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In a Bit of a Jam

September 7, 2010

Fall has unofficially arrived here in South Dakota.  Yesterday was downright blustery and today we are boasting a high temperature of 62.  Perfect for some of my favorite fall-time activities!

Canning!  Specifically, making jelly or jam.

See that beautiful jelly in the picture above?  That is not my my creation.  I hoped it would be, but I experienced a horrific jelly accident.

I’m making an apple-rhubarb jelly.  I like to pre-heat my jars in the oven before filling as this method has always guaranteed a perfect seal every time.  I had the jars heating, water-bath simmering, fruit all squishy and hot and waiting for me to add the fruit pectin, and I was literally seconds away from the point of no return.  I removed the lid on the water-bath and all the condensation poured down onto the stove, dripped into the oven, onto the pan I had the jars on, and caused terrifying explosion-like sounds.  All but two of my jars cracked. Thank goodness i didn’t add the pectin yet!  It can still be saved.

The fates are against me making jelly today.  Luckily, I have a sweetheart of a husband that has promised me he will pick up a new rack of jars on his way home from work.  Thank goodness i didn’t add the pectin yet!  It can still be saved.

I’ll be finishing the jelly tonight and then I’m canning pie filling tomorrow.  Hopefully I’ll have some pictures of success by then.

What’s your favorite fall-time activity?


Way Out West

August 30, 2010

I’m going to be pretty busy for next week as I am attempting to rearrange our entire house.  We just got back from a vacation to the Black Hills and after a week of relaxation, I’m feeling the need to really do something.

While I’m doing that, please enjoy a few pictures from our trip.  It was pretty darn fun!

The wide open spaces of South Dakota – Sunflower fields

The dinosaur at Wall Drug

View from our cabin

Inside a gold mine

We panned for gold and found some


Crazy Horse Monument

We rode inner tubes down the creek

Went into a cool cave

Roasted marshmallows

Saw some bears

It would be a trip out west without seeing buffalo

Over Two-Thousand Feet of Twine and So Little Time

August 6, 2010

Most of you know that I am holiday obsessed.  Give me any proper holiday, (must include food, friends, and music) and I am one happy chick.

Thanks to the scorching and oppressive weather here lately, I’ve really been wishing for the upcoming fall and winter holidays to get here a little quicker.  Because of  Rebecca at and The Twinery, I have some nifty new things to integrate into my holidays.


My husband said, “Twine? umm…yay?”

He’s a heathen.  All he sees is colored string but I see future holiday projects getting an extra shot of pizzazz due to this pretty eco-friendly twine.

Here are my plans:

  • Use twine to wrap up fall pies and cookies as gifts.
  • Tie my grape-vine to the trellis for winter.
  • Attach ornaments to the tree with pretty twine instead of those metal hooks.
  • Tie up pretty presents
  • Make  a cat toy
  • Attempt to make world’s largest ball of twine and then give up.
  • Personalize greeting cards.
  • Use it to tie back my hair. (I constantly loose hair bands)

If you want some twine of your own, you can head over to The Twinery.

I chose the Maraschino, Caribbean and Peapod colors but all the offered twine spools come in great fun shades.

A question for you: What would YOU do with over 2000 feet of twine?

**I was neither bribed nor threatened into writing about this item/store/blog.  I really do think this product is groovy.  Had I hated the giveaway item, I would have never mentioned it on my blog at all.

Must Be My Lucky Week

August 6, 2010

I won another giveaway!

I love looking at inspiration pictures over on The Zhush!  It’s a great blog for anyone that is redecorating, loves design, or is just totally obsessed with pretty thing.  I have major room-envy over some of the pictures featured.  Absolutely gorgeous!

I won their RugsUSA giveaway!

My UPS man delivered it today and I am really impressed with how thick and lush it is.

I actually stood on it for about ten minutes just enjoying the feel of it at I wiggled my toes.

More importantly, this rug has the official “Kitten Seal of Approval”

**I was neither bribed nor threatened into writing about this item/store/blog.  I really do think this product is groovy.  Had I hated the giveaway item, I would have never mentioned it on my blog at all.

A Pretty Prize

August 5, 2010

I stumbled upon a cute blog a few weeks ago called Best Wishes, Marie.

She describes her blog as:

A year long journey to becoming more balanced and peaceful. Achieving this by being proactive and exploring. Making these “life improvements” a reality, one letter at a time and signing them …. Best Wishes, Marie

Very intriguing idea!

Well, she ran a giveaway for a Williams SonomaEssentials of Grilling” cookbook. I entered.  I won!

It arrived via FedEx and I can hardly wait to try some of the tasty sounding dishes suggested within.  Thanks Marie!

I have some steaks thawing and am looking forward to further break-in my new grill this weekend.

What are your favorite grilling recipes or even just things to grill?

My Day in Pictures

August 4, 2010

My husband got off work really early in an effort to give me a happy birthday.  It certainly was!

  • Breakfast Out – I had continental crepes with fresh sliced strawberries on top.
  • Mini Golf – It was beautiful out there and fun!
  • A Card – A beautiful “Happy Birthday Wife” card.  My first!
  • Gift – A tiny Weber charcoal grill from my propane loving husband(yay!)
  • Gift – A pony-keg of 1919 root beer and vanilla ice cream for root beer floats.

Pretty Little Visitors

August 3, 2010

We have had some visitors to our backyard.

They sing, make a bit of a mess, and then abruptly leave after they have eaten their fill.  No, it’s not my family.  We have become a favored pit-stop of some American Goldfinch.

I’m hoping to  catch a better picture one of these days soon but the musical little things are a bit jumpy when I get too close. I also caught a Common Redpoll scavenging for niger seed under the feeder but he’s so tiny (only as big as my thumb) that i couldn’t get a decent picture at a distance.

I’m hoping to get another bird-feeder that will encourage even more pretty birds to visit us but I don’t want anything that would become an all-you-can-eat buffet for the local Grackles.

Any suggestions?