All about the ‘music’

20160719_111840It wouldn’t be summer in our family without weekly road trips somewhere fun. Most of the trips are relatively local: San Francisco, Monterey, Napa. Some are farther afield: Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles. And here are some commonalities about those trips:

  1. The most frequently consumed food is homemade GORP (without raisins).
  2. Everyone takes a bio break every two hours, no matter what.
  3. Kidz Bop is playing over Internet radio. Incessantly.

The first two realities are easy to stomach; my GORP is second to none and (despite the occasional protest) everyone benefits from empty bladders. No. 3 on the list, however…well, let’s just say that music MAKES ME WANT TO PULL OFF MY EARS AND STOMP ON THEM UNTIL THEY BECOME A BLOODY PILE OF MUSH.

For the uninitiated, Kidz Bop records sanitized versions of modern songs, sung by kids. In theory, it’s a wonderful introduction to grownup music from a kid’s POV. In practice, however, all of the songs sound like bad karaoke being sung underwater by a gaggle of weak and terminally ill cats. To call it “music” is generous. IMHO, it is, in fact, anti-music.

The problem of course, is that my kids love it. Obsessively. The first thing L asks when she climbs into the minivan: “Can we listen to Kidz Bop?” The first thing R says when she finds out we’re going to listen to Kidz Bop: “Can we keep listening to Kidz Bop the whole way there?”

(Thankfully, Baby G doesn’t have an opinion about Kidz Bop yet.)

I can’t explain their fascination at all. Powerwoman and I played Mozart for both big girls when they were in utero, and I spent a good part of their early childhood years introducing them to Springsteen, Lucinda, and other (artists I deem to be) classics. They are exposed to grown-up music in other forms, too: We do a lot of singing around the house, and it’s always the real versions of these songs, warts and all. Still, their love affair for the heinous Kidz Bop continues.

The worst part of this undying fascination: The damn music is catchy. The other night at the gym I was humming the Kidz Bop version of a popular rock song. Sometimes, usually when I’m drinking wine, I’ll catch myself playing, “What Does the Fox Say?” in my head.

I’m not sure how to end Kidz Bop’s reign of aural terror.  Some days I fantasize about instating a moratorium on Kidz Bop. Most days I just quietly hope L and R will get tired of it. At some point, something is bound to change, right? Until then, I guess I’ll just quietly give the kids what they want. If it helps them enjoy our summer road trips, I guess the music isn’t that bad after all.

The best road trip snack ever

Mmmmm, GORP.

Mmmmm, GORP.

Today we celebrate a Wandering Pod first: A recipe for a treat that will be a hit with even the most reluctant child travelers.

The treat, of course, is trail mix. We’re big fans of the stuff in this house—a vestige of my pre-fatherhood life as a serious backcountry hiker and camper. We eat it as frequently as we can, and I try to cook up a special new batch of GORP (or GORP-inspired goodness) in advance of every one of our family road trips.

This past weekend, when we traveled into San Francisco to celebrate R’s third birthday, I outdid myself with what the girls are calling The Best Road-Trip Trail Mix Ever. Ingredients for this magic snack were simple: Dry-roasted and salted cashews, raw (and unsalted) almonds, Pepperidge Farm whole-grain goldfish crackers, and M&Ms.

If your kids like raisins, I suppose you can add those, too. And sunflower seeds. Without the shells.

Measurements for this kind of treat are totally dependent on what your kids like best; in our family, a 1:1 ratio of goldfish to M&Ms is key, and the nuts are almost secondary. You don’t want to make too much of the snack, because the goldfish go stale after about a week. I suggest storing it in a gallon-size Ziploc bag.

Oh, and to serve this treat, I like to portion out a half-cup for each girl and give it to them in their own travel cups (with lids).

What’s your go-to recipe for homemade road-trip snacks? What’s your personal mom/dad secret for trail mix?

%d bloggers like this: