September 29, 2005
September 27, 2005
September 24, 2005
I had to take a picture of the freshly canned jars of plum jam on my kitchen counter today. It is very satisfying to see them there…the finished product of a long afternoon of stirring, burning my fingers on hot jars and dried out hands from washing all my pots 3 times for 3 batches of jam. This all started a few days ago when I was rummaging through my freezer for some idea of what to cook for dinner. My freezer is a chest type that is very deep (in order to reach something at the bottom, my feet come off the floor), things can become lost in there, lurking at the bottom. So I was pleasantly surprised at finding some plum puree that I had made last Fall! (talk about procrastinating…heh) I looked at it, deciding it wasn’t freezer burned or too old, pulled it out to thaw and went looking for my canning equipment.
I haven’t canned anything in years….between summers here with no air conditioning, busyness at the beginning of Fall when I used to can stuff, and the high cost of produce here, it didn’t seem worth the effort. So when I was given a huge box of plums last Fall, I dove in washing, pitting and dicing plums for a couple of afternoons! Then I promptly put the puree in the freezer, thinking I would make jam when the weather got cooler…enter going to work every day last Fall and you have forgotten fruits.
Like the Little Red Hen, I asked each of my older kids if they’d like to learn how to can…..rejection. Maggie, my 8 year old, buzzed in and out of the kitchen wanting to help, but due to ill timing and boiling hot jam that needed constant stirring, my one willing helper was shooed off…..oh, the rejection. This all turned into a marathon jam event and by the third batch, I was slopping the sticky stuff into jars as fast as I could so I could rest.
I have to say though, that it was worth all the work to see the finished product, all pretty, lids pinging into preserving perfection, all lined up on the counter. My daughter commented that we still had some jars of jam in the cupboard and pulled out about 8 jars with handwritten labels on top: blueberry jam, applebutter, apricot. Now I know that the only jam I have canned since moving to Arizona is the applebutter, so that meant the other jars were over 8 years old! Gross! I threw those out, but let her open the applebutter. It was several years old, I know…but it was still sealed and made the appropriate poof noise upon opening, but it looked kind of iffy. I guess it was fine because she ate some and was fine, but I couldn’t bear to have any myself.
The fruit of my labor years ago was not very appetizing….kinda stale and funky, but there is a fruit that will never spoil and always looks good and pleasant to experience wherever it is cultivated:
September 20, 2005
September 16, 2005
Once the weather gets cool, I consider it Fall. We get Fall weather here in the mountains earlier than normal. So I am already in the Fall mode….thinking about mums in my garden, looking for changing leaves, and rooting out my Fall recipes. Pumpkin bars, apple pie, soups, aaaaaaaaand the ever Fallish of Fall recipes….ginger snaps. We lived in New Jersey for almost ten years and every Fall we would go to the store and see tall stacks of orange boxes at the end of the grocery isles…..boxes of Sweetzel’s Spiced Wafers. By the second Fall we lived there, I had to buy a box of them since there were so many stacked up in every store you went to, that it made you curious as to what was so special about these cookies….well it made me curious anyway. From the first bite, they became my favorite cookie. They weren’t like other ginger snaps…..they were almost black with spices and hard as a rock, so you has to dunk them in your coffee or milk, which just added to their charm.
When we moved to Arizona, I was sorely disappointed when Fall came and there were no Sweetzels….anywhere. A friend of mine from New Jersey sent me 2 boxes of them one Fall because I had talked about it so much…..er, whined about it probably. She felt sorry for me. =) The next season, I decided I would go on a search for the perfect ginger snap recipe. I don’t know if you’ve made ginger snaps before, but there is a lot of variance in ingredients and taste. It took 2 years and probably 4 bottles of molasses to find a good recipe. And now I’m sharing it with you…cuz I’m so nice. I just want you to have a wonderful Fall and to have the snappiest ginger snaps to lead the way. They are best if you have a tall glass of ice cold, freshly pressed apple cider with them, but if not, use the beverage of your choice….coffee, tea, milk.
3 sticks butter
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups sugar (or 1 c brown sugar and 1 c white sugar)
4 cups flour (I use half whole wheat flour)
4 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon (or more)
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves (heaping tsp)
Soften the butter. Add the molasses, sugar and eggs. Beat well. Sift together the spices, flour and soda. Add the dry ingredients to the molasses mixture. Mix well. Refrigerate overnight. When thoroughly chilled, form into small balls about 1 inch in width. Roll the top side of these balls in sugar. Place on greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Makes approximately 6 dozen cookies.
Tip: Use sugar in the raw, or turbino sugar to roll the cookies in before baking. The larger sugar crystals make them look cool.
September 13, 2005
September 12, 2005
It is beautiful Fall weather outside here....high 69, breeeeeeezy, crisp, leaves rustling, faint smell of a fire place in the air...mmmmmmm. It is so refreshing! I am sitting at the kitchen table, listening to Maggie read her story for the day...I'm only getting that it's about a frog and the 'tools' he has to help him swim and survive in water.
Where I really want to be is sitting out on the lawn swing enjoying the day....soon I will be. So I'm taking a minute now to share a new page I've found. It is called The Drinking Fountain. I started perusing it this morning during math time. =) Math time takes forever and it is review, so I was perusing between checking answers. I have been finding the internet a very dull place lately…mostly I check mail, a few message boards and a few blogs. I guess I’m not very good at finding new places to explore. The Drinking Fountain is full of interesting links and blog pages arranged by the personality type of the author….very fun idea! So check it out if you’ve run out of places to explore on the net.
I hope you have some refreshment in your life today….I know it is just what I needed after a couple of weeks of seeing tragedy and horror. Pray for those who are relocating from the Gulf area, that their lives will be refreshed and the places where they settle will be a blessing to them.
One man gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
September 7, 2005
I found this meme on Stand up and Walk. Go here and enter your graduation year in the search box. Click on the top 100 songs of that year and start crossing and emboldening.
Songs I didn’t like are crossed out,
songs I really liked a lot are in bold,
songs I don’t even remember have question marks after them.
I liked the radio and listened to most of this stuff, but I never was the kind of person to know the names and artists of songs. The artists I mostly listened to at home on my stereo (on albums!!) were Dan Fogelberg, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, and James Taylor. Not really top 40 stuff, but when you see the list you’ll understand….ha! I was NOT into disco…..and unfortunately I grew up in the age of disco.
1. My Sharona, The Knack
3. Le Freak, Chic ??
4. Da Ya Think I'm Sexy, Rod Stewart
5. Reunited, Peaches and Herb
6. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
7. Hot Stuff, Donna Summer
8. Y.M.C.A., Village People
9. Ring My Bell, Anita Ward??
10. Sad Eyes, Robert John
11. Too Much Heaven, Bee Gees ??
12. MacArthur Park, Donna Summer ??
14. Makin' It, David Naughton ??
17. A Little More Love, Olivia Newton-John
18. Heart Of Glass, Blondie
19. What A Fool Believes, Doobie Brothers
20. Good Times, Chic
21. You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond
22. Knock On Wood, Amii Stewart ??
23. Stumblin' In, Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman
24. Lead Me On, Maxine Nightingale
25. Shake Your Body, Jacksons
26. Don't Cry Out Loud, Melissa Manchester
27. The Logical Song, Supertramp ??
28. My Life, Billy Joel
29. Just When I Needed You Most, Randy Vanwarmer
30. You Can't Change That, Raydio
31. Shake Your Groove Thing, Peaches and Herb
34. I Want You To Want Me, Cheap Trick
36. Mama Can't Buy You Love, Elton John
37. I Was Made For Dancin', Leif Garrett ??
38. After The Love Has Gone, Earth, Wind and Fire
39. Heaven Knows, Donna Summer and Brooklyn Dreams ??
40. The Gambler, Kenny Rogers
41. Lotta Love, Nicolette Larson ??
42. Lady, Little River Band
43. Heaven Must Have Sent You, Bonnie Pointer ??
44. Hold The Line, Toto
45. He's The Greatest Dancer, Sister Sledge ??
46. Sharing The Night Together, Dr. Hook
47. She Believes In Me, Kenny Rogers
48. In The Navy, Village People
49. Music Box Dancer, Frank Mills
50. The Devil Went Down To Georgia, Charlie Daniels Band
51. Gold, John Stewart ??
52. Goodnight Tonight, Wings
53. We Are Family, Sister Sledge
54. Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy, Bad Company
55. Every 1's A Winner, Hot Chocolate ??
56. Take Me Home, Cher ??
57. Boogie Wonderland, Earth, Wind and Fire ??
58. (Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away, Andy Gibb
59. What You Won't Do For Love, Bobby Caldwell
60. New York Groove, Ace Frehley??
61. Sultans Of Swing, Dire Straits
62. I Want Your Love, Chic
63. Chuck E's In Love, Rickie Lee Jones
64. I Love The Night Life, Alicia Bridges ??
65. Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now, McFadden and Whitehead ??
66. Lonesome Loser, Little River Band ??
67. Renegade, Styx
68. Love Is The Answer, England Dan and John Ford Coley
69. Got To Be Real, Cheryl Lynn ??
70. Born To Be Alive, Patrick Hernandez ??
71. Shine A Little Love, Electric Light Orchestra
72. I Just Fall In Love Again, Anne Murray
73. Shake It, Ian Matthews
75. I Just Wanna Stop, Gino Vannelli
77. Ooh Baby Baby, Linda Ronstadt
78. September, Earth, Wind and Fire
79. Time Passages, Al Stewart
80. Rise, Herb Alpert
81. Don't Bring Me Down, Electric Light Orchestra
82. Promises, Eric Clapton
83. Get Used To It, Roger Voudouris ??
84. How Much I Feel, Ambrosia
85. Suspicions, Eddie Rabbitt
86. You Take My Breath Away, Rex Smith
87. How You Gonna See Me Now, Alice Cooper ??
88. Double Vision, Foreigner
89. Every Time I Think Of You, Babys ??
90. I Got My Mind Made Up, Instant Funk ??
91. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, Michael Jackson ??
92. Bad Case Of Lovin' You, Robert Palmer
93. Somewhere In The Night, Barry Manilow
94. We've Got Tonite, Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band
95. Dance The Night Away, Van Halen
96. Dancing Shoes, Nigel Olsson
97. The Boss, Diana Ross ??
98. Sail On, Commodores
99. I Do Love You, G.Q. ??
100. Strange Way, Firefall ??
**Disclaimer** I apologize profusely for the music of my senior year. =(
September 4, 2005
My pastor, who happens to be my husband, was preaching this morning. We have been watching coverage of the hurricane relief efforts and all the media hype that goes along with such a major event. So many people are pointing fingers saying it was God's wrath on New Orleans or they are blaming the government, judging the motives of relief workers, the President and FEMA. He said he thinks it is God's wake up call for American Christians....to wake up and see the desperate needs of each other and reach
out. We get so caught up thinking of ourselves and our comfort or trying to analyze why so many people are on welfare or addicted to drugs that we don’t help at all. What we
need to do is what Jesus said to do...help the poor, the
downcast...and we don't...we just judge them. So when
this happened, it caused our hearts to be broken for
the poor again and to do what we can to help. This puts us all on equal ground, doesn’t it? The hurricane fell on the just and the unjust. Now we need to help those in need, the just as well as the unjust.
Everywhere I go I am hearing of people wanting to volunteer or
donate or help in some way. Even as far as Phoenix,
they are offering shelters for the hurricane's
homeless. I hope people are hearing the good news....people everywhere care…our humanity is kicking in. People are doing what they can to help in any way. The police force and forest service people here are taking shifts to come and help in
recovery and clean up also. I think in all of
this...when it's all said and done, that God will be
glorified through His people….through true love that is shown in deeds.
1 John 2:9-11
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:16-18
September 2, 2005
I can’t believe we have not yet received information overload on New Orleans and the recovery effort there. We have had the television on to CNN and FOX news channels, almost constantly here, and I am held riveted to it. The news stations are doing a really good job of making this catastrophe personal….all the individuals they interview, the pictures of people walking around looking desperately for their loved ones, pictures of the squalor they were rescued from. The media is our link to the disaster….it compels us to donate, to pray, to feel for these people. The same thing happened when 9/11 and the tsunami in India were reported on. Trying to describe how catastrophic this is to my kids this morning as we had our devotions before starting schoolwork, I got this huge lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, having a hard time describing it to them out loud somehow made it more real to me.
Before, when we’ve heard about hurricanes that had hit Florida or the east coast or gulf states, it was just a community or just along the shoreline that was destroyed. (I hate to say ‘just’ when it represents people’s lives, but it is necessary to make a point.) This time it wiped out a whole city, more than a million people lost everything…think about that… everything …..and more than one city, it devastated communities all along the coast and inland too. I emailed a friend of mine who lives in Hattiesburg, MS, wondering if they had received damage and if they were alright. I finally heard from her this morning, September 2. She said even though they are an hour north of New Orleans, they have 20-30 thousand dollars worth of damages on their home and everyone around there is in the same shape. She is really grateful to have her family and friends safe, as well as a home and some things left. And today their electric power came back on. I got the impression from her brief report, and because I know her heart, that she was way more concerned about the people in New Orleans, Gulf Port and Biloxi who had lost everything and so many who had lost loved ones than she was about having a damaged house.
Times like these put a more realistic perspective on life for us. I have been feeling pangs of guilt and selfishness when I pour a glass of clean water for myself, take a shower or watch television in comfort. I look at my family and have them all home with me tonight, even my college daughter is home for the long weekend. We really do have so much….so much.
And time is our currency
So no one's rich, nobody's poor
We get twenty-four hours each
So how are you gonna spend
Will you invest or squander
Try to get ahead
Or help someone who's under
Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
Somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much
Every day is a gift you've been given,
Make the most of the time every minute you're living
~Chris Rice, Life Means So Much~