Week thirty of Fun & Crazy

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So week thirty started out in the Huntington Lake Campground (where we hope to stay again) and ended at home with a total of six-children in our house!

We had a fantastic Cub-Scout camp at Huntington Lake where the boys earned a couple badges and worked on a hiking requirement. My oldest also earned his credit for “making a fire.”

Kids on rock at Huntington CampgroundFrom Cub Scout camp, my husband and my oldest headed over to Yosemite Bible Camp (YBC) in Oakhurst, and I proceeded to take my two youngest home to drop off clothes and bedding.  I ended up being completely exhausted (of course) but felt like eating a good cheat-meal, so I took them to John’s Incredible Pizza.  Yes, this also means I was all by myself during the week taking care of my two little ones.

My kiddos on the Frog Hopper ride at the Pizza place.

My kiddos on the Frog Hopper ride at the Pizza place.

Before leaving the house, I made a small game plan of what I would prepare for dinner for myself.  My husband is the chef in the family so I use recipes from the internet, usually pinned ones from Pinterest because I can’t just throw things together to save my life.

I made a recipe from my Healthy Eats Board, called Avocado, Chicken and Walnut Salad from Kayotic Kitchen.  I didn’t buy the parsley, but other than that, the recipe was a TOTAL SUCCESS! Definitely a Pinterest win.

Avaocado Chicken Walnut SaladI think one of the best accomplishments of the week was completing the Instructable for my Darth Vader Purse.  I ended up finishing the purse in one night during the week and wanted to enter the Fandom Contest over at Instructables.  (Shameless plug: If you’re a member and have a minute, please vote for me!)

Watermarked purseOther awesome stuff that I learned about and that happened –

I made bacon in the oven for the first time.  I couldn’t believe that I had never made it that way before, even though I heard about it.

Oven bacon in ovenOven BaconI almost feel sheepish about writing it on the blog, because I know many people have always cooked bacon that way, but hey, this is reality and I just learned to do it this week.  You better bet I will only cook it this way from now on.  I got my recipe from Pinterest (of course) from the site: Today’s Mama.

I made watermelon jam (it looked more like jelly to me) this week to use up my frozen watermelon juice.  I got the recipe from Blondie’s Cakes.  It only took four ingredients and I’m all about simple jelly’s or jams. I’ll be making it again, basically because I love things that are both tangy and sweet and this watermelon jelly has a hard-to-describe flavor.

Watermarked Watermelon JellyI learned that there are auctions on Instagram where you can bid on things so people can raise money for certain causes.  I bid on one such auction a couple weeks ago and opened up one of my packages from Kiwi and Hope. The owner, Kiah, is one of my internet-friends that I met in a mutual group of bloggers & hustlers that get things done.  If you have time, stop on over at her shop to see some of her latest purses and clutches, as she donates a portion of her sales to orphan care and adoption causes.  I won this adorable pineapple purse and key-fob, as well as a delicious organic chocolate, that I confess I ate the entire bar in one evening.  Kiwi and Hope auction giftThank you for allowing me to give you some internet love Kiah!

Lastly, and keeping in mind that I was by myself on Friday and half of Saturday, I took on the task of helping my brother and sister-in-love out by taking their triplets for a few days for them to get away with their friends.

On Friday we had nachos as shown here, which no-one, including my own children, really enjoyed.  They all wanted chips with no sauce.  Ugh.

Triplets at our houseWe had them all the way through Sunday, and I was very glad when my brother and sister-in-law came to get them.  I love these children more than anything, but it’s a great reminder of how blessed I really was to be given three souls to take care of!

I leave you with a picture of my daughter’s pumpkin plant. Of all the things I’ve grown in gardens in my relatively short lifetime, I’ve never tried to grow pumpkins.  Here’s to the amazing world, and I pray this pumpkin grows big for her.  She’s worth it!

Princess Pumpkin072415


Sweet & Tangy Tomato Jam

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Sweet & Tangy Tomato JamSometimes having too many tomatoes is a good thing!

I have all the cheesy lines memorized for healthy living:

Nothing’s better for you than homemade!

With homemade, you know what’s in it!

and

Healthy eating starts with fresh ingredients.

The lines could go on and on for healthy eating.

You know what makes healthy eating difficult for me?  Spending time making it.

I’ve got three precious little ones to take care of, a husband, two dogs and aging parents.  It’s seemingly impossible to set three-to-four hours aside to make homemade-anything, let alone tomato jam.

But I did it. And I made it twice.  It was that good and totally worth it to use up the tomatoes growing in our backyard.

 June 25th - our first harvest of tomatoesOur first harvest of tomatoes

We were still thankfully harvesting tomatoes in July, and had a bowl full of them that weighed in at just over 5-lbs.

Five lbs of harvested, homegrown tomatoesThe recipe I whipped up this tomato jam from is here.

How do I describe tomato jam?  Well, it’s pretty much like ketchup, but 1000 times better.

This jam has a small kick to it so my children didn’t care for it much, but I couldn’t stop eating it because it’s just all the flavor’s I love – spicy from the chili flakes, sweet with honey, tangy with the ginger, and above all, it’s made out of tomatoes!  I love tomatoes.

These are of course, all my original photos and recipe card made for your use, based off of the link above.


The first thing you do is finely chop up the five pounds of tomatoes.  As I cut them by hand, this process alone took at least 30-minutes and with kids asking me for things throughout the entire process, I think it took me about an hour to cut them all up.

Finely chop tomatoesI cut the tomatoes in half and then in small slivers.  Most of the photos are from the first batch.  (The second batch was more chopped up in chunks, and that came out just as awesome.)

Next you place the chopped up tomatoes in a pan.  I used a stock pot because I was too lazy to clean my large wide pan.  (I’m not kidding.)

Add chopped tomatoes to pan

Add all ingredients togetherAdd all the other ingredients – 2-1/2 cups honey, 1/2 cup bottled lime juice, 1 tablespoon sea salt, 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, 1 tablespoon red chili flakes, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.

Mix everything up and begin the cooking. Mix prior to cooking thouroughly

After the mixture comes to a roiling boil, set it on medium low and simmer.  STIR IT about every 15 to 30 minutes.  I set a timer for 15-minutes every time I went to stir it.  All that work and I certainly wasn’t going to let it burn.

Mine took close to 2 and a half hours to finally look like the photo below.

Tomato Jam is ready to can!

The first batch I placed in 16 oz Ball Mason Jars to eventually give away to friends and family to test out.  I did not seal the jam and made that clear when I gave the samples out that it had to be refrigerated and eaten right away.

 Non-canned tomato jam

I canned the second batch and ended up with five –8 oz. Ball canning jars and one full pint to eat.The second batch of jam I made getting canned.I am in no way, shape or form familiar with canning food.  I used the internet to help me, specifically this site: Canning Tomatoes on Instructables.

Five are now sitting in the pantry waiting for Christmas to be given away and the sixth one was consumed over the course of a month.  Happy to say it was good to the last spread of it!

Canned tomato jam

Total time involved – After chopping all the tomatoes I would say it took me a good four hours to get this recipe down.  There’s almost no way to mess it up though, unless you burn it.

I used this spread for a substitute for ketchup in many recipes, specifically for a couple crock pot ones.  I also spread it on crackers for snacks with cream cheese, and took it to a potluck where it got a great response.

I was surprised that some people were reluctant to try it!  I just told them that it was like a tangy version of ketchup, and a few co-workers told me that hadn’t tasted anything like it.  That’s the kind of stuff I like to make – surprisingly good.  Tomato Jam Recipe Card

Let me know if you try it and as always, thanks for reading!

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