However, friends patiently convinced me that this trip would be different, far less dusty, and far more fun and exciting for the kids. It would be our family vacation and one filled with tons of fun and laughter. I vacillated for a few weeks and then finally committed.
I've always avoided vacations since I've considered them times when you're not at home but working just as hard. With three Children, it just can't feel like a vacation. I figured that this would be no different. Before the trip itself, I had to do a lot of grocery shopping, cookie dough preparation, chicken preparation, packing, laundry and a list of things to do. By the time boarding the boat came about, I was exhausted, but getting ready to just do what needed to be done. I got on the boat, made the beds, showed the kids the bathrooms, got everyone organized, and all in all, just began living the same life I live at home, only now I was on a boat, stuffed into a tiny bunk room. I was thinking about schedules, about time, about bedtime routines, about making dinner, about all the TASKS that I saw before me.
Friend JEL pulled me aside and said, "Dude. This is your vacation. RELAX."
"I am relaxed. This is me relaxed. Don't you know?" I said while madly cleaning up the mess of Children and others in the kitchen.
"You're not relaxed. Just let go. Seriously. Come on."
And with that statement, I slowly began letting go.
I became less fussy about bedtimes, about meal times, about washing hands regularly. I didn't worry about junk food, about what the kids were eating, or what they were drinking. I let them have a vacation from their stressed-out-must-be-in-control-of-everything mommy, and let them have a tiny taste of the life that would be if they could ever get rid of me. (In their minds, I think this life would be one filled with juice boxes, cheetos and dirty underwear. But I digress.)
In a word, vacation. I let go. I relaxed. I found peace in doing nothing. I discovered that by floating on my back in the lake, I can completely surround myself in silence, with only the tune that runs in my brain. There are no cries of mommy, Joanne, "I'm hungry", or "I'm bored." Vacation.
At one point, I completely let go, grabbed friend JEL, and said, "Let's go on a sunset ride on the jetski. Let someone else do the dishes." (This is so unlike either of us.) And we did.
I'm back in the grind of things, back with Children who are back in school, so the vacation was extremely short-lived, but it was completely worth it. But now that I'm back in control, the captain of this family, I'm back attacking those things that I want under my control.
In this case, the thing I want under control is a recipe. I struggled with this recipe (4 different batches to be exact), to get the effect and look that I wanted. Don't get me wrong, all the batches tasted good in my their own way, but the unruly marshmallow kept on throwing things off balance for me to the point that I decided that I WOULD control this cookie. Finally, I got the little white fluffs of sugar under control, and I give you....
MARSHMALLOW CRISPY COOKIE! The idea was to combine a chocolate chip cookie with the flavors of a rice krispy treat. This is the result - crispy, chewy, gooey, yummy. I took these on the vacation (one of the versions) and the houseboat guests went in a frenzy over them.
Marshmallow Crispy Cookies
Makes 5 dozen
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups rice crispies
1 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 ¼ cups mini marshmallows
Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl (either in a stand mixer or in a bowl where you can use a hand mixer) and cream on medium high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla and beat until all ingredients are mixed together, another 3 to 4 minutes.
Reduce speed to low, and add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until just mixed, about 1 minute.
Add rice crispies, chocolate chips, and oats, and mix until just blended. Finally, add marshmallows and mix until marshmallows are well distributed.
Now the dough needs to rest. Take cookie dough, wrap it in saran wrap, place it in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerate. You can rest it for 8 hours, but 24 hours is usually better. You want the dough firm and cold.
When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop tablespoon scoops and lay them about 2 inches apart on your baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden and firmed up.
Allow cookies to cool in pan for 5 minutes, before removing them to a cooling rack. Enjoy.
I packed a few of these up for teachers at the start of school They were very popular.