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Friday, March 29, 2013

DIY Easter Garden

Here's a fantastic Easter idea I just found online.  I've seen similar ideas, but this one is the most simple (and lowest in cost).  Even though Easter is upon us already, it is still a really fun idea to do over Spring Break.

You'll need:
Potting soil
a small terracotta flower pot
a large terracotta saucer
shade grass seed
twigs & string (to make crosses)
small stones
one large stone

Following example in the picture, fill part of the terracotta saucer with potting soil.  Place the small clay pot (the "tomb") on the dirt and pour more soil over top.  Gently pack it down.  Fill the area in front of the small pot with small rocks.  Place the large rock in front and off to the side of the small pot.

Create three crosses from the twigs and string.  Gently press into soil. 

Sprinkle grass seed generously on top of dirt, moisten with a spray bottle.  Keep the seed moistened by spritzing several times a day with spray bottle. Set it in a warm sunny location.

Grass should in 7-10 days.

Notes: You can use a plastic saucer and small pot.  If you use regular terracotta, I recommend you place something water-safer under the saucer.  Mold can build up under terracotta pots due to the moisture they retain, damaging the surface beneath the pot.

If you don't have nice little stones you can use, they are sold in home decorating departments at stores (often with the vases).

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Pina Colada Jam

Image Souce: Taste of Home
*Note* This recipe was written for use with the Ball Jam Mixer, which I do not have.  I've kept the ingredient list the same, but have altered the directions to suit regular stove-top jam-making.


2 1/3 cups crushed pineapple (about 1 med)
1/3 cup coconut rum (or coconut water)
3 Tbsp classic pectin
1/2 tsp butter or margarine
3 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup shredded coconut, coarsely chopped


PEEL and core pineapple. Coarsely chop pineapple, and then crush with a potato masher. Measure required quantity of crushed pineapple and remaining ingredients for your recipe; set aside.

Place crushed pineapple in a large stock pot.  Pour coconut rum or coconut water over pineapple and stir.  Stir in pectin.  Add butter/margarine to help reduce foaming.

Bring to a full rolling boil.  Then mix in sugar. and coconut.  When it returns to a full rolling boil, boil hard for 1 minute exactly.

Ladle into hot, sterilized jars with ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims. Add heated lid. Screw on ring, making it finger tight. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 4 half pints.

Here's a second option with slightly different ingredients:
(follow the same steps for making the jam)

Pina Colada Jam 2.0

3 cups crushed pineapple
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup coconut rum
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons Ball flex-batch Classic pectin