It is hard to not snap photos all the time, every day. Here’s a selection of some of my favorites — from a huge collection of photos we took of “sunrise, sunset, and view of the marsh/ocean from the beach house deck” — July 215.
Last summer we did a sea kayaking adventure (with Eric from The Kayak Farm) that wound up being a Top Ten Life Experience and shot right to the top of our family’s list of Most Amazing Things We’ve Ever Done Together. It was awesome! So, this year, kayaking with Eric again was at the top of our Wish List for our time in South Carolina.
It was, once again this year, AMAZING.
Eric again did wonders for our family, giving us a private guided tour through the inlet between Fripp and Hunting Islands. He planned it perfectly — having us go at high tide this year (last year we went at low tide), giving us some new challenges (now that he knows us, he knows that our twinado 11-year-olds are capable of some pretty intense kayaking), and bringing us to a spot where he knows that a dolphin pod has been spending a lot of time this summer.
Highlight: At one point we were kayaking with the pod. We had dolphins swimming all around us. It seemed almost like they were putting on a show for us. I completely stopped paddling and just sat still amongst them for a while. As I sat in my kayak, on the water right in the middle of tons of dolphin activity, a mama and her baby swam right up to my kayak (literally! like, looking right up at me!), and then dove under, swam underneath my kayak, and popped up on the other side — blowing through their blow holes for me and flapping their tail fins. All within 10 feet of me (maybe 7 feet). IT WAS UNBELIEVABLY SPECTACULAR!!!
We kayaked through the maze-like marsh system, through and over the tall marsh grasses. Eric loves to point out the sea life and the incredible array of bird species and wildlife (he seems to know everything about all of it!), and answer Kyle’s 300.5 questions about everything sea-marsh-air-land.
We were on the water for 2.5 hours and every minute of it was a minute to savor and cherish.
The key to my husband’s heart = bruschetta. Preferably made from fresh, St. Helena Island grown, heirloom tomatoes. Preferably on toasted French bread from the Publix bakery. Preferably with a glass of crisp white wine. Seriously. See this picture above? It makes my heart sing. Because I’ve flooded his heart with bruschetta love.
This year, Braydon got a run for his money from his two sons. They’ve developed quite a love for bruschetta themselves. Next year I’m going to have to buy two baguettes.
I make this at least once each summer at the beach house. It is truly just so good. The recipe is from Ree Drummond/The Pioneer Woman, and can be found here:
Saltus River Grill in Beaufort, SC! We had been dreaming about it for a whole year (for backstory, see here). And it was just as dreamy as we had dreamed it would be. The folks at Saltus even gave us dessert on the house — which was, honestly, the highlight of the night for the bambinos (we rarely order dessert). Owen chose creme brulee, Kyle chose strawberry profiteroles, and Meera chose an orange creme ice cream. They were in heaven! (The highlight of my night was that glass of prosecco!) Thank you to Saltus for another magical evening in Beaufort for the J-Ms!
We took another little SC day trip for Kyle and visited Fort Freemont (for the first time), and the Penn Center and the Red Piano Too (both of which we’ve been to a few times before). All three of these sites are on St. Helena Island — only about 15 minutes from the beach house.
Fort Freemont was eery and mysterious — Kyle loved it.
One of the things that I love most about the Lowcountry is our ability to easily give Kyle access to these sorts of experiences… and to experience them, and appreciate them, with him.
This year was our 7th annual “Haiti Dinner.” We have this dinner once each summer. Haitian Steak Frites (steak au poive with pomme frites). The tradition has a cool backstory — you can find it here (click).
This dinner is right up there as K&O’s #1 top favorite meal (tied only with Joe’s Shanghai Soup Dumplings). Meera got to stay up late to have it this year, which was a big deal, and a sign of the changing times (she’s growing on up!). She absolutely loved it. In the photo below you can see her swinging her head back in delirious deliciousness. She was saying, “ooooooh myyyyyyyyy gooooooooosh I LOVE IT! Kyle and Owen, THANK YOU FOR BEING HAITIAN!”
Also in the photo is another sign of the changing times. We’ve got two tweens folks. After one bite, Owen just haaaaaad to get on his iPhone to text his friends about this special dinner. The photo he sent them (a picture of his plate; totally unfiltered and unedited here) is what he texted out.
On the beach, she’s catching fiddler crabs!Like this one! Catch!Release! …But her release = Dash starts for the catch!(this is what they’re after! both of them just want to play with them, then let them go. they’ve spent HOURS doing this!)Meanwhile… In the water, the boys are after their own catch.And Dash is right there for the action!Catch! A catch in the net cast = a few minutes for Dash to play with it, then it’s onto the rod……for another catch!
…then release! …And their release = Dash’s turn to attempt the catch! (he never manages to get it in the water)