Friday, October 21, 2011

Caramel Pear Butter

This concoction was suggested by my sister Sharon, who pinned the following link on Pinterest. (How are you all liking this Black Hole Pinterest?)  Knit & Nosh recipe location

I followed fairly closely to the recipe, substituting only cooked pears for fresh (I had a lot and tend to be a bit of a fresh fruit hoarder...LOVE the stuff).  As far as technique, b/c I had already cooked them, I didn't get the Victrolia Food Mill out of Grandma's garage, but instead used my Bosch blender. 

This recipe chain makes me laugh a little because Knit and Nosh also references the recipe she found and changed to her liking.  I haven't yet tried it in my oatmeal, but it is excellent as apple dip, as well as ELEVATING A PB&J TO NEARLY GOURMET!

Thank YOU, GOD, for pears, and sugarcane, spices, and lemon trees.  You make all things beautifully.  Our creations come only from your MASTER DESIGNED building blocks.  For YOU alone are worthy of all praise. 

Limited Edition as usual - I think I have 8 extra jars. They come with ribbon bedecked and sporting lovely labels for instant gifting =)  Contact me on my Aria Gardens facebook page to order a jar (or 2 or 3)

Hmmm, I only have 1 jar of Apple Butter in my pantry....maybe that will be next?  But, there is also a "Pink Pear Extraordinaire" recipe tugging at my apron strings.....AND THE POMEGRANATE TREE IS RIPENING!  

Well, you know I always have a "thought" Question....Which one WILL I make next? 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Exploring my amatuer creativity

Creativity - I often feel a major lacking of this wonderful personality trait.  It has been said "There are different ways to be creative...." and that is TRUE.  I follow a blog from a woman who likes to organize even more than I do.  Check out this latest post.  Cereal boxes?  Really?  Very cool! Her previous post features oatmeal containers.  SHARON... you aren't allowed to look at that one.!

So, me, the least creative of the family looks at making Christmas gifts with a bit of a cringe.  Not really my thing.  But this IS going to be my thing...and I found a wonderful site with lots of ideas.  I'm NOT sharing it.  =)  Mostly b/c my family reads this blog and they might snatch some of my ideas...or figure out what I MIGHT be making them.  (smiling)

But I will share a couple of cute children ideas.  Carolyn, the owl makes me think of you. Not sure why =) Now the question...I always have challenges when matching fabrics.  do I go with what I have that does coordinate, knowing my children will probably like it just b/c I made it and i have dresses that match?  Or should I go get fun stuff at the store.  Niether takes much fabric, so it's not like it will break the bank.  

Both come from the blog Make it and Love it

 Aren't they adorable?
There - That is your thought question.  Let the opinions FLY!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Squeeze your eyes tight....


Really...sometimes I just have to laugh internally, even while trying to tame the crazy chaos that can spring up unexpectedly.  I'm sure some of you relate.  And if you can't, well then, now is when the wool is pulled away from your eyes....sometimes I mess up a bit. QUITE a bit.

The Scene...Stephen has been sleeping for 1.5 hrs.  Sometimes he makes it a 2 hr nap, sometimes not. .I'm in the garage finishing the first coat of stain on a new bookshelf.  I have the front, top, trim and sides of the bookshelf done. The other children are playing legos downstairs...having vanished from the garage for a combination of reasons.  They had 2 rules if they were in the garage.  1. They had to stay on the back step unless they had permission. (John kept sliding over to the fridge to eat yellow tomatoes =) - forgiven.) 2. This is not mommy's no idle chatting.

Oh, and b/c I'm a newbe...there was stain allllll over both of my hands.  All I have left to stain was the solid back and the sides of a couple of shelves.  This was going to be done in a jif!

Sarah comes and tells me that Stephen was awake and crying.  I asked her to ask Aaron to come see me.  I tell Aaron to take Stephen for a little walk outside while i finish...It won't even be 10 min...I say. Stephen...still crying (poor guy, he usually gets cuddled when I get him up from his nap) gets loaded on big bro.'s shoulders.  He does not calm down.  I hear them through the garage door outside.  I hear them come back in the house.  The house door opens and Sarah starts to come out into the garage holding Stephen!

"No, no!" I say." AARON, TAKE HIM IN HIS ROOM"  I'm semi-yelling, just to be heard over the inconsolable toddler sobs.  His reply?

"I'll just go do my homework" as he heads towards the basement.  Smart child, he knows he can't handle a crying baby well, but I can't touch anything with my stainy hands! 

"No!" I repeat, "I can't pick him up."  Having hurriedly finished my staining, I rush into the house and into the bathroom, dodging the wailing toddler to wash my hands. 

The realization enters my brain that ordinary soap and water will not be solving my problem anytime soon!  OK.  "AARON, PLEASE GO GET MY PHONE AND COME IN HERE...on the OTHER side of me, so you can hear me"   As I direct my son on how to speed dial my favorite man, Stephen continues to wail, watching me from the doorway.  It is truly piercing and a bit echoic from the bathroom.  I tell him to "Ask Dad what I should use to clean my's ok if you go out of the bathroom to hear him"

I'm thinking to myself....why WHY why oh why didn't I think of this before I started?  Chalk that one up to lessons of a first time stainer.  I was beginning to wonder if my "honey pine" tan was going to have to wear off! 

 By this time, Stephen had lurched toward me, and I had wiped my hands on a BLACK washcloth, so I could at least bend down, pick him up with my inner arms and set him on my knee so that I could cuddle his head.  i still didn't want to touch his clothes! The wailing ceased and just the occasional hiccuping sob escaped.

Hallelujah...what a husband, bringing his heavy duty hand cleaner up from the shop to me.

So it only lasted about 3-5 min.  I don't know...I didn't have time to look at the clock and i sure didn't have the ability to take pictures...hehe.  Calming Chaos...a little love and one husband rescue at a time.

Really, the rest of the day was great =)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Forgotten Tuesday

So I've waxed poetic (or as poetic as I get) about the blessings of having company.  Lately I've been following a couple of "31 days to" blogs, and one of them is "31 days to a Warmer Connection"  Check it out if you like having company or desire to grow in appreciation of it's blessings.  Yesterday when blogging about my busy week, I rather skipped right over Tues.  Just forgot that I had these great photos on my camera.  

I have a friend from my home district who moved out of state when we were 12.  She is one of those friends who regardless of how long you have been out of contact... you can immediately start talking and feel right at home!  She is an inspiration to me on a variety of fronts.  Godly wife and mother to 7 (4 of whom are adopted).  God has blessed me through her.  A question she asked while we were visiting the other night is my thought question for the post...."What gives you peace" 

The "great" pictures are NOT so great from a photographer's standpoint...except that they capture exactly what was happening.  It was that moment after part of the company has left and the rest are about to....and then....Laurie and I became aware of the din and began laughing.

One side of the room
The other side of the room....each of us intent and vigorous in our conversation! 

The 14 children lined up and exercised the tire swing and rope swing =)  Sarah and her new friend had a blast in her "kitchen"  It is fun to think that these young people might spend time together in YF sometime!

As far as food goes?  The evening is proof that "what" you serve doesn't matter as much as you might think. I actually served a casserole. (I haven't done that very often)   No, it didn't have a cream sauce.  Brown rice, chicken, honey, peppers, wine, mustard, pinapple.  It's pretty good. And handy b/c you can prepare it ahead of time!  Let me know if you want the recipe.  Then I baked Rhodes Texas Rolls - they are large and delicious and super easy.  Available at Winco.  A friend brought a beautiful toss salad. Green beans from our garden rounded out the main course.  Lime pear jello - easy and made the day before....and then...b/c I have lots of pie filling on hand...pie for dessert.  I was a little too hurried to take pictures.  Too bad really, b/c I used my fun leaf pie dough cutters to decorate the crusts a bit.  Maybe I'll use them again at Thanksgiving =)

Does anybody else always have that "panic" time about 2-3 hrs before company is due to arrive?  It gets me every time (just about!)  Do you have any solutions to share?

This was a school night, so that added a few variables...thankfully there was little in the way of homework!

Again....the thought question...."What brings you peace?"  Elaborate as you wish.

A Fall to Cherish

 Fall has arrived!  The shakers, sweepers, and pickup machines roared in here bringing dust,the happiness of harvested almonds...and pure joy to little boys...even my 15 mo. old liked to watch!  Look - you can even see the almonds falling into the nut buggy.

With fall comes the fun of changing decorations. 

Sharon bought some "fun" pumpkin seed for us this spring.  See the fruit that come from the planting?  Beautiful blue/green pumpkins.  Thank you Sharon...Thank you David...Thank you Lord!

 So, I'll admit here that I always feel challenged when decorating.  I lack vision in this area.  I never know what I'm doing ahead of time....just kind of do it as it sort of comes.  Sometimes it stresses me a bit, b/c it's just "hard".  There are so many of you who do such a good sisters...Kara, Jill (by the way, Jill, I am in total agreement with you about threads....can't stand unclipped ones!  =)  Deborah (loved her recent poetic post on wind) Melissa....what do these pictures scream to (any of) you that I need to incorporate?  Yes, I did add some small gourds to the pumpkin...I know that much (smirk)  Anyways...any advice would be lovely and much appreciated!

David's parents arrived a few days before John's 7th Birthday.  Great was the anticipation of the arrival of their vehicle....and all the cookies that came along. ;)

I love how Stephen just knows that they belong.  He's not been with them since Feb. except for a few hours in Klamath Falls this summer.

Because John's birthday was on Sunday and the family was all coming...and I know some of my limits...well, we had his birthday blueberry pancakes on Sat. the day before.  It was Sat. and my boys have some overalls that they *get* to wear on Sat.  Of course Grandpa brought his along!    We had a smashing crew that day, the house got pressure washed, gravel blown free of leaves and wetted down, and the windows were made to sparkle.  Happy smile!

Sunday - Birthday Celebration!  Since Grandpa and Grandma are here, and Aaron (whose birthday is in 3 weeks) is getting a "friends" birthday party this year, we combined their celebrations for the first time.  John got to pick the cake theme, and the birthday food.

Mary kindly read while we all wait for meatballs and mac cheese to get ready.

 He was tooo fast for mom to catch him blowing.  "TOOT, TOOT"

 One of our "requirements" is that the birthday card is read before the gift is opened.  The boys both received cowboy boots and flashlights.  Hmm...sleeping? In bed? With a flashlight?  *fun*

 Derby hats...and a watch.  Little brother has one too.  I'd better watch out, or my cousin Susanna might come steal them for a day =)
Last but not least...the "bruder" backhoe.  Has your child ever poured over the little catalogs that come with some items?  My boys brought home a Bruder catalog from Wa...and did they ever "brood" over that thing!  =)

Early the next morning, I caught my son outside looking like this.... a new mitt will do that to you.

this picture was why he was "sent" outside....I don't CARE if you don't plan to let go of the ball =) We have too many large windows in our living areas!

This made me realize that my children are growing up!  I've never seen them all playing any type of sport together, and Aaron and John were trying to teach Sarah how to catch the ball.  Makes a mother's heart kind of *sing* =)

Monday...we also did laundry...and Jon and Chris came over in the eve for supper.

 Sometime, I still want to do that comparative laundry stain remover post.  I'm working on documenting the evidence.  We are NOT in short supply of available pieces for treatment. ;)

One of Sarah and Stephen's favorite games is "Hide and Seek behind Mom's dresses"  Giggles galore and entertained children...what more could I ask for?

Not sure how I'm feeling towards my Brother and Sister-in-law.  See that multicolored object in my daughter's hand?  Her older brothers have one too.  And Stephen learned how to blow on them.....
WHISTLES!  all the way from France.  "Outside! or downstairs with the DOOR SHUT" I proclaim.  Gracious...someone has to maintain my sanity...or else!  =)  He he, who knows, maybe I'll offer $ to the first one who can make their instrument melodic?

So, we've been busy, but a good busy.  Tomato soup and shopping.  Skyping with the cousins.  And in the midst of it all, trying to tame my brain that says...I want to accomplish this...and this...and this... and this... Reality!
Life is a balancing act.

And in the midst of it all, a phone call.  Reminding us that we have no promise of tomorrows.

That we must cherish the todays.

The sweet sharing between siblings, the cuddling of a sleepy 15 mo. old (LOVE!), and those ordinary goodbye kisses. 

Thought question - what are you cherishing today?

Blog was linked here

Sneaky Momma Blog Design