Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blackberry Jam.

As I continue to grow as a woman, a wife, a mother, I find myself really wanting to dive deep into learning how to be resourceful. I know men and women have been resourceful for generations, knowing how to do things to survive and live. Being in an age of convenience and consumerism, it's easy to forget how people got by before. I love the idea of rediscovering how to use up things like a small case of mushy blackberries. Blackberries are a favorite here and I was excited to try my hand at a quick jam. I must say, it's the small things that get me and I really enjoyed mashing the berries in a bowl with my favorite wooden spoon. For a moment, it took my mind to another place, somewhere women would gather with their friends, children and get together to make good things. It encourages me to hunger for this. For the stories of those before me and for us, as a family, to make our own. The jam really didn't take long to make and as it cooled in a small mason jar, Natalie took plenty of taste tests of the foam I had set aside. She absolutely loved it and made my heart swell with gladness. It's these moments, you know.


Blackberry Jam

1 cup blackberries, mashed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground sage

In a small saucepan cook blackberries, sugar, lemon juice and sage on high heat for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and cook an additional 15 minutes. Skim the foam off and store jam in a heat-proof container. The jam will thicken as it cools.

Makes 4.5 oz.

Note: I like my jam with the seeds in it but if you prefer it seedless, strain the berries in a meshed sieve before cooking.

This morning my girl and I enjoyed the jam on top of toasted sourdough bread. Afterwards, for a small second breakfast, I had it on a breakfast biscuit with tea. Now I need to start baking no knead bread again and add learning how to make sourdough on my list of things to do. 'Tis the good life, right? :)


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tea & Eggnog.

Sometimes you just need a simple little treat and sometimes you're pleasantly surprised that you have all you need for it. The days are finally getting cold here, or at least what Californians deem as cold. I wanted something for my little and I so I put the kettle on and steeped a bag of Harvest Pumpkin Black Tea. Once it was ready, I poured it into the blender along with eggnog, raw honey, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and a pinch of black pepper. I blended it for half a minute until it become light and frothy. I poured it into a glass, put it in the microwave to reheat, and it was perfect. Finn had his (cooled) in his own glass and straw and quickly downed it. I enjoyed mine a bit longer. All the flavor of eggnog without the heaviness and having the warmth of a good spiced tea. Next time I might try mixing and whisking the tea, eggnog and spices in a saucepan to eliminate putting it in the microwave. And dusting the top with additional cinnamon. A nice 'come Winter' treat.


I just made it again, over the stop top. Here is the recipe:

Tea & Eggnog

2 cups brewed black tea
2 cups egg nog
1 tablespoon raw honey (add more for a sweeter version)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of black pepper

Add all the ingredients into a small pot over medium heat. Mix well and whisk for about 3-5 minutes. 
Serve with whip cream on top and an additional sprinkling of cinnamon if it suits you :)

note: I did like the frothiness achieved by putting in the blender the first time I made it. Also, you have to whisk really well in order for the spices to properly mix in. The blender might be a good option for that as well. If it's allowed to sit for too long, the spices will get heavy and fall to the bottom of the mug. Use your own tastes and play with the spices. You might find that you enjoy it with a little less. :)

Friday, December 6, 2013


Advent or Adventus, meaning 'coming'. This is our third year of Advent devotionals leading up to Christmas day and every year I love it more and grow deeper in understanding. It's more than just Jesus being the Reason for the Season but why He is. It's a remembrance of His coming and how all of the Old Testament whispered of it. Advent is beautiful to my heart, and I am thankful to celebrate the King in this way.

Honestly, for us, it's been challenging doing our devotionals because of our schedules. To sit and have an evening, every evening carved out to reading and crafting is not what we are able to do. I am thankful that we have been intentional about having a nightly reading and I know He is being glorified through that.

This year we are using an eBook we downloaded from the Verge Network which utilizes scripture and selected stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible. I was able to print out the daily ornaments for the kids to color and I also learned about having a Jesse Tree in which to hang them. A Jesse Tree is an tradition based on Isaiah 11:1"A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots." The idea is decorating a tree with ornaments that 'connect the Old Testament history to the birth of Christ'. I put together a simple hanging tree with branches we 'foraged' for our Jesse Tree.

Also for the season of Advent, I remembered what a friend shared with me a few years ago.  For the month of December, she challenges herself to thank God in her prayers instead of just asking Him for her supplications. That idea resonated in me and just the other day, I received a most timely and challenging proposition from her.  I wish I could share what she poured out to me and a few other friends but it was profound, real and thought provoking. She encouraged us to all come to Him in prayer at an appointed time, no matter where we are at, and just give Him thanks.

Today was the first day of what I'm calling Advent Thanksgiving and Prayer (ATP). How great and providential it was too. This is what I shared with my friends:

You have no idea how much my soul needs this. In His providence this is the first day of your proposed idea. Of all days I need to be thankful. Having a particularly rough day, with challenging days before. On a day where I've cried because of how life is at the moment for us. Where I feel lost and helpless. Where Finn is getting crazy and not allowing me any space to deal with the matters of my heart. I heard my alarm sound off and I knew it was time to go before The Lord and JUST THANK HIM. As hard as it was, I knew it was the right and good thing to do in so many ways. As my heart aches I pray the spirit of thanksgiving and hope in Him will be the blessed salve. His life was brought here and given for me. That's the truth that sets me free.

There it is, in truth and reality. Here is my heart. I will give thanks and celebrate Advent because the Savior came. He came for me. He came for you. For us. Because of God's great infinite and incomprehensible love. What better gift is there?


Monday, December 2, 2013

Popsicle crafts.

December. I forget how much I love this month until it's here. Maybe because I have a family now, with my own children that makes it so much more special. One tradition we have is making a few crafts. This year I remembered a can full of Popsicle sticks and I knew I wanted to try something different. Something to transform it. After gluing a few snowflakes for my daughter to paint and glitter, it came to me. A wreath. Yes, a Popsicle wreath would do.

 I started with six sticks, overlapping and gluing them in a hexagon shape. I continued this pattern, bringing the sticks closer as I layered them on top of the previous layer. For this small wreath, I used 36 sticks in all. After the glue was dried I inserted small pine branches and rosemary with other leaves from our area. 

We also made our snowflakes using white acrylic paint and sprinkling glitter on top while the paint was still wet. I added a little white button in the center of mine.  Looking forward to more crafts and traditions for this month!

In other news, I have a feature on The Merrythought and an interview for My Everyday over at Kelli and Vanessa. I am so thankful, humbled and honored to be a part of both!