Sunday, September 19, 2010

The History of an Apron

Rarely do I share forwarded emails that are sent to me.  Its not that I don't enjoy reading them, its just that I don't know who's read what and when.  Today I read and email worth sharing.. It may date me.. I don't know?? But it reminded me so much of my Great Grandmother Nettie Clontz.  She was one tough lady from what I can remember of her.  She raised chickens in her backyard to eat for Sunday dinner, she baked the most incredible bread ever and to this day I have not found any bread that has touched the flavor.  She was a hard woman but a loving woman all mixed into one.  She lived to be 99 years old and I have fond memories of her ALWAYS wearing an apron.  This email brought me back to my childhood at GG Clontz's house.

  SOME MAY   Remember making an apron in Home Ec?  Read below: 

The History of  'APRONS'

I don't think our kids 
know what an apron is. 
The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material.  But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing 
hot pans from the oven.  
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. 

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.. 
And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms.  

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, 
bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron. 
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. 
After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.. 
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. 
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folks knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner. 
  It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes. 
Send this to those who would know (and love) the story about Grandma's aprons. 
Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.  Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill 
to thaw. 
They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron. 
I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron - but love... 



Monday, September 13, 2010

Where's My Glasses???? and a Caleb Update

I jumped into the shower this morning before I had to get the other kiddos off today.  When I got out I was looking around for my glasses (knowing I had them on when I went into the bathroom) and couldn't find them anywhere.. Hummmm??? Well, I planned on wearing my contacts anyhow so I put them on and went about getting ready.  When I stepped out of the bathroom this is what I found:

Now talk about a huge belly laugh I experienced seeing this beautiful face :D

How did he get the glasses you might ask?? His brother Isaac came in and got them for him because they were watching a Yo Gabba Gabba show about wearing your glasses....  These kiddos are so smart!!!

While I have his beautiful face on here I'll give you a Caleb update:
Caleb had his SPICA cast removed on Friday August 20th.  That has been about 3 1/2 weeks ago now and he is still not walking.  He has started aqua therapy to strengthen his leg and to give him some confidence to use it again.  He IS crawling, but most of the time he still gets around by butt scooting.  We were told to expect his healing time to be at least that of which the cast was on.. The cast was on for 8 weeks.... He still has a long road ahead yet.. But he's doing is all with a sense of humor and a smile on his face.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

What September 11th means to us...

Our memory of September 11th is much different than that of the rest of America. Our memory does not relate to the terrorist attacks on the twin towers 9 years ago in New York City, our memory is not that of people suffering and mourning. Our memory is so much more positive and full of love and life. Our memory is bringing our precious little Camille Sage into the world. She was born on September 11, 2001 at 2:05 am. She was also born on her sister Tristin's 4th Birthday. We now have a double celebration that we observe each and every year. Its a double blessing, or should I say it was our first double blessing :)

We will never forget what really happened on that day. We will always have a story to tell of "What were you doing at the time of the attacks?" We will always feel for those that were affected in one way or another to that terrible attack. But we also thank God for blessing us with something that took our minds off the situation enough to be praising him for the life he gave us while so many others were crying out to him for the lives that were lost.

This year we decided to have a different kind of birthday party for the girls. Usually we head down to our pond for a get together with family and friends and enjoy a cookout.. This year we decided to have a sleep over!!! YIKES 11 girls under one roof??

We started our making our own personal pan pizzas.  Its interesting to see how each and every pizza turns out so differently.  They we put them to work baking 4 dozen cup cakes that night.  Great participation from all.  After all the clean up was done they headed in to get on their jammies and settle down for a movie.  After the movie, the rowdy fun began..
Back Bends on the pull out bed
Good Ole Fashion Nose pickin cause mom's taking pictures  
Decorating Cupcakes
Art Supplies!!!

Present Time!!
Tristin's famous Zebra Print Glasses

Thank you Lord for these beautiful girls, please guide me in the way I am to raise them, please give me the wisdom I need to bring them up in your sight. I pray they develop into lovely Christian women who love you and learn to appreciate your blessings as I do when I look into their eyes.  ~Amen

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Canning Process

I love canning!  I started canning a few years ago and each year I try to add a new recipe or technique to add to my experience belt of being a canner. I think that canning has become almost a dying art, not many do it anymore, yet I'm often asked how I do it and if I have any advice to get started.. So I thought what a better way to share my experience than to blog about it.

First off, Canning is WORK, its hard work, its messy work, its often an all day process which results in a sore back, cranky kids and a very tired mama... but there's also something about the reward of knowing you put lots of sweat and love into making this pure and healthy food for your family right out of your back yard.   I know how I enriched the soil, I know what I sprayed on the plants at the beginning to prevent any fungus from growing, I know when I picked the produce and started working with it within a  just a few hours of picking it.. I know, Its Gonna Be Good!!!

So here goes,  I started today washing and removing the stems of the tomatoes.  I used mostly Roma Tomatoes but also mixed in some Better Boy, Beefsteak and about 5 pounds of cherry tomatoes that I didn't want to see goto waste.  All total I used about 75 to 80 pounds of tomatoes, which is about a bushel and a half.

Once everything was washed and stems were removed I went outside to the Victorio. This is such a sweet invention that has been around forever. You crank the tomatoes down a shoot and the machine separates the skin and seeds from the pulp of the tomato, its really cool (and fun to use).


Actually this particular one was handed down to me by Tom's Grandma and its been generously used and still works perfectly.  The only thing I have not mastered is assembling the unit tight enough as to not have a lot of dripping that ends up all over the table and floor and having a huge mess to clean up at the end of the day.  SO.. today I had the bright idea to go outside and leak all over the grass and have NO CLEAN UP... genius.. this only took me 10 years to figure out.

Once the skin and seeds are all removed it onto the stove to start adding ingredients to make the sauce happen.  I used a new recipe this year and I'm really glad I tried something different. The last time I made sauce it was good, but not great. It seemed like something was missing to me. I found this particular recipe in a Cookbook called Canning the Amish Way that I recently purchased at a local Amish Bulk Food store.


1 peck tomatoes (equals 1/4 bushel)
3 large onions, chopped
4 bell peppers, chopped
1 tsp. basil
1 tbsp. parsley flakes (I used fresh from garden)
3 gloves garlic
1-12 oz can tomato pasts (I used more, I like it thick)
2 1/2 tbsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar (I used Splenda)
2 tbsp. oregano
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 tsp. paprika
2 hot peppers, chopped

Bring everything to a boil and then I cook it for about 3 or 4 hours to thicken it up. This actually cooks the pot about half way down, and creates such a wonderful aroma in your house for the entire day. I know that several people do different methods with canning, my grandmother, my mother and now me all do the same thing with our tomatoes. As long and its boiling going into the jars, we do not give them a hot bath. We fill the jar, put on the lid and turn it upside down for about 10 to 15 minutes. Turn it right side up and cover it with a towel to keep the heat in longer to create a seal. I know, I know... there are people that will say this will make you sick, but we've been doing it this way forever, its upto you how you choose to do it. If you choose to give the filled jars a hot bath you would boil them for an additional 20 minutes.

Of course we had to eat the sauce over noodles tonight for dinner to try it out, the flavor was wonderful!!!

After hours (from start to finish about 7 hours) I ended up with dinner for 7 people, 14 quarts and 3 pints made all from my garden. The only thing I ended up purchasing today was celery and basil. I feel so blessed to have an abundant harvest this year from the garden. God is Good!!!