This family walks a lot. When summer starts up we walk every Saturday morning to the farmers market to pick up veggies for the week, along with a donut for the little man and a Hungarian pastry or two to share, then maybe a coffee or a smoothie at a local coffeeshop and, if we still have energy, a visit to the co-op food store to get a few more groceries. Spring means walks through the park, fall means strolls through apple orchards. Winter, of course, usually permits very little walking of this kind, and so around this time of year we get excited. Winter ends and Daylight Savings Time begins and that’s our cue to start walking again.

The transition is not what you’d call seamless – last weekend was warm enough not only for a walk but for Sonya and toddler to go on a bike ride, followed by our first attempt at building a snow-woman. The almost two year doesn’t quite grasp the terminology here, so he referred to her as “Snowman Woman.” We had plenty of fun but, being out of our routine, wore ourselves out. The three of us, then, spent most of last Sunday falling asleep in odd places and asking ourselves “why am I so tired?”

This weekend I figured we were a little further back into the routine, so after a St. Patrick’s Day-themed dinner (veggie “beef” stew and Irish soda bread – both tasty if unspectacular) I suggested we cap off the evening with a walk to the grocery store to buy some mint ice cream, so as to make our own Shamrock shakes. I suggested this without knowing that it was like 15 degrees and windy outside. I apologize to my family for a cold, cold trudge – in pursuit of ice cream, no less. I will think these things through more fully in the future, I promise.

Fortunately I had built up a little bit of social capital the day before with some really successful desserts. We somehow managed to get invited to two St. Patrick’s Day parties on the same day, which is two more parties than we usually attend in the course of a year. Both were potluck, so I volunteered for sweets duty. For one party I made the pistachio-chai muffins that have become something of a standard for me – they’re easy to make, turn out great each time and are a little off the beaten path. For the other party I made an entirely new recipe – chocolate/toffee/shortbread bars. They were truly amazing – the toffee turned out solid enough to hold their form but still chewable; the shortbread cookies were crunchy, the chocolate was just right… I sure wish I’d taken a picture of them, because they were as good a dessert as I have ever made. Put another way: I’d walk out in the after-dinner cold of mid-March to get one.