Ah, Fall

The fall weather is here and the tree colors are starting to change. The kids and I headed out to Minneopa State Park for the afternoon. The first two minutes of Griffin at the Park sounded like this, "Whooohoooo!  Wheeeha,  giggle, giggle" Over and over again.  Anyone who heard must have thought I'd kept this boy in the house the last month. 


Pumpkin Picking

The kids and I went to a Mankato farm to pick pumpkins today.  Pumpkins weren't the only highlight.  They were fun to climb around on, look at the amazing colors and textures and pick up, but he cat stole the show.  Griffin was especially gentle with the cat which surprised me since he's pretty rough and tumble most of the time.  I have been a cat-lover my whole life growing up on the farm and all, but Keir's allergic to them, so no cats in this house!

And the last picture is of the sucker-face Emerson (the after-grocery store treat).  Oh, what a mess, but so enjoyable for her. 

Let's get out!

Can I tell you how excited I am to come across a topic for my thesis in Health Education that I am so interested in?! On Tuesday my mom's group talked about Nature Deficit Disorder (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_deficit_disorder) which basically says our children are lacking because they are not playing outdoors nearly as much as previous generations. So I've been researching and have come across so many good initiatives to help us: forest kindergartens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_kindergarten), Take a Child Outside Week (this week!), No Child Left Inside Act, etc. Wow, this is eye opening for me and so interesting. If you want to read more, there's a book I'm reading, "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv (http://richardlouv.com/).

What do you think? What are your favorite memories from being outside as a child or with your children?


Hot Pepper Jelly

This Jalapeno Pepper Jelly is a great appetizer served with crackers and cream cheese. It’s spicy hot and sweet. I’ve given them for a little Christmas gift to family and friends. I started making it because my hubby likes to grow peppers in the garden and we just couldn’t use them all.


1 pouch of liquid pectin

2 c. jalapeno peppers

1 ½ c. vinegar

6 ½ c. sugar (this is why you share with your friends)

You also need a blender, large pot, timer, clean jars (6-8 jelly jars) and lids, funnel, ladle and a wet wash cloth.

First, wash the peppers (this recipe uses jalapenos, but I've used a variety of hot peppers). In this picture I've also added Banana Peppers.

Then, cut peppers into blender, leaving seeds in; add vinegar and blend.

Put in large pot (believe me, you DO NOT want this stuff boiling over!) and add sugar (you will think this is ridiculous when you put it in, but yes, 6 1/2 cups).

Bring to a boil.

Set aside for 20 minutes off the heat.

Put back on and boil 2 minutes.

Add and stir in a pouch of liquid pectin, put in jars.

I individually fill each jar, clean off top with wet wash-cloth and screw on top before going on the next jar. If the jelly is still hot enough it'll seal the jar. To check, after 5 minutes, just push your finger on top of jar to see if it pops up. If it pops up, it's not sealed, put it in refrigerator and use in the next couple of months.

And there you go, Hot Pepper Jelly! Serve with crackers and cream cheese. I usually put the block of cheese down and pour some of the jelly over top so they can be scooped on top of crackers.