Welcome! I'm happy you stopped by. I hope that you find something useful here to aid you on your journey!
Wow! It has been a while! Our life just seems to have gotten really crazy last summer and it didn't stop, just changed to more craziness when school started.
Between school, sports, church, and working (I took a year-round, part-time job last fall), I feel like we have no down time whatsoever. Our son seconded this notion when he said, "I don't have weekends, anymore. Just days when I don't have to be at school." And on some of those days he actually had to be at school, too, for drama club or forensics.
As for me, just taking four hours from my day and giving it to a job really made a difference. It's been more difficult keeping up with household tasks than I expected.
But now it is summer and I'm loving it! For the first time in years, it is really hot in northeast Kansas. Just the smell of the heat in the air takes me back to my childhood, when summer days around (or above) 100 degrees were the norm. There's nothing like sitting on the back deck eating ice cream from the bucket, setting off fireworks for July 4th, or taking walks along the dusty road with summer flowers growing alongside. I'm looking forward to the blended fragrance of sunflowers, ragweed, and sweet clover on a hot afternoon, and eating fresh watermelon from a pie tin while sitting in front of a fan! (Fun memories!)
My name is Theresa, aka "Tree" to some longtime friends and a few relatives.
I'm a (mostly) stay-at-home-mom of two. My passions include my family, my faith, and living in a simple manner that respects the blessings we have been given.
We took the time to visit family in the San Luis Valley of Colorado in May. This was our first family vacation in three years! It is so easy to get caught up in everyday life, but so important to step back, review, and find our focus on the people and activities that are really important to us!
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.”
Hot weather Recipes!
I haven't done much gardening this summer. Okay. I haven't done ANY gardening this summer. I don't think this has happened since at least 2001. I know I'll get going with a fall garden in a few weeks, but this year I just didn't feel like doing the weed/bug battle that always comes with a spring garden. So look forward to beets, beans, and greens in the autumn!
In the meantime, we've been loved by neighborhood gardeners who have an over-abundance of produce in their garden. ("Would you like some lettuce or spinach? I have so much! You would?!! Wonderful!")
I'm sure someone will find us during zucchini season!
We have been picking berries from our raspberry and blackberry canes. We have peaches coming on the trees. Earlier we had a successful crop of strawberries from our small but productive patch.
My favorite way to preserve berries is as a jam. It's so simple! The only two things I want to stress are:
1) Use fresh pectin. For some reason, year-old pectin, even if it hasn't expired, seems to fail.
2) Be sure your pan is large enough. There is nothing more frustrating than having to turn your burner off and on to deter the syrup from boiling over while you're cooking it.
Also, do small batches of jams and jellies. Doubling or more just increases your likelihood of failure.
To make 6 (1/2 pint) jars you will need:
- 4 cups for fresh raspberries
- 4 1/2 T pectin (I like Ball Classic Pectin)
- 3 - 5 c sugar (depending on how sweet you want it to be)
Put your berries in an 8-quart saucepan. Add your pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil.
Add your sugar all at once, stirring. Bring back to a full rolling boil and boil one minute. (This is where you need the big pan, so it doesn't boil over!)
Turn off heat and let sit for a minute. Skim foam if necessary. I pour the hot syrup into a gravy separator (one of those pitcher-like devices that pours from the bottom so the grease stays on top; keeps the foam out of the jam!)
Pour into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch space at top. Seal with brand new lids. Water bath for 10 minutes. (See here for specific water-bath instructions!)
Homemade Snow Cones
One of our favorite hot weather treats is homemade snow cones! Several years ago, a friend gave us their snow cone maker. It was just a cheap one from a discount store, but it worked fine for us. Put the ice in, turn the handle, spoon the shaved ice into your cup. Somewhere along the line I was given a recipe for homemade syrup that is SO EASY!
- Boil together 1 c sugar and 1/2 c water
- Add 1 packet of unsweetened KoolAid
- Cool and pour over shaved ice.
I told you it was easy!
We buy a rainbow of KoolAid colors and make multiple batches. I put each color in a 1/2 pint canning jar, and top with lids in which I punched two small holes on opposite sides for easy pouring. It keeps in the refrigerator all summer, or until gone, and makes a quick, cool treat for kids.
This isn't really a recipe, per se. Well, maybe it is. The best way to get great watermelon? Grow it yourself! All you need is decent soil, lots of sun (watermelon originated in the Middle East, so they like it hot and sunny!), and some good watermelon seed.
My favorite watermelons are:
- Charleston Gray
- Sugar Baby
- Yellow Doll
- Desert King
Find the seeds online or at your local store. Plant, water, weed, and enjoy the fruit of your labor!
May God bless you and yours!