Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Fall Day Trip and Blackberry Jam

A couple days ago we just had to get out of the house and take a short day trip. Where to go we wondered. Wilma had a great idea to take a trip to Great Lakes Crossing. It’s famous for being Michigan’s largest outlet center.

Some of our Neighborhood trees The sunshine was bright, skies clear, and fall colors are probably at their peak. Made for a pleasant 27 mile drive.

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Upon arriving we were surprised that there weren’t more cars in the lot than what there was.

Fall color trees

And you just can’t go there without a walk through the famous store of them all.

Made a stop here

But beware of some of the workers at Outdoor World. Especially the Greeters! Disappointed smile

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I believe we went up and down just about every row of items for sale. We were like kids in a candy shop, taking it all in. Even the wild life looked a little vicious! Don’t get too close now, those ducks will get ya. Winking smile

Ducks free to roam inside.

Leaving Outdoor World, we headed for a walk through the mall area. We thought we would start at one end of the mall and work our way through to the other end.

Great Lakes Crossings Mega Mall

They have the mall area’s divided into “Districts”. Photo above is our entrance to the mall.

We walked and walked, making it to District 9. Worked up a terrible hunger and found a great place to stop. Toby Keith's bar and grill. 

Inside Toby Keith's Bar/Restaurant

We were not going to have any drinks, water with lemon is our drink of choice. But we had heard they have large portions, especially the Nacho’s. So Wilma thought she would try one. She chose the “Small” portion.

Enough for 4 adults!

Wouldn’t want to order the “Large” portion, don’t think the tables would hold them!  Yes, there were two large “take home” containers that were needed.

It was a great outing for us that we both enjoyed tremendously.

Last summer while visiting Wilma’s brother Eddie and his wife Beth, he gave us 3, gallon size Ziploc bags full of Blackberry’s he had picked. They were frozen, so in the cooler they went for the trip home. Once home the still frozen berries were placed in our freezer.

It was full of Blackberry's before freezing. Now after the thaw, half full of juice.

Today I made some Blackberry Jam. Each bag held 4 cups of crushed Blackberry’s, the exact amount the recipe called for. The first batch was made without Sugar. Splenda was used in it’s place. I ended up with 5 half pints of Sugar Free Jam. Wilma had a taste and gave her approval. Looked like my very first crack at canning Jam was successful.

The second bag of Blackberry’s were opened, and this time I used the sugar recipe. I just couldn’t make myself put 7 cups of sugar in with the 4 cups of berries, so I reduced it down to 4 cups of sugar. As the second batch was cooking, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Used the store bought Strawberry jam. When I tasted my Blackberry Jam I was pleasantly surprised how much better it tasted. I’m happy now that I did cut down on the amount of sugar. I will be changing that recipe to 4 cups of sugar.

The outcome in the photo below, looks like we will have enough Jam to outlast a season or two.

Sugar added on the left, Sugar Free on the right.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Grand Daughter Haley Turns 21

It was planned as a surprise get together for Haley’s 21’s Birthday party. Everyone gathered at our home, waiting for Tina to arrive with Haley. As she wasn’t aware of this, she just took her sweet time getting ready. Tina was pacing the floor, knowing they were already a half hour later than expected.

Haley finally arrives

After the excitement of a surprise get together for her, her sisters and cousin just had to let her know how slow she really is. All in fun of course.

Surprise! Happy Birthday

It didn’t take us long to get seated for our dinner, and afterward Haley opened her gifts and cards.

Now legal to consume.

Instead of a Birthday Cake, Nana purchased a fresh Pumpkin Pie, Haley’s favorite.

Blowing out 21 invisable candles

And you just can’t forget the Whipped Cream and Ice Cream. Haley had first pick of the pie.

Would you like some Pie with that Whip Cream?!

We all had a great family get together, with plenty of laughs and jokes. Can’t forget the delicious meal that Nana fixed us also! Open-mouthed smile Happy Birthday Haley!

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Farmers Market- Jalapeno Relish

Another beautiful sunny, clear blue skies fall day and we just couldn’t stay inside today. Wilma mentioned that the Farmers Market would be opening this morning with something special.

October brings in the fall crop

The local farmers held a special event today called “Soup Day”. You buy a special cup for a reasonable price of only $4.00, and your entitled to free soup. There were at least 3 different soups available. Buy a mug, get the soup free Wilma had a “Creamy Vegetable” and I had “Stuffed Pepper”. Wow were they ever good!

Enjoying a Cup of Soup

Maybe it was the cool fall morning, the atmosphere of the open air Farmers Market, or what ever. The soups were delicious. Even had to go back for a second cup of soup.

Mt. Clemens Weekly "Farmers Market"

Every year we look forward to at least one visit to the Mt. Clemens Farmers Market. Some of the prices are a little higher than the local grocery stores, but your supporting our local farmers and the freshness can’t be beat!

Leaving the Market, the sun reminded us how bad the car needed to be washed. So off to car wash we went. From there we worked up a hunger Eye rolling smileand decided to visit our favorite local restaurant, Dee Dee’s Family Restaurant, where we had a delicious breakfast.

Returning home, Wilma made a visit to her Sister Connie, while I worked in the yard.

Dead plants, over grown ground cover.

The patio area was in desperate need of attention, so I went to work here first.

That's better!

In another month the rest of the plants will be killed off and I’ll put the pots in the garage for the winter.

Next I headed for the garden, time to pick all the Jalapeno’s and get rid of the tomato plants.

The Last of the Tomatoes

Didn’t get a photo of them gone, but the garden is almost ready for it’s winter sleep. The rose garden did pretty good for it’s first year I think. I’m happy with the turn out of roses.

Sunny Fall day at the Rose Garden

The Jalapeno’s ended up on the kitchen counter getting cleaned and processed for relish.

Cooking the Jalapeno to make relish

This is my first try at making some relish. Hopefully it will be as delicious as Wilma’s cousin Greg's’, who gave me the recipe.

4 Roses from our Rose Garden, 4 Pints of Jalapeno Relish from the Veg. Garden

The finished product of 4 pints is well worth the little work it takes to produce the relish.

I think I have over extended my work day, time for a well deserved nap! Winking smile

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Driveway Done, Tomatoes Too

I know I have been really busy this past summer, but looking at the last post to this blog it has been three weeks already. Man, where does the time go.

Really, I’ve been keeping very busy with my Family History and Genealogy. My cousin Terry from Iowa has been collecting data for over 10 years now. His Great Grandfather, being the eldest of 6 children, and my Great Grandfather, being the second eldest were brothers. We are now working together getting our records in sync. With the amount of data he has it would take me a lifetime to add it all to my data base. But what ever he is willing to share with me, I’m very happy to receive it and share with my link of the family. I know you read this blog Terry, and you know how in debt I am to you for all your help. Thank you ever so much. I have been on the computer every evening for hours since August working on getting our family book in order, and I cannot thank Terry enough.

A few days ago a co-worker of mine phoned and asked if we would like to go to the Camper show. Sure, even though we are not even thinking of a new RV, it’s always nice to go and see what’s new in the RV world. One thing stood out to me the most. THE PRICES! Wow have they ever hit the roof, so to speak. Looks like I’m never going to buy another new RV that’s for sure!

Today’s weather was just perfect for working outside. I have been wanting to seal the joints in the drive for some time now. Today I finally finished. It took 3 runs to Home Depot, just because I never seem to purchase everything I need for a job at the first visit to the store. This time it took double the amount of tubes of sealant than I had thought.

9 Joints now sealed

But at least I shouldn’t have to be concerned about freezing and thawing in the Winter and cement damage.

Joints were past due to be sealed

Not only is the Driveway done, the Tomato plants are just about done also.

The Last of the Tomatoes

Everyone I have talked to expressed the same feelings when I asked how their tomatoes were doing this year. Terrible was the answer I usually got. It must have been the cold wet spring weather everyone had. So we will look forward to next year and see if they do any better.

Gotta go and get back to our family descendants.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.