Friday, February 27, 2015

Homemade Raspberry Jam

I used to make jam all the time! Lately I have been reading about jam made with just fruit and sugar.  So I decided to try it with Raspberries. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries were all on sale at Sprouts this week.

So I decided to make the Raspberry Jam and read several different recipes and then created my own recipe.


8 cups of fresh raspberries

7 cups of sugar

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice


I always put my jars, lids, rings, jam funnel, and jam tongs in the dishwasher. My dishwasher has a super sterilizing  function. This dishwasher cycle takes almost two hours - so I don't even start making the jam until the cycle is almost over. You could also boil tour jars, lids and rings in a large pot for 10 minutes. I only had little jars so I went the dishwasher route.

Crush the raspberries with a potato masher. Add them to a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and slowly stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Bring the mixture back to a boil and stir  frequently so that the jam mixture thickens but doesn't burn.  Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Set out the hot jars from the dishwasher or boiling method on a clean dishtowel.

Using your sterilized jam funnel start filling the jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.

Once the jar has been filled add the sterilized lid and ring.

 Then place the jar into a pot of hot boiling water for 10 minutes.

Make sure that the boiling water covers the tops of the jars. After you remove the jars from the boiling water with your jar tongs place the jars on clean dishtowel. When the jar has cooled press the top and hopefully you will hear a pop and that means that the jar has sealed!

I decorated the tops of the jars with a little piece of striped scrapbook paper and tied two jars together with a thick piece of ribbon. Because I am planning on giving these jam jars to friends and neighbors.

I had this raspberry jam on my toast this morning. It was delicious and I was bummed I forgot to take a picture!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Living Room - Before and After

Here is the before picture of my living room. I just bought some new lamps, new rug and rearranged some accessories. The before looks so blah! 

I love my new striped lamps! I had the previous lamps from Ballard Designs for at least seven years.

I changed out the rug to a darker color and I think it looks much better.  If you look through the arches my son is in the family room watching TV.

And I rearranged some accessories - it was just a quick little fix. I bought the beautiful white hydrangea at Trader Joe's.   

I always keep the wooden Chinese checkers set on the coffee table. I am always on the lookout for a really nice checkers and backgammon set. And by the way no one ever beats me at checkers.

Hope you like my quick little makeover! 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cross Lollipops made with Jolly Ranchers

Every time I teach a Religion class right before or during Lent I make the kids these Cross lollipops. I think they look so pretty like a stained glass window. I like to reinforce the image of the Cross.


Jolly Rancher hard candy

Lollipop sticks


Cellophane bags

Coordinating ribbon


Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Cover your cookie sheets with foil - with the shiny side facing up.

Each lollipop takes 5 Jolly Ranchers. While the oven is preheating start unwrapping  the Jolly Ranchers.

Place three or four Jolly Ranchers in the middle of the foiled lined sheet.

Bake this Jolly Rancher for 1 to 2 minutes - until it is sticky but not melted.

Using the sticky Jolly Ranchers add the additional Jolly Ranchers to make a Cross and bake for 5 to 6 minutes until the Crosses are spread into a Cross shape. Then quickly add the lollipop sticks.

I used some extra long lollipop sticks. Once the Crosses are set and completely hard - gently peel them off of the foil and set them on some parchment paper for an hour or so.

Once the lollipops have dried on the parchment paper for an hour they can be packaged into cellophane bags and tied with a ribbon.

These Crosses could also be used to decorate cupcakes or a cake. In the past kids have really loved these lollipops.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Handmade Cross Necklaces

I am still substituting for the 5th grade Religion Class. The good news is that I now know everyone's name and I no longer need to use to use the name tags! This week I made everyone a Cross necklace. I used metallic pony beads to make these Crosses.  But pony beads come in all the colors of the rainbow. For a Baptism or First Communion you could use white or pastel colored pony beads

These Crosses can be made into Bible study bookmarks, zipper tags or even a little tie on to party favor bags.


Pony beads

Coordinating beading cord

Glue dots



Cut your cord into the desired length. I cut mine into thirty inch length because I was making necklaces.

I used black cord but this cord comes in a wide variety of colors - so if you were using pastel beads a white or cream cord would look perfect.

You will need these little glue dots to hold the Cross shape together. They are clear so they really don't show on the finished project.

First layout six beads in a Cross shape. I chose to use a mixed color palette but these would also look really pretty in all one color.

Place the first bead in the middle of the cord.

The second bead is threaded through both sides of the cord.

Using the glue dots fill the holes of the middle bead with glue dots and adhere the side beads.

Thread each side onto the cord. 

Thread the last bead through both pieces of cord and tie the top bead with a knot.

 These would also make cute key chains.

Since I made necklaces I tied a knot at the top of the cord.

I had a lot of fun making these necklaces - I made them because I am teaching the class on Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent. This year I will be giving up all sweets for Lent.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine Treats for Religion Class

Lately I have been substituting for a 5th grade Religion class. The 5th graders are so smart and such good readers.

The administrator told me that the regular teacher would probably be coming back so the the next time I will be called to substitute it might be a lower level class.

I decided to make them little a Valentine treat. I bought little heart boxes of candy from Target.

On each tag I wrote "Love the Lord with all your Heart."

I just used different colors of pink and red scrapbook paper to staple over the top of each cellophane bag.

The kids really loved this Valentine treat.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Snowman Pins for Meals on Wheels

I started making these snowman pins for Meals on Wheels during a cold weather week and now it is sunny and warm! These pins are actually taking me a long time to make - so I think after I am finished making 50 pins and packaging them - I might save them for November.

So far I have finished about 15 pins. These could easily be made into Christmas ornaments by sewing a ribbon loop at the top of the snowman between the two pieces of felt. The supply list for this project is simple and older children should be able to help with some of the steps.


White felt

Orange felt

Round cookie cutter

Blue traceable pen

Black, white and orange embroidery  thread

Embroidery needles


Sharp scissors

Cotton balls


Using a round cookie cutter (mine was 1 1/2 inches round) trace with the blue traceable pen two circles for every snowman you want to make. Carefully cut the circles out. You could also trace a shot or juice glass.

On the front circle you will make eyes and a mouth with black embroidery thread.

Next cut a tiny to orange triangle and sew it on with orange thread.

On the back piece of felt sew on the pin.

You can buy the pins at any craft or fabric store. At craft stores they are often in the bead section.

With white thread sew the front and back pieces together. Before sewing completely add a cotton ball. I stretch the cotton ball out a little so that it fills the entire circle.

I have been doing this in batches - I sew about 10 fronts then 10 backs and then sew together. When I am finished with all of them I will try to think of a fun packing idea.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

He was a Fisherman of Men

I substitute teach elementary Religion classes. Today I taught 5th grade and the lesson was according to Mark - He was a Fisherman of Men. So I made some little treat bags for the kids.

Each cellophane bag had a package of Pepperidge Farm  Goldfish, a KitKat bar, Smarties and a Tootsie Pop.

Then I folded a piece of scrapbook paper and stapled it over the cellophane bag and added a label - "He was a Fisherman of Men" The kids really liked their treat.  I really like the 5th graders they are so smart and such good readers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Popsicle Stick Sled Ornaments

I made 50 of these little sleds for Meals on Wheels. They can put them on a coffee table, mantle or end table as a little decoration. When I started making these the weather was rainy and really cold. Now we are experiencing warm weather.  January, go figure! They were really easy to make - just many steps!

These sleds would look adorable tied onto Christmas packages.


colored popsicle sticks

wooden popsicle sticks

half size wooden popsicle sticks

metallic silver paint

paint brush

glue gun, glue

silver cord, twine or ribbon

winter themed stickers

cellophane bags


Buy the colored popsicle sticks - then you don't have to paint them!

 Layout the colored popsicle sticks in a sled pattern.

Use  a very small amount of hot glue between each popsicle stick. 

Paint the wooden popsicle sticks and half size popsicle sticks in the metallic silver paint on both sides.

Hot glue the half size silver painted sticks near the top and bottom of the sleigh. Then hot glue the blades on and let set.

The last step includes adding a coordinating sticker and glueing a piece of twine or cord to make a loop.

I made these sleds in every color and I was thinking how cute they will look on my tree next year. 

I was originally thinking about cutting some mitten shapes out of polka dot and striped scrapbook paper and Modge Podging the mittens to the sled. Maybe I will make the mittens when I make these again in December!

So I ended using some snowflake and snowman stickers to decorate the sleds.

I started lightly sanding some sleds to give them a distressed look.

I think the red sleds are my favorite. 

Even though Christmas is over I still enjoy making ornaments! I hope that the Meals on Wheels recipients enjoy these little sleds.

This would be a good project for classroom or craft group.