Life in Lape Haven

Archive - August 2016

Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. A delicious, traditional-style homemade vanilla ice cream recipe that's perfect for summer (or anytime of the year!) One of our family's favorites.

There is just something about homemade ice cream, isn’t there?

I think the first time I remember tasting it was when I was a little girl, and we went to a picnic or some kind of special event at my maternal grandparents’ church. Outside near the old schoolhouse that’s next door to the church, someone was using a hand-cranked ice cream churn to make the most amazing vanilla ice cream I’ve ever had – to this day – in my life.

The fact that the cream and eggs came fresh from my grandparents’ farm probably had something to do with it. That, and the fact that my grandma has amazing recipes for just about everything! (Here’s her homemade lime pickles recipe.)

With that memory of ice cream perfection, I had high expectations when I decided to try my hand at making homemade ice cream myself a few years ago. My first step was to get my grandma’s vanilla ice cream recipe…and then sadly realize that there was no way I was going to be able to make it just like hers. Even reducing her 5-quart recipe down to fit our 1.5 quart ice cream maker, I couldn’t duplicate that recipe exactly because it uses raw eggs and had the advantage of super farm fresh ingredients that aren’t as easy to find nowadays, at least not in our budget. 🙂

So, I went searching and did a lot of testing and learning (I suggest watching the “Churn, Baby, Churn” episode of Good Eats. A lot of my ice cream making process comes from Alton Brown’s suggestions.)

I also tried recipes from Columbus’s own Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, which happens to be my favorite ice cream shop ever (the Wildberry Lavender and Darkest Chocolate flavors are spectacular)! Finding her recipes online was really exciting. Her method for making ice cream doesn’t involve eggs at all, so the steps are bit different, but they result in truly yummy ice cream. Of course, just like my grandma’s, even with a recipe given to you, it’s still difficult to duplicate the exact flavor of such great ice cream made with high-quality ingredients.

My ice cream quest, though, did finally bring me to creating my own simple, more traditional-style vanilla ice cream recipe that my husband has declared to be “some of the best vanilla ice cream” he’s “ever had.”

And I agree – it is pretty good.

I do have to say, too, that having a good ice cream maker has been helpful and has encouraged me to make ice cream more often, including coming up with a copycat recipe for an Ohio summertime classic, Kings Island’s Blue Ice Cream.

When I first started making ice cream, I had a cheaper plastic ice cream maker that I’d bought on clearance for maybe $15. It was the older kind where you add ice cubes and rock salt, and it was pretty noisy and a little messy. Then not long after that, my hubby found a great deal on a Cuisinart 1.5 quart ice cream maker on SlickDeals.net that has the bowl that you freeze and then churn the ice cream in it. (My bowl is always in the freezer, so it’s ready to go when I need it.)

I can’t guarantee that SlickDeals would have it again, but here is an Amazon affliliate link (which means if you use the link to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you) to the ice cream maker that I use.

I’ve found that reducing the recipe to be a little less than the 1.5 quarts (or whatever the size of your ice cream maker is) is better. It might make less, but it churns better, which means better texture, when it has a little more room.

Also, this vanilla ice cream recipe does include eggs and tempering them and cooking your base a bit, but don’t let that intimidate you. It’s not complicated. If I can whip this up while my boys are running around me in the kitchen like a couple of crazy monkeys, trust me – You can do this, and you’ll be glad you did.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. A delicious, traditional-style homemade vanilla ice cream recipe that's perfect for summer (or anytime of the year!) One of our family's favorites.

Because, really, there is just something about homemade ice cream, isn’t there?

Here’s my recipe for delicious Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Yield: About 1 quart

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

A simple, and simply delicious, traditional-style homemade vanilla ice cream that our family loves!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups Milk (Whole is best)
  • 1 ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Add 2 teaspoons from your ½ cup of sugar. Whisk together and set aside. (I put mine right by the stove, so it's close when I need it)
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together cream, milk, and remaining sugar. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbles begin to form along the edge of the pan. (I use a candy thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. You don't want to boil the cream or overheat the mixture. I stay around 150 degrees.)
  3. Remove the cream from the heat.
  4. A spoonful at a time, slowly add the hot cream to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. You are tempering the eggs, bringing them up to temperature slowly. If you add the cream without whisking, you risk scrambled eggs in your ice cream. Not good. Tip: I put a towel under the egg bowl to keep it still while I'm whisking with one hand and ladling with the other.
  5. Once you have added at least half of the cream to the eggs, whisk the egg mixture into the remaining cream and return the saucepan to the heat.
  6. Heat over medium-low, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to about 170 to 175 degrees. The mixture will coat the back of your spoon, and if you draw your finger through it, it will leave a distinct trail. Do not overheat the mixture, or you'll end up with thick custard.
  7. Remove ice cream base from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
  8. Pour ice cream base into a metal bowl set over an ice bath. (To create the “ice bath”: Fill a larger bowl with just enough ice and cold water to come about halfway up the side of your metal bowl when you set your metal bowl into it)
  9. Whisk the mixture to cool.
  10. Pour the cooled ice cream base through a fine strainer into a bowl or dish with a lid. Straining will get out any accidental little bits of scrambled egg. (It happens sometimes.)
  11. Refrigerate for 2 hours (until it cools to 40 degrees) or up to overnight. (You can skip this step, but the warmer your ice cream mixture is, the longer it takes to churn.)
  12. Churn the chilled custard according to your ice maker's instructions.
  13. Once it reaches a thickened soft serve consistency, transfer the ice cream to a bowl or container that holds at least 1 quart (I always just use the same glass bowl that I refrigerated it in).
  14. Cover and freeze for at least an hour until it’s fully set to serve. (Or if you like it more "soft serve," or you're as impatient as we are, you can enjoy it earlier.)
https://lifeinlapehaven.com/2016/08/23/homemade-vanilla-ice-cream/
TRY THESE OTHER YUMMY RECIPES WITH YOUR VANILLA ICE CREAM:

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

The Legacy in an Apple Pie Recipe

Salted Caramel Cream

Chocolate Cake with Bavarian Cream Filling

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies


The Laundry Sorting “Game”

Life in Lape Haven: The Laundry Sorting Game. When my preschooler wanted to play a game, but I needed to get laundry done, I came up with a new game that helps my son learn his color, matching, and an important life skill - all in one.

Now that Elijah is back in school, I am Josiah’s primary playmate, which means I’m back to doing housework with my little tag-along. While he does play well by himself when I need him to, I like involving my children in various household chores and letting them learn how to help around the home.

The other day Josiah wanted to play a game with me while I was trying to get the laundry gathered and ready to wash. Glancing down at his Candy Land game spread out on the floor, I got an idea.

“How would you like to play a game to help me sort the laundry,” I asked him.

“A game? Yeah!” was his reply.

I told him that I’d need to borrow some of the color cards from his game, and he eagerly handed me the ones I wanted. Then we headed off to the laundry room for our exciting new “game.”

With all the clothes piled to one side or still in the hamper, I set three empty laundry baskets on the floor, then proceeded to set different color cards in front of them.

Life in Lape Haven: The Laundry Sorting Game. When my preschooler wanted to play a game, but I needed to get laundry done, I came up with a new game that helps my son learn his color, matching, and an important life skill - all in one.

I explained to Josiah that his job was to match the clothes with the right baskets, sorting them by the color cards in front of each one. (Since Candy Land doesn’t have a white or black card, I grabbed an index card from the kitchen, cut it in half, and drew a white square and black square. I also doodled out a towel, washcloth, pair of socks, and a pair of underwear to place with the “White” basket, too. Josiah especially liked the underwear picture. Boys.)

Life in Lape Haven: The Laundry Sorting Game. When my preschooler wanted to play a game, but I needed to get laundry done, I came up with a new game that helps my son learn his color, matching, and an important life skill - all in one.

Our three baskets were: Darks (blacks, blues, & greens), Reds (reds, oranges, and yellows), and Whites & Linens (light colors, towels, washcloths, most socks, and underwear).

(I know that some people sort their laundry differently or not at all, but this was a simple system that he could follow, and I could easily adjust if needed.)

Once everything was set up and understood, he stood in the middle of baskets, near the pile of clothes, and with a “1-2-3-Go!” he started sorting things in to the corresponding basket. He had so much fun matching the colors and showing me where each item went that he was done in no time with little help from me. (I did some sorting, too, rather than just be a slacker and leave it all to my 3-year-old. Haha.)

Life in Lape Haven: The Laundry Sorting Game. When my preschooler wanted to play a game, but I needed to get laundry done, I came up with a new game that helps my son learn his color, matching, and an important life skill - all in one.

When he was all done, I gave him a high five and let him help me load the washer with the first basket of clothes. Then he went back to happily playing Candy Land (not sure how he plays it by himself, but he was content so I left it alone.)

Since the “game” worked so well, and since I know that in the coming months of my pregnancy, leaning over and bending will be a little more difficult, I decided to work up a better sorting guide for my little helper to use next time.  It is a great way to reinforce his basic skills of color recognition and matching, plus he’s learning an important life skill and helping Mommy out at the same time. Win-win-win!

Life in Lape Haven: The Laundry Sorting Game. When my preschooler wanted to play a game, but I needed to get laundry done, I came up with a new game that helps my son learn his color, matching, and an important life skill - all in one.

I’m also sharing this guide with you. You can download a free printable of the “Laundry Sorting ‘Game’” to play with your little ones. Just cut out the sections to label your sorting baskets. (Or use the basic idea and tweak it to fit your laundry sorting routine.) The socks and underwear icons on the printable are courtesy of MediaLoot.

And just in your case your kids are a little older, don’t worry. When Elijah saw me working on the guide, he just read “The Laundry Sorting ‘Game’” and asked if we could play it! Hahaha. Sadly, I didn’t have any laundry that needed sorted at the time, but I’ll be sure to include him the next time we…um… “play.”

(While we’re talking laundry, you might want to check out my other laundry-themed posts: How to Get Grease Stains (Even Set-In Ones) Out, How to Get Grass Stains Out of ClothesHow to Get Dry Erase Marker Out of Jeans, and A Ridiculously Simple Way to Get Silly Putty Out of Fabric .)

8 of My Favorite Things About Being Pregnant

Life in Lape Haven: 8 of My Favorite Things About Being Pregnant. Pregnancy can bring all sorts of discomforts and inconveniences, but there are so many wonderful parts to being pregnant. Here are 8 of my favorite!

For the last few months, this third pregnancy has had me slightly off my game more so than my other two pregnancies did. The tiredness, nausea, yucky taste, and more have been a bit of a struggle, especially with having my two boys to keep up with. Now that I’m a little more than halfway through, I’m feeling a bit better, for now (I know that the end-of-pregnancy uncomfortableness is still ahead of me).

With all the not-so-fun things that come with pregnancy, there are still so many wonderful parts of pregnancy than make up for the inconveniences and discomforts.

Here are 8 of My Favorite Things About Being Pregnant
#1. Expectant Mother Parking

Okay, this might sound silly, but I was so excited the first time I was able to pull into one of those special parking spaces. I had seen them popping up at various stores not long before I became pregnant with Elijah, and I thought that it was such a nice consideration for expectant and new mothers.  I waited until I was rather obviously pregnant before taking advantage of them, so you know I was happy to have a shorter walk into the grocery store at that point.

#2. Special Consideration from Others

Similar to the expectant mother parking, it’s always nice when people are extra kind to you, and when you’re pregnant, most people are especially kind and helpful. Sure, some people might be a bit too free with their advice or invading your personal belly space, but for the most part, you are treated with a courtesy and friendliness that is often only experienced during the holiday season.

#3. Ultrasounds & the Heart Doppler

Few sounds are as beautiful as hearing your baby’s heartbeat, especially for the first time. It’s the highlight of every doctor’s appointment. That deep little “swish, swish, swish” sound is reassurance that your little one is doing well.

And while I’m not a fan of having a ton of ultrasounds while I’m pregnant, it is pretty exciting to have that visual confirmation of your baby’s growth. Seeing the profile, and yes, finding out whether you are carrying a boy or a girl, is a milestone that every mother waits for (even if you don’t want to know your baby’s sex before he/she is born).

Life in Lape Haven: 8 of My Favorite Things About Being Pregnant. Pregnancy can bring all sorts of discomforts and inconveniences, but there are so many wonderful parts to being pregnant. Here are 8 of my favorite!

This is how Josiah looked in utero.

#4. Feeling the Baby Kick

Even beyond the ultrasound, this is the milestone I look forward to and cherish:  feeling the baby move. Trying to explain the sensation to someone who’s never been pregnant is pretty much impossible, but once you’ve experienced it, it’s something you’ll never forget. (I’ve had dreams that I was pregnant and in those dreams, I felt that baby moving…crazy.)

And, yes, as the baby gets bigger, those flutters and shoves become jabs and hard kicks and “please quit pushing on my ribs.” But even with those more powerful movements, you are bonding with your baby, learning their personality before you officially meet them.

For me, Elijah was my little ninja. He liked to kick, and kick, and kick. He also showed his stubbornness early by kicking me every time I moved to my left side, and he would continue kicking until I rolled to my right.  Yep. I even warned Brad about this one.

Josiah’s style was more parkour. He flipped, kicked, and shoved constantly, and that has carried over since birth. He is our little daredevil who never walks when he can run, who climbs EVERYTHING just so he can jump off it. We’d kind of hoped he would be a bit more laid-back than Elijah, but…nope.

We’ve already been praying about this third boy. 🙂

#5. Comradery with Every Other Mother in the World

Just like you bond with your baby while you’re pregnant, being pregnant also gives you an instant bond with every other woman who has ever been pregnant or become a mother in some way. You’ll exchange stories about your experiences during the months you carried your babies and share your birth stories and the first-six-weeks-with-a-newborn stories.

Despite what we hear about “mommy wars,” I’ve found that most moms are super supportive and encouraging, and that kind of community is a wonderful thing.

#6. Deeper Appreciation for My Mother

Nothing makes you appreciate your own mom like becoming one yourself.  Experiencing pregnancy, labor & delivery, and life with a little one, you can’t help but think about your mother, now that you know what she went through for you.

Thankfully, my mom and I have always had a very close relationship, and my pregnancies have only brought us closer. Not only has she been the one I go to for advice, encouragement, questions, and prayer, but my mom has been there with me through each labor and delivery. She has coached me through two un-medicated natural deliveries, knowing the pain I was feeling but helping me stay focused and determined through it all. (She’s not a professional doula, but she totally could be!) And of course, she has always been ready to help during those early weeks (and anytime, no matter our kids’ ages, actually), even if she just does dishes for us or sits with the baby while I get a nap.

Life in Lape Haven: 8 of My Favorite Things About Being Pregnant. Pregnancy can bring all sorts of discomforts and inconveniences, but there are so many wonderful parts to being pregnant. Here are 8 of my favorite!

#7.  Deeper Appreciation for My Husband

Pregnancy and parenting aren’t easy, but it is easier when you have a supportive, on-board partner to share it with.

Most any given day, I know that I have a rather fabulous husband. He has been fabulous from day one. But I am reminded even more so of his fabulousness when I’m pregnant and once we’re in the midst of caring for a newborn.

Not only does he help with our boys even more and take care of additional household chores when I don’t feel well or just physically can’t, but he does it with joy. He insists that I rest when I need to because he knows I have a tendency to push myself maybe more than I should.  He does whatever he can to help me through the unpleasant parts of pregnancy, whether it’s stopping on his way home to pick up more salt & vinegar chips to help me with the nasty taste in my mouth or massaging my achy legs at night even when he’s really tired himself.

In the delivery room, if my mom is the coach, he’s my cheerleader. I know it’s tough for him to see me go through it, but he’s never left my side. And once our babies arrive, he is the sweetest of daddies, changing their first diapers and waking in the night along with me to bring the baby to me for feedings (in the weeks that Brad is off from work) or doing his best to soothe a cranky little one, sometimes falling asleep in the rocking chair himself.

Life in Lape Haven: 8 of My Favorite Things About Being Pregnant. Pregnancy can bring all sorts of discomforts and inconveniences, but there are so many wonderful parts to being pregnant. Here are 8 of my favorite!

#8. A Baby

This sounds kind of obvious, but the best part of being pregnant, the one thing that makes all the difficult, painful moments worthwhile is that moment when the doctor hands you your squirmy, wrinkly little one and you really meet your baby for the first time. That moment, and about a million others over the next year (and years). Loving and caring for this child, watching them grow and learn, knowing that God has a unique and divine purpose and plan for him, and seeing that plan slowly unfold through his personality and talents, his likes and passions, and God’s leading – there really is nothing better.

It doesn’t change, either, from your first baby to your second or third or so on. Each one brings a new, unique joy and love to your life.

It is absolutely the best part of being pregnant.

Life in Lape Haven: 8 of My Favorite Things About Being Pregnant. Pregnancy can bring all sorts of discomforts and inconveniences, but there are so many wonderful parts to being pregnant. Here are 8 of my favorite!

 

So, moms, what would you add to the list? What is something you love or loved about being pregnant?

My First Blogiversary

Life in Lape Haven: My First Blogiversary: Thoughts of My 1st Year of Blogging. As I celebrate the first anniversary of my blog, I'm sharing how much this unexpected path has blessed me.

Last year on August 7, I hit “Publish” on what would be my first official post of my blog. While I had been adding content for a few weeks, it was the first day that my blog would actually “go live,” the day that I would share it on Facebook and other social media, and the day that I officially became a blogger.

I remember my hands were actually shaking for a while after I hit that button and shared the post. My boys and I watched the “Real Time” stats on my WordPress Dashboard, so we could see how many people were clicking on the link and checking out my site. It was exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.

As I shared in my initial post, I never wanted to write a blog. Be an author, sure. Blogger, not so much. But as I look back over the past year, I’m glad that I stepped out and followed God’s leading. If nothing else, it’s been a test of faith and obedience.

But of course, God’s plans are always bigger than ours, so this blog has proven to be a blessing in many more ways than I expected.

First of all, it has given this stay-at-home mom a creative outlet, and a confirmation that God’s purpose never lets any of our talents or gifts go to waste when we trust Him with them. As someone who grew up scribbling stories and ideas into notebook after notebook, followed by high school classes in journalism and Honors English, and then having my first job be a position at the local newspaper, writing was just a part of who I was. Even once I moved into different jobs outside of newspaper, I still wrote often for work and at home, up until I got married and became a mommy. Children tend to require a good bit of time and attention, and writing fell by the wayside until God asked me to pick it up again.

Life in Lape Haven: My First Blogiversary: Thoughts of My 1st Year of Blogging. As I celebrate the first anniversary of my blog, I'm sharing how much this unexpected path has blessed me.

But this type of writing is different and much more personal. I’m not reporting on events or typing emails and memos to other employees or company contacts. I’m sharing my heart with the world (Although, let’s be honest, it’s mostly a handful of people at a time.).

One of the biggest blessings, though, in writing this blog has been seeing how my vulnerability and sharing my life’s little moments and revelations have encouraged, challenged, and helped others. I suddenly have a reach far beyond my little staying-at-home-most-every-day cocoon. I can minister to people I will never meet in person, whether it’s sharing comfort that God has given me (For Such a Time as This), telling my stories of everyday life (Going “Naked” at the Water Park) or my experiences growing up (Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid), finding profound lessons in what my boys say and do (Out of the Mouth of Babes), or even trying out recipes and simple household solutions and letting you know what works (Grease stains? I know how to treat them!).

While there have been many frustrating and/or tiring days and nights as I found (and am still finding) fringe moments to write, set up, and share my posts, I’m looking back over this year with a deep sense of accomplishment and gratitude for God planning this for me and staying with me every step of the way.

Also along for the ride have been my two biggest helpers and fans – my husband and my mother. They have both believed in me from my first hesitant suggestions that this was something God might possibly, maybe, want me to do. Not only has Brad been my technical support (he built the server my blog is on), but he’s definitely my biggest cheerleader. He has stayed up with me countless nights to help me proof those last minute posts, simply because he didn’t want me to be alone, and he proudly shares every one of them on social media.

My mom is always quick to help me out, proofing and reading any post drafts that I email her and helping me with titles and providing a good sounding board so I know that I’m saying what I want to be saying. 🙂

I’m also overwhelmingly thankful for the support I’ve had on this journey so far from all of my readers, especially those of you who have followed me from the beginning, as well as the many blogging friends I have made along the way. Hopefully I have been able to bless or encourage you all in some way over the last 12 months.

When I started this adventure last August, I couldn’t’ have imagined how much I’d learn and how I’d grow in so many areas of my life just by sharing bits and pieces of it with others. (There’s a lesson there…)

Looking ahead to the next year, it’s hard to imagine what God will do through my writing on this blog, but He’s already proven Himself more than faithful to help me accomplish what He’s called me to do and to bless me abundantly in the process.