Monday, December 15, 2008

"Snow" Day

Skye and I are home today, as school is cancelled for our first "snow" day of the season. I got up this morning, made coffee, put veg soup in the crock pot, poured myself a cup and sat down to read my morning blogroll, poured Love a cup and took it to him, snuggled in beside him for a moment to watch the weather forecast. Imagine my surprise that school was cancelled! It is cold (17F this morning, and that is COLD for us!), and there are ice pellets on the ground, but I was still surprised that we had no school. But I must say, I am always thankful when the buses stay home and the teenagers aren't out driving on iffy roads. And I could certainly use a catch-up day this close to Christmas. But in the back of my mind, a little voice says, "Yes, you get to stay home today, but next June, you'll be one day later getting those longed-for gardening days. It's pay now, or pay later." But, today, it feels like a gift.

So, what have we been up to?
1. Made a batch of jelly from frozen grape juice my sister-in-love brought me all the way from Texas. Two summers ago, Bro, Skye, and I picked the wild grapes on a roadside near their home near Ft. Worth. We brought grapes home and made jelly, which Skye declared the best jelly for PB&J ever! I told Bro, who went back and picked every grape he could reach -- it was late in the season and they were just going to waste. G juiced them -- which is always the hardest part of jelly-making -- and froze them for us.
2. Tried homemade blueberry muffin recipe #2. This one featured brown sugar, sour cream, and oatmeal, but it's not that elusive perfect blueberry muffin recipe, either.
3. Cracked a bowl of pecans with the rocket cracker for picking out later. I did this on the back porch after Skye ran me out of the kitchen with a top secret project on her mind.
4. Made a batch of Buck's Pralined Pecans. They are wonderful and fill the "sweet" spot for the three toasted pecan recipes I set out to find this winter: salty, sweet, and spicy hot.
5. Made another batch of praline syrup: dark Karo, water, brown sugar, pecans, & vanilla. Verrry disappointing. Uses too much Karo for what it makes, so it's expensive. And it's a lot of work for what you get out of it. I made a single batch yesterday and got 3 half-pint jars. I was going to quadruple the recipe today, but a large bottle of Karo makes only 2 batches, so that is all I made. I got 3 pints, and I'm worried that the headspace is too deep. I will probably keep the pints, so I can monitor the quality, and give the half-pints as gifts.

1. Wrestled with the printer to print her short story that is now due tomorrow morning. I keep thinking she will learn not to wait until the morning to print her assignments, but it hasn't sunk in yet. -- Skye tells me that she printed her story last night. She tried to print gift labels this morning.
2. Packaged jellies and jams from this summer's canning as teacher gifts. Dropped them into jar-sized tins we bought at the Lobby two years ago after Christmas for 90% off, then attached hand-made tags.
3. Made a top-secret gift for her mom.
4. Set up the snow village in our living room.

Still to come:
1. Me: Bookkeeping. (boo! hiss!)
2. Skye: Piano & clarinet practice.
3. Both: Top-secret gift-making.

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