Monday, August 8, 2016

Savoring the Season: Apricot Bounty and More

Preserving season is in full swing in my little area of the world!  I’m in need of taking a brief break from it myself WHEW!!

Last month we were overjoyed to discover the cherry tree was producing a wonderful crop.

I froze a bunch of quart sized bags, tried Fresh Cherry Pie, my new favorite Cherry Pudding Cake and a not so favorite clafouti. We had so many cherries I went out and got a Cherry Pitter which really helped speed up the pitting process. Grandson Luke was excited about tasting Cherry Pie so I promised him a Fresh Cherry Pie. My sweetheart and I headed to Idaho for a few days with a housewarming gift of the promised Fresh Cherry Pie. It was a delight to see how excited he was that it was there in the their new home. 


I also enjoyed a break here and there watching a few youtube videos that showed some very creative ways to pit cherries! 



I started out tackling July's throwing together a quick batch of Apricot syrup for my sweet grandnephews who came to visit. It was a simple mash of a few cups of apricots and a bit of sugar cooked in a pot on the stove long enough to bring out all the juices. We all enjoyed it sooo much!  It was Yum...These past couple of weeks have been crazy busy with apricots  ripening and dropping faster than my sweetheart can keep up with them... I decided we better pull out some recipe ideas... Apricot Leather, pie, Apricot Pudding Cake... The first batch of leather was amazing.The boys liked it so much they took home all but a few strips :) Next I grabbed my Apricot Jam recipe and got busy. Before too long those apricots were ripening FAST so I began freezing quart bags in between jam batches and a few random desserts. As the apricots increased ripening and dropping at the beginning of August I was trying the various recipes to use as much as I could of my yummy apricots.  

I also called in the troops- my friend Maieli and her granddaughter Amber came to pick some apricots and we decided to turn them in to jam here at the Ferrier Chalet.

Sweetheart Tom and I continued to work on the apricots since what I have learned from past years was that next year we may have a zero harvest so enjoy it now.  

So what is next? Apples, and did I mention the plums?

Well it looks like it is time to jump back in with both feet...As the weeks have progressed, the apricot trees have thinned out but a quick look at our property and I note it is time to get set to tackle plums, tomatoes, apples, herbs, and maybe some neighboring peaches too. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tea Time With The Grandkids

It was our first visit since the birth of little brother Leo Alexander so we were catching up, celebrating birthday parties (Luke's 6th on March 23rd had just passed and Fiona's 10th April 4th had also just passed) and generally just enjoying time together. We planned our very first tea party ever. Fiona, Luke, Grandma Ferrier and Grandpa Ferrier held the tea party at the apartment in San Jose, Ca. Grandma interviewed the children to get ideas of what would be the perfect foods to serve, what kinds of teas to plan for and of course what theme to use. Luke asked for Honey Water Tea, sharing that he loved cinnamon buns and chocolate and Fiona said she adored Pomegranate tea and her favorites for a tea party would be cookies and chocolate. Grandma and Grandpa found a teapot and small cups at World Market and some Lacey cookies. The local Safeway had fresh strawberries, blackberries, Cinnamon Buns and some Salted Caramel cookies. Then we found some savory snacks at Trader Joe's; our newest favorite cheese, Cambozola along with some Rosemary crackers and Trader Joe's Pretzel Slims and some Agave Nectar. A visit to the local dollar store was perfect to set the table with square shaped floral plates with matching napkins and clever egg shaped toothpicks for the fresh fruit bites. Luke helped set the table and prepare the fruit bites while the tea was brewing. It turned out to be a wonderful tea party!

As we enjoyed our tea and munched the delicious sweet and savory foods we talked about our plans for the next tea party and the excitement of getting to come to grandmas house! I am so very delighted to enjoy this time with my grandkids and cannot wait to have them come to my house too! 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

One Word That Can Change Our Lives In 2016

A few years ago I was introduced to the idea of instead of working at accomplishing a list of goals in the New Year, focusing on One Word. 

As the New Year approaches my thoughts of the past year reflect on the hazards, the difficulties, the challenges and the great joys experienced along the way reaching toward my choice word for 2015, "healing". 

Much of the year was about physical healing...My body needed it! Last New Year I would not have imagined it would take those turns yet the power of a word is deeply layered. Not only did my family experience healing of the body but it was also challenged to experience the healing that takes place when on recognizes the need to forgive the unlovable. The impact of keeping my eyes focused on a single word  toward achieving that goal and to describe my solidarity as the year unfolds is powerfulUnlike the regular dictionary meaning of "Restoration," which is to return something back to its original condition, the biblical definition of the word has greater connotations that go above and beyond the typical everyday usage. Repeatedly throughout the Bible, God blesses people for their faith and hardships by making up for their losses and giving them more than they previously had before. 
The word RESTORATION is my choice for 2016. I pray that as the year unfolds, so will the restoration of my body, spiritually as well as physically. I also want to thank GOD and my sweet husband and many friends and kind acquaintences that have come along side to help me throughout this experience. Luke 4:18,19

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas, What It Means To Me

Christmas, What It Means To Me

Today is just two days from our traditional Christmas celebration here in the USA... There has been a lot of activity here at my home. Typically we would be getting ready to head to see our kids and grandkids, often just days before or after Christmas. 

This year we are experiencing a very different hustle and bustle. Back in August I mentioned the loss of our dear friend, a young mother of four children...the youngest, a newborn baby. Before this tragedy the parents had been living their dream living on the land, homeschooling their children and walking their faith. Suddenly he was without the love of his life and the dream they had nurtured was gone.  The father is a dear friend,  a young man my husband began to mentor and teach a trade years back. The tragedy so impressed us that we asked them to come live with us since they did not have a home. 

Many in our close neighborhood and others in the community have reached out to help them with food,  clothing and more as the seasons changed. From one organization they have ministered with something they called the 12 Days of Christmas gift drop off, I had to look this 12 Days drop off up to learn more about it since I watched the family get so excited as the gifts secretly appear :)
Our close neighbors have blessed them richly with meals, gifts for the children and money to help with other needs. We are so grateful for each of you that has offered kindnesses-From Gods storehouse and some of them from a choice to give beyond their means. Thank you so-ooo much!
So what does Christmas mean to me? It means Christ's kindness and love is acted out over and over... He came to earth to be a gift to us so that we might spend eternity with the Creator. This time of year the Spirit of Christ is acted out through so many who give to those who need to see Jesus. I have a quote up in my kitchen, "I want a Christmas that whispers Jesus". I would slightly reword it though..."I want a Christmas that SHOUTS Jesus!". 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Happy Birthday Maureen

Today as I visited Facebook I experienced a bittersweet moment...I was reminded on my calendar that our dear friend Maureen is celebrating her birthday. She is celebrating this birthday, her 40th, in heaven with our Friend Jesus... a friend so very near and dear to her heart and ours. We'll celebrate with you again my friend but for now you are having the very best party. We miss you...

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Creating A "ONE WORD" Banner

In previous posts I shared about the idea of using just ONE WORD as the focus for my New Year. Resolutions often  just  lead to another year of disappointment with ourselves anyway. Why not replace the typical resolution list with a single, focused WORD that identifies one key plan for our lives? I plan to usher in the New Year with my focus on HEALING. If you'd like to read about it check out the post.. I wanted to create a reminder to myself, a fun way of declaring my intent in this NEW YEAR to stay the course with my ONE WORD...HEALING so I began to research what others were doing on Google with ONE WORD. My friends, you all know how I love the seasonal banners, pennants and swags. I'm guessing you also know of my love for themes, party decor and celebrating the season, right? Well I came across a really wonderful idea using office supply tags to create a ONE WORD banner and I am excited to CASE this project. It was featured several years ago at Bless Your Neighbor a blog I found while searching the net.
I'm thinking this would be really a fun project to introduce this idea to my family. The consensus from sisters is  we found it works best for us to typically get together after the New Year to celebrate Christmas together. It started originally as a courtesy to me since we travel over the holidays to see our children and their families. That meant I didn't get to celebrate with my sisters and their children who live in the same state  :( 
I started inviting everyone over after Christmas and our celebrations continue to evolve but we've share gifts, food and fun like the typical white elephant parties. This year I thought it would be fun and encouraging to talk about our hopes, aspirations, and focus in this new year through the use of my "ONE WORD BANNER". 
Here is what I came up with as I looked through my craft room. I have an assortment of tags I have used for other projects over the years maybe you do too!
 I think this project could be created using commercial or handmade tags too. Whether handmade with your own cut outs or using die cut machine electronic cutting machines or a template this project is super simple and fun! 
So here is what I did to create my "One Word" Banner. I went searching through my craft room to see what I had on hand. These are the things I found. I decided to use the plain cream colored tags- the size was best for the letters I picked.
So look around and see what you have on hand... or 

Get some tags whether handmade or store bought. Depending on how many words you would like on your banner make sure you have enough tags on hand. Pick out the banner material. I've show you what I have on hand but you could even select some fabric and cut it about 1 inch wide by the length of your banner.
Here are some of the choices I had to work with. 
Next on to the words you select for your banner.Pick meaningful words, ones that really resonate for you. I have put together a collection of words that may resonate, if not perhaps they will INSPIRE you. 

This word cloud was created at Tagul

Once you have picked your words it's time to create the tags. I have a huge collection of stamp alphabets so I picked three sizes. The largest size was for my word to inspire me in this New Year, My selected word is HEALING. The next smaller was
ONE WORD and finally the year 2015 was in another font. 
If you are not a stamper perhaps you would rather create using typed words, hand written words or even magazine collage would be fun!

Ok so here is my "ONE WORD BANNER"...
A quick and easy get the New Year started right project!
 I hope you like it. Write me some comments friends. Tell me what your One Word is for this New Year.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My One Word For The New Year HEALING

Back in 2010 I heard the author Kevin Hall speak. He shared his personal story and how it led him to write his new book, "Aspire: Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words"I had the honor of meeting him after his talk. What he shared truly changed my way of thinking about using words and using them to encourage myself and others too. 

Later I began hearing about the idea of beginning the New Year differently, choosing One Word to help focus on the New Year and the aspirations we have for it. What a wonderful way to start the New Year. 

I have selected my One Word for 2015 to be HEALING. 

Aside from my family, neighbors and close friends most people would not understand my choice. Of those close to me, they would guess that most obvious reason I selected healing as my word might be that I developed Shingles in November of 2014. It for me has been a slow, painful process and in fact I am still dealing with post herpetic neuralgia. (What that means is the pain continues after the blisters healed.) The choice of the word healing though was not only prompted by the pain from Shingles. I had been thinking over some things. Each of us, as we go through life, experiences things that shape them. It mold us and sometimes changes us, some of us never recover. It might have been a betrayal by a loved one or perhaps a death of a child. For others, something out of their control unexpectedly shook their world. It could even be an accumulation of weighty disappointments.

In any case the pain from Shingles got me thinking about pain in our lives that holds us back and keeps us from enjoying life fully.

Why? Because we are carefully trying to protect ourselves from that pain. I thought of this as I was draping scarves over my face trying to keep the cool air from the fan from causing electric shock type pain on my skin. The post herpetic nerve pain had amplified my pain receptors and confused my nerves. What normally would be a rather pleasant sensation on the skin was no longer pleasant.

Unresolved issues in our life can be much like the nerve pain from Shingles, we hide from certain experiences. 

My One Word for this year is more about THAT healing...for myself and for others. I want to see HEALING!