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Jam Plan!

18 Jul

Apricots are my favorite fruit!

I love them so much I eat them before they are ready!

I grew up in a small town called Jemez Springs and we always had a lot of apricot trees.

Well, it’s odd to most people but everyone from Jemez would eat the apricots before they were ripe. So they were a little green and a little hard – but they are so good. Especially when you put a little salt on them!

This year we had a lot of apricots and my mom sent me home with a whole bunch. Because I wanted to try something new that reminded me of someone I love!

My Grandma would always make jelly when I was little. She would go to a cannery and make jam with her friends – oh and I tagged a long because I was always with her!

This year because we had so many apricots and they were no longer firm or green like I love them I decided to try something different. I made apricot jam and it came out delicious! This is how I did it!

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from here

Apricot Jam

What you need:

8 cups diced apricots

1/4 cup lemon juice ( I ran out of lemons at one point so I used lime and it worked great)

6 cups sugar

1 tablespoon butter – you really need this so the apricot jam does not get to watery or foamy. Add this once it starts to boil

(I also added a pinch of salt. I don’t know if that’s against jam rules but I did it and I think it made the apircots stand out more!)

Tips – I used six cups the first time and the second time I cut it in half. I would suggest you start with three cups and taste the jam as it cooks – add more sugar if youthink it needs more.

Make sure you use a cold spoon when you taste the jam. This will also help you determine if the jelly is done. When you scoop it out with the cold spoon, if it’s runny let it boil longer. If you like the consistency you’re done!

 

Directions:

Sterilize your canning jars by boiling for 10 minutes in a hot water canner or the dishwasher

You will need 5 pint jars or 10 half-pints.

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.

Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.

Once mixture reaches a rolling boil, continue to boil it for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking.

Remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 head space.

Wipe rims clean and put the 2-piece metal canning lids in place.

Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Or if you put the hot jam in the cans it will seal the cans. Just make sure you can’t pop the top of the can when the lid is closed.

Tip –This is a great time to use the chalk board mason jars and write what kind of jam you made. Good for gifts and being organized!

Apricot Jam

Apricot Jam

Apricot Jam

Apricot Jam

Apricot Jam

Apricot Jam – yumm!

Apricot Jam

Apricot Jam

Apricot Jam

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Paper Dahlias

16 Jul

I made these Paper Dahlias for the baby shower. I got the template and idea on Martha Stewarts website.

I changed it up a little bit – because as much as I wish I was Martha, I am poor. I also don’t know how well Dahlia’s will do in the New Mexico heat. So instead of putting actual Dahlia buds I used Blow Pops. Martha says fancy plant, I say edible sugar!

Here is where you can go to get directions and the template to cut out the paper flowers.

Martha Stewart

Paper Dahlias

Paper Dahlias with Blow Pops

Chalk Board Mason Jars

11 Jul

I have always loved drinking out of mason jars. And recently I have been obsessed with the Dollar Tree. Yes the Dollar Tree – not to be confused with those other fake dollar stores where things cost more than a dollar! That’s stupid!!

So I was spending another lunch browsing the shelf’s at the local Dollar Tree when I saw all these Mason jars. And awwwwwwww (sing that) it was like a light came on and my idea juices were flowing!

I bought as many jars as I could fit in my cart!

The next day I was at Pier One getting paper lanterns for our patio and I was reminded of a glass I saw there once. I also saw this trick on that show Trading Spaces . . . anyone remember that show? Once the 86ed Pagie Davis the show went downhill! She was a peach!

Anyway, I saw these jars a long time ago that had chalk board squares on them so people could write their names. And because of Trading Spaces I know they sell spray paint chalk board at most home improvement stores (and Wal-Mart) –

So I made everyone (and had some left over) jars for the baby shower.

I was also thinking of making these for Christmas and filling them with coco or something delicious and writing on them!

Chalk Board Mason Jars

  1. Wash/disinfect the jars in the dishwasher.
  2. Cut out a square stencil so all the squares are the same size.
  3. Tape around (not on) the stencil with blue painters tape.
  4. Tape the crap out of the jar. Tape the WHOLE jar because you are spray painting and it will get other places.
  5. Lay the jars outside on a plastic bag, tarp or cardboard cutout.
  6. Spray the paint – back and forth – it’s an art!
  7. Apply one coat and let it dry completely before you apply the next coat.
  8. I applied four coats and it worked great
  9. After the last coat, let the jar dry 24 hours before you use the chalk.
  10. Rub the chalk back and length wise all over the chalk board surface and rub it off
  11. Then the chalk board is ready to use!

Hope your do-it-yourself projects turn out well!

Enjoy!

Wash/disinfect the jars in the dishwasher.

Cut out a square stencil so all the squares are the same size

Cut out a square stencil so all the squares are the same size

Tape around (not on) the stencil with blue painters tape

Tape around (not on) the stencil with blue painters tape

Tape the crap out of the jar. Tape the WHOLE jar because you are spray painting and it will get other places.

Tape the crap out of the jar. Tape the WHOLE jar because you are spray painting and it will get other places.

Lay the jars outside on a plastic bag, tarp or cardboard cutout

Lay the jars outside on a plastic bag, tarp or cardboard cutout

Spray the paint – back and forth – it’s an art!

Spray the paint – back and forth – it’s an art!

Apply one coat and let it dry completely before you apply the next coat. I applied four coats and it worked great

After the last coat, let the jar dry 24 hours before you use the chalk.

Rub the chalk back and length wise all over the chalk board surface and rub it off

Then the chalk board is ready to use!

Baby Shower for Dillian

10 Jul

This Saturday I hosted a baby shower for my friends Angie and Ryan.

Oddly enough I have hosted only one other baby shower in my life and that baby came early. And so did Dillan – she was a month early but healthy.

So, pregnant ladies around the world – if you are past due and want to pop that baby out, let me know. I’ll throw together a baby shower and you’ll most likely go into labor.

I went all Martha Stewart (I like to think I did anyway) for this shower. I’ll post recipes and DIY for favors and decorations this week.

Enjoy!

Baby Shower – Thanks Arantha for taking pictures while I was getting things finished up!

I sprayed chalk board spray paint on Mason jars for people to drink out of and keep as a gift! So cute, cheap and beautiful!

I made flowers and put Blow Pops in them as gifts! This was actually from Martha Stewart’s website!

I made flowers and put Blow Pops in them as gifts! This was actually from Martha Stewart’s website!

I made all the food for the shower. Recipes coming soon . . . .

I made all the food for the shower. Recipes coming soon . . . .

Homemade flowers and lanterns

Homemade flowers and lanterns

Yes I own a chocolate fountain!

Yes I own a chocolate fountain!

Flowers

Flowers

His and hers cups! And the best drink ever! Will Share recipe!

His and hers cups! And the best drink ever! Will Share recipe! I also got a mix of fresh flowers and used my homemade flowers.

Proud Dad Ryan!

Ryan, Angie and Dillan! Family!

Ryan, Angie and Dillan! Family!

Baby Dillan – the guest of honor at her own baby shower!

Childhood Hobbies Reinvented

8 Jun

I work in a highly secure building! The security here is air tight – you cannot get into our building unless your name is Tom Cruise/Ethan Hunt or your name has numbers in it ie 007! Or you just wait until someone walks by and you ask them to open the door 🙂

So it’s important that I NEVER lose my name badge – well that I never lose my second name badge. The first one was stolen by a 007 type or maybe I just forgot it somewhere in the universe.

It’s also important that you have a cute lanyard to put said name badge on. And finding these cute lanyards is near impossible!

So one day my wonderful friend and office mate Rochelle got me this amazing and beautiful lanyard! It had blue jewels and it sparkled! I loved the hell out of it. Maybe too much. Because soon, sadly, the lanyard started to fall apart L And I had to keep gluing it back together. Yes, I admit, I kept super glue at my desk just to preserve the lanyard. I not only superglue my fingers together but I accidently glued my phone to my desk. Now my iPhone case will forever have a piece of my desk attached to it L

The lanyard also started to pull my hair out, and I knew it was time to retire that lanyard and get a new one.

RIP

RIP

But like I said, it’s not easy to find cute lanyards. So Rochelle and I thought we would make our own! I used to be good at making friendship bracelets back in elementary! That is cheap and fun. In fact, my sister-in-law has a friendship making bracelet book!

So I asked Gianna (sis-in-law) to find the book. She thought it was in their storage shed. And I crawled over boxes, at night, a little tipsy to get to the box that held the book – only to discover the book was in her room the whole time.

Once Rochelle and I had the book, we needed the string. One day at lunch we ventured to an arts and crafts store and got a shit load of string for like 32 cents. And we also found a cute little Chinese restaurant that didn’t charge us much more for a meal! Double score (eww that sounds like 50 Shades)

After some practice, our lanyards came out beautiful! And believe me it’s not easy to make these bracelets in a house full of cats. Making these in front of my cats is like torture for them. They do sometimes give in and attack me with the string.

Once we became experts – we started getting requests from friends for normal bracelets.

I of course asked the husband what kind he would like and he picked the hardest pattern in the book which requires an engineering degree and the ability to do algebra with string. So he is not getting one.

Our friends Dan and Cannon, who have the pleasure of attending a little music even called the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) will be sporting our fabulous bracelets! And although we won’t be there physically, our spirits will in our bracelets – PLUR (hahahah just kidding!)

But seriously we wish we could go – maybe we will start selling our bracelets and make enough money to go next year!

Anyways, this is a new hobby of mine. Well more like a recycled hobby of mine. These are fun to do, let’s you be creative and you can give them to people which is also fun. I am happy that I still enjoy making these as much as I did when I was little.

Although, I sometimes feel like a loser who has a lot of cats and sits at home making friendship bracelets for fun! That does not sound good on paper – it’s like being a 32 year old boy scout!! Thank god I can drink while I make these bracelets, or I might be embarrassed enough to stop!

Concrete Angel?

5 Jun

I have a seasonal hobby – a summer hobby – a hobby many homeowners (and some renters) share – yard projects.

The husband and I bought our house a few years ago – the back yard was a great size but it was a huge dirt space. So every summer we add concrete and make it a little less dusty – this summer had been no different.

This weekend we laid more concrete. I know way more about concrete and laying it and the tools that you need than someone who would rather pay to have their yard landscaped. However, my wonderful husband believes in doing things yourself (which is really quite attractive) – And makes him seem super smart because he knows how to lay concrete and do other weird DIY stuff that I have no idea where he learned. Well actually I lie – I know where he acquired this knowledge from – his dad, who lucky for us is sweet enough to help us with all our yard work. And so is Shane’s brother Gavin and my brother Nick.

I would also like to point out that I totally helped too! There is a job for everyone when it comes to concrete! You always need a gofer and someone to do the annoying little things the “real” words don’t want to! Also, I must say, I am strong! I handled those 80LB bags of concrete like a champ!

Doing yard work is especially rewarding to me because Shane rewards me with food, as long as I don’t complain! The rule is I help, he feeds me. And I don’t feel bad eating horrible food because I just lifted nine 80 pound concrete bags and five 60 pound mortar bags. And did all the other fun concrete stuff like drive a wheel barrel full of wet concrete and shovel it into tight places.

I never knew how hard it was to “build” and make things. Hats off to ALL construction workers who do this for a living. And I am especially in awe of construction workers who do this in the heat! It was 90 degrees this weekend – I can’t imagine doing manual labor in Las Cruces where we used to live or any other place that is horribly hot! Construction works of Phoenix you are my hero’s!

Another thing about doing all this yard work – after a long day of working you smell horribly, have concrete stuck to you in the weirdest places and are so tired you can hardly walk. But after a nice shower – You get the BEST SLEEP EVER!!!!!

No need for a sleeping pill or any other sleep aid! Can’t sleep you should think of becoming a construction worker.

It is so rewarding to sleep after you put your body through the ringer. And having a nice place to relax outside (after you are done and clean up) is so fantastic! It’s also crazy to see what started as a patch of dirt is now a cool patio Even if your husband won’t let you put your handprints and name and year in the concrete.

I have included some yard work/DIY work for women below:

1. Wear A LOT of sunscreen! Don’t get burned! Make sure you use sunscreen and apply every two hours. Especially if you are working with concrete or anything else that requires the use of water.

I discovered this great sunscreen that is not oily and goes on super-fast! After two days of doing work outside I didn’t burn once!

Also throw away your sunscreen after a year – it goes bad and is not as potent after a year.

2. Drink A LOT of water! I mean this A LOT!!! You are out all day and sweating, you need to drink water so you don’t get dizzy and fall face first into the wet concrete! That would be horrible! So make sure you and your helpers stay hydrated! With water, beer should not be consumed until after you are done and all sharp objects are put away. . . .

3. Get some pretty/fun girly stuff. It will make you more excited to work! Target, Home Depot and Lowes all have “accessories” for women. Cute gloves or a hat will make you feel better about all the manual labor you will be doing.

I found these accessories. Also, get a knee cushion especially if you are gardening or doing concrete because you will be on your knees all day (no need for gross jokes!) – Your knees will thank you later.

So for all of you doing DIY yard or house projects have fun and you are in my prayers. For all of you who are paying other people to do it for you – well screw you! And please talk to my husband . . . .

Before

Before

Before

Before

Father and son

Father and son

Almost Done

Almost Done

Bruce is done!

Bruce is done!!