Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Winkflash Photo Contest: Birthdays!


I realize this is my THIRD blog post for the day, but I just had to do this one. This is our baby girl's birthday photo from here 1st birthday party. I have entered it in a contest on Winkflash.com, where I can win a$100 gift certificate to Winkflash.com (where I LOVE to get my photos printed!!!!).

Here's the catch: I need YOU to help us out by going to vote for our photo. Click on the photo above, and it will take you to Winkflash.com, where you can vote for our princess.

Yes, you must sign up with Winkflash to vote, but it's totally worth it! You can get 50 FREE 4x6 digital prints when you sign up for the first time! AND you can opt to NOT receive promotional emails from Winkflash when you sign up. It's a win-win, right?

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Mama Bear

A Yummy Little Snack: Duros!


Have you tried these? I first found out about them when my sister in law brought them home from the flea market. You can sprinkle lime juice (or lemon, because that's what you have readily on hand), and chili powder on them. I just use lemon juice...no chili powder. They will snap, crackle, and pop a bit when you put them juice on them.

What are they, you ask?



According to Gourmet Sleuth (source of the above photo), they are:

Duros

Other names: duritos, durros, pasta para durito

Duros are a Latino snack made of wheat flour and look a bit like a very hard pasta. The traditional shape is a rectangle with grooves but wagon wheel shapes are common too. Typically the duros are deep fried but they can also be microwaved. The prepared duros puff up then can be dipped in salsa or sprinkled with chile lime salt (see Tajin).

Basic Ingredients
Flour, Iodized Salt, Corn Starch, Bicarbonate of Soda, Vegetable Oil and food coloring.


Believe me when I say that you can eat a WHOLE bag of these in ONE sitting! They are so light and airy and delicous! And my Princess Diva Toddler Bear loves them too (no lemon juice on hers, although she LOVES lemons!)!

Where can you buy them? I believe Papa Bear got ours at either Lucky or Safeway. You can buy them like pasta and fry them yourself, or you can buy them already fried.

If you try them, let me know what you think!

Mama Bear

Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?


I have an almost two year old little girl. She doesn't talk. She whines. Well, not all the time. Part of the time she does talk in very intelligent sentences. Part of the time she sings. Part of the time she yells at the top of her lungs, with excitement. But the rest of the time she whines, and whines, and whines. Lately, she cries over every little thing, and I can't get out of her why she is crying. I don't get it. Except for the fact that she is almost two and she is a girl.

I know that there have been days (no, weeks!) (no, really, MONTHS) where I have been tired and impatient and have yelled at my kids. Or I have whined myself, asking them why they have to do this, or why they did that. I need to pray and ask God to help me stop whining. I have a feeling there will be a big change in Princess Diva Toddler Bear, once there is a big change in me. Our attitudes and emotions affect those around us much more than we think. If we are always whining, complaining, grumpy (read: hormonal), angry, joyless, then our loved ones who live in the same house with us will also do these things. Don't expect them to change, until you are willing to change.

Lord, please work in my heart. Forgive me for my sins of anger, impatience, discontent, selfishness. All of those things cause me to react in ways that are not pleasing to you, and make me look ugly. Please help me to reflect your glory through patience, joy, love, compassion and tenderness. Help me to be selfless. This is one of the biggest things I struggle with, but I know with your help, I can change. I can do ALL things through YOU who gives me the strength. Thank you for your forgiveness and grace in MY life. Please help me to be quick to forgive and show grace in the lives of those I love.

Mama Bear

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Fitness Pal


I just got an iPhone for the first time EVER at the beginning of the month. Yeah, we're a little behind on technology, but that's old news. Anyway, as some of you might know, I am on a quest to lose weight. It seems like this has been a life journey for me! Now, I really know that I need to lose weight and KEEP it off! No, I don't have heart disease, or diabetes, or anything like that, but I am at high risk for those AND for strokes if I DON'T LOSE THIS WEIGHT!

I have a "Biggest Loser" style challenge going on Facebook, and it starts on September 10th. This is round 3 for me, and I need to do well this time, especially since I am the one who started this! (By the way, if you're reading this, you're a woman, you have at least 30 pounds to lose, and you're on Facebook, we'd love to have you join us!!!)

So, back to the reason for this post. I have just discovered "My Fitness Pal", and app for iPhone, that allows me to track my calories in and calories out (exercise), based on my weight, height, gender, and age. That photo you see above is actually my breakfast entry for today.

The thing that I got really excited about as I did this for the first time today, is the fact that you can SCAN the barcode on a container of yogurt, and it will put in ALL of the information FOR you! You don't have to type all that stuff in and try to find which yogurt is yours! I'm SO excited about this, because it means this could be a LOT easier than doing WW online! Well, except for the fact that I do a LOT of our family cooking from scratch. I guess that's still going to be tough, but instead of typing on my tiny iPhone keys, I can enter everything online too. Pretty cool!

This app shows how many calories I've used, and how many I have left for the day, based on the number of calories I should be eating to hit my goal weight by a certain time. I haven't done this yet, but I can enter my exercise, and it will show me how many calories I burned for however long I did the exercise.

I'm thinking this could be a GREAT tool in finally helping me to get into a weight loss way of life! What do you think? Do you use any weight loss apps on your smart phone? Please share!

By the way, I am not being paid by My Fitness Pal or Apple, to do this "review".

Have a blessed day!

Mama Bear

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How to Butter a Pan Without Mess!


This is the best way ever to butter a pan and NOT get messy! Take a sandwich sized ziploc bag, turn it inside out, grab hold of your un-wrapped stick of butter, and butter that pan!

When you're done buttering the pan, just turn the bag, butter and all, right side out, zip the bag, and store the butter in your fridge for the next time you need to butter a pan (or for your next big bowl of popcorn!)

Mama Bear

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Longer Life for Berries


I learned something new, thanks to Pinterest (if you don't know about Pinterest, you SHOULD!). I learned that if you give berries a water/vinegar rinse, they will last longer in your refrigerator!

Katie from FoodLush blog says this:
When you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider probably work best) and ten parts water. Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse if you want (though the mixture is so diluted I find you can't taste the vinegar,) and pop in the fridge.

The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit, and voila! Raspberries will last a week or more, and I've had strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft. So go forth and stock up on those pricey little gems, knowing they'll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them.

I tried this with a 2 lb. package of blueberries that I had purchased. I actually did it about 2-3 days AFTER I bought the berries, and it STILL worked! Those are the berries, up there in that photo...being "dunked" in the vinegar water. That was on August 15th. We ate the last of the berries (of which about 99% of them were still yummy and plump!) on Monday night, August 22nd! Imagine berries lasting for over a week in your fridge! The things you can learn on Pinterest!

Mama Bear

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The First Day of School -- 2011



My two boys on their first day of school. One is a senior in high school, and the other is going to preschool. I love that they love school!

Mama Bear

Monday, August 22, 2011

Learning to Make Fabric Flowers


I have been wanting to learn how to make fabric flowers for a little while now, and today I finally sat down to do it. I have loads of fabric, so I picked some pieces that match outfits I have made for our little girl.

The pink flower was made from THIS TUTORIAL.

The blue and white flowers were made using THIS TUTORIAL.

I like the blue and white flowers better. With the pink one, I felt like I had to color inside the lines, but with the blue and white flowers, I felt like I could gloriously paint/color ALL over the page, and it would still turn out beautifully. I'm an "outside the box" kind of girl, so I loved how easy the second tutorial was, and how it allowed me to just twist and pinch and bunch and glue. With the second two flowers, I glued probably every 1/4", and found that it was easy to give a more "poofy" and soft look to the flower.

With the pink flower, I felt awkward, but not because the tutorial was bad! Just because it was my first one, and I wanted to try both tutorials to see which worked better for me.

Now, I have a feeling I will be making loads and loads of these fabric flowers, and trying different types of fabric (I used quilter's cotton on these flowers). Oh, what fun! My girlie is going to have lots of pretty headbands and pins/brooches for her wardrobe!

ADDED 08/23/11: Here are some more flowers I made. All but the one on the bottom left are made with the second tutorial from above. The one on the bottom left was made using the first tutorial above. The plain aqua colored flowers were made with an old t-shirt of mine, and I LOVE how they turned out! One thing to keep in mind: They don't have to "look perfect". That's the beauty of this craft. There's no exact way to pinch, fold, twist, glue, etc., yet the flowers still come out SO cute!



Mama Bear

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Even More Summer Reading With the Kids

It's been awhile since I did our last "Summer Reading with Kids" post, so I figured I had better do it before we take these books back to the library on Monday.


The Christmas Ship by Dean Morrissey
This is a book my 4 year old picked out, and we just read it the other night. This is such a whimisically illustrated book, that it is half of the fun of the book. Read about a toymaker who is in danger of losing his shop in a tough economy, and about how a kids and Santa himself help the toymaker out with his dilemma.


Ruby Sings the Blues by Niki Daly
This book is perfect for little ones who haven't learned the lesson of "indoor voices". It's about a little girl with a VERY loud voice, and how she was able to use it in a good way. It's fun to read this book as it reads...loud parts and soft parts.


Picnic at Mudsock Meadow by Patricia Polacco

I love reading books like this, that seem to come right out of the author's own life. This book is a good one to read around Halloween. It's about a town Halloween party, and a boy who is at a bit of an awkward stage in life, but has a "hero moment".

Easy as Pie by Cari Best
I am a Food Network addict, so I could totally relate to this book, where a boy watches his favorite chef on TV, and then proceeds to make a peach pie for his parents' anniversary. AND, there's a recipe for Happy Peach Pie on the back cover of the book!

Trouble in the Barker's Class by Tomie DePaola
If your child has ever dealt with being a new kid, or even with bullying, this is the perfect book to read, and then discuss both issues. There's a new girl in the Barker twins' class at school, and rather than being nice and kind, she's mean and has a tendency to bully.
Find out why in the book! I'll bet you can relate to her!

Have fun reading with your kids. It's SO good for them AND for you!
I'd love to hear what books you've been reading to your little ones.

PS...I have not been compensated in any way by the authors, the illustrators, or Amazon.com.
I simply enjoy being able to share with you, a love for the books that we have been reading.


Mama Bear

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Feeling Like You Don't Fit In Anywhere


In the past month or so, I have had a tear-filled discussion with Papa Bear about not feeling like I fit in anywhere. I don't have any close girlfriends that I get together with for coffee (or whatever). As I thought about it, I really haven't felt like I have fit in anywhere EVER. It's kind of crazy to think about.

As a military brat, we moved every couple of years, so it was hard being the "new kid" at so many different schools (six to be exact). Along with being in different schools, with each move, we also went to several different churches. Then, at one point, I think I actually felt like I fit in at a church when I was a teen...that is, until I had gone away for a couple of years, and came back as an unwed mom, with a brand new baby. Since then, it always was hard going to a new church as a single mom. Then, once I finally got married, I went to my husband's church, where he had been attending for around 10 or 11 years. TOTALLY did not fit in there! We ended up finding a new church that was closer to where we lived. Still...didn't feel like I fit in. I felt like it was more "classy" than I was used to...in an upscale neighborhood. And I'm just a girl from the country. Now, even at our current church, I am wondering about where I fit.

My husband made a point that I didn't think of. There are probably LOTS of people in each of those places who did not and do not feel like they "fit in". There are lots of people who struggle with not being invited to this or that, or not being called, or not getting a card sent to them. There are probably lots of moms, especially moms of little ones, who feel isolated and alone. Husbands are gone all day, and we have little ones who nap for 2 or 3 hours, so we're kind of stuck at home, unless we want a whining little one on our hands if we go out.

It gets easier and easier to stay at home...to be a homebody. Here are some things I have thought over the past 7 years: It's comfortable. I have things I can do at home. I'm a homeschooling mom (we homeschooled our oldest for a few years, several years ago). We don't have the money to "go out" with girlfriends or couple friends. I love spending time with my family, and I'd rather just stay at home with them. No one calls me, or writes me to invite to anything. I am this BIG white girl, who is not super fashion conscious, and not college educated, and not hip, and I have a teen and a preschooler and a toddler, so where in the WORLD do I fit in??????

I think these are thoughts that Satan perpetuates in my head. He is an instigator, an accuser, a liar, and will do anything he can to get us to believe that we are not precious in the sight of Christ, that we are not important. He will do whatever it takes to divide the family of God, to get us to allow bitterness to grow in our hearts towards others, especially fellow Christians. He will sow seeds of doubt, mistrust, anger, envy, and more.

What are things we can do to combat this type of thinking? Papa Bear helped me think about things that I myself could do. I can invite someone over during the time when my boys are in school, and my girlie is napping. I can make a point to go up to people at church and talk to them instead of wondering why they aren't talking to me. I can stay off of Facebook (where I can see status updates that may make me feel even more alone and isolated), and instead, I can send a card, or a letter of encouragement, just to let someone know that I'm thinking of them and praying for them. I can actually pray for people, instead of just saying I will. I can really make an effort to join in on the things where I AM invited, instead of being lazy and making an excuse for why I can't go. I can remember that Christ commanded us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. For some reason, this is SO tough to do! We want so badly for others to love us, to approve of us, to want to be BFFs with US, but when the tables are turned, it's not so easy for US to be the ones to reach out and love OTHERS.

And this is true with me. I know that I am a sinner, and there are SO many reasons why people might not want to be my friend. I am critical and judgmental. I whine and complain. I am lazy and selfish. I sin. But I am also covered by the blood of Christ, and I can not wallow in those sins and allow them to be excuses or reasons why I can't love others. Christ shed his own blood for me, so I am precious to Him, and to the Father. I have good news! I need to show the love of Christ to others, because of what He has done for me.

Lord, please help me to be the one to reach out to others, instead of waiting for or expecting others to reach out to me. Forgive me for my selfish whining. Forgive me for being envious of the relationships of others. Forgive me for not loving others the way that YOU love me. Please help me to be the friend to others that I want others to be to me. Thank you for your mercy and grace in my life. Thank you for being a friend to me, when I don't deserve it.

Mama Bear

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge: Eyes


This is our little guy, whom we adopted through the county foster care system. He is such a sweet, lovable little boy, and everyone who sees him comments on how gorgeous his eyes and eyelashes are, and I HAVE to agree! For someone who has gone through as much as he did in the first couple of years of his life, his eyes are a true window to his joyful, happy soul.

This is the photo I've submitted for the I Heart Faces Photo Challenge: Eyes.


Mama Bear

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Finally Did It...

My hubby finally talked me into getting an iPhone. I have had my Motorola Razr for several years now, and I've been fine with that, because I'm not a big texter, or anything. It's just handy to have a phone when I'm out and about.

But now, we have stepped into a totally different universe! I now have to learn how to use an iPhone. I'm a little nervous, but excited too. I have no idea what apps to get, or how to even use them. Any ideas? I'd love to get your input!!!

Do you have a smartphone? Or are you still in the last century like I was until today? Are you resistant to change? Is it hard for you to learn something new (especially new technology!!!)?

Mama Bear

Thursday, August 11, 2011

TOO Much STUFF!


Sometimes I wonder how we ever fit all of our STUFF in a small 2 bedroom apartment! Granted, we have added furniture and clothing as we have added children, but still! We have a garage that is full to overflowing with STUFF!!! I am not good at organizing or staying organized. I am not good at getting rid of stuff. There's always that thought, "I'm sure this will come in handy some day". I have a really tough time getting rid of stuff. Some of it for sentimental reasons, but some because I'm kind of a thrifty, use and re-use kind of person. Or, I think "We could probably sell this at a yard sale.", but seriously! When am I going to have the time and energy to prepare STUFF for a yard sale? I just need to be able to get rid of STUFF without looking back...no regrets.

I'm SO tired of all the STUFF!!! (I dread the thought of ever having to move again with all this STUFF!!!) I want to organize, simplify, purge, throw out! Then I look at everything and feel simply overwhelmed at the HUGE task. I don't know where to start.

I am so grateful for friends and family who have been so generous with us and have given us clothes, toys, books, etc., but at some point, we need to learn to say "No, thank you.".

I am a visualizer. I can see neat, orderly rows of tubs with labels stating what is in each tub. If only I could turn that visualization into reality. Papa Bear would LOVE me for that! (I mean, he already loves me dearly, but I know that he would love that we are able to get things organized and get rid of stuff.)

Here's where I could use your help. What advice can you give? What organizing tips do you have? What's the best way to get started? What's the best way to part with STUFF?

I'd love to get your input!

Mama Bear

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Emergency Foster Care

(source)

About a month or so ago, we called our caseworker at the county (we adopted our two youngest through the county foster care system), to let her know that we'd like to give emergency foster care a try. We had a few motives behind this.

Number one: We also put in our application to adopt another child, and we wanted to see how we would do and how the little ones would do with a baby in the home again. (We got our little girl when she was 2 months old, and got our little boy when he was 18 months).

Number two: We wanted to see how emergency foster care works, and how it goes, so that we are more prepared to share this information with others who might consider doing this.

Number three: Even though my selfish flesh says "No more kids! We're done!", both Papa Bear and I feel that God has called us to take care of these little ones who need a safe, loving place to be cared for, while their parents aren't able to care for them.

If it were up to me alone, I would say no more. I am 41 and my two little ones, plus my teenager are ENOUGH! Having two special needs kids is tough (our girlie is not special needs, but she is a bit spicy, so you can see where this would make me tired, and make me say now more, right?). Then, when you throw into the mix an infant whose sleep pattern and feeding pattern you do not know, who isn't used to being away from their mama, life gets very interesting.

This past Sunday, we got our very first emergency foster care child. We had gotten calls twice before, and we said yes, but for one reason or another, we didn't actually end up getting the kiddos. Sunday night, we got a call about a 2 month old baby whose parents got arrested. They said there was a possibility of the paternal grandma getting custody, but she needed to go through the whole application/background check process first. We wouldn't know how long this baby would be with us. Papa Bear went to Target before the caseworker on duty brought the baby. We needed bottles, formula (we were told which one to get), diapers, etc. You never know what age you'll get, so it's kind of tough to be prepared in advance with everything you might need. (I could have used a bouncy seat! I think we'll be getting one for the future!)

People (my mom) have warned us about how easy it is to get attached, and how it breaks your heart when they go back home, but this wasn't the case for us. I think God was protecting our hearts, because we knew this baby would be going "home". It was kind of weird, but it was easy to take this baby to the grandma yesterday. I think if it was a baby that we had been told was up for adoption, and we would be doing a concurrent foster/adopt situation, it would have been tough, but it wasn't like that at all.

Yesterday, my husband shared with me an article written by Pastor Rob Tims, a pastor whose family does foster care, and I believe is trying to adopt. It was about having a ministry of reconciliation. I had never thought about that in regards to foster care. I just figured, we were following God's command to "care for widows and orphans". I encourage you to read the article (linked above). If you are a Christian, we have a duty to care for these little ones. It's not easy. Especially when you want to sleep. It's not easy when you have a little one who is "the princess", the baby of the house. Sometimes it may not be convenient, because you have things you want to do, without having an extra person to bring along. But God will give you the grace you need. All you have to do is ask. I could feel the effects of the prayers being prayed by friends from all over the US, who knew we had gotten this baby.

Be prepared to love on the child you get. But do not harbor resentment in your hearts toward the parents, grandparents, or whoever else is involved. Do not expect them to gush over you and thank you, thank you, thank you for caring for their child/grandchild. Do not expect them to even want to look you in the eye or talk graciously with you. It's ok. They're hurting. Mistakes have been made, that resulted in them losing their family member, even though for a short time. They're not going to want to be your friend. In fact, they may even see you as the enemy. They may think you are just in this for the money (if they even know that you get paid to do this...which, if they knew how much you got paid, versus how much you spent on diapers, etc., they would realize that it's NOT about the money!). They may think you are trying to "parent" their child or grandchild. They may feel guilty. My advice? Pray for them, and pray that you will not have ill feelings toward them for ANY reason. We are to love. We are to be available to care for these little ones, no matter the reason. And we can and will for as long as God allows us to do so.

Oh, and go love on your own kids or grandkids, and never take them for granted!

Sorry about the VERY long post, but I really felt the need to write about our experience.

Have a blessed day in Christ,

Mama Bear

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Unaccompanied Minors

When we fly, we normally fly Southwest. So, naturally, when it came time for us to book a flight for our teenage son to fly by himself to visit his grandparents in New Mexico, we chose Southwest. I have been nervous about his flying by himself (for the first time), because he is a heart & stroke patient, and has a lot of cognitive delays because of the strokes. He doesn't function with the typical common sense that most of the rest of us do, and he has auditory issues to where he can't hear you if you're talking to him in a crowded, noisy room. Now can you see why I'm nervous? He also has partial hemi-paresis on the right side, which causes him to limp, and to not have much use of the right hand/arm. I was not able to go to the airport with them, because we got a 2 month old baby through emergency foster care on Sunday night, and with all four children, we would have had to take 2 vehicles, since we don't have a mini-van or equivalent vehicle. I couldn't take pictures! I'm sure our son was ok with that part.

All I could do was put him in God's hands (again) and trust that God would take care of him. After all, God created him, and loves him SO much more than I ever could. When we don't trust God to take care of us and our families, I believe that's a sin. It's saying "You can't take care of him like I can.". God says in His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5), and I believe that. He is with me here in California, and He is with my son in the air and in New Mexico. I trust in Him, and He gives me peace.

On another note, Papa Bear was given an "escort pass" and was able to go all the way to the gate with our son, and my mom will be able to get one as well, to meet him right at his gate. We never knew that such thing was allowed, but we are SO glad that they allow this!

Have a blessed day in Christ!

Mama Bear


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Photo Challenge from Digital Photography School


Today, I saw in my email that there was a Photography Challenge from Digital Photography School, to take a photo with the theme TOYS. So, here is the photo I took. (Good thing Princess Diva Toddler Bear had her toys all over the floor...perfect timing!) I also have just learned about "Selective Focusing" this week, and am SO excited to have been able to use it in this photo!

Mama Bear

Friday, August 5, 2011

It's Time for Potty-Training!


(source)

Our little Princess Diva Toddler Bear is almost 23 months old, and is finally starting to show an interest in going potty like a big girl. I have tried on numerous occasions, and all she did was scream and cry. NOT ready! I wanted to wait until after our camping trip, because I didn't want to have to deal with all of that while were camping.

The other day, she came up and told me, "I want to go potty like a big girl.". Well, OK THEN! So, I took her and sat her on the potty, and sat with her. She didn't scream and cry. We sang songs. That was a good sign. Then, the other night when I was getting them ready to get into the tub, she pulled her own diaper down. Another sign, right?

Last night, she and Brother Bear (our 4 year old) went to spend the night at Grandma & Poppaw's house (his second time, her first). They did REALLY well. No crying whatsoever, and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law decided to try putting Princess Diva Toddler Bear on the potty. Well, what do you know???? She went #1 and #2! I think she may have surprised herself, because she certainly surprised the rest of us.

So, today, I went and bought her some Minnie Mouse panties (she LOVES Minnie!) and some Pull-Ups. We'll see how long it takes.

Any advice? What do you use as a reward? Do you do a sticker chart? I'd love to know! I've never had to potty train a girl before!

Mama Bear

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What to do When Mama Bear is Sick


UGH! I could feel it coming on last night, so I sucked on zinc lozenges. I prayed I wouldn't get sick. This is my birthday week! I have too much to do this week to get sick. I have a consignment event this weekend, and I still have to hang and tag about 200 items. UGH! But I woke up at 3:43 this morning, with a killer sore throat and earache. Now what??? I was supposed to take the kids to the park today, to play with friends from church, but all I want to do is crawl back in bed, ignore my children, and have a little pity party for myself. Not gonna happen!

So what do you do when you are feeling lousy and you have little ones to take care of? I am going to pray, because I know that only God can get me through this day/week. I don't have time to be sick!

Mama Bear

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Canning Pickles: Bread and Butter


We are growing pickling cucumbers in our garden this year, and they're doing quite well. We actually were able to harvest enough to do a small batch of bread and butter pickles, and I can't wait to try them! Of course, we will wait the recommend three months before we open these jars, but still...I can't WAIT! Bread and butters are my favorite!

I used a recipe from Pickles and Relishes by Andrea Chesman,
called "Louise's Bread & Butter Pickles". Here is the recipe:

3 pounds cucumbers, 1-1/2 inches in diameter (8 cups, sliced)
1/3 cup pickling salt
5 cups cold water
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cups cider vinegar
1-2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon mace
few dashes of red pepper (optional...I opted not to use)

Wash the cucumbers well and remove the stem end and blossom end neatly. Then cut the cucumbers into 1/4-inch crosscut slices. Put into an enamelware or glass bowl. Sprinkle with salt and add water. Cover and let stand overnight.

The next morning, turn the cucumbers into a colander and drain for 10-15 minutes. Pour the cucumbers into a preserving kettle (or big stainless steel pot), and add the onion, vinegar, sugar, and spices. Heat to simmering. Simmer only 3-4 minutes. Pack into hot, sterilized pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal.

Process in a boiling-water-bath canner for 10 minutes, according to the instructions on pages 21-26 (of the book).

*Adjust processing time for altitudes above 1000 feet: 15 minutes for 1001-6000 feet.
20 minutes for anything above 6000 feet.


What are you canning this year? I'd love to hear about it!

Mama Bear