Sep 22, 2014

Rest of the School Pics 2014

Aren't my kids awesome?! They know how rough my life has been lately and how bad I feel when I don't post so they have jumped in to help me put something up every day. Even Scout and Teach worked out the post yesterday. Wasn't it cute?

I think life is full of capturing the moments and that is what my blog seems to do. I don't suppose it matters if I'm doing the writing or someone else is doing it for me. We have such a crazy life here! Today we celebrated Princess's 18th birthday with a big family party although her actual birthday is on Wednesday. Teach is starting a new job and so the kids were all stressing about her finishing up their school pictures. She really is an amazing photographer!

Then we took the time to work on Visual Arts tonight for Reflections. I know, I am totally insane to let the kids all sit around my kitchen table with a huge pile of oil paints. It took me over half an hour just to wash out all the brushes and my hands are completely green. I've washed them about 10 times and I still can't get rid of all the color.

Bean Dip
The Dog Walker was scrubbing off the bench where Baby Doll was painting...

Oh well, they are memories, right? Good memories, I hope.

Prima Donna
I just enjoy being a mom and watching my kids develop their talents and skills. I love seeing them work together and play together. (Not sure which of those categories Reflections falls under.)

So tonight let me leave you with the last of the school pictures.

Thanks, Teach, for making this post so easy!


Sep 21, 2014

Guest Blogger: Speed-Walking with Teach by Scout

Teach set a goal this week to go on a walk everyday. Usually she does this at normal times of day, but today she announced she needed to go on a walk at 11:45 PM. Drama Queen was really mad and did not want her to go. She thought there were creepers.( but as you can see, we're fine) After me and Teach got back, Prima Dona wanted to go. So we went just for her. We went to Butterfield's and back we speed-walked there and back. It was hard but fun .Going back, we lost Elder Dog Walker. It was really fun!

Sep 20, 2014

Guess What We Did Today...

I know, from the pics you are thinking we went out for ice cream, right? Well, you are half right. We have an annual tradition of going out for ice cream right about this time of year after everyone (except Sport) succumbs to a flu shot or flu mist.

Curly did his fair share of complaining that Sport gets an ice cream even though he doesn't have to have a shot until I remind him that Sport ended up in the hospital because of an allergy to flu shots and he won't be getting any more. And hopefully he won't get the flu either.

Baby Doll and Curly both have asthma, so they have to get the shot rather than the mist and they were both pretty unhappy. I would WAY rather have a shot than have them squeeze stuff up my nose!

But mostly I'm glad the ordeal is over. Now I'll have to invent another excuse to go out for ice cream...

Sep 19, 2014

Guest Blog: Peaches Everywhere by Bossy

One of the best things about my job right now is that I have a foster child that is placed right next to Dad's favorite fruit stand.  Once a month I drive 30 minutes to Utah county to see this child and use my lunch break to stop and pick up fruit for my father.  Because of my schedule these visits normally fall on a Thursday.  Which means picking up a couple of cases of fruit to can over the weekend is perfect.  In August my visit fell on Dad's birthday which worked out well, and I conspired with mom to bring back some Lemon Elberta peaches for him, his favorite.  

So when Gym Rat's girlfriend wanted to learn how to can peaches I said I would be happy to pick some up while I was on my visit. For some reason we scheduled on a Monday instead of a Thursday, but it has been cooling off the past few weeks and we thought the peaches would be fine until Friday. Plus I had selected two under-ripe boxes. We certainly didn't have time to can this week. Hopefully Mom can fill you all in on our crazy week.
So I picked up the peaches as planned and we ran one box over to Mom's sweet visiting teacher and Dad munched on the other ripe boxful we bought just for eating. 

Then the week of chaos came.  Mom has been running so many different directions that Dog Walker decided to be super helpful and keep the laundry running. On Wednesday, I was considering canceling Webelos because I had been sick all week and complaining to Mom that it was 95 degrees and too hot for mid-September when Dad said, "you know those peaches are spoiling."  Sure enough all the laundry the Dog Walker had run and the heat had turned the garage into a sauna.  As I was settling in to pick my overgrown bean patch, Mom called with a canning emergency.  It was a good thing Fajita's Young Women's was moved to a special night and Gamer had already cancelled Webelos. 

We finished picking our 2 5 gallon buckets of beans and rushed over to help with the peaches. By the time we got there, Baby Doll, Scout, and Mom had nearly blanched all of them. I made the syrup and cleaned things up so we could get on with processing.  As Mom filled the jars she mourned the loss of an overripe peach. 

I grabbed another Tupperware that we always use for salsa! Mom continued filling the jars and the bowl of overripe peaches grew.  There was no way we could use that much peach salsa. Instead she decided we would make peach jam.  Truth be told I am not one for stone fruits. I will eat a ripe peach when we can to say I had one, but I really don't like them. I definitely don't like apricot jam either. but it had been a very long time since we had made peach jam and I have very fond memories of our peach and strawberry freezer jam.

So when Mom said we were making freezer jam with the overripe peaches, I was all in.  After making 16 flats of strawberry jam this Spring, Fajita and I were the resident experts so here it is. 

Freezer Jam

 **Note if making strawberry jam omit lemon juice.*
All our pictures show triple batches.  These wonderful Tupperware bowls make jamming so much faster. 

Step 1- Wash, stem, peel, and pit or otherwise prepare ripe fruit for mashing.  In a large bowl, mash the fruit to desired jam texture.

Step 2 - Measure 2 1/4 cups of crushed fruit into a clean bowl.  For peaches add 2 TBSP of lemon juice.

Step 3 - Measure 5 cups of sugar into another clean bowl. We do this because we are tripling the recipe and if you lose count on sugar it will ruin the jam. For a single batch you could probably measure directly into the bowl.

Step 4 - Stir sugar into fruit (and lemon juice). Mix until completely blended.  Allow sugar and fruit to stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5- While the fruit and sugar is resting, bring 3/4 C of water and one box of pectin to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn the pectin.  **When making more than one batch, just getting the water to boil will take the 10 minutes of rest time or longer.  It is okay, it can wait longer than 10 minutes. But in a single batch you probably want to wait for 4-5 minutes before starting your pectin.Your sugar and fruit must sit so the pectin will allow the jam to set up. Sitting together, the fruit is releasing its natural pectin.

Step 6 -  Pour boiling pectin into fruit and sugar. Stir all together and continue stirring for three minutes.

Step 7 - Pour into containers or jars.  Allow to set up at room temperature before freezing. The box says to keep out for 24 hours.  We usually put the jars in the freezer as soon as the kitchen has been destickyfied. That can be a while with jam.  The best part of jam is tasting! Use a piece of bread as a spatula in your bowl to sample your delicious product.
I want to say the peach and strawberry jam from my childhood used 2 cups of peaches and 1 cup of strawberries.  We also made peach and pineapple.  This was because we didn't think people would like the plain peach jam.  To be honest it still isn't my favorite, but I have a lot of strawberry jam and I am not afraid of mixing things up.

We finished about 25 quarts of peaches and nine batches of jam.

It feels so good to remember how to "put up winter stores" for the season. 

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