Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We've Been Canned! (Last week's edition)

It had been a busy week. It all started last Sunday. I spent two days in Binghamton canning peaches with a dear friend. I have tried canning peaches for the past two years, but they never turned out great. The peaches were mushy and very unappealing. I had tried some of my friend Stephanie's canned peaches this past summer and made the passing comment that we should can some together when the appropriate time arrived. She took me seriously and called me up a few weeks ago and we made plans to can our peaches together. I am so glad she called. I purchased the three bushels we thought we would need and drove down to her place. Once there the two of us set about canning our 40+ jars of peaches. Stephanie showed me how to cold pack the peaches, which produces a much tastier finished product than the hot packed peaches I had been making. We spent all day canning. Honestly it was so much fun having someone to share the big job with and we thought we were making good process. By the time we had our jars filled, our feet were getting tired and our bellies getting hungry. But we still had at least a bushel left on the table... I ended up having to make a run for the store to buy more sure jel, sugar, and jars. We made an additional four batches of peach jam before hitting the sack for the night. And even after four batches of jam, we had enough left over peaches for both of us to put some in our freezers. It was such a great time and I believe that we'll do it again next year, though I think we'll only purchase two bushels then... I have some lovely pictures of our jars of fruit, but alas, they are not on this computer, so I will add them later. The jars are so pretty filled with their golden peaches all lined up in a row. And the peaches are delicious. Cold packing is definitely the way to go!

When I returned from my peach packing adventure, I was raring to go! My garden has been producing tomatoes by the basket full and since I don't eat too many tomatoes in their fresh state, they were dangerously close to going bad. I have never canned tomatoes or sauce before, but since I was on a roll already, I went to task making very basic tomato sauce. Adam loves to make his own sauce when we have pizza, so I just left the seasoning all to him. I'm sure he'll do a good job at it, when the time comes. I was feeling so good about using what was in the garden, and being slightly concerned about everything going to waste in the next week and a half, I blanched and froze three bags of Brussels sprouts and a few bags of green beans as well. The only thing I didn't put up this past week has to be my cucumbers. But then again, I had already done a batch of Kosher dills and a batch of bread and butter pickles. I can't wait to put up the pictures of my shelves filled with tasty garden treats. I just hope that we won't forget about all the hard work that we put into those jars... I can't imagine letting all that good food sit down there forgotten all winter. That's the only thing I worry about... But if you fear that I will forget that good food, just invite yourself over to try some for yourself. I'll be more than happy to share. :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I am eating Jim's peanuts. That's what he gets for leaving them here on the desk, don't you think?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Little Bit of Water

Some fun in the hot July sun.

We came home from daycare and Josh was so filthy and covered with sand that I would not let him in the house. So I turned the sprinkler on him to wash him off.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Going Out With a Bang

I've been having a creative week this week. Not only am I nearly ready to start my decoupage wall hanging for Joshua's room, but I have also made a rocket launcher. (Watch out world! Here we come!) Tomorrow is our last Bible Club day until further notice, and we are going to go out with a *bang*! In all actuality, this is an air rocket launcher with a rocket made out of paper, so no loud noises will accompany the launch. And, as an added bonus, the launcher is very simple to make. Even I could do it. And the PVC pipe used to make it cost less than $2. (Ding-ding-ding! Extra bonus points added here!) Josh and I spent some time this morning making sure that everything worked properly, and, even though our air tank was a bit smaller than recommended, it worked great. Josh would've spent all day launching rockets if nap time hadn't sneaked up on us. Now we can only hope for a good turn out tomorrow at Bible Club, because I'm sure the kids will have fun with this one. I'll have to keep it a surprise until after the lesson time is over. For instructions on how to make your own rocket launcher click *HERE*.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Pleasant Produce

The garden seems to be producing bountifully this year. I'm not sure if it is due to the nice, hot weather or the chicken poop I put in there this spring. The "Market More" cucumbers are sure living up to their name. I picked another large bowl full of them this evening. And I planted Brussels Sprouts for the first time ever and I am wondering why I had never done it before. We have already eaten three meals worth of them and this evening, to my pleasant surprise, there were quite a few more mature heads waiting to be picked. I had thought the sprouts wouldn't have been ready until September. My tomato have grown so large their cages couldn't contain them. The thin wire cages toppled under the pressure of the thick, green stalks of the tomatoes. I am thinking of doubling my garden size next year so I can put some of the produce out front to sell to my neighbors. I am excited about the asparagus we will have in the spring of next year. And I am already looking forward to more strawberry shortcake. Maybe next year, I will have enough strawberries to freeze or make jam with. *sigh* Gardens make me so... pleased.

Sleep Habits

Someone has been enjoying his new big boy bed.
Though it seems he cannot quite figure out how to sleep properly.

Monday, August 02, 2010


Yesterday was our church's annual picnic. I'm not sure exactly why, but it's not usually something I look forward to with great enthusiasm. Maybe it's the "sitting awkwardly among a couple hundred people while they stuff their face with picnic food" part I don't like. Or having forced conversations with people. I dislike forced conversations. Maybe it's because sometimes, when I try to talk to people, they just look uncomfortably at their friends... But this is something I have tried to get over. I don't do well in very large groups. In semi-large groups I am okay. In small groups, I feel great. Add to the fact that I don't do well with very large groups, my parents have recently switched churches and they were my "go-to people". You could always count on them to sit near you or talk to you. *not forced talking* And now they are not there anymore. I have to strike out on my own now. So yesterday I was awkwardly standing near the pavilion waiting for something to happen, watching Josh play in the spigot water, and wondering what to do with myself, when I was invited to play Ultimate Frisbee. The teens and young adults at our church have been frisbee fanatics all summer, though I personally had not yet played with the group. Hmmm, this spiked my interest. I played soccer regularly when I was younger and have always been rather competitive, though quite out of shape now at the ripe old age of 24. Honestly, I hadn't played a vigorous group game of anything since I played soccer with a bunch of Salvadorians last July. But, since Adam was more than willing to watch Josh so I could play, I took them up on their invitation. I don't think I had had that much fun in ages. I am horrible at frisbee... Well, not horrible. Just not that good... But the good, fun, competition was good for my bones. The hot sun, the sweat, running back and forth, the good plays every once in a great while... This church picnic turned out to be the best since I had started going to them. Now I'm getting anxious for the next big frisbee game.

Yeah, I'm just that weird.