Home Maid Simple: October 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 10/31


What's on your menu this week?  If you plan a menu, make sure to link up over at Organizing Junkie (just click the picture!) to win a $75 visa gift card!!

Monday - Burgers and Mummy Dogs
Tuesday - Hamburger Helper
Thursday - Pasta and Salad
Friday - Bean and cheese Enchiladas
Saturday - Leftovers (is this a trend or what?!)
Sunday - Chili

Happy Halloween

From our Home to Yours
May you all have a Fun and Safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sentimental Sunday - Scripture Study

This afternoon Proverbs 31 has been filling my mind.  It has always been one of my favorite scriptures. I feel it tells me quite specifically what I as a woman, wife and mother should be spending my days doing. Why today it has been on my thoughts, probably mainly stems from reading it to the Princesses after church.  We have this cute "Scripture Treasures" box that they can choose an item out of, and then it has a scripture attached to it.  Of course every time we play this game, the "gemstone" is the first thing they pick out, and it of course references to Proverbs 31:10

10 ¶Who can find a avirtuous bwoman? for her price is far above rubies

The chapter continues to outline what makes a virtuous woman.  I have always wanted to be a virtuous woman, and I enjoy this scripture. Today reading it though, I realized I haven't truly taken these verses to heart.  Sure, I try not to be idle, I feed my kids, I stand by my husband through everything, but I haven't really, and I mean really taken all the guidance to heart and fully put it to work in my life. I need improvement in many of these areas, and I have a renewed commitment to make Proverbs 31 the forefront of all that I do.

I will hopefully continue to share what I learn on this journey with you, and I hope to hear from many of you already virtuous woman, and how it has changed and made your lives better!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Review: Feeding the Dragon


Feeding the Dragon: A Culinary travelogue through china with recipes

By Mary Kate Tate and Nate Tate

My thoughts: I LOVED this book! Looking at the cover and title was good enough for me to want to pick it up. I have a few other cookbooks that are country specific with some history in them, but they were fairly boring to read.  When I Feeding the Dragon arrived in the mail, the cover told me this was going to be different, and it was!

Mary Kate and Nate take you right to the heart of China! You get to see the real culture, people, and the history that surrounds them.  The photography in the book is also stunning. While reading about the culture, I really felt like I was right there with them!  Of course, I probably would've died from feral dogs, while Mary and Nate made an escape, but if I had made it, I'd be carrying a branch with me too!  While reading I felt very connected to the Hakka people.  Their homes are built around a central room used for all types of family gatherings, and they have strong focus on the family. What I really loved, though, is how they competely included Mary Kate and Nate and treated them as more family.  It's what I want my home to be - a place anyone can come and feel like family. 
Thank you Mary Kate and Nate for this trip to the heart of China, without having to leave my couch.  You have inspired me to search out the heart of the country when I travel (....if I travel...someday I'll be a world traveler...you'll see!).

I have yet to try any of the recipes from this stunning book, but I have my eye on 4 that will be going on our menu very soon!  Youtiao Fried Dough Stick which apparently are like doughnuts, Farmhouse Omelet a very simple dish, Chicken Lettuce Cups because I love the ones at PF Changs, and Mango Pudding because the name accompanied with the picture is just irresistable!

While browsing the web, I also came across Mary Kate and Nate's BLOG! Yeah, I love blogs, so I'm very excited to add their's to my reading list.  You can purchase their book Feeding the Dragon, through their website or by clicking the picture below!

*This post contains an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting Home Maid Simple

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Get to know me Better!

I came across I am a Reader, Not a Writers meme today, and decided I'd love to let my readers get to know me better!  Each thursday she picks 5 questions off her author interview list to answer.
And with that, here are today's questions

If you could meet one person who has died, who would it be?
-I would want to meet anyone of my ancestors. More specifically either of my grandfathers since I never got to meet them.  I feel I have a connection to them, yet I know almost nothing about them. For some reason stories about my grandparents weren't shared very much, and I'm beginning to want to know more about them.

Chocolate or Vanilla?
-Twist! if it's available in twist I like them both. If I MUST choose one or the other though, I would have to go with chocolate. It's a good mood lifter.

What do you do in your free time?
-What's that? No, in reality, something I've come to learn is that I must give myself free time in order to keep up with the kids, and house without feeling overwhelmed and crashing. Blogging (writing, and reading others) has become my favorite free time activity of late. I also enjoy sewing and reading a good book too though.

What movie are you looking forward to this year?
-Twilight.  Who knew right? In all honesty I'm not one of those crazed Twilight fans, but I am going to the midnight premiere with my sister in law who is probably my best friend ever! So I'm looking more forward to acting like a teenager again by staying up all night, and hanging out with fun people than the actual movie.

Spontaneity or planning ahead?
-A little of both is more my personality. I love having a plan, but mostly I will just go with the flow. I can easily adjust to things not happening as planned.

This is a blog hop! So head on over to I am a Reader not a Writer and link up your answers. Or I'd just love to know more about you in the comments!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Flight of the fairy

We had a little Halloween party at a friends this morning. I could not resist taking picture after picture of Princess R swinging. Isn't that adorable!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Tip - Laundry

Welcome to Tuesday Tips!!

Let's talk laundry - the never ending chore.  At least that's how it's always felt to me. Today I suggest you pick one day of the week. Don't plan anything, don't go anywhere. Each week make this day laundry day.  For me it's monday.  I actually just learned this yesterday, but already I'm feeling the benefits of it. I spent the whole day yesterday washing, drying, folding and putting away laundry.  I have 2 loads left today that just need folded and put away, but than it's DONE!!! I feel so free right now to focus my energies on running errands, and taking kids to and from school. I won't forget that load I put in in the morning, because I didn't have to put one in! 
If needed I will still do a load here and there during the week, but next Monday I will be ready again to spend my day doing laundry, and perhaps there won't be as much piled up (depending on how dirty kids get). 
Another benefit to claiming one day as laundry day, is that while the laundry is washing and drying, you can spend some time doing something you enjoy. Reading a book, sewing, crafting, or playing with your kids. I did a bit of all of the above yesterday. Those are things I also normally never get to, because I'm running between one thing and another.  My kids seemed especially well behaved yesterday, and I believe it was because I was able to give them my attention more fully between loads.
So let's hear it - What are your laundry tips? How do you stay on top of your laundry before you become buried?

Monday, October 24, 2011

SaveMore Deal of the day - Appliance Art!

$25 for $50 worth of Appliance art!!  I seriously want something like this for my fridge!

     The glow of a fire is soothing and comforting like a warm blanket and can help to get you and yours though even the coldest winter nights. Now you can have that comforting feeling every time your in your kitchen with our open fire fireplace panel cover. YA Gingerbread man (or woman) always gets the holiday spirit going. Get your holiday cheer started now!Wake up to the call of a rooster in your kitchen, but not necessarily at the crack of dawn. This painted, down home, rooster theme will add a touch of country to your home with out that barnyard smell, and you won't need a hen house to keep him happy. 

Menu Plan Monday 10/24


Monday - Soup in Bread Bowls
Tuesday - Hamburger Helper
Wednesday - Chicken Enchiladas
Thursday - Pasta and Salad
Friday - Chili and Soup at the church (Mark signed us up for Gumbo, I signed us up for dessert!)
Saturday - leftovers/hot dogs

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop


Welcome to Home Maid Simple: Where we turn our house into a Home!
and the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by I am a Reader Not a Writer and The Diary of a Bookworm.
This is a blog hop so make sure you visit all the other amazing blogs on the linky (below) and enter to win their book related prizes! 
You may notice I don't talk a whole lot about books here at Home Maid Simple. I have a very open love affair with books though. Some times I imagine that Mark has a dark secret to sell all my books, and that he just tolerates them for now.  Back to the hop though! I really wanted to participate in a blog hop and decided maybe there might be a book I could giveaway.  I apologize it's not all that spooky or halloweeny (yes I made that word up), but I hope it will become a wonderful book addition to help someone else turn their house into a Home!

One winner will receive Better Homes and Gardens America's Best Cross-Stitch
This is a used book but in EXCELLENT condition! Dustjacket is even still intact (can someone explain to me the purpose of a dustjacket please?)

This is just a sampling of some of the designs. See you can get started on some great Holiday decor. Maybe even do a little cross stitching on some gifts!

I should mention, my other love affair after books is cross stitching. I am in the process of cross-stitching Princess C's Christmas Stocking, and I really enjoy it. Plus it's easy to do!!

To enter this giveaway just fill out the rafflecopter form below. Do any or all of the entries. The more entries you complete the better your chance of winning.

Sentimental Sunday - Family Fun

This last week we had a lot of fun just finding fun things to do as a family that didn't cost a lot of money. On Wednesday Princess V came home with a coupon for free ice cream at arctic circle. It was such an easy decision what we were going to do that night. I had a walmart gift card so we won't and got some groceries and a new laundry basket for the master room. Mark and I grabbed a cheap candy bar and soda, then we took the girls out for ice cream. Princess V got her free cone, Princess R got a courtesy cone, and we paid $1 for Princess C's cone. Cheap, fun and something I will always remember as a fun night out.

Thursday night Mark had a concert. He is the new community band director, and this was his first concert conducting. The princesses all did pretty well. I had to chase Princess R down the aisle a few times, but it is such a casual gathering it didn't matter all that much (I will say this though, don't let your kids play their gameboys at a concert with the volume all the way up. That's just plain rude, no matter how casual the gathering is!).  Princess V fell asleep during the last song, sitting up in her chair. It was so cute. They had a great selection of songs - Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and others.

Friday was UEA (Utah Educators Association). Mark took Princess C to Salt Lake and hit up the booths for some free goodies and candy.  Princess C won a dollar, and "got a tummy ache eating too much candy".  Princess V, Princess R and I pulled out our halloween decorations and got them set up.

Saturday we all got up early and went to the church to clean. I like that we can give this service to keep our church buildings clean.  Everyone else was a little less thrilled with getting up so early.  After dance for Princess C and Mark got some school work done, we all headed outside. It has been so nice during the days here lately! We were able to get a lot of yardwork done. I'm almost ready to get the grass in our dirt spot, and I've been planning a better garden for next year. Mark has been getting our wood ready for the winter, and keeping up with lawn maintenance.
My man is so amazing! I sent him some plans for this really nice looking wood platform. So he took the idea, used what we already had and created our own!  Love him!

Yes that's a lot of wood! It used to be the garden border before we tore it all up.

And of course he got lots of help stacking wood from the Princesses.

This last week brought back many memories of growing up. Cheap family outings, lots of nightly games, chopping wood and stacking it, and many memories of weeding.  I feel blessed to continue these good uplifting experiences with my children and a wonderful husband! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Decorating for Halloween

I did, I (er Mark) finally got our Halloween decorations out of storage. I don't know why I didn't do it when I pulled out fall stuff out.  But that's ok, because it's out now!  We only have a few things left to do this week - find/make a large spider for our spider web, and get pumpkins for painting and carving!

Easy to make porch spider web, and cheap too! I just pulled out our black yarn and started wrapping it around! Princess V helped with the scissors

Yes it's a bit small for the door, but I like it.  ~Spooky~

These gourd I won over at Gingerbread and Snowflakes. The requirement though was that I try my hand at this artsy technique.  I colored the both with colored pencils (it was all I had!). Then paint over them with black acrylic paint. Finally using toothpicks scratch out a design. My art skills are lacking, but the Princesses though they were pretty cool and can tell that one says Spooky in a spider web and the other is a witch with a boiling cauldron.  The colors from underneath should show through, but mine didn't turn out so great. It's definitley a technique I want to continue playing around with though!

My awesome happy Halloween blocks I won from Cafemom!

Last but not least is our haunted house. It's actualy a music box, but it doesn't work. This item I got for FREE from a yard sale a couple years. One of these days I may try and fix the music box, but for now the Princesses enjoy spinning the top wheel and watching the witch zoom around in circles.

Flirty Aprons Flash Sale - 50% OFF

It's another Flirty Aprons Flashsale! Until 10/23 you can get 3 different aprons for 50% OFF!!
The Woman's Original Aqua Damask, Original Chic Pink, and Original Scarlet Blossom! 
Use code flashweekend at checkout!!  These would make some GREAT Christmas gifts!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Take the Rodelle Challenge

Have you heard the buzz? Rodelle has a challenge going on right now to find the Best, Worst or Funniest Baking moments you've shared with your family and friends!  Head over to the Rodelle Facebook page to share your memories! Who knows, you could be 1 of 3 Grand Prize Winners.  What do the winners get, a Years Supply of Premium Rodelle Baking Goods and a KitchenAid!!!  Share stories, pictures and videos right on their wall.

Rodelle sent me some vanilla beans to try out. I have never worked with vanilla beans before, so I'll be making some memories this week as I try them out, and make some yummy goodies with my kids. I love this time of year when the baking begins and I get to share the memories with my kids, and the goodies with our friends.  I searched pinterest and found these yummy looking treats to make using vanilla beans:

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Bean Scones!!

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars

I'll be back later this week with at least one of these recipes and how it turned out!!! 

Don't forget to visit Rodelle's Facebook Page and take the Rodelle Challenge!  You have until December 25th to enter those stories, pictures and videos!

*This post was sponsored by Rodelle. I received Rodelle Premium Vanilla Beans in exchange to write about the Rodelle Challenge. All opinions and ideas are my own.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 10/17


Last week was pretty successful with using our food storage. We definitely felt the difference, but I am feeling much more confident to continue it this week.

Monday - Cheesy Potato Soup with Rolls
Tuesday - Hamburger Helper
Wednesday - Beef Enchiladas
Thursday - Chicken Ramen Noodles Salad
Friday - Date Night (I purchased a gift card to Chili's from Savemore for 50% off!!)

What are you eating this week?!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sentimental Sunday - Personal Reflection

This past week I have been doing a lot of personal reflection.
The main thing I have begun to notice is that I am a lot like my mom, and I couldn't be happier. There are so many times I remember getting up to find my mom had already been awake for quite some time, and she had her scriptures out; reading and pondering them.
It took me a long time, but I am now in the habit of getting up every morning (sometimes with the kids, sometimes before) and reading my scriptures. It has made an impact on my days. In my personal opinion there couldn't be a better way to start each and every day.
I also remember walking in on my mom praying a lot. For the past few years, I have not turned to the Lord as often as I know I should, but in the last little bit, this too has become a new priority in my life. I want my children to have those same memories of me, and that example that my mom gave me.  To feel close to the Spirit and know that we are never alone, is a gift I treasure.
The one thing I have not been as diligent as my mom, is journal writing. I do consider blogging to be a bit of my personal journal, but I also have a real hard cover with blank pages journal. I should take more time to write in it.

Another item from my personal life I began pondering is my wall displays. I love having pictures on my walls. There has been one item though that since the day I got married has moved and been hung in every home we've lived in.  It is The Family: A Proclamation To the World.  It states

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan.
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (
Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

Isn't that amazing? This was also hung in my parents house for as long as I can remember along with a picture of Christ. I too have a beautiful painting titled "Oh Jerusalem" hanging in my home. It is one of my favorite pictures of Christ as he looks out over Jerusalem longing for them, but because they refused Him, He could not do anything. 

I don't often talk about my faith here, so I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into who I am, and what I believe. If you'd like to learn more about my faith please visit lds.org or mormon.org

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Get Your Craft On!

I had a bit of a downer week (just look back through some posts and you'll see the mess).  I feel much more relaxed now, and have begun some exciting and fun stuff!
See this basket? Nice right? We got this basket for our wedding, and we loved it. The problem was we rarely went on picnics that weren't in the backyard, and so for 6 years it has been more a storage basket.

I have reclaimed the basket now for shoes! The front handle/latch was only attached by twist ties, so that was easily removed. The lid was a bit more tricky, and I ended up just ripping gently pulling it off the wire that had it attached.  This is what I now have!
The perfect size for the Princesses shoes.  The plan is to put all the shoes in this basket as they come inside. Every Saturday we will clean out the basket, taking all but the Sunday Shoes down to their bedroom.  My next step is a towel, or some sort of mat to go underneath to catch any mud/snow.
A new home for the basket and shoes!
Mark walked in just as the lid came off and exclaimed "That was our Wedding Basket!". 
To which I responded "Yes dear, but we never used it except for storage, and now it is being used and looks nice" (or something along those lines, I may have rambled on more to him).
He then proceeded to try and throw the lid away.  "NOOOOO! I'm going to use that" to which I was given a funny look like I had lost it.

See! Once I removed the lid handles (also attached by twist ties) it became a perfect magazine and book holder. I debated hot gluing the handles to the edges to make a sort of serving tray, but they are curved just a little too much.

I'm partying over at

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Flirty Aprons BOGO 1/2 OFF!!

Oooohhh, Flirty Aprons has done it again, another GREAT sale. I just love these stylish aprons!  From now until October 16 you can buy one at regular price and get a second for half off!! Think Christmas gifts here! Or even get some cute child sized aprons!

Use code Buy1HalfOff at checkout


What a mess!

Now that our basement remodel is finished we have done a big old switcheroo! We put Princess C and Princess V in the master room, Mark and I have taken one of the smaller rooms, and the leftover room will eventually be the baby's room, but for now, gets to hold all the junk items we do not have a spot for quite yet. This switch has been messy, still is, but I have seen progress!
 The Princess' new room
After finishing the switch, this is what the basement now looks like - AHHHHH! That will be tomorrow's to do list.

Our new Master Bedroom (hello Princess C)

Storage room soon to be baby's room. We may have to do some painting if this turns out to be a boy.

I obviously need to find a more organized way of switching things around. Of course, when I took all the toys downstairs I did go through them all, and I have a box to donate. I also had it all in boxes, but 5 minutes of the girls down there, and BAM what a mess. My next chore will be figuring out how to organize the toys so that they stay organized.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 10/10


I'm linking up with Organizing Junkie as I plan our menu's this month!
We are trying to get on top of our finances, and I noticed our grocery budget had gone up a fair amount the last month. So in order to give us a little more breathing room, this month I've decided to eat out of our food storage. Yes we're those people that like to stockpile on the food. Sadly though our food storage hasn't always been a large priority either, so it's a little skimpy. This months meals are going to be innovative, and hopefully tasty!
I will still buy certain basics, but it should cut our grocery bill at least in half (milk, bread, cheese).

Monday - Pasta and Breadsticks
Tuesday - Rice and beans
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - Food Storage Lasagna
Friday - Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Saturday - Leftovers

The one thing this food storage living is going to make me do is Menu Plan! It will be very hard to try and throw something together last minute out of our food storage. It is going to take some creative thinking

If anyone has any good Bean recipes, I could sure use them! We have probably close to 100 lbs of dried beans.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sentimental Sunday - Childhood memory

Did you ever have one of these? Do you still have one?

The majority of my childhood we lived in a duplex with my Aunt and Uncle on the other side.  I have so many fond memories of those times spent on the other side of the house.  For example, every Saturday morning, Aunt J would cook us pancakes, in whatever shape we requested. We had tons of Mickey Mouse pancakes, but periodically tried testing her skills with dinosaurs and teddy bears.
Another fond memory is her air Popcorn maker. When we had movie nights, we would head next door to pop our own popcorn. I loved pouring the kernels in, and then watching them pop, it was just so very cool!! We could add as much butter and salt as we wanted, and no ones bowl had the same amount of flavoring.
For a long time now, I've been wanting an air Popcorn maker.  Thanks to a gift card I got to Macy's I was able to purchase (for free!) this Bella retro style Popcorn maker. I can't wait to share these memories and make new ones with my own kids. These are really so much fun! 

I'm linking up over at The Heartfelt Home
Sit Relax and Read

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Review: I Believe In You

I Believe in You, Marianne Richmond, Hardcover

Book: I Believe In You by Marianne Richmond

About the Book: This is a Children's picture book. It takes all the small things we parents believe our kids can do while growing up, and plays it out for our kids. "Whether it's sunny or stormy, Whether you're happy or blue, I'm here to say, without a doubt that I believe in you"

About the Author: Marianne Richmond is an inspiration! When she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, she started hand painting greeting cards.  Soon she was getting many orders for her cards, and created a small business Watercolor Works.  In 1997 Marianne decided to try writing a children's book.  She is now the author and illustrator or many children's books.

I Believe In You Review:  I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read it with Princess V (age 5) the moment we got it in the mail.  As I read each page, all I could think was, YES I do Believe in YOU! As Marianne says, Growing up is hard but we believe in our kids ability to make it past the bumps.  One of Princess V's favorite lines is "I believe in your stand up truth". On this page there is a little girls hiding behind a couch that has been covered in crayon.  Princess V thoroughly took this to heart, and later that day I found her coloring all our walls purple. It has been YEARS since Princess V colored on the walls, and when I asked her why she did it, her response melted my heart
-"Mom, I believe in my mistakes, and my.....my....."
-"Your stand up truth?"
-"Yeah my stand up truth because I make mistakes"
 Awe, how could I be mad at her, when she had learned such an important lesson? Ever since bringing this book into our home, when I have to ask my kids who did something, like coloring on walls, hitting, pushing, taking toys, etc. Princess V always waits a bit, but then tells me "Mommy I'll tell the truth. It was...." And most of the time it has been her. Whether it really was her or not, I appreciate her wanting to make things right and taking the consequence (simple time outs, apologizing) for doing wrong.

I'd like to thank you Marianne for this book, and the many others you have written, and may (hopefully) still write. Your story is inspiration to follow our dreams, and your books have become an extension of that.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Canning Grape Juice


Home Made Grape Juice Canned

I had a lot of fun doing this. I was quite surprised though at just how little juice I got out of all those grapes.  I have a new appreciation for the cost of store bought juice.

I'm just going to jump right into this tutorial. If you have any questions just leave them in the comment section!

Step 1:  Wash and de-vine your grapes.
Step 2:  I suggest using a Steam Juicer. If you don't have one, go out and buy one, or borrow one. They are a time saver!!! Follow the directions for your juicer.  If you do not/can not/want to be adventurous there is a step by step guide HERE for straining the juice from your grapes.  If you use the juicer, I added a little under 1 cup sugar per 3quarts grapes. So I dumped one of my bowls of grapes in, poured on some sugar, then the rest of the grapes, followed by more sugar.
Step 3: While the grapes are juicing, sterilize your jars. Some people do this in a dishwasher, I did my pear jars in a sink of hot water. BUT I found a new way! You can sterilize the jars, lids and and rings in your oven. Turn oven on to 225 degrees Farenheit. Place jars, lids and rings on cookie sheets. I used two seperate sheets and put the lids and rings on the bottom shelf, and the jars above so there was more room.

Step 4: Carefully remove hot jars from oven and fill with hot juice.
Step 5: Process Jars. My mom is so sweet! She was supposed to bring me her water bath canner, and when she showed up she had bought me my very own steam canner instead. So I steam canned my grape juice! There are some differing opinions on how safe steam canning is compared to water bath. Here's my 2 cents. If it were unsafe, you wouldn't be able to buy steam canners. The fact that the jars sealed tells me no bacteria should be able to get inside. Plus, from my own experience, I think my jars of grape juice came out just as hot or hotter and stayed hotter longer than my jars of pears in the water bath. 

So have at it! Make some grape juice!  Out of my 6-7 quarts of grapes, I was able to get 4 1/2 quarts of grape juice.  The 1/2 quart I put in the fridge and drank with my breakfast this morning! It was oh so good!  A little on the strong side, so when we do open the other jars, I will either dillute with some water, or club soda depending on who will be enjoying it.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tomorrow I promise!

If you follow Home Maid Simple on Facebook, you may have seen me post about teaching you how to make and can grape juice today. I'm sorry, plans didn't work out like I had hoped.  I will be making the grape juice tonight, taking lots of pictures of every step, and posting about it tomorrow! I have been excited for almost a week for these grapes, so I can't wait to share with you!!! 

In the meantime, how about a little contest?  Whoever guesses closely the number of quart jars of grape juice I can get out of these grapes, I will send a set of Sea-Bands and pack of ginger gum. (yes nothing to do with canning, but I recieved an extra and would like to share with you!)  So guess away!!
The picture doesn't seem to do it justice. Each bowl holds about 3 quarts liquid :)
Giveaway will be open until tomorrow Tuesday the 4th at Noon!
(if you have no need of the Sea Bands, think great Christmas Gift, or Baby shower gift for that newly expecting mom)

I also opened a jar of the pears we canned last week, and they are good!  Mmm, oh so good, I wish I could share them with you :)