Ms. Banana Marries Mr. Tomato

I have to admit, plopping a very ripe tomato into the blender did widen my daughters' eyes.  I had no idea the girls would absolutely love this new drink, we call Ms. Banana Marries Mr. Tomato (carrots and spinach are members of the wedding party):

  • One whole very ripe tomato
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 apple
  • 1.5 cups of organic apple juice
  • 2 tbs wheatgerm
  • 2 tbs soy lecithin granules
  • 2 tbs Agave sweetener
  • 2.5 cups of ice
      Blend all ingredients and voila, happy kids!

Lions, Tigers and Bears...and Nail polish?!

Most dads want to have daughters that can take care of themselves; I am finding that helping them overcome their fears and feel feminine are equally important goals.  Weekend before last, I finally got an opportunity to take my daughters “test camping”. “Test camping” is what smart dads do when aware little princesses may not adapt well to all their little imaginations can create out in the “wilderness” of the rough and tough back county of San Diego county, where if not careful you may only get one of five bars of cell reception.  "Test camping" is basically a day camp experience; and, if my little ones and I did well, then we could plan a future commitment to stay the evening and fight off lions, tigers and bears!

In any case, my little princesses have a known aversion to bugs of all sizes, shapes and colors.  While I teach my girls respect for life, I have to admit, if one bug happens to cross that invisible boundary line and put a little too much fear into one of my daughters, the only thing a dad can do is put forth the executive shoe to end a bugs life, which brings the trauma to an end and is 100% of the time effective in restoring a little girl's sense of security (future boyfriends, beware)!

Anyway, our little test camping adventure includes teaching them to pack, checking out audio books at the library, purchasing survival supplies (among the usual stuff needed for sandwiches and snacks, marsh mellows and roasting sticks - yes, the market sells marsh mellow roasting sticks now for $2.00 for four sticks), and an unwavering commitment to build a fire, pitch a tent, roast marsh mellows and see the evening stars, which in my opinion are the minimum requirements to see if the little ones (and dad) can handle future adventures (It’s been about 30 years since my last camping adventure with my own dad).

Pitching the tent was easier than I remember it when I was a young boy.  Apparently, they have done away (at least for the tent size of ours, which sleeps eight) with 1-inch diameter aluminum poles and have replaced them with lightweight fiberglass, shock-cords pre-installed to make the whole process very easy (apparently, I was lucky enough to purchase a “tent for dummies”).  Building the fire took longer than pitching the tent, and resulted in the usual cries of “I got smoke it the eyes”, which were quickly attended to and forgotten once we broke out the marsh mellows.  Probably, the most glorious time of the test camp experience was watching my daughters get dirty, and having fun, followed by my oldest using her first telescope to take in the grander of a 99% full moon that evening.  What an exhausting day!  A test camp experience is not for the faint at heart, but I believe gave me and them a good orientation before we take the big step of staying somewhere overnight.

The following day, my little campers who braved their imaginations of lions, tigers and bears, needed a dose of civilization, so I took them “fashion shopping” at a couple local thrift stores, where they purchased a few of their favorite items.  Also, they purchased nail polish for a later “fashion show” at home.  Preceding the fashion show, I didn’t realize I’d have to apply the nail polish purchased on our shopping excursion (lemon yellow nail polish for my little one and neon-green for the oldest).  While my oldest was 55% effective in getting the nail polish on all her nails, and 45% efficient at getting it on her fingers and legs, my youngest needed A LOT of help.  Do you know how difficult it is to get nail polish on little toes?  Very, difficult!  I stood my youngest on the dining room chair with strict instructions, “Don’t move...Pops has never done this before, so give me a break while I try this...”  Applying lemon yellow nail polish to the moving miniature toes of a three year old is a lot harder than shooting a target at a shooting gallery at the local Summertime County Fair.  While I wasn't able to paint them all, she did not notice the one or two toes I just could not hit with a polish that has viscosity much harder to apply that Whiteout (Maybe I should have tried Whiteout, at least I have a lot of experience with that)!  I’m not sure how long nail polish takes to dry, but my little one was happy enough to amuse Papa by sitting on the dining table with her feet on the chair until dad thought it was okay to do a “touch test” for dryness, which was about 4-5 minutes.  She was happy to have most of her toes painted lemon yellow, and dad was happy to have a carpet free of lemon yellow nail polish.  After their dress-up time and showing off their new digs and "fancy nails", all was right in the world for Papa and my two little princesses.

Making sure my daughters are rough and tough  is important and as I was reminded by a few good friends and colleagues, it is just as important to nurture their love of fashion and the need for dress-up.  I can see how important it is to likewise provide opportunities to overcome their fears, while at the same time encouraging attention to feminine qualities, which I am sure will help them to take on any adventure they find themselves faced with and to likewise feel pretty.