Pulp Cabin, Chapters I-III

Spring break = five epic days of adventure at the cabin.
(And time to serialize the experience!)

Chapter I — Crevasse

Our adventures began as we drove up the dirt road to the cabin and discovered a section covered with thick ice. The culvert under the road had frozen solid so a marshy stream began trickling over the road. In the course of the winter it produced a few feet of thick, glacier-like ice. (It had the same blue color associated with glacial ice.) This was only a mild obstacle due to loss of traction until we encountered the crevasse—water had cut a channel directly across the road, easily two feet deep. On our way in we didn’t spot it in time and jolted across it. If it had been any wider, it would have been bad news. As it was, it just gave the shocks a workout. (A neighboring cabin owner with sharper eyes turned back rather than trusting his car to make it.) On our way out on Monday we laid logs inside it to provide support for the tires.

Pointing upslope, where the meltwater cut into the ice.
Pointing upslope, where the meltwater cut into the ice.
Griffin, measuring the depth.
Griffin, measuring the depth.
We were lucky that it wasn't any wider.
We were lucky that it wasn’t any wider.

Chapter II — Lake Ice

One of our main goals this trip was to cross Spring Lake and to continue exploring the trails on the south bank. (I would link to a post about our January skiing and snowshoeing adventures, but I haven’t posted it yet. Must remedy that soon.) Unfortunately, the lake ice was thinning and we weren’t brave enough to cross. We saw some ice fishermen out on our first day, so we assumed it was solid, but upon scouting we found too many dicey areas for comfort. Hearing the ice loudly crack beneath my feet sent me scurrying for shore. With the warming weather the lake remained vocal throughout the trip, providing a soundtrack of otherworldly groans, crystalline pops and cracks, and occasional booming detonations.

Chapter III — Bushwhacking

Deciding to remain on the north shore, we went on some extended hikes, including one where we left the trail and bushwhacked for a few hours. We clambered over (and under) fallen trees, examined fairy doors on mossy tree trunks, debated the origin of animal spoor, and got remarkably confused about our location. (Google Maps, of course, sorted things out for us, but we were astonished at how quickly the unfamiliar landscape threw off our direction sense once we left the trail.) The pictures below, from a few different hikes, don’t do justice to the beauty. Click on any image to see a larger version with the option of viewing all of them as a slideshow.

To be continued…

Pinterest Fail

“Pinterest Fail” is not a phrase I utter often. I feel like I’m pretty good at picking out projects that are realistic, fun, and ones I’ll actually do, either for myself or with the kids. Today was my first fail.

It seemed innocent enough. Indoor snowmen! Two ingredients! It came from a blog entitled “Modern Messy Parent,” but that’s me! I’m modern! I’m a parent! I embrace mess!

The photos from the blog looked realistic: A cute little one mixing the cornstarch and shaving cream in her box, happily playing, probably singing songs from FrozenIndoorsnowman5

I mean, look how cute! The kids can do that!


Griffin has been bugging me for weeks to break out the cornstarch and shaving cream, so I finally did it. Here’s how ours turned out:


Thank goodness I set this up on the front porch instead of at the dining room table! What this picture does not show is the trail of cornstarch and shaving cream mixture leading from the kitchen to the porch to the ultimate removal of this project to the sidewalk. Now I don’t get too crazy about mess (I let my children use glitter and Sharpies, for goodness sake!), but this. was. everywhere. In minutes, I was on my hands and knees with the dustpan and broom muttering, “fail, fail, fail.”

In the end, to be fair, it wasn’t really that big of a deal. The kids had fun, and it was a fairly easy clean up once it dried a little. So perhaps not a big fail. Just an I-might-be-hyperventilating-during-this-fantastic-experience-I’m-providing-for-my-kids fail.

I will be removing that pin from my collection.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie(s)

The recipes on this blog make it look like we mostly cook junk food. Here’s the thing: when I want to cook a gourmet meal, I usually have time and have lots of cookbooks to turn to. The recipes I post in here are often focused on when I’m alone with the kids or otherwise need to whip something up quickly. These foods also have gazillions of recipes on the internet, so when I find a good one I like to record it.

This recipe is great for really-big-cookies (round blondies). Intended for one huge cookie on a pizza pan, I divided the recipe in two and baked them in springform pans. Worked great; the cookies were robust enough to bring to school in my backpack without crumbling, and tasty enough that kids and colleagues devoured them. (Forgot to take a picture. Doh!)

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well.

Gradually add flour, salt, and baking soda, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Spread in greased 14 inch round pizza pan or two greased springform pans. Bake at 375° F (190° C) for 20–25 minutes (a bit less for two pans). Cool cookie in pan on a cooling rack. Decorate as desired.

Originally from Allrecipes.com.


Maggie: “It’s ORANGE SUN!! TIME TO WAKE UP!!!”
Griffin <groggily>: “Maggie, you woke me up from my favorite dream” <sad face>
Mama: “Sorry, honey. Can you tell me your favorite dream?”
Griffin: “I was playing a game with Mama. And no Maggie. And no Daddy.”

Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes

We were looking for a more robust pancake recipe to have “breakfast-for-dinner” recently and I came across this one. Worked fabulously for dinner, and now it’s my favorite breakfast recipe too. Definitely heartier than standard white flour pancakes, but something about the combo of buttermilk, spices, and brown sugar make these divine. (They’re better than most when reheated too, so we usually have a few in the freezer for emergency breakfasts.)

Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancades
Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes

3/4 cup oats
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk, divided
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

Soak oats in 3/4 cup buttermilk 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.

Stir egg, butter, brown sugar, remaining 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, and oat mixture into dry ingredients until just combined.

Heat a griddle over medium heat until hot and lightly brush with oil. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden-brown, about 1 minute. Flip with a spatula and cook other side, about 1 minute more. (Lightly oil griddle between batches.)

Originally from Epicurious.

A note from Griffin

I received the most awesome gift from Griffin yesterday after school: a hand-written note that he spent 70 (!!!!) minutes composing and writing. My heart is bursting! It reads:

Dear Mom, Thank you for the notes. They make me feel good. I love you, momo. I want to make granola.

<I write him notes in his lunchbox everyday, and that day, we planned to make granola after school.>