Monday, July 9, 2018

Canning Maraschino Cherries

Last year I saw someone post on Facebook about canning maraschino cherries. Mmmm...I thought. That sounds good. Maybe I could make them myself and have some great cherry flavor without that weird waxy texture.

But cherries were going out of season by the time I saw the post. So I forgot about it.

Last week someone posted a photo of their pot of cherries in brine, the first step in making maraschino cherries, and I remembered cherries were currently $1.29 a pound at Sprouts. It was time.

I couldn't find the original recipe on the Oregon State University Extension's website so I printed out a photo of the recipe. Royal Anne cherries were called for. Perhaps they are firmer? Sprouts didn't have Royal Anne cherries so I opted for the regular cherries, simply named "sweet cherries" (they were the ones that were on sale anyway).

I only needed 4 1/2 lbs of cherries for the recipe but I bought 15 pounds. FIF-TEEN POUNDS. I guess I'd better stock up while the price is low, huh?

The recipe is easy to follow but it does take three full days before you can actually can them. They were super sweet (I'll cut WAY back on the sugar next time I make them) but I served it "over ice cream to cut the sweetness" and it was really good. A couple scoops of ice cream, a few cherries and some juice drizzled over the whole thing! YUM!

The cherries weren't firm but they held up well. They also still retained their cherry flavor, even with all that sugar.

The recipe would up making 8 half-pints of cherries in syrup and 3 half pints of syrup. I also had another half pint that was about half filled with cherries and then filled to the top with syrup that went straight into the refrigerator.

I contacted the Oregon State University Extension about their missing recipe and here was their response:

OSU Extension has recently redesigned our website. We are in the process of review and recommendations for further revision, bear with us!  
Here is a link to the archive that has the marachino cherry recipe. I suggest you download and save it somewhere safe, I don't believe these archives will remain accessible for very long.  
Thanks for letting us know this one was of interest and missing!

Items shown in post photos:

Kerr wide-mouth half pint jar
Vintage Federal Glass Dessert Cup

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Income Using PODs (Print on Demand)

I've recently expanded my tiny Picadilly Printables business by making t-shirts, invitations, buttons and more through various Print-On-Demand services (POD's) as a way to supplement the income I make through Etsy and freelancing.

The Botanical Blue Wedding Collection on Zazzle

I love my Etsy Shop, The Peddler's Cart! It's lots of fun and keeps me plenty busy. But in order to not take away time from my shop, anything else I do to earn an income will need to require very little of my time in the long run so I'm working on building up more passive income streams.

Unfortunately, setting up those passive income is not exactly passive. I guess if it was easy and took relatively no time at all, everyone would do it. But is has been a nice creative outlet for me and I get a little better using my software with each design I make.

The Girl has even gotten involved. I pay her for some of her drawings which I then put onto products to sell (she preferred this option for now rather than waiting to split any royalties). This opened up the opportunity to talk to her about copyrights and contracts so she can learn how to protect herself and her artwork.

The shirts with artwork by The Girl can be found on Amazon as well as her Furry Fandom shirts 

I'm hoping she'll see the potential to make money on the side while she pursues her other (currently non-paying) art ambitions.

For the most part, I am only using services where the platform takes care of all the printing and related customer service. This leaves me free to only design and work on my other endeavors (and to not fall too far behind on everything else that needs doing with homework, housework and errands).

It's been a pretty fun side hustle so far!

You can find Picadilly Printables on Facebook, Amazon, Etsy and Zazzle.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Graduation for The Boy

It's been 7 years since we were here in this exact place. The Richie Center at UC-Denver.

#2 is finally graduating.

Where has the time gone?

I still remember taking his picture on the first day of kindergarten.

When we moved to Colorado he was still in elementary school!

Now he's graduating from HIGH SCHOOL?!?

Only one more to go!

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Furry Meet Up in Arvada

The day after we returned from our whirlwind trip to South Dakota, there was a Furry gathering in Arvada that The Girl wanted to attend. She had spend so much time making her fursuit but had little chance to actually wear it so we agreed to take her. I'm so glad we did!

She was able to see old friends, make some new friends and had a genuinely wonderful time!

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

From Colorado to South Dakota

The start of school was creeping up on us quickly (as it always does). We had kept pretty busy all summer and had not yet taken an excursion away from the city.

When we first moved to Colorado, The Boy had mentioned wanting to visit Mount Rushmore. It was, after all, only a 5 or 6 hour drive from Denver.

So on Monday Mr. LH proposes a trip to Mount Rushmore...

Me: When do you want to go?
Mr. LH: I don't know...after the (school) open house Wednesday night.
Me: How long do you want to stay?
Mr. LH: Probably just overnight.

On Tuesday...

Me: Why are the hotels so expensive right now? And why is everyone booked?!? (The Sturgis Rally was in its second week.)
Me: (makes hotel reservations for one night)
Mr. LH: Maybe we can make a trip out to the Badlands, too.
Me: Ooohhh...there is a Minuteman Missile Silo we can go down, too. But you have to make reservations ahead of time.

(10 minutes later)

Me: No openings for the silo tour. (There were no openings for the tour through the entire weekend...make your reservation FAR in advance)

On Wednesday...

Mr. LH: We can take this route through Custer State Park. It's supposed to be really scenic. (It was)
Me: How are we going to drive up there, do all this, and come home in 2 days? We should probably see if we can stay another night.
Mr. LH: ....
Me: (extends hotel reservation to second night)

On Wednesday, we shopped for snacks for the road, packed our stuff, took The Girl to her open house (she is starting her freshman year of high school), and went to bed intending to be out the door at 7 AM (you know that didn't happen, right?)

We pulled out of the driveway sometime after 8am and headed north on I-25 toward Cheyenne. I couldn't help but notice that the scenery from northern Colorado through southeastern Wyoming and southwestern Nebraska looked very much the same...

Of course, just like the Rocky Mountains, the Black Hills seem to suddenly appear! And they are gorgeous!

It took us about 6 hours to reach Mount Rushmore with rest stops and occasional rain.

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota: Since time was not on our side, we decided to head straight to Mount Rushmore instead of going to the hotel first. We arrived around 3pm but the park is open late so that wasn't a big deal. There was a crowd going in even at that time of day! There is a $10 Parking Fee but if you're planning to stay in the area longer than we were, the parking pass is good for the next 7 days.

Looking at all the license plates on the cars, it seemed the entire country and a good portion of Canada was represented in that parking lot!

Coco, The Girl's plush ferret, always vacations with us.
We took the Presidential Trail that ran below the monument and in a big loop. I highly recommend doing this if you can, though there are lots of stairs.

Keystone, South Dakota: Our hotel was in Keystone so we wandered the small town and had dinner there both nights. The streets were lined with motorcycles from people visiting for the Sturgis Rally.

Had I known BEFORE our trip that the Keystone Historical Museum had an exhibit about Carrie Ingalls Swanzey (little sister Carrie from the Little House book series), we would have made time to visit!

Custer State Park, South Dakota: From Keystone, we took 16A (Iron Mountain Road) down through Custer State Park. We were just going to drive through here and take in the views but we kept stopping to explore and take pictures!

Badlands National Park, South Dakota: It is $20 admission per car, good for 7 days.

We drove down I-90 to the Northeast Entrance and looped around inside the park to the Pinnacles Entrance. Outside the Northeast entrance is a Gas Station/Gift Shop in case you need to fill up before entering the park.

We thought we would be in the car most of the time but there were lots of places to get out, walk around and explore. There were also a lot of "scenic overlook" type spots. Lots of photo opportunities!

Bathrooms are scarce. Bring plenty of water! We actually wound up getting there around 1pm and it was HOT! The Visitor Center has wonderfully cold AC and convenient water fountains with bottle fillers. We refilled ALL our 8 or so water bottles before moving on.

Once we left the Pinnacles Entrance of the Badlands, we headed north to Wall, South Dakota, home of Wall Drug.

Wall Drug: This store has quite an advertising campaign going on up and down I-90. Wall Drug is THE "free ice water store". It's like a mini mall with store after store after store all housed within one building.

We got our free ice water and our souvenir South Dakota Christmas ornament before heading back to Keystone for the night.

Sylvan Lake, Custer State Park, South Dakota: We took 224 to 87 and entered Custer State Park again. This time we entered the fee area. It was $20 admission. Once again, we were just going to drive through so the fee seemed a bit ridiculous. But as it turns out, we spent quite a bit of time in the park...again.

Sylvan Lake was the first place we came to and we had to stop. There was no way we could see this and not stop.  A trail took us around the entire lake.

We could have easily spent a few days in this park!

Wind Cave National Park: Coming out of Custer State Park, we automatically wound up in Wind Cave National Park. Here were sweeping prairies and bison! Lots and lots of bison!

We still had a long 6 hour drive back to Colorado, but we were certainly able to pack a lot into a 2-night stay in South Dakota. There is so much more to see there than we originally thought and we definitely plan to return.

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