Teaching Good Things

Practical Skills for Real Life

Teaching Good Things - Practical Skills for Real Life

Family Update – Announcements

It’s been a very busy couple weeks here for the Brodock family!  Our son was married in a private ceremony this weekend! We celebrated with a small reception at their home yesterday.

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wedding cake orange flowers

One of the coolest things about being able to make cakes is being able to do cakes like this for people you love for very special occasions.

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This weekend was also Jeff’s birthday and our 28th anniversary. We celebrated with a steak dinner at Emma’s house.  (No people pictures, we were too busy relaxing and enjoying ourselves. :) )

Spice Cake Run Icing

And I made Jeff his favorite spice cake with a Rum Cream Cheese icing.

Icing Recipe

  • 8 ozs cream cheese, soften
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum

And the other BIG news…

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I get to be a Nonnie again!!!

Javelin is going to celebrate her first birthday next February with a new baby brother or sister! Due date is 2 days from her birthday. We are over the top excited!

 

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You may look at us and think it is all good … filled with so much happiness… and it is. But there are also many…MANY struggles, conflicts and heartaches along the way.

Yet, in the midst of pain there is much to be grateful for.

In the depths of struggle there is hope.

All of it the Lord uses to bring us closer to Him as He is faithful to purge away our selfishness, our pride… our hay and stubble.

I have to choose to learn through the struggles and find the beauty in it all.

In the words of my dear sweet friend:

“Family is pain, drama, fear, failure, abandonment, fracturing, roaring, and silence.

Family is healing, joy, hope, success, nurturing, binding, fullness, and love.

How are they both? Family is humanity. Humanity is sin and grace.”

                                                                                             -       Ana Smith

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After one of the busiest summers we’ve ever had we are back on a  much welcomed school routine. While we never stop learning I enjoy the rhythm of structure.

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Canning for Gift Giving

The harvest has been plentiful this year which means we can get a lot of great produce at a reasonable price. This makes for a perfect time for canning a little extra to give as gifts this Christmas.

Canning for Gift Giving

They are also great to have on hand to give as a hostess gift, in a basket as part of a bridal shower gift or even to take as part of a care package for someone who is sick.

So whether canning or even baking up some goodies that freeze well, think about doing a little extra to give away or to have on hand when you need something in a hurry.

Any of these wrapped in a towel, or a ribbon, in a gift bag, or simply with a creative label will make a nice homemade gift.

A few things I’ve canned extra of are:

salsa recipe canning

Give alone with a ribbon around the jar or put in a gift bag and include a bag of chips. Recipe Here.

pepper jelly

Another one to give alone or with a package of crackers and cream cheese.

This is wonderful poured over a block of cream cheese and served with crackers for holiday parties. I’ve also used it over a roast in the crockpot. Although it is a jelly, it is not thick like most jellies. Recipe Here.

honeysuckle jelly

Jams and Jellies given alone, with crackers or bread are always easy to make and always loved! How-to video here.

make blackberry syrup

This year I made blackberry syrup.  These will be great to give with a large ziplock bag of homemade waffles.

food to the sick

Canning Jam in 30 Minutes

Learn Cake Decorating

Planning Your Pantry 

Basic Canning Supplies 

Grandma Brodock’s Sweet Pepper Relish

Canning Banana Peppers

Pepper Jelly Recipe for Canning

pepper jelly

This is wonderful poured over a block of cream cheese and served with crackers for parties. I’ve also used it over a roast in the crockpot.

Warning: Although this is a jelly, it is not thick like most jellies. You need to follow the instructions carefully.

  • 3/4 lb to 1 pound of peppers
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 2 cups of 5% apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 3 packets of dry pectin (using the no-sugar pectin gives the best results).

Detailed explanation of how to make this with pictures Go Here.

is canning worth it

Planning Your Pantry 

Basic Canning Supplies 

Grandma Brodock’s Sweet Pepper Relish

Canning Banana Peppers

Salsa Recipe for Canning

salsa recipe canning

I.LOVE.THIS.RECIPE!!!

 Makes about 8 pints of salsa… which is nowhere near enough!!! :)

  • 3 quarts of prepared chopped tomatoes (I used my food processor for all the tomatoes, onions and peppers to give it a smoother restaurant style texture.)
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 6 jalapeño peppers, seeded, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 six-ounce cans tomato paste 
  • 2 cups bottled lemon or lime juice  or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro 

Simmer for 30 minutes, then process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. 

For a very detailed explanation on how to prepare this, including pictures, go here.

  Pineapple Cucumber Salsa

is canning worth it

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Basic Canning Supplies 

Grandma Brodock’s Sweet Pepper Relish

Canning Banana Peppers

Learn Cake Decorating

Wedding Cakes and Family Business

Last weekend Olivia and I were vendors at a local bridal show.  It was fun to meet so many brides and their family and friends. I also had a great time making connections with other vendors.

For this show we represented the place Olivia is chef at (while she works towards her dream). They contract me out for their cakes and out-of-house catering. This allows me an industrial kitchen when I need it (most cakes I can do from home) and the catering licence.

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On Saturday Cherish, Peach and I went to set up our booth.  Ya know… it IS a lot of work, but I love that I can do this WITH my kids and I can do it from home. My kids are learning about many aspects of business from product creation, to customer relations, to the sale.

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I’m not just dragging them around with me, they are part of the family business. Cherish is developing a good eye for what looks good and becoming much more hands on with me. She is a detail and numbers girl, which are areas I am weak in.  I see us making even a better team as she gets older.

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We always included our older kids in all of our many ventures while they were growing up, and now… they are far exceeding what we have done. I love when Olivia and I can work events like this, or work a wedding together. We know each other and have different strengths and weaknesses that work good together.

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Yes, it’s hard and about 95% of it is NOT glamorous. It’s long hours. It’s constant cleaning up messes and hauling heavy loads.

Yes, there are always issues that have to be resolved, personal conflicts, etc… but don’t we deal with that in any “job”?  I’d rather be fleshing it out with my family as we build a future together.

Maybe if more families worked together while the children are growing up they would be closer? Stronger? Happier?  Maybe… maybe not.  But I do believe that their marketable skill level would be greater and that kids would understand the value of a dollar and hard work.

Think about it… kids that grow up on a farm know how to work and work hard. Sad we’ve lost most of our family operated farms.

Kids that grow up with their families owning and running a business know the blood, sweat and tears that go into it… usually.  That is unless they are shuffled away to a classroom all day, shielded from real life, from real work. Unless they only reap the rewards of mom and pop’s hard work with vacations, cars, clothes, iphones, all paid college life, etc… with no real time or labor invested.

Why are we as a culture lacking character, work ethic, honesty? Perhaps it’s our own doing because we have created this insane, self-centered bubble for kids to grow up in, forcing them to really believe’ it is about them’, their wants and their comfort as we keep them far from reality, the reality of lasting relationships and the responsibility of hard work? The reality that there is no free ride in life.

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wedding cake

Taggie Blanket for Baby in 30 Minutes – Video Tutorial

javi 5.5 months

Sweet Thing is starting to get some control of her hands now which means she wants to touch everything!

tag blanket baby

So today I made her this and appliqued her name on it.

I saw this taggie on Amazon for $35 – goodness! This took me less than $5 to make and about 30 minutes. I’m glad I have some basic sewing skills. :)

baby tag blanket

She thinks everything is a teething ring… everything!

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She makes my heart sing!!!

Here is a video how to make one:

why you should quilt