turns to this:
On a recent getaway to the Florida Panhandle, we were stymied by day after day of rain. And not gentle, misty showers, but heavy, tropical downpours that soaked us poor ever-hopeful beachgoers at every turn. Usually, the deluge would begin when you were on a bike, several minutes from home, loaded down with beach paraphernalia and with no alternative but to keep slogging through the sheets of water only to arrive at your destination looking like a drowned rat.
After consulting the local weather radar, we became resigned to the fact that our long-anticipated family beach vacation had morphed into hours and hours of family time together – inside. This included five adults and four teenagers. Hmmmm. Which got me thinking about passing the time when the beach trip becomes waterlogged:
– write a blog and amuse family members by taking dozens of photos of the rain
– sit on the porch with a good book and maybe even a little background jazz (we got lucky: our brother-in-law plays the guitar fabulously and there was nothing better than sitting on the porch listening to him quietly strum)
– plan meals (we ate magnificently!)
– make ice cream (under the porch – and more about that in a second)
– make up new card games – or play old favorites
– try on the homeowner’s extensive collection of straw beach hats
– curl up on the sofa and revisit a couple favorite old movies (we got in Fiddler on the Roof and Gone with the Wind – and then mimicked the characters at every opportunity)
– do laundry (sounds weird, but I love doing laundry on vacation. It feels like playing house and it doesn’t really matter if it gets done or not)
– do some online shopping
– take an afternoon nap and fall asleep to the sound of rain on a tin roof
– read magazines (the lovely little house we rented had dozens of back issues of Coastal Living, a stylish publication I just love.)
(Who wouldn’t want a beach porch like this?)
– Write in a diary
– Crank the Ipod and dance (Mimi, our mother/mother-in-law/grandmother, had a rocking list that included Abba and the Bee Gees, and one night after dinner, we had a dance party.)
Back to the ice-cream maker…we have an electric White Mountain ice cream maker that has the wooden sides and a bulky motor that attaches on the top.
And, it makes amazing ice cream. We tried a different batch each night, but the hands-down favorite was the Oreo. Here’s how we made it:
Homemade Oreo ice cream
You start with the base, which is a basic vanilla. This recipe makes 4 quarts, which was just about enough for nine ice-cream connoisseurs:
~3 cups milk
~1 ¾ cups sugar
~½ tsp salt
~2 cups half and half
~1 Tbsp vanilla extract
~3 cups whipping cream
~1 cup crushed Oreos
1. Scald the milk until bubbles form around the edge. Remove from heat.
2. Add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Stir in half and half, vanilla and whipping cream.
3. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
4. Add the crushed Oreos during the last 5-10 minutes of churning.
Usually our efforts yielded different results – one night the consistency was a little too soft, another night it was too icy. We finally got it right, but decided that each and every batch was spoon-lickingly delicious and ice-cream making was to be a new family vacation tradition.
To fill you in on the rest of the vacation: on the last day, the sun finally peeked out, but sadly half our group was already packed and ready to go. Happily, and despite the rain, it was voted as a Best Ever Family Vacation — which goes to show it’s all about just being together.