Let’s Go Camping!

Summer is a time of year where we usually enjoy spending more time outdoors. Hiking in parks and forests, visiting wildlife sanctuaries, swimming in lakes and beaches…so many great things to do on lazy summer days.  If the idea of CAMPING in the great outdoors sends a cold shiver down your spine, maybe you just haven’t found the right way to enjoy the camping experience.  Camping is WAY MORE than using port-o-potties, giving up showers and running water, and sleeping in a muggy, bug-infested tent in the middle of nowhere.

RV parks and campgrounds offer lots of amenities and are a budget friendly way for families to experience the natural world. Here are a few to consider when planning a family camping trip:

HERSHEY PARK CAMPING RESORT, HUMMELSTOWN, PA: Offers 300 campsites for RV hookups, log cabin rentals, pools, movie nights, and discounted admission to Hershey Park.  http://www.hersheyparkcampingresort.com

NORMANDY FARMS FAMILY CAMPING RESORT, FOXBORO, MA: If you don’t have your own RV, you can rent a YURT, pop-up trailer, or safari tent. Located between Boston and Cape Cod, this resort offers yoga classes, mountain bike tours, and a dog park.  http://www.normandyfarms.com

LAKESHORE RV RESORT & CAMPGROUND, OELWEIN, IA:  Located on the shores of Lake Oelwein, this resort offers swimming, canoeing, Frisbee golf, beach volleyball, and a day trip to the FIELD OF DREAMS movie site.  Every year some baseball legend emerges from the corn fields to have a game with fans.  http://www.lakeshoreiowa.com

AMERICAN HERITAGE RV PARK, WILLIAMSBURG, VA: For history fans you might want to try this resort where you can stay in a cabin or cottage as you enjoy nature trails, pool, volleyball and basketball courts and discounted tickets to COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG: http://www.americanheritagervpark.com

Be sure to check out state parks and campgrounds in your state for more opportunities to enjoy the camping experience this summer.

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Celebrate July With the Flavors of Summer by Marilyn Ostermiller

If you need a reason to indulge in ice cream, here it is: July is National Ice Cream Month. It has been, since 1984, when President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation. Other flavors of summer celebrated this month as well, are baked beans, hot dogs and blueberries.

My favorite ice cream memory is a generous bowl of pistachio gelato my husband and I shared at the ancient town square in Taormina, Sicily, atop a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean, on a summer Sunday. Children played soccer nearby. Families strolled home from church. I savored the crunch of chopped nuts in every bite of that creamy green confection, served in a frosty, stemmed goblet.

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Ice cream has been enjoyed throughout history:

  • Roman Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar (D. 54-86) is said to have frequently sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavored with fruits and juices, according to the International Dairy Foods Association.
  • Over a thousand years later, Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a recipe that closely resembled what we call sorbet.

It wasn’t until the 1800s, though, the invention of insulated ice houses and other commercial equipment made it possible for ice cream to be widely enjoyed around the world.

Vanilla is the popular flavor, according to a survey conducted last year by the International Dairy Foods Association. The next four most popular flavors, were chocolate, cookies ’n cream, mint chocolate chip and chocolate chip cookie dough.

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The trend is toward unusual flavor couplings. For example, The Bent Spoon, in Princeton, N.J., specializes in small batch ice cream and sorbets using local and organic ingredients. Ricotta-pistachio, strawberries and elderflower, banana chunk, crème fraîche, school garden mint nib, pink rose, and lavender and mascarpone, were among the 28 flavors chilling in the display case on a recent day. https://www.facebook.com/pg/the-bent-spoon-132592140111950/reviews/?ref=page_internal

There are plenty of family friendly ways to churn a batch of ice cream at home, ranging from hand crank freezers to electric freezers that create ice cream in about 30 minutes.

Here are two books to get you started:

The Homemade Ice Cream Recipe Book: Old-Fashioned All-American Treats for Your Ice Cream Maker by Robin Donovan and published by Rockridge Press. It features such time-tested flavors as Cookies and Cream, Classic Vanilla, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and Red Velvet. The easy-to-follow recipes are all based on one classic base. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MXY0ANB/ref=rdr_ext_sb_pi_hist_3  

  • The Homemade Ice Cream Recipe Book: Old-Fashioned All-American Treats for Your Ice Cream Maker    

Marilyn will return later this month with PART 2 of the history of ICE CREAM.

 

Marilyn Ostermiller        Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time business journalist who now writes for children. You can follow her on Twitter @Marilyn_Suzanne.

Let’s Go Fishing!

As you and your family begin to enjoy some summer recreation, why not plan a few trips to the local fishing hole.  Even if you’ve never fished before, it isn’t too late to learn this enjoyable hobby.  You don’t even need to buy all the expensive gear to have a day of fun catching fish.  Many resorts and parks rent fishing gear for a day. You can also find reasonably priced starter kits for kids at your local sporting goods store. Not convinced?

Numerous research studies have found enormous benefits to a day of fishing.  Fly casting in particular is good for breast cancer survivors.  Other benefits include:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved self esteem
  • Better mood
  • Stronger bonds with family and friends
  • Reduced symptoms of PTSD                      fish

Also, many fishing spots are located in areas of natural beauty with plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife other than fish. There are also opportunities to try boating and other water sports as well.  To find local fishing spots and information on regulations, maps, directions and camping information, visit:  http://www.fishintrips.net

So pack up a picnic or some snacks, plenty of water and try some fishing!

 

Want to Be An Archeologist? Get Digging at This Camp!

If you and your family are looking for something different and hands-on, why not try a trip to CROW CANYON ARCHEOLOGICAL CENTER. This 170 acre campus is located in Cortez, Colorado, near the Mesa Verde National Park.  https://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm  Travel with Crow Canyon in the Southwest and beyond.

For FREE, you can take a one hour tour to explore an archeology lad and curation room.  Or, for a fee, you can SPEND A DAY visiting an active excavation site that was once the home of the ancient PUEBLO people.

http://www.crowcanyon.org    Archaeology for Teens

Looking For A Unique Family Adventure? Try Space Camp.

Family Space Camp, at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama has a program the allows wanna-be astronauts of ALL AGES to simulate missions to the International Space Station. Families can construct and launch model rockets, explore the night sky with telescopes, and much more   file000347090881

For more information and where to sign up visit:  http://www.spacecamp.com

Memorial Day Activities

Since Memorial Day Weekend is the official start of summer, that usually means more time outdoors and lots of outdoor eating. If you’re going to a picnic this weekend, here are a few simple games, activities and food ideas to help win the day.                      patriotic-dove

MAKE PATRIOTIC NECKLACES using red, white, and blue straws cut into one inch sections. String them onto a piece of yarn and everyone looks ready for a parade or backyard barbeque.

Try frozen STRAWBERRY POPS to cool off after a fun day in the sun. Wash and remove the stems from a quart of strawberries. Toss them in a blender and add a splash of orange or grape juice.  Puree until smooth. Pour into small paper cups. Place a popsicle stick in each one and freeze until firm. Peel away the paper and they’re ready to eat.

At the next family reunion, have the kids dress up in red, white, and blue and have a backyard parade. You can decorate wagons and bikes, and play some peppy marching band music to add to the festivities. Adults can join in and everyone can “perform” by doing whatever they’re good at: acrobatics, card tricks, puppet show, singing, dancing, telling corny jokes.  Getting everyone – young and old – involved adds to the fun.

Happy Memorial Day.

Hug a Tree…And Celebrate Arbor Day.

We take trees for granted, so having a day that reminds us of their wonder and life-giving presence should be celebrated. Tomorrow – April 27, 2018 is ARBOR DAY.  Here are some fun facts about trees:

The tallest species of trees in the world include the Coast Redwood, Giant Sequoia, Coast Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce and Australian Mountain Ash.

The Giant Sequoia is not only tall, it is also wide. Because of its amazing size, some believe that the Giant Sequoia is the largest living organism in the world!

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Trees produce oxygen and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They purify the air we breathe. If it weren’t for trees, we wouldn’t be alive!

For more tree facts visit: http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/plants/trees.html

For fun, printable worksheets about trees visit: http://www.kidzone.ws/plants/trees.htm

There are lots of picture books that honor trees.  Here’s one I especially enjoy.

THE LITTLE TREE by Muon Van (Creston Books 2015) The Little Tree

Visit this blog on Monday, 4-30-2018 for my poem honoring the Oak Tree.

Now, go outside and hug a tree!    tree hugHAPPY ARBOR DAY!