Tag Archives: ice cream

Nobody’s Leaving This Fun Family Vacation

Oregon Coast. MomsicleBlog

I have romantic images of family beach vacations swimming in my head. My siblings and I would play pretend in the dune grasses and find sand dollars at low tide. We would ride our bikes down to the village for ice cream, and at least once every trip we would go in to the city to buy saltwater taffy and seafoam—that crackling, airy, sugary delight—dipped in chocolate.

The Instagram filter of my childhood ocean vacations is sutro, that one where the colors are faded but deepened, brightest in the middle and soft around the edges.

Now it’s my turn to immerse my children in the salt-water sweetness of the Oregon Coast.

I had images of the boys in bathing suits with ice cream melting down their faces in my mind as I loaded up the car with our supplies and the used bike-trailer-stroller that would wheel everything down to the sand for 4th of July week.

But, as many of you already know, gremlins may turn psychotic when removed from their normal routines and surroundings. They snatch candy from holiday parades and hide it in secret corners of hotel rooms. They scream and yell and claw at you when you are helping them make memories, and instead of napping they may rearrange furniture to create launch pads to hurtle themselves onto beds.

Once after college I spent a summer in Houston and went to the beach at Galveston for the day with friends. I looked on derisively as beat-up minivans backed onto the sand close to the water, then unlatched their trunks–giant coolers, cases of soda, children, and boom boxes tumbling out.

This was not the classy, eclectic magic of the Pacific. This was an anarchist explosion on the shore. I was happy to leave those trashy images behind.

Oh karma, you beautiful beast.

Ten years later I am unlatching the Velcro of my hand-me-down bike-trailer-stroller and letting coolers filled with pepperoni and beer tumble out, setting up a Bedouin tent city for our assault on the beach, camp chairs and a giant shade umbrella anchoring the set-up, a $19.99 blow-up boat and a garage-sale kite keeping company nearby.

Each day we would shove our bike-buggy near the freshwater creek heading to the ocean, just far enough off the beach path so that others could get by on their way to long, romantic walks. We weren’t ambitious enough to turn the corner to where we could see the waves. Instead we looked across at our hotel, where we could run to when we had forgotten a bottle opener, or a gremlin needed to use the bathroom.

Fun Family Vacation. MomsicleBlog

And the ice cream.

By the time we remembered the ice cream, the gremlins had been banned from sugar for the rest of the trip. So my mom and I snuck off during nap time and she bought cones for the two of us. We ate them on the ledge of a planter by the general store, hidden from passersby, lest our secret be exposed by a wandering family member.

The next day, it was my husband’s turn. He left to get a scoop of Tillamook marionberry pie ice cream while I stood guard back at the room.

And those were the best ice cream cones we’ve ever eaten.

I don’t mean to leave you thinking there wasn’t magic in this trip. There was. It’s just that the image I often have in my head about what something should be like is just that. It’s an image reflecting a set of expectations that may not be realistic.

I always think of Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, as his romanticized holiday is going up in flames and the family is starting to jump ship: “Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together… We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f*cking Kaye.”

Super Simple Berry Sauce

Simple Berry Sauce. MomsicleBlog

I’m embarrassed to post this recipe because it’s so easy. It can’t even be called a recipe.

Here’s what happens: Berry season starts, my eyes get really wide, my stomach stretches, and even though I try to eat as many raspberries and strawberries as I can (summer doesn’t start until you’ve overdosed), it’s just not possible to eat them up before they start to get moldy.

Especially raspberries. Right?

Farmers Market Raspberries. MomsicleBlog

Those little suckers are like fireflies–so gorgeous and then Poof! they’re dim or dead. Especially if they come straight from the farmers market.

So here’s the solution.

Super Simple berry Sauce


  • Raspberries (or strawberries, loganberries, blackberries, or marionberries)
  • Sugar (to your sweetness level)
  • Some lime juice

Now Do This

  • Throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mash them with a potato masher.

I told you it was that easy. And you’re like, “Duh. That’s called mashing berries. I do it all the time.” And I’m like, “Invite me over.”

Baby Woww invited hizzself over:

Baby Woww Gluttony. MomsicleBlog

You should put the sauce in jars so you can freeze it or store it easily.

Your sauce will want to pour itself onto

Let Me At That Berry Sauce. MomsicleBlog

It will also want to be infused into gin or bourbon or vodka.

Raspberry Gin. MomsicleBlog

BTW, I’m sure a fork will work for mashing, but you should really have a potato masher in your kitchen (it’s nicest to have two–keep your eyes peeled at thrift shops).

Potato Masher. MomsicleBlog


Right at Home in the Retirement Community (Wordless Wednesday)


They were born to live here.

Hello Retirement. MomsicleBlog

Where to get Milkshakes in West Portland

My midwife told me this week to cut back on milkshakes. I think I gave her the impression that I have one every day, which is not true. I have about two per month. I eat ice cream every day. A day without ice cream is very, very sad. I really haven’t gained a grossly exaggerated amount of weight, nor do I have gestational diabetes or other sugar issues. It’s just that I was mentioning how K-Pants was a trim 6 lbs. 6 oz. when he was born (the day after his due date), and the following conversation ensued:

  • Midwife: You’ve probably got a 7-pounder in there now, so if you want him under 8 pounds, you should stop the milkshakes.
  • Me: Really?
  • Midwife: Try a fruit smoothie. Do you know what fruit is? Fruit is in season in Oregon during the summer. There are different types of fruit, and you can blend them up and pretend it’s a milkshake.

Finally I know what it’s like to be one of the contestants on the Biggest Loser. Unfortunately this was not my regular midwife, so I won’t be seeing her again (unless she’s on call when I deliver; I’ll know it’s her when I hear, “Let’s get that 8-pound hunk o’ milk fat outta there!”). In the meantime, I’ve put together descriptions of two of my favorite spots to get your cream on. Please add your own recommendations!

The Canyon GrilleSouthwest Portland, Canyon Road

I’ve passed this place for years, but my husband and I just tried it for the first time recently. It was all-out decadence: we did the bacon cheeseburger with blue cheese pecan spread, a swiss and mushroom burger, fries with Grand Canyon sauce, and a raspberry milkshake. It was the one day that week I didn’t take a nap because I was worried I might never get up again after eating this meal. The spot is tiny and it was once Portland’s first Dairy Queen—apparently they’ve had the same phone number since the 1950s. They put real fruit in their milkshakes, so I think I can call that a smoothie, right?

Cool Moon Ice CreameryPearl District

If you live in the area, I’m sure you’ve been here. They make their own ice cream and have been written up quite a bit. Get yourself a shake here. My friend Anne was in town and we went wild and got the large size so that we could each try four different flavors. A milkshake would have muddled things up, but next time… Our big taste winners were the lavender lemon and fiery chocolate. However, you at least have to try the spicy Thai peanut if you go soon. Oh, and between 4­–6 p.m. they have ice cream happy hour with pints for $4.00. What’s not to love about that?

Also try…


Dick’s Kitchen

Skyline Diner


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