Tuesday, December 31, 2013

~Finished Pendulum~

This was a knit that I finished quickly! Cast on: December 2, Bind off: December 22.

And then: I blocked it! Hurrah for me! No waiting 2 years to wear this fun knit. :-)

When I finished knitting the shawl, I was kind of "meh" about it. I thought, "Wow, that was a lot of knitting for that." And then, I moved on to the blocking a few days later. If you look on Ravelry, knitters block this shawl with it either being knit from the neck edge down, or as if it were knit from the bottom edge up. It is designed as being knit from the neck edge down, but from looking at other projects, I decided to block it in the opposite direction. As I was blocking it that way I was again feeling as if I had taken way too much time knitting something I didn't like very well. So I took the pins out and blocked it according to the pattern and I instantly started liking it very much!

Project notes found here (Ravelry link).

Monday, December 23, 2013

~Hair Cut~

My daughter's hair is very thick, and while she really wants it to be long (like a princess!) for this season we are keeping it shorter, so that we have fewer tears and complaints about drying it, brushing it, and caring for it. Trust me, we still have tears and complaints! But this just works out so much better.

Anyhow, when we first got her hair cut (early last summer) I watched carefully and cut her hair on my own the last two haircuts. This time around I decided to see if there was something online to walk me through it. Well, there was!

So with the help of Little Bear (television show), and this video:

I got this result:

It's not perfect (there's a little spot on the left side that bugs me!), but I'm super happy with the results! So far, it's the best I've done. I didn't want the layers stacked too much, so I kept the layers short rather than angled as much as the video shows. I'll watch this video again next time I cut her hair.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

~Thoughts on Canning~

I previously blogged about my remaining apples to make into sauce, but alas and alack, those apples ended up in the compost. Thankfully it was a waste of only $6 or so. Kevin dumped them for me and I guess the apples on top looked semi-usable but the bottom apples were becoming vinegar.

So! I cleaned up my jars and moved everything back down to the basement to await for next summer's madness. My jar count for this year ended up being 227. That's my all-time record--so far! I will probably try to outdo myself next year, if I know myself very well at all. ;-) If you'd like to look at my list, it's up on the "pages" section under my blog header.

If this doesn't look like 227 jars, we've already gone through quite a bit. *smiles*
I am trying to think of a better way to approach canning. I love canning. I love having my shelves in the basement loaded with home-canned delicious foods. I love the fact that I don't have to buy tomato products, or canned green beans, or applesauce. I opened a jar of sauce the other night as I prepared dinner and inhaled deeply. Mmmm....

But, there's always a downside to something so wonderful, it seems. My downside is the kitchen in a terrible upheaval. Dishes that multiply by the second as I can.  My daughter who is not quite able to help but seemingly unable to entertain herself the second I get my canner out.

So next year, as I prepare to can, I want to go about it more purposefully. One can't choose the timetable for when vegetables and fruits are ripe and ready to process, but I can choose the time of day. I can choose to not buy as much so I am not forced to spend quite as much time in the kitchen. Having a smaller amount of something is not so horrible. It makes it more of a treat! I can choose to skip some of the more time-consuming recipes.

This next year we're planning on growing just as big of a garden. I'm planning to can just as much, if not more. But somehow I am hoping it will be just a little less crazy feeling! One can hope, anyhow. ;-)

Monday, December 09, 2013

~Knitting Happily Along~

My shawl has been such a fun knit! I can't stop knitting! I find myself picking it up and working on it throughout the day.

Since it is on circular needles, which want to curl and twist, it is not very photogenic at the moment. ;-) I love the pattern, and (depending, of course, on how this one turns out in the end!), very much want to knit another one!

Monday, December 02, 2013

~New Project~

I have birthday money burning holes in my pockets. Yes, holes. ;-) I've been fretting over the perfect way to spend my money, and for a small portion of it, settled on this project:

Pendulum, by Amy Miller (Ravelry link, picture from the author's Ravelry pictures).
In August, I walked into a yarn shop, and this pattern was worked up and on display right inside the door. I was fascinated by it immediately, and even took it off the mannequin bust and tried it on!

I chose Lion Brand Sock Ease for this project. I bought the yarn today, and the check out lady at Michaels was kind enough to let me do two transactions so I could get both skeins at 50% off.

I've already cast on, and have the first section finished! I'm looking forward to this project!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

~Blocked, II~

I'm home from church with my little girl who is still sick. I'm telling you, this sickness just hangs on! I got it first, a week ago Saturday, and I am still feeling some lingering effects!

In my previous post I showed my scarf which I blocked. Well, once I got that one unpinned, I moved on to my Lace Wrap (Ravelry link). Now that it is truly finished I am looking forward to wearing it! I think I'll most likely wear it as a scarf more than a wrap/shawl.

You can see that the edge is a little wobbly, but wrapped around my neck it isn't obvious at all

I'd still like to get a set of blocking wires, I think it would make blocking easier! But until then I know I can get reasonable results with pins!

Now I'm thinking about what to knit next. I am kind of lost though. Knitters, any ideas for me?

Friday, November 29, 2013


I finally, finally took the time to block my Rivulet scarf. (Ravelry link). I only finished knitting this last January of 2012...

What took me so long? Perfectionism and a lot of excuses. I didn't have blocking wires, I knew it would take a long time to pin out, I knew the edge wouldn't be "perfect". So I never took the time.

But yesterday, with a sick little girl nestled on the couch watching football with my husband, and a long afternoon in sight, I decided to tackle blocking this scarf. Um, yeah. Totally should have done this ages ago!

I am looking forward to wearing this now! Yay me! :)

Next up? Another blocked scarf!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

~Mixed Media Art~

Inspired by Amy's recent post show-casing her girls' art, I decided to something similar with my daughter.

This is what she came up with:
Snow White and Cinderella
I cut out the faces and we glued them to the paper. My daughter decided that they should be princesses. Snow White has some hefty arms there. I don't think she's ever been depicted with such large arms. ;-) My daughter did all the drawing. The "grass" is part of a chair which I cut in strips for her, the tree was a houseplant which she had me cut without the stem. She decided clouds were necessary, so we used cotton balls.

This was a lot of fun, and I can see that we'll do it again sometime!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

~Ugly Shoes~

I was thinking about this poem recently, which I posted on my blog a few months after I experienced my loss. I bolded the way I feel right now.

"An Ugly Pair of Shoes"

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable Shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in the world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don't hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think of how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of the shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

Author Unknown

The reason I was thinking of this poem actually had something to do with a physical pair of shoes. A pair of shoes I bought to wear on Easter Sunday, just two short Sundays after my loss had been confirmed. A pair of shoes I have rarely worn. They are ugly to me. They hurt my feet when I wear them. And they hurt my heart. I threw them away. They had lots of wear left in them but I realized I just didn't want those shoes hanging out in my closet any longer.

Today, my baby I lost would have been 3 years old. It's a bittersweet day for me. Knowing my baby is with the Lord is very sweet to me. But not having my baby here with me is very bitter. Till heaven, sweet little one. Mommy loves you. XO

Monday, November 11, 2013

~Monday Musings~

Ah, Mondays!

This morning it is raining steadily.

I'm coming down with a cold.

Coffee is all I've had yet this morning, so I'm thinking about what is for breakfast.

Thinking about the work I need to put into tomorrow's class for CC.

To do list: dishes, laundry, straighten the house.

Going: nowhere! Staying put today.

Ink and stamps going on to my right, I should be putting a stop to it but I'm kind of out of it this morning, so self-entertainment is a good thing. Mostly. ;-)

So as it is raining, it is of course not good lighting for pictures, but here's a little something I whipped up on Saturday:

A coffee cup sleeve! I came across this fabric which I'd purchased quite a while ago, and sat down and made a little stack of coffee sleeves. I plan on using the extras for gifts and possibly selling a few as well. We'll see. 

Incidentally, I went to the coffee shop yesterday afternoon and totally forgot to take mine with me. I had a free drink at the coffee shop, because of my birthday. It was enjoyable until it made my stomach sick because of the high sugar content. Since this last summer I've not been eating (or drinking! LOL) much sugar at all so I've found that sugar in any amount over a teaspoon or so really bothers my stomach. But...that's ok! I've lost just over 20 pounds as a result of better diet and fewer calories, so I guess I can't really complain. ;-)

And there you have it! Random thoughts for Monday! :-)

Friday, November 08, 2013

~Pick a Pin: Craft Project~

One of the things that my daughter has really enjoyed from Classical Conversations is the art that we've done. She has continued, on her own, to draw the things we learned to draw in the first six weeks. I've been trying to come up with more craft projects for her to do, since she enjoys it so much.

Today I looked through my pins on Pinterest and found this simple craft. The blog is written in Italian, but there are pictures, and in fact I didn't even look at the link before we started.

This morning we painted fall trees, using a paint brush for the trunk and branches, and Q-tips for the leaves:

Right now my daughter is busy with scissors and glue. Pretty soon we'll be cleaning confetti out of the living room but for now she's entertained. :-)

Friday, November 01, 2013


On this first day of November:

Rain. It is raining, a drizzly type of rain that picks up and lets off every once in a while.

Presents. I'm sewing for Christmas! I'm so excited about my project(s), but I will have to refrain from actually saying what they are or showing pictures until after Christmas, because some of the recipients read my blog.

Apples. I'm so over the apples I dragged home a few weeks back. I was so proud of myself being proverbial and all ("she bringeth her food from afar", don't you know) but now I still have 3/4 of a bushel of apples still in my kitchen. That'll teach me to start thinking of myself as a Proverbs 31 woman. ;-) I shouldn't be so down on myself because I've actually worked through a lot of them, including a batch yesterday. But I just see those apples and....le sigh...it's so much work still!

Apples! 5 half bushels, plus a half bushel of squashes thrown in for good measure.
But: blue jars! I bought some blue jars on clearance and I had the brilliant idea (yesterday, while I was standing at the stove stirring my sauce) to can white beans in them. Oh my, I can hardly wait. They will look so pretty! So I need to get the apples done so I can work on the beans. And then I'm going to haul all my canning equipment downstairs and be done with canning!

My birthday: tomorrow. How is it that I'm getting so close to 40? I feel like I just turned 30, and here I am, turning 30-something-rhymes-with-Kevin. Hmmm. Kevin and our daughter went out shopping and got my presents several weeks ago, so that has been dangling over my head. My daughter is a good little surprise keeper, so I have no clue as to what I'm getting.

Happy November!

Monday, October 14, 2013

~Staple Dress~

A friend's church has a hobby night about once a month, and I try to go when I can. There are several reasons: not only do I Get to Talk to Grownups and Get Things Done, but I get to Eat Yummy Treats. And also? I get to Skip Bedtime (my daughter's bedtime, that is!). So it's a great chance to get out of the house!

This weekend I lugged my machine, iron, fabric, pattern, pins, etc. and made a dress! When I came home all I had left was the hem and the shirring. I finished it Saturday and wore it Sunday.

If you look closely, the belt is not quite covering the shirring.
I had trouble getting the shirring in the right spot,
but I think that if I had a wider belt it would cover this issue.
This pattern, the Staple Dress, is a fun sew. No buttons and buttonholes, or zippers; no darts or sleeves. Honestly it only took me four hours to make because I was talking. Oh, and eating. :-P

I mentioned before, that I won the pattern in a blog giveaway, and that the fabric was some I had on hand. The fabric is a cotton, but it has something stretchy in it as well. It isn't stretchy like a knit, maybe just a little spandex? I'm not sure. I happened to have matching thread, and the elastic thread for shirring. It's always nice when I have everything I need on hand!

Because my serger is still at the machine shop, I followed the directions and did French seams. With regular seams finished with overlocking (and no talking, just sewing!) this dress could go together very, very quickly.

I came home high on caffeine and giddy that I'd made myself a dress. :-) I'm pretty sure this is the first dress that I've made for myself since the 90's! I've made clothing items since then, of course, but not a dress. I'm looking forward to getting some more sewing projects done in the coming weeks! I've been so busy canning I haven't spent time sewing, and I truly miss it!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

~Thinking about...Crocheting~

The other night I pulled out a stack of crochet booklets I have and looked through them.

Crochet Fantasy! March 1986! Goods that are great for BAZAARS!!!

Besides some little doilies, handkerchief edgings, and hideous stuffed animals, there is this beauty:

Don't you love that sweater? The sleeves look so cozy, almost like an afghan. No, wait. The shawl on the left is what caught my eye. Truly, I think it is beautiful. Would it be too much like wearing a giant doily? I don't know. But the current trend for wearing shawls is to wear them backwards (what would our grandmothers think?) as a scarf.

And the second thing I'm thinking about is this tablecloth. It is made up of 4" squares, so it wouldn't be too daunting.

So...those are two projects I'm thinking about! I don't know if I'll do more than think about them, but it's fun to dream sometimes! :-)

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

~Thinking about sewing~

A few weeks ago I was doing laundry, and I noticed one of the rags that came through was really, well...raggy on the edges. So I serged the edges. Actually, I serged one edge. The other edge messed up my machine. Oh, the irony of trying to make a worthless rag look nicer only to break my machine!

I got word back from the sewing machine shop today that the blades are messed up and since they don't have them in the store it will take about another week before I have my machine.

I haven't sewn much of anything this summer. But faced with the fact that my machine is in the shop, I keep wanting to sew!

I think this will be my next project:

I won the pattern in a blog giveaway, and the fabric is some I was given. I think this will make a nice fall dress (with a sweater). I don't plan on doing the high-low hem version. :)

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

~Blah, blah, blah~

Well, then! Happy fall and happy 1st day of October! :-)

Thing have been busy around here! I have been canning my little heart out. I love canning, then I dislike canning, but I love it all the more after seeing all the rows of canned produce on my counter! I love it more than I dislike it so I keep on going! Interested to see the list of things I've canned so far? You can click over to my page, Putting Food Up - 2013. My jar count is at 205 right now. I've yet to get apples for applesauce, and I would really like to get some more Concord grapes to make some jelly. Oh, and I would love to can some more beans!

I read canning recipes in the winter and dream of canning in the summer. My main "dislike" with canning is truly the accompanying dishes. It seems like my whole summer's story has been, "Do the dishes so I can can; do the dishes from canning". LOL

I've mostly had enough jars, though I had to buy a dozen pints, and a dozen jam jars. Not too bad. I dug into jars I bought off Craigslist a few summers back, and thought it was funny to be canning in "antique" jars that are as old as myself:

A friend has Concord grapes, and kindly offered some to me. I canned 14 quarts of grape juice:

My friend makes her juice this way, and I'm anxious to see how it turns out. One jar unsealed when I was putting them down in the basement - the jar had a tiny chip on the inside. The juice wasn't very strong, but from what I read you're supposed to wait 3-4 weeks before opening it. I got some mineral water and made "soda" for my daughter and myself. Since we don't drink real soda, she was easily convinced. ;-)

And then, moving on to other randomness: I picked up a new pair of glasses tonight. They are quite a departure from my other glasses!

My daughter asked me to measure her recently,

making me realize that the reason she's been proverbially eating us out of house and home is that she grew 3/4" in a little over a month!

Well, that's it for randomness for now! Happy fall, y'all!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

~CC Update~

Since I posted that we would be doing Classical Conversations, I wanted to post a little update!

Today was week #2 for our Classical Conversation classes. So far it is going so well. I ended up with six little students in my class. I have the 4's and young 5's, including my own daughter. Initially, I wanted to tutor my daughter's class because I wanted to do CC with her at our campus as well as at home. However, I have come to see that this will present its own set of challenges. But that's ok! We hit a little bump in the road today toward the end of class, but otherwise things have gone fairly well. We'll see what I say in another month. ;-)

I was so overwhelmed before everything got started. Last week, before our first class, I was in tears sobbing to Kevin that "I just can't do this. I don't know what I was thinking when I said I would do it!". I sent off an SOS email to a friend who is a few weeks ahead of me, tutoring in CC as well. She called me and reassured me and sent me some extra links to help me along.

On Tuesday morning, I did it. :-) I was exhausted, but I tutored the class and covered all the subjects!

Last night, I wasn't in tears, but I again was bemoaning to Kevin, "I just can't do this. I don't know what I was thinking when I said I would do it!". And then, I got everything pulled together, and guess what? I did it all over again this morning. :-D

I'm not really afraid of the little four year olds, with their cute little faces looking at me in expectation. No, it is the parents! What are they thinking? Some of them have said to me, "WOW you are so brave!" and "THANK YOU!" so maybe the parents aren't as scary now!

So, after my second week of tutoring, I can say that I am glad that I'm doing this! Stepping outside of my comfort zone is stretching me, but in a good way. I'm thankful for this opportunity to connect with other homeschoolers and families.

Sunday, September 01, 2013


Did you know that if you plant pansies in the fall, they'll bloom again the spring? I've wanted to plant pansies in the fall for quite a few years now, but until this year I haven't done so.

Saturday I had a little time to myself, and one of the things I did was stop by the nursery and pick up some pansies. I cleared out some of the summer flowers, and planted my pansies. I didn't do a lot of yard work, but it was nice to get the flower beds in the front somewhat ready for fall. There are still more flowers that will need to come out, but that can wait till after our first frost!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

~Cherry Peds~

Today I finished a pair of socks! All I had to do was kitchener one toe closed. That's it! I already had all the other ends woven in, and the other sock was finished.

I love how closely the stripes match up!

When I got the yarn at Hobby Lobby, I wanted a simple footy, so I wouldn't have a ton of knitting to do, but also because I don't like long cuffs on my socks, even in the winter. So I searched and searched and ended up using a pattern I had favorited on Ravelry a long time ago. Doesn't that figure!

The second sock had a very tiny amount of brown striping on the toe. That bothered me a lot because the other toe did not have that striping. But when I finally got them off the needles and on my feet, I realized something: I can't see that color variation when they are on!

So--another pair of socks to tuck into my drawer and wait for cooler weather (though we've had plenty of cool weather this summer!).

Yarn: Cherry Sours by Paton Stretch Sock
Pattern: Pom Pom Peds by The Purl Bee
Needles: US 2

More project details here (Ravelry link).

Monday, August 26, 2013

~Garden Update~

The last two years, we had a spot at a community garden. When they raised their prices, we started looking for a different community garden. But the others were just too far away. So then we discussed our yard. While it isn't "perfect" it has been a great option for us. Our back yard is too shaded, so the only option was our side yard.

This picture was taken about a month or so ago, but it gives a good idea of what our garden is doing:

Unfortunately, the soil at the very back was not very supportive for the crops we had, so our yield for that area was not that great. The zucchini and corn have been taken out. The green beans had a slow start but are now producing well. We have three varieties of tomatoes which are all doing well, plus a cherry tomato. I've been canning and putting up tomatoes like crazy. The peppers went bonkers, as have the tomatillos. We tried a new variety of bean this year, a golden bean, and they have produced well also. Our cucumbers didn't do very well, in fact I ended up buying a peck of cucumbers so I could get the pickles I wanted.
The radishes, carrots, green onions, and sugar peas all did well this spring. We talked about planting more for reaping in the fall, but we didn't do that this year. Maybe next!
All in all, it has been a good first year of gardening from our yard! Next year, we hope to build raised beds and bring in some good soil, enhancing it with compost from our compost bin.
Our weather this summer has been very cool, so some plants have been quite slow to produce. But that's ok - if the tomatoes were coming on any faster I would go crazy. ;-)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

~Spiral Binding~

It's the little things in life that make me happy. Case in point:

Spiral binding!!!!!!!!!

I had the brilliant idea to get my canning book spiral bound. I use this book often throughout the canning season, and it is always a fight to get the book to stay open. A quick call to the copy shop and voila! No more holding the book open with other objects!

It even flips nicely, so I can use up less counter space with my recipe book:

This is the next book to get the beauty treatment:

It cost right around $5 to get it done. I definitely feel like it is worth it for a well-used book. I also think book publishers should take user-friendliness into account. But, when they don't, this is a good option!

(Affiliate link in post)

Friday, August 16, 2013

~Classical Conversations~

Last night, I was at a planning meeting, which involved this book:


We are going to be involved in Classical Conversations this year, and not only will my daughter be enrolled as a student, but I will be tutoring. It is exciting. And a little nerve-wracking (the tutoring aspect)! My husband and I really feel God is leading us down this path though, so I am trusting in Him that He will help me through! :)

It's a little difficult to explain in a few sentences, but Classical Conversations is a homeschool curriculum/group/method that endeavors to teach students classically. I'm still learning a lot about what makes the difference between a classical education vs. the typical education model in most schools. I really like what I see and I feel like it is a good match for our family.

We will be meeting with our group once a week, broken down into age groups, and each class will have 2 1/2 hours in which new material is presented for the week, a science experiment is performed, and fine arts is studied. The motto for Classical Conversations is, "To know God and Make Him Known." I love that.

Many years prior to our daughter's birth, Kevin and I had discussed our desire to homeschool. But when our daughter was just a baby, we discussed in earnest the whys and hows of homeschooling. We knew that since most likely our daughter would be an "only" that we needed to have some sort of way to be out of the house on a regular basis. Yes, we were choosing homeschooling but we felt it was also important to not to become hermits either! And so, this last winter I started looking into what exactly we were going to be doing, and I kept coming back around to Classical Conversations. One thing led to another and here we are - ready to start in a few short weeks!

I'm excited to see what God has in store for us!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

~Today Looks Promising~

What day isn't good when it's started with a puff pancake? Doubled, of course, so I had something to eat for breakfast as well.

I forgot to put the blueberries on top while it was baking, so we served them on the side. Doubling the recipe made for just a bit more than my daughter and I could eat for breakfast. Having leftovers is better than me prowling about after breakfast looking for something to eat since my daughter ate up everything . ;-)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

~A week of Mondays~

Do you know the tale of the man who wished for every day to be Sunday, and he was granted his wish? His wife wasn't happy with him because she had to fix a big roast dinner every day. Eventually he got his wish changed around and learned to be happy with each day as it came.

Mondays are pretty choppy around here. Sundays do take some "recuperating" as it were, for the whole family, but they are hardest on our daughter. We have a 35 min. ride each way, which means over 2 hours in the car each Sunday; the expectation to sit still and behave through Sunday school, junior church, and evening service; and meal times all changed up. If I were four years old I'd have trouble on Mondays too!

But this week it seems as if we're getting a week of Mondays. What is up with that? Last night there was an unusual amount of drinking-pottying-sing me a songing-bed bouncing-even more drinking-in-and-outing than normal. That led to a child who went to sleep past 10 pm in spite of my best efforts to get her in bed on time. She seemingly has not gotten my sleeping genes and to prove it, she bounced out of her room before eight this morning! So yeah, this day has seemed like a Monday. As did yesterday, and of course Monday was Monday!

Here's hoping tomorrow is a Thursday-that-feels-like-Thursday!

What's the hardest day around your house?

Sunday, August 11, 2013


On the Fourth of July, we went cherry picking. Underneath the blue, blue skies, with such lovely warm weather, we picked and picked and picked. We just couldn't seem to stop. In the end, we had 34 pounds of cherries.

In case you wondered what 34 pounds of cherries looks like, here you go:

If you want to know what your arm will feel like after pitting 30 or so pounds of cherries, well, I'll leave that up to you to see if you want that experience. :-)

What did I do with all those cherries? Well, we ate a lot! In fact, I washed a large container in water with a bit of vinegar, and they lasted a long time in our refrigerator! I gave some to a friend as a "thank you" for letting me use her food dehydrator. And then I spend an inordinate amount of time at the kitchen sink, pitting them! In the end, I had a sore shoulder and plenty of cherry goodness in the freezer and in jars!

I put this info on my 2013 page (see tabs above), but here's what I did:
Frozen - 4 quarts
Frozen in simple syrup - 4 pint jars
Honey Cherry Jam - 9 8-oz. jars
Black Forest Preserves - 6 8-oz. jars, 1 12-oz. jar
Dried - 14 oz.

I've yet to try the cherries which were frozen in simple syrup, but I'm looking forward to testing them out! Also, my husband is anxious to eat the dried cherries but so far they're under lock and key. ;-) Do you do that? I put so much work into everything I want to look at it for quite a long while before it is consumed. LOL Also, a note on the Black Forest preserves: chocolate in cherry jam? Oh my! It is amazing!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

~Finally (!!!) Finished~

This spring I came up with the idea to refinish our sad looking park bench which we have on our front porch.

The finish was peeling off the wood, and the metal was rusted. After a search online for the best way to paint the bench, I was off to Home Depot.

And...two months later (!) this is the finished product:

Oh my goodness! I don't even want to go in to all the details, but let's just say that since this was my first spray paint/refinish project that there were a lot of things learned along the way! And now that it's done, I can sigh a big sigh of relief!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

~Clothespin Dolls~

About two years ago, I pulled down a clothespin bag that was hanging in the basement, and discovered a bag full of antique clothespins. I listed them on my Etsy shop and made quite a bit of money off something that I had just discovered in my home (too bad there isn't anything else hanging about my attic or basement!).

I saved some of the clothespins, thinking they would make a fun craft sometime.

Yesterday I pulled them out and we got some paint at Hobby Lobby so we could paint them. My daughter actually did most of the painting, though I did help her with some of the painting and I was standing right over her to help direct the paintbrush. And of course, I drew the faces on.

I'm thinking these would be fun in her church bag though she couldn't "talk" for them so I don't know if that would work or not!

I have about 10 more pegs and I'm itching to do a few myself. But then, there would be the question of what to do with them afterwards. I'm not a great fan of tshotshkes so they would probably just end up as toys too!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

~Random Thoughts~

:::Yesterday and today have been rainy days. We're hoping for nice weather on the 4th, as we have a family outing planned. I guess we can always improvise but when you have plans you want to execute them!

:::Yesterday I got the chance to meet up with a long-time blogging friend. We talked for about an hour. Wow! What fun. :) (She no longer blogs, otherwise I'd point you toward her blog.)

:::More sour cherries! I got 8.5 pounds and it took me 1.5 hours to pit them. Yield: two more pies-to-be-made and 3 jars of jam. Yum!

:::And more pickled asparagus! I bought more asparagus, and then I opened a jar of my pickled asparagus to see how I liked it. Oh my! So, so good! I love it! I sprung for the 24-oz. jars this time around. They really are so much more efficient for canning asparagus! Much more of the stalk fits into the jar! I got 3 24-oz. jars. Yum.

:::As soon as the weather clears we want to go sweet cherry picking. Can't wait for that. And oddly, blueberry season is starting early this year (this week!), so there are blueberries to consider. Blueberries are an absolute must for me so I'll definitely fit them in.

Friday, June 28, 2013


Yesterday was a very "fruitful" day! First, my daughter and I went strawberry picking, which yielded 8 pounds of strawberries for us. We went strawberry picking about a week and a half ago, and I froze them plain, as well as 4 pints in simple syrup. We were going through them pretty fast (for smoothies), so I thought we should take advantage of them before the end of strawberry season.

Then in the afternoon a friend put out the word that her cherry tree had a broken branch, did anyone want to come pick sour cherries? So we headed out to pick cherries! We got almost 5 pounds, and this is the result:

Well, at least the crack in the board is in focus (!).
It's a stormy afternoon, hard for taking pictures!
It took a lot of work to pit all those cherries (even with a pitter), but the jam is so amazingly good! I'm thinking about going back early next week as I was invited to, and getting enough for another pie and a few more jars of jam.

I still have strawberries in my fridge to put up. I'm just going to freeze them, so that isn't too much work! I just need to do it!

Thursday, June 27, 2013


I snapped a few pictures of my flowers in the front beds. The Asiatic lilies are in bloom!

View from my porch.

I really enjoy having mostly perennials in the front flower bed. It looks a lot different from when we first moved in (eight years this July!).

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

~Canning Notes: Pickled Asparagus~

Last year while I was looking for recipes for pickles, it came to me that "pickles" does not universally mean pickled cucumbers. One can pickle most anything one desires, including pig's feet (though I certainly do not desire to pickle pig's feet! and I actually did not come across such a recipe).

Last week I purchased asparagus from a local farm and set about pickling it, using Marissa's recipe found here (I left out the cayenne).

I really wish I had 24-oz. jars, but I didn't want to run to the store and purchase jars for something I don't know if I'll want to make again. So this year I made do, and if it turns out that we love pickled asparagus, I might buy some jars so that I can get longer pickled asparagus.

The season's next locally-offered produce will be cherries! I'm looking forward to putting up some cherry preserves.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


So, I looked, and the last time I officially plugged my Swagbucks referral link was December, 2011. So I don't feel bad doing a little plug for my referral link. ;-)

First of all, I have to say, I love Swagbucks. If I didn't get any referral links, I would still love it! A free way to earn a bit of extra money? Sign me up! (Oh wait, I already did sign up...I crack me up sometimes. LOL)

I have always used the Swagbucks I earn to buy $5 Amazon gift cards. Total earned to date? $485. Nearly $500 that I have had to spend as I want! That's a lot of extra money, if you ask me! I saved up my gift cards for about a year and purchased a KitchenAid mixer. Late last spring, I bought a sand and water table for my daughter, so she'd have something to play with in the back yard. I had been saving for an iPod Touch, but I ended up using them that way and I'm glad I did. She had a lot of fun playing with the table, and has continued to play with it this summer, so it was a good buy, even if it delayed my iPod Touch purchase! (Oh, the sacrifices parents make... ;-) )

Now I'm saving up for either an iPod Touch or a Kindle Fire HD. I'm kind of waffling back and forth on which I want! (Any input?) I am pretty close to my goal!

If you don't have a Swagbucks account, why not give it a try? I betcha you'll get hooked just like me! For the first 1,000 Swagbucks you earn, I will earn 1,000 as well. And you can get people to sign up under you immediately, so you can start earning through referral links right away also.

Monday, June 24, 2013

~"Cream of" Soups~

For quite some time now I've not purchased "cream of" soups, because some of the ingredients are ones I prefer not to use in my kitchen. I've tried several recipes for cream of mushroom soup made from scratch, but those fell lacking. So I just stopped making recipes - some of my favorite recipes - that had "cream of" soups in them.

Then last Easter, I was looking in the soup aisle for an alternative, so I could make my grandma's potato dish for our dinner. I came across a box of soup made by Pacific Organic. I bought it and...it fit the bill!

So now that I have a "cream of" soup that I'm happy using, some of my favorite recipes have made their way into my menu rotation again! That makes me happy, and Kevin too - because most of the recipes I hadn't been making were actually favorites of his.

I found this soup at my local Meijer, though I suppose it would be easier to find at a health food store. It never occurred to me to look at my health food store to see what options I might have. But I don't make it to my health food store very often, so I'm glad that Meijer is carrying these soups now!

Simple ingredient list I don't feel bad cooking with!