Jelly Jammin!

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I realize I’ve been posting a lot of “thankfulness” posts, but I haven’t posted any of the cool things I’ve been doing over the past 5 or 6 months! I have to correct that! So, I’m going to start with this:

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JELLY!!!!!

This summer, as I was out preparing for my first 5k, I noticed all of the wild grapes on the vines by the church parking lot. This reminded me of all the blackberry, dewberry, and sand plum jelly my mom and Dottie used to make when I was a kid. I also remembered all of the possum grapes we used to pick on the side of Waco & Fishmarket road before someone cleared the fence line to put in a new fence. These vivid memories of my childhood made me want to do 2 things: get to picking grapes and make some jelly!

I quickly consulted my friend Erin, who knows everything there is to know about native plants. She informed me the grapes were in fact grapes and not poisonous, but very sour. She said they make the best grape jelly. When I told her what I wanted to do, she jumped onboard and picked grapes in other locations so we would have plenty!

As we “researched” recipes and methods of making and canning our own grape concoction, we came to the realization that we needed help. Desperately. What came to my mind was the passage in Titus about the older women teaching the younger women. It may be a stretch to think the apostle Paul was talking about how to make grape jelly, but isn’t grape jelly a necessity in a well-run modern household? 😊 Needless to say, we brought in our dear friend Margie and she was the keys to our success!

Erin and I had a blast, Margie was an AWESOME teacher, and the outcome was incredible!!! We definitely could not have done this, with as much success, if Margie had not been there, showing us the ropes, and letting us use her jelly making supplies!

Here are some pictures of our fun evening! I wasn’t able to take pictures the entire process, but I got most of it!

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Filling the jars….

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And half of the finished product!

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Or should I say this is the finished product?

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Being Thankful (Days 17-22)

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Wow! I’m really behind in posting from my little book!! Lets see how many I can post from my list right now!

Day 17
50. Fun work environment
51. “The calm after the storm.”

Day 18 10-23-2012
52. Scott! Today is our 8th anniversary! It doesn’t seem that long ago, but it also seems a lifetime away. I feel really blessed for these years and hope to have many many more.
53. One of the reasons why I feel so blessed is how generous Scott is!
54. Date nights! It just good to go out and have fun without having a little one to take care of!

Day 19 10-24-12
55. Extra work! This means a bigger paycheck and more fun at the preschool!
56. Wednesday Bible class.

Day 20
57. Honesty
58. Fun family nights out. It’s also fun to take Jackson out to just have a fun evening!

Day 21
59. Jana Alayra DVDs! The kids LOVE her music! I think it’s pretty fun too. She has some great songs for kids with some really good messages.
60. Great co-workers. Not everyone can say this, but I work with a GREAT group of ladies!
61. Warm clothes. It’s fall and the temps are occasionally cooler. On those days I am so thankful I have been blessed with warm clothing.

Day 22 10-27-12
62. Contemplative time alone. Sometimes a person just needs that time alone to think.
63. Time to bake! I lOVE this time!!
64. Parties!!! Who doesn’t love a fun party with fire?!?!

Being Thankful Days 13 – 16

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Day 13
38. Silly Preschool Banter- I can’t always tell what they are saying, but when they really get going, it’s so much fun!
39. Free Mornings (minus Mon & Weds) With my free mornings, I often get to hang out at the building and work on this or that, or clean. Something gets done and I like how flexible it allows me to be.
40. Incredible weather- I LOVE the weather at this time of the year. It’s not hot, and it’s not cold. It’s just right!

Day 14
41. A college education. I am thankful I was able to go to a great university (Oklahoma State) and learn. It’s interesting to think about how different my life would possibly be if I had not gone to OSU.
42. Friends who “look out” for me! I have some great friends who are always trying to help me out in one way or another and I am so thankful for that!
43. 4 Seasons. Have you figured out my favorite season? Now that we live inTX it’s fall. The temperature is near perfect! In Oklahoma my favorite season is spring bc of severe weather, but we rarely get that here, so my 2nd favorite season became my first! 😊

Day 15
44. Godly parents. Today is my parents 34th wedding anniversary. They are a great example for so many different reasons, but probably one of the most noticeable reasons is the way they are an example of how to love each other no matter the circumstance.
45. A loving church family. This morning we said goodbye to a dear brother in Christ. His widow has no family in this part of the country. Today I saw a church family being just that, a real family. It was beautiful.
46. College football.

Day 16
47. Meals with friends. There is something special about eating with people. I think Jesus may have been in to something… 😉
48. Craft Time!
49. Good neighbors. Juno has ran off 3 nights in a row when I let her out one last time before bed. This usually starts a rowdy chorus of dogs barking late at night. If the neighbors are annoyed, they haven’t said anything, but I’m going to start taking her on a leash at night so she can’t get away!

Being Thankful Days 5 – 12

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Yikes! It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything from my journal! Here is my list from the past several days! Look how much it’s grown!! 37 items and counting!!!

Day 5
14. Hand sanitizer & gloves. I work at a preschool, enough said!

15. An over abundance of everything! For example, clothing. We have so much more than we need. We’re very blessed.

16. Help sorting & organizing clothes! My MIL helped sort out and change Jackson’s clothing drawers. It was hard work!

Day 6
16. Helpful desk clerks. We were given a smoking room at the hotel. The desk clerk volunteered some odor neutralizing spray and it really helped. He didn’t want to put us in a smoking room but had no choice! Him being such a nice guy really made it better.

17. Awesome Internet recipes. I find some amazing recipes and cake ideas online. One of my favorite recipes has been the peanut butter pancakes I make!! Yummy yummy yummy!!!

18. Rain! It rained a little today. Ok it down poured but it was nice! Our ground is so dry, we welcome the moisture!

19. Awesome class. I have an awesome 2 year old class. It rained all afternoon when they normally go outside, but they didn’t complain at all about staying in. They are great!

Day 7
20. Fun times away! It’s ACL Fest weekend, what more can I say?!

21. Late nights downtown. After we left the festival, Scott & I decided to catch a really late movie (10:30 late). So we walked around with amazing temps in downtown Austin. Found an awesome Mexican restaurant and then walked to my favorite downtown coffee shop! Oh yeah, then we watched a great movie! Date nights are fun!

22. Friendly people. One thing that drew us to this area is all of the friendly people we ran into in Austin every year at ACL. We have not been disappointed in the almost 3 years we’ve lived here. Everyone is so friendly in this part of Texas.

Day 8
23. Restful nights. After getting in so late and walking/standing so much yesterday, I’m thankful for a super restful night!

24. Big band aids! After a minor wardrobe malfunction yesterday, I needed some larger band aids to make the festival a lot less painful, and Target had a nice selection!

25. Rain and cool temps! It rained a lot today! It made the festival muddy and I’m sure a good chunk of grass at Zilker will need replaced, but the weather was incredible! 😊

Day 9
26. Renewing rest.

27. Encouraging worship. Worship this morning in Austin was great! The sermon was also really good and made me do some thinking.

28. Fun times! This weekend is always a highlight of our year! We always have such a great time and have tons of fun listening to the bands.

29. Safe travels. It’s always fun to go, but it’s even better when traveling without any problems!

Day 10
30. A clean house. It’s so much better coming home to a clean house instead of a mess. It really helped having my inlaws stay while we were gone.

31. Awesome inlaws. Scott’s mom and stepdad are awesome. That’s just te best description. I am truly blessed to have them!

32. Picnics at the park! Jackson and I had a blast eating a happy meal and playing at the park this evening!

Day 11
33. More rain!!! It rained ALOT today! Yay!!!

34. A Great Boss. My boss makes a great work environment for us and helps make preschool work fun!

Day 12
35. Ladies Bible class. These ladies are such an inspiration to me and great examples.

36. School pictures. These are so fun! Jackson got his school pictures in today!

37. An Awesome Church Family. Our church family is simply great. They are always willing to help out however needed and volunteer to go above and beyond what needs done. Awesome!

Being Thankful, Day 3 & Day 4

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Look what I found and decorated already!

Have you found a journal yet?

Day 3
8. Energetic & Enthusiastic Preschoolers! These kiddos keep me going and today was no exception. I love it when they are super enthusiastic about an activity I have planned!
9. Quiet time This usually happens during nap time at te preschool. I usually get a nice quiet block of time to reflect and connect with God.

Day 4
10. 11. & 12. Wreck, insurance & body shop About 2 weeks ago we were involved in an accident. Everyone was okay, but our Edge was quite damaged where the lady hit us. We were able to pick up our car today! The Ford Body Shop in LaGrange was awesome. They did a great job fixing our car and were finished ahead of schedule! Yay! Plus, our car looks great again and we didn’t have to pay a dime! We were quite hesitant about dealing with the lady’s insurance company, but even the claim handler was great and Ford already has a check! I’m thankful for no one being hurt, the very friendly & hassle free insurance people, and an awesome body shop!
13. Family visits Scott’s mom and step dad made it in today! I’m thankful for their safe drive, the time we get to spend with them, and also the memories they will make with Jackson!

Being Thankful, Day 2

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5. Sundays. Today, like most Sundays was great. I get to worship and sing praises to the Almighty God! plus, i love the encouragement and fuel I get from being around my church family.

6. Music big surprise right? I did wait until day 2 for this one. I love singing & when my voice is joined in harmony with my brothers and sisters it is just all the more awesome! Plus, how great did singing sound after potluck today?! Love it!

7. Productive afternoons. I need more of these, but love it when they happen and don’t feel rushed!

Being Thankful, Day 1

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Recently, I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking about being thankful for what I have, and grateful for the little things that make life so special. Last week, I read an awesome post about ways to teach gratitude and a thankful lifestyle to your children. Now I don’t know anything about the lady who wrote this, but she gives some awesome daily activities to do with your children that help instill a gracious attitude.

I had already been thinking about keeping a gratitude journal, but haven’t ever started and then the lady in the post mentioned 1,000 entries. I’m not sure why 1,000 is an important number, but I like a challenge, and this challenges me. That’s about 3 entries a day for 1 whole year. It doesn’t seem like much does it? I guess we’ll find out!

This put me to looking for a little journal I could keep with me at all times so I can jot something down in the moment. Then I realized how expensive nice little journals are. I decided I didn’t want to spend $5-$7 on a blank little book, and Scott ALWAYS has them laying around so he decided to give me one of his cherished pocket-sized journals!

This is what he gave me:

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Don’t misunderstand me, I LOVE Star Wars, but not as much as Scott. Also, this is his limited edition Moleskin. Usually, he won’t even purchase Moleskin brand journals because they are so expensive, but we found a great deal on this one. It was the only blank one he had, and he made me promise I would actually use it before I took it.

That being said, I just couldn’t take it from him. Plus, since this is a journal about being thankful, I want the outside to reflect what’s on the inside. Black just doesn’t send out the same message as a bright cheery color does it? 😊

Then I realized I already carry the perfect journal with me everywhere I go. My iPhone! Plus, I can blog from it! Since I want to encourage others to be more grateful, and I would also like some accountability, this is the perfect medium for that! Everyday, before I go to bed, I’m going to post my Thankful items. My post will be titled something like today’s title. It will usually only have a list of my items. I know I can list so many more things each day, but I will try to only list 2-5 items. i will also try not to list all of the super obvious things. (Just know that things like God and family are always on the list!) Sometimes I may elaborate, sometimes I may not, but feel free to ask me about my items!

To start off my list of 1,000 things I’m thankful for here is Day 1:
1. A generous husband. (How fortunate am I to be married to someone so generous?!)
2. Healthy kids. Jackson has missed an entire week of PreK because of bronchitis this week. He’s finally feeling better and it really shows. It makes me realize how fortunate we are to be a generally healthy family.
3. Cooler temperatures. Today we didn’t hit 90! I think this is the 2nd cool front we’ve received this fall, but this is the first one that’s made a big difference. The weather really is starting to feel like fall!
4. Awesome technology. I love that we live in a day where we have such incredible means of communication and that I am fortunate enough to posses some of this incredible technology!