Friday, September 28, 2012

Tin Can Ice Cream

I have fond memories of making homemade ice cream as a child. We had an old crank ice cream maker. My Daddy would let us sit on the cold ice  (which was a cool treat in the heat of the summer) while he turned and turned that wheel until we had super yummy homemade vanilla ice cream.

My dear friend, Meeghan, also has fond memories of making homemade ice cream. As soon as we committed to a Family Camp-Out, Meeghan wanted to make Tin Can Ice Cream. This is what Meeghan had to say:

 We made this every time we camped when I was growing up. I have no clue when we started to do it or how my mom came about the recipe I just always remember doing it. I also remember wherever we were camping if there were other kids around they were always came around to help. It was an easy way to make new friends while camping! 



Tin Cans are becoming a thing of the past. So many things that use to be sold in tin cans are now packaged in plastic or cardboard. I was still able to find some coffee packaged in tin. To make tin can ice cream you actually need two different sizes of cans. A smaller one with a lid and then one large enough for the small one to fit inside.  Both tin cans need lids. 

To assemble the ice cream mixture, you will need:
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla



 In the smaller can, add one egg. Take a whisk and break up the egg. I think you could also achieve this by putting the lid on the can and shaking it well.


Next add 1/2 cup of sugar. Meeghan followed one of my tips and had pre-measured out the sugar into Ziploc baggies. Less mess and less clean up is a good thing when camping!



Add in the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. How lucky were we that several of the teen/pre-teen girls wanted to help out. Instant assistants!
 To finish off the ice cream mixture, add in the cup of milk and cup of whipping cream.  Put the lid on the smaller can and set the smaller can inside a larger can.

 To turn this mixture into ice cream we now need two things. Cold and movement. Start layering ice and rock salt in the larger can and around the smaller can.  Rock salt, or ice cream salt, makes the ice even colder.

 Warning: try not to get rock salt on the lid of the smaller can. Or if you do, make sure you get it all off and give the lid of the smaller can a good wipe down. You are going to need to open that lid in a few minutes and we do not want any salt getting into our ice cream mixture.


The next step involves as many people as you want. We made 5 batches of ice cream for our family camp-out. So we involved over half of the camp. After you have reached the top of the smaller can alternating ice and salt, put the lid on the larger can and start rolling it back and forth.


Roll the can for 10 minutes. Then open the larger can, remove the smaller can and open it. Give it a good stir.

{Meeghan had an awh-hah moment during this step! She always wondered why her mom used a metal spoon and when she found out how difficult it was to use a rubber spatula on a cold metal can, she quickly figured it out!}

After you have given the ice cream mixture a good stir, put the lid back on. Return it to the rollers and roll again for another 5 minutes or so.

                                                  
The last thing is to sit back and enjoy a bowl, or cup in our case, of yummy homemade ice cream. 

Thanks, Meeghan for sharing your beloved Mother's tradition with all of us! I predict many more camping memories  involving Tin Can Ice Cream!










I linked up!

artsy-fartsy mama

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Camping Activity: Scavenger Hunt

I love camping. I love being outdoors. I love cooking and eating outside. I was a little worried that in this day of electronics, a camping trip would be boring. Especially to those pre-teens and teens that were going to be there.  In planning a large family camp-out, involvement was critical. With 35 people, even large group activities become difficult to coordinate. I opted instead to focus on activities that all could participate in but on different levels and at different times.

 I decided to pull together a scavenger hunt. A simple Google search will produce several decent examples. I decided to create a photo only scavenger hunt, trying to honor a leave only footprints, take only memories code. The only thing I asked participants to pick up was human trash, and I asked them to take a photo of them throwing the newly picked up human trash into a trash can.


The rest of the scavenger hunt was about doing things: making new friends, hanging from a tree limb, or skipping a rock.  There was also a lot of interacting with nature: finding deer tracks, looking at leaves, finding a smooth rock, finding a spider web, or even better one with a spider in it!


Oh yeah, and you had to have the camping specific items: find an unopened bag of marshmallows or catch a fish.

I am not kidding when I tell you,everyone loved this activity. The little kids loved it. The pre-teens loved it. The adults loved it! This one activity brought so many memories to each of us!

  • I thought it was funny that finding a locust shell was hard (they are a little out of season) so one group decided to substitute a crayfish shell.  
  • Or that one pre-teen could not find a caterpillar so he thought I would not notice he took a photo of a bushy weed instead. 
  • I busted up laughing when my cousin rolled an old tire into camp as his human trash!
  • I loved watching all the kids hang from the low branch.
  • Or how much fun we had skipping rocks.
  • Or how my dearest friend just randomly broke into a game of Simon Says with all the little kids!

Making memories, one camping trip at a time!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Boy's Geometry Project

The Boy's school received a grant and every student was issued an Apple Macbook Air. To take advantage of the technology a lot of his teachers are assigning very creative projects.

His Geometry teacher recently required the students to make a video over The Law of Syllogism. If I understand this concept correctly: A equals B. B equals C. C equals D. Therefore A equals D. The inspiration is the current Direct TV commercials.

The assignment was due today. The Boy got a 100% on his project. I am a super proud Momma! He did this one all by himself!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Camping Activity: Wood Chip Necklaces


My worry in taking a wide range of kids camping is that the younger kids would be happy just playing together but the older ones, the one's in that awkward pre-teen/teen age, would think everything was so uncool they would just sit around and mope. So I designed a few activities that would hopefully get them up, participating, and moving.

 I came home from work a few weeks before the Family Camp-out and found my neighbors had trimmed their tree limbs and piled the mess in my yard. I refrained from getting angry. Over a nice dinner, I asked The Husband to help me with a little project.

He looked at me in disgust. I was pulling him away from ESPN to help with an unnecessary camping craft.


 I admit I did some begging. In the end, The Husband borrowed his father's chainsaw and decided to help me cut medallions out of a limb.  His mood started changing, quickly.{I then begged him to let me try my hand at the chainsaw, but he would not let budge on that one. I had to settle for holding the tree limb secure.}


After he/we finished cutting the medallions, I asked him drill holes in the top of the wood. We made 25 medallions that night.


I purchased some inexpensive plastic string and some beads. I had some old fabric paint in my crafting closet.

I saved up my empty milk jugs and put the wood chips in one, divided the beads and put half in one jug and half in another and then did the same with the string. My cousin and I then hid the milk containers in a wooden area near our campsite. We hung some in trees up high and others down low. We hid some in high grass. According to the big kids, we made it way to easy and did not bother to cover our tracks!

How cute are these little girls running through the "forest"  looking for the hidden treasure!

As soon as we told the kids to go searching, they were off (even those big kids who were so critical). We told the kids to go search out the milk jugs and look for their prize. After they found their pieces, they came back to the campsite and put together their necklaces. They got to add their initial with the fabric paint.

They found it!

Making camping memories. Super easy and cute!



I linked up!

artsy-fartsy mama

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Camping Craft: DIY Bleached Shirts

We just got home from a great weekend camping.

We had a great time with great friends, food, activities and even crafts. I am going to share with you one of our crafts: Reversed Tie-Die or Bleached T-Shirts. 


The reason I selected these t-shirt is they are easy. They have minimal parts. Low prep work. And so much fun to make!

Supplies:

  1. t-shirts. I would suggest using 100% Cotton t-shirts. We got lucky JoAnn Fabric had them on sale this past week 3/$9.99.
  2. Tacky Spray. I bought Arlene's Re-positional Tacky Spray.
  3. Card stock
  4. Design. I made my letters using a Cricut Machine and two different fonts: Going Places had the tent that I made into an A. Birthday Bash is what I used for the letters C, M, P.
  5. Cookie Sheet and a Rag
  6. Bleach.
  7. Empty Spray Bottle. 
The process is easy. I had about 35 campers and asked ahead of time how many of those would be making t-shirts. I then sat at home one evening and used basic card stock and cut out letters. 


 I made two different size letters. For the children I used 2 inch letters. For the adults I used 2.5 inch letters. After I cut out the letters, I put them in a zip lock bag and packed them to take to the camp-out.



The next step is sitting down with your shirt. I turned the letters over and sprayed the backside of them with a little tacky spray. I then positioned the letters the way I wanted them on my shirt.


Next, I put the cookie sheet in the shirt between the front of the shirt and the back. You do not want the bleach to go all the way through the shirt. I even put an old rag on the cookie sheet to soak up excess bleach.

                                      
I filled a spray bottle with 70% bleach and 30% water. (I made this up before I left home. We did not even use one bottle of bleach solution.) The next step is to spay the shirt with the bottle of bleach solution.

Let the solution sit on the shirt for a little bit. Carefully lift up on of the letters and see if the bleaching process has worked. When it has, quickly remove the letters and rinse the shirt in cold water. Once all of the bleach is out of the shirt, let it dry.


As a note, we had a super hard time getting pink shirts to bleach out. I am not sure if it was because they were pink or a Cotton/Polyester blend. Black worked very well, I just did not get a photo of it.

There you have it. One of the crafts we made on our recent camping trip!  I hope you have as much fun making them as we did. That's what it is all about right...making memories.


I linked up!

artsy-fartsy mama

Thursday, September 20, 2012

First Camping Trip and Evite

We are going camping this weekend!

What started off as an idea has morphed into a full fledged camping trip weekend. I love to camp. We use to go all the time when we had an RV but we have not gone at all since the RV went away. (The RV went away about the same time The Short Chic came along.) She is older now and is ready for a weekend outdoors.

Going camping is always more enjoyable with other people so I whipped up an Evite to send out. Have you ever used Evite? It is a cool website that allows you to create and manage invitations to events.

I found an invitation that was perfect for camping.  I added all of our specific information, imported email addresses and sent the Evite out. What I was not anticipating is that almost everyone I sent the invitation to said YES!

 So, I have been busy the past several weeks planning a camping trip for 8 families, 14 kids, and a total of 30 people (Katie, I counted you as a grown-up now)!!!

Anyone who knows me I knows I am a planner and I love having something to plan. Evite has made the planning so much easier.  One of the new features is the "Sign Up to Bring Something."  This feature allowed me to list out items campers needed to bring, how many items we needed and then it allowed everyone to sign up to bring something. Distribution of items has NEVER been easier!

The weather is suppose to be perfect fall weather for our weekend (sunny, no rain, mid 70's during the day). I think we all can expect the temp to drop at night and it will get a bit chilly! We have our food planned. We have activities planned, keeping 13 kids entertained takes a small bit of forethought.

Oh, there is one last super cool thing about Evite that I wanted to share; the polling option. Evite allows you to create a poll and question your group. There was a lot of talk about wanting to camp two nights instead of one. I create a poll and asked. Quick and informative!

 I know a lot of bloggers get paid to do advertisements. This is not one of those post. I used this site. I did not receive any compensation from Evite. I just found it the coolest and easiest way to plan this camping trip and wanted to share with you all. Maybe Evite can help you with your next social event.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Confessions

I use real butter. Yes, real butter. Not the kind made with chemicals. Not the kind that is lower in fat or lower in calories. The real stuff.



I leave doors and cabinets open. I think this has gotten worse over the years. It use to just be my dresser drawers. I would semi close them, just not get them all the way closed. My ex-husband is the one who pointed it out. I have progressed...or digressed depending on how you look at it! Now I leave the kitchen cupboard doors open as well. (And since I am in no space to scold the kids, The Boy does it too! (Sorry Future Mrs. The Boy!)


I can not grow finger nails. I so admire women with long, well manicured nails. I just can not grow them. First of all, I have an odd shaped thumbs. Second, my nails just break off when they reach a certain length. Unfortunately, that break off point is rather short. I have tried at times to buy nails. But the upkeep is so much. Not to mention I always find it makes my real weak nails really really weak.  So I just have ugly nails.

I have a very, very weak sense of smell. Yep, it is true. My sense of smell went away over ten years ago. I won't say I have no sense of smell but it is very limited. I can smell things that are strong but not much after that. Once I laid a kitchen towel too close to a burner. The Husband was all freaking out over the smell. He knew something was burning. I just looked at him like he was crazy. 15 minutes after he found the smoldering towel, I could smell it!

My kitchen island is constantly a mess! It is the place in the house that every member of my family puts things. I usually have to clean a portion of it off just to cook dinner. However, within 24 hours it is back just as cluttered as ever.


I have turned into a late night owl. I use to be in bed by nine. Casually over the years it has crept closer to midnight before I crawl into bed. I find that my time starts when the kids go to bed. Sometimes I am crafting. Sometimes I am on the computer. Occasionally I am up late to watch my television. More recently, I have been up late reading.

I love Sons of Anarchy. There I said it. I am open to your judgement. I get that this show is not for everyone. It is a show full of violence, criminal behavior, bad language, and is beyond graphic!  With all that, I look forward to Tuesday just so I can watch this show on FX.

                                           

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Product Review: Betty Crocker Cupcake Icing

If you know me, you know I love cupcakes! I love making them, decorating them, eating them. Even the site of a cupcake makes me smile!

So taking a dessert to my 25 year class reunion was a no brainier. I was going to make cupcakes. I had the time to make the cupcakes but felt a time crunch to make homemade butter cream frosting. I found Betty Crocker's Cupcake Icing in the baking isle of my local store.

The can of frosting cost about $4.50. They have vanilla and chocolate.  In the interest of saving time, I decided to give it a try. I went ahead and purchased two cans and I am really glad I did because I ran out faster than I thought I would.

I was taken back on my very first squirt of frosting. I thought it would be ...fluffier. It was a bit runny. I gave it a good shake in case I was rushing and did not do it well enough the first time. It still did not get fluffy. In the end, it kinda reminded me of cheese in a can.

The process: I am assuming you have two ways of decorating cupcakes. First, you use a decorator's bag filled with homemade frosting or some type of store bought frosting. Second, you open a store bought tub of frosting, grab a knife and start frosting.

My Cupcakes in a Jar

This is a can that you twist on a plastic tip.  The can is upside down and you push on the nozzle to make the frosting come out. Kinda like a decorator bag. But not really. I found it difficult to get the control I needed to decorate.  It was all a bit more than a handful. I had a hard time juggling the cupcake, the can and getting the nozzle pushed over.

The taste: Some people eat cake for the cake. I eat cake for the frosting. I love frosting! With that in mind, my expectations around frosting are pretty high. I did not particularly like the taste. However, I did chat with a lot of the people at my class reunion and they thought it tasted just fine.

Overall, I am going to give this product a 2/5 stars. I do not foresee that I will use this type of frosting again. I think next time I am in a time crunch I will probably buy tub frosting and put it in a decorator's bag and pipe. (I think it will be easier, taste better, and cost less!)


Monday, September 3, 2012

Reflections From High School

I just got home from my Twenty-Five year High School Class Reunion.



I went to a small 1A school. I graduated with 19 people. Eleven returned for the reunion (one is not in this photo). There were around 300 students in my school: kindergarten to 12th grade.

Part of the reunion was a tour of the school. (Who would have thought that one of our classmates would grow up and be on the school board!) As I walked though the hallways and class rooms, it occurred to me that even in a small school, getting through high school was rough. As classmates were sharing stories I realized I must have blocked a lot of what they were sharing from my memory.

So, in reflecting, I started coming up with these thoughts on how to survive high school. They are lessons I have been teaching The Boy.


 Being New is Hard.
I started Kindergarten with this group, then moved away. I rejoined them in fifth grade. I think on my first day in this new school, we had PE. We shared a PE class with the sixth grade so I not only had to fit in with my class but now the class ahead of me. 

I came from a school that had never, not for one day, played a game called kick-ball. Where I came from we played tether-ball and I was actually really good at it.  But tether-ball was not being played at my new school; kick-ball was. And I was immediately odd because I had never played it. I was an outcast because I had never even heard of it.

The Life Lesson:  Do not prematurely judge someone you do not know. They may not have some skills but they probably have other skills. (I anxiously awaited the school year to play tether-ball again and show this new school that I had skills in other areas but I never played again.)


You Don't Know What You Can't See
The odd thing about emotional scars is you can't see them. But they hurt deep. What no one at that school could see was that my home life was rocky. My Dad was a drinker and more often than not did not come home because he was out drinking. Up to the fifth grade my mom had been a stay-at-home mom but when we moved to this new town, she decided to get a job (I am sure we needed a stable reliable paycheck). She could only get the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift. At the age of 10 and 7, my younger brother and I were home alone, almost every night after school, and I do not mean for a few hours after school.  I remember my Dad being home sometimes but mostly I remember being alone. When Dad would come home after work, he was often intoxicated, which meant he was either the life of the party or ready to fight. 

But the kids at school knew none of this...and let's be honest, they did not care. They just saw a girl who was odd.  She felt inferior to every one else (in dress, speech, hair style, physical abilities, ect). So when she did interact, she did not use the right words, she did not look the right way, she just did it wrong.  She did not have role models to help her. She was trying to figure it out all on her own. 

Life Lesson: Be nice. To everyone. Be open. You never know when just smiling at someone and saying hello will make their entire day.  You never know what a person holds inside them. 



It Just Takes One.
In the sixth grade, I made friends with another girl in my class. She was quiet. She looked about as alone as I felt (or is that my distorted memory?).  We became friends. And my entire outlook changed. I was excited to go to school and see her. Excited when she invited me over to her house after school. She and I have remained friends all these years. She has no idea how much she "saved" me. 

Later, in high school another one came along. I had no plans. No dreams. I did not think kids from struggling homes had that opportunity. One teacher went above and beyond and made me make a plan. Not a day goes by when I do not credit her for the two degree's I hold. Every time I accomplish something new, or rock out a great project, or execute a killer cake I thank her.

Life Lesson: Be that one. Be the one that changes the world for a person. Or at least, do little/no harm.  

The Tide Always Turns.
You grow comfortable in your own skin. You establish your own relationships. Circumstances change. I have so many wonderful memories of my later years of high school! Despite whatever bumps we had in elementary school, we were a cohesive group by high school. I can honestly say I enjoy speaking to every single one of my classmates. I have great memories and experiences with nearly all of them. And, I am happy to say, we are still making memories. 

Life Lesson: I think this is important to remember, things change. I know at times it feels that the situation can't get any worse or things will never change. But they do! Nothing in this world is permanent. (Not even that crazy tattoo you got that one wild night!)  So, never give up!