Our family is definitely not travel amateurs. Scarlett has been on a plane practically every few months since she was two months old. It's the reality when you don't live close to your family.
Initially, my biggest problem was her ears. How do you keep a baby from suffering from ear pressure issues? Then it was sitting. What toddler wants to sit on a plane when there is a perfectly empty aisle to race up and down? And finally there is take-off. The whole turn them around and face you thing is impossible when the kid wants to stick their fingers in the tiny TV that is actually transmitting Treehouse to them. I'd forgotten what that was like. Then we headed South recently for our yearly trip to Florida. On the plane, in front of us, there was a woman traveling alone with her one and a half year old daughter. As her luck would have it, she was seated in the middle seat of a row in a packed plane. When it came time for take-off she hoisted her daughter from the play area between her knees (only on a plane would you consider that an area to play in) into her lap and twirled her around to assume the position. As far as her daughter was concerned, she was having none of it and instead spit into her mother's hair for the duration of the plane's assent. The only thing that saved that poor mother was snack time. (Dear mother flying to West Palm Beach, I so badly wanted to help you but I was wedged into my own middle seat with the kid on one side making me play her badly designed version of Go Fish that had me fetching cards from under neighbouring seats and the husband on the other side completely engrossed in his movie. How convenient for him, you say? Why, yes, he watched an entire movie. In other words, my own travel hell.)
Photos by Maya Visnyei
When you travel with kids, whether it's for an afternoon excursion or an extended vacation, you have to arm yourself with snacks. Take the unknown mother shoved into a middle seat, she trotted out an endless supply of little snacks for her daughter, each likely designed to be a time-killing distraction. Despite the fact that Scarlett is now six, I still always have a few munchies on me as well as a canteen for water. From now until forever, I'll likely always carry a muffin in my purse. It's a habit a mom can probably never break (That and using your own spit to clean something off their face.).
For our latest trip, I decided to add to my usual snack arsenal of muffins and made some sweet potato chips. Scarlett always wants chips from the magazine stand so I decided I'd bring along my own. If you prepare them the day before (Sorry, I just said that.…I know…you already have too much to do the day before you leave) and throw them in an air-tight container, you have an instant salt lovers snack. I didn't even worry that they don't resemble a waffle and fried chicken flavored Lays (I swear that's a real flavor). They could have been shaved bits of her school notebook and Scarlett wouldn't have turned them down. She'll eat anything labeled a "chip." And I'm happy to have her eat them. Actually, what she doesn't know, is I'd let her eat basically anything in that terminal as long as it guaranteed she wouldn't spit in my hair.
Sweet Potato Chips with Honey Yogurt Dipping Sauce
2 sweet potatoes, washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Honey Yogurt Sauce
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
Preheat your oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a knife, vegetable slicer or mandoline, slice your sweet potato in equal size slices.
In a medium bowl, whisk oil and salt. Toss potato pieces in oil mixture until each are coated. Arrange potato slices on prepared baking sheet, making sure slices don't overlap.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, turning once or twice, until edges are a dark golden brown and centers are cooked throughout. Keep a watchful eye on the chips as they can burn quickly.
Meanwhile, mix Greek yogurt and honey until blended.
Remove chips from oven and allow them to cool. They will crisp up even further as they cool. Serve with yogurt dipping sauce. You can also pack the chips in an airtight container and eat on the go.