Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring clean up begins!

It was a gorgeous day Saturday in Indianapolis.  I believe we may have hit 60 degrees or better with loads of sunshine!  So, it comes as no surprise that  tonight into Monday morning, the weatherman is predicting 1-2" of snow.  Sigh.

I took advantage of the nice weather to get a start in the gardens.  I prepped the old salad bed, an 8'x8' raised bed on the other side of the clothesline next to the garage.  I moved the arbor over there and then moved the blackberries.  I know it's not the right time to move them but they needed moved.  I may not get any blackberries this season but they had started getting into my strawberry bed so they had to go!  This bed should give them a bit more room to spread.  

Over in the strawberry bed, I removed the straw because I have some great starts coming up.  I pulled a few odd weeds out of the bed that evidently were missed last year.  I tried to move the divider that had been between the strawberries and the blackberries.  The border and divider of the berry bed was made out of a really old telephone pole that I had the hubby cut into pieces for me.  It raises the bed about a foot and makes a great barrier to keep the berries in.  I was unable to move the divider because it is a little long.  My husband tried to cut it down some but his chainsaw needs sharpened.  I did take advantage and just kinda cleaned up the strawberry bed and made sure that I took out any wild blackberry shoots that were meandering over there.

My son who is 8 was also out helping today.  We have a very large tree in the back yard that seems to lose a few twigs and branches each winter.  My son gathered them all up and piled them up for use in the fire pit.  He loves when we have an impromptu weenie roast and s'more night.  Psst...Mom does too because then I don't have to cook.  Or clean up!  Win-win!

I also moved the compost pile.  I put it around an old tree stump that I want gone.  It's in the back corner, not really in the way but annoying to me.  Instead of paying to have it ground out, I'll just put my compost pile on and around it and in time (it's not a big stump) it will rot away.  I've already done this with a few stumps over the years and it really does work.  But you have to be patient, it's not quick.  

I still have a back area that is just empty that I feel the need to fill.  I think I want to plant blueberry bushes.  In addition to making blueberry jam, we like to eat frozen blueberries.  You just put wax paper on a cookie sheet, lay the blueberries out in a single layer and put it in the freezer until they are frozen. Then I put them in a good Ziploc freezer bag and remove as much air as possible.  This way we can grab a handful at a time for a quick snack.  They're wonderful frozen and there is no sugar added!

Finally, my daffodils are-this-close to blooming.  This last (hopefully) blast of snow better not kill them!

Friday, March 29, 2013


After a chat with one of my daughters, I began thinking about this topic more intently.  She thinks I am too frugal.  Is that even possible?  I do find it funny that twenty years ago, I was called a tight ass.  Today, I am frugal.  My daughter doesn't understand the frugality.  This baffles me.  In my mind, what's not to understand?  She seems to think that it's only worth it if you save big.  My Gram used to say "Mind your pennies and the dollars take care of themselves". defines frugal as:  economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful.  Furthermore, it defines frugality as:  the quality of being frugal, or prudent in saving; the lack of wastefulness.  It also states that "Many people who have lived through periods of economic deprivation develop lifelong habits of frugality and are almost never tempted by wasteful consumption".

I spent so many years having to watch my spending so very closely that I don't know any different at this point.  It's just habit.  I hope in the long run, I am instilling in my children that by watching those pennies, your dollars will take you farther.  

Here are a few more ways that we stretch our money...the odds and ends of saving!  

You know that random money that you find in the laundry each week...those few nickels and a couple of dimes?  We have a Fred Flintstone bank that we put all "found" money in.  This isn't just for laundry money but for money found on the floors too (if it was important, it wouldn't be on the floor).  When it comes vacation time, we empty the Fred bank and see what has accumulated over the year.  Yes, we only open it once a year.  One year there was enough in there that it took the entire family of four to southern Indiana to Holiday World, paid for the trip and overnight at the hotel, entrance tickets for all and a meal eaten IN the park.  All from pennies, dimes and nickels.

We switched all the lights in the house to those swirly CFL bulbs.  I wanted to see just what it would save us so I monitored the light bill for a few months as we accumulated the bulbs.  We bought a few at a time, those things are more expensive than the regular bulbs.  Once I had them all, I had my husband change all the lights in the you don't think that statement is chauvinistic  I'm 5'6", hubby is 6'4" and our ceilings are 9'.  Oh, and I don't like ladders!  LOL.  The light bill was down by over $28 a month.  In the course of a year, that is a savings of $336.  That more than covered the expense of buying the bulbs.  It's been 3 years now and we've only changed one light bulb.  I just can't get the kids to turn off the light on the landing!

I think I have mentioned before that I generally invest less than $100 in my garden each year and "put up" (can or freeze) about 70% of the veggies the family eats in a year.  I've not run the numbers on that one but it is a substantial savings each year.

I also make some of my cleaners.  First, vinegar goes a long way towards cleaning things and disinfecting.  I keep a spray bottle of vinegar on hand.  I have even gotten blood out of carpet with it.

I make my own version of Windex with 2 tablespoons of ammonia, 1 cup of alcohol and 2 cups of water.  I put in a few drops of blue food coloring (it won't stain when you use it) to differentiate it from the other cleaners.

I have dish cloths, hand towels and cloth napkins.  I do keep paper towels on hand for those messes that just need a paper towel but for the most part, we use cloth.  I think the last time I bought a six pack of paper towels was 4-5 months ago and I still have 3 of them on the shelf.  It's cheaper to use cloth and better for the environment.

I also extend the life of my kitchen sponge by running it through the dishwasher a couple of times a week.  By the way, vinegar is a great cleaner for the dishwasher every now and then as the dishwasher empty with some vinegar in the bottom of it and it will help to clean the film that seems to accumulate on the bottom and walls of the dishwasher even when you use a rinse aid.

I know my children may never be as frugal as I am but I do hope that they take some of the hints and tricks I have and use them to make their own money go a little farther.

Online games

Here is another one of my assignments!  A little bit of explanation is in order. In this class, I was exposed to the game Second Life.  It is an interactive game that puts the player in an alternate reality type of thing.  I guess World of Warcraft is another game of this type.  I don't generally play these types of games so I'm very uneducated when it comes to them.  The chapter we had to read described a little about these types of games.  That said, here is the assignment and my response...

Have you played any games like what is described in this chapter? What types do you prefer? Why? What kinds of choices and controls were you offered as a player? How did these affect your experience? Explain.

The only game like those described in the chapter that I have ever played is the short time I spent in Second Life that was required at the beginning of this course.  I am not a fan of these types of games.  The games I have played online are more types of thinking games like “Words with Friends” or “Candy Crush”, I’m not the virtual world kind of person.  For “Words with Friends”, I have the choice of what word I want to spell out based on what letters I have and what words have already been played.  It’s pretty simple.  It makes me think and expand my vocabulary.  It also challenges me when I play against my friends to find the best words for the most points.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Saving in the Laundry Room

The weather yesterday was just beautiful for March.  Sunny, temperature in the 50's.  My daffodils are so very close to blooming.  And today, we are expecting 8-12 inches of snow.  Welcome to Indiana in Spring!  Sigh.

I took advantage of the beautiful weather.  I stripped all the bedding in the house, washed it and got it out on the clothesline, except my son's, his allergies don't allow him to enjoy the fresh smell of sheets and blankets dried outside on the line.  Other than the wonderful smell, it's a huge money saver.  Instead of running the dryer, I just let Mother Nature handle it!  And that's less money I have to give the gas company!  I found very few people who have a clothesline in the city and fewer who use it year round.    I have friends who have told me their HOA's won't allow them.  I don't think I am ever going to understand HOA's...LOL.  Anyway, I don't flaunt mine, I have it tucked away in the back corner of the yard with a privacy fence on one side and the garage behind it, most people don't even know I have it.  It's short, maybe 20 or 25 feet with 4 lines, I can get a lot of laundry on it.  When you think about it over the course of a year, it saves a lot.  As long as it isn't damp outside (or raining) I will use it.  Even in the winter, they are just a little cold when you bring them in.  For towels and jeans, if you run them in the dryer for 5 minutes before or after you put them on the line (either works but I prefer before), they aren't stiff and scratchy.  One thing I don't do is put underthings out one needs to see all that!  But for those and delicates  I have a drying rack inside that folds up and tucks away on the wall of the basement stairwell.

A lot of my friends make their own laundry soap.  They swear by it.  I haven't ventured into that yet but maybe sometime.  My understanding is the recipe makes a bunch and I'm short on storage space.  I use Tide and get it when Kroger has a P&G sale and I have coupons.  There are sites that will let you know when there is a P&G insert in the Sunday paper so you can buy extra papers if need be.  My point is that with the sale and coupons, I generally stock up on Tide when I can get it for $2-3 a bottle.  An additional way to save money with laundry soap is to read the bottle.  For many years, I just filled the cap and threw it in the washer.  One day, I have no idea why, I read the label.  There are little lines inside that cap for measuring.  The #1 line is for regular loads.  That meant that for YEARS, I had been using triple the amount of laundry soap than I needed to.  

As for fabric softener, I know a lot of people who use vinegar and I have done that too.  I do buy softener and will get it the same way as the Tide.  I do use fabric sheets too for times when I need to use the dryer.  I don't know why but I, personally, think that sheets work better on static.  

A few things not really laundry related but laundry supply related here.  I love the scented trash bags but, of course, don't want to pay extra for them.  I stumbled on this and it's great.  I store my trash bags in the same closed cabinet that I store my dryer sheets in.  It's surprising but the trash bags will pick up the sent of the sheets and then you have scented trash bags!  Ta Da!  

My friend Secrena has shared a wonderful carpet cleaner recipe too.  She mixes 1/3 cup Bleach, 1/3 cup Tide and 1/3 cup Fabric Softener.  You use it in place of carpet cleaning solution in a carpet shampooer.  It works fabulously and smells wonderful!

Secrena again shared with us an imitation Febreeze recipe.  In a spray bottle of water, she adds 1/8 cup of fabric softener and 2 Tablespoons of baking soda.  When I make it, I start with hot water so that the baking soda dissolves entirely.  I use this on everything.  Carpets, curtains, beds and I have even used it between dry cleaning on my coat to cut static and freshen it. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I know it's not canning time.  Yet.  I generally tell anyone wanting to start canning that the very first thing they need to get is the "Ball Blue Book of Canning".  This is just a thin paperback book that you can even buy at Walmart in the canning section, but it has the best, most trusted information.  I want to add, I love old cookbooks, I even collect them.  This is NOT a book that you want to use an old edition of.  

So much has changed since our Grandmothers canned.  Some of the ways that prior generations canned is now considered to be very dangerous.  It's important to follow the instructions carefully as to what foods need a water bath canner (such as tomatoes) and what ones need a pressure canner (such as green beans).  In Grandma's time, they'd boil green beans in a water bath canner for something like 7-8 hours.  In a pressure canner, you can can them in a matter of minutes once the pressure comes up.  Time isn't the only reason that you should use a pressure canner when it is called for.  Low-acid foods should never be processed in a water bath canner, it simply can't get hot enough to be sure the food is free of anything botulism risk.  Higher acid foods, or those that have had acid (citric acid or lemon juice for example) added are safe to can in the water bath canner.  Here is a website that describes the acid contents!  

While looking around on Pinterest, I found a really cool website from the Utah State University Cooperative Extension that has a self-guided canning class.  You can find it here!  This site also has some really cool excel calculation worksheets to figure the cost of either canning or freezing produce.  Remember, if you are growing your own food to can or freeze to not forget to include the cost of the seeds or plants.

I also always suggest to people who are new to canning to stick with foods that require the water bath canner for the first year.  It's not just because canning in a water bath canner is just a little more forgiving but, the equipment cost is far less as well.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don't need brand new equipment.  As long as the water bath canner doesn't have rust or a hole in it, you're good.  Even if you buy a pressure canner, you can always order a new seal and weight.  I, personally don't use a digital weight, I use the old-fashioned one that jiggles.  Watch yard (garage, tag, whatever you call them where you live) sales, the Goodwill, Craigslist, auctions or estate sales for jars of all sizes.  I also found a wonderful sale last year at Meijer that was amazing.  Buy 2 cases of jars get one free!  I'm waiting on that sale again as I will put the hurt on Meijer!  I reuse most jars, I just buy new lids each year.  I am always looking for jam jars though because, I sell the jam I make!


Here is another assignment.  I will include the instructions for the assignment so as to not confuse the reader.  Or at least to try not to confuse!

Tell a story about something that happened to you recently. Notice how you use the elements you’re reading about … character development, sequence of events, pace, conflict, point of view, resolution, etc. How does your use of these items affect the story?

My neighbor, Pete, stopped by the other day to talk about the jam and jellies I make.  At Christmas time, I had made gift baskets for my neighbors that included some of my jams and jellies among other things.  He bought a few more jars of some of the ones they liked best, the Triple Berry being their favorite.  Pete is a “City Boy” and went on and on about the fact that there are still people out there who make homemade jams.  He was quite animated, talking with his hands as well, in asking about how I make jam and if I can make specialty jams.  I told him I am always willing to try new things.  He’d told me a story about some cherry-jalapeno jam that his mother-in-law had bought for him and his wife.  He said although they like it well enough, they weren’t fans of cherry.  Pete and his wife Andi wanted me to make them a Triple-berry Jalapeno jam.   I told him I’d give it a shot.

The following week, I had some time so I thought I’d work on this recipe.  I picked up some jalapeno peppers at the grocery.  I had berries in the freezer.  I had already researched various jams and jellies with jalapenos in them.  I was a little nervous because I wasn’t finding any recipes with a mix of berries in them so I was totally winging this.  I made a small batch of the jam, processed it in the jars and waited. 

I am not a fan of jalapenos in general but I don’t like to share any of my products without knowing what they taste like.  When I had finally worked up the nerve to taste it, I was surprised that the jam had a little bit of a bite but not too much.  The spice wasn’t overpowering.  Even when we eat at a Mexican restaurant, I appreciate spice as long as it isn’t made so hot just for the sake of being hot.  The jam was an interesting flavor, you could pick up the spice and the berry flavors and I think they mixed nicely.

When I took a sample jar to Pete, he immediately opened it and grabbed a spoon.  In between bites, he’s excitedly telling me how good it is.  I told him I wasn’t sure on the spice level and needed his opinion before I made more.  He tells me that “It’s great for regular people but, we’re from Arizona and we’d love to see more heat in it!”  At which time, his wife steps in and just looked at him.  Between bites, he says “Hi, honey, do you want a taste?”  Andi replied “you could make some biscuits or toast or something”.  Pete just said “It’s great from the spoon!” as they both laughed.  In this short conversation, Pete has eaten half the jar of jam.

It’s fulfilling to see something appreciated that I made.  To them, it’s just a jar of jam.  To me, it’s my creation.  And I truly love sharing that with people!

In thinking about how the items we are learning about affect the story, if I hadn’t set up the character in who was Pete, the story would be confusing.  Without the sequence of events, such as mentioning giving the gift baskets at Christmas, Pete coming back for more jam wouldn’t have made sense.  I think that conflict (he wanted Triple-berry jalapeno jam) and resolution (he got Triple-berry jalapeno jam) were both handled in a way that kept the story from bogging down.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Top 10 Garden Tips

After having a wonderfully warm and sunny day, we're back to having snow on the ground, not a lot but enough to remind us we are in Indiana, in March and although we have snow today, tomorrow could be 70 degrees.  Then Friday could have more snow.  Hang in there, Winter is almost over!

The talk in my world is full of more and more gardening.  There are lots of people who have gardened for ages because they know that gardening not only brings you wonderfully fresh veggies but it drastically cuts down your grocery bill when you can walk to the back yard and pick what you eat.  I'm loving all the new gardeners who either started gardening last year or are wanting to start this year.  

I'd like to offer a few hints for those who are wanting to start a garden this year.

1.  Start SMALL.  Nothing will defeat a new gardener faster than 200 plants all needing weeding at once.

2.  Plant what you like to eat.  Just start with a favorite veggie or two.

3.  If you have kids, involve them.  A sure way to get kids to eat more veggies (or try a new one) is to let it be "theirs".  Let them chose it, plant it and tend to it.  When they watch it grow and become a veggie, they'll be more willing to eat it.  This is how I got my kids to eat carrots!  I even plant extra carrots so they can pull one every few weeks to check the size.  

4.  Know the costs.  A huge garden will require the services of a tiller.  Whether you have to buy one or hire a service that will come and till your area or even rent one for the weekend.  If you are starting small you'll need a shovel and possibly a hoe.

5.  Seeds vs. Plants.  It will be cheaper to start from seeds but it requires time and space in the house before you can get to the garden.  You'd need something like those seed starter kits with the domes.  A cheaper way that I have used in the past is using those small cardboard boxes that canned veggies are sent to the grocery in with Saran Wrap over the top until the seedlings come up.  I would set this on an old cookies sheet because, obviously water will seep through the cardboard.  I would set this somewhere warm until they sprouted.  Plants on the other hand, do cost a bit more but if you go to a nursery and not somewhere like a big box store, it's reasonable.  Where I go, I get veggie plants by the flat, which is 72 plants, for about $17. Starting with plants will give you a bit of a head start because seedlings are somewhat finicky.  Sometimes I still am not successful with seedlings, it varies from year to year.

6.  Start a garden notebook.  I talked about my garden notebook before and for those who read about the missing notebook, it is gone.  Not all is lost though.  Someone in my home by the name "not me" tore out most of the pages of my old garden notebook and tucked them inside my favorite gardening book.  At least I have some of my notes!  A garden notebook around here is just a simple spiral notebook that I keep a log of my garden in.  I have a rough sketch of the garden layout of what's planted where.  It has notes about what worked in what area of the garden.  Yes, it can happen where you plant something on one end of the garden and it will blow you out of the water with produce and you plant it somewhere else and it give you 3 veggies.  A notebook won't tell you 'why' this happens but will remind you a year or so later that you don't want to put it there.  A garden layout is also important in crop rotations.  Different plants take different nutrients from the soil, rotating them lets the soil recover those nutrients.  I also make a general note about the weather, a small entry such as noting last year's drought.  Don't worry, I'm not a weatherman either so I only note the overall season.

7.  Gardening does require some work but don't think of it as a dreaded chore.   Think of it as your nurturing this small seedling that will eventually feed your family.  I know it's hokey but I have a large garden and if I let myself think "I have a crap ton of work to do out there" I would get discouraged.  Quickly.  My garden is large and it works better for me if I focus on a bed or two a day.  Go tend to what they need that day, some weeding, some pruning, some harvesting, or whatever is needed.  Just break the work down so that you're not going out on Saturday morning for several hours of work.  Even if you work full time, if you focus 20 minutes a day and include your family in doing it, you can maintain a good sized garden for a family.  Remember, smaller gardens will take even less time.

8.  In the areas between my garden beds, I put down layers of newspapers and cover them with straw.  I justify the cost of the straw because after the garden season, I mow down my strawberry plants and rake up the straw from between my beds and cover the strawberry bed with it.  This "beds" (insulates) the strawberry plants for the winter.  I know many people don't bed down the strawberries, but this is what I was taught so it is what I do.  If you don't use straw, you can wet down the newspapers to hold them down but you'll have to do this occasionally to keep them from blowing away as they dry out.  You could also use rocks or even dirt to weigh it down.

9.  I would suggest the square-foot method for gardening.  This lets the plants "self-mulch" which cuts down on weeds.  This just means that you plant the plants closer than the traditional gardens our grandparents planted. Once the plants have some size on them, they will shade the areas between the plants helping to prevent weeds from growing.  And as any gardener will tell you, anything that helps to prevent weeds is GREAT!  The square foot gardening method can be found and described in great detail in the book "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible" by Ed Scott.  This book can be found on  I LOVE this book.  

10.  The best piece of advice I can give is to get the book mentioned above.  This book is in some Public Libraries.  It not only discussed the square-foot method but so much more.  There is a section that discusses what plants can be interplanted, for example if you plant pumpkins in your corn it will deter raccoons because they don't like how the pumpkin vines and leaves feel.  This section also talks about what plants or plant families don't like to be planted together.  Each veggie (and some fruits) has a couple of pages devoted to it.  Its common types, how many days to harvest, any amendments it likes added to the soil, how much to anticipate harvesting and so much more.  I can't say this enough.....check out this book!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

DST & Sunshine!

Early this morning, we did the Daylight Savings Time switch.  Indiana didn't adopt DST until 2006.  I still remember farmers telling the legislature that DST would screw with the dairy cows, messing up their milking schedule and resulting in a shortage of milk.  Here we are, 7 years later and at least in Indianapolis, I have not experienced any milk shortage!  

I spent a large portion of my childhood in a little town just outside of Erie, Pennsylvania and DST was just a part of life.  I don't understand the uproar and debate that, even now, goes on in Indiana about it.  Now that DST is here, the new debate is whether we are in the correct time zone.  I don't think it will ever end....LOL

Personally, I like the extra daylight.  "Springing forward" is also one more sign that Spring is almost here.  It's an added bonus that after last weeks snow issues, it is 62 degrees here today and the sun is out.  Such a welcome relief. As I went out to get the morning paper, I just had to check on my flower bed. Here is what I found:

These are my Daffodils.  I can't wait until these bloom, it's always the sign for my family that Winter is finally over.  These and the Grape Hyacinths around my flagpole are the only flowers I grow...ok, they are the only flowers I CAN grow.  I don't do so well with flowers so that makes the Daffodils even more special.  It's funny because if you can eat it, I can grow it but if it is just pretty...I generally don't do so well with those.  My husband was pretty upset when I tried to help with his roses...Let's just say, I bought him more.

I have the Daffodils in this little flower bed beside my house, it's about 8" wide and about 30' long.  It was wasted space between the sidewalk and house until I put these flowers in.  If we didn't have the psychological need for Spring flowers, this small area would be great for things like onions or garlic (I have actually grown garlic in the end of this bed once) or other plants that don't require a ton of space.  This goes back to what I said about getting creative in where you plant things and that not everything needs to be the type of garden that our grandparents had.

While we wait on vegetable garden time, how are your flowers doing?


Once again, here is another one of my assignments.  We are beginning a group project and today the professor is asking us to discuss communication.  Here is the assignment and response.

How is communication working out with your group? What tools have you tried using to facilitate communication? What has worked especially well? Explain. What hasn't worked as well? Why not? What might you be able to do to help your group communicate more effectively, or what are you and your group members doing that seems to be producing successful communication?

It has only been a week, but so far, we appear to be struggling with communication.  It might be because we are just starting this phase of the project and part might be because Spring Break starts tomorrow.  It might also be that we have not yet narrowed down where it is best to communicate.  “K” (again, I don’t feel comfy posting names without permission) and I have posted in the Evening group’s page in the Wiki section but haven’t gotten any response yet.  I think I will send a message to everyone in the group in both Oncourse and through the campus email as well.  I think we need to come to a consensus on where we will be meeting most of the time.   I like the idea of the Wiki Evening group’s page for general information as it is something that we can post and check into as we have time.  We can also use an Oncourse chat or Skype when we all need to meet at set times.  I think it would be important to have someone assigned to post the results of those meetings in chat or Skype to the Wiki group page so that we have something to reference back too.  I think this would eliminate confusion and help if someone is unable to attend the, for lack of a better term, “face to face” cyber meeting.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Thoughts of Jam and Jelly

Good morning everyone!  I am getting spring fever so badly lately it's not even funny.  Even though it is cold, we are having some very nice sunny days. Too bad it's really cold out.  Oh, and the weather man is predicting 6+ inches of snow one day this week.  Boo!  

This has brought my thinking to jam and jelly.  In the past, I have always made the basics: strawberry jam, blueberry jam, blackberry jam, raspberry jam, cherry jam, peach jam, grape jelly and triple berry jam.  The triple berry was an experiment as I had some blueberries, strawberries and blackberries left over from making their jams that instead of wasting them, I threw them in a pot together and made jam.  I also make apple butter too.  I found an amazing Amish recipe that I adapted to use in my crock pots, which is so much easier than stirring for hours on end.

Later, due to request of friends, I added jalapeno jelly to the mix.  I had no idea it was NOT mouth-burningly hot.  A friend requested it and I thought what the heck!  It is really good.  And I don't like jalapenos.  I always have a little dab of jam left after my jars are filled that isn't enough for a jar but is too much to waste.  I generally put this in small amount in a little jar in the fridge for the kids to use.  That jalapeno jelly was taunting me to taste it.  I just knew that I didn't like jalapeno so I just knew I wouldn't like jalapeno jelly.  After a while, I caved and tasted's freaking awesome!  The kids didn't get any of that little dab of jelly left over...LOL

I had given the neighbors baskets of jam and jelly for Christmas and I had one come back to me, empty jars in hand telling me he loved the triple berry jam and asking me if I could make him a triple berry-jalapeno jam.  What the heck, I'm going to give it a try.

This got me thinking about more exotic flavors.  I threw out an idea to my friends.  I am going to make several different types of jam and have them be my guinea pigs to taste them and tell me what they think.  I have great friends that are willing to do this!

I'm thinking of picking a few of these flavors to try out:  Pear butter, Peach butter, Banana bread butter, pear basil jam, spiced pear jam, tomato jam, carrot cake jam, raspberry moscato jam, triple berry jalapeno, strawberry peach, pomegranate bluberry and strawberry kiwi.  I'm still on the look out for new flavors.

In the future, I'll post about directions on how easy it is to can jam and jelly. Right now, I'm just in the thought process about new flavors and all the exotic combinations that are now in vogue.  

So tell me, what's your favorite jam, jelly or butter?  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Project Team Members

Here is another one of my class assignments.  To make things a bit less confusing, we are beginning work on a group project.  It is up to us to decide what it will be about but it will be posted on the English Department’s webpage on the IUPUI campus website.

Take another look at the "Project Two Teams" wiki page, as it should now list the three groups for the final project. Reread your team members' skills and knowledge text. What do you notice about your team members? What strengths do you see on your team? How will that work with what you perceive as your strengths? How will it offset your perceived weaknesses? Explain.

  • K
  • J
  • T
  • D
  • R


K.  / Writing, Organizing, Design (Depending on medium), Willing to learn new things / Nights M-R (After 8pm.), Friday's (Noon-5p, usually). Can access campus if needed, but prefer online. Can be flexible.

J.  / Photo, video, and audio editing, writing / online (not SL) evening/night (after 9 is best)

T.  / Writing, Organizing / Monday and Wednesday after 4, online or on campus

D.  /writing/online not SL/Wednesday, most evenings, Sunday

R.  / Writing, Organizing / online

Since I am required to discuss my classmates for this blog assignment and I don’t think it fair to list their names without permission, I will refer to them by their first initial only.

The biggest think I noticed about our team is that all of us listed our strong suit as writing.  Most of the team also lists organization as well.  I am also one who considers myself to have strong writing skills.  I think that if we decide to go with a project that is heavy on writing, all of us having writing as a strong suit will allow us to break the project down so none of us are overwhelmed. 

I’ll be the first to admit that the online skills required to create a multi-media project of this size is my major weakness.  Anything beyond creating a Power Point presentation will be new to me.  Seeing that we have a couple of people on the team who do list strong skills in photo, video and audio editing and additional design work will be very helpful to offset those skills that I lack.  I think this will come into play in how we divide up the work.  We, as a group, have enough diverse skills that we should be able to create any project we decide on.