A June Wednesday

Planning ahead…
So, we are going on one of our family road trips at the end of month, and M has decided that I am going to take a vacation from my blogging as well. I could see myself seizing the extra free time with other adults around and writing more, but he thinks we should just relax and read Michael O’Brien novels. I am totally up for that, but I am a little sad to set my writing aside for a few weeks. (I am also sad that we are not vacationing with college friends Up North again this summer.) Maybe it will help me come up with more good ideas to take a break. I always seem to have a hard time writing when I stop for awhile, but maybe I really just need a good vacation.

The only thing I do not look forward to on vacation is sleeping, because I know that the kids will not sleep as well as they do at home, and therefore I will be tired. We are going to see how F does in a room with her sisters and us since night weaning (and sleeping through the night for the past month). I imagine she will do better than we ever expected.

Food for the Winter…
I am praying that the strawberries at our favorite picking place are ready by my birthday next week. I want to pick 30 lbs this year and can about 50% more jam than we made last year. We just ran out mid-May from last summer and I am hoping to make it through the year with some to spare and more to giveaway. I love the taste of my homemade jam in my homemade yogurt for breakfast or a snack.

Living today…
M had a conference on campus to go to this evening, and he was hoping to meet one of our old professors from Franciscan University for lunch. This plan fell through because of flight delays, but M has been gone since this morning. I managed lunch, nap, dinner, and bedtime alone, which I really loath doing, but I did it! And L only came out twice!

This morning L (3.5)  had her first ever “class” with an adult instructor who was not me. She had been on the waiting list for swim lessons and got in after the first two of eight classes. She was so excited to be like her sister and even listened to the instructor. It was so sweet to see her big smile and excitement as she followed instructions. It is less frightening to have a second child do these things than a first.

Growing children…
G had her second vacation Bible school last week, and she is so much more mature than she was last year! It is really neat to see how much more mature she is than she was a year ago. Even with her reading lessons which we started last September, she is doing so much better with. It is like she reached a level of intellectual maturity that she had not been at before.

Wrapping it up…

Since M is still out at his conference dinner and talk, I am making myself a lime daiquiri. The only catch is that I had to make the simple syrup as well, and it has to chill. So, while it is chilling I am chillin’ at the blog. I last made a daiquiri when M was off interviewing for jobs when L was 15 months old. It may have even been an evening when he was on the very same campus that he is on tonight. It is he same bottle of rum, since M does not drink rum. He prefers scotch or gin. When the few ounces that are left in the bottle are gone, I will have to ask: why is the rum gone?

My new food processor is totally photo-bombing here. It is upset that I have not yet featured it photographically on the blog.

From Market to Purée: How to Prepare Pumpkin

I purchased this pumpkin back in October, and the poor neglected squash sat on the back console table for nearly a month. Fortunately for me, winter squash have a great shelf life. I finally got to roasting it.

How to Roast a Winter Squash:
-Preheat oven to 400°F

-Cut squash into quarters and remove all strings, seeds, and hard stems

-Prick fleshy side all over with a fork
-Brush with olive oil

-Sprinkle with a little salt

-Place fleshy side down on rimmed cookie sheets 
-Roast in oven for 50 minutes or until fork pricks through easily (for me it got so soft that the squash lost all structural integrity)
-Set aside until cool
Making the Purée:
-Skin the cooled squash pieces and cut into small chunks
Chunks O Squash

-Purée in food processor (or blender if you are holding out to buy a food processor until you can splurge on the Kitchen Aid Brand)

The pureeing in this 5 year old blender took me an hour.

-Measure into 15 oz. portions and put into a freezer bag

15 oz is the amount you can buy canned to make one pumpkin pie.

 -Stack and freeze:

I spent $4.00 and 3 hours of labor on my pumpkin squash for 7 cans worth of potential pumpkin.

Apple-icious! Yes, We Canned!

Last week we were in Buffalo, NY. M had been invited back to his alma mater for some philosophy activities and the whole family tagged along. We stayed with friends who lived across the street from the North Tonawanda Farmer’s Market. I could not resist apples for $8 per half bushel, so we bought 1.5 bushels and hauled them back to Minnesota. Tuesday we made 22 quarts of apple sauce. We were only able to can 19 quarts because we ran out of lids.

 I have decided that Western New York apples are some of my favorite apples. Maybe it is because they were the first apples we canned in our marriage, or maybe they were the perfect consistency for making into sauce. Maybe we will just have to head out to Buffalo every apple season for apples… 😉

In order: canner, blanching apples, pot of sauce, food strainer for separating good stuff from bad, bowl of blanched apples.

The goods.