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Sea Kayaking with Dolphins II

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Kayak  dolphins(if you look at the top right of this photo you can see some dolphins. they’re super hard to capture with an iphone while sitting in a kayak floating on the open water!)

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.

Kayak 15Kayak 4Kayak 6Kayak 14Kayak 7Kayak 5Kayak 9Kayak 13Kayak 12Kayak 10Kayak 3Kayak 8Kayak dolphins 2

Food from the Beach House: Bruschetta

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Bruschetta B

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:


Bruschetta A

Foodie Family: Saltus 2015

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Saltus 2Saltus 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!

P.S. Best shrimp-and-grits ever ever ever anywhere anywhere!Saltus 3 Saltus 1

Another Little Trip for Kyle: Fort Freemont, Penn Center, and Red Piano Too

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Penn FF 3(if you look closely in this picture you’ll see Kyle climbing down a ladder on the side of the fort)

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.

Penn FF Penn FF 5 Penn FF 4 Penn FF 2

And the Penn Center always takes my breath away ~Penn Center tree

As does the Red Piano ~Red Piano

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.

7th Annual Haiti Dinner (2015)

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Steak Frites A

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.

Seven years in, some things stay the same and some things change. It was — as usual — a magical wonderful night of remembering Haiti and sharing a most amazing meal together.Steak Fritespic

Catch & Release: an afternoon at Harbor Island

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IMG_9978On the beach, she’s catching fiddler crabs!IMG_9984Like this one! Catch!IMG_9966Release! …But her release = Dash starts for the catch!IMG_9963(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!)IMG_9974Meanwhile…  In the water, the boys are after their own catch.IMG_0085And Dash is right there for the action!IMG_0090Catch! A catch in the net cast = a few minutes for Dash to play with it, then it’s onto the rod…catch 1…for another catch!release 1

…then release! …And their release = Dash’s turn to attempt the catch! (he never manages to get it in the water)

And it goes on and on like this for HOURS.IMG_0094