Monday, May 28, 2012

We Made Homemade Strawberry Jam

 I made homemade strawberry jam today with the kids.  Kaela was busy cleaning her room so she started to help but disappeared.  I got Daeton to push up his sleeves and help me.  I try to make jam once or twice a year but this year I read up more and bought some more tools.

When I made strawberry jam last year I had entered some in the Ventura Country Fair and got a 'do not pass go' ribbon due to mold on the seal.  MAJOR bummer.  I've never had that happen, ever.  So, this year I started following a fan page on Facebook called SB Canning.  Then I bought Ball Blue Book: guide to Preserving.  And I've been studying.  One thing I never did was totally process in boiling water for 10 minutes after the jam was jarred.  I purchased (at the same time as the Ball book) a large pot with a metal shelf-thing to easily drop down or pick up all the jars in the hot water.  I also purchased a lid and ring magnet wand.  WHAT a great invention!!! I'll post the links of these below.

So, to catch up with the photos.  I have clean rings and lids in the boiling water.  Clean jars in hot water in the sink and strawberries that were 99 cents-a-pound at the grocery store (half the price of the roadside stands but still local strawberries).

I bought three pounds of strawberries.  :-) YUM! 

Daeton helped chop them into a squishy mess.
I put them in the pot and started the mixture.  Pectin, lemon juice and sugar are the other remaining ingredients. 

The WHOLE house smelly like sweet strawberries.

Cheese from me too!

So, when it was all mixed and at a rolling boil for a solid minute I had to do speedy things so wasn't able to get pictures. 

I removed the pot from heat.  Skimmed the foam.  Ladled into clean jars.

Wiped the top and put on the lids and rings then I put them into the pot of hot water to water process them.  THIS was my first time, but it seemed to work well.  I got the water boiling and left the jars there for 10 minutes, removed from heat, let cool down for five minutes then removed, dried off and put all the jars on a dry towel.
 I filled one large jar, two medium, three small and had some left over do to 1/2 of another large jar (and I put that one in the fridge right away).

I love how beautiful they look in the sunlight.

Can't wait to taste it with breakfast in the morning.  Definitely rewarding work.

Tomorrow I'm going to see if I have time to buy some vinegar, onion and garlic to make homemade ketchup with tomatoes from our garden.

Also itching to try the recipe for homemade vanilla extract.  Would be great to make now and put in pretty jars to give away at Christmas.
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Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Blog Is In A Contest Enter To Win $500

One of my favorite coupons sites COUPON HAULS has reached over 15,000 followers or as they like to call them COUPON HAULERS… So we wanted to PARTY!! I have joined forces with a great group of Coupon Bloggers and Awesome Page Owners to help celebrate by bringing you this awesome Giveaway!!

There is a GRAND PRIZE of a whopping $500.00 up for grabs!!

This GIVEAWAY runs from MAY 19th, 2012 through MAY 29TH, 2012 So get your entry in quick!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Artist Altered Dolls: Zarbies

My friend, Travis, is an incredible artist.  I mostly know him for his comic book drawings but he has started his own business on Esty selling Zarbies.  They are altered dolls, mainly Barbies, hence the name, into Day of the Dead, Zombie or other hand painted dolls.  Here are just a few of the many dolls he has for sell.

I am blown away by his creativity and detail.  He is currently selling them on Esty and has a Fan page on Facebook.

You can even ask him to do custom work on your own Barbie, My Little Pony or other doll.

Tax Refund: Where Is My Refund Website

Okay, if you can't guess, I'm still waiting for my refund.  My sister told me about this website today so I had to share it.  Where Is My Refund is what it is informally called.  It is really a part of the IRS's main website.  If you enter your Social Security Number, filing status and exact amount you are suppose to get back (so that is a triple proof for them that it is really you) then the website will tell you an update on where your refund is.  It says mine was suppose to have been mailed today.  I'm crossing my fingers.

I hope to pay off some bills and take the kids to visit my grandma.  I also have my eye on a pressure cooker for canning... if I have any money to spare.