Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer fruit goodness

The girls and I stopped on a whim last week and picked some raspberries at a local u-pick farm. I generally avoid raspberries, thinking they are one of my least favorite fruits, plus I have bad memories of having to harvest them from the backyard garden as a kid. I always managed to get lots of scratches, which made me dread the chore even more than my general laziness already did.

Things change over time, though, and I found myself enjoying picking raspberries this time around. Funny how the large, sharp thorns of my childhood are much smaller and less vicious now. We brought home four quarts, about 5 pounds.

Nothing would do but to go back for some more this week. The plants were loaded with lots of beautiful berries. The girls thought they were fun to pick, in spite of the thorns.

On our second trip, we picked 10 more quarts, weighing almost 13 pounds!

We stopped for raspberries the first time because we noticed the sign when we were coming home from picking up a bushel of peaches. 'Cause, you know, a bushel of peaches isn't enough to do, you've gotta get some raspberries, too.

So far, I've made Peach Melba freezer jam and canned peach-raspberry no-pectin jam. I've canned peach syrup and frozen some raspberries, but I still have more peaches and raspberries I need to process today. I am thankful for my girls, who always willingly help with all the produce we preserve.

It's a busy time but the work we do now will taste so good when the ground is covered in snow and all this fresh summer fruit is just a memory.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Kitchen Dry Erase Board

I've been planning to make one of these for quite a while, ever since seeing one in a friend's kitchen. I finally got around to it on Friday and am already loving having it.

I make a lot of little notes to myself in the kitchen on scraps of paper or various notepads so this should help eliminate some clutter. I usually make notes when someone is coming for a meal so I don't forget something (yes, I really have done that) and since my best friend was coming for lunch Sunday, I put it to use right away.

We have some wallpaper sample books and I was happy to find this paper in one. I love pansies! I was tickled with the placement of the flowers in the final project, leaving me lots of room for note making. The candle, a lovely gift from Becky, was lit to remind me to look at my note to call Becky! (which took me another day to get around to...).

My friend, Cinda, asked me to make one for her but since Julianne had some frames from a garage sale she was willing to share, we started looking through the wallpaper books right away. Allison joined in to make one for her room and Cinda made one for herself, one for a friend, and cut out a couple more papers to allow for change on a whim.

My frame is wood but the beauty of Julianne's frames is that they are metal, allowing a dry erase marker from Dollar Tree to be attached right to the frame because there's a handy-dandy magnet on the cap.

Julianne didn't want to make one yesterday because she had already done one with scrapbook paper when I started talking about the idea. Hers is hanging on her bedroom wall, mine will sit on the counter on an easel.

I'm planning to use this for grocery lists, to-do lists, menu ideas, notes to my family, and probably a bunch of other things. They are so simple, cute, and fun to make.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Bake Sale

The girls' quiz team is trying to raise money for nationals next summer. It always costs a couple hundred dollars for admission, which is plenty for the kids to come up with, but next year we will have a huge additional cost for transportation because we'll be going to...Seattle!

This weekend is our church's garage sale to raise money for missions. The quizzers were invited to set up a bake sale during the garage sale and we eagerly accepted.

I made lemon curd tarts, homemade Snickers candies, and cupcakes, which the girls were kind enough to decorate the way I'd seen Kathy do a while back.

We laughed time and again as people walked up and commented on how pretty the cupcakes were and how inexpensive our price was on them, then they'd buy cookies or candy. Over and over again.

Finally, a lady bought a sunflower one. She informed us that it was so pretty, she was going to take it home and keep it, just to look at. One of the boys thought that was a disgustingly gross idea.

Julianne wore the new apron Kathy made me for my birthday a couple weeks ago.

Allison baked for the sale, too-pecan tarts, an apple pie, and a black-and-blueberry pie.

Allison also contributed her kanzashi flowers to benefit the quizzers. She priced them very inexpensively and they sold like...well, not like hotcakes since we weren't selling them...but much better than the beautiful cupcakes.

The people of the church were so generous in providing baked goods that our one day bake sale was extended to two and we still had lots of leftovers. We popped things in the freezer and hope to get people to take them home on Sunday for a donation, rather than letting them go to waste.

I don't have a final count yet, but I think they made over $300. They're off to a nice start but we're brainstorming for ideas to make sure that money doesn't keep any of the kids from being able to go to nationals. Any suggestions?

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Allison's birthday

I finally took the memory card out of my camera tonight to take a look at what was on it. Not much, that's for sure. Allison's 14th birthday has come and gone and I felt bad for not taking any pictures of her special day.

I had forgotten about these:

We were at Family Camp on her birthday and some friends "flamingoed" her.

I was up before her, so I was waiting outside the tent when she came out.

She did have a happy birthday, although we had our annual grilled pizza party that night so it certainly wasn't a relaxing birthday. We figure we served about 140 pizzas in two and a half hours. We were hopping!

We asked her before scheduling it if she wanted us to steer clear of her special day but she said it was fine. Maybe she likes having such a big party on her birthday, even if we don't serve any cake?

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