Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Good Tuesday morning!

Welcome to A Simple Life today!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I'll go ahead and say it... Boot Camp is killing us! No. I'm not "doing" Boot Camp, but I am transporting at 6:45 Tuesdays and Thursdays... and I'm simply exhausted.

I can barely make it to the couch some days!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Josh started a landscaping job yesterday morning at 8:00. He returned home at 7:30 last night 100 percent covered in dirt.

"Please let me eat first and then shower," he begged.

I looked at my exhausted, sweaty, hungry, 6'4" son with a heart filled with compassion and love said, "Nope. Shower first. You're lucky I didn't make you hose off in the yard."

I don't know why I haven't won a Mother-of-the-Year contest yet.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Summer Then... Summer Now

Summer Then - Our go-to summer vacation when the kids were small was the beach. We live in Central Alabama, so we are five hours from the Gulf and five hours from the mountains... give or take a few bathroom breaks.

For many of the years when our children were small, Mike had a business meeting at the beach, and we would just tag along.

We stayed in a hotel room, ate Pop Tarts for breakfast and lazily watched cartoons. There was no urgency to get to the water before 10:00 a.m. Mikie would be in meetings until around 2:00 or 3:00, so the first part of the day with two or three toddlers/preschoolers was pool time.

After two or three hours playing in the pool as hard as they could play, they were ready for lunch and a nap. And so was Mom!

When Mike arrived in the afternoon, we headed to the beach. This time, only one or two hours in the sand and surf and the kiddos were done. (The beach wears little ones out faster than the pool.) A relaxed dinner and a swim in the pool for anyone who had the energy was the agenda for the evening.

Pictures were taken ALL DAY LONG of shiny little bodies covered in sunscreen, wearing huge colored sunglasses and brightly-colored swimsuits.

And when Mom said, "Smile," they did!

Rest... repeat... rest... repeat.

Vacations were simple. We were there for fun, sun and swimming... and that was it!

When the kids became older, we still enjoyed beach trips, but things started to change. It was IMPORTANT to be on the beach BEFORE 10:00 a.m. We HAD to have boogie boards, chairs, towels, Frisbees, floats and coolers filled with enough drinks and snacks to last three to five hours.

We completely by-passed the clear, clean, shark-free pool on our way to the ocean. The pool had now become the "take a dip before we head to the room" place, and little time was spent pool-side.

Naps were also a thing of the past. A leisurely lunch was followed by more beach time... which meant hauling chairs, coolers and other paraphernalia 100 miles back to the perfect spot on the sand.

Any picture taken was "candid." And that was okay. Action shots are almost as good as smiling toddlers. Almost.

The beach wasn't a place for relaxation any longer. It was the world's best playground, and the kids didn't want to miss a minute of it!

Summers Now - Beach vacations are different now.

First, there is the gender difference. Roxie, being the lone teenage female, wants to LIVE at the beach. She is in and out of the water as the heat sets in and the mood strikes.

There is nothing on her agenda other than TOTALLY experiencing the beach.

However, the brothers are guys, and sleeping until noon and staying up until the wee hours playing video games or watching movies is part of their vacation mind-set.

Getting to the beach before noon is not mandatory. It will still be there at 1:00, 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon.

Roxie can survive the long summer days munching on peanut butter crackers, Goldfish and sodas, but the guys look forward to the dining experiences the beach-front restaurants offer.

Fresh shrimp, crab claws, seafood gumbo, etc., etc. This is another huge part of the vacation experience for the guys. They can eat hamburgers and chicken at home. Seafood is a must for at least one meal each day.

While candid pictures are still taken throughout the day, there WILL BE a photo shoot one evening between 7:30 and 7:43 p.m. when the lighting is just right. There WILL BE a "walking on the beach" picture, a "sitting by the sea oats" picture, a "running toward the water" picture, a "hair blowing in the ocean breeze" picture, etc., etc.

It takes the females in the group one to two hours to prepare for the photo shoot. The guys are ready in less than five minutes (if Mom has the clothes they are supposed to wear hanging on the doorknobs ready to be worn).

After the 100 or so obligatory ocean photo-shoot pictures, the guys make their way to the car in the parking lot ready to eat seafood. (You have promised them a lot of seafood if they will cooperate.)

However, the gals aren't finished yet. They want to squeeze another 100 pictures in the two minutes of remaining beach light. (And they do.)

When the kids were smaller, they had no idea there were go-carts, putt-putt, water parks, zoos or souvenir stores in town. They were happy with water and seafood restaurants.

But once the realization set in there were other "beach" activities, there was no stopping them. Shopping, golfing, biking, go-carting had to be fit into the "water" schedule.

And those things are good, too.

There isn't a right or a wrong way to enjoy years of family beach vacations. They've all been fun.

But I do miss the mandatory nap times. Yep. Those might have been my favorite trips!

Ahhh. The "good ol' days!"

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

I made this for a family gathering this weekend per Mikie's request. If you live in the South, I'm pretty sure you've had (or made) Strawberry Pretzel Salad, but since I have readers in other parts of the country and a few international readers, I wanted to make sure they had the recipe. Being from the South, I know they won't be completely happy until they try it!

You will need the following:

2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (8 ounce) container whipped topping
2 small packages strawberry gelatin dessert mix
2 cups boiling water
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press this mixture into a 9" by 13" inch pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

3. In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the whipped topping, and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until well chilled.

4. In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and allow to cool slightly. Add the strawberries, and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until serving time.

Have a totally cool Tuesday. I'll be back tomorrow with Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Tradition, Randomness and more.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.


The Enchanting Belinda

1 comment:

  1. The pretzel salad sounds yummy...hope to make it in July. Andrea


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