A To-Do List

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As the countdown to our epic road trip continues the list of things to do seems to keep growing.
Many of the tasks involve making specific hike plans and getting proper supplies. 
Other items are more complex.  Things like overcoming fears and finding self-confidence.
The fears to overcome are many.  And not all involve a “Revenant” like bear attack!
Most of the fears involve not being up to the challenge of providing the kids with an enjoyable experience. Or that living in such close proximity for such a long time might drive us crazy.
But, I counter these fears with my other fears.  Fears of missing out on this opportunity. The fear of looking back and regretting not going will push me through the fear of what waits for us out west.
We will be getting way out of our comfort zones. We are, pretty much, camping novices. I am not an Eagle scout.  I wasn’t even a boy scout or a cub scout. It is very likely that we do not know enough about where we are going or what we should do when we get there. But, we will learn.  We will have to embrace this lack of knowledge and ask others for help and guidance along the way. Pride will have to be put aside and dumb questions will need to be asked.
We will do our best to adequately plan and we will try to take proper precautions.  However, we will never know everything we think we need to know to embark on this adventure. Not all fears can be completely eradicated and that is where faith and bravery will have to take over.
The practical items that we need to address are things like:
  1. Buying a small enclosed trailer for towing our gear.  Since the van will be packed full of us, we need to add the additional storage space with a trailer.  In my mind, we will tow a 4’X6′ enclosed trailer.  This will be plenty of space for our tents, clothes, food, camping supplies and maybe even bikes.  The challenge is finding a trailer that is affordable and also practicing towing the trailer behind the van. (anyone looking to sell a used trailer?)
  2. Meal planning for kids with allergies.  We need to figure out a way to make vegan granola bars and trail mix.  What can be cooked at a campsite that we won’t get burned out on after being in a tent for over a week? How many hot dogs are just to many hot dogs?
  3. Water! We need to make sure we bring enough water with us and have the capability of finding and filtering water if needed.
  4. Kids safety is a major concern.  There are the medical issues. Noah’s epilepsy and SEVERE food allergies always seem to be lurking. Eli and Kam constantly deal with Elhers Danlos stuff.  But there are other safety concerns also. Philip will be learning to walk while we are journeying through canyons and mountain ranges. Naomi has no fear and loves to climb. Both of them will likely spend a significant amount of time riding in backpacks or slings.
  5.  Lots of supplies.  Sunscreen, bug spray, compass, warm weather clothes, cold weather clothes, lots of socks
The list could go on and on and on.
Any suggestions?  Please let us know.
Finally, the last fear that awaits us at the other end of this trip…
What if we don’t want to come back????

Foraging with Food Allergies

Today, Eli went foraging in the woods with his book club and it’s a super big deal. Eli has Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) and has a lot of food allergies. We don’t do potluck dinners or attend a lot of birthday parties, and we certainly do not go foraging in the woods. But we are reading My Side of the Mountain, and we are stepping outside of our comfort zone.

I use “we”, because as a mom, the thought of accidental exposure terrifies me. The thought of him having a flare keeps me up at night. So today, we went foraging and it was great. He ate foods that were safe and he is ok. We’re ok. This book club has stretched us in a good way. We have grown as mother and son. I am so proud of him. Sam was brave. Eli was brave. So I must be brave.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way…WE WENT FORAGING!!

We collected garlic mustard. It is an invasive species that is out of control in our local parks. We started by identifying the plant’s leaves which have “teeth like” edges. Once we found them, we pulled them out by the root to prevent them from coming back. It is important to gather them in the spring because it prevents them from flowering, and they tend to taste better.

Once we gathered enough garlic mustard, we headed back to the nature center where we separated the plants from the roots and washed them. We found some chives growing nearby, so we grabbed those as well. Then we were ready to make our pesto.

Here’s our recipe. We omitted Parmesan cheese and substituted the traditional pine nuts with sesame seeds. I can’t wait to make this again!

Garlic Mustard Pesto

  • 1 cup garlic mustard (rinsed well)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 T  chives
  • 2 T  sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.