Applicious: Canning Weekend!!

We canned all weekend, which is kind of tiring when your baby is waking up from 4ish-6ish every morning and you have to wake up by 6 to get to Mass on time. I love the 7:30 Low Mass on Sunday, but you do need to drink coffee all day when you get up at 4am. 

We started with three times this. 1/2 bushel of Cortland and 1 bushel of Regent.

On the plus side, things might be looking up, because baby slept 8:20pm-2:30am last night. Nursed. Would not go back to sleep. So we stuck him swaddled and awake in his bassinet and dozed ourselves. I peeked at him an hour later and he was asleep. I am not getting my hopes up, because he had shots yesterday and probably is sleepier because of them, but, but, maybe?

Speaking of shots. I have been reading the letters of Bl. Zelie Martin (A Call to a Deeper Love), and her life was full of heartbreak and worry over her children’s illnesses. I am so thankful for vaccines and antibiotics that keep me from worrying about my babies dying with every illness. They had two babies die 18 months apart from infections.

It is heartbreaking to read her tell about it to her sister-in-law. But she also took it all so gracefully with such faith in God. She is truly an inspiration to me in my struggles with homeschooling and house keeping and baby sleep.

You have to stir continuously or the applesauce will burn. My arms are still sore. M’s are not apparently.

Back to canning. We washed, cut, blanched and strained our apples to make sauce on Saturday. I used some of the peelings boiled in water to make apple juice for jelly.

Stirring three canner loads of applesauce for hours is hard work!

And on Sunday, we brought the applesauce to a boil and canned it. And we made the jelly with sugar and pectin.

Totals: 16 quarts of sauce canned (including 4 pints), 6 half and 1 pint of jelly.

This combination of apples is less exciting in flavor than last years’, but it makes a pleasant mild sauce.

And the jelly is soooo applely. I am going to give some jelly and sauce to the St. Agnes Fall Festival in a few weeks, so head on over there for your chance to buy some!

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, August 7–Summer, never leave me!

These all came from the garden. Yum!

1. I am really soaking up summer right now. I don’t really want it ever to end: sunshine, warm days, garden fresh veggies, flowers everywhere, barefoot children, and squishy bare baby legs. It does not really get better than this… please summer, don’t go away, ever…

2. This guy is smiling and cooing, and as F (2) says, “He is talking at you!” That is probably the most apt way to describe it: “talking at.” And we are getting some sleep at night, at least six hours most night of interrupted sleep is all I need as long as I can have my cold press coffee mid-morning after I have had my hot coffee with breakfast.

3. We checked out a beach at a local county park last Sunday. (The Twin Cities has amazing parks). It was perfect. The water was not too deep, there were umbrellas for shade for the baby, and the bathrooms were about 30 feet from where we laid our blanket. This was our plan for teaching the girls to swim this summer, but we might just have to give in and do lessons at some point. Anyway, the beach was nice and I did some coverless public breastfeeding to kick off World Breastfeeding Week (because everything needs a week I guess) and showed less skin than most of the other women on the beach, so there…

Not a nursing picture.

4. We have had the following conversation at dinner about 5 times in the last week:

G (6): “I still am going to be a nun when I grow up.”

L (4.5, and who previously expressed a desire to be a nun): “I think I might get married instead.”

F (2.5): “I am going to be a PRINCESS!”

Of course you are, F; dream big. Be who you want to be. You can keep the Disney Princesses out of you home, but your can’t take the dream out of their hearts. Actually, we do a lot of princess stories here, just sans Disney.

5. G came out of her room dressed like this the other morning.

Me (wondering if she is going emo): “You know, G, you are wearing all black.”

Her response?

“Some nuns wear all black everyday!”

Me: “True. Good point.”

6. Back in June, M and my mother took the girls strawberry picking. They came home with 30 lbs of strawberries, most of which we cleaned, crushed and froze. Well, last Sunday (the one before we went to the beach), we made a whole bunch of strawberry jam. So much so that we canned it in quarts and pints. With four kids we have moved up to club size canning!

7. And in case you don’t follow me on Instagram, check out these morning glories:

I love them!

That’s all folks… I guess this was a photo dump post…

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum!

How to Can Peaches With a Newborn in 10 Easy Steps

1. Send your husband to Hudson, WI to purchase the Georgia peaches that have been shipped in by Tree Ripe Citrus Co (a wonderful company that makes living in the north less bleak by bringing amazing fresh southern fruit, plus Michigan blueberries). Try to keep four kids aged six and under happy while he is gone.

2. When the bushel arrives on your dining room table, lay the peaches out in a single layer on cardboard to ripen for two days. Bounce the fussing baby in one arm while doing this.

3. Sleep in later than planned the day you want to can because the newborn kept you up for too many hours in the middle of the night. Attempt to set up for canning once everyone is dressed and fed. Tell the 6 and 4 year old to play with the 2 year old and stay out of the kitchen. Nurse the newborn.

4. Nurse the baby. Soothe the baby. Watch your husband: wash the rings, wash the lids, wash the jars, fill the canner and bring it to a boil, make light sugar syrup, wash and blanch peaches. Put sleeping baby into carrier and help.

5. Peel and pit a 1/4 bushel of peaches. Re-soothe baby who is fighting the sling but wants to be asleep.

6. Fill jars with peaches and hot syrup. Place screaming baby in bouncy seat while hurrying to get load in canner. Place lid and ring on each jar. Process in boiling water canner for 30 minutes.

7. Order pizza for lunch. Nurse newborn. Get the older children into their quiet times and the 2 year old down for nap.

8. Repeat steps 5-6 until peaches are all canned. Optional: After lunch lay sleeping baby in cradle swaddled for an afternoon nap.

9. Clean kitchen and happily greet friend who is bringing you dinner for that night.

10. Boil the peach peelings for 30 minutes to make peach juice. Leave out overnight. Ask your husband to help make peach jelly the next afternoon.

Stats: We canned 3/4 bushel of peaches into 21 quart jars and froze 4 quarts of slices. We made 11 pints of peach jelly with the juice. The last 1/4 bushel we have been eating for a week. Yum!

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, July 10

1. Tomorrow is the last day of the novena to Bl. Louis and Zelie Martin! I will post a link to a litany for their feast day. I had forgotten since last year how powerful and realistic the daily reflections are on marriage and family life. When these two are canonized, they are going to be an even greater example for marriage and family life.

2. I had a birthday since we last did quick takes, with my traditional chocolate peanut butter cup pie. Also, here is the only photo of me and T since I was in the hospital.

 3. My sister asked for more baby photos. I have not really been able to take many photos of the baby. Here is one from last week.

 But today I got his FIVE WEEK old self dressed in his first 3-6 month outfit (he is in a cloth diaper), fed him, and he was happy. I set him down to snap a photo and he did this. This is why we don’t have lots of photos of the baby.

 4. Garden update! Our lettuce harvest was massive and delicious. There are still a few plants that have not bolted. And I am trying a second planting in a shadier spot. The cold crops don’t like the heat of the summer. The peas are still going strong. The chard has been delicious. The carrots, cabbages, and leeks are still coming.

 Here is the first of our cucumbers.

 5. Other Garden: These nine tomato plants (in front of the lilac bush) are covered in grape, cherry, or yellow pear tomatoes waiting to ripen. We are going to have tomatoes coming out of our ears soon. The pepper plants are not really growing, so we will see. The herbs are doing well. And those are potato plants in the far back.

6. We did some peach canning yesterday, but I am going to give it its own post next week, because a days worth of canning deserves its own post. For real.

7. In case you missed it, M and I published our second article for ChurchPOP reviewing the films on the Vatican Film List. This time was the Religion category.

I am linking up with Bonnie at “A Knotted Life” who is hosting this week for Kelly.

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, October 10

1. This week has been a lot about food. Saturday had a frost advisory, so we did a rapid harvest of the garden, and we got a pretty good load of stuff:

The frost never came, and did not until last night. However, we have accomplished so much with our garden stuff by now, that I am not really wanting to go back.

2. First, we pickled 10 pounds of cucumbers, using this tutorial. M and I canned 9 pounds in our boiling water canner after bedtime one night, and then the girls and I did the rest in the fridge for our science experiment of the week. Beforehand, I ran out to the store to find dill seed for the pickling as well as cider vinegar. The cashier, who was about 7 months pregnant, immediately asked if I was making pickles. I should have offered her a jar. I really should have.

I really hope that they taste better than they look. Here we have a quart of slices and nine pints of spears.
The lighting worked better for these ones. We have 11 half pints.

Another experiment we did was pickling green tomatoes. I have no idea if they will be good, but we did them in dill. I am thinking we will have a dinner of chicken Kiev, pickled tomatoes, and…

3. Red cabbage sauerkraut next month. I have never fermented vegetables before, but here we are giving it a try. I will let you know how it goes. We used this recipe. 

On the first day.

4. There were a lot of cute food rosary pictures online on Tuesday for Our Lady of the Rosary, including our cupcake one from a few years ago. This year we were a little more focused on the Battle of Lepanto in which a small Christian fleet defeated a larger Ottoman fleet through the intercession of Our Lady. The pope asked everyone to pray the rosary for victory. The traditional name of the feast is Our Lady of Victory (there is a beautiful basilica in Buffalo, NY named for the feast). We did not do a lot of rosary explaining, but did describe to the girls how a battle would take place between ships. I even made “Lepanto Pot Pie”, inspired by the St. Francis Day Pot Pie Soup on Catholic Cuisine. I could not resist the imagery of floating things in liquid…

Here we have St. Michael interceding, the Christian fleet, and the parsley symbolizes the graces sprinkled on the Christians that day.

5. That is about it for food these quick takes. I am looking forward to listening to more baseball this weekend. I have been spending a lot of my normal writing time reading articles on the Cardinals and watching highlights. We only have October once a year, so why not savor it all. Go Cards!

6. We had another home school co-op today. F decided to be her clingy self, and I did not get to leave her alone in the nursery. As it was, she was quiet in the mom’s discussion time, and then spent the rest of the time playing happily on the floor in the nursery (on my lap). It was still restful given that I sat around with her all morning instead of doing my normal morning chores and teaching. Next co-op is on All Hallow’s Eve, and there is talk of a pizza party at co-op. However, we are planning on doing the All Saint’s day pizza costume party at St. Agnes in the evening. Is pizza for lunch and dinner too much? Maybe if I only allow them to eat fruit and vegetables the rest of the day it will be okay. (How did I get back on food again?)

7. I decided to reread the first book of C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, and it happened to be in conjunction with my listening to H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds during my jogging/walking (I am still building up from my broken toe running hiatus). It was a little bit mind boggling to have humans bent on taking over the peaceful Mars (eventually, it is more like scouting out the planet in the book) contrasted with violent Martians bent on taking over not-so-peaceful Earth. In Lewis we had non-fallen rational animal Martians, and in Wells we have purely rational, survival absorbed, violent, blood drinking, rational animal Martians. It is quite a different view of the world. Lewis, however, uses the medieval understanding of space as his back drop for his story, and Wells is purely scientific. Anyway, if you want to make you mind a little crazy, try reading both at the same time…

Linking up once again with Jen at Conversion Diary!

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, October 3

1. This week has been a fun week for Feast days. We had the Feast of the Archangels on Monday, St. Thérèse of Liseiux Wednesday in the new calendar and today in the old, the Guardian Angels yesterday, and St. Francis of Assisi tomorrow. We have not really done much to celebrate the specifically besides talking about the saints to the kids. I am making some French Onion soup tomorrow in honor of St. Thérèse. Maybe on Saturday we should go begging for food? Or maybe we should just give some food to the poor, hmmmm…

2. St. Francis will always be extra special for us, because devotion to him was pretty much ingrained after four years at Franciscan University and a school sponsored trip to Assisi when we were studying abroad. I also grew up watching the 70s version of his life, Brother Sun, Sister Moon.  Though there are two other movies of his life that are reportedly the best and worst movies about St. Francis which we will be watching in a couple of months. Besides movies though, St. Francis is pretty cool.

Blanched apples +Victorio Strainer = Apple Sauce + Peels

3. I am sure everyone is just dying to know how our apples canning went. Well, we made 19 quarts of sauce, canning 18.5 of them, and 5 half pints of jelly. The sauce canning went well. However, the jelly ended up needing pectin to be added. I suppose blanched and food milled apple peals and cores do not retain much natural pectin? The jelly is pretty delicious, but I am not sure I want to use it for PB&J. We will have to find some sort of delicacy to use it on. 

If we get snowed in this winter, we will at least have fruit.

4. We were pretty much homebodies this week. After a whole day of the applesauce canning last Saturday, we were pretty tuckered out on Sunday (we thankfully did not witness any cars hitting bicycles on the way to church this time…) and it just kind of rolled into Monday. M had a bad case of laryngitis and had to whisper all day on Tuesday. Then it rained all day Wednesday and Thursday, but we managed a library run today. Restocking on the library books is always nice to do, especially because the kids have a new stack of books to peruse. In fact, because of these books naptime has been especially quiet!

5. G (5) called me into her quiet time to tell me how delighted she was with the collection of fairy tales I had picked out. “It has lots of princesses in it! It even has Rapunzel, but I don’t like this version because the evil witch cuts off all of her hair!” Now, I am pretty sure she did not read the story, but gathered this from pictures. Part of our early home schooling has been a complete immersion into fairy tales and nursery rhymes, so I usually find a different illustrators set of fairy tales to bring home from the library. One of the books I rejected today, however, had the story of Noah’s Ark as a folk tale…while I may not think we need to interpret the incident literally, I am not going to teach it to my kids outside of Scripture as a folk tale…

6. A friend brought up to me that she found my old post about roasting my first blue hubbard, so I thought I would go ahead and link it again for newer readers or people who just want to make their own pumpkin purée. And by the way, the kitchen featured in the photo is that of T and his wife F. We rented from them our first year in St. Paul.

Someone had been trying to wear all pink everyday…

7. And finally I leave you with pictures of our giant carrot. It was peaking out of the ground, just asking to be harvested. We have some other carrots growing still, but they all did not do this well, mostly because our cucumber plant took over that part of the garden. This next week I am going to make an attempt at sauerkraut with our cabbages and pickles with our cucumbers.


Once again, I am linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary!

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, September 26

1. Well, we are four weeks into the school year here at The Awesome School, and I think I am getting a good rhythm. We have found a good balance of a little bit of schooling on the most basic kindergarten level material, followed by play, chores, and or errands. Even with a few random schedule interruptions we have kept our rhythm.

2. Today we had our first session of our new (to us) co-op. It was really nice. Since I am new, I had no responsibilities today, and it was the strangest thing to drop G off in her class, L in her’s, and discover that F did not really care whether or not I was in the nursery.  So, I spent 2.5 hours sitting at a large table with other moms doing “Mom’s time.” I spent a whole morning not worrying about children. That was not quite the truth, I worried about F a little bit, but knew someone would tell me if she was having trouble. It was relaxing. After co-op, we ate our sandwiches on our 20 minute drive home and had some fruit, nap time story, and now it is quiet time. I think I am going to like this co-op.

Two bushels.

3. End of September means apple sauce canning time for us. This year, I opted for market apples, which I ordered from the farmer by email, and picked up at the market 2 minutes from our house this morning. It was nice. It was real nice. Also, doable. We plan on making lots of sauce, and I am going to try my hand at apple jelly. I was slightly disappointed when I discovered that I could have been making peach jelly from our peach peals and pits, so I am determined to do apple jelly. I am thinking about pie filling maybe as well, but then that will also be determined by how excited M is about all of these things. He is, after all, the master canner in our home. I think we will head out to an orchard in early October, but not for lots of picking, more for the experience.

Tomatoes, meet Victorio Strainer.

4. We did our first tomato canning last weekend. We decided to do 1/2 bushel just to give it a try, and it took 3 hours to cook down the tomatoes, which was a long time! We ended up with 6.5 quarts of crushed, cooked down tomatoes that still have to be turned into sauce. So, I guess we are going to see if we like our home canned tomatoes better than store, and decide if it is worth it to do this every year. We think it is the case with peaches, apples, and jams, so we will see…

The final product.

5. I started an Instagram account this week, but am probably just going to post food pictures there, because, well, food is good, and it is an easy way to share what I cook. Also, I have to post from the iPad, and it is a bit of an effort to get quality photos onto the iPad. I am still resisting the iPhone. I even added an Instagram button on my page (see upper left corner). I feel slightly techy… but I am not… I got a friend to give me a link to a Youtube tutorial which made it easy…

6. M and I watched Schindler’s List for the first time this week. That is a tough movie to watch. Everyone has told me this, but seriously, it kind of leaves one heartbroken, shocked, and speechless. I don’t really have anything I can say about it at this point, except to beware of evil and love others the best we can. I have further thoughts on evil in my last two T&C posts (here and here), which I wrote before I saw the movie, but were influenced in part by the atrocities that people committed during the Holocaust.

7. On a lighter note, the kids and I had a cold for most of this week, so we cut back on our normal social life (you know, play dates, play dates, etc). I confess, sometimes I like a week where we just sit tight and I don’t have to socialize too much. When I do too much, I get more introverted and just want to stay at home. So, this was a week off for me, well until today with co-op and another commitment tonight. And another thing that wiped me our socially, was that little radio interview on the Son Rise morning show I did last Friday. If you missed it and really want to hear me, the podcast is here and I am on right at 1:45:00. It has taken me a full week to recover and hearing the first 2 seconds of myself to find the right spot for you, freaked me out a little….

Linking up once again with Jen at Conversion Diary!

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, September 4

1. In the garden, Blue Hubbard Watch:

I also picked this albino cucumber:

I think it stayed this color due to being entirely sheltered from sunlight by the plants leaves and sitting on wet ground. Any gardener thoughts?

2. While discussing a Biblical text and how I interpret it, M said to me: “You realize that all of the tradition interprets it differently.”
Me: “Well, that has been my intuition about this my whole life.”
M: “That is because you are a modern traditionalist. I am going to start telling people that I am a modern traditionalist because my wife wears a brown veil.” We are pretty modern trads, aren’t we?

3.We finally got to going through our closeted basement stuff last Saturday and did the kind of giving away/throwing out that we have done with every move. We finally parted with a couple of things we have been holding onto for our entire marriage. I managed to hold onto a few especially memorable things, and few good laughs reading my “jrnlo” that my first grade teacher had us write in every day. My ode to “chiccin pocs” is my favorite:

I seem to have dedicated it to my brother. See how having chicken pox is bonding?

4. Last Sunday we canned the last of our jam. We took those strawberries that we froze back in June and mashed them up with blackberries and raspberries and made 2 gallons of triple berry jam. Yum, yum! I canned 14.5 pints and stuck the rest (from three batches) in a jar in the fridge.

A friend asked me a couple of weeks ago why we bother to make our own jam. I just think it tastes better, and I know all the ingredients in it. However, it is also because, G (5) has decided that she only likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with jam that M or I have made.  If I ever start making my own peanut butter, I wonder what she will decided then.

5. The first week of teaching kindergarten went well. I had to work the first day for a bit of discipline, and G said to me in a surprised tone, “You sound just like a teacher, Mommy!” Yes, my child, I am your teacher, so please listen to me and do what I ask. Okay? Thanks.

6. While we were going through stuff, M came across my senior thesis entitled, “St. Augustine and Free Will.” After reading the first paragraph allowed he announced to me, “This is not too bad!” It actually was better than I remembered it. My husband might have even given me a decent grade! I bring this up because I have been rediscovering my appreciation of St. Augustine through an album by Sam Rocha, Late to Love (click the link to listen). It is described as “original concept album that performs a reading of Augustine’s Confessions through soul music”. M is the one who discovered it back when it was a Kick Starter project. He is into soul music, and I am normally not, but this one is pretty catchy (Simcha Fischer even gave it a good review!).  I am pretty picky about the content of my music, but I can’t be too picky when it is St. Augustine. The kids really like it also, especially “In the Self’s Place” and what they call “The Alien Song.” Yesterday when M was working downstairs, L declared that he was “in the self’s place” because he was alone.

7. We had a great food week. Saturday we made grilled steak with Bearnaise sauce. The sauce was amazing, and I did not get super stressed making it, like I normally do with a Hollandaise. I neglected to take a picture of my plate of steak, sauce, fingerling potatoes, grilled vegetables, and red cabbage salad. It was all soooo good. We made our first attempt at grilled pizza yesterday and ended up having to just grill the crust and broil the toppings. It was yummy and grilled tasting, but I think we should have been able to do the whole thing on the grill. We have decided that we need to up grade from our camping grill to a normal sized charcoal.

That’s all, folks!

I am linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary!

Getting Ready for Winter with Ma Ingalls

25 pounds or 1/2 bushel of ripening Georgia peaches.

Have you ever read through all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books? After reading listening to The Long Winter in the car, I will not complain too much about winter ever again. The poor Ingalls family (and the whole town) nearly starve to death and their only source of fuel is straw twisted into sticks, because there is so much snow that the trains cannot get through.

After blanching, these freestone peaches were easily peeled and pitted.

Plus, it is as bitterly cold as last winter was. M’s Uncle T, who has lived in Wisconsin for 20 years, thinks that long winter in South Dakota was exaggerated having never experienced blizzards like the ones described in the book. However, the Native American that warned Pa about the winter said that every 7 years is a bad winter and every 21 years is a 7 month awful winter.

The philosopher starts to lose his mind if he does too much manual labor.

So, my guess is that we are due for that awful winter with blizzards that blind you entirely and cold so bitter that last winter will seem warm. Or maybe, like Uncle T says, we won’t even notice it is winter, and then it will be April.

Melt in your mouth peaches. Yum, yum!

At any rate, after all those polar vortexes, I am feeling a lot of camaraderie with Ma Ingalls as I store away summer fruits for the winter. I don’t expect that there will be a lack of food in the cities, but I like the idea of having warm summer fruits canned or frozen and ready for eating this winter.

G says, “This is the most beautiful pie you have ever made Mom! It is like a pie from story books! It looks like a flower!”

After our 30 lbs of strawberries, I learned from a friend how to obtain 25 lbs of Georgia peaches and Michigan blueberries just across the border in Wisconsin. This company ships fruit in bulk in for us poor, sad Northerners that cannot grow our own peaches. The peaches were delicious and we canned 14 quarts, plus had enough to make a pie.

I can’t wait… well, I can really.

This summer is so nice as it is slowly wiping away the memories of the cold. The children run around in sandals or barefoot, and we do not even think of sweaters or winter coats. It is absolutely lovely out and everything is green. We have fresh peaches to eat now, home canned peaches to look forward to, and better yet, a livelihood that cannot be eaten by a massive flock of blackbirds.

Birthdays and Jam for St. John the Baptist

John the Baptist (right) with child Jesus, painting by Bartolomé Esteban Perez Murillo.

Happy Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist!  The best thing about having a birthday today is that I get to share it with St. John the Baptist, and psalm at Mass is this:

Psalms 139

O LORD, thou hast searched me and known me!

Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up; thou discernest my thoughts from afar.

Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

Thou dost beset me behind and before, and layest thy hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.

Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there!

 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

 even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Let only darkness cover me, and the light about me be night,”

even the darkness is not dark to thee, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee.

For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well;

 my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.

Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are thy thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand. When I awake, I am still with thee.

O that thou wouldst slay the wicked, O God, and that men of blood would depart from me,

men who maliciously defy thee, who lift themselves up against thee for evil!

Do I not hate them that hate thee, O LORD? And do I not loathe them that rise up against thee?

I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

 It is some seriously beautiful stuff to meditate on on one’s birthday. Because we share a birthday, I have always had a fondness for St. John the Baptist and have thought of him as a patron.
St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

For my birthday today, I asked M if he would take the morning off to can some strawberry jam. We went out to a u-pick berry farm after early Mass on Sunday and picked 28 1/4 pounds of strawberries in about 30 minutes. We did it just in time! As we finished filling our boxes, rain started, and by the time we got back to the car it was a torrential downpour.

L and I did the 12 1/4 lbs. M and G did the 16. Apparently, 5 year olds are better at picking than 3 year olds.

We crushed 14 quarts of whole strawberries and froze them on Sunday. On Monday we cut up, sugared, and froze 4 more quarts.

All the red bags are full of strawberries. Some of them have two quarts worth of crushed berries.
10 pint jars and 2 half pint jars.

Today we turned 6 of those quarts into 11.5 pints of jam. This sounds like a math problem. We only canned 11 pints of it, and the other half pint got put in the refrigerator for immediate eating. How many quarts are still in the freezer? How much jam did we make, but not can? How many sandwiches can you make with the canned jam if you use 1 tablespoon of jam on each sandwich? How much jam can we make with the crushed strawberries left in the freezer? And I am done…If you give me all the right answers before midnight tonight, you can come over and get a half pint of jam or join us for some PB&J sometime.

I decided to not have anyone bake me a cake since the one I wanted would probably take the whole day to make. Instead we bought it from a bakery, and are going to eat it after we go out for some Lebanese food for dinner:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup:Our peanut graham cracker crust layered with dark chocolate French Silk and chunky peanut butter cup silk. Topped with whipped cream, peanut butter cups and roasted peanuts all drizzled with chocolate ganache and caramel.”

The description is making me drool… and I am going to go and do my birthday run now so I can eat more pie…