Friday, July 22, 2011

Blueberry Lemon jam

What do you do when you pick 2 gallons of blueberries??? Well, you freeze quite a few. You make a blueberry cobbler or two (and then eat it for breakfast with vanilla ice cream) and you make jam. Yummy yummy blueberry lemon jam. Olivia says it tastes like blueberry lemon candy.
I can't wait to make some biscuits on Saturday morning or maybe pancakes and pour some summer goodness on the top. I think this would also be delicious mixed into yogurt or poured over ice cream.

I made some slight variations to the recipe (yes, I know. I always do that. Sorry.) so I starred *** those.

Blueberry Lemon Preserves
By Paula Deen, taken from Paula Deen Magazine July/August 2010

Besides slathering on top of biscuits or spreading between layers of cake, try stirring about 1 Tbsp into 1/2 c of a simple vinaigrette dressing to drizzle over mixed greens for a summer tasting salad anytime of the year.

5c Fresh blueberries ***run through the Vita-mix blender for a few seconds to make it more the consistency I wanted. I'm not a big fan of chunky fruit in my jam.
6.5c sugar
grated zest and fresh-squeezed juice from 2 lemons
2 (3oz) envelopes of liquid fruit pectin ***never seen this, so I used 1 box of sure-gel and my jam isn't exactly jam consistency. More gelled than syrup, but not quite as gelled as jam.
7 half-pint jars, lids, and bands ***I some how ended up with 9 half-pints so throw a few extra jars, flats, and rings in to sterilize. I pretty sure it was blending the berries up that did this.

Sterilize jars, lids and bands just before using for 10 minutes in simmering water or in the dishwasher. (You can do this while bring the berries to a boil, but be sure to have everything you need ready, that part goes fast.) Remove one at a time when ready to fill.
In a stockpot, combine blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring frequently.
Stir in pectin; return to a boil, and boil for one minute.
Remove from heat. Skim any foam from surface of blueberry mixture, if necessary.
While blueberry lemon mixture is still hot, ladle into the hot sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the rims.
Wipe rims with a clean, damp cloth and seal jars with lids and bands.
Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Remove from water bath, and cool completely at room temperature.

The girls are quite excited to eat some of this as I was brave and actually let them assist in the making of the jam for the 1st time. Thankfully Samuel slept through the whole thing, no one got burned, and everyone was happy at the end. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

365 days of craft

Last year I did a bit of work for a magazine called Crafts 'n Things. Really good experience, I learned a lot and met some sweet, very talented ladies along the way. One of them, Niki Meiners, is now running a craft blog call "365 Days of Craft" that has daily craft inspiration. Sometimes it's a tutorial, sometimes a peek at an article about to be published, sometimes just something that one of the contributing designers has made just for fun. Each and every designer is super talent, like oozing creativity out of their brain and fingertips! Several months ago, in April, Niki interviewed me for the "New Friend Friday" post ( you can read it here) and then asked me to consider becoming one of the regular contributing designers on the blog. How could I say no to such an opportunity? I've been posting (a bit irregularly) the past few months, but I finally have some posts queued up and are set to post each Tuesday. So, if you are ever in need of some crafting inspiration or an extra Fairlight fix, you can head on over. Here are links to my past posts if you would like to catch up.

PS. If you've been waiting forever for me to share some of my crafting stuff that I mention on facebook or have mentioned in the past on my blog, head over to 365. I'm working through almost 4 years worth of finished crafts that I've taken pictures of, but never posted!

- Embroidery Hoop Art
- Make Spring Cupcake Toppers
- Play Dough Party Favors
- Make a Word Banner that is "Cute as a Button"
- Ric Rac baby quilt
- Matryoshka Patchwork pillow

Sunday, July 03, 2011

In the quiet

early saturday mornings
so quiet
sitting on the floor, folding the never ending laundry
kitchen towel, dish cloth, burp rag, little girl panties, onsie, bath towel, sock, repeat...
daddy in the arm chair rocking a sleeping girl, working on the budget
quiet murmurings so not to wake those still sleeping
"what do we need this month? are you doing this, going here? hair appts? dentist? bug man?...."

"I had this in for last month...for listing the house...I don't think we're going to do it... it's not a good time, we've missed the peak....should we take it out?"
"I think so"
"that means another year...are you ok with that?"
"I'm ok with that...are you?"
"I think so"

a choice
the early morning sunlight on my back
wash cloth, sock, burp rag, panties, dish towel, onsie, fold, stack, repeat
stay a little longer
be at peace
after 2 years of stress and worry and frustration
I think it might be time
breath in...breath out
looking at each other across the room

making decisions together feels so good
like we're doing this marriage thing right
a reminder of being in covenant together

I can't deny that I'm a little excited
that my head isn't bubbling over with plans for the kids room to change to rooms
and hanging up my pretty things again
maybe even my curtains
and I can finally order some new pictures of us to hang on our walls
that our newest interest might actually come to being

I can most possibly guess that our decision won't make some people very happy
and all I can say is, sorry...we may have "missed" doesn't seem to be falling in line with God's plan...whatever our earthy plans and desires are.
God's timing is a funny thing. No one knows it, very few can see it, and it generally only seems to make sense afterwards, when we're looking back. I can't explain the past two years, the anticipation, the stress, the striving, the pushing, the uncertainty, the frustration. But I do know that we tried. We tried and tried and tried in every way that we knew how, to make "our plan" happen. And that door kept slamming shut and is still slamming shut. So, it's time to look for a new door. An open door. I'm ready. So ready.
I don't know why we are still here, but obviously we still have things to learn {here} and maybe people to help too. And it feels like we have been learning so very much in the past few months, it's a good feeling! So much of my personal life I shut down think we were so close...this being gone. Opportunities missed or turned down, friendships ended or pulled back from, no involvement in anything, being scared to be involved, to fall in-love with something or some place to only lose it again so quickly. Even my children possibly suffered. I wouldn't sign them up for lessons that they really wanted to take, or become involved in a group where they had friends. Sad. We were lonely and withdrawn. I personally put most of my life on hold and I came terribly close to being stagnate. I don't want want to ever be that close again, because a stagnated life is stinks. Give me a creek, a river, some fresh running water, new opportunities and things to learn and I'm happy, oh so happy. We all are. And I think we're there again and we're looking for more. It's exciting and it's happy. For all of us.
I think we owe it to ourselves, to our kids, to live life. A happy life, a busy life, a fulfilled life. Spending time wishing for a different one doesn't make anyone happy and I'm pretty sure the Father shakes his head at us for not being greatful for the life that He has already given us. When I get to the end of my life, I don't want to look back and realize all the time I wasted, waiting for something to happen and not living life right. now. to it's fullest. I want to have used up every great and precious and beautiful and meaningful moment. To have used it up and wore it out and squeezed every delightful drop of living out of my life.

So, peace.
It's here again
in our home
our life
our daily walk
and I'm so very very thankful

the pictures don't have anything to do with the post,
just me messing around with the camera one day

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