Archives for June 2015

Quick and Easy Patriotic Fruit & Pretzels

I had to throw together a quick dessert for a party recently.  I wanted it to be on the healthy side since I knew there would be lots of other sweets at the party.  So I went to where I usually get most of my ideas, Pinterest! I am a bit of a Pinterest addict and I am always so happy when I actually make something from the hundreds of ideas I’ve pinned.  My dessert is a variation of this one I found on Pinterest.  If I made it again, I would try to use strawberries or watermelon for a brighter red color, but the cherries were what looked best at the market so we went with that!

This is a super easy dish to make and it was wildly popular at the party!  You can’t beat fresh, Michigan cherries!  I just washed the fruit, arranged it on a tray with yogurt covered pretzels and it was ready to go!

Fruit and pretzels

So if you find yourself scrambling for an idea for a 4th of July party, give this a try!  Simple, easy, healthy and delicious!  A perfect combination!

Happy 4th of July!   I hope you enjoy some good food, family, fireworks and fun!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

Strawberry Time!

I hope all of the Dads out there enjoyed their special day. We are so blessed to have such awesome Dads in our family from my own Mister to my brother, nephews and brother-in-law!  My own Dad is not here on earth to celebrate with us but he left me with many, many fond memories of a father who was always there for me, spending time with me and loving me unconditionally.  For more on the story of my inspirational Dad click here.

Here in Michigan it is strawberry time!  Since my oldest daughter was little, it has been a tradition to visit the local U-pick strawberry patch and pick strawberries for homemade jam!  I have tried various recipes over the years, but have settled on this no-cook freezer jam.  It is quick, easy and delicious.

There is a low-sugar pectin option, but I have had a hard time finding it in my area, so I opted for the full sugar option this year.

So in a few hours we went from this:

upick

to this!

Jam

I followed the recipe on the Ball pectin jar and multiplied the recipe by five.  I did this for two batches and made about 20 or so jars of jam.  Here is the recipe I followed:

Homemade Strawberry Jam (Ball Recipe):

1 2/3 cup hulled and crushed strawberries ( I used a potato masher to crush the strawberries doing about 4 cups at a time in a bowl.  You can crush to preference-I like small pieces of strawberries in the jam.)

2/3 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. Ball Real Fruit Instant Pectin

Directions:

1.Stir sugar and pectin in a bowl.

2.Add fruit, stir 3 minutes.

3.Ladle name into clean freezer jars and let stand 30 minutes.  Leave space at the time to allow for expansion during freezing. (I let mine stand overnight and then transferred to the freezer.)

There is nothing like opening a jar of homemade strawberry jam on a cold Michigan winter day and being reminded of the tastes of summer!  This has become a very special family tradition and we even got my brother to join us for this fun outing!  If you have not picked strawberries or made jam, I encourage you to give it a try.  It is a super easy and fun-filled family activity!

Hope you are enjoying this first week of summer!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

A Mother’s Care

Happy Summer! I am officially on summer break this week so hopefully you will see a lot more action on this blog!  Jules and I still continue to battle some health issues, her recent being pneumonia and I am four weeks post-surgery for my foot injury.  We thank you for your patience at the sparse posts but we hope to be back with lots of fun and inspiring ideas to share with you!  Just a teaser-Jules has been working on some pretty inspiring fairy gardens so stay tuned for pictures and directions for an enchanting project!

I’m happy to say the surgery for my foot injury is behind me (for more details on the injury click here).  Hopefully I will be done with the walking boot in a couple of weeks and can move on to physical therapy and be as good as new.  I’m trying to see beyond the temporary inconvenience of this injury and look ahead to days of health and healing but it has been hard to be patient.

I have learned many things through this challenge, one of the biggest being how  important encouraging words and acts of care are to someone under the weather.  I think I knew this on some level but until I actually experienced it first hand, I don’t think I really “got” how important and meaningful it is.  The encouraging e-mails, messages, visits and prayers I received before and after my surgery really helped brighten my day, made me smile and brought me so much comfort.

I realize now how much this means and I want to be better about doing this for others.  It only takes a second to send a message or make a phone call and it can really help to offer hope and cheer to someone who is feeling down.

Were you wondering when I was going to get to the point of the title?  Due to circumstances of the Mister’s work, he couldn’t be with me during my surgery.  My brother and Mom were able to be with me and then my Mom stayed to care for me afterward.  We have mentioned before about my Mom’s health issues, so I think she was feeling pretty good that she was on the caring end of things this time.  I was so thankful for Mom being here and the time we spent together.  There is just nothing like a Mother’s care and I was so comforted by her presence and help following my surgery.  She knew what I needed before I even had to ask.  We spent the days of recouperation talking, watching Hallmark movies and just hanging out.  I thank God daily for my Mom and the time we are able to spend together, as I get older, I realize deeply what a blessing this is. Here she is with Little One.  Thanks Mom for all of your help!

IMG_4147

I apologize for this post being a bit rambly!  I hope these words might inspire you to reach out to someone you know who is going through a health issue.  Even if you can’t be a caregiver like my Mom was to me,  taking the time to send a message, card or pick up the phone to say hi will surely brighten their day.

~Blessings,

Jen