Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Autumn Work and Play... Part 1 (The Work Part)

Each year we pluck the concord grapes from our vine and make juice, so we decided to take Thanksgiving Monday to get the job done. It really is a full day's work, but this year we had about half as many grapes as usual, and we had Emma and Isaac to give us a hand.  In case you aren't familiar with the process, here's how we juice our grapes:

Step 1: Get the husband to pick all the grapes off the vine  :) Dawson offered to do this part of the job since we didn't have very many this year. I stayed inside getting the kitchen cleaned up and ready for juicing.

Step 2:  Give the children something to do to keep busy.  Emma and Isaac had a blast eating grapes, picking them off the stems, and eating more grapes. Jeremiah didn't last too long outdoors, so he got to watch his favourite little baby show on the couch.  

Step 3: Bring in all the grapes, finish taking them all off the stems and give them a wash.

Step 4: Find jars.  Put them through the dishwasher to clean and sterilize them.

Step 5: Start juicing!  When we started juicing 5 years ago, we had a hard time using an electric juicer because there are so many seeds and pulp with these grapes.  Dawson's grandmother gave us her stove juicer, and it works SO well for this. 

Put water in the bottom to boil...

Put grapes in the top part with the holes...

The juice from the grapes runs out of the top into the middle container.

Step 6: Fill jars and can. I've learned a short cut to canning from my mother-in-law... once the jars are sterilized, we pour boiling water over the rim of the jar and lid we are about to use to be sure it is clean and hot, dump out the water, and then fill the jar with the boiling juice. Screw on the lid, and wait for it to cool and pop!

Step 7: Enjoy!  The juice is very concentrated, but we have a few ways we like to drink it.  One way is to dilute it with water and add sugar (this way it tastes like the Welches Grape Juice), or the second way we like it is just to add ginger ale.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Love Jenni

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Weekend Away

We are so blessed.

Now that our littlest boy is 14 months and all 3 children sleep through the night, Dawson and I planned to take a weekend away, just the two of us. We wanted to celebrate this season in our lives as well as our 7th Anniversary that came this past August.

And the only way that it could have happened, was because of the generosity of Dawson's parents, who took the children for 3 nights. I can't explain how grateful I am to have them close by, and to see how much they love our children.

We found a nice hotel using the website www.hotwire.com and had an enjoyable 2 nights there and one night at home.  We had originally thought of traveling to the States for the weekend, but then we realized that we'd be spending most of our time driving, and that there's always stuff we want to be doing in our own lovely Winnipeg but don't get the opportunity to.

Here's a list of some of the fun things we did:

- Spent 2 hours in our church's 24/7 prayer room together
- Starbucks
- Massages and soaking in the mineral pool at the Urban Oasis Mineral Spa in the Clarion Hotel
**Slept In with no crying Children to wake us!!!**
- Hot-tubbing at the hotel 
- Starbucks
- Shopped at the mall for shoes **with no children!!**
- Dined at the yummy Carnaval Brazilian BBQ

 - Dawson took me in a limousine for the first time... to the wonderful Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra! The evening was so beautiful!

**Slept in with no crying children to wake us... for a second time!!!**
- Visited a different church on Sunday morning
- Had lunch at Cora's ... I was waiting for that all weekend :)
- Shopped at Ikea **with no children!!**
- Went to Rebecca MacLean's 30th birthday party - and didn't have to worry about getting a babysitter home on time! It was lovely to celebrate with our friends!
**Slept in with no crying children to wake us... for a third time!!!**
- Had a lovely extended quiet time of reading and devotions Monday morning

We drove out to pick up the kiddos Monday evening around supper and got to hear their amazing stories. They didn't miss us at all, of course :). 

It was such a wonderful, memorable time, and I'm so incredibly grateful to my husband for planning it all and caring so much about our relationship.  I love you Hunny!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Layout

Just mentioning that I've moved my daily list of things I'm thankful for onto a new page on this blog, so that I can continue with other posts on this main page. Just click on the tab at the top "Thankfulness" to read my daily updates there. Thanks!