Life Lately

Hey there! I’m back and I’ve missed you guys! Things have been pretty hectic around here with the relaunch of The Blissfully Made Shop, then Brynlee and I got horrible colds and Brynlee has been randomly deciding she doesnt need naps certain days (those are rough), so we really haven’t had time for much else. Hopefully things will start calming down a bit and we can get back into our normal routine, but with the holidays coming now who knows!

Since pretty much every weekend from here until New Years is packed full of holiday festivities, we decided that this weekend needed to be spent getting some stuff done around the house.

I finally got around to doing some much needed canning! We picked over 30 pounds of tomatoes from our garden throughout the summer!

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I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve made it a habit to blanch, peel, dice and freeze our tomatoes each time we pick a batch. This way I can just do one big batch of canning at the end of the season instead of a bunch of little ones and having everything already prepped it goes a lot quicker!

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I used this recipe for pasta sauce and it is delicious!! We definitely popped open a jar for dinner that night and it did not disappoint.  Pretty sure I will be making this recipe every year with our tomatoes.

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I also went ahead and made some strawberry jam using Ree’s recipe. I’ve made this recipe multiple times, its super easy and the jam is so yummy!

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We don’t grow our own strawberries, although I’d like to try sometime. So anytime the store runs a sale on organic strawberries, I buy 5-10 clam-shells and immediately come home to hull, dice, mash and freeze them so they are all prepped for canning day.

Do you see a pattern developing here? While I have canned food from start to finish before, I much prefer the method of prepping and freezing everything ahead of time, then planning one canning day or weekend and getting through everything. To me it seems like much less work and is really the only way I can make sure to get it done now that I have Brynlee constantly vying for my attention.

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We also did some work in our backyard and picked all of our lemons. Our poor tree was so full and looking pretty droopy from all the weight so we also trimmed up a few of the especially droopy branches and it now looks much happier!

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This little girl loved picking the lemons! She’s been trying to pick them all year and was so excited to finally being told she could!

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She was actually a really big help! I love being able to include her in things like this now, she has a lot of fun and so do we!

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Oh and my roses are blooming like crazy right now! I cut them way down a couple of months ago and now they have come back much fuller and I can’t wait until they all start opening up!

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And I finally hung (and by I, I mean my hubby) my scale/clock that I got at Junk in the Trunk a few months ago. I love it! As you can see I’m using it as my fruit bowl and I love being able to open up some counter space by having it raised. Brynlee thinks its a swing and is constantly asking for us to put her up there. I’m so thankful she can’t climb up on the counters herself yet or I might be in trouble!

We’ve also been working our way through our Christmas shopping list, every year I say I will start early so that in the last few weeks before Christmas I’m not completely stressed out and for the first time, I’ve actually managed to do it! I still have a few things to get and I’m making a few top secret presents that I will share the DIY’s to once they’ve been opened, but I feel much better about where I am on my list than I usually do! I’m hoping to get a few wrapped this week so that when we put up our tree after Thanksgiving I will actually have something to put under it! It usually sits bare until the weekend before Christmas and I always hate that!

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Lately…

How is Christmas already next week??? Here I was thinking I was so prepared this year, I had a plan of what I was going to buy and what I was going to make and for who I was going to do what. I started buying a wrapping presents back in October to make sure that I would not be in a rush the last week before Christmas and yet here I am, amazed that it is already here and still not prepared. We are celebrating Christmas with my family this weekend, so that gives me even less time to be ready!!! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a lot already and am mostly prepared, but I’ve been slacking on the homemade gifts I had planned. So now, here I am rushing to finishing making everything that I need to by this Saturday. Please tell me I’m not the only one this has happened to. Unfortunately, this hasn’t really left me much time for blogging, so I thought I would do a quick recap of what we’ve been up to this month.

First, we did decide to decorate our tree. I bought the shatterproof ornaments from Sam’s Club I mentioned in this post, along with some fun white and red glitter ribbon and we spent one evening making our tree pretty. In hindsight, we probably should have waited until Brynlee had gone to bed. Once we started on the bottom, she was taking them off faster than we could put them on. One thing to note about shatterproof ornaments, they definitely are shatterproof to an 18 month old slamming them down on the tile floor but their little silver tops where the hook goes, are not! Brynlee has broken most of them off by this point. Needless to say, we are very grateful for shatterproof ornaments and while the bottom third of our tree is looking a little haggard by this point everything is holding up fairly well.

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*Brynlee pulling ornaments off.

All those presents I mentioned already having wrapped are not holding up quite as well as the tree… I was so excited to have already wrapped presents when we put our tree up. Usually underneath the tree sits bare until about 3 days before Christmas, but this year I promised I would be better about wrapping presents as I bought/finished them instead of doing one marathon wrapping day. I neglected to factor in Brynlee, after opening 2 of the presents I promptly moved them to a closet and have them hidden away until it is time to give them to the recipient. Maybe next year…

We took Brynlee to the Zoo Lights the other weekend and she had so much fun!! She absolutely refused to ride in the stroller, but surprised us by holding our handing and walking with us the whole time so we were okay with that. We did attempt to get a Santa picture at the zoo, but she was not about to let that happen! She went crazy, crying and screaming until we took her away from Santa. She did really love seeing all of the lights and looking at everything. Since it was dark we didn’t get to see very many animals, but the few that were out completely fascinated her. She had a great time, but by the time we were finished going through the park she was exhausted, all that running around did her in and we had to carry her the last little bit. She did sleep in the next day with was so lovely!! She’s been teething and her normal wake up time of 7:00 has been pushed up t0 4:30-5:30 each morning. Ugh!

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*She loved seeing all of the lights.

Even though we tried for Santa pictures at the zoo, we had already planned on taking her to Bass Pro Shops for her Santa pictures. We went there last year and had a great experience. While it is pretty busy, if you go at the right time or get a “Bass Pass” you can cut down on your wait time. They have a beautiful set up and you get a free 4×6 picture, but you can also buy the digital download for only $10! They have additional packages if you want more prints, but we love getting the digital download, one so we can save the picture to our computer and always have it and two, so we can print as many as we need for family members. This is by far the best price we have found for Santa pictures. Plus, they have a whole winter wonderland set up for the kids to do crafts, color, play games and they even have a carousel, all of which are free. If you leave near a Bass Pro Shops I would highly recommend going there for Santa pictures.

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*As you can see, we didn’t do much better with this one. Hopefully next year she will appreciate Santa a little more.

This past weekend, my sister in law had her annual ornament party. It is always so much fun to go to and now that there are a few of us with kids of our own (all girls) we decided to do a little gift exchange amongst them. We also do an ornament exchange “white elephant” style, everyone draws a number, picks a wrapped ornament, opens it and it can be stolen up to two times before it is done. Always a lot of fun and I love getting a new ornament each year.

We also did some work in our backyard, we are having beautiful weather, our highs are in the mid 60’s, so it was perfect for being outside. We finally got to pick all of our lemons. For our tiny tree we got so many, I was amazed at the amount! We’ve had our tree for almost 4 years now and last year was the first year it produced any fruit, about a grocery bag full. This year we got almost 4 times that amount.

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I also had to prune our rose bushes, again! I’ve already done it 3-4 times, but our weather keeps fluctuating and getting warm again so they just keep blooming (I am not complaining, I love having the beautiful flowers!!).

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*I just cut this yesterday.

I also started prepping my garden beds so they will be ready in a couple of months for our spring garden. Weeds had kind of taken over and I need to add some more soil to them. Brynlee had so much fun helping in the backyard. She has really come a long way in the last month as far as being a helper. She used to always go off and do her own thing when we were out back, which made it difficult if there was only one of us, we were constantly chasing after her to make sure she didn’t get into anything she shouldn’t. But now, she stuck right with me, helped pick lemons, dig in the garden and I could tell she had a lot of fun. I can’t wait until we actually get to plant the veggies together and when it comes time to pick them I know she will really enjoy it. I hope this will be an activity that we can do together and that she will enjoy when she gets older too.

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Other than that, I have been busy at work on my Christmas presents and few things I having going on in my shop. Oh and I finished the custom nursery bedding for my sister in law. The nursery is coming along beautifully, I can’t wait until everything is finished so I can take pictures and show you. Anyone else making their Christmas presents? I would love to hear what ideas you’ve come up with!