Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Telling Tall Tales

Caleb is beginning to get caught back up on his rest so we ventured out today.  Abigail had classes this morning so we headed out for Caleb to get a shave and a haircut. 

After wards we ventured over to the mall, we stopped to check out the new Lego Millennium Falcon and then the Lego Architecture series caught Caleb's eye.  The series has The Arc de Triomphe; London with the National Gallery, Nelson’s Column, London Eye, Big Ben (the Elizabeth Tower) and Tower Bridge; Buckingham Palace; and The Eiffel Tower. All are place Caleb visited while studying abroad! 

Next we headed to Studio Movie Grill so that Caleb could get caught up on some of the movie releases while he was oversees.  It was a good day to catch up, listen to stories and hang out with my favorite world traveler. 

let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance
Proverbs 1:5

Monday, December 4, 2017

Preschool Playtime

With Caleb home from Spain but still pretty jet lagged, I went on it to work at the preschool.  Today I helped out in the three year classroom with Ms. Ashley.

The kids are beginning their December unit so our crafts centered around gingerbread men and snowmen. The kids also began preparing for the Christmas Program in two weeks.  

One of the kids favorite part of class is story time.  I'm not sure how many Rudolph, Frosty and Llama, Llama Holiday Drama books I read today! 

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. Romans 14:5-6

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Timothy & Tabitha Class

Back in Oklahoma, Jon and I began a Timothy and Tabitha class for the middle and high school youth at the Owasso Church of Christ.  Jon worked with the young men and I taught the young ladies how to serve and to lead as these two individuals did in scripture. 

At the McDermott congregation they have a Timothy and Tabitha program for the 3rd through 5th graders.  The young me learn how to lead congregational prayers, read scripture, lead singing and deliver the Lord's message. 

The young ladies learn to teach Bible class and serve others just like the Biblical example of Tabitha given in scripture. 

After three moths of class time and preparation, tonight the young men led service just as we see Timothy, Paul & Peter leading in the New Testament.   The young men, many of them my Bible Bowl guys, did a fantastic job. 

I have so many great memories of doing the Tabitha program with Frankie and her peers at Owasso.  My favorite memories include teaching the girls to teach Bible class, decorate bulletin boards, making flip charts, and how to navigate the equipment in the teachers supply room. We also worked on how to minister to those who were ill, grieving or elderly.  

I also loved watch Caleb go through the Timothy class at McDermott and leading in worship. Such a blessing to see witness and know that these young people will soon be serving in the Lord's work. 

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 1 Timothy 2:11-12

Iron Sharpens Iron

Today is an exciting day, Bible Bowl WITH Caleb! I guess a little back story is in order.  The first year Jon and I experienced National Bible Bowl was at McDermott Road with Caleb, Richard, Blake and Sam.  The boys were in 4th & 5th grades and Ms. Sally had told us about National Bible Bowl at Abilene Christian University.  It was the same material as Leadership Training for Christ's Bible Bowl on steroids!  

National Bible Bowl is 250 questions! The four boys competed that year over the book of 1 Samuel.  They would go on to compete in Nationals at ACU, Oklahoma Christian University, The Soul Winning Workshop and now at Texas Bible Bowl

Many of the kids we've added over the years are kids that have a special bond and closeness to Caleb and Abigail.  Because of the sweet friendships the kids have asked each week how Caleb is doing in Spain.  Today Caleb is home and here to hang out with the class.  

It was a great day having all 'my kids' together.  I love that the kids Richard and Caleb once encouraged are now serving to encourage younger kids!  That is how that is supposed to work.  It's neat to think that one day these kids will be serving in the Lord's body at other congregations when they grow up. How sweet to think of the friendship they've formed in their youth! 

As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Stating the Obvious

Further proof that all is right with the world now that Caleb is home . . .

Sissy has been coloring in a map of the United States based on licence plates for two years. Her map hangs prominently on the refrigerator. Today she gleefully squealed when she found the last state, Vermont! She quickly hugged Caleb and said he was her good luck charm!

“Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’
Hosea 2:1

Friday, December 1, 2017

He's Home!!

On August 19th Caleb left for his Junior year at Lubbock Christian University.  Later that week he and the Honor College students headed to Avila, Spain for a semester abroad. In the last four months Caleb’s been to Madrid, Paris, Naples, Granada, Pompeii, Rome, San Sebastian, Portugal, Greece, Athens, Mount Olympus and other places I’m sure I’ve forgotten. 

We've Skyped and texted but it's not the same as hearing his voice and seeing him in person.  The girls made signs to welcome him home.  Frankie's sign had the Whataburger W, only it read Whatabrother!  Abigail was a little more ornery and her sign read, "Congratulations on Making Parole, Caleb!"

Padme' was so happy to see her boy! She stuck close to Caleb all night! For dinner Caleb requested steaks, baked potatoes and stuffed jalapenos.  I think he missed the Texas staples! The evening was filled with lots of laughter and great stories.  He was pretty jet lagged but it was amazing to hear his laughter.  God is good! 

Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
Psalm 147:1

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Class Review Games

Today was one of our Texas Bible Bowl classes favorite days, review time!  With is being Thanksgiving weekend I didn't want to introduce new material, so we spent the class period reviewing everything we've covered  from 1 Samuel chapters 1-13.

Some of the classes favorite games to play to review are Tic Tac Toe, Jeopardy and Ha! Part of the material I create when I write the Student Study Guide for Texas Bible Bowl are review cards.  These cards are the questions contained in the Study Guide formatted with single question and answer with chapter and verse printed on 3"x 5" cards.

Using an Oxford Card File and 1-31 Index Card Dividers, I file my 3" x 5" review question cards by chapter number, then when I'm ready to play a review game I pull out the cards for the chapter we are reviewing! The game links above will take you to step by step instructions if you would like to create your own review games, perfect for reviewing any Bible lesson! 

Here is a link to my 1 Samuel lessons for Texas Bible Bowl, the lessons are based on the ESV.  

Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress,
    and for their children it will be a refuge.

Proverbs 14:25

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Continued Thankfulness

Today we enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner with Granny and Donnie! We met up in Atoka for a little Mexican food, a little antiquing and a dip cone.  Sport kept Granny and Donnie company on the drive from Tulsa. 

Granny and Donnie had a houseful over Thanksgiving so with a day of rest they felt up to a three hour drive to Atoka.  We are so thankful that Donnie has completed his chemo treatments and the doctors did an amazing job on his reconstructive surgery. 

We also took the time to celebrate Granny's birthday a little early.  She looks great, you wouldn't guess she turns 79 next week!  She still works full time and has no plans to retire.  The visit was too short but it was wonderful to spend time together. 

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1

Friday, November 24, 2017

Mani, Pedi and a Side of Guacamole

This morning we all enjoyed a little breakfast together before we split up for the day.  Jon took the girls to Oklahoma to have lunch with our sweet Hannah.  I think there is a limit to how long they can go without hanging out together. 

Mom and I spent the day doing girly things!  You know, mani and pedis!  Then there was time for more shopping, which of course led to more eating!  But with all the walking we did while shopping with our perfectly coiffed toes, I'm sure it all evened out the calories! Right?! 

It was a great mother /daughter day for us and the girls had a good visit!  Again, thankful for much . . . family for the holidays, Godly friendships, and making memories! 

“Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 20:21

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Day of Thanksgiving

Aahh, the savory aroma of ham wafting through the air with hints of sweet brown sugar! It must be Thanksgiving! The table is set with fresh baked sweet potatoes; mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic; green bean casserole topped with crispy, salty, onion-y goodness; yeast rolls and a side of gravy! 

Around the table is the blessing of family and warm eyes. So many blessings and so much to be grateful for.  I miss my boy but I know he's safe in God care as he travels the world with LCU's study abroad group. 

Today was a laid back day to enjoy the festivities of the Macy's Day Parade.  At Frankie's request we watched Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving Special. And when we had rested a bit from our big feast we enjoyed a sliver of cheesecake or two.  There may have been some napping in the late afternoon! 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Food, Fun, & Family

Today was another fun day with my Mom and the girls!  I think we ate our way through the day! We started our day off with biscuits and smorgasbord of homemade jams! 

Next we headed over to Studio Movie Grill to see the newly released Wonder movie. The movie is the heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time. It was based on the New York Times Best Seller, Wonder!  The book and movie were both very heartwarming! 

After our morning matinee we took on a little more shopping at the Shops of Legacy, taking Mom to our favorite Kendra Scott store and a few others. Next we gave Mom a tour of the Collin College campus where Abigail attends.

By that time, of course we had worked up an appetite so we had a late lunch at PF Chang's.  It was so good!  I think the lettuce wraps and egg drop soup were my favorites. I think we came home with more food than we ate, but all of it was delicious! Abigail has already begun searching the Internet for copy cat recipes of the lettuce wraps! It was a really good day together! 

The eye that mocks a father
    and scorns to obey a mother
will be picked out by the ravens of the valley

    and eaten by the vultures.
Proverbs 30:17

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mom's Here!

Hooray, my mom is in town for the week of Thanksgiving! So where is the first place we head?  Off to the mall of course!  We got in a little, OK, a lot of early Christmas shopping together.  It was a great time of visiting and catching up while hanging out with the girls.  We also helped Santa check off a few names off the Nice List. 

Fun fact, if you hang out at the mall long enough you may run into friends!

After all that walking we certainly burned off a few calories to spare towards a delicious homemade Oreo cheesecake! And yes, it was as good as it sounds.  

A wise child makes a glad father,

    but a foolish child is a sorrow to his mother.
Proverbs 10:1

Monday, November 20, 2017

Texas Bible Bowl Informative Speech for Jr. Toastmasters

Tonight Abigail gave her first informative speech of the school year with Jr. Toastmasters. It is a speech to provide the listener with information about a topic, the requirements include having visuals.  For Abigail's visuals she passed out the previous Texas Bible Bowl test, all six rounds! 

Want to try your hand at it?  Click HERE to print it out!  Just remember to pay attention to the times allowed on each section (time appears on the bottom of each page) and whether it is open or closed Bible (listed in heading)

If you want to participate in Texas Bible Bowl, I made my study materials available on Teachers Pay Teachers

Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
    and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
for I give you good precepts;
    do not forsake my teaching.
Proverbs 4:1-2

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Iron Sharpens Iron

Our sweet Ms. Aimee came to visit our Bible Bowl class today! Back in 2000 at the Owasso congregation, Jon coordinated Leadership Training for Christ. At that time an 8th grade Aimee and a 7th grade Frankie were part of the Bible Bowl group.  Jon taught the boys including Aimee's brother Brooks.  I taught Frankie's group.

Ms. Aimee came by to encourage our class in their studies and pursuit of learning God’s Word! It’s so rewarding to see ‘our kids’ serving in the Lord’s work and encouraging another generation! It was so sweet to see my 'big kids' with my younger kids!  Ms. Aimee brought her sweet babies in with her, too!  Hard to believe she had a kindergartner! 

I love that these kids can see that what they are learning now will benefit them as adults when they serve in the Lord's body where ever life takes them! 

We had no idea in 2000 when Aimee and Frankie were studying 2 Kings for LTC in Oklahoma that by 2002 they would be at McDermott preparing for LTC and studying Genesis together!

As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Canning Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Pinterest sucked me in again with an endless feed of canning recipes that I had never tried.  Since it is that time of year for Thanksgiving dinner, I was enticed by recipes I found for homemade cranberry sauce.  It is one of my Mom's favorite holiday dishes.  But I have to confess she always refrigerated a can and sliced it up to serve.

Canning cranberry sauce would give me that same convenience but with a delicious homemade flavor!  I wanted a recipe that I could use my Instant Pot to quickly cook my sauce.  Next, I wanted a recipe that I could use the Ball Jam and Jelly Maker to hands free complete the jelling process.  The results were delicious.  

Cranberry Sauce
32oz fresh cranberries (2 lb. bag)
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice 
1/4 cup water
1/2 C granny smith apple, peeled and diced 
Small pat of butter
3½ cups sugar

Spice Pouch
1 large piece of orange rind (pith removed)
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick 
Cheese cloth and string to tie pouch

Remove the cranberry stems. Rinse cranberries under cold running water. Discard the soft, discolored and wrinkly ones.  Prepare a spice pouch with orange peel (remove the pith), cloves and cinnamon stick.  Tie with string.  The spice pouch will let the spices flavor your cranberries but allow you to easily remove them. 

Combine cranberries,  orange juice, water, diced apple, butter and spice pouch into the Instant Pot.   Close lid and pressure cook on Manual at High Pressure for 1 minute followed by 7 minutes of Natural Release. Manual release after 7 minutes and remove lid. 

When the cranberries have cooled slightly, remove the spice pouch and use a hand blender to puree cranberries and apples. When they are the desired consistency stir in sugar.  You can puree the cranberries smooth or leave them a little chunky with fruit. 

Pour the cranberries and sugar into the Ball Jam and Jelly maker with the Stirrer. 

Press  jelly button – the cook time will automatically default to 25 minutes. Press enter. After 4 minutes the appliance will sound 4 short beeps indicating that it is time to add the sugar.  Since the sugar was added at the beginning of the recipe, ignore these beeps.  

The Ball Jam and Jelly Maker will continue to automatically stir your cranberry sauce while it cooks. Stay within earshot of the Jam & Jelly Maker, the appliance will beep again at the end of the process signaling cooking is complete. Press cancel and unplug the appliance.

Remove Stirrer using a pot holder. 

At this point you could serve; or refrigerate your cranberry sauce; or can. 
To can spoon the hot cranberry sauce into Ball Wide-Mouth Pint Jars and using the water bath method, process jars in boiling water for 15 minutes.

The cranberry sauce will be thick, dark burgundy red, and glossy. Because these have been water bathed that are shelf staple for a year.  A few days before serving remember to refrigerate your jar.   To serve you can use a table knife and slide around the edge and it will slide out.  At this point you could slice the cranberry sauce OR use a spoon to serve your sauce fluffy in bowl! 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Congrats, Mason and Wright!

What a wonderful day to celebrate the wedding of Wright and Mason!  Mason grew up at McDermott with Caleb and Richard.  Mason and Wright attended college at Tech in Lubbock and they all attended the Sunset Church of Christ together.  It's hard to believe the kids are growing up and getting married!  But it was sweet and beautiful to see them begin their new lives together. 

Mason's youngest sister, Delaney is Abigail's age and they have grown up together.  The girls had a great time surrounded in the romance and grandeur of the event.  

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.  Ephesians 5:25

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fun Friday

I was excited to return to help out at the preschool today for Fun Friday.  Fun Friday is a special event day for the three and four year old.  We had a western theme!  

We had a great time building a camp fire in our class room.  Lots of western themed crafts. There were western twists on our songs, you know Lord's Army (Cowboy Style)!  For our Bible story we took a look at Moses. So much fun with the kids!

Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness where he was camped, at the mount of God. Exodus 18:5

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Long Ball Hit-A-Thon

The HSAA Softball team participated in the Long Ball Hit-A-Thon with the HSAA baseball team. HSAA has baseball teams for grades 7th through 12th and now offer as varsity softball team.  

This is the team raises funds to offset the cost of renting fields and tournament fees.  I don't know yet her final distant that she hit but I know she hit past the 150' mark!  

The event was a family friendly event with barbecue sandwiches, homemade goodies and raffle items.    

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Take Your Mom to Work Day

We've been calling today, Take Your Mom to Work Day.  Abigail has been working at the church preschool filling in for teachers when they are off.  Today several teachers were out with sick family members so Abigail and I tag teamed it!

I got to hang out with the four year olds and Abigail was in with the three year olds.  This was the kids Thanksgiving Celebration.  So there were lots of great crafts and a wonderful feast of Chick-fil-A nuggets and all the trimmings! 

One of the kids favorites was the reading of  'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving  by Dav Pilkey.  It's a funny telling of the day before Thanksgiving, when eight boys and girls take a field trip to a turkey farm. They have fun playing with eight exuberant turkeys but are shocked to learn that Farmer Mack Nuggett plans to kill all the turkeys for Thanksgiving dinners. So the children decide to smuggle all the turkeys home, and all their Thanksgiving dinners become vegetarian this year. The turkeys' lives are saved!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 100:4

Monday, November 13, 2017

Spring Semester Decisions!

It's hard for me to fathom some days that the baby girl is a college student.  I'm not completely sure that I've come to grips with Caleb being a college student!  Today Abigail registered for her Spring class load.  She'll be carrying seven hours again next semester.  Because that she is only sixteen and still playing high school ball she can't take more that ten hours per semester or it would mess with her NCAA eligibility status. 

We went up to the college, I had to sign off as her high school official giving her permission to take classes again this semester.  Next she met with and Academic Adviser to determine her class schedule.  Once she was registered we headed over to the Kolache Factory for brunch.  The kolache helped ease the stress from all those adult decisions! 

Let us discern for ourselves what is right;
    let us learn together what is good.

Job 34:4

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Little More Softball

Because we haven't had enough softball this weekend, guess what Abigail is doing this afternoon?  That's my catcher girl behind the plate again! Team Smith had a decisive win today and the girl had a good game behind the plate.  Any day she gets to play ball is a fun day, but winning makes it even better! 

I think she's done with softball until batting practice on Tuesday and the HSAA Hit-A-Thon on Thursday and practice on . . . . Who am I kidding, softball doesn't end!  It's a good thing she loves it! 

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29

Study Buddies

Bible Bowl is rocking along!  I think we're at thirty-three youth and six or eight adults studying the book of 1 Samuel.  How amazing is that?!  God is good and we're so delighted to see that many young people wanting to study the scriptures in depth.  They are willing to put in the work to dig into scripture!  They've been rocking 3-4 pages of homework per week, reading and memorizing scripture.  

I'm blessed again this year with a great group of moms willing to step in to help out week after week.  My biggest blessing has been Ms. Stacy G. who is there for me week after week and helps get the other moms plugged into whatever games we have going on in class! 

For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord,
 and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.  Ezra 7:10

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Skills Camp

Hypothetically speaking, if you were a high school ball player and you had played four 90-minute games over two days, what would you want to do next?  Participate in a two hour skills clinic, you say?  I didn't think so.  But that is exactly what Abigail and many of the girls from the tournament did tonight. 

There was a skills clinic for the players where they broke up by positions and got tips and practice drills to improve their game. 

That means Abigail caught, squatting for three games and now squatted for another two hours! Her quads were so fatigued by the time the clinic was completed!  

It's a good thing she doesn't have to play ball again tomorrow, oh wait she does have to play tomorrow! Oh well! 

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12:11

Play Ball!

This is day two of tournament play for Team Smith.  They faced two teams today.  They tied the first game and lost the second, but again in stiff competition.  

Abigail caught for the first game and played second base in the next game.  She had several good at bats and the team played well together.  The game clock was not on their side.  But again, tomorrow is another day to battle it out! 

Anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.  2 Timothy 2:5

Friday, November 10, 2017

Tournament Time

Friday night lights means a night at the ball park and not a football stadium.  Abigail had two ball games tonight.  One of the teams she faced had two of the players from her high school team. It was fun to see them for the first time on opposing teams.  

Abigail caught for both games.  Team Smith won one game and lost the second in a hard fought battle.  The team is playing well together and their a lot o fun to watch! More games tomorrow!  

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.  1 Timothy 4:8

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Formula for Showing Kindness

Our time volunteering at the pantry has been dialed back but today we were able to drop off formula for the guests.  We have sweet friends at church who operate a pediatrics office.  About once a quarter they load us up with donations for the pantry! Such kind hearts! 

For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’
Deuteronomy 15:11

Canning Your Own Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

I have a special relationship with Sonic.  When I was pregnant with Caleb I craved their cheddar peppers and a Coke Zero with Cherry.  That was 20+ years ago and they are still a favorite.  When Caleb and Abigail got their driver’s license they both took their first drive without a parent to take Frankie to Sonic.  Sonic is the BEST place to stop for drinks! 

Lately we have found a new favorite menu item, Asian Sweet Chili Boneless Wings!  Several months ago I canned our own Sweet Asian Sauce, but alas we are out.  But fear not I have a super cool, easy to use Ball Jam and Jelly Maker.

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
2 ½ cups of finely chopped, red bell peppers (about 3 peppers) leave in seeds
1/3 cup red chili peppers, chopped diced and seeded (about 3 peppers)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp. butter 
2 cups sugar

Sprinkle pectin evenly over bottom of the pot fitted with the stirrer. Add finely diced peppers and garlic evenly over pectin. Pour vinegar over peppers. Add butter to help reduce foaming.

Press jelly button – the cook time will automatically default to 25 minutes. Press enter the minus button until the time reads 21 minutes.  Press enter. WAIT 4 minutes for appliance to sound 4 short beeps indicating that it is time to add sugar. Add sugar gradually while Stirrer continues running. Place the glass lid on the pot.

The Jam and Jelly Maker will continue to automatically stir your ingredients while it cooks. The appliance will beep again at the end of the process signaling jelly cooking is complete. Press cancel, unplug the appliance and immediately remove Glass Lid.

Carefully remove the stirrer and ladled the hot pepper jelly into half pint jars.  Be sure to wipe jar rims clean before adding lids. Process 10 minutes in a water bath. This recipe will yield about 4 jars.  
We like to cook popcorn chicken in the oven and then stir a jar of the Asian Sauce over the chicken.  Serve with rice and dinner is served!  

Thai Sweet chili sauce is also great in stir fries, with shrimp or as a dip for finger foods. Sweet chili sauce is also a great glaze on chicken, beef, pork, seafood and grilled vegetables.  I have a girlfriend who mixes it with cream cheese to make a dip for crackers! 

Even if I can make the Asian Sweet Chicken at home, I can still stop by Sonic for my favorite Coke Zero with Cherry! 

All this also comes from the Lord Almighty,
    whose plan is wonderful,
    whose wisdom is magnificent.
Isaiah 28:29

Canning Blueberry Jam

In the Spring the girls and I went berry picking for blackberries and blueberries.  When we came home we washed and froze them up in freezer bags.  Yesterday, I took the berries out of the freezer and allowed them to thaw in the refrigerator.  I’m loving my Ball Jam and Jelly Maker, there is a good chance I’m good to need bigger clothes if I keep the jam and jelly making going!  I’m thinking some of the jam is going to need to be included in Christmas presents!

Blueberry Jams
3 cups blueberries-wash; crush 1 layer at a time with potato masher
2 Tbsp. bottled lemon juice
1/2 tsp. butter
3 1/3 cups sugar

Sprinkle pectin evenly over bottom of the pot fitted with the stirrer. Add crushed blueberries evenly over pectin. Pour lemon juice over blueberries. Add butter to help reduce foaming.

Press jam button – the cook time will automatically default to 21 minutes. Press enter. In 4 minutes Jam and Jelly Maker will sound 4 short beeps indicating that it is time to add sugar. Add sugar gradually while Stirrer continues running. Place the glass lid on the pot.

The Jam and Jelly Maker will continue to automatically stir your ingredients while it cooks. The appliance will beep again at the end of the process signaling jam cooking is complete. Press cancel, unplug the appliance and immediately remove Glass Lid.

Yes, that’s it!  How easy is that! 

For long term storage I ladled the hot jam into my Half Pint Mason Jars.  Be sure to wipe jar rims clean before adding lids. Process 10 minutes in a water bath. This recipe will yield about 4 jars. 

I had a little bit of jam left, not enough for a full jar so while it was still warm I used it as blueberry syrup on pancakes!  Again, stretchy pants may be in my future! 

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:103

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Canning Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas)

So I like to can and I like hummus, that means today I will be canning garbanzo beans.  Keep in mind Garbanzo beans are also good for soups, and served as a side dish.  But what I’m excited about is hummus!
1 pound dried garbanzo beans 
Cloves of garlic 

Pick over the chickpeas to remove any that are discolored or shriveled. Rinse and drain in a colander.

Place your Garbanzo Beans in your Instant Pot and cover with several inches of water.  Soak the Garbanzo Beans  for several  hours and drain and rinse before proceeding to the next step. I only soaked mine for two hours but I did rinse and drain several times during those 2 hours.  Drain and Rinse.

Add the chickpeas to the insert of an Instant Pot and cover with water by 3-4 inches.

Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure, and adjust the timer to 30 minutes . When the cooking time is up, turn off the Instant Pot and wait 15-20 minutes, then release any remaining pressure before unlocking the lid.

Ladle the beans into sterilized Ball Pint Jars, filling the jars with in an inch and a half of the top of the jar.  

To each jar add 2 cloves garlic and 1/4 tsp. canning salt. Ladle hot water into the jars, leaving 1 inch head space. 

Wipe the rims of the jars with vinegar  and place sterilized lids and rings on jars.
Process jars in a Pressure Canner  for 75 minutes for pints or 90 minutes for quarts at 10 pounds pressure.  Yield: 5 pints

Hummus Recipe
1 pint canned garbanzo beans drained  (2 cups)
3 tbsp. lemon juice 
1/8 c. tahini paste 
1/2 c. water 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin or paprika, or to taste, plus a sprinkling for garnish
1 tbsp. olive oil

Place the contents of the jar, lemon juice, tahini, water, and olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Add additional salt and lemon juice to taste. If hummus is too thick, add a small amount of water until it is the desired consistency.

Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.  Ezekiel 4:9

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Girl Time!

The girls have been wanting to see the newest Thor movie that came out this weekend!  So I negotiated with them to hold off for $5 day at Studio Movie Grill.  The movie was fun, it had a lot more of a Guardians of the Galaxy tone than an Avenger movie.  Frankie laughed and giggled through the whole movie and Abigail enjoyed the down time in her usually busy schedule.  This morning she had a test in one of her college classes and a presentation in another class.  She was peopled out! 

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and to insight, “You are my relative.”
Proverbs 7:4

Monday, November 6, 2017

Serving Up Smiles

The girls put in a little time this evening working the concessions for the HSAA sports organization.  They are the sponsoring organization behind Abigail's high school team.  This is one of a couple fund raiser the team will do to raise money for the tournament in the Spring. 

The HSAA boys baseball team was participating in a tournament with other private schools so the softball team manned the concession.  Over two days they sold over $1,000! 

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Canning Sweet Potatoes

A staple at the holidays is my mom's sweet potato casserole. I grew up with the store bought cans of sweet potatoes.  Once I discovered canning fresh sweet potatoes that is all I've served.  They are easy to can and taste amazing! 
  • Wash potatoes. Leave skins on.
  • Boil them in your Instant Pot until their skin is a bit soft. About 15 minutes. 
  • Immediately drop them in ice water so you can safely handle them.
  • Remove the skin, it will slip right off
  • Chop into 1" cubes
  • Pack into Ball Wide Mouth Quart Jars jars
  • Leave 1 inch headspace
Top each jar off with syrup. (This ratio will make enough for about 3 jars.)
2 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Use a Bubble Remover to remove bubbles. Use vinegar to wipe down jar rims and remove any sugar sticky residue.  

Put lids on and process in Pressure Canner 90 minutes for quarts or 65 minutes for pints at 10 lbs of pressure. 

If you don't want them canned in a sugary syrup you can preserve them with water. 

Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24