Archive for June, 2012

I had the privilege of spending the day with one of my best friends. We talked we laughed  and just plain had a good o’l time. Our kids played well and finished the 7 1/2 hour day together with minimal incidents.  Now with 6 kids ages 7 all the way down to 5 months that’s pretty darn good. But best of all I canned!

Dosen’t that just make you want to say ooh and aww..or maybe yummy.   I have never really been too interested in the idea of canning.  It kind of seemed old fashioned like something my grandma use to do.  Some start canning because its economical, but that didn’t interest me.  I am starting canning because i  care what is in the food my family eats…..and because my husband said “babe, I want to start canning our food”.

We used a beef stew  recipe off of the Ball Canning website as our base, doubled it and added more seasonings.

I provided the meat from our cow and she provided the know how, along with everything else.  First we broke out 14 clean jars rings and new lids.  New lids are important to make sure you have a tight seal.   Then we followed the directions on preparing the stew.  While we were waiting for the stew to come to a boil we heated 2 inches of water in the pressure cooker along with water filled jars.  We did this so that the jars wouldn’t crack when we put the hot stew filled jars into the pressure cooker. Right before the soup was ready we heated the lids and rings in boiling water. This is to sterilize and get the seal ready.

When the soup and water in the canner reached a boil we funneled the soup into the jars leaving about an inch of room.  Then we took a plastic utensil and pushed it down in the jars to release bubbles. We did this to reduce excess pressure during canning. The funnel not only aids in putting the soup in the jars it also keeps the rims of the lids clean. If the rims are not clean then the seal won’t take and you will be eating it for dinner… which may not be a bad thing after all. 


Next we put the warmed up lids and ring onto the jars making sure the rings not too tight. Just “hand tight”.  Why..I don’t really remember,  something about exploding, so just don’t.  Make sure there is still  two to three inches in the pot, seal her up, bring it it up to pressure and maintain by adjusting the temperature on the stove.  The  pressure level  the cooker needs to be at is different for the altitude level you are at.  I am at sea level so we maintained it at about 10 pounds pressure .
Then all you have to do is wait. What do you do while  you wait and maintain pressure?  Well you can sing “Under Pressure” (not that I know the words, just the catchy tune).   Or you can spend time talking and having wonderful fellowship with a good fried and reflect on the blessings of the day.  Oh yeah and eat cookies, watermelon, and popsicles.  When the time is up turn off the heat and let the pressure slowly go down.  Do not open it until  the pressure is completely released.  If the food is still boiling in the jars wait a few minutes.  We put them on the counter on a towel and then placed another towel on top.  we did this to reduce drafts and to eliminate rapid cooling. Well what happens if the jars cool too quickly?  They can crack and all your had work would be for nothing.
Let the jars cool and listen for that pop pop pop of the seal.  If you are impatient like us you can hurry the process by touching the lid.  After the jars have cooled you can store them in the cubbord for a quick healthy meal.  If you plan on storing them for a long time you might want to store it without the ring so that it doesn’t rust on.
We had some left over in the pot so we finished cooking it and had it for dinner.  We also made the rolls to go with it.  I know they are hamburger buns,  but they were still good as rolls… and super easy.
 Then for desert we went strawberry picking!  Don’t you just love this time of year!
The blessings of this day were numerous.  The fact that the day had no incidents and went so smoothly is one huge blessing from God.  The other blessing was having a good friend to spend the day with.  We honored God with our fellowship and we honored our husband by saving his hard earned money by canning soup ourselves. We honored our families by making a healthy  meal, which also honored God!  Theres a whole lot of honoring going on over here!  Oh and it was super fun too.
This is just the experience of two novice canners and is in no way expert advice.  If you want to start canning do your research, find a friend and have fun.  If there is anything I missed on our adventure feel free to comment.  If there is something we did wrong please comment,  or if you just feel inclined , comment.
Thank you Stephanie for all your advise.

 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14 
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens anotherProverbs 27:17

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Hi!  My name is April.  I am a military wife, and mother of two precious boys.  My sister in-law, Theresa, asked me to team up and do a blog with her.  I was very touched that she has chosen me!

Theresa and I have many differences… she is naturally sweet (unlike me – I have to work at it!), likes to be on the go (I’m more of a home body, and can get easily overwhelmed), lives on the opposite coast, and has a lot God’s resources in her own backyard!  Being in the military we live in the city, but my husband, Jim, and I are both country at heart.   I do pray that some day we will be blessed with a home in the country where we, too, can have chickens, fresh eggs, and a big ol’ garden!  It is a dream we both share.

God’s blessings come in all shapes and sizes, and He cares about the little desires of our hearts, as well as the big.  In February, He lead us to a small country church.  Our church family there is wonderful!  The church is on a farm that has beautiful gardens bursting with fresh vegetables, greenhouses full of green herbs, pigs, goats, turkeys, you name it!  It is so neat to look out the window during church and see chickens walking by, or have a rooster drown out the sound of a prayer request.  Everyone gets a chuckle.  

I am very passionate about eating whole foods – foods straight from our creator.  Because of the generosity of our church family, my family is blessed with fresh goats milk, fresh eggs, vegetables, and home made, organic soaps and lotions.  It has been such a blessing to our family!

I love my God, my family, and my country.   I have the privilege of home schooling our two boys, so I’m sure a lot of my posts will be about what God is teaching me through the process of learning to be a godly wife, mother, and teacher.  

I am not a natural writer, so please be patient in the way I present my thoughts, and share my heart.  I pray that I may somehow be a blessing through Him who gives me strength as we travel on this journey called life, and continue to be molded by our Master’s hand.   Without Him, I am nothing!  2 Cor. 12:9

God bless!



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Theresa’s Backyard

God has blessed us with a beautiful yard. We are trying to make the most of what we have to provide for our family in the most natural way we can. We have three garden beds and several sporadic areas with produce.
We have 13 laying hens,

Who give us absolutely gorgeous colorful eggs   7 turkeys, several fruit trees and berry bushes all on .35 acres.

     Our near future adventures include raising quail for meat and eggs, pigs, beef and hopefully beekeeping!

Plantings seeds and raising animals, watching them grow and produce fruit, so to speak, is a wonderful tangible way for us to see God in action. We can see, smell, taste and feel how He is providing for our every day needs.

I love having animals and a garden for that reason as well as providing healthy food the way God intended it to be.  Because of  the highly over processed, over produced, and unnatural food found in todays market place I do not even trust the “organic” or “free range” labels. I guess comparatively to other products, but  I have to see it to believe it.  We try our best to make sure most of our meat is as natural as we can. It is raised and hunted by us or by friends. We are trying to provide everything we can for ourselves, for the health of our family. There is something truly wonderful in the harvest that never gets old. It can be addicting, but we have to remember who makes it all possible.


“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”  Psalm 34:8

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