I want to learn to LOVE cooking. I want to learn to LOVE cleaning. I do LOVE my children, but I want to learn to LOVE them better. I want to learn to LOVE sewing and crafting. I want to learn to LOVE being a stay at home MOM!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Freezing strawberries

I just posted about raspberry freezer jam, then remembered that I froze some strawberries earlier, and took pictures so I could blog about it.


It was basic. I just stemmed the strawberries, washed them, set them out on cookie sheets and put them in the freezer. After a while (when I remembered) I put them in freezer bags. One bag full, I cut up into small pieces so I could use them for things like jello salad and such. The others, we’ll use mostly for smoothies.



Raspberry freezer jam!

I LOVE raspberries! Seriously! I love them! We planted some- and then, we transplanted them! So, sadly, they didn’t get any berries this year… just new growth! But, I was elated to hear that my friend, who recently moved in with her mom for a while, was not going to be picking their raspberries and that I was welcome to them!


Sweet and Delicious! Heavenly! That’s what I kept thinking while I was picking them- even stepping in the mud, and getting red stains on my shirt and shorts! Heavenly!

I decided to make some freezer jam with the first batch. Freezer jam is sooo easy! I just bought some fruit pectin, and followed the very basic recipe within the packet. Crush the fruit, add sugar, boil water and pectin, stir together! That’s it! I LOVE freezer jam. I’m not much of a jam person, but freezer jam will make me want to have toast with jam, just so I can have some freezer jam.


It didn’t make a ton, but we’re not a large family (at least not in eating, not yet anyway.) It will be just right. I went out and picked some more today, we’ll see what I’ll do with them. Maybe just freeze them for smoothies? Or I think you can CAN raspberries to use for things like topping cheesecake and such… or maybe I’ll just enjoy the deliciousness of the fresh berries!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Home made choke cherry syrup

We have choke cherry bushes in our yard! With A LOT of choke cherries growing on them. Still tons more, even after I made  a small dent in them for this experiment!

Here’s the recipe I followed:


I thought it seemed like a TON of sugar, so I used a tiny bit less than that. But, still almost as much because I was worried that it wouldn’t thicken if I didn’t use enough.

First, we picked the cherries. I paid Aaron $1 to fill a bucket. Plus, the boys went and picked some every time they were bored. There are seriously still soooo many out there!

Then, I washed them, then put them in a pot and barely covered them with water, and set them to boil. Here’s where I made the mistake of leaving it on HIGH boiling, while we went out to pick more cherries.


I came back inside to this (all over the floor too.) and Derek screaming because he had woken up from his nap. Oops. Oh well, he was ok, and the mess cleaned right up.

So, then, I made a make-shift juicer out of pink tulle taped across my big bowl.


It worked like a charm. I only had to empty the juice once or twice out of the bowl and clean off the tulle with water. I got 5 cups of juice out of one bucket of chokecherries. It made 2 small jars and 1 1/2 big jars of syrup.



I canned the smaller jars in my pot as a boiling water bath for 12 minutes or so. The big one sealed on it’s own, and wouldn’t fit in my small pot, so I figured it was alright. The syrup is pretty yummy, especially with whipped cream on top. I liked it on brownies too- made it like chocolate covered cherry flavor.

Not too bad for my first canning experiment. AND, I am excited that I got a pressure canner at a yard sale for $1! It’s only a small one, but just big enough to do six or seven jars. I’ll try green beans this year, and peaches. Maybe with my tomatoes I’ll make spaghetti sauce and can that? Any suggestions and hints would be greatly appreciated!

Home made Granola Bars

I like to make these! They are yummy. They fill your tummy. And they are way cheaper than store bought ones that are filled with nasty preservatives!

Here’s the basic recipe I use:


I’m lazy, I know… but it’s easier than typing it all out right now. Anyway, I start with these basics and add a bunch of stuff.

I add: craisins (more specifically, raspberry craisins because they are cheaper at WinCo.)

mixed nuts

sunflower seeds

flax seed (I accidentally bought the whole seeds the first time. You can get it all ground up and I guess that’s better, but for the granola bars, I think the whole seeds are ok… I still use them anyway.)

wheat germ (sounds nasty, I know, but it’s really healthy for you, and you can’t even taste it at all, all mixed in with everything.)

So, you mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. When I do this, I usually see that I have a lot more than the original recipe calls for, so I double the peanut butter, karo syrup and brown sugar. It just makes really big, a bit more gooey granola bars!


After you push everything down into a greased pan, let it set for a while, then cut it into bars! You can save it in plastic bags, like I do, or just leave it in the pan and cut one when you want it.


They’re pretty easy, quick and delicious! Plus, a healthy snack too!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Peach Pie

For Relief Society tonight we had a Pie and Hi get together. It was a lot of fun. They said we could bring our favorite pie to share. Peach is not my favorite, but we had a lot of frozen peaches, and the ingredients for the crust, so I decided to try it out.

I don’t know that I have ever made pie before- really. Sure I’ve tried banana cream, or cheesecake flavored pudding pie, but actually baking a pie? This was a first!


Of course, I had some help…


Please disregard the fact that Caleb is still in his pajamas. We made this pie right after breakfast, um, lunch.



Cool trick for transferring the crust to the pie pan…



Probably could’ve used more filling- but I didn’t want to thaw out and deal with anymore peaches. It kind of all turned to peach mush anyway….


I wanted the cute little heart for the middle- Christopher decided we needed another heart too.




It didn’t bubble over, but the pan was ready, just in case.

It was a big hit tonight. One lady asked the whole group, “Who made the peach pie?” I said, “Which one?” since there were two. She said the one with the heart and that it was “soooo good!” I said, “Good, I was afraid to try it.” Everyone got a good laugh. It was sort of true, but also, I just wanted to try all the other kinds that were there. Pumpkin and Lemon meringue were my favorite! Yummy!

And here’s how my little helper ended up, shortly after we finished:


Monday, February 14, 2011

Breast Cancer Quilt

I never posted this! I can’t believe it! I made this quilt last year… finishing in December, for my mom! She celebrated 10 years cancer free at the end of November, and we had a Pink Party at Christmas time, to celebrate!




I found this cute quilt, and decided to go along these lines… however, it quickly got twisted, and became my own design! I was very happy with it, and Mom loved it!

viney flowers stripes

I especially loved the extra flowers that I added- that I learned how to make at a Relief Society activity. For the party, I made a bunch of these, and put them on pins and hair clips for everybody to have one.




For the party, my sister used iron on paper to make t-shirts for all the boys, and my mom, and herself. (I just bought a cheap pink shirt from Wal-Mart…) She also made a movie with pictures from the past decade of my mom’s life- things she didn’t miss because she beat cancer!

Something I learned from doing the quilt- check front and back often when machine quilting! :) I made a nice big pucker! Oh well… the front is cute enough that nobody will ever see that part!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Maternity Jeans!!!

I only have 2 pairs of pants that fit me right now- for the next 7 weeks! So, I did a bit of googling and found this website:


Why not try it out? I decided to use some jeans that have holes, that I won’t wear after baby is born anyway, because I never wore them before… I didn’t want to waste any of my good “non-pregnant” clothes.



I followed the instructions and came up with this:


I think I cut the back too short, because it feels like they’re always falling down… but when I tried the pants on they were rather tight, and I wanted to make sure I could pull them up.

I’m rather pleased with the results!




Do you like the cute goofy kid in the mirror? He wouldn’t move for the picture. Oh well…

Now I have 3 pairs of pants to last me 7 weeks… or maybe less… hopefully less. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Valentine’s Rag Wreath

I decided it was time to take the Christmas wreath down. Only problem: I didn’t have anything to replace it. Unless I wanted to use the pumpkin… which I didn’t!

So, I made a Valentine’s rag wreath!


It was rather easy. I took an old coat hanger, cut it, bent it like a heart and tied rags around it! My friend came over and we made one together while our kids fought played.

I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. And it was tons of fun making it with a friend, as opposed to by myself!



Also, the other day, the boys and I did some painting!


They painted blocks of wood… while I painted this:


It’s an old rack thing that I got at a yard sale, or from my mom, a while ago. It hangs in the boys’ room (they share a room now…) and they put their coats and jackets on it.

I was grappling for something to do, and figured adding some color would be a fun, quick project.


And, of course, the boys’ art:



Christopher managed to cover every single inch of his block. Caleb, managed to cover his clothes and some of the table!



And, the finished product:



Next on my list of projects: sweater boots… from these: