Journey to Haven

 

Haven or BustIt’s been a hectic couple of weeks. My trip to the Haven Conference in beautiful Atlanta, Georgia was nothing short of amazing. I am still overwhelmed by the experience.

I met so many wonderful people, and learned so much!

The highlight of my trip was traveling with my sweet friend Karen from Dragon Flies and Lilly Pads. We went to the SNAP conference earlier this year, and decided to travel together again to Haven. This time we drove, which allowed us more time for seeing the sights!

Butler's antiques

 

One of our favorite stops was Butler’s Antiques in Hopkinsville, KY. Hopkinsville is a beautiful little town, so quaint and picturesque.

outside Butler's antiques

 

One of our blogger friends, Kathy from Petticoat Junction recommended this place. WOW! It was a junkers dream!

Good thing we brought a van!

Raymond

 

Raymond was so helpful, he’s been in the antique business for more than 20 years. If you stop by be sure and tell him I sent you!

Buckhorn Hyatt Regency

 

When we arrived at our hotel in Atlanta, we were amazed at it’s beauty.

view from the 17th floor

Sunsets views from our window were epic. Almost made me want to live there. Almost.

garden party

 

The first night there was a cocktail reception on the garden terrace. The Haven Team never fails to impress with their sense of style and color.

cocktails

 

We enjoyed refreshments for hours, met new friends and old.

garden party food

 

I love getting ideas for party food. This display of nuts, raw veggies, assorted cheeses and crackers was right up my alley.

HGTV girls

 

We spent the next several days meeting new people, bloggers and sponsors. Here are the HGTV girls. Sarah (left) and Lucy (Lucy) from the HGTV series Beach Flip. Karen and I roomed with Lynn (middle right) from Fern Avenue and Evey (middle left) from Evey’s Creations, who were recently on the HGTV show Flea Market Flip. It was so fun to meet these ladies. They are all as sweet as sunshine and super talented.

We are HGTV addicts at our house. Did I mention that?

hotel seating

 

The hotel was beyond beautiful, I would love to have this look in my house.

DIY hall of fame

 

There were so many wonderful sponsors, each one had a booth for us to visit and connect with. I was partial to the Home Depot booth, I love this DIY sign made with yard sticks. The sponsors do an amazing job of making us bloggers feel welcome, and never fail to inspire.

There are so many more pictures I could post, if you follow me on Instagram  you can see more insights to our amazing experience.

sanding with Ryobi Tools

 

One of my favorite parts of the conference was the building classes. A group of bloggers built 8 of these beautiful dining tables. Karen and I were in the group that helped sand and refinish them. Karen rocks the tool world by sanding in a dress.

You go girl!

 

Karen under the table

The legs of our table were finished with this beautiful blue stain. The top received a special treatment from Beth from Sawdust and Embryos.

Isn’t it beautiful?

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Looking forward to another great Haven experience next year!

Blue Moon Ice Cream

Blue Moon Ice Cream

Did you see the Blue Moon this week? It’s the second time this month we have had a full moon, the second cycle is referred to as the “Blue Moon”.

The phrase “once in a blue moon” has brought on new meaning to me as I have gotten older. There are things that I just never have time to do that I enjoy, one of them is making fresh ice cream. Life is too short not to take time for simple little pleasures.

Blue Moon ice cream is a Wisconsin favorite, a best seller at our family’s restaurant. It has the suburb combination of watermelon, blueberry and raspberry that can’t be beat. You can make your own ice cream simply with a few plastic baggies and ice, it’s a fun project for kids and great entertainment for a hot day.

Ingredients:

1/2 pint fresh blueberries

1/4 of a large watermelon, Rhine removed, seeded and chopped into 1″ cubes

1/2 pint fresh raspberries (you can substitute 2 Tablespoons low sugar Raspberry jam if needed)

2 cups almond milk or whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

4 cups ice

1/2 cup table salt

2 large gallon sized zip lock baggies

2 sandwich size zip lock baggies

 

Directions:

Blend the fresh fruit and milk together in a blender until smooth. Add the sugar, blend again.

Pour the mix into two sandwich baggies, only filling them about 1/2 way. Close the bags, releasing as much air as possible. Divide the ice and salt into the two gallon sized bags. Close the top, shake the bag briefly to combine the ingredients. Open the bag, add the ice cream mix Baggie, close the top.

Here’s the fun part. Shake the bag all you can until the ice cream gets firm. It only takes about 10 minutes. This may require you to wear gloves or pot holders on your hands, as the salt lowers the freezing temperature of the ice and it becomes very cold. You can play catch with the bags out side until it hardens, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it inside the house.

We have had exploding bags in the past, trust me on this one, do it outside. Exploding bags of ice cream are not a pretty sight.

When the ice cream has to hardened, you can eat immediately ( it will be a soft set ice cream, similar to ice milk), or freeze until completely hard and serve later. Dispose of the bags, ice and salt afterwards.

 

Today is a beautiful hot sunny day, I will be spending my time on the porch nibbling on our Blue Moon Ice Cream and fanning myself with Granny’s vintage fan from Japan. Sounds like a great way to spend the day, doesn’t it?

Who knows, I may even take a nap on the porch! It is once in a blue moon after all.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Copper Falls State Park

 

Bad River landscape

I have been off the grid this week. We have returned from our travels to the great Northern Territory of Wisconsin. We enjoy camping and this year we decided to explore one of the parks in our home state. We have lived here most of our life, but have yet to see all there is to see in our home state.

Copper Falls State Park is one of several parks in the northern area. It has 5 star ratings across the board on Trip Advisor, Yelp and just about every other site I looked at. The park has many amenities like hiking, swimming and boating, and the ones they don’t have are available near by.

North Woods Canapy

We chose to hike into our tent site which was a mere 250 yards from the parking area. The park provides a small wagon for hauling your equipment to your site which made it very easy. We have never used a hike -in site, and would do it again. It was a lovely spot, with very tall maple and ash trees.

Sleeping under the canopy was great, we were protected from the majority of wind and rain. There were a few Mosquitos, so bring your repellent just in case. Temperatures can be very cool at night here, it was in the mid-forties the few nights we were there, so bring lots of blankets.

Red Granit Falls2

During the day we explored the parks hiking trails. They were well marked and we appreciated how well groomed they were. As we neared the end of the 2.5 mile trail we heard the rushing water of the Red Granite Falls, one of two beautiful water falls in the park. It was absolutely  breath taking.

Red Granit Falls

The massive red rocks help give the water some of its unusual coloring. High concentrations of copper and iron give the water its blackish color and mysterious character. The Ojibowa Indians named this river,  Bad River. You can see why, it is a massive river, and the rapids are huge.

Bridge to Copper Falls

The second water fall is Copper Falls, hence the parks namesake. You can walk around the falls from different viewing angles over these lovely rustic bridges.

Copper Falls

Copper falls is a bit smaller, but no less impressive. I couldn’t help but think that the water looked like dark ale, complete with its rich golden foam.

Copper Falls Rapids

The sound of the rushing water is so musical, I could have listened to it forever.

Basalt steps to Copper Falls

 

Be prepared to do some serious climbing while you are here. These stone steps are made from naturally occurring basalt, a lava rock left here ages ago. We had no idea that there was any thing like this in our state. I was sore for a day or two after scaling many upward paths such as this.

Bayfield Harbor

If you would like a day trip, there are a number of small towns in the area with sights to see. We headed further north to Bayfield, right on the shores of Lake Superior. The historical town is built along this beautiful bay.

Bayfield Harbor Yachts

The Lake superior region is very unique looking, the deep lake is a rich blue color and there is always a cool breeze.

Bayfield WI

Established in the mid-1800’s, there are lots of period homes and buildings to see. They all had beautiful gardens and landscaping.

Petunias

 

This restaurant pictured above, got its name from the local fish packing plant. Fresh white fish from Lake Superior is still packed into wooden barrels, salted and pickled for pickled herring as it has been done here for the last 150 years.

Pickled Herring

 

I love the character of this vintage sign.

Red Yacht

There is plenty of sailing on Lake Superior, Bayfield is famous for its yacht race over the 4th of July holiday. There were a number of vessels already in port for the race.

Sailboat on Lake Superior

We wanted to try sea kayaking, but it was so cool the day we were there we decided to postpone it. There are guided tours available and lots of equipment you can rent at a reasonable price.

The car ferry can take you over to the famous Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands along the coastline of Lake Superior. Madeline Island is supposed to be a lovely place, we were disappointed that it was so cold and wet, so we decided to save this for the next trip as well.

My husband and I agreed that this trip was one of our best camping trips yet. We look forward to exploring more of this area, see you at the campground!

How to Keep Your Family Safe Online

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Keeping your family safe online is a huge topic of discussion and concern for people today. I hear every day of families who are distraught, trying to keep their children safe from the uncontrollable Internet. The statistics of children viewing porn and graphic content at younger and younger ages is staggering, even among Christian families. No one is safe from it. As a parent, I don’t want to see it either, it is annoying, frustrating and shocking. One wrong click of the mouse and your child’s innocence can be lost forever. How are we to keep this unwanted content out of our homes? There are a number of things you can do to keep the Internet in check.

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1) Set up parental parameters: Devices your children use such as the Wii, XBox, Nook, the Kindle and hand held game systems have improved internet safety software to keep children from viewing inappropriate content. Set up a parental login and get started.  Check regularly to see what your children are viewing and downloading online on each system. If you don’t know how to set up your device, call technical support and have them help you set it up over the phone.

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2) Set Up Cell Phone Blocking. Did you know you can pay a few extra dollars per month to your cell phone provider to block inappropriate content on all the phones on your plan? We use AT &T, they only charge $4.99 per month for this service.  Click here to find out more information. You can set up time usage limits, text limits, and even block specific numbers. This is money well spent for a bit of peace of mind. Blocking cannot stop all phone to phone content transfer, however. Be aware that if your child gets an email or text from an approved number that is inappropriate, there is no way for you block it. Hopefully, this will change in the future and parents will have even more control over their children viewing content.

3) Set definite boundaries with your children. Do not allow them to have private passwords, you need to be able to check their electronic devices, email and social media accounts for appropriate content. Make it a house rule, all passwords for electronic devices and emails are shared in the home.

4) Keep your computer in an open space. Do not allow your children to have online access behind closed doors. There is no reason they need privacy, they are children. Our children do online classes at home but they understand the doors are to remain open. If this is an issue in your home, try installing some glass doors instead or move your computer to an open area without doors.

5) Set your browser to remember passwords and record website history. Look under the System Preferences icon to on your computer to change this function. Check the browser history frequently to be sure everything is on the up and up.

6) Call your internet service provider and see what parental controls they offer. They may have some tools available that you weren’t aware of. If you bundle your services and have cable TV with them as well, have them help you set up controls on your television for cable.  We use Charter Communications and they have an excellent tutorial on setting up your TV blocking here. Many TVs are set up for Internet streaming, you want to have controls in place for that too, here another link for Charter that may be helpful.

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7) Install a content filtering router. You can purchase a special router to filter unwanted Internet content right at the source where it enters your home. With a router like this, no one in the household will be able to view unwanted content whether they connect to the router directly or wirelessly. A filtering router can work with your current Internet provider and is programmable so you can block unwanted websites and specific content. Generally these routers are rather expensive, but they are available. I recently won a router like this, and I can’t wait get started using it. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

8) Limit your child’s Internet access by age. Young children should have little or no reason to use the Internet, especially when they are unsupervised. Our doctor recommended no more than 20 minutes of screen time per sitting, not more than 2 hours daily for our kids.

These are some pointers, but the best way to keep your kids safe is by being an involved parent. Know who your kids are friends with and what their family rules and values are. Establish your own family rules and stick to them. You may need to step in and make some difficult choices, but your kids will thank you in the long run.

Are you wondering what all this silly artistic censorship is about? These silly art pictures won me the grand prize of a complete content filtering router system! I don’t have the system yet, but I will have more to share soon, including how you can get one for your family!

Stay tuned!

Joining the Link Up!

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Charmed Collections

Bracelet and necklace

 

I thought I would build you up today.

Somedays we all need some encouragement.

You know the encouragement I mean, the kind that takes you by surprise when you least expect it, and fills you up so you can pick your pathetic self up, off the floor and do great things against all odds.

Who doesn’t need something like that?

Trouble is, it’s hard to find.

 

These beautiful jewelry items from Charmed Collections are just the ticket. They are meant to build you up, no matter what stage of life you are in.

These pieces were a gift from the SNAP Conference that I attended recently. It’s amazing how much I have worn them. They fit very comfortably, which is rather unusual. Most costume jewelry that I find runs very small and is usually too tight around the neck in the necklaces, and too small around the bracelet to even get it on my arm. These pieces though, are different, they fit. I am even allergic to most costume jewelry (it turns my skin green), but these don’t bother me at all.

It must be a SIGN.

 

necklace

In my mind I am afraid of so many things. Put on this necklace and suddenly……………..

I am fearless. I can do anything. I can take on the world and be successful even though I have no idea what I am doing.

Sometimes I feel like I drag my feet all day long. I trudge through life, shuffling one foot at a time because I am in a time warp where I can’t keep up no matter how hard I try.

Have you ever felt that way?

bracelet

But today, I put on this bracelet and suddenly I can …………………

Hustle.

Then the world has to keep up with ME.

I feel energized. Who doesn’t need more of that feeling?

Hummmm, I could use more of this inspiration.

I am very tempted to order these adorable custom rings.

Check out Charmed Collections for more beautiful things that will build you up in every day living. Oh, and if you read the testimonies of some of their customers, be sure to have a box of Kleenex handy. You’re going to need it.

 

Blessings!