Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gardening: A Family Affair

I am so thankful that my children love to help with the vegetable garden. This year we have had a bumper crop of green beans. To date we have harvested 46 quarts. Most of these we have canned. One of the joys of having a garden is eating the produce fresh, so we have enjoyed a few meals with fresh green beans. I am running out of space on my canning shelves so I believe it is time to start sharing our bounty with family.

Here is my beautiful daughter Bethany helping pick. Her favorite part is breaking the beans.

Nothing says Summer like S'mores

One of our families favorite things to do is sit around the firepit. We talk, sing, laugh and you guessed s'mores. Once cooked to the desired doneness–black and crispy, barely warmed or somewhere in between–they are quickly smooshed between two graham crackers with a piece of chocolate.

So how do you like to roast your marshmallows?? Over an open fire, the flame from a gas stove, over a barbeque grill, or maybe a chafing dish? Whatever your method is, nothing says summer like s'mores!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blue Jean Quilt

We all have old worn out blue jeans and if you love frugal living you will love this idea! Why throw them out when you can recycle them into a denim quilt! Even the novice sewer can make this. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. They are warm and durable. They are great for picnics and camping. Teenagers love it and if your child is wanting to learn to sew this is a great project for him or her.

All you need is alot of old denim jeans, shirts, skirts etc. Decide on the size of square you want and start cutting. It is easiest if you have a rotary cutter and mat. After cutting you are ready to start sewing them together.

I chose to sew the wrong sides together with about an half inch seam allowance. Then I clipped the raw edge seams about every 1/2 inch.
Here is my finished quilt. Be sure to use the back pockets off of your jeans too! It really gives it a neat look and the kids love the idea of putting things in the pockets!
I made a few pillow shams since I decided to use it as a bedspread.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Joy of Canning

I grew up around canning, but it was not until I was an adult that I came to know the true joys of canning. There is something about planting, growing, harvesting and preserving that gives me an inner feeling of satisfaction. In my early adult life I canned tomatoes, salsa, pickles and jelly using the hot water bath method. I stayed away from pressure cookers. When I was a child I thought a pressure cooker was a time bomb getting ready to explode and I carried that fear into my adulthood. But as the old saying goes wisdom comes with age. My journey into pressure cooker canning began by asking family members about it, then one summer I helped my 80 year old adopted grandmother can green beans. I still had no desire to own a pressure cooker or attempt it by myself but I was warming up to the idea. I had someone offer me a pressure cooker and I turned it down. Oh, to go back in time. I now live in a place where I can have a larger garden, so last year I asked my mom to teach me how to use the pressure cooker. I found it such a joy to learn from my mother. As she was teaching me, there was a time that I asked her "Why do you do it like that?" Her answer was simple "Because that's the way my mother did it." It was in that moment that I realized a legacy was being passed down. I look forward to the day when I can teach my children to use a pressure cooker. When they ask me "why" I know just what I will say. But for now, they volunteer to help and when the jars are taken out they try to guess which one will seal first. I can't help but join in the game.
Now don't you want that same incredible sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and creative fulfillment from putting up your own food as I get. Go ahead try it! There's nothing to be afraid of!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Sunflower Day

Planting Sunflowers in my garden is a must. Each year when I pick out my precious vegetable plants and am trying to choose the right seeds I can't seem to pass up sunflowers. I usually grab at least 2 packages and on the outer edge of my garden I plant a row of sunflowers. They are so easy to grow. Just put them in the dirt, cover them up and forget about them. But you won't forget about them for long. Their beauty will catch your attention on those hot days of summer. It seems like when everything else is wilting and drooping from the hot summer sun the sunflower stands tall and vibrant. Every time I look at my sunflowers a smile tugs at the corners of my mouth. I think about how the Sunflower turns her head towards the sun every sunrise and follows the light till each sunset, then it does it all again the next day. Oh how I want to be a sunflower. Keeping my eyes upon my heavenly Father, following the Light each and every day and for that reason alone being beautiful.

Maybe you have fond memories of tall yellow sunflowers that you planted as a child. Next year grab a packet or two of seeds and rediscover the joy they brought you those many years ago.