Valentines Day Craft

My friend and I signed up as art docents for our sons’ kindergarten class.  We decided to share it and have been taking turns doing art projects for their class.  Tomorrow is a new art day and after looking on Pinterest for what felt like hours, I decided to do this little caterpillar for their project tomorrow.

Quite honestly, the little 5-6 year olds kind of scare me. When you get 25 of them all at once raising their hands or asking for help, you start to shake a bit.  Or at least I do.   I don’t know how teachers do it.  They have this magic way of clapping and suddenly, every little person stops what they’re doing and does the same clapping pattern.  It’s a miracle only the teacher can do.  Believe me.  I tried.  It didn’t have the same magical effect.

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But, being able to help out in Jack’s classroom is an opportunity I am glad I get to do.  Let’s just hope they’re just as happy to make this little project tomorrow.

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Balance

Over the past couple years, there have been a quite a few requests for the ‘word of the year’ necklaces.  Each woman chooses a word that is her word for that year.  Sometimes it’s ‘Courage’.  Sometimes it’s ‘Strength’.  Sometimes it’s ‘Faith’.  I’ve never chosen one for myself.  Probably because by the time I think about making one for me, it’s June and the year is half way over.  This year, I decided to make one.  My word for the year is ‘Balance’.

I think every mom has this same struggle.  The daily struggle of her list.  Whether it’s mental or written down, that list is always running through her head.  If it’s not, I want her secret.  As a work at home mom, my list may be a little different from some but it still needs balancing.  There’s a problem with my work though.  A really good problem….I LOVE my work.  Love, love, love it.  So, how do I balance my work and my personal life when my work is my personal life?  Every time my work is a little slower, I cherish those weeks that I can try new recipes, make a couple of crafts, organize a closet (or three), garden, spend way too much time on Pinterest, have a shopping trip with a friend, get my hair cut.  Each night after the kids are in bed, I gravitate towards my office.   Every night, I have my best friend who wants me to sit with him on the couch.  Another balance issue I need to work on.  That time after the kids go to bed is my quiet time.  My time to think, create, or just be.  But, it’s also OUR time.   And I need to remember that and cherish that.  So, lucky him, he’s going to watch ‘The Taste’ with me in a bit.

For years (I’ve worked from home since our oldest was a baby), I’ve tried to find that perfect balance.  The balance of doing ‘cool, fun’ mom things, housework, and ‘work’ work.  As my business grows, each busy season I tell myself I’m not going to go through another busy season without hiring help.  Then, the next roll of orders comes in and I can’t seem to find the time to think about hiring help.  Does that make sense to anyone other than me?

So, even though I have no magic answer tonight, I do have my new necklace.  I have had these oval pendants for a long time and decided to stamp ‘balance’ off to the side to remind me that even though my life is not perfectly balanced, it’s still a beautiful one.

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Canning Mandarins

 Last summer, we started canning.  After a few months of no canning, I thought it was time to get the jars out and try something new.  Mandarins.

I love mandarins on Chinese chicken salad and so why not can them before we can’t find any in the stores.  This was a super easy canning project that was finished up within 1.5 hours…with about 5 minutes to spare before Downton Abbey started last night.

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Here’s what you’ll need (besides the obvious canning supplies):

5 lbs. Mandarins

Simple syrup

Easy Canning Method:

1.  Peel those mandarins.  Helps to have a helper and thank you Mr. Farmer for volunteering

2.  Pack peeled mandarins into 9 pint size jars

3.  Make your simple syrup.  I ended up making a 2:1 ratio because I didn’t want to risk having bitter oranges.  6 cups of water, 3 cups of sugar.  Bring your water to a boil, then slowly stir in sugar.  Keep stirring until it’s boiling again and allow to boil 1 minute.

4.  Pour simple syrup into jars with mandarins, leaving 1/2″ head space.

5.  Wipe rims clean, put your lids on.

6.  Process in a boiling water canner for 10-15 minutes.  Remember to not start timing until after you’ve reached a full boil.  I like to get my water almost boiling while I’m doing everything else. That way, when it’s time to process, you don’t have to wait too long for the water to heat up.

7.  After the processing, allow to sit for 5 minutes, then take out of water and line them up all pretty on the counter.  Resist touching them for 24 hours.  *Easier said than done*

And…hopefully, that’s it.  I’m going to allow them to sit for about a week to really let that simple syrup make them taste like candy.  Then we’ll have a salad or put them on salmon before grilling.  Yum!

Happy New Year

September. 2012.  That was the last time I blogged.  Wow.

Here’s to New Years resolutions.  I have a few of them.  Want to know them in no particular order?

1.  Blog more.

2.  Eat more whole foods.

3.  Drink more water.

4.  And all the other normal ones everyone else picks….exercise more, relax more, you know….

The flu/cold bug has been in our house for 8 days and so I’m getting a little annoyed, irritated, whatever you want to call it.  Right now, my oldest is taking his 2nd nap of the day and I’m going a little stir crazy.  Just when one family member gets better, another one gets sick…then the one that got better gets sick again.  Help us!  But…I’m trying to look on the bright side and am thankful this bug didn’t enter our house until after my peak season.

I have so much to be thankful for that 2012 brought to my family, my friends, and my business.   Here’s to 2013 and all it’s wonderful things it’ll bring.

Happy New Year!