Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And the winner is....

Lindsay and the Beach.  What?  You've never heard of them?  No worries, it's just me smashing 2 posts into one, probably breaking all blogging rules that might exist...Deborah from KS...- can you help me out on that one?

As some of you know, my last rather lengthy post was about Pluots and Jam...and more pluots and jam.  I added a giveaway, will work it differently next time, but hey...learning usually requires experience, yes?  One thing I learned was my ridiculous propensity to misspell giveaway.  But I digress.  You of course... are wondering who the winner is!  

A Lady named Lindsay M...a friend of a friend who liked my page on facebook.  I must say that she makes darling knit fingerless gloves and sells them on etsy, which you can handily link to from here.

Kind of funny how I was mentally rooting for one of my close friends to win.... are we always so biased to those we love?  Probably so. 

Speaking of spending time with those we love; well we were just privileged to spend the weekend at the beach with my Mom and sisters.  It was glorious, even if it did rain on Sun. afternoon.  Ok, well drizzled...David, John, Sarah and Stephen (in the stroller) went with me on my run.  I pretty much ran in slow circles, zigzagged widely, jogged ahead, coming back to meet them.  Stephen is a trooper, didn't act like a little drizzle bothered him in the least!  Felt sorry for the couple that was planning to get married on the beach...the only activity we saw was the music man setting up under a lowdown beach umbrella. 



Pretty much everything a vacation should be!   Thanks MOM

I got to run on the beach 2x AND  play FRISBEE with my son and others.  It really is fun when you can start playing "older" games with your children.   

And there is the inspiration for my thought question.....What did you play with your parents when you were a child? 

Another semi random thought....if you want to be inspired re: HOSPITALITY...go read about the Shunnamite woman.  It's semi random b/c hospitality is on my is such a big blessing to both those who recieve it, and those who serve (as long as your heart is right)  Anyways, I believe it to be no coincidence that God led me to read about this amazing lady right before the hospitality opportunity came to my doorstep.  So yes, I will be busy for a few days...make that a week+ - but it will be such a "good" busy =)  

Blessings to you all, thank you for reading and responding to my thought questions.  this really is fun!

P.S.  I f you want an inspiring wonderful humorous motherhood blog to my friend Kendra.   Like my adjectives, Kendra?  =)

Whoops,...found some more pictures =)  I'm beach happy right now!

Praise the LORD for the OCEAN...there is a special peace there.  Don't worry, I won't go into the fascination diversity of  sea life.  Our God truly is an AWESOME GOD!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jamming with the Pluots

So I told you all a while back that I was planning to have some fun with pluots.  Did I ever!  The thought occurs to me that there may be a few of my readers that are not familiar with this delightful fruit.  As seen on a local nursery website, PLUOTS are cross between plums and plumcots developed here in the fabulous fruitful central valley in 1990. A plumcot is 1/2 plum and 1/2 apricot, so a PLUOT is 25% Apricot, 75% Plum, and 100% DELIGHTFUL.  For you locals, I bought Dapple Dandy and Flavor King at Smith Ranch in Modesto.  Their fruit is simply the best around.  FYI, I did some weighing one day and the peaches I bought were < $1/lb.  I call that great!

First I made Peach Pluot Jam.  The ingredients were pretty simple...peaches, pluots, and the usual jam ingredients. Let me know if you want any of these recipes.  
Cooking the pluots and peaches
 Adding the surejell and sugar
Bringing the jam back to a boil...starting to clarify

Washed the jars - always a happy step.
So a little "small jar" canning tip...if you have a taller pressure canner, you can double layer your jars by putting a cookie rack above pint or 1/2 pint jars, and then put the smaller ones on top.  As long as the actual jars aren't touching, everything's good.  I think I canned about 14 jars at once this way...(happy face)

When I found some more preserving time....out came the strainer for a batch of pluot jelly.  I don't usually go to the extra work for jelly....and I remembered why.  It is a multi-day operation.

First you cook the processed pluots for a little while.

Then you let the pluot mush strain overnight. 

The instructions said to strain it again with cheesecloth lining the strainer.  When I was finished with that, the pluot juice was cloudy and I hoped that I had strained it completely enough.  I had a hunch that when the juice was cooked, it would clarify...sure enough!

This step was pretty easy, bring to boil and add pectin.

Next, wash the jars

Fill and skim the foam off the top of the jars

Yabba Dabba Done!

I don't have pictures of the process of making the Pear Pluot Jam, suffice it to say that it was quite similar to making the Peach Pluot Jam.  It is my personal favorite.  The sweet tang of pluots melds wonderfully with the smooth texture of pear jam.

Pear Pluot on the left, Peach Pluot on the right, and the adorable Jelly in the center

I have some extra jars available for sale on my facebook Aria Gardens page.  As's limited edition, first come first sold.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Celebrating with ....The Long Family

A month ago...or so, I was able to convince Anne to let me host a little Adoption shower in celebration of their soon adoption of 2 sons from Ethiopia.  Yesterday...Matt and Anne picked up their sons!

I had lots of help....Sharon made the banners (cute, yes?)  Mary decorated the cupcakes =)  Dana and Lorraine helped with other aspects of the menu.  Thanks to All!

I wasn't going to post pics on fb or reference it anywhere....then someone else did and well...this is just for the purpose of allowing you to praise the Lord that there are 2 fewer orphans in the world.  Perhaps to help someone realize...that no, we can't all adopt; however, there are many many ways to support and care for the orphans of the world.

This special-to-me lady (Donna R.) is Matt's Great-Aunt, and also the Grandmother of another couple currently in Ethiopia picking up thier new daughter

These new big sisters swept through the gifts...joyfully holding each new garment high for all to see =)

Anne and I weren't really together that much in young folks, she being several (eye roll) years younger than I.  But somewhere along the line, we clicked.  I used to take my boys to speech therapy near her house and we started exercising together regularly.  That quit after a few children...can you imagine 2 GB's on roller blades pushing joggers?  The trail was mostly hidden from the streets, but crossing Staniford and Prescott always mad me wonder what went through some of those drivers minds!

Anyways....the friendship...sometimes short on together time...has stuck.  And I cried yesterday reading about them picking up their sons. I'm so happy for the fulfillment of their dreams.  Keep them in your prayers, it's obviously a big transition...but we serve a Bigger God! 

I hope that everytime I see thier sons, I'm reminded of how gracious God was to adopt me as his daughter!
Here's the easy thought question....
What's your adoption date?  Mine was 12/15/91...oooh, I'm almost 20 =)

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