Last week Will turned 8. (Can you believe it?!?) He was a lump of a baby when I started Sarah’s Cucina Bella in 2005, and now he’s a walking, talking, talking, planning, plotting, adventuring little boy.
Time flies … in motherhood, at least. Not so much when your son is literally counting down to his birthday.
In terms of the grand countdown, it was a day that seemed like it would never arrive. He’d started counting down to his birthday a full two months in advance — before my birthday, even!
As we grew closer and closer, so did his excitement. Along with it came a bit of growing pains too. The day before his birthday, as we walked into a store, I went to hold Will’s hand as I always do and he pulled it back suddenly. “Mom, I’m going to be 8 tomorrow. Eight-year-olds don’t hold their mom’s hand,” he said.
I was totally caught by surprise. I really hadn’t thought about the day when this would happen. When my baby would be too old to hold my hand. But it seemed, with the birthday looming, that we were there. (I am happy to report that told he held my hand anyway — so we’re not quite there yet after all.)
For his birthday this year, I toyed with the idea of a party but ended up deciding to keep things very low-key. We had a Will day — a fun cinnamon roll breakfast with fruit on the side, lunch at his favorite beach-side clam shack and an afternoon at the beach with family. In the evening, I made a big family dinner and we finished everything off with ice cream cake.
It was simple, but just perfect.
I think the beach time was the best of the day. We raced around through the water, splashed each other, swam, soaked in a little sun and just had fun. The glint of joy in Will’s eyes was proof positive that the low-key day was perfect for him this year. As for the glint in my own eyes, that was probably the reflections off the tears — my baby is growing up and I am so proud of him for being such a strong, brave, smart boy.
While we were at the beach, we also dug into some delicious snacks from Wonderful Brands. Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Almonds and Almond Accents are favorites in our house, so when the fun pack of single serving nuts along with a beach bag and towel arrived on my doorstep a few days before Will’s birthday, it seemed like perfect timing. So I grabbed it all and took it with us.
Here’s a fun little video I made of us enjoying the fab Wonderful Brands snacks.
Are you a beach goer? Then you probably know how important it is to remember provisions when heading to the beach. Who wants to get caught without water or just the right snack — and have to cut their beach time short? Nuts like those from Wonderful Brands are a great option for packing up for beach snacking since they are good for you and are totally beach friendly (ie: no sticky, gooey, sandy messes!).
9 Tips for Better Beach Snacking:
- Plan ahead. Remembering the snacks and drinks makes beach time easier and more enjoyable.
- It’s best to take a cooler for drinks and things that need to be kept cool, and a canvas bag (or something similar) for all other snacks.
- Freeze water bottles. They will keep everything cold — and be perfect for drinking later too.
- Avoid anything that can melt. Ever.
- Avoid anything sticky. Sticky and sand equals big no-no.
- Single serving portions are fabulous — especially if you have kids. Just be sure they are right-sized (too big will mean lots of open bags to deal with). You can make your own with small resealable bags.
- Variety, variety, variety. It keeps everyone happy. Make sure you have things to satisfy your sweet and salty cravings.
- Don’t forget the napkins (and wipes, if you think you’ll need them).
- Pack a sack for garbage.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.