Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Canning Party!!!

I was selected to host a Ball Discover You Can canning party through House Party

My dad, the boys, and I went out picking Blueberries two days before, so we had fresh, organic blueberries to can. I had $30 worth of blueberries and after 20 something half pints of blueberry-lemon preserves and 5 half pints of blueberry syrup, I STILL had blueberries!!!!!!!

I decided to make Paula Deen's Blueberry-Lemon Preserves. I had bought her Paula Deen magazine last year with the recipe in it. I have already made a few of her canning recipes, so we thought we would give this one a try. Oh.Em.Gee..... My husband doesn't even like blueberries (thanks honey for telling me BEFORE I picked & bought 12lbs of blueberries), but we ALL LOVE this recipe!! I think we've already gone through 4 or 5 half-pints in the last month alone.


5 cups blueberries
6 1/2 cups sugar
Zest of two lemons
Juice of two lemons
2 (3 ounce) envelops liquid fruit pectin (Ball Fruit Jell)
7 (8 oz.) Canning Jars with lids


Prepare jars and lids according to manufacturer’s instructions.

In a large saucepan over high heat add blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir frequently while bringing to a rolling boil. Stir in pectin and continue boiling for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Skim any foam if necessary and ladle into the hot prepared jars.
Don't you just want to lick that pot???

Be sure to leave at least a 1/4” space at the top of the jar.

Place the cap on the jars and process for another 15 minutes in a canner with boiling water.

Our snack table - Buffalo Chicken Dip, Homemade Chicken salad sandwiches, homemade bluebery muffins, pasta salad..... YUM!

The Caprese salad did not last long at all!!

Since I had a ton of blueberries left over, I made Blueberry Syrup
This lovely mess of blueberries got turned into popsicles for the boys and the juice was turned into the syrup. being a good homemaker or homesteader is about not letting things go to waste. :)

I do hope you will try this Blueberry Lemon Preserves recipe!! My friend Fairlight over at Polka Dot Tree asked me for this recipe and did her own batch.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Homeschool Beach Explore

Our Endeavor homeschool group met out at Folly Beach this past Thursday for a low tide beach excursion. Usually, they find really cool things like horseshoe crabs, starfish, sea pork, etc... This was not a very prolific exploration, hopefully we can go back out there on a full moon low tide.

We met at the end of Folly Beach. You have a 1/4 mile walk to the beach.
John-Michael LOVES riding his Daddy's shoulders.

Joshua walked and road Joe's shoulders.

Nikki had already been there for a little while and had already found the startfish.

Joe and John-Michael admiring the blue crabs that Ted had caught

We climbed over the Jetty rocks to see if there was anything on the other side. Sometimes rays are caught over there. The surf was really rough so we didn't stay on that side for very long.



deceased baby starfish

Joshua is curious about the baby starfish

John-Michael was digging for treasure

the boys don't like walking on all of the shells

Joshua and Bella "swimming out to the lighthouse"

Not our cutie, but she's a sweetie!

here's our cutie!

Bella climbing one of the trees in the boneyard.

We went over towards the boneyard section of the beach to play on the dead trees

smiles at sunset

Joshua is curious about the madreporite on the starfish

a closer examination

Joshua releasing the starfish back into the sea

sunset on the island


***Edit - this post was written in January 2010. I saw it in my posts line up as a draft and have no idea how it never posted. I hit post. And oops! It posted as a today post. LOL***

So today we traveled from Spartanburg to the big city of Atlanta. One of the things I wanted to do while we were here was to go to Ikea. I had heard a lot about it and was looking forward to going.

Maybe it's my Mid-sized city upbringing but I really did not enjoy myself. First of all, the store has it's own parking garage. We found out later that the Target a block down the way has it's own parking garage AND escalators. Escalators in a Target - now that's an interesting site.

so back to Ikea. We go in and we are funneled up escalators to the 2nd Floor. If you've never been to one, it's quite interesting. You get a piece of paper and a pencil. Then you walk down preset aisles viewing either sections of furniture or displays. You write down what you like and at the end of your shopping trip, you go through a warehouse and pick up the boxes of your furniture to take home to assemble.

We did see a couple of things we liked. We were not impressed with the Uber modern furnishings though. Everything was modern and we are more traditionalists. Some modern is creeping into our home, but not much.

The other thing we HATED was the frantic pace and energy the other people were exuding. I'm not kidding, I felt like we were shopping on Black Friday. I felt like we were on a shopping trip courtesy of M.A.R.T.A. The only thing that was missing was the people movers.

We've learned our lesson. If you like the stuff from Ikea, just pass on visiting the store and have it shipped.

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

We lost my grandfather at the end of May. So our family packed up and traveled the 15 hours (we have kids, remember?) to the Mississippi Gulf area.

Our first day there we met up with my friend Tiffany of As For My House and her littles, Jewel and R.T.

Our family purchased a reciprocal children's museum membership to the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry a couple of years ago. And since then, we renew it every year with money that the boys get for Christmas. It's the gift they get over and over throughout the year! Since we travel so much, the reciprocal membership has taken us to many different museums! We have been to the museum's in Atlanta, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale/Davie, and Columbia, SC.

The first time we met Tiffany, Jewel, and R.T. in real life was at the Miami Children's Museum while they were living in Homestead, FL, and we were visiting. It was a planned meet up since Tiffany and I were "online friends." So, now that they live 30 minutes from my grandparents, we were able to meet up again! This time we met up at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. Our boys enjoyed it so much, that we went two days in a row. The second day, we took my nephew Merlin. And after we had left on Sunday afternoon back to Charleston, my nephew was still begging to go back!

At each museum, there are exhibits that I like at each one. This one seems to be our favorite all over museum.

My train loving boys LOVED the Dolan Anvenue Depot!! It had a child sized train, complete with a ticket booth, an engine where you could shovel "coal", and even a dining car where you could serve and be served. Trunks along the platform encourage dressing up!

"Ticket Please, Daddy!"

Joshua enjoying the Bear Camp Bayou toddler area

All of the kids loved the Tree House Village!! Here Jewel is helping John-Michael down the stairs.

We got all 4 kids to climb on one of the structures for a group picture! Joshua, R.T., Jewel, and John-Michael.

Joshua learning about working on a Shrimp boat.

Pa is showing Joshua how to use the rigging to open the nets for the shrimp to fall out

Joe and John-Michael are scaling the Super Colossal Climbing Structure. On the second day, I actually had to have a kid inside the structure help John-Michael navigate his way out. LOL

Jewel wearing a Mantilla in the Celebrate the World We Share - Mexico exhibit. She and John-Michael both dressed up and fixed Tacos. Although the boys seemed to like playing in the child sized airplane the best.

Jewel dressed in attire from the 1890's in the Mississippi History City Hotel exhibit

Joe, Joshua and my dad ("Pa") working at WLMDC-TV. They had cameras and a desk, weather backdrop, on site backdrop, and a control panel you could choose which cameras to use. See? Even the big kids had fun!

Joshua is learning about Hurricane force winds in the A Matter of Science room.

Beside the WLMDC-TV station, was a green room with a kayak. Cameras filmed and played in real time a video of the children super imposed in a looped film of a floating river. So they got to see themselves paddling down a river in a kayak.

On our second day, we got to go to the art room. There they had displays of native orchids, exotics and Pitcher plants. The art teacher explained what the plants where and what they did. then each child got to draw the pitcher plant, and then color it in using water colors.

John-Michael working on his masterpiece.

My nephew, Merlin, working on his art.

All of the boys and my husband and the art teacher working together.

Back in Bear Camp Bayou, John-Michael was playing in the doll house.
Joshua discovered a table of African animals. He liked playing with the giraffes and telling his dad that the Bracheasaurus was similar to the giraffe.

Upstairs in the Mississippi History City Hotel, Joshua went ahead of us and began to shine the shoes on his own. I snapped this as I came around the corner. I guess he has helped his daddy shine his shoes before. :)

back over in the Mexico exhibit, John-Michael was dressed up as an Amigo.

1890's bedroom set up for the MS City History Hotel exhibit

the hotel parlor where we had a tea party.

My husband the news anchor.

We caught up with my brother and nephew in A Matter of Science room. Here they are discovering velocity

In the What It's Like to Be Me exhibit, Joshua discovered what it is like to live with a disablility. They had set ups for Hearing and Visually impaired, as well as physically impaired. Joshua got right in one of the wheel chairs and started maneuvering it up and down a ramp and turning it around like he had done it all of his life.

All in all, this was a great museum with lots of different exhibits. The exhibits weren't as large as some of the other museums, but for their size, the exhibits sure did pack in a bunch of stuff!! It was a well rounded museum and we would love to go back. I hope if you are ever visiting the Mississippi gulf area, you will go and enjoy the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center!

Please also excuse the pictures. I had a very hard week with Blogger trying to upload them. After the first 4, I had to use links from Facebook pictures instead!
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