Saturday, October 29, 2011

What Did My Garden Grow? Help Please!


Hi Friends,
I was out picking tomatoes, the last of the red ones, and cleaning up the garden.  I had planted an eggplant, a plant I purchased at Lowes in the spring.  It obviously wasn't an eggplant.  I thought it was quite odd that it never produced any blooms and I figured that even though it still looked quite green it was too late in the season.  I might as well pull it and get rid of it.  What a shock!

Not an eggplant at all, but a root of some sort.  I really don't know what it is!  I'm 99% sure it is edible yet I don't want to eat something unless I'm 100%.  Anyone know what grew here in my garden?  The top of it is a purplish color.

Thanks for the help!
Blessings,
Nancy
Seriously, anyone want to come over for some tomatoes.  I have double what is in the picture and tons of green ones.  Come have a cup of coffee or tea with me and I'll send you home with a bag of them!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Step on Your Tomato Plants! and Green Tomato Relish

Friends,
If you haven't done this yet, give your tomato plants a kick and step on the stem where it comes out of the ground.  Don't completely break off the stem and by stepping on it you won't.  It will just split and kind of crush.  You need to do this 2 weeks before your first freeze, so for most of you, do it now!  Why you ask?  By stepping on the stem, it forces the tomatoes to turn red within the next couple of weeks.

I did this about a week ago and I have red tomatoes coming out of my ears.  Can I give some to you?!!

There will still be some green tomatoes left, but not as many as if I didn't do this.  I have been told that THIS Green Tomato Relish recipe is the BEST for green tomatoes.  I must confess I haven't made it yet, but it is on my to-do list for this weekend.

Recipe comes from Allrecipes.com and it's a 5 star recipe with almost 100 reviews!  That's good enough for me.
Happy Homemaking,
Nancy

Green Tomato Relish
Ingredients
  • 24 large green tomatoes
  • 3 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 3 green bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 12 large onions
  • 3 tablespoons celery seed
  • 3 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar

Directions

  1. In a grinder or food processor, coarsely grind tomatoes, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and onions. (You may need to do this in batches.) Line a large colander with cheesecloth, place in sink or in a large bowl, and pour in tomato mixture to drain for 1 hour.
  2. In a large, non-aluminum stockpot, combine tomato mixture, celery seed, mustard seed, salt, sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Sterilize enough jars and lids to hold relish (12 one-pint jars, or 6 one-quart jars). Pack relish into sterilized jars, making sure there are no spaces or air pockets. Fill jars all the way to top. Screw on lids.
  4. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with boiling water. Carefully lower jars into pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary, until tops of jars are covered by 2 inches of water. Bring water to a full boil, then cover and process for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove jars from pot and place on cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press top of each lid with finger, ensuring that seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Relish can be stored for up to a year.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Emily Update

Dear Friends,
This picture was taken 6 weeks ago.  Emily was so happy to be selected for the high school dance team.  The tryouts were back last May.  In this picture she was in pain.  Over the last two weeks she has spent much time in bed and there are few days she can make it to school.  She has constant pain throughout her body and sleeps most of the day.  For those of you new to my blog Emily, our 16 year old daughter, has been suffering from Lyme's disease. 

It has been over 27 months since we have been dealing with this and things just seem to continue to get slowly worse.  (Maybe things are actually getting better, but it sure feels worse right now.)  It was last May when she started getting treatment for her Lymes.  For such a long time we didn't even know what it her mysterious illness was.  We've had good days and bad days throughout, but the bad days have become really bad days and are the norm.  I was hesitant about her trying out for the dance team, but I said nothing as I wanted her to be like the other kids and have the opportunity to do the fun things that girls her age get to do.  The doctors all say that it is important for her to keep exercising as well.

We were back to see her Lyme disease doctor a few weeks ago.  We see a specialist out of state for this and it was our second visit to him.  Lyme just seems to be like a game, some sort of a sick game where the bugs play hide and seek in a person's body trying to do their best to evade antibiotics.  Emily's medication changes monthly and I know it's hard on her body.  They, the doctors, say that because she is feeling so poorly that is actually a good sign as it means the Lyme bugs are dying off.  As those bugs dye they release a toxin in her body that causes the increased pain and fatigue.  Still, it has me second guessing myself every move I make with her.  She's got a box of prescriptions for this or that regarding her Lyme and pain pills don't seem to touch it.  Emily is so over all this pain, we all are.  It has been extremely discouraging lately.  Even though the increase in pain is supposedly a good sign, to be in such all over constant pain has led to some incredible depression and frustration.  There are many days Emily doesn't want to continue this life.  Still, as hard as this is, I give God thanks as I have to put my total faith that He is working behind the scenes and we will see evidence of this soon.  What else can I do?

We've gotten Emily on a plan at school that allows kids to miss days due to medical conditions.  In the past two weeks she has only been in school two days each week and since school started this fall she has never made it all five days each week.  I don't know how she can keep up.  That gives me stress, but I guess I just need to forget about that right now.  Education can always come later or with summer school, or whatever if needed.

So please, I sound like a broken record here, but continued prayers for Emily.  Pray that the pain leaves her body.  Pray for ultimate and complete healing.  Pray that she can fight the depression she is feeling and not take matters into her own hands and do something stupid.  Pray that each medication choice is the right one for her and pray for her doctor and his staff.  Also, pray for our other kids, Katie 18 and Timothy 14.  We do our best to spend quality time with them but they often get the shaft because of Emily's needs.  They understand, but it's hard on them too.  I think that's all.  Thanks friends.  I love you.

Nancy

ps.  Sometimes in the back of my mind I think that God is preparing Emily for something really great.  I picture her at an older age speaking to other children in pain with empathy in that she knows what they are going through.  I even picture Emily finally understanding why she had to go through what she is dealing with now and thanking God for it so that she was able to gain the knowledge and understanding to help others.  I guess this image helps me deal with it all.  I can't wait for the day that I can write you all a praise report.

What's Your Goliath?



Hi Friends,
We probably know the story about David and Goliath in the Bible.  Do you know how that story can relate to each of us today?  What is your Goliath?  You can face it, just like David did!
God Bless,
Nancy

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas Part 2

Photo Courtesy of SouthernLiving.com

Did you know we are down to 61 days before Christmas?  Did you shudder at that thought or did you think, no problem? 

Well, I'm thinking of Christmas.  In fact, I celebrate Christmas with my side of the family at Thanksgiving and Mike's side at Christmas.  This means, I have to have half of my Christmas planning done in something like 30 days!  (I'll have to go and count but it is something like that).  Then in between Thanksgiving and Christmas we host a big employee Christmas party in our home for Mike's work and I also give small gifts to neighbors, friends, and some in my church family.  In preparation, my sewing machine has been whirring and creating a couple of hours each day.  (I can't wait to show you what I've been working on!)

I wrote about my frozen cookie dough gift plans HERE.  This is quick, easy and fits in my budget.  These will be gifts to neighbors and friends.  My plan is that my girls will help me with this and we will make enough for them to give to their friends as well.  There's going to be a lot of cookie dough baking going on around here.  Another reason I'm doing the dough is because people get so many sweets at Christmas time, they can save the dough in their freezer and get it out when they've eaten all their other goodies.

Several of you asked what recipe I was going to use.  There are certain types of cookies that work well for frozen cookie dough.  They include:  short breads, chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter, refrigerator and sugar cookie recipes.  After thinking about it, most of my neighbors and friends have children and kids seem to go for chocolate chip so that is what I decided to make.  My intent is that the dough can remain in their freezer and their kids can simply slice off a bit of dough and make a few cookies as they want them.  (Since my own children are older, most of my friends have older children as well who can cook and run the oven without supervision.) 

You could probably use your favorite chocolate chip recipe in making the freezer dough, but in case you are looking, here is the recipe I'm going to use, it is my favorite tried and true recipe that I've made a hundred times.  Nestle even says in their recipe that the dough can be stored in the freezer up to 8 weeks.  My plan is to make all the dough December 9th and 10th and then start delivering it on the 11th.

If you are doing freezer cookie dough for gifts this year, I'd love to hear what type you are making.
Happy Homemaking and Blessings,
Nancy

ps.  To get you going, here is a link to a coupon for Nestle's Chocolate Chips!

Photo and Recipe courtesy of Nestle's Very Best Baking

Nestle Toll House Cookies

Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

SLICE AND BAKE COOKIE VARIATION:
PREPARE
dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Work of Art



We might feel as meaningless as this blank canvas.  We might feel like we are a mess as with this painter.  But God is continually shaping, molding and creating us.  The video is only 2 minutes.  I hope you will take a moment to watch and remember that we are a work of art in God's hands.
I love this!
Blessings,
Nancy

Friday, October 14, 2011

Smores in a Jar


Hi Friends,

Today for you I want to share how to make those adorable Smores In A Jar.  You may have seen some of these at craft fairs.  Let me tell you, they make a GREAT gift.

Look what the kids and I made! I actually saw this the first time at Easter with those little marshmallow bunny peep candies. What a great gift to give. Be sure when you give it to put it in a holiday basket filled with paper raffia or lined with a holiday napkin. Also, have patience and take your time when getting those little ghosts to stand upright in their place. They want to fall over. Enjoy!
Nancy
Halloween Smores In A Jar
Ingredients:
1 quart mason jar
1 sleeve graham crackers
1 package holiday marshmallow peeps
one bag of holiday M&Ms candies
1/3 cup of brown sugar

Directions:
1. Crush 1 sleeve graham crackers to crumbs.
2. Layer 2/3 of the graham cracker crumbs in a 1 qt jar. Pack down the crumbs a bit.
3. Arrange 8 to 12 marshmallow holiday peeps standing up, facing out around the inside of the jar. Press them up against the glass, but don't squash them.
4. Carefully spoon remaining cracker crumbs in the center of the jar to support the peeps, pressing down to keep it snug.
5. On top of this pour 1-1/4 cup M&M's in holiday colors.
7. Spoon 1/3 cup brown sugar into center of M&M's, gently pressing with a spoon. If you have any room left over, fill the jar to the top with M&Ms.
Cooking directions:

1. Empty the jar contents into a bowl.
Snip the peeps into bits with kitchen shears or cut up with a knife.
Return the peep bits to the mixture. Mix well.
2. Melt 1/2 cup butter; add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour this over the dry ingredients, mixing well. Pat into a greased 8" or 9" square pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

This post links to:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011



Hi Friends,
I'm starting a Bible study of 1John.  I'm finding it to be very inspirational and touching my heart.  It's so good to really meditate and study God's word.  You can join in on the study over at Good Morning Girls.  Over at the Kernels of Wheat podcast they are also going through 1 John.

Are you in a Bible study right now?  I'd love to hear what you are studying.
Blessings,
Nancy

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

$35,000 List



Mary Kay from Mary Kay Cosmetics used a list that is nicknamed the $35,000 list and it is something she attributes to her success.  It is a great way to improve your productivity.  In the video I tell you how to make your own $35,000 list.
Enjoy and Blessings,
Nancy

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Start Your Day Off Right


Hi Friends,
Today I share a short story about my time with God first thing this morning and the importance of doing this.
When do you get your God time in?
Blessings,
Nancy
This Post Links To:

Good Morning Girls

Women Living Well

Monday, October 3, 2011

Free Online Quilt Magazine

Hi Friends,
I wanted to let you know of a FREE online quilt magazine you can subscribe to.  OnlineQuiltMagazine.com
It is scheduled to arrive online every month.  When you subscribe, as a thank you, they are sending a free quilt pattern plus 67 quick tips for quilters.
Looks like fun!
Enjoy,
Nancy

Home Blessing AKA To-Do List


Hi Friends,
Today I share with you my homemaking schedule I call my Home Blessings list.  Home Blessing came from my days with Flylady. 

Proverbs 14:1 A wise woman builds her house but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands."

By doing my home blessing each day I am making my home a place of peace and comfort and I'm building it up.

Blessings and Happy Homemaking,
Love,
Nancy

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