Family Fun · July 2017

Strawberry Pickin’ Time

Beautiful day to pick strawberries!

It’s strawberry pickin’ time here in Minnesota!  How about where you are?  Has your season come and gone?  I know my sister, who lives in Nebraska, said her season was done weeks ago!  It’s amazing how different the weather and planting seasons are from state to state.

Our goal today was to fill 6 ice cream buckets full of delicious strawberries, and we succeeded!  It took us 2 hours to do this with 4 people picking.  Ok, really I’ll say 2.5 people, since 2 of us were children, and they were more interested in eating them!  The sun was so hot at 8am, the girls were wanting to be done after one bucket, but we convinced them we’d have more jam if we filled the rest of the buckets.

We made a friend!

Not only did we get  buckets of  berries, we got to see some other “wildlife” hopping around!  That was sure exciting!

Once we took the berries home, we took some time to enjoy a bowl full.  Then, we hulled and cleaned all of them.  That’s the boring part if I do say so myself! Make sure to stand on a comfy rug or have good shoes on, because you’ll be standing there for a while!

Now it’s time to separate your berries.  One bowl for your keepers, the ones you’ll freeze for eating later, putting on top of shortcake or ice cream, or making a strawberry crisp.  One bowl for the jam berries.

The berries you picked for making jam now get to be squished.  Put a layer of strawberries in a shallow dish, and start mashing with a potato masher.  Mash it up good, so that most, but not all, chunks are all gone.  Pour this mash into a measuring cup, until it equals 5 cups.

Now, pour the 5 cups into your pot, add in one box of “Sure-jell”, and 1 teaspoon of butter, then stir.  Bring this mixture to a rolling boil and add in 7 cups of sugar.  My mom said not to change this amount, because it won’t work.  There’s a science behind it, and we don’t want to screw this up!  Feel free to search for a less sugar or sugar substitute recipe and share with me in the comments!  But be sure to make this recipe first!  It is amazing!

Once this sweetness comes to a boil, stir continuously for 1 minute.  Get your jars ready.  I forgot to get a picture of the jars boiling, but here is a picture of the rings getting sterilized!  Once you are at the 1 minute stage, turn off this pot, and add in your lids to the rings.  Let sit in the hot water until you are ready!

Are you ready for the messy part?  With your jars sitting on your newspaper covered counter, add in a funnel to a jar and ladle your strawberry jam mixture to each jar.  Leave about 1/2 centimeter of space to the top of each jar.  Now, this is important, wipe each top of the jar with a hot water rag.  Make sure there is no residue on the top or side where the ring and lid will go.  This will ensure a good seal!  Immediately cover with lid and ring, tighten, and flip upside down for 5 minutes.  Once your five minutes is up, turn right side up, and listen for the “pops”!  that will mean they are ready for your pantry!

With hot soapy water, wash the outside of each of these jars, and place in your pantry, ready to eat!

Enjoy your jam!  Comment below with any of your on favorite flavors!!

— Becky

Here are some affiliate links to Amazon that will help you get the important things you need to make your own jam at home!

 

 

Family Fun · July 2017

Lake Time

 

 

Being by a lake is an experience that is one of a kind. A feeling of calm. The smell of fresh water. The sound of kids splashing and giggling. The realization that we will never, ever, ever get to leave the water, as long as it’s not storming! How can I as a mom take away this fun when nothing else is going on? This is the time to enjoy!

Lakes are a place my kids love to go! My oldest is a fish. I hear stories of years ago, when I was just like her. Always wanting to have a part of me in the water. Feeling the water rush over me as a wave from a fishing boat comes crashing by. The sights of bonfires still smoking to remind us of the fun that was had the night before.

This lake, this weekend, has a slide and a dock. Both allowing creativity, daring behaviors, and fun! The kids, and the kids at heart, challenge themselves to jumping and diving contests, who can slide with most finesse, and who can rock the raft the best. The laughter, the screams of joy and the fun is something we crave every year and are blessed with the ability to come year after year.

When we were packing to come, we reminisce of all the years before. Thinking of what we needed, what we didn’t. How many towels are necessary this year? What kind of clothes should we have on hand? Food… Food always goes with camping! My family is kind of a “foodie” family, in a casual, creative and delicious way! Example A: my family is in charge of day one’s meals. What should we have? Breakfast: 2 different egg bakes, fruit, caramel rolls, muffins, juice and coffee. Dinner: lasagna in a Crock-Pot, sides of bread, Cole slaw, fruit and cake.  Oh did I forget snacks in between? Chips, crackers, cheese, meat, nuts, candy, beer, pop, juice boxes, and more! What else could we need?!

Company. Great company. That is what it comes down to. Who is around? Who do we chat with, eat with, play with? Who do we remember a week later when talking about the weekend?  Yes, location is wonderful, but company is most important. Who will love you for you? Find it. Embrace it. Enjoy it!

— Becky

Family · Family Fun

Supper Club with the Family

Something I cherish is time with my family.  I love seeing my siblings, my nieces and nephews, my cousins and their children, my aunts and uncles, and my grandparents and parents!  With a section of my family, we started years ago a supper club.

How does it work?

With 5 families in our supper club, we all take turns hosting.  The host of the month chooses the theme for the meal.  This is the fun part!  We can pick anything we love to eat…. and everyone rolls with it!  Here are some suggestions:

  • Mexican
  • Italian
  • Grilling– Burgers and hotdogs
  • Chinese
  • Greek
  • Picnic
  • BBQ ribs and sides
  • Turkey

After the theme has been picked, the rest of the crew starts throwing out what they will bring.  The host provides most of the plates and silverware needed, and also provides the main part.  Sometimes the meal requires the main part to be spread out among everyone, that works too.

Things to bring– have your families sign up!

  • Side dish 1
  • Side dish 2
  • Side dish 3
  • Dessert
  • Main dish
  • Drinks
  • Appetizers
  • Add to fill your groups!

Once all this has been designated, all there is left is to show up and have fun!  But how do you get all the food planned?  Oh there are many ways….  My fam uses a group we created on Facebook to chat all about what we’re bringing.  But you can make a sign up genius sign up!  If you haven’t tried that, go to signupgenius.com and check it out!  I’m not hired by them to say that…don’t worry!  I just use them a lot in my classroom for fun events coming up and it works great!  Other ways could include using a google doc or spreadsheet, and have your peeps fill in all the goodies they are bringing!  You can also just assign a thing to bring to each family.  We did do that at one point, switching it up each month….made it fun to see what everyone did for different parts of the meals!

Don’t forget the pictures!

This is important! Get a group shot!  Get a group shot of all the kiddos alone and then one with the adults.  It is amazing how much they grow and the pictures help show that off!  Do it, figure it out, prop those cameras, laugh.  Trust me, there will be laughter!  And there will be lots of great food!

Your job now?

Get your family groups together and create your own Family Supper Club!!

Comment below with your own pictures of your family supper clubs!  What themes do you use?  I love being creative and making new dishes to show off!  I hope you do too!

—Becky

Affiliate link to Amazon 🙂