Monday, October 17, 2011

gettin' saucy

I spent 4 1/2 hours of this fine fall day with my mother-in-law and seester-in-law's making and canning applesauce.

60 jars later and we're almost experts. 

I'm sharing what I learned both because you might find it helpful and so that next year I can refer back and remember what exactly we did!

A {unofficial} Guide to Making Applesauce

Step 1: Go to a nearby responsible-looking apple orchard. Tell them you are making applesauce. Ask for apple recommendations (I was given McIntosh and Courtland). Request "seconds" - cheaper, possibly slightly odd looking apples from the back.

Step 2: Gather supplies, including large pots, canning jars/rings/lids, canning pot, canning tongs, knives, kitchen towels, food strainer/sauce maker/super cool applesauce maker, etc. It's always good if you can borrow, otherwise bite the bullet and buy everything. Forty years from now you will be glad you did.

Step 3: Slice the apples up. You don't need to peel them or core them, just chop them into slices, about 10 slices per apples (the smaller the pieces the less time it will take for them to cook/get mushy). Watch in awe as your SIL with the quick hands and the big knife makes quick work of this step.

Step 4: Throw them in a large stock pot with "a couple swirls" of water in the bottom [note the exact, precise measurements from my mother-in-law who is the experienced member of the group] ...just enough so your apples don't stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.

Step 5: If it's 10am, Turn on Sesame Street for your toddler. Bonus points if you invited your SIL who loves your kids {almost} as much as you do. She will prove to be invaluable both for entertaining the little one and for running to Meijer when you run out of canning jars and need more.

Step 6: Once the apples are sufficiently cooked/mushed, start transferring them to the super cool applesauce maker. Mash them down with the red thing and crank the handle. This is where the magic happens.

Step 7: Hopefully you remembered to put a rectangular Tupperware container under your super cool applesauce maker where the applesauce comes out and a bowl on the other side where all the gunk comes out - the seeds, stem, peels, etc. Give the apple gunk to your super cool SIL with the organic garden so she can add them to her compost pile.

Step 8: Using a funnel, start filling your jar with the applesauce. Wipe the rims down and top with your canning lids and rings. Repeat until you have a canner load full.

Step 9: Fill the canning pot with jars. Once the water is boiling, set the timer for 20 minutes.

Step 10: Repeat steps as needed. Stop and enjoy some lunch {or some applesauce} during the lulls in the action.

Final Step: Enjoy the fruits of your labor! (You don't need to tell Mady that twice.)

Note: We got 23 quarts out of a bushel of apples. We were told we would get 16-ish and for whatever reason we ended up with way more.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Done List

I knocked two things off my To Do list this week. They are now officially moved to my Done List.

First up: hanging a couple of Ikea BYGEL rails + s-hooks in our closets. This was a Pinterest inspired solution (I'm sure you're starting to catch on by now that all good ideas come from Pinterest) and they've been sitting in the package ever since I bought them a month or so ago.

My two favorite parts of this project...1) it was cheap - $1.99 for the rail and $.99 for the s-hooks, and 2) it's brilliant - no more wasted space behind the closet door and no more little things cluttering up my closet.

Project #2: moss-covered letters. These were one of my very first pins and I knew they would look great with all the red in our living room and bring in a natural-ish (as natural as moss glued on cardboard can be) element as well.

This project was idiot-proof, I kid you not. All it took were some cardboard letters, a roll of moss, a hot glue gun and a pair of scissors. I thought it would be a lot harder to cover the letters and hide seams but moss might just be the most forgiving crafting material on the planet. Total project time: an hour and a half.

What sorts of Pinterest-inspired projects have you been up to lately?

{more} Ella-isms

Yesterday she says to me:

"I'd like a Zu Zu Pet."

"But you already have a Zu Zu Pet."

"No, I want a real Zu Zu Pet."

"Ohhhh, you want a hamster."


There is a boy in her class that told her he would like to marry her. 

To him I say: "As if you could even hope to keep up with her."


Her favorite cheer complete with her own sassy moves:

"Eagles got the muscle. Let's show them how to hustle.

Hut hut hut, say what? Hut hut hut, OK!"


Excited about our upcoming vacation to an all-inclusive resort,

she told her pre-K teacher today:

"I'm going to drink a hundred Pina Coladas."


Caption to the above photo:

"What's up, dudes?"


Our spunky, funny, smart, pretty, precious Ella.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Couples Retreat | Wine Country Edition

how we spent our weekend:


cherry pit sitting











Blessed to call these {crazy} people our friends!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Craft Night: Let's Get Clippy

I'm not an overly crafty kind of girl, but something about hosting a ladies' craft night sounded fun to me and my favorite gal pals/partners in crime (plus it's #15 on my list).

I'm blaming Pinterest: so much inspiration to be found there and actually following through on a Pinterest-y idea helps justify the amount of daily time I spend searching and pinning.

And apparently my friends were all crafting undernourished. For the first time in my party inviting life I had a 100% YES, I'M COMING! response rate. Who knew these girls were just waiting and hoping to be invited to a gathering where Mod Podge takes center stage??

The craft of the evening was Mod Podging paper onto clipboards (tutorial here) - some girls are planning to use these for organization at home (i.e. a clipboard for each child's school papers) and some are planning to give them as gifts.

So for three hours we ate and plotted and cut and Mod Podged and laughed and crafted...and problem solved a few crafting mishaps.

We might not be Martha Stewarts in the making but we did get out for an evening and forget about the laundry and our needy adorable toddlers and, as an added bonus, we got in touch with our inner craftiness. In a busy, virtual world, there is something to be said for working with your hands and actually physically accomplishing something.

Viola! {A few of our finished products below - mine, T's and KMac's}

Our mantra: Finished is better than perfect.

Until next month!

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