or, "You're a full time homemaker? What do you do all day long?"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Operation Apricot Bounty (Thanks, Kit!)

     Last week I went to a friend's house to pick apricots off her tree while she and her family were camping (prior permission obtained, of course). Several of my girls and I arrived in her backyard armed with bags and apricot eagerness. We picked 50 pounds of apricots! No joke. Last week was How Many Things Can I Bake and Make With Apricots Week. It was an orange-y, sweet, juicy week of apricot delight. I'll let the pictures tell the story.
Let the apricot gathering begin!

Weight of first batch - total: 50 lbs!

Washing, sorting, composting, and separating to ripen some more

Carefully placing all the not-yet-ripe apricots in small bags to prevent rot, and on my dryer no less. (Do you notice the canning jars beneath? You can see where my domestic efforts are these days!)

Making many batches of jam in my breadmaker. Yes, folks, one of the most valuable kitchen appliances I've ever owned!

The first of many quart-sized bags of frozen apricots and  bags of frozen apricot juice (I'm going to use it later with 7-Up for a juice spritzer).

Apricot-Oatmeal bars (Never mind the crooked picture!)

Apricot puree used in the breads pictured below as an oil substitute

Apricot blueberry bread and chocolate apricot bread - super duper yummy!
     I also made apricot chicken which is not pictured. Can you tell I had fun with all those apricots last week? 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Keeping My Word + Beautifying My Yard=Making Hubby Happy

     Shortly after we moved into our new home over 7 years ago, I decided to rip out all the unexciting ground cover on the side of our front yard. I told my husband, who had a small coronary over it, "Oh, don't worry - I'll replant and landscape. It'll look great!" In my defense, I did do some planting and "stuff," and then I got pregnant - twice in 4 years, had a child diagnosed with a severe speech disability requiring years of intensive therapy, and some traumatic events that really derailed my energy, ambition, and time. Throughout the years, it became a source of contention and in some unsettling moments, it would come up. And rather unpleasantly, I might add.
     Until this last week. I had this crazy idea to weed the entire front area, plant some incredible sweet potato plants my brother-in-law gave me (thanks a literal bushel, Jerald!) and some big pumpkins. I also planned to put weed cloth, bark chips, and transplant some plants from other areas in my yard to that front area. Many hours later, an achy back, minor cuts and scratches on my arm, and a terribly neglected and messy house later, it was done. Tim was beside himself giddy that the weeds were gone (finally!), the area was cleaned up, and that he and I could now put some lovely plants in that area to fill it out.
      It was my Father's Day gift to him. I didn't get him a card, make a special meal, get him a gift, or even work too hard to encourage the girls to do something special (they had made him cards and gifts on their own). In fact, I was too tired! It was a very pleasant Father's Day indeed, however. With all of Tim's hard work and devotion to our family, he had this project coming to him. (And I was relieved to finally "make good" on my promise and get him off my back! Yes, I fess up to some ulterior motives!)
View # 1: before...
View #1: after...
View # 2 - a real mess!
View # 3 - much better! You see the black weed cloth that hasn't been totally covered up with bark chips - yet