Summer at Cottage Green on the Lake

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”  – Sam Keen

“4 the seasons” … Summer Season at Cottage Green on the Lake

On the dock … ‘WELCOME TO THE LAKE’

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From the back deck …

1backyard.png“Whiskers” (a Great Blue Heron) a long time resident at Cottage Green strolls each morning and evening along our retaining wall and dock.  A few evenings ago Richard and I were sitting outside watching Whiskers as he stood poised, watching intently the water below.  Suddenly, we saw his neck straighten as he nimbly struck at a passing fish.  When he straightened back up, he had a 5-6 inch perch, “shis-ka-bobbed” on his beak … “bon appétit! (:

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My very own “play house” and potting shed under the canopy of trees and near the water …

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Backyard … Encore Azaleas are performing their second act, re-blooming and brilliant against a backdrop of ferns.

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A delightful spot to bathe!  A birdbath surrounded by Holly, Dwarf Nandina and a Japanese Maple …

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In the front yard … perfectly named for it’s blooming time and “firecracker red” blooms our ‘Firecracker’ Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstromia) blooms each year in our front yard around the 4th of July. 

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Strutting across our driveway is a new resident at Cottage Green … a white crane I named “Sassy Pants!” (:  He visited our front yard one day and decided he likes perching on our front deck and dining on worms he finds between our brick pavers!

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The sideyard … Impatiens on a cherished cement bench my sister stained and painted.

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I love and cultivate this moss that grows along these brick pavers.

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Lazy summer afternoon’s on the lake …

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Remembering Mr. Keen’s words … I hope you have many “respectable” days during these last days of summer! (:

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank  you for reading my blog today.  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site: Trenda @cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow me on Pinterest.

This week I’m joining Lisa from Feathering My Nest and Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate & Decorate

 

 

 

 

 

 

“To Market, to Market” and Garden Tablescape …….. by Trenda

In the summer, I love to go to our Farmer’s Market, appropriately and cutely named … “Sugar Acres” … to buy fresh vegetables and fruit. Once home, I rinse and pile all of our fresh produce in a vegetable tray and create a “still life” over the kitchen sink. Look how beautiful this is!  I can’t help but marvel at God’s artistry every time I look at soft, fuzzy peaches colored in golden yellow and ruby red and never get over the delight of discovering the meticulous rows of sunny kernels carefully packaged inside the outer husk of corn and tucked beneath the protective silk.  There’s a sermon to be found in that sentence! (;

final.pngI keep a little book of the precious, witty, funny things our grandchildren say and call them “Sabrina-ism’s” and “Preston-ism’s.”  Here is a cute “Sabrina-ism” she said on our way to the Farmer’s Market … I was brushing Sabrina’s hair (something else I love to do!) and told her we were getting ready to go to the store.  She sweetly asked, “which store, Grandma?”  I told her, “well, you and Grandma are going to the Farmer’s Market and PawPaw is going to the hardware store.”  Sabrina is well-familiar with and likes going to “The Farmer’s Market” but she had never heard that “other store” mentioned before and asked … “what’s that store, Grandma?”  I explained that it was a store where PawPaw buys hammers and things that he needs to work with on the house.  Later, when we were on our way into town, she happily said, “PawPaw … Grandma and I are going to go to the Farmer’s Market while you go to the “hard work” store! (: 

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 Just 2 weeks ago, we went to Alabama and on our way home we stopped to visit with some dear friends in Mississippi.  After a delightful evening together, we hugged goodbye and they sent us on our way with our trunk loaded with garden goodness … 12 garden fresh tomatoes, at least 3 lbs. of just plucked Rattlesnake snap beans, a huge jar of canned bread and butter pickles, and a jar of homemade salsa … Christmas in July!  Their generosity and my expeditions to the Farmer’s Market were the inspiration for my whimsical garden tablescape befitting summer meals and ingredients from the garden (or from your friend’s garden!) … meals of  crook-neck squash, fresh corn on the cob, broccoli and tomato salads, snap beans with new potatoes and desserts of peach cobbler.

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Since my “theme” was garden-centered, I covered our table with a garden fresh tablecloth covered with pictures of seed packets.  Then I “gathered” a collection of garden books and cookbooks by Mary Englebreit featuring outdoor meals and home cooking and stacked them and uses them as a pedestal for my trio of “canning jar” tealights.

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A ceramic “bunch of carrots” makes a charming caddy for “carrot cutlery” (click here to see “Carrot Cutlery” also used for Easter) and a little terra cotta planter covered with chicken wire (a new “favorite”) holds darling rustic shovel and rakes and is a cute addition to my garden themed centerpiece .

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Fiesta plates in bright colors match the seed packets on the tablecloth and “an extra” bandanna napkin (more substantial for covering laps and needed for corn on the cob and buttery fingers!) is slipped into a wooden napkin ring, along with a miniature garden tool and a set of corn skewers and is placed atop each place setting.

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Purple, orange, green, and yellow … “la fiesta!”

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I love antique dishes and love collecting beautiful antique salt cellars. (click here to see other salt cellars in my collection) I was delighted when I found these unique salt cellars (one is a duo, the other is a triplet) at an antique shop.
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Antique salt cellars with tiny silver spoons are set between plates and are perfect for sprinkling salt liberally on corn on the cob.

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Now, the table is set … time to start cooking!  Hope your days are filled with the beauty and bounty of summer!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Easy Summer Desserts … Scoops of Ice Cream in Gourmet Cones & Cream Cheese Tartletts by Trenda

“Stressed backwards spells DESSERTS.  Coincidence, I think not!” (:   ~ Author Unknown

Perfect for lazy summer afternoons or evenings spent on the deck, these summer desserts are refreshing and so easy to “put together” you’ll want to make them whether you’re “stressed” or not! (;  

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Supplies needed to make gourmet ice cream cones.

  • full cabinet.pngWaffle ice cream cones
  • Ghiradelli Chocolate Melting Wafers (Almond bark or other melting chocolate can be used)
  • microwavable bowl and spoon to spread additional chocolate
  • assorted sprinkles, colored sugars, nonpareils, crushed candy bars, nuts, American flag picks, Wilton Fun Pix or other decorations

Instructions:

  1. Melt chocolate in microwave according to directions on the package; stir until smooth.  
  2. Dip the top of the cone into the melted chocolate and turn  to coat entire top of cone.  (I used the back of a spoon to help spread the melted chocolate around the cone.)  
  3. When the top of cone is completely covered and the candy coating is still warm, sprinkle colored sugars, nonpareils and decorations over the candy.  
  4. Place the cone in an upright position until candy hardens.  I have a metal tray for grilling Stuffed Jalepeno Poppers (a gift from our son and daughter-in-law <3) that was a perfect rack to set my ice cream cones in! (:  After all my cones were made and decorated, I slid the whole tray into the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes, until the candy hardened.

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I had so much fun making and decorating these!  I made some of my cones “2-toned” using different colors and decorations on the outside of the cone vs. the inside of the cone. 

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I filled our cones with scoops of Blue Bell’s Cookies and Cream … our family’s favorite!  Top your gourmet cones with whatever delicious ice cream you prefer, or carry out the patriotic theme enjoying Blue Bell’s Patriotic Ice Cream (click here to see!) “Red, White & Blue Bell!”

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This next “Easy Summer Dessert” Cream Cheese Tartletts … are so cute and in “miniature” no one seems to ever feel guilty when they indulge in 1 or 2! (;   I either top these tartletts with Cherry or Blueberry Pie filling and when serving a crowd, I have both selections available!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package of 6 Keebler mini Graham Cracker crusts
  • 1 – 8 ounce package of Cream Cheese (softened at room temperature)
  • 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice or “Real Lemon Juice” (*I’ve adapted this recipe to our tastes and add 1/2 cup of “Real Lemon Juice”)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 – 21 ounce can Cherry Pie or Blueberry Pie Filling (chilled)

Instructions:

  • Cream softened cream cheese in a electric mixer until light and fluffy.  (If you do not soften your cream cheese, your filling will be lumpy!)
  • Slowly pour condensed milk into cream cheese in mixer and stir until well combined.
  • Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice (*see note above) and vanilla to cream cheese mixture and stir until ingredients are incorporated with the cream cheese and the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour mixture into individual tartlett pans and refrigerate, until set. (1 – 2 hours, up to overnight) I place a small sheet of wax paper over each of my individual tartletts, when refrigerating overnight, to prevent the top layer from getting “tough.”
  • Top tartletts with chilled pie filling just before serving and insert “fun pick.” 

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These Cream Cheese Tartletts, with their patriotic colors and festooned with an American flag always “find their way” to our 4th of July table!  However, both of these fun summer desserts can be adapted for any festive occasion by switching decorations and picks.  Next time, I think I’ll dip my cones in white chocolate melting wafers that are tinted green, fill my ice cream cones with scoops of raspberry sherbet, and “push in” chocolate morsels (pointy end first!) to simulate watermelon seeds.  Or … I’ll dip my cones in milk chocolate melting wafers, sprinkle them with crushed Butterfinger candy bars, and fill my ice cream cones with scoops of Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream.  Or … ??? (:

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Summer Boat Ride … plus Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Recipe

~ Trenda

At the top of our list of “summer chores” is getting our pontoon boat “sea worthy” and all cleaned up for the boating season.  Richard got out the power washer and surprisingly, only found 1 duck egg laying, like a prize on top of our boat cover! (:  After the cushions were sparkling and everything was wiped down, we loaded up the boat and headed “over the bounding main.” Climb aboard, put on your sunglasses and come with us!  We’ve got our Captain, First Mate (our darling grand daughter!) and myself … and we’ve got room for plenty more!  I’ve even packed a summer-y snack!  Let the wind blow through your hair and sweep your worries away for a little while!

 

 First stop … a protected cove where we can enjoy our snacks while “bobbing” gently on the water.  The warmth of the sun and the rocking motion of the boat dissuades any thoughts of worry!

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Look at my “new” picnic hamper!  I love it and found at one of our favorite antique shops!  I was thrilled when I saw it just waiting on the shelf for me!  I don’t think it’s ever been used!  It’s loaded with picnic style plates, cutlery, and plastic stemware and the bottom of the picnic basket is an insulated, zippered ice chest!

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I just had time to grab some quick “fix-in’s” before heading out to the boat.  A little wicker boat holds seasoned crackers for dipping into a creamy pimiento cheese spread.

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 I always love using my favorite wooden “Lake” serving board and it looks perfect for our lakeside picnic with a little oar spreader!

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A miniature creel fishing basket is filled with a Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Snack that is easy to “throw” together and is a great energy snack!  I tucked a tartan colored napkin in our little creel, then filled it with trail mix and added a fun scoop!

Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Snack:

  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup sunflower hearts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup cheese flavored “Whale” or “Fish” crackers (always a cute addition for lakeside snacks!)
  • 1 cup M&M’s

This recipe makes a big batch so I mix all my ingredients together in a large, air-tight container, to help keep it fresh.

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Okay, brush the crumbs from your lap, pick the seat you want to “lounge in” and settle back.  We’re taking off for some sight seeing!

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We love the rock jetty in front of this house!  The stone wall creates a private swimming area and the sandy beach beyond is strewn with grass covered umbrellas!

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Look at this massive labyrinth; it’s a homeowner’s private boat dock and party area!  If you look to the left and up the slight incline, there is another similar structure that is a playground for some lucky kids! (: 

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White Adirondack chairs are set out in anticipation of viewing beautiful summer sunsets!

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Charming stone boat house and little log cabin!

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Aww … I love his sweet smile and this picture I snapped of our cute Captain! ❤

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And … the darling First Mate with her sunshine-y smile that melts Grandma’s heart!

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The twilight shadows are changing from pinks to deep blues and purple and our flag almost glows in the fading light, as we head home.

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Another beautiful sunset on the lake.

Back home, the boat is docked and with picnic hamper and wet towels in hand, we disembark … and watch the beautiful twilight curtain descend upon the lake.  Hope you enjoyed our cruise! (:

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Hello June! … Delicious BBQ Beans & DIY Place Cards for Father’s Day

~ Trenda

Hello June!  We’ve been looking forward to seeing you! (:

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“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer …” It’s time to slow down, kick back, and relax!

 WONDERFUL SUMMER!  ~ by Trenda

“It’s the beginning of another …

Snow-cone dripping,

bare foot skipping, 

iced tea sipping,

front porch sitting, 

flip flop plopping,

baseball watching,

mattress floating,

snorkel snorting,

pink nose glowing, 

green grass mowing,

warm breeze blowing,

hot dog munching,

cricket chirping,

sparkler waving,

firework gazing,

sunset blazing …

 wonderful summer!” 

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The days of June are marked off the calendar with the “procession” of different celebrations and “happenings.”  Flag Day – June 14th … Father’s Day – June 18th … and the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice – June 21st.  Keep the “red, white, and blue” decorations handy and get out those summer recipes and “Father’s Favorites!”  Two of our favorite’s here at Cottage Green are … my recipe for Delicious BBQ Beans and Sand Pail Ice Cream

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We love the smoky flavor of these “Delicious BBQ Beans” and the enhanced layer of flavor that the bell pepper adds!  I also love that the beans are cooking in the crock pot while I’m away or I’m busy preparing other dishes.

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Now, for some elegant DIY place cards that are easy to make that will add an “air” of sophistication to your “Father’s Day” table.  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love “dressing” the table!  One of the easiest ways to make your table festive and make every guest feel important is by adding place cards to your tablescape.  I made these simple, but elegant place cards for a graduation party and they are perfect and serving “double-duty” … for our Father’s Day celebration!

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Here are supplies needed to make these place cards:

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I bought my miniature decorative tassels in the “Notions” section at Hobby Lobby (where the fabrics/buttons/ribbons are located).  I also bought my place cards and my clear stamp pads at Hobby Lobby, in the stationery section.

place cards.png Instructions:

  1. Punch a hole in upper left-hand corner of each place card, making sure you punch the hole through the front and back of the place card.
  2. Insert the opposite end of the tassel through the punched hole in the front of the card (insert, front to back) so that the tassel is in the front of the place card.
  3. Bring the looped end of cord over the top of the place card and insert (thread) the tassel through the corded opening and pull gently to secure the “tassel in place.  Make sure the knot is not taut, so the tassel drapes loosely down the front of the place card. * (see photo below)
  4. Stamp the front of each place card with a filigree frame of your choice from your selection of clear stamp pads.  Make sure you allow enough time for the ink to dry before handling.
  5. After ink has thoroughly dried, write each person’s name centered in the stamped frame.

*Close-up photo of #3 instructions:closeup tying

I love the elegant and “man-ly” look of these place cards and can’t wait to show you how they look “gracing” our Father’s Day tablescape!

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Now hang up your hammock, get out the ice cream maker, and drape your patio in party lights and “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer … you’ll wish that summer could always be here.” ~ Nat King Cole

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From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Welcome to the Lake … DIY Wreath for the Summer!

~ Trenda

 

I was delighted when I saw this rustic looking ribbon covered with fishing terms in bold fonts!  I had been wanting to make a wreath for our front door and the “discovery” of that ribbon set “the theme” for my whole wreath.  After finding the fishing ribbon, the rest of the coordinating ribbons were easily found.  A coarse textured, sage green ribbon, a loose weaved burlap colored ribbon, a rope-like ribbon, and a wooden fish and bobber finished my purchases and I was ready to begin making my wreath.  A wreath that would “say” …  “Welcome to the long days of summer at the lake!”

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Here are supplies I used making my lake wreath:

  • straw wreath form
  • floral pins
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • ribbons – at least 3 different colors or widths
  • wooden fish and bobber

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Only materials needed … scissors, a ruler, a straw wreath, floral pins, ribbon, and a wooden fish and bobber! (Note: Be sure to leave the clear plastic covering on your straw wreath to keep your wreath intact, and your straw from shedding all over your floor!)

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Instructions: (see pictures above)

  1. Measure a length of ribbon approximately 17″ long and cut.  (Note: When you cut your ribbon, make a “pretty” diagonal cut since this will be the “tail” of your bow!)
  2. Grasp the cut length of ribbon in the middle and put your thumb on the center of the ribbon.
  3. Make a loop on each side of the center point (where you are holding the ribbon) These loops are the 2 loops your bow.  Grasp where the 2 loops cross over each other, in the center.
  4. Bunch the center of the ribbon together and place a floral pin over the “bunched” ribbon  and push the “bow” into the straw form, pushing the floral pin all the way down.  (Note: the “tails” of your bow add fullness to your wreath!)
  5. Make your next bow, repeating the same steps but alternating the colors of the ribbon you are using.
  6. To make your wreath fuller, place your next bow so one side of the loop goes between the “tails” of the previous bow, then pin.   Switch the direction of your bow each time before pinning. 
  7. When your wreath is covered with bows, go back and fill in the sides and center where you see any gaps.

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I added my “rope cord” filler by going back after my wreath was complete and floral pinning just a loose cord around the entire wreath.  Last touch … I floral pinned my little wooden fish and bobber dangling on a piece of twine, near the top of the wreath so it would hang down in the center of my wreath.

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“Welcome to the Lake!”

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“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  Matthew 4:19

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Wishing you the best of summer’s!  

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

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I’m delighted you read my blog today!  Please click on FOLLOW in the post above or on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com to have all my posts delivered directly to your email address.  Also, I’m joining Kelly from The Essence of Home in a Share Your Style Link Party (click here to see other great sites)

Cottage Green on the Lake … Sand Pail Ice Cream by Trenda

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!!!”

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Back when our kids were in elementary school we began this family tradition of making, what we later name … “Sand Pail Ice Cream.”  It became our tradition to make this ice cream when the last school day of the year was over; a happy and fun beginning to summer vacation!

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Now, with all our family and their children going to different schools and having different schedules in different cities, we aren’t always able to make it together at the beginning of summer, but it remains a fun family tradition we still have every summer.  This summer we made it for our Labor Day celebration, signifying summer’s end, rather than it’s beginning.  Fun and equally good, whenever it’s served!

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First, you need to invest in a brand new plastic sand pail … to avoid the grit of sand in your ice cream! (:  Wash your new pail in warm sudsy water.
Then set out 1 or more half gallons of ice cream, depending on how many people you will be serving and how much your sand pail will hold.  (It’s hard to tell in this picture, but the sand pail I have can hold 3 half gallon cartons of ice cream!  We have also used additional sand pails when we have larger crowds to serve and for different flavors and mixes!)  When the ice cream has softened, scoop the ice cream from the cartoon and into the sand pail.

The rest is simple … just chop and stir in your family’s favorite ice cream “add-in’s” and toppings … or dish ice cream into separate containers for each person to individualize with their choice of toppings and add-in’s!

Some suggested add-in’s (but not limited to!)

  1. candy
  2. ice cream syrup’s
  3. marshmallow topping
  4. cookies
  5. fruit – cherries, pineapple, banana
  6. cool whip 
  7. sprinkles  … the more sprinkles, the better for your little ones!

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Other suggestions …

  • make sure all your candies “compliment” each other (don’t mix sour candies with chocolate candies!)
  • my family’s favorite ice cream is Bluebell’s Cookies and Cream – I used that flavor of ice cream and already had 1 “add-in” … cookies!
  • do not use candies that might harden in the ice cream and be difficult to bite into! 
  • have 2 or more sand pails for additional or different flavor combinations! 

Have fun setting your table and using all your festive bowls, glasses, soda fountain glasses, straws, spoons, and decorations!  I added a centerpiece of giant pixie straws, cupcake liners to hold extra add-in’s to nibble on, and little plastic animals to adorn each ice cream serving!

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“We all scream for ice cream!”

From my cottage to your’s ~  Trenda