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!

How to Make a Flower Crown

 

 

Crown leadI have been dreaming about flowers lately. They find their way into my dreams, my shopping cart, my home and garden. I just can’t get enough of them. Recently, I attended a party at the SNAP Conference where we made Floral Crowns from faux flowers. They were nice, but I am a sucker for the real thing.

supplies

I found these flowers at the market the other day and on a whim, I decided to give the Floral Crown a try. The flowers weren’t all that expensive, about $15.00 for all.

I was not disappointed.

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Here’s how to make your own Floral Crown:

Supplies:

Floral Wire

Floral Tape

Wire Cutters

Pruning sheers

1 bouquet Baby’s Breath or other small flowers

1 Mixed flower bouquet with Daisies and Chrysanthemums

6 spools 1/8″ craft ribbon in various colors (white, blue, pink, purple, magenta, green)

scissors

measuring tape

cut to size

 

The first step, is to cut 20 pieces of wire, about 6″ long.

I attached my measuring tape to the table with Scotch tape to make it easy to measure.

I also cut 9 pieces of 3″ wire.

Then I measured the circumference of my head, mine was 21″.

in process

 

Starting with the small baby’s breath branches, I wired several of them together with the 6″ wire pieces. I trimmed the ends of the flowers to about 8″ in length. When they were firmly attached, I grabbed another spray of them and wired them to the stems first ones, making a chain.

baby's breath

I continued this same process until my chain measured 23″. This was slightly longer than my head circumference, but I wanted to have enough room to attached the chain together at the end.

Notice how the flowers are all facing one direction, it is best to keep the back side flat so it will fit against your head.

flower with wire

 

The next step was to trim the Mums to a 2″ stem. Using a 3″ piece of wire, I poked it up through the middle of the flower, hooking it slightly at the end with the needle nose end of the wire cutters. PULL the hook gently back through the center of the flower until it’s secure, it will disappear in the center of the flower.

adding flowers

Add your flowers to the baby’s breath chain, wiring them to the base at even intervals.

joining the ends

 

Join the ends by overlapping the first strand of baby’s breath and the opposite ends of the chain. Wire in place. I also used floral tape to cover the wire ends to keep them from being sharp. I left a small space between the ends to attach some ribbons.

adding the ribbons

 

I cut 3 pieces of each different colored ribbon (18 pieces total) at 24″ long. Putting them all in a pile, I attached them to the flowers by making a loop halfway up the ribbon length, then pulling the ends back through the loop, leaving the cut ends free.

finished This Flower Crown reminds me of the ones that they sell at the Renaissance Faire each summer. I think I will be making another one for the trip to the Faire! I can imagine how darling this crown would look on bridesmaids, or even for a special event like a birthday party or bridal shower. The possibilities are endless!

on the fence

 

If you are walking by my house and see this crown hanging on the picket fence, you are welcome to take it home with you.

Have a beautiful day!