Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lacy's so sweet

I was looking for Lacy while visiting at Leslie's house today, and I found her with Leslie's elderly next door neighbor. The neighbor smiled at me and said that Lacy had said the sweetest thing just a minute ago, and that she was really enjoying Lacy's company. I asked what she had said. The neighbor said she asked Lacy, "Where did you get those beautiful blue eyes?" Lacy replied, "From Jesus."

She really loves her Savior and really pays attention at church. It is amazing to see the faith of a child. She is my child who loves to pray, is always volunteering to say the prayers at every opportunity, and helps her sister to pray when it is her turn. Today at Leslie's, she helped her cousin remember the words to say during the dinner prayer, even though she was far away from him. Rose is following in Lacy's footsteps, always wanting to pray at mealtimes, too. She is getting so good at reciting the scriptures during our family's spiritual time each night. Lacy is doing very well at memorizing the Articles of Faith, and has 1-8 memorized.

Speaking of all things churchy, our ward's primary sacrament meeting program is on October 26th. Lacy has a line and we're working hard on memorizing it. It's actually quite a long line for a Sunbeam! She also knows most of the songs quite well, so hopefully she'll sing her little heart out up on the stand. Our ward meets at 1 pm. Please call me if you need directions to our building! We'd love to see you there, if you can make it!

Tightwad Tuesday

I'm adding a new feature to my blog. Let me know what you think, or how I can improve this feature. I plan to continue posting Tightwad Tuesday tips every week if it proves to be a popular feature of my blog. I'm calling it "Tightwad Tuesday" in honor of my mother, who for years was a loyal subscriber to "The Tightwad Gazette." My sister and I have followed in her path and put to use many of the tightwad tips we have learned throughout the years. Unfortunately we haven't put to use all our knowledge, otherwise we'd both be rolling in the dough right now. Or, at least not sinking in this stinky economy!

Here's my super-cool money saving tip for this week:

Garbage Soup

Sounds appetizing, doesn't it? Well, it's my alternative to buying expensive boxed chicken broth, or resorting to tasteless bullion cubes. Both of which don't have the flavor of a homemade broth, and probably contain ingredients you can't pronounce.

What I do is save all my vegetable scraps. I carefully wash all my veggies, and only save parts that are technically edible, just not something you'd want to put in tonight's casserole. Usually, I end up with a lot of carrot peelings and ends, celery ends and the leafy middle part, and onion skins. I save other veggies, too, but not in massive quantities like the other three. The onion skins actually give a broth a glorious golden color and are essential to a tasty broth, in my opinion. These vegetables are edible, but are usually thrown out because they are tough or difficult to cut up. I hate wasting food, so I collect all these pieces and put them in a container and store in the freezer.

Many of you may remember my obsession with buying whole chickens instead of pieces. For one thing, you have more choices when you buy a whole chicken (some birds only come whole), they stay fresher longer, and they're cheaper (if you buy conventional chickens). Once I've disassembled the chicken, a la Alton Brown, I freeze the carcass to be used at a later date. When I am running low on broth or my container of vegetable clippings runneth over, I put a frozen carcass (and the neck!) and my veggie clippings in the crockpot. I add a sprig of thyme (grown fresh in my garden-- a perennial herb that is very easy to grow, even for those of us who tend to kill plants), a couple bay leaves (purchased in bulk at my local co-op), a few peppercorns, and a pinch of kosher salt, and water to come up to about 1 inch from the top. I leave the crockpot on low all night long and have a beautiful aroma the next morning. Then I strain out the vegetable matter and carcass, put the broth in a bowl in the fridge, and the carcass in a ziploc bag in the fridge to cool. The veggies go in the compost pile-- they have served their purpose.

Eventually I pick the carcass clean of the meat and save it for use in a meal that calls for pre-cooked chicken. I usually end up with between one and two cups of meat, depending on how well I carved the chicken. Then I take out the cooled broth strain off the fat layer that is now hardened. I usually have about 8 cups of broth at this point. Then I put it in a pot to boil on the stove, and simmer it until it reduces down. I like to take my 8 cups of broth and reduce it to 1 cup. Then I put it in a plastic container and freeze it, or store it in the fridge if I am out of broth completely. It takes up very little room, and if I need a cup of broth for a recipe, I just put two tablespoons of the broth reduction into a measuring cup and add enough water to equal one cup of regular strength broth, and it's ready to go. It has the consistency of jelly at this point, so it is very easy to measure it out exactly. It takes a little time, but the flavor is so much more complex than canned or boxed broth, it takes up very little space in the fridge, and is easy to use. And best of all, it is practically free! Just a little electricity for the crock pot, and the cost of water, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Everything else is "garbage."

Total hands-on for this project is about an hour.

Or, you can always skip the reduction part and make the most amazing chicken noodle soup you've ever tasted. Mmmmmmm!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Just Another Day in Paradise

We decided to take off Friday night after Dave got back from work this week for a quick weekend trip to a cabin in the woods. Dave will be working a 2 week job that will require a hotel stay all week long, so it was nice to get away from all the distractions of life. Hopefully this is the start of many more jobs to come!

We stayed at a cabin that is owned by some friends of Dave's. They were going out of town for a couple days and asked if we wanted to stay there while they were gone. I look forward to someday meeting them. The house was full of cookbooks, jam, and wood walls-- totally my kind of place. Plus they are off the grid (my dream!) and are working on getting hydro-electric power to their home, courtesy of the Cowemen River, which was right in their backyard. Dave would stand out on the back porch (or look out the kitchen window!) and see if there were any fish in the river.

Three views from the deck:

And right below the deck was the swing that we loved spending time on:

Probably the girls' favorite part of being there was the animals. They had several dogs and a cat. The two little dogs were very cute and friendly. The girls enjoyed torturing, I mean... playing with them. Lacy actually played very nicely with the dogs and cat. She even sang the cat lulllabyes, and made up very sweet lyrics about holding the cat in her arms. It was Darling. Rose, on the other hand, is inexperienced to say the least about appropriate play with animals. But they didn't seem to mind it too much.

The only problem is that I am severely allergic to cats. I didn't relize how allergic to cats I was until this weekend. Within about a half hour, we had to put the cat out. The next day we got Zyrtec, which cause extreme drowsyness. I took a nap (and I HATE it when grownups take naps! It bugs me! But I couldn't keep my eyes open) and had a hard time taking our walk, because my whole body felt weighed down. My arms especially felt very heavy, and I was extremely slow. Speaking of taking our walk, here are the picture from it:

Looking down at the river to see if there are any fish swimming around

Lacy got in a bit of trouble for not listening to us (she almost bolted out in the street as a truck was coming!) and had to put her nose on the tree.

We found this cute caterpillar trying to cross the road

And finally more views of the river:

We loved looking at everything around us and wished that we lived there. Wouldn't it be great to be able to have a fishin' hole right in your own backyard? And then to be able to hunt for deer and elk right across the street? Aaah, paradise. Someday, we'll be there.

Eventually, we had to leave and come back to our home. We love it here in Olympia, but we miss the beautiful river and great cabin we got to call our home for 2 nights. Lacy misses the dogs and cat, but I only miss the dogs (sorry, kitty-- you're sweet and all, but I sneeze when I see you!).

One more picture, this time of Lacy, because it seems as though we're a little short on Lacy pictures. This was at the cabin, playing mommy:

I'm confident she's going to be a great mommy someday. What a sweet girl.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Super Lella

Lacy's new thing is saying "super" with everything. Replacing her brief stint with "very." Super also, apparently, replaces "really." She just said to me, "Mom, we SUPER want a snack." She also will say she's super tired, super hungry, super excited, or a sentence that makes no sense such as, "I SUPER want to go to the park!"

Rose is obsessed with Cinderella and anything fancy/princess-y. Any girl in a fancy dress is "Lella." And she loves cows and doggies, but always mixes them up (and calls all other animals by those names, too). Sometimes she will say kitty, too, but that's rare!

Last night Dave and the girls had a pajama party while I was at Young Women's. They had ice cream, wore jammies, and read books. Lots and lots of books. Probably more than 30 books. I bet Dave's voice was tired today!

Um, I think I have ADHD.

My sister's been saying for a long time that I have ADHD. As does she. Except we're both minus the "H" part. I'm not really hyperactive, I just get distracted and overwhelmed very easily. So I took an online quiz today. They even give you a badge with your results! Lucky me! Test yourself-- do you have ADHD, too?

Serious ADHD Likely!

Soooo... what do I do now? I'd like to be able to obsess about something, and just obsess about ONE THING FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. Or at least until I get a grasp on it and finish all the projects I started on during my obsessivness (as an example, I currently have four knitting projects on needles. Four. Why can't I do one, or even two, at a time?) (oh, and another example-- I am a contributing memeber to 8 blogs, and I've created 3 myself. WHY do I need so many blogs???) (plus I like parenthes a little too much and don't know when to stop).

But seriously, how can I learn how to focus? I think it's hindered me in many ways in my life, and now that I'm a mom, I can screw up other people, not just myself.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Finally, our family is catching a break! Dave's employment has been spotty at best since he got laid off from a great 3-month project in July (layoffs are very common in his field, and he was actually the first one hired and the last one laid off, which is quite a compliment). Last week he started flagging at a road construction job nearby. That was a week and a half job that ended earlier this week.

We weren't too upset when he got laid off on Tuesday, because Friday he has a one-day job for a new company where he will be their lead. Dave will have to take a special asbestos lead training, but in the meantime he will work whatever one-day jobs for them that they offer. They could be on weekends if Dave is working on the week days, and could end up being a great long-term relationship. They have to establish themselves and get capital moving through their company first before they can have a permanent laborer in their company.

Next Monday, Dave will be going up north to work on a project where he will have to stay in a hotel. He is the lead on this project and will set up for a week and work for another week, with probable overtime. YEA!

It's crazy-- Dave always has great luck staying employed in the colder months. He's always looking hard for work in the summer. What's up with that? Summer's supposed to be the busy season! Hopefully Dave can continue to be busy for the rest of the year. We have an ambulance bill to pay!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NAK [nak] --acronym

abbr. Nursing At Keyboard
1. An acronym or text message used inonline chat, IM, e-mail, blogs or newsgroup postings.
2. The appropriate place to nurse one's baby if one expects to get in any computer time at all.

...And, in my house, apparently the only place. If Rose wants to nurse, she leads me by the hand to the computer room. So she's just following my example.

I wandered into the computer room and HAD to grab my camera the instant I saw this. I don't even care too much at how disorganized the room is. This was a scene begging to be photographed. The hilarious thing is, this is a doll with a bottle attached to it. But this baby is breastfed. It's a good thing Rose brought in a sandwich to snack on-- nursing mamas get hungry! Pretty soon she'll have mastered typing with both hands while nursing. Ahhh, they grow up so fast...

Saturday, September 20, 2008


We're really trying to get out of consumerism as much as we can. So I'm taking stuff that we already have and turning it into something else. In some cases, I'm making new things out of trash! I've noticed that I have hardly any garbage now. Last week, our can (and we have the small one) was only 1/4 of the way full! Our recycling bin isn't getting full as fast, either.

Here are some of the projects I'm working on or have finished:

I've had this one for a while. An old cereal box turned into a magazine holder. Not terribly pretty, but in my computer room, nobody sees it, and my magazines are organized. I have more plans for cereal boxes in the future-- they can be transformed into gift boxes! I am so doing that for Christmas this year.

Lacy really doesn't have a lot of church clothes that are appropriate for winter. I have a bunch of fabric and a bunch of patterns, so I decided to dig through them and see what I could find. This piece of fabric was actually quite damaged and was sewn together already. I had to rip some seams and be careful in my cutting to find enough fabric that was in good condition to make this skirt. After looking through my patterns, I was dismayed to see that there were no good skirt patterns in my collection. So I decided to make my own up, after looking at some pictures online and learning a thing or two about pleats. This is what I came up with:

Lacy loves it. She wore it yesterday, and I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of her in it! She was so cute in it. She has a long sleeved white mock turtleneck that she can wear during colder months, and she can wear a t-shirt during warm months. And the beauty of making your own clothes-- it's not short! I really don't like skirts that are too short on little girls, and this one is mid-calf. She'll be able to wear it for at least a year or two! I think I'll make two or three more skirts like this in the near future. This wasn't exactly upcycling, but it was a discarded piece of fabric that was intended to be used for something else originally (I'm not the original fabric owner, so I don't know what it was for).

But this project IS upcycling. A project where I used trash.

Actually, grocery bags, which you can use again, but I suspect most people throw them away after using them. I cut them into strips, tied them together, and I had a nice ball of plastic bag yarn to work with. I found a pattern for a bag, and soon I will have my very own recycled plastic bag bag! I'll most definately be taking it to the store with me. I use about one bag for every three rows, so I'd say I've used at least 10 bags so far in this. I'll count the rows at the end and let you know as soon as it's finished!

This isn't really upcycling, but it is hand-me-downs, which is sort of along the same lines. I just had to add some pictures of my cute girls in here somehow!

Lacy wearing my dirndl. I got this when we lived in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which is located in the alps of southern Germany. I lived there from 1982-1985 and got the dirndl when I was about 6 or 7. Lacy's only 4 so it's really too big for her, but it's still cute and will fit her for a while.

Rose wearing Lacy's old Easter dress from when she was about 18 months old. Unfortunately Rose somehow got blue marker on the dress and now I'm trying like mad to get the stain out. I'm afraid it will be a losing battle, but on the plus side, I will have some lovely fabric I can turn into something new!

Friday, September 19, 2008

High Fructose Corn Syrup is GOOD for you!

See the commercial? It's good! Great, even. Of course, like anything else use it in moderation.

It says to get the facts. Yes, let's get the facts here, shall we?

  • A 2004 study showed that people who eat foods or drink beverages, especially soda, containing HFCS are more likely to be obese.
  • A 2007 study suggests that HFCS may cause liver damage.
  • Two studies from 2006 showed no adverse affects (or affects differing from other sweeteners) from HFCS. However, these studies were funded by The American Beverage Institute and the Corn Refiners Association.
  • Studies have linked HFCS with the rise in diabetes and insulin resistance.
  • HFCS may affect your appetite-- its consumption may cause people to feel more hungry than usual.
  • The corn industry claims HFCS is "all natural," but its manufacture involves a lot of chemistry to change the it from 100% glucose to different ratios of a fructose to glucose mixture (the ratio depends on how it will be used). One of the "natural" ingredients used to produce HFCS is a genetically modified enzyme. That, along with with amount of processing, means, at least in my mind, that HFCS isn't strictly a natural ingredient.
So, is it really an all-natural ingredient that is good for you? Are you really going to trust an association whose primary mission is to sell more corn products to be 100% honest in their marketing? Because, personally, if I had a product that did some good stuff but may also cause some harm in some people, I would totally downplay the negatives in order to sell my product. It's the American Way!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's Soup Season!

Today I got out the down comforter, washed the cover, and put it back onto the bed. There it will remain until June when the weather starts getting warm again. This means it is now officially soup season!

Today I made a taco soup. I couldn't find a recipe that I liked, so I made one up. I browned some venison with some onions, added some taco seasoning and a little water, and added a can of tomatoes. I decided my soup needed some black beans so I went hunting for some in the pantry. I was all out, but I had some soaked beans in the freezer, so I took them out and added them to the soup. I knew this would mean at least an hour of cooking to soften the beans, so I didn't add much else until the beans were soft enough for human consumption. I did have to keep adding water from time to time, since it took so long for the beans to get soft enough. I added a little salsa and some more tomatoes toward the end, along with a can of corn, and dinner was served. We put some chips in our bowls and poured the soup out on top of it, added some cheese and sour cream, and we gobbled it up. Well, Lacy and Rose mostly gobbled up the chips. Thank goodness they eat so much fruit these days that I didn't really concern myself with how much soup they ate! Ideally, I would have some avacado to eat with the soup, but I didn't have any on hand.

I also really like a split pea soup recipe I found in Mothering magazine a couple years ago. It adds fresh dill and peas to make a really delicious soup. Unfortunately I can't find an online link to this recipe and I have some snacks waiting for me in the other room, so you'll have to wait until I can find a link or type it out (or better yet-- pick up a copy of Mothering at your local library!). Dave unfortunately is not a fan of this soup, but I have a ham bone I need to get rid of so I'll probably make this soup tomorrow. Convieniently, Dave will be away and won't have to eat it (unless he wants leftovers!). I don't have any fresh dill, so dried will have to do. I'm really excited to start eating the goodness of soup all winter long! I'll probably be making soup at least once a week, if not more, for the next several months. Yippee!

OK, I'm back with the soup recipe! It's called Split Pea Soup with Fresh Peas and Potatoes. I'll be digging up some red potatoes today to go in it. Yum! I'm also probably going to cook it in the crock pot as I may have a meeting this afternoon for YW.

1 cup split peas, soaked 4-6 hours in 4 cups water or stock

1 tablespoon butter or extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1-2 teaspoons sea salt

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

2 small red potatoes, cubed

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1-2 turns of freshly ground black pepper

7 cups vegetable stock or water

1 large bay leaf

1 small ham bone

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

1-2 teaspoons fresh dill (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)

Soak split peas 4-6 hours in 4 cups water or stock. This will make them easier to digest, shorten their cooking time, and improve the soup’s texture. Discard soaking water before adding peas to soup.

Heat fat in a soup pot or pressure cooker. Add onions and salt and saute until onions begin to soften. Add celery, carrot, potatoes, cumin and pepper; saute an additional 5-7 minutes. Add split peas, water or stock, and bay leaf. Add ham bone and vinegar. If pressure cooking: bring up to pressure on high heat, then lower heat and cook 40 minutes. If using soup pot: bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 60 to 90 minutes. Once split peas have softened and the soup has become creamy, remove ham bone. Cut off any meat, discard skin and bone, dice meat into small pieces, and add to soup with fresh or frozen peas and dill. Check seasonings; add more salt and pepper if needed. Continue cooking a few more minutes until peas are tender.

We had a long night

Everyone has been so tired today because of yesterday. I am exhausted, Dave is physically worn down, and the girls are crabby and tired. Well, Rose is asleep. And it's just after 7. And she took a long nap today. I guess that's what happens when you've never spent a night away from your mama! I sure missed my little Roo, and my Bugsy, too. It was so strange not having them here this morning.

When I went to pick the girls up this morning, Lacy ran out the front door to greet me and give me a big hug. I was told that she was super excited to have her very first sleepover (we don't do them except in emergency or with cousins, so it will be the first of very few) and kept jabbering away all night, even after her friend Wynnie fell asleep.

Rose was very happy to see me, too. She heard my voice and came running out. "Mama! Boobie!" and she just wanted to nurse for, well, basically all day. Since I missed her so much, I didn't set too many limitations. The only time I denied her was when I was trying to process jars of pears and blackberries! She had a very hard time adjusting from being away from me, and was quite jealous that Esme got to nurse. Emily gave her a bottle of water and that seemed to help her quite a bit-- she fell asleep 10 minutes after that. Poor thing!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What's wrong with Dave?

The symptoms: chest pain, double vision, nausea. Pain so severe he couldn't drive himself to the hospital and had to pull over and dial 911. He was taken by ambulance to the ER. Tests at the ER included blood tests, a chest x-ray, heart monitor, blood pressure monitor, oxygen saturation monitor, etc. No diagnosis. Just more questions. So frustrating! The ER doc couldn't pair up the double vision with the chest pain. It just didn't make any sense. Dave is scared because his paternal grandfather died in his 30s from a heart attack. We will be following up with a cardiologist to see if he can find anything else.

Of course this had to happen the first week he's going to get a full 40 hours of work since July 2nd. Dave is planning on reporting to work tomorrow- they hired 6 guys out of the union hall, and Dave is the only one still on with the company. That's gotta say something great about my awesome hubby, especially since he's been sick every single day he's worked this week. What a great guy. Please keep him in your prayers.

UPDATE: We don't have any official answers, but Dave was talking to a friend whose daughter went through the exact same thing he went through. She was having anxiety attacks. Today Dave feels very sore, like he had a major workout yesterday after being out of shape for a long time. He's feeling slightly better, and I'm glad he has tomorrow off so he can release his stress. He's going back down hunting again, and it will do him well. If it is anxiety, it isn't a surprise to me because of the intense stress we've been under with the economy the way it is and very few jobs available in the union. We are trying our hardest to find secondary sources of income, including starting an online Etsy store so I can contribute financially as well. We will also be selling our truck most likely and possibly other things as well. It's good that we bought our "new" van for $250, because it gets between 16-20 mpg whereas the truck got 8-12! Big savings there.

I'll update more if we learn anything new. Hopefully it's just stress.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Love to See the Temple

A week ago Saturday we went to the temple for a Primary activity. We walked around the temple grounds and talked about the temple's importance. I took a few pictures of the girls while I was at it.


After we visited the temple, we met our friends Parker and Kim and their cutie Leia, who is just 2 months younger than Rose, at a nearby park. I think Kim got several more pictures of them so I'll be checking her blog for more pictures of our park adventure! We sure had fun with them. It's so much harder to get together now that we both have kids!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The life of a hunter-gatherer family

Today we took a little trip to Shelton to say hi to Papa and to go mushroom picking. When we got to Daddy's secret mushroom spot, he was sad to see it had been picked over by someone else who was not as kind to the area as he is. They had pulled out all of the mushrooms by the roots and then afterward cut off all the roots. This prevents more mushrooms from growing, unfortunately. We did manage to find many despite that, though not as many as we would have liked! We probably got a couple pounds of mushrooms, enough for a few meals.

We wandered through the woods for a while and ran into Papa and Uncle Chris, who were hunting grouse and bear. We decided to make a stop at a gravel pit and shoot a few rounds. Dave let Lacy try shooting for the first time. He taught her how to use the scope and to aim. After shooting a couple times (Dave was helping her hold the .22 rifle but Lacy was doing all the aiming and trigger pulling), she actually shot the target! We were quite impressed/surprised that she was able to manage that at just four years old. Of course, she is her father's daughter, so it isn't that surprising. Of course, Rose didn't get a turn, but she'll probably get one when she's four years old as well.

We decided to go to another area and see if we could find some grouse for Dave to shoot. We didn't find any so we went home and feasted on venison tenderloin, chantrelle mushrooms, oinons, home made oven fries, and patty pan squash from our garden. It was delicious!

Dave's dad called during dinner to let him know he was staring at a 5 point elk. In an area where it is legal for Dave to hunt right now for elk. Dave was quite bummed he wasn't there, because had he been, that elk would have been named dinner, for the next year! Elk are huge and getting one would be a huge blessing to our family. We love the taste of wild game, and we also love that the animals have a wonderful life being in the wild, have no hormones or antibiotics in their systems, and their diet is essentially organic. Nothing better than that! Personally, I want to get out of eating store-bought meat as much as I can so I can rely upon myself and the land for what I eat. That is the ultimate goal in our family. Hopefully Dave will still get an elk this year-- we have about 10 more days of elk season left, and hopefully he can get back down to the unit he was hunting in earlier. Dave is working a new job on Monday and we have no idea how long it will last. We are grateful for the opportunity to work, but we hope he'll still have a bit of time to get an elk this year!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quitting Gymnastics :(

Lacy decided she wants to quit gymnastics because she doesn't like it anymore. Since it is pretty expensive for both the girls to be in it, and we don't have much of an income right now with the economy in the crapper, so it was kind of a no-brainer. But she wants to be involved in something (ballet is her preference, but it's too expensive) , so I took a look at the City of Olympia Parks, Art and Recreation Fall schedule and found a music and movement class. The best part? It costs about 1/3 the cost of gymnastics! Unfortunately it's only available through October, so we'll have to find something else after that. I'm thinking of the Kindergym program for November and December, and maybe into next year if we like it enough! It is 3 days a week and still half the cost of gymnastics (which is one day a week) so it's a bargain! Plus on Fridays you can bring your bike!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm not sure which is better...

Blackberry or peach jam. Tonight I'm making peach jam, and I had to break out the spatula so I could scrape all the warm sticky goodness off the side of the pan I made it in. And the spoon. And the ladle. And the funnel. I had to do this for my blackberry jam as well. They both have very distinctive flavors that are absolutely delicious. I love them so very much, and I can't pick a favorite. I guess tomorrow I'll have to combine them to make peach-blackberry jam and see if the flavors are even better together.

Here's the recipe I'm going to use:

2 2/3 cups crushed pitted peeled peaches

1 1/3 cups crushed blackberries

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

7 1/3 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon butter (optional)

1 pouch (3 ounces) liquid pectin

Prepare canning jars and lids. Bring water in a bath canner to a boil.

In an 8-quart stainless steel stockpot, combine peaches, blackberries and lemon juice. Gradually stir in sugar and butter, if using. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is completely dissolved.

Increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to a full boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute.

Remove from heat. Skim any foam that rises to the surface. Let jam cool in pot 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe jarm rims and thread with a clean damp paper towel. Center hot lids on jars. Screw on bands.

Place jars in canner, making sure they are covered by 1 inch of water. Cover canner. Bring to a boil. Preocess 10 minutes.

Remove jars from canner. Place on a wire rack or cloth towel. Let cool 24 hours. Wash and dry jars and store in a cool dark place.

From Dispatch Kitchen

She's confused.

Lacy and Rose have been playing on the swingset. I've been watching them do "tricks" on the slide. Lacy wanted Rose to slide down on her tummy, so she yelled out for her to do so. "Go down on your tummy, Rose!"

So, she slid down, lifting up her dress to expose her tummy. When Lacy kept insisting she go down on her tummy, Rose got confused and stuck out her tongue. Lacy kept telling her, "Go down on your tummy!" so eventually Rose stuck out her tongue while exposing her tummy.

She understands basic English, just not the finer points.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Even MORE canning!

I have tons of apples, and Lacy wanted to help make applesauce today, so I started on that project. I have four quarts ready to go in the canner, but I want a full batch so I'm waiting until I have all seven done. Right now I'm cooking the apples so I can run them through my Victorio strainer. It's so awesome-- I don't have to peel or core them before I cook the apples. The strainer separates out the peels and all the yucky stuff automatically. Nice!

I'm also bringing some blackberries to boil for some jam. I'm doing a few cute containers of it so I can give them away as gifts, and I'll be doing some of those for peach jam as well as soon as I get some more lids. Peach jam will probably be tomorrow. I don't have much time left for the peaches!

I'm considering canning some blackberries as well. Two of my friends have done so, and it looks interesting. I have lots of blackberries so it's not like I'm short of supply! It's the picking that is tough for me.

Dave got into the elk today. I haven't heard from him tonight so I'm assuming he's sleeping and getting ready for an early day tomorrow. Good luck, Dave!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Spoiled Little Girl!

Today Dave has been preparing to go to elk camp. He needed to run around and get a few things, so he decided to take Lacy with him since he won't get back until Thursday.

First stop-- Aunt Leslie's. They were there for 20 minutes. Lacy got ice cream.

Second stop-- our insurance agent's house. They gave her some cheesecake.

Back home-- a small slice of chocolate zucchini bread. With a healthy dose of flossing, tooth brushing, mouthwash, and fluoride gel on the side!

Rose and I stayed home so we could make some treats for daddy to take to camp. We made cornbread, regular bread (in the breadmaker unfortunately, but at least he doesn't have to suffer through store bought bread) and the aforementioned chocolate zucchini bread. I have posted the recipe somewhere on this blog, but I'm too lazy to find it for you. Dave is also taking portions of old 72 hour kits to snack on (we have new ones-- don't worry!), onions, squash, homemade jam, peanut butter, pears and lots of other goodies with him. He won't be going hungry while he's gone! He's also taken out all the seats of the van and he and his buddy are going to be camping in the back of it. It is really quite big with no seats in it! Hopefully they have lots of fun and bring home an elk and a couple deer! Two elk would be ideal, but they're only going for one, and if they get it early enough they'll buy Chris a tag and try to bag another one. This hunt almost didn't happen, so Dave is thrilled to be going!

Tomorrow is a big day of cleaning. We had a really rough week this week, and the only thing I got done was a bunch of canning. So tomorrow I have laundry, home blessing hour, and cleaning up a sticky kitchen to deal with!


I have 30 minutes of processing time left tonight and I'm DONE. But I have to stay awake until then! I'm on my last batch of nectarines/peaches and then I can sleep! Until it's time to do pears and apples, sometime next week. I'm sure I'll have some long nights ahead of me with those, especially the apples-- I already have four huge boxes-- probably well over 100 pounds-- that I need to start processing soon. I did 4 batches tonight (4x7=28 quarts) of mostly nectarines, but one quart of peaches. Dave is bummed because he's been snacking on the nectarines and now they're gone. But I had to can them tonight or they were going to get too soft for canning! I am so tired right now I can hardly think. I've made probably 5 batches of syrup tonight, maybe 6, and I've cut and packed quarts and quarts of nectarines. Then I have to be very careful with sterilization and sanitation, wait for the hot water caner to come to a full boil, and set the timer for 30 minutes. It always takes at least 15 minutes or so for the water to come to a full boil, even if the water was boiling when you started adding the jars.

So anyway, if this blog makes no sense, it's because I'm only blogging so I can stay awake until the last of my fruit is canned.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Tired of Canning!

Right now I'm trying to process my second batch of jars for the evening... I'm getting the water to a boil, and once it's at a full boil I can set the timer for 30 minutes, then once they're out I'll be done for the night. Yeah, it's 12:35 at this exact second, so I won't even get done until after 1. But-- Rose was a stinker tonight and didn't get down for the night until 10! I had Young Women's tonight, so I didn't get home until about 9, which was part of the reason. Thankfully Dave had the girls bathed, in jammies, teeth brushed, and reading books in our bed when I got home. Lacy insisted on waiting for me to get home for spiritual time. I was quite pleased with how close to ready for bed they were! If he hadn't done all that, I would be even further behind.

So once the girls were sawing logs, I started with the nectarines. Nectarines are very easy to can. Just cut in half, pit, arrange in the (sanitized) jar, fill to 1/2 inch of the rim with light syrup (2 1/4 c sugar to 5 1/4 c water), wipe the rim carefully, put sanitized lid on top (I keep them in a small saucepan of boiling water to ensure they stay clean-- but I think most people do that), screw on the ring, and process in a hot water caner for 30 minutes (I'm at sea level, and I think it increases if you're at a higher elevation). While I was waiting for my nectarines to finish, I started with the peaches. Peaches are just like nectarines, but you have to take off the skins first. The easiest way to do this is to barely cut an x through the skin of the blossom end of the peach, scald in a pot of boiling water for 30-60 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon, shock in an ice bath, and peel off the skin. It takes a bit longer to prepare peaches than nectarines, but the end result is delicious so I don't mind. We only got one box of peaches this year, so they're going to be a rare commodity this winter. I'm also going to get a box of pears this weekend and I'm really excited to can those as well, although I'm not so excited to peel them! You actually have to peel pears by hand, unless there is a special trick to pears that nobody's ever told me.

I'm hoping to find a few apple trees to pick bare this year so I can make some applesauce, and I'm planning on making at least one or two more batches of jam. I'm thinking of making one batch of seedless blackberry. I have my mom's strainer, which will easily take out all the seeds. I did a batch of half-seeded blackberry which is phenomenal, so maybe seedless will be phenomenaler?

Do you think peach-blackberry jam will be good? Or nectarine-blackberry? I've got both on hand right now!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I'm having a bad day :(

I don't want to get into it because I will just whine, and who wants to read a big ol' blog of whining? Because really, my problems are no worse than anyone else's. Lets just say hormones + stress + super short nap + getting over being sick = the perfect storm.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Test your color IQ

This is a really fun test you can take to see how well you can distinguish colors on a spectrum. I scored a 0, which is actually a perfect score. Frankly, it surprised me, considering my style ineptitude.

Go ahead-- take it and post your score!

Just like dad

It's about this age when kids see their daddy shaving and want to be just like him. So Dave lathered Rose up and helped her "shave!"

That chin can be tricky!
Now she has a nice, fresh face! And it will be stubble-free for, well, hopefully the rest of her life!

Monday, September 01, 2008


To my Kitchenaid Mixer that burned out this morning: we have spent 8 wonderful years together. I'm so sorry to see you leave me like this, with no other option but to use a breadmaker (on the dough setting only of course) or borrow my mom's mixer until she returns. And cookies must be made by hand. Oh, the horror! Why, oh why, was your motor not strong enough to handle a heavy whole grain dough? *tear* I will miss you, dear mixer.

Unless I get you refurbished, in which case I will probably curse you until I get a Bosch.