Monday, August 31, 2009

Glimpses of our weekend in Wyoming.




























Head over to my other blog to check out our praying mantis discovery.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Shapshot Sunday 08-30-09

Tonight the girls and I escaped the house and had a 'Girls Night Out'. Our Snapshot Sunday today is brought to you by the Outback Steakhouse - all that was open at 8 pm on a Sunday.











How it began.

Other snapshots -

Ramblings
SunnyDayMama
Feel the Rhythm

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ice cream for the kids in 30 minutes.

Want to make ice cream in thirty minutes without an ice cream maker? Try this - you'll love it. It's a fun recipe that is perfect for kids to help you with. In fact, they can do most of it with only a little help from you!

This recipe only has three ingredients - it couldn't be easier!

I adapted this recipe from The River Cottage Family Cookbook, a book I found in the library. I love it so much that it is on my Christmas wishlist.

I've put two different amounts in the recipe. The first amount is for a child's sized portion, small by American standards, but really just perfect once the kids get eating. The second amount (in brackets) is the larger amount, good for an adult.

I've typed the recipe up below the tutorial for you to print out more easily if you'd like that.


What you need:
A large metal or plastic bowl with a tight lid.
A half-pint canning jar or jam jar with lid for each person.

Flavorings. Fruit (mashed up until runny), good quality jam (a few teaspoons per person), vanilla (a few drops should do - I used eight drops and it was good), melted chocolate ... [if you're making the larger amount, use your discretion on how much flavoring to use]

Heavy cream, well chilled, 2-3 tablespoons for each person. [2/3 cup cream]
Confectioner's sugar, 2 teaspoons per person. [6 teaspoons]

Ice and salt. This is variable, depending on how much it takes to put under and around (but not over) your jars in the bowl. Keep the proportions of ice to salt at 5 cups of ice to 1 cup of salt.

Process:
Spoon cream into jars.

Add flavorings.

We used vanilla for Gray, homemade blueberry jam from my sister for Hannah's and Matt's, strawberries for Ainsley. I put about eight frozen strawberries in our blender and Ains used about half of the mashed up strawberries and strawberry chunks. When I made the larger batch later, I used the other half of the strawberries and it was perfect.

Add confectioner's sugar to the cream and flavorings and stir until sugar is all mixed in.

Put lids on jars tightly and put in refrigerator.

Measure your salt. We had to use 10 cups of ice and 2 cups of salt for each big bowl. This is a good place to use the cheap salt that you buy on sale for twenty-five cents each to use for crafts.

Pull ice out of freezer now and mix together your ice and salt.

Nestle the jars into the ice.

Cover with a lid and put in a cool place. Ours were fine on the counter out of the sun. This would be a good time to clean up. Take my word for it.

After ten minutes, take the lid off the bowl. Take the lids off of the jars being careful not to let any salt get inside of them. Stir the cream, put the lids back on both the jars and the bowl, and admire the ice forming on the outside of your bowl.

Ten minutes later, open the bowl back up and stir the cream again - it is probably ice cream by now. If not, give it another ten minutes.

Now enjoy!
I made a second batch after the first one using the same ice and salt mixture and it also only took twenty minutes to freeze. I could likely have made a third batch using the same mixture. The ice was getting thick on the outside of the bowl.


Recipe:

I've put two different amounts in the recipe. The first amount is for a child's sized portion, small by American standards, but really just perfect once the kids get eating. The second amount (in brackets) is the larger amount, good for an adult.

What you need:
- A large metal or plastic bowl with a tight lid.
- A half-pint canning jar or jam jar with lid for each person.
- Ice and salt. The amounts for these are variable, depending on how much it takes to put under and around (but not over) your jars in the bowl. Keep the proportions of ice to salt at 5 cups of ice to 1 cup of salt.

- Heavy cream, well chilled, 2-3 tablespoons for each person. [2/3 cup cream]
- Confectioners' sugar, 2 teaspoons per person. [6 teaspoons]
- Flavorings. Fruit (mashed up until runny), good quality jam (a few teaspoons per person), vanilla (a few drops should do - I used eight drops and it was good), melted chocolate ... for the larger amount of ice cream, use your discretion.

Process:
Spoon cream into jars. Add sugar. Add flavorings. Mix well until sugar is all dissolved. Put lids on jars tightly and put in refrigerator.

Mix salt and ice together in large bowl. Nestle jars of cream into bowl having a thin layer of ice (one ice cube thick) on the bottom and ice covering the jars up to (but not over) the top. Put the lid on the bowl and put in a cool spot. The counter is fine as long as it is not in the sun.

After ten minutes, take the lid off the bowl, take the lid off the jars (being careful not to get salt inside), and stir the cream. Put the lids back on both the jars and the bowl and wait for another ten minutes. Stir again. By this time the cream should be frozen through and ready to eat. If not, put back in for another ten minutes.

If you'd like, immediately after finishing the first batch of ice cream, make another batch of ice cream with the ice and salt mixture.

Watching them grow up.

Our little barn swallows are almost ready to leave the nest. If you're very quiet when you walk into the garage, you'll see this.

If you're not quiet, you'll get this.

One of 'em's a coward.

They are *so* close to leaving the nest (compare this picture to the same birds last week) that I sat down to try to get some good pictures. My goal was to get a picture of their parents feeding them, but I had a bit too much help for that to happen.

I was able to get this ...

and this ...

and this.

When I came back out by myself a few hours later, the nest was empty. And so it goes.

The heat continues...

Now I'm not complaining. I grew up in Oklahoma and I know heat. I also know how much my body despises cold, so I'm good with the heat. But still, it requires some special techniques when you've got kids who need to deal with it.

Today our coping mechanism of choice was personal jars of ice cream. We mixed in our own flavorings ...


froze them ...

and then went to find Daddy in the fields.

It was a welcome treat on a hot day.

Everybody tried everyone else's flavors.

And then Hannah enjoyed some Daddy time.

She's a child who needs to connect.

Ainsley was too busy connecting with her ice cream.

And then it was too hot in the middle of the field, and we were done.

So home we went, with a stop on the way at Hannah's favorite birding spot.

Nothing but seagulls there today.

When it cools off tonight we'll go for a pony ride. Life is good.