hearts joys

hearts joys

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Processing Jam

So far the girls and I have put up 33 half pints of Lilac Jelly.  I thought you would enjoy seeing the process through pictures.  We have a double batch (1/2 gallon) left to do.

1.  Locate your lilac source
Pick the amount you need.  I just stripped the leaves and everything at once.  Had about a 5 gallon bucket filled in no time.

  Don't forget to pick a bouquet for your wife.

Here are the blossoms waiting to be separated from the leaves and stems.

The decoction beginning to heat

Add the pectin and lemon juice

Don't forget to get the jars and lids ready to go

16 cups of sugar waiting for the decoction to boil

Add sugar all at once

bring to a rolling boil

Add some girls to help fill the jars

put lids on and place in the water bath

While waiting for the canner to finish get some dandelions and girls to cut the yellow parts off to make some dandelion jelly.

Do the dandelions the same way as the lilacs.
The jam tastes great.  We will have to try the dandelion jelly later this week.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Getting Old and pics

Well, I finally figured out what all the whispering, huddles and "never mind dad" has been all about for the last two months.  The girls had me scampering around the house and all out of breath for their "let's get dad to do some exercise" treasure hunt.  The girls had 51 clues, all scripture verses with one word in the verse highlighted as the clue.  However, they had quite a few talking about prayer as a bigger clue to the treasure.  I had to be in seclusion upstairs while they hid all their clues.  Abigail had knitted a prayer shawl for me.  It is her own design.  It turned out very beautiful.  It took her 20 hours for 200 rows.  That gets me out of breath just thinking about it.  So before I get all out of breath just typing (some of you know how it is when you are old), I will post some of the pictures.  I think Laurie took a picture of each clue being found.
Just to show that old people can still have fun.
And no, mom, I did not stand on or walk across the swingset this time.

Friends from Israel stopped in for a visit.
And now for the birthday pictures.  The hunt begins.

a most difficult clue.

Ok, who's next?  This clue drove me nuts, not that I'm not halfway there already. 

I think here I was about half way done. 
 Needing a nap too.

hey, you won't believe what gets stuck under here besides a clue

My wonderful wife had a clue stuck in her pocket.

You do know that pyromaniacs are in the family tree?

My oatmeal is growing things.

Oil anyone?

This is Abigail, she too had a clue

My coffee partner, Mr. Cup.

Wow, glad it's done.  Now for a rest

Unwrapping the treasure

One prayer shawl with nuts included, I know what you are thinking.  No, it isn't me.  But I could qualify. They stuffed pistachios inside.

A wonderful job.  It is beautiful.  Now on Friday nights when I bless the children I can cover them too.

Hearts at Home what a blessing

Here is Abigail's pattern

More blessings

Well, I am sure that 51 never felt so good.  and am sure as the year goes by it will bring more blessings.  Hope you all enjoyed the pictures just as much as I did posting them.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lilacs; the essence of spring

Lilac Jelly

4 cups lilac blossoms, green parts removed

4 cups boiling water

8 tablespoons lemon juice

2 packages powdered pectin

8 cups sugar

Rinse lilacs and place in a large glass or stainless steal container. Cover with boiling water, cover with a lid and let sit for 24 hours. This will make a nice lilac infusion which smells nice but doesn’t look anything like you would expect. It is murky and either greenish or brownish.

Strain the lilacs, squeezing out the excess water, and discard. Add lemon juice to the infusion, stir in pectin and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Add the sugar all at once and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute, skim and pour into jelly jars.

Lilac Muffins


2 cups lilac buds and blossoms (no green part of flower)

3 eggs

1 cup oil

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder


Rinse lilac buds in water and let them soak. Beat eggs, mix in oil, sugar and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Pour excess water off lilacs. Stir into batter. Pour in prepared muffin tray. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

Lilac Sugar

Make lilac sugar: This is the simplest thing to do, and flavored sugars are always a fancy little treat. Pick some lilac blossoms, clean and not buggy, and sprinkle them in a jar of white sugar, making a few layers, then cap the jar and forget about it for a couple of weeks. For a fancy tea party make little open face sandwiches with a sprinkle of lilac sugar and a few blossoms chopped into cream cheese, and a few petals for garnish, or use the sugar to make shortbread cookies. Heat up some milk, add vanilla and a dollop of whipped cream sweetened with lilac sugar for a little treat to surprise your little ones.

You can find more information about using Lilac at:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Horsing Around Pictures

 Pictures of our flowers and birds around the house.  The kids at home and at the park.