Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Handprint Family Tree

Gift Idea: Handprint Family Trees - by Barefeet In The Kitchen
While camping last week, my sister brought along a box of paints and a large canvas. I wasn't sure what she had planned until she described the Handprint Family Trees she'd seen on Pinterest. She wanted to do something along those lines with all of the grandkids' handprints for my mom.

We started by painting a large tree in the center of the canvas and letting it dry for about 30 minutes. Then the kids all choose a paint color and we placed a quarter size amount on a paper plate. They used their hand to spread paint all over the plate and then placed that handprint on the tree. Extra sheets of paper kept the younger kids occupied after the initial excitement of making their print on the canvas.

How To Make Handprint Family Trees - by Barefeet In The Kitchen

If your family doesn't all get together once a year, mailing a canvas between family members is a great option as well. We are going to add three grandkids that couldn't make it this year, next time they visit. Also, it was a huge help to have extra grown-up hands to help with the little kids' clean-up.

I'm absolutely thrilled with the way our canvas turned out and my mom loves it! With 19 handprints, we opted against labeling each print, but with fewer hands, that might look great as well. If you want to keep track of who each hand belongs to, you can write the names on the back of the canvas and then place a dot of paint next to each name as they make their handprints.

Handprint Family Trees - by Barefeet In The Kitchen

I'd love to see your handprint trees, if you decide to try this!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Broccoli Salad with Grapes

Balsamic Broccoli Salad with Grapes and Pecans recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Crisp broccoli is combined with sweet, juicy grapes, and crunchy bits of red onion just before being tossed with a tangy, sweet balsamic dressing. This is a light summer salad that my broccoli-hating-children devoured in minutes. My oldest son avoids broccoli at every other opportunity and he has requested this salad three times in the past month.

The first time I made this, my children ate the whole bowl of salad in less than a day. I still can't believe how much they enjoyed it! I've served this salad with Crock-Pot Pulled Pork, Pan Fried Italian Chicken Thighs, and with Hawaiian Grilled Chicken Sandwiches. I also ate the leftovers straight out of the bowl and called it my lunch one day last week.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cherry Coconut Bars

Cherry Coconut Bars (traditional and gluten free recipes) by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Fresh cherries and coconut are baked into a gooey, sweetly tart filling over a crisp shortbread crust. These bars were a huge hit with friends and family when I made them and there wasn't a single bar leftover. With fresh cherries finally in abundance, I'm making the most of them while they last. The season (read: the inexpensive cherries) will only last a few weeks and we've been eating cherries almost every day.

For more cherry inspiration, check out a few more great recipes!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Woods Canyon Lake - Camping Trip 2014

Woods Canyon Lake, Sitgreaves National Forest, AZ
Cool mornings, sunshine filled afternoons, and brief thunderstorms, combined this past weekend to create perfect weather and one of the the best camping trips we've had in years. Saturday morning, we loaded the truck and headed to the Sitgreaves National Forest for our Annual Family Camping Trip. My family has been meeting at Woods Canyon Lake every summer for over 20 years now. We've grown from the original crew of 10 people, into a crowd that can range from 25 - 35 or more people depending on the year's events.

Camping Trip - Woods Canyon Lake, Sitgreaves National Forest, AZ

With 5 brothers and 2 sisters, (plus all of the extended family attached to each of us), a summer camping trip is our way of making sure we are all in the same place at least once every year. Our children range from newborn to 23 years old. Nothing makes my mom happier than when all of her children and grandchildren are within shouting distance.

Fort Building - Woods Canyon Lake, Sitgreaves National Forest, AZ

The kids build forts every year, and run their legs off from sunrise to dark. The adults play countless board games, fish, hike, chase children, and laugh enough to make our sides hurt. The hiking trails around Woods Canyon Lake are excellent and the Mogollon Rim is a brief hike from our group site. My sisters and I spent one morning hiking out to the rim and then wandering on the trails.

Hiking Trail - Mogollon Rim, Sitgreaves National Forest, AZ

The older kids love the independence and adventure of walking down to the lake without the adults and then wandering  back up to the campsite through the forest. We set up a volleyball net first thing and there is usually a game or two played in the morning and in the afternoon. The little ones bring dump trucks and shovels for digging, plenty of balls to kick and throw, finger paints were a fun addition this year as well.

Family Camping Trip - Woods Canyon Lake, Sitgreaves National Forest, AZ

We spend our nights chatting around the campfire or playing cards and board games around the tables. Flicking june bugs away is a rite of passage for the older kids that want to stay up late with the adults. Those massive (and horribly annoying bugs) have been known to scare off the less brave teenagers.

Mogollon Rim - Woods Canyon Lake, Sitgreaves National Forest, AZ

Sleeping in a tent might not be my favorite thing, but I wouldn't trade my family campouts for a fancy hotel. Waking to the sounds of the forest, starting the water for coffee in the early morning light, chatting quietly with the first people to wake and stumble from their tents, all of it combines for an experience that can't be found outside of nature.

Hiking Trail View - Mogollon Rim, Sitgreaves National Forest, AZ

You can follow along on our travel adventures as they happen all year long if you are on InstagramWant a peek at some of our favorite camping foods and prior camping trips?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Blueberries and Cream Ice Cream

Blueberry Ice Cream recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Creamy blueberry ice cream is a summer treat that you simply need to taste to believe. I love berries with cream together in almost any form, but I don't think I've ever seen a blueberry ice cream in the store. (I have no doubt that someone makes one though!)

I had originally planned to make a simple batch of vanilla ice cream to serve with chocolate and caramel sauces for dessert. However, when I opened the refrigerator to grab the milk and cream, I spied the blueberries on the shelf. One thought led to another, and the next thing I knew I had everything in the blender together.

My boys went nuts over this ice cream. It was delicious soft-serve right out of the ice cream maker. I had a hard time waiting while it firmed up more in the freezer. I felt obligated to "test" the recipe once more before sharing it with you, and let me tell you, it was just as big a hit the second time around. In case you need one more reason to try this ice cream, I topped blueberry oatmeal with the last of this ice cream and it was spectacular.

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