One of my favorite parts of life as an American, is the freedom for everyone to dream, set goals, work towards those goals and enjoy accomplishments. I guess you could say I’m a huge fan of the natural right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. I’ve seen enough of the world to know how fortunate we are here. And this week, we accomplished a goal set nearly four years ago.
Four years ago, Ry & I sat down and tried to decide what our little family would do together. All the great families we knew growing up and those we’ve met along the way, have always come together as a family in their playtime. I grew up in a small town on Lake Michigan, so our family was a beach and sailing family. Ry’s family was a skiing family. My sister married into a big hunting family. Some families are sports families, some bike, some hike, some fish, some have a summer cabin, some garden, some have 4-wheelers and snowmobiles.
What activity would we do as a family? We tossed around the idea of a boat, or a cottage. In the end, Ry & I love travel too much to limit ourselves to a piece of land or a boat…but travel has been somewhat hampered by the food allergy situation. Day trips take a good deal of food planning, big overnight trips take a few days baking & cooking, plus trying to smuggle an induction burner, pots & cooler into the hotel rooms unnoticed. So far, our trips with the kids have been to big cities with hotels that have kitchens, not exactly the easiest to come across. We’ve never been able to go too far off the beaten path. So we started dreaming about a travel trailer.
It’s been a slow process of saving and planning. We first had to design & build an addition to store the trailer. Uh…that took a while. Like true nerds, we went on two factory tours in Ohio to watch trailers being built, keeping the dream alive for the kids. We dreamed big, and then tempered to a smaller financial reality. And in the end, it’s perfect for us. The Michigan map is now taped to the wall, littered with push-pins and a wish-list of trips. I can’t wait to show our great state and great country to the kids. It’s been a very good lesson for them in patience, dreaming, planning, working, accomplishing & enjoying. We celebrated the big day with some camper cookies, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of camp recipes to share from the road!
May you all find the fun that brings your family together! Here’s to Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness.
- ½ cup shortening (or margarine, or coconut oil)
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ¼ cup dairy-free milk (I use Silk PureCoconut) + 1T cider vinegar
- 2 cups flour
- ½ t. baking soda
- ¼ t. salt
- 1T. vanilla (optional)
- ⅛ t. lemon oil (optional)
- a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 T. corn syrup
- 2-3T. water
- In a large bowl, cream the sugar and shortening together until smooth, add in the thickened soymilk and beat until smooth again.Add the vanilla, lemon oil or whatever spices/flavorings you are using and mix well.
- Add the dry ingredients:soda, salt and flour. Mix until everything comes together.
- Wrap in plastic wrap, shape into a big disk and freeze for ½ hour.Roll to ¼ inch thickness and cut out as you like.
- Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheets at 350. 10 minutes will give you soft cookies (they may seem barely baked, but they’ll firm up when cooled), 14-16 minutes will give you golden brown edges and they’ll be crispy.Cool completely before icing.
- Mix the icing ingredients together, getting all the lumps out. Add enough water for the proper thickness. I make my outline colors (like black in this case) thicker, and then dry completely before flooding with a thinned down "fill" color (like silver in this case). Here's a great tutorial on flooding if you're new to this stuff.
“Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.” J.R.R. Tolkien