Recipes, Uncategorized

Rose Petal Jelly

One of the things I enjoy experimenting with in the summer is various types of jams and jellies. My favorite experiment was Wild Violet Jelly, which I posted about over 4 years ago! I’ve also made Dandelion Jelly, Apricot Pineapple Jam, Wineberry Jelly, and a whole host of others. Later today I plan to make Blackberry Jelly. My latest and greatest is this…..

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Rose Petal Jelly. Pretty cool, eh?

It sounds rather sophisticated, but is really pretty easy to make, and not very time consuming. I’m not a sophisticated gal, so it suited me just fine. The recipe I will share made about 7 jars of jelly.

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These are the ingredients I used:

@6 cups rose petals

4 cups water

1 TB lemon juice

1 box powdered pectin

5 1/2 cups sugar

Here is the process I followed:

Pick approximately 6 cups of rose petals. Lightly  rinse and place in a pot with a quart of water. Bring to a low boil and allow to bubble for maybe two minutes, then turn off the heat. Allow some time (maybe 20 minutes) for the rose petals to infuse the water. Strain off the rose petals and use the remaining rose water for the jelly.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, whisk the rose water with a box of powdered pectin. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice. (In a separate bowl, measure out 5 1/2 cups of sugar.) Bring your pot to a rolling boil, then dump in the sugar, stirring well as you add it. Make sure sugar is completely mixed in! Allow to boil for one minute, then remove from heat.

Have a separate pot of warm water ready for processing the jars. Ladle jelly mixture into jelly jars, leaving maybe 1/4″ of head space, then place new lids on with a band. Place into the pot with water. Bring to a low boil and allow to process for 5 minutes. Using a jar lifter, pull out of the water and allow to sit for 24 hours. Enjoy your beautiful jelly!

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Points to Ponder

Thankful for the Little Things

Today I am thankful for the little things.

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Kids that all adore reading.

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Blooms picked by little hands and placed in a dish for me to enjoy.

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A Christmas catalog that reminds us to think of others more than ourselves.

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Bits of fall color to perk up my home.

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Just one of many recycled creations that I find all over the place.

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My family–the man I married and my 5 little (and not so little) pumpkins.

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A kid that loves playing music.

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One of multiple plants that my horticulture-loving kid tends to with TLC.

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Basement shelves filled with food that we grew and canned together.

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God-given creative abilities….

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In this beautiful season, let’s remember all of the big and little things we can be thankful for daily.

In closing, this verse has popped out to me several times over the past week. I don’t ever really remember hearing much of it before, but it has stuck out to me as of late.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 - Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands." Great verse.:

Great words of wisdom there.

Hope you are having a beautiful October.

Points to Ponder, Recipes

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Hello!

If you are new here or unfamiliar with my “frugal accomplishment” posts, here’s a synopsis of what they are about.

Basically I go over what I have done in the past week (it’s ended up being about two weeks in actuality) to save our family some money. Some of the things may be repetitive, others may be brand new. We are a family of seven that has lived on one income for many years–and done so rather successfully, I might add. We don’t do credit, our vehicles have long been paid for, and we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on our mortgage. Though my husband is the breadwinner, I have been the one to manage our money over our 16 years of marriage. I’m not patting myself on the back or anything, but I think I do a fair job at it, and as our kids have grown I’ve gotten much better at being frugal. (Sorry to break it to you readers with small children, but they get more expensive as they get older!!) Therefore, I feel like I know a little bit about what I’m preaching on here, so I feel like I can share freely about what I do on a regular basis.

Anyway, with that bit of background, here’s what I’ve done these last two weeks:

*Harvested sugar snap peas, beets, scallions, greens, and hull peas out of the garden. I blanched and froze some bags of the regular peas to keep for winter.

*I just got a nice deal on apricots and am making Apricot Pineapple Jam with them.

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*Didn’t do any big grocery runs.

*Had a leftover smorgasbord for several different meals instead of cooking up something new.

*The kids and I went to the North Museum in Lancaster for free yesterday! I had a free voucher for a family that I had gotten the day they reopened after remodeling. We had tried to go that opening day, but due to plumbing issues, they had to close their doors and issued family vouchers to everyone who had tried to attend. I literally got handed one before even going in. SO…I paid nothing and we all got to see the newly remodeled museum AND planetarium show for free.

*Packed our lunch instead of eating out for several different outings.

*We’ve been to the library a couple of times since school let out. The library is our saving grace during the summer! Usually we stop to trade in books about once a week and then attend some of their free programs too. The kids signed up for the summer reading program, where they can earn free coupons and passes to local places.

*I helped serve a wedding rehearsal dinner at our church one evening. When the meal was done, I was given some of the leftovers to take home for my crew. They were yum!

*For the same wedding, I had Longwood Gardens tickets that we had gotten free with our family pass. I gave them as a gift to the bride and groom instead of buying something. (Hey, I know that sounds cheap of me, but I thought it was a cool gift! It’s a great date destination.)

*I bought some very cool retro soda advertisement glasses for super cheap at a yard sale. My kids are in love with them and I purged some of our little kid cups in the process.

*One of our AC units was making some crazy noises and I thought we would have to buy a new one. My handy man checked it out and was able to fix it on his own. Hooray for guys that can fix stuff!!!

That’s all I have for the moment. Hope you’re having a wonderful week.

–Rachel

Points to Ponder

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Hi everyone!

Hope you are all wrapping up the school year well and getting into summer mode. We have a whole day and a half of school left and I’m partially looking forward to it, partially in denial. I’m ready to be done with papers/homework/lunchboxes and looking forward to sleeping in/no homework/not as much *stuff* to keep track of! Ask me again in the beginning of August and I’m certain my tune will have changed!! It’s a little mixed feelings for me every year. So it goes.

Here are some little things I’ve done to save us some dollars in the past week and a half or so:

*Our school gave free vouchers to each student for School Spirit Night at a Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game. We also inherited two vouchers from my brother’s family, so the 7 of us went for free.

*My three younger kids and I brown bagged it at another school trip to Dutch Wonderland instead of buying food there. When we were done it was dinnertime, so I took them out to eat using some gift cards I had.

*My Mom gave me like $30 in Kohl’s cash, which I used to buy some new (yes, new!) sneakers for myself.

*The kids and I went to my husband’s grandmother’s farm and were able to pick a bunch of strawberries. I think we got about 10 or so quarts in total. I used them to make a couple batches of strawberry jelly and we ate the rest! (This pic is from last year when I was able to do the same thing.)

*From our garden we also got some greens, scallions, and sugar snap peas.

*I scored a nice heavy rain poncho thing for my oldest son at a yard sale for 50 cents. He is working as a counselor-in-training at a summer camp this year, so I will send it along just in case. (And yes, I’m totally in denial that I have a child who is not only old enough to work, but will be living away a good portion of the week.)

*Didn’t have to fill my gas tank at all!

Okay, now I have to ‘fess up a non-frugal thing. But it’s not one that I did, it was my hubs….

He has never really done much on Ebay before, but I am pretty experienced at it. He thought he was being frugal by bidding on used hiking backpacks instead of buying new ones, which can run pretty pricey.

He won one backpack, which was fine.

Then another e-mail rolled in saying we won another one. Okay, we could use two I guess…

I didn’t think to ask or check if he had bid on any more. I wrongly assumed he had just bid on two. NOPE.

Fast forward a day and we get two MORE e-mails saying he had won two more backpacks!!!! Aaaah!!! My frugal heart about had an attack. Thank the LORD I caught it right away and was able to cancel the two extra orders. Then I checked to make sure there were no more bids floating around out there. Thankfully not. We now have two hiking backpacks and I am good with that.

Thank you for listening to my Ebay tale. Happy June.

Rachel

Parenting Tales, Points to Ponder

Weird, Wild, or Wonderful Things from 2014

Hey y’all. To wrap up my 2014, I’m reflecting on the good, bad, funny, or just plain random things that happened to either me or my family this year. Hope you enjoy!

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Snow, snow, ice…and yet more snow. This was what the first several months of the year looked like for me and most others from my neck of the woods. Lots of snow. Very cold. Ice storms and many, many days off school for my kids. A tough winter overall, but we made do!

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I taught my first ever grown-up Bible study to a group of ladies from my church this past Spring. Though I am pretty comfortable and experienced in teaching kids Bible lessons, I had never led a group of adults. I would highly recommend this study, and not just to females! Through it I learned a lot, but the thing I most took away from it was that I needed to work on building the “walls” that have been placed closest to me.

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This Spring my Mom signed her and I up for a one day rug braiding class. She knows how I love anything hands-on and that I enjoy learning new skills. It was a fun day of learning an old-time craft and getting to know some other ladies we had never met. (Surprise, surprise: I was the youngest person there.) I took the circle she made and turned it into a cool braided wool basket.

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All five of my children attended some kind of camp this past summer. This is a photo of one of my littlest guys taken by a camp staff member. (For the little guys it was a “mini-week,” a 3 day, 2 night intro to camp.) They all LOVED camp, so we’re already planning on it for this coming year.

We celebrated our oldest son’s 13th birthday.  Though it was back in June, I still feel really weird typing that. Can’t believe I am the Mom of a teenager.(This pic is him at maybe 6-7 months old?) In a few more years we will have five teenagers at one time. Lord help us is all I can say.

We celebrated 15 lovely years of marriage together. Many ups, plenty of downs, and more blessings than we could ever count. So, so thankful for this guy and glad he puts up with me! I appreciate him more and more every year.

A major highlight is that our garden totally rocked this year. We put away tons of fruits and veggies, whether frozen, canned, jammed, etc. Our kids are getting to be excellent helpers with it all.

While browsing the clearance racks at Wal Mart one day, I happened upon THIS awesome tank. I once shared that I had a childhood aspiration of being Wonder Woman, so you know I had to scoop this baby up and wear it! You have no idea how happy it made me that day. Love this shirt. (If you see me sporting the gold headband, a lasso, and gold cuff bracelets along with it, feel free to tell me to tone it down;))

This picture represents one of the Best Pranks Ever in my household. My dear, dear husband is the one behind this freak-o-rilla. He was planning to borrow this costume to be a mascot for a fundraiser at my kids’ school. I didn’t know he had acquired it yet, so he came home from work and parked down the road so we wouldn’t see or hear him. Then he proceeded to put on this thing and creep up to our back sliding door, which was open. I heard a kid scream from my kitchen, came around the corner to investigate, and had the you-know-what scared out of me. He scared every single one of us with this thing. Priceless.

My friends think I live at the school and the kids think I work there. Hmmm, I wonder why?  The life of a PTA president.

One of my greatest joys AND challenges has been stepping up to the role of President of our PTO at school. Our one and only fundraiser for the year is little over a month after the school year starts, so my fall was consumed with this job. I am usually pretty organized and had good people to help along the way, but I definitely had some challenging moments to deal with. However, I think we’ve done some pretty neat things and I am glad to serve the kids/parents/teachers in this capacity.

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This is just a random “weird but cool” tidbit that I wanted to share. A gift given to us from my best friend’s family, this “game” has been a hit with my gang. Made by Jelly Belly, you spin a spinner that points to a certain jellybean you have to eat. It is either really good or really gross, but they look exactly the same. For example, a black one that is either licorice flavor or skunk spray. Juicy pear or booger flavor. Chocolate pudding or canned dog food. You don’t know until you put it in your mouth. I had to eat one that ended up being rotten egg and spit it out! I only had one kid dry heave on me, so I guess that’s not too bad;) Fun times my friend, fun times.

Well, I could bore or perhaps amuse you with many more random things from our year, but I’ll stop there.

Thanks for tuning in, and I hope you have an extra special New Year.

—-Rachel

Craft/DIY Ideas

Canning Jar Band Pumpkin

Today is a revisit to one of my past favorite fall projects. This particular one is from just over two years ago. Enjoy!

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I am such a huge copycat sometimes and this little project is no exception. Granted, I do have a lot of at least semi-original ideas, but some are just imitations of other cute ideas I’ve seen and just put my own little twist on. To be fair, I always try to acknowledge my source of inspiration and I am incredibly grateful when others do the same for me. For this project I completely fell in love with Simply Klassic Home’s canning lid pumpkin and knew I had to try making one.

This was a snap to make and only used a few materials, all of which I had on hand.

For the stem I rolled a length of burlap and glued down. I trimmed this up a bit as well.

Then, simply gather a bunch of canning jar bands of the same size and run a string or twine through their middles. Gather and tie around the stem. Arrange bands so that the tied portion is covered up and there are no major gaps.

I added a green felt leaf for some of the pictures and tried it without for others.

As you can see, I didn’t try to clean up or pretty up my canning bands.

Some are newer, but others are well-worn and loved.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Rachel

 

Recipes

Apricot Pineapple Jam

 

 

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This recipe is a newbie for me as I have never really worked with apricots much before.

At first I was planning to make a basic apricot jam, but then in my research discovered that some people combine it with pineapple.

I am so glad that I did, for this was a winner! In fact, it turned out so well that I plan to make another batch later today.

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The recipe was taken directly from Sure Jell’s website, seen here. The only variation I had from this was that I used the basic yellow box of Sure Jell, not the MCP box (which I’ve honestly never even seen before).

Here is a breakdown of how to make this:

3 C prepared apricots

1 can crushed pineapple, drained

1/2 C lemon juice

1 box pectin

1 tsp butter (to reduce foaming)

8 C sugar

Prepare jelly jars. Wash, pit, and then finely chop apricots (with peels on) until you have 3 cups of it. Place in a heavy-bottomed sauce pot, then add drained pineapple, lemon juice, and pectin. Heat until it comes to a rolling boil, stirring often. Add sugar and stir in, then bring to a boil once more, allowing it to boil about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim off foam if desired.
Ladle into jelly jars, then place lids with bands on tightly. Process in a hot water bath about 10 minutes. Remove from water and let jars sit about 24 hours before removing bands.