Saturday, March 26, 2011

it's time.

I've put off posting lately. I wanted to talk more about what has gone on in my life in the past few months.

To sum it all up, both of my beautiful grandmothers passed away within the course of a month. (My Mudder in February, and then a month later, my Grammy.) It has been really hard. They both had Alzheimer's disease. I guess it should have made it easier to cope with the loss because we had time to prepare. But, I wasn't ready. When is anyone ever ready to lose someone?

I wanted to write a fitting tribute to both of them. I'm just not ready. Maybe someday.

Since their deaths, I've thought hard about how I want to honor these women who made me who I am today. I learned cooking, gardening, sewing, and countless other things from Mudder. And, I learned about cooking, sewing, embroidery, and countless other crafts from Grammy. They both taught me how to be a good wife and mother. Whenever I do any of the things they taught me, I know it honors their memories.

As you can see in my previous (albeit long ago) post, I have taken up canning. (I didn't realize how truly old I sounded until I typed it out.) Since making (and subsequently giving away) all of those original jars, I've made another batch of lemon+honey marmalade. I wasn't quite as pleased with it as I was the blood orange marmalade. But, that's another story.

I think I mentioned sewing in my previous post. Good news, I've made a top! I will definitely take pictures as soon as it's not wrinkly. (I am very proud of it.)

We also began the work for our garden. I love coming inside with dirty hands. Who knew? I can't believe I enjoy it so much!

Most importantly, these days, I feel so connected to my grandmothers when I'm doing my household work. When I'm cooking dinner for Brandon and me, when I do the laundry, or clean. Both of my grandmothers were so great at housekeeping. They ran great households so that everyone around them was able to excel. My grandfathers were both able to be successful in their careers, and they both raised strong and intelligent children.

I think many people undervalue the role that household work plays in the world. Were it not for grandmothers who worked so hard to make sure things were in proper running order, my parents might not have turned into the wonderful people that they are today. The role of hardworking women whose work is home is the most important job out there.

This post is quickly turning into a soapbox about the value placed on domestic work. That's not what I wanted to do. I mostly wanted to tell you about how much I miss my grandmothers, and how hard it has been to sit down and write since their deaths. And also to tell you about what's been going on. Please forgive my lengthy absences.

May their memories be eternal!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

as good a time as ever...

I think that right at this very moment it's a great time for me to enter back into the blogging world.

I'm inspired as of late. And, I think it's time to share some of the inspiration with you.

Brandon gave me a great book "Made From Scratch" by Jenna Woginrich. It has renewed my love of all things handmade (especially those handmade things by me!) and has reminded me of the things I truly love to do.

I decided a few months back that I wanted to start a garden in the backyard this summer. Nothing too fancy, I just want to have our own vegetables. Don't even get me started on how much I want chickens...

I've been making bread on a pretty regular basis. (On the menu this week: brioche!)

We've been eating out less and less.

I've even endeavored to make some more of my own clothing! My next project is a Pascha dress. I've got a great idea of what I want to make, and I think I've found a perfect pattern!

Believe it or not, I love simplicity. A whole lot.

Since I'll be gardening this summer, I decided to dip my toe into the world of canning. I want to be able to do some simple canned tomatoes, and jams. (Pepper jelly anyone!?) I figured that learning to can during the months when I'm not inundated with produce might be a good idea. So, I went to the store and bought a few pounds of oranges. Blood oranges, to be exact.

I have grown to love marmalade. (Especially when it's on fresh bread with some butter. Mmmmm!) I planned on making a plain and simple orange marmalade, but the beautiful blood oranges called my name!

Here are a few photos of the process.
Sterilize, sterilize, sterilize! (Please note, the supplies I used are the ones I grew up watching my mom use.)

The mixture was so beautiful and burgundy pink. Love!

My mom let me borrow her canning supplies, Thanks mom! I didn't want to invest before I knew I could do it. She gave me loads of advice and a few you-can-do-its, along with some books. Then, I went and bought a couple of jars!

I made some of the most amazing marmalade I've ever encountered. Yep, I just said that about my own food. It's sweet, and tangy, and has the right amount of bitterness. (I've grown to love that slightly bitter bite. It's not overwhelming, but it's wonderful!)

It does something to you to see your own food, in jars. Something so wholesome and wonderful about it.

Seriously, look at those beautiful jars!

Try making it. You'll agree.
PS- Here's a little recipe for you to use when you make your marmalade.