature. There’s something magical about eating produce right from the vine.

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Finn ate and ate and I couldn’t bring myself to wipe his strawberry juice covered face, it was so cute. Every passerby exclaimed, “Did you eat a few strawberries??” or something of the sort and he grinned his biggest strawberry-covered grins in return.

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We stopped at the country store and Strawberry Festival carnival after a tractor ride back from the field. The big kids went on the little train and I took Finn to pet goats and cows. They even offered pony and camel rides and a yoga class! Eckert’s really is a cute place. They have this fruit picking thing so streamlined, which makes it all that much more fun for families. We’ve always wanted to make it for Honeycrisp Apple season so fingers crossed this fall we’ll fit a trip in the tiny window they are available.

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I spent that afternoon cleaning and freezing our overstock of berries (we always get too many) and made the puree for Jeni’s Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream that we’ll be churning this weekend.

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I’m not a jam person, the amount of sugar scares me, but ice cream I like. I’ve been busy prepping decorations for our school’s Ice Cream Social fundraiser happening this Sunday, so ice cream has been on the brain 24/7. Hope my homemade stuff turns out!

Have you been berry picking? Where do you go? Any recipes to share? 

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Food Trucks and Feet

2016 May 15
by Becky

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You know summer is coming when every local food truck parks in a row and mobs of people descend on Tower Grove Park to inhale their tasty grub. If you aren’t at Food Truck Friday early, you risk a night of standing in line. Don’t be fooled by the far away picture, this place has 1000’s of attendees. We go early and take supplies…thanks to Finn’s second-hand bike trailer, getting our gear to the event is easier than ever.

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We take snacks and drinks and our picnic gear, meet up with friends, and set up camp near whatever band happens to be playing (this week it was Letter To Memphis and they were fab). After choosing a few dishes from the trucks, we make our best attempts to eat while Finn climbs us and begs for every bite. This week we had Seoul Taco, Yemanja Brazilian, and Pyro Pizza. Then the big kids run wild across the gorgeous green space kicking balls, running through the creek, and burning the last of their energy as the sun sets behind them.

Finn found his favorite FTF treat.

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Serendipity drumsticks from the Fire & Ice truck for the win! Our family structure almost crumbled in the act of sharing one of these heavenly cones—there was plenty of screaming as Ethan and Finn viciously “shared” the giant ice cream. They may be as big as Finn’s head, but next time we’re getting two.

On these nights we can’t walk two feet without running into neighbors and friends. When the weather is perfect, this is one of our favorite ways to spend a Friday night. If it rains, we stay home. Mud + food + kids = not our idea of fun. Unless there’s a hose nearby.

One thing we DIDN’T take to Food Truck Friday? Das Boot! It’s gone! I’m free of the giant, velcro-y, clomping eye-sore because my foot is feeling really good.

That’s why it was pretty disturbing, after six weeks of boot wearing, to see how BROKEN it still looks.

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That line is not supposed to be there.

Doc said this is totally normal and as long as I’m not in pain, to quit wearing the boot. I can’t walk very far or jump or run, but I can do the strider machine at the gym and walk short distances with no problem. Bike riding is OK, not awesome, I get sore fast.

Six weeks went by so fast, it feels like yesterday I took a step wrong and ruined a perfectly good afternoon at the playground. And I still can’t believe I broke my foot. I’ve since been back to the scene of the crime and walked down the same steps—to the dismay of my friend Erin, who was there the day I twisted my ankle—with no issues.

Kind of tempting fate a little there.

We continue to close out the school year with injuries–scratches, head bonks, split lips (all Ethan, all within 24 hours)—but nothing can keep us from getting to pre-K graduation on Tuesday! After that the big kids will kick back and wait out the last week of school as official Kindergartners.

Expect too many adorable pictures of ingratiating graduation ceremonies for five year olds in the very near future.

Much like Finn to his drumstick, we’re staring straight into the eyes of summer folks.

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If anyone would like to join us at Food Truck Friday, we’ll miss the next one (June 10) but will be at the one after that on on July 8!

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