Monday, December 31, 2012

A Look Back...Christmas 2012

Our Dining Room Christmas tree
The Christmas trees have been packed away and a new year is upon us.  But, I have to admit, I'm not  quite ready!  I'm still in Christmas mode.  So, before the year ends, I'm taking a look back!

On Christmas Eve night, the kids got their new pajamas and ornaments.

Clayton playing Angry Birds on his new Kindle Fire HD while wearing his Angry Birds pajamas :)

Santa was here!
The kids were excited to start opening toys.

But...we almost...almost...ended up at the Emergency Room on Christmas morning!

Dave was opening a toy and decided to use his pocket knife instead of scissors.  In the process of cutting the plastic, he accidentally stabbed the knife into his thumb.  I'm sitting on the floor with the kids and suddenly Dave screams.  The toy and the pocket knife go flying across the room (fortunately not hitting anyone).  At first, I didn't realize what happened.  Until, I followed after Dave and started seeing drops of blood leading to the kitchen.  And, the drops were getting bigger and bigger!  Dave was at the sink trying to stop the bleeding.  When he took the pressure off his thumb, the blood gushed up like a geyser.  At that point, we're thinking he needs to go to the ER.  So, I rush upstairs to put on some clothes.  But, I'm all panicked and find myself running around in circles looking for a skirt.  I'm also feeling quite queasy from the sight of the blood.  Luckily, crisis was averted and the bleeding stopped.  Thank God!  

Later, we enjoyed a nice Christmas dinner of Roasted Ham with Dijon-Pineapple sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts and homemade jalapeno coleslaw. 

If you haven't tried the Pioneer Woman's recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with dried cranberries and balsamic reduction, you must!  They are absolutely delicious!  My mouth is watering just thinking about them.  The roasting takes them to a whole 'nother level!

At the end of the evening, we settled down and enjoyed some popcorn courtesy of Reed's popcorn machine.  Yes, he asked for a popcorn maker for Christmas!
Mary Ellen

Friday, December 28, 2012

Wives with Beehives

Last night while flipping through the channels, I came across a special on TLC called "Wives with Beehives". The special will be aired again tonight (12/28) at midnight on TLC (set your DVRs!). If you haven't watched it yet and don't want to be spoiled, you might want to stop reading now :) Based on the title alone, it totally sounded like something I had to watch! The special focused on four ladies living very 1950s lifestyles. Not only in the way they dressed, but their homes and other aspects of their lives. Of course, I loved, loved, loved their dresses, gloves, hats, hair, makeup and cute retro furnishings! I also found myself in agreement with the ladies about the appeal of the 1950s way of life. It was a time of more traditional roles, with men as the providers and women caring for the homes. It may sound strange to some that as a working woman, I would prefer a time when few women worked outside of the home. But, even within my very modern life, our home and mindset is very traditional. My focus is always homeward, hence the tagline, "Celebrating the domestic side of working motherhood".

Of course, it wouldn't be a reality show without some drama! When a new member joined the scene, it brought out some cattiness from one of the other ladies. But, as one of the ladies stated, living the 1950s lifestyle doesn't make you a perfect angel! I enjoyed the show and hope it returns as a series instead of just a one-time special. It would also be great to see not just this group of ladies, but others who live varying degrees of the 50's lifestyle. Or maybe others living in different decades.

ETA:  One of the ladies that appeared on "Wives with Beehives", Dollie DeVille, has written about her experiences filming the show.  And they were not pleasant at all!  It's a shame because I would have enjoyed watching the ladies lives as they are without any drama or fabricated storylines. 

Did you watch the show last night? What were your thoughts? 

 Mary Ellen

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Visit from Grandma-claus!

Yesterday, we were visited by my husband's mother, his siblings and their significant others.  It's always great to see his brothers and sister as they live out-of-state.  And of course, the kids always look forward to visits from Grandma!

Grandma came bearing gifts!
She brought tablets

and toys, much to the delight of the little ones!
The kids even got a chance to meet an actual Major League baseball player!
My gift is in the mail - literally!  It was delayed in all the holiday shipping.  But, I can't wait to get cooking with my new Le Creuset cookware set :)
Since the family came yesterday, today has been quiet and restful.  I've been busy in the kitchen prepping for our Christmas Dinner.  Making Sweet Potato Casserole and Jalapeno Coleslaw to go along with our Dijon-Pineapple Glazed Ham.  Later, we'll take a ride around and look at Christmas lights.  That's when the "elf activity" starts to pick up around our house :)  Every Christmas Eve, an elf stops by to drop off a new pair of pajamas and an ornament for the kids.  A reminder they should get to bed early tonight!
Mary Ellen

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Sign of Old Age!

My New Glasses!

 A few weeks back, I caught myself sitting at my desk doing something really strange - I was squinting!  By the time I got home in the evenings, my eyes were just so tired from staring at a computer screen all day, it was difficult to help the kids' with their reading homework.  So, I went in for an eye exam.  And while my vision was 20/20, I learned that I have astigmatism.  The doctor suggested glasses as a way to reduce the strain on eyes while at work.

As I began looking for frames, I was really excited to try on a pair of cat eye glasses.  To my surprise, I didn't really like how the looked on me.  Dave suggested I continue my search for frames at Costco.  I was pleasantly surprised by their selection and the price of the frames were very reasonable.  I found a cute pair of Lucky Brand frames that had just the right amount of retro for my taste!

Mary Ellen       

Friday, December 7, 2012

Out of Photo Storage Space? Try Photobucket!

 What?!?  No pictures!

I've noticed a few bloggers have mentioned running out of photo storage space.  I've reached my limit too!  Although, sometimes the system must experience a hiccup because occasionally, I can still upload photos directly from my PC.  But, mostly I've been posting photos using the image hosting site, Photobucket.

I started using Photobucket back in my Mommy/Baby message board days as a way to share belly progression and baby pics!  Once you've set up your Photobucket account, it's pretty easy to use for posting photos in your blog posts.  First, upload your photo.  Then, copy the url listed in the Direct Link box.  If you click in the Direct Link box, it will automatically copy the url. Or,  you can highlight the entire url and right-click, copy or Ctrl+C (the shortcut to copy).

To insert the image into your blog post, go back to your open post (I usually have Photobucket open in one tab, and Blogger in another).  Click Insert Image, select "From a URL" as the image source, and paste the url from Photobucket into the box.  If the url is correct, the image will appear.  Then, click "Add Selected" to place the image in the post.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Photobucket offers a number of paid storage options to choose from.  However, I have the 2GB FREE storage account.  I currently have 710 images in my library and it's registering as only 4% full.  You can also edit photos in Photobucket and add different effects!

At some point, I will probably have to look into paid storage.  Or delete old pictures.  But, I did want to share this with those who may not be aware of the free image hosting sites out there!

Mary Ellen


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Biltmore's Christmas Tree Raising


Time lapse video of the Christmas Tree Raising Celebration at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC


Mary Ellen

Saturday, December 1, 2012

In My Element

FINALLY, the longest work week ever has come to an end!  What is it about the work week after a holiday, that makes it seem like it goes on forever?  I'm finally back in my element, at home, among the dishes and the dust.  Even though the demands of being a working home keeper can be overwhelming at times, I find being at home extremely restorative.  Even though I may mumble about things never staying clean longer than a minute (I'm working on that!), the truth is I enjoy taking care of my home and all that are in.  I find joy in homemaking.  My therapy happens within the walls of my home.  It's where I create, beautify, bring order, nourish, teach, establish harmony, encourage and love.  It's not just pushing a vacuum, loading and unloading a dishwasher and dusting knick knacks.  It's the work of my soul.

Mary Ellen

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Country Living Classic Vintage Table Linens

A random stop into K-Mart turned into an early Christmas present for yours truly!  While browsing with Dave, we came across these Country Living Classic Vintage table linens on clearance!  Dave agreed to buy me a table cloth and the last remaining placemat as an early Christmas gift.  The store only had one matching seat cushion left and none of the coordinating red ticking stripe window valances.  A search of other K-Mart stores for the remaining pieces of this collection turned up zilch.  But, I'm happy to have found this table cloth for such a great price as I've been admiring it for a long time!  And, I may even return to buy an extra one (you know as insurance against the little people and furry kitties!).   

The table cloth has a lovely red rose pattern with a decorative ruffle around the edge.  Please excuse the wrinkles, I didn't bother to iron it in my excitement!

Inspired by the colors in the table cloth, I decided to change dining room's Christmas tree and decorations.  Instead of blue and gold, we're going with warm reds and golds this year and natural elements.  I'll share more of those details later!

Mary Ellen

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Got Thanksgiving Leftovers? Make A Pot Pie!

Homemade Turkey Pot Pie

Need to clear out some Thanksgiving leftovers from your refrigerator?  Then make a pot pie!  

For the crust, I used my favorite pie crust recipe - The Perfect Pie Crust recipe posted at The Pioneer Woman.  The recipe makes two crusts.  So, I made my pot pie with both a top and bottom crust.  Of course, you could just do a top crust for the pot pie and save the other crust for a dessert recipe!

To prepare the filling:
Adapted from this recipe

1 medium onion, diced
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour {or corn starch}
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
black pepper and garlic powder, to season
shredded turkey meat
leftover or frozen vegetables {I used green peas, frozen corn, frozen lima beans and also leftover brown rice}

In a saucepan over medium heat, saute diced onion in butter until tender.  Add flour (or corn starch) and stir.  Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk.  Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce thickens.  Add seasonings to taste.  Remove from heat and set aside.

*If you wish, you can add your veggies to the sauce while it thickens.  Since I was using vegetables that were already cooked or frozen, I did not add them in at this point because the baking time would be sufficient enough to cook them.

To bottom pie crust, add shredded turkey and veggies.  Then, pour the warmed sauce over the meat and vegetables.  Add top pie crust, seal edges and cut slits in top.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until crust is golden and the filling is bubbly.


Mary Ellen

Monday, November 26, 2012

Can A Mom Really Put Herself First?

A week ago, I found myself in the ER suffering from abdominal pain that seemed to get worse by the minute.  The tests ran by the ER doctor showed nothing of a life-threatening nature, but the reason for the pain remained unexplained.  As I was on the mend, a common refrain from those around me was to put myself first.  Sensible advice, but one thought crossed my mind - can a Mom ever really put herself first?  Can I put myself first when meeting deadlines are approaching and I'm the one solely responsible for getting the work done?  Can I put myself first when lunches need to be packed, homework needs to be done, teacher conferences need to be attended?  Dinner still needs to be made, floors swept, toilets cleaned and the cat who can't seem to grasp the concept of a litter box still needs to be cleaned up after.  Even when I'm sick, my children still need an attentive mother, my husband still needs a dependable wife and my aging mother sill needs a daughter to juggle her various medical appointments.  So, how is a Mom supposed to put herself first exactly?

*After following up with my primary care physician, an ultrasound revealed the source of the pain to be a particularly troublesome ovarian cyst.  So, thankfully nothing serious!

Mary Ellen

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around our house...or maybe an episode of Hoarders!  As one space is cleaned up, another space becomes messy.  Slowly but surely, things are coming around.  So far, we've put up and decorated eight trees.  We'll be putting up a few more today.  This maybe the earliest we've gotten our trees up for Christmas!

Have a wonderful Sunday!
Mary Ellen

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Honey!


Dave celebrating his 1st birthday :)
Happy Birthday to My Beloved!
Mary Ellen

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!
Our Thanksgiving Meal:
{Brine recipe included}
Crockpot Cornbread Stuffing (A Year of Slow Cooking)
Brown Rice
Buttered Peas & Carrots
Pecan Pie (Pioneer Woman)
{used Perfect Pie Crust recipe for both pies}
Mary Ellen

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Winner Is...Printcopia 8x10 Canvas Print


The winner of the 8x10 Canvas Print from Printcopia is...

Congrats Dean!
I'll be in touch soon regarding your canvas print.
Thank you to all who entered.  And special thanks to Printcopia for sponsoring this wonderful giveaway!
Mary Ellen

Friday, November 16, 2012

Living On A Dime Christmas Sale!

Give the gift of frugality for the Holidays!  Buy a package (3 copies) of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook for only $11 each during the Living On A Dime Christmas Sale!  That's a savings of 50% off the retail price.  Get a copy for yourself and two to give as gifts!  The Dining On A Dime Cookbook is an essential asset in any frugal kitchen with over 1200 recipes and money saving tips.  All individual print books are also 40% off during the sale.

As if these incredible sale prices weren't enough of a reason to check out the Christmas Sale, when you take advantage of Living On A Dime's Christmas Sale today, you'll also get 16 Free Bonus Items Valued at $92.75, including:

* A Delightful Collection of 10 Holiday Recipes e-Books

* A Year of Snacks e-book from Christine Steendahl at

* 8 Easy Gardening Tips for Growing Better Tomatoes e-report from Faylee James at

* Menu Planning For Busy Moms e-course from Mary Ann Kelley at

* 101 Lunchbox Ideas e-book from Emma Henry at

* Practicing Hospitality - Household Entertaining from Kemi Quinn at

* Thrifty Christmas Ideas e-book from Angela Billings at

 This great sale ends Tuesday, November 20th at midnight.  Hurry and get your copies today!


Mary Ellen

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

*Giveaway* FREE 8x10 Canvas Print from Printcopia!


Recently, the fine folks at Printcopia contacted me to review their canvas prints.  This was my first time creating a canvas print.  But, the entire process from start to finish was so easy!

The Printcopia website is very user-friendly and guides you through each step in creating your canvas prints.

First, choose a size for your print and then select your image.

You can upload an image from your PC or pull from Instagram or Facebook.

Next, select a style for the border.

You can also choose your display options - wall or canvas stand.

Finally, choose your finishing options (color, B&W, sepia) and any retouching to the photo.

And with that, you're done!  Simple and easy! 

My print arrived this week and I'm so pleased with the finished product!  Now, I just have to decide whether to show it off at home or at the office!

In addition to canvas prints, the Printcopia sister sites offer car magnets, custom banners and lawn signs


This giveaway is now closed.

And now something for you Dear Readers....A GIVEAWAY!

Just in time for the holidays, Printcopia is offering a FREE 8x10 canvas print to one of my readers!  To enter:

(1) Follow The Working Home Keeper blog -  or become a follower if you're not already!

(2) Leave a comment below with your email address

This giveaway is only open to those in the Continental U.S.  A winner will be selected at random and announced on Tuesday, November 20th.  Good luck!

Disclosure:  I was given a free 8x10 canvas print in order to review the site.  All opinions expressed are mine. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day

My father served in a segregated unit during World War II

Honoring our veterans past and present

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall Recipe - Beef & Vegetable Soup

Beef & Vegetable Soup
A blustery, Fall day filled with lots of playing and jumping into leaf piles, calls out for a warm, hearty dinner!
Inspired by Mom Saving Mom's Hamburger Vegetable Soup recipe - but altered to make it more like my Momma's recipe!
1 lb ground, local grass-fed beef
3-4 potatoes, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup brown rice
1-28 oz. can, diced tomatoes
the following, I don't really measure - just go by sight and preference
some frozen corn
some frozen peas
some frozen cut okra
tomato or vegetable juice
to season, dried oregano, dried basil, 2 bay leaves and black pepper
In a large pot, brown beef then drain.  Add in potatoes, onions and carrots.  Then add the diced tomatoes, frozen vegetables and rice.  Add enough tomato or vegetable juice to cover the ingredients.  Add in the seasonings, then cook over medium low heat until potatoes and carrots are done.  I usually let this simmer on the stove on low heat for 2 hours.  And the smell of the soup cooking, fills the whole house!  During cooking, stir and add more vegetable juice or water as needed. 
Mary Ellen 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

*LAST DAY* Money Saving Mom's 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life Only .99!

Hello Friends!  Just a quick reminder that today is the last day to purchase Crystal Paine's (Money Saving Mom) new e-book 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life for only .99.  After today, the price will increase to $4.99.  Don't delay!

Mary Ellen


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

*NEW* Money Saving Mom E-Book - 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life

Have you ever wished you were more disciplined in some (or all!) areas of your life?  Have you tried to establish new habits but found yourself frustrated and ultimately gave up?  I most certainly have!  Well, today through Thursday, October 29th, Crystal Paine - the Money Saving Mom - is offering her new e-book, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, for ONLY .99!  After Thursday, the price will increase to $4.99.  So, don't miss out on this great offer!

Mary Ellen 


It's My Birthday!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Sweet Note From A Stranger

After spending the morning at the State Fair with the kids (and having a great time!), we stopped for lunch on the way home.  As we were eating, an older Asian lady approached our table and handed Dave a folded napkin.  She smiled, then turned and walked away.  Dave opened the napkin to find this note written on the inside:

"Your wife is so pretty and act so refined.  Your children gorgeous like her Mom."
I was so touched by her act of kindness.  And my husband was the proudest man in that restaurant!
Mary Ellen   

Monday, October 15, 2012

Look What the Storm Blew In...

An early morning thunderstorm brought more than just cooler temperatures our way!  Meet "Stormy".

While Ashleigh was outside playing, she heard a tiny meow coming from our outside storage building.  Then, she saw a cute, little face looking back at her.  So, Ash ran inside to get Daddy to come out and investigate.  After several minutes, Dave came back inside doing his best Turtle Man "live action" holler!  It was indeed a little kitten that had taken shelter from the rain in our storage building.  There was no Momma Cat around, nor other kittens.  We have no idea how she found her way to our house.  Our neighbors don't have cats and she seems too young to be at a wandering age.  But, Stormy has settled in nicely with our other kitties.  Kiss-Kiss has been acting as her adopted Momma.  Though the nursing didn't go as Stormy would have expected!  Most of the time, you will find them both cuddled up together.  Don't you just love kittens! :)

Mary Ellen  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Division of Labor

Vintage half apron from SuzAnna's Antiques

A recent study revealed that couples who share housework equally, have a significantly higher divorce rate than those where the woman does the majority of the housework.  In addition, women who did more of the housework did so of their own choosing and were just as happy as couples who took a more modern approach to household chores.  In our own home, we take a very traditional approach to homecaring tasks.  My husband handles the outside work.  And, I (along with my Mother) take care of the inside. 

Inside of our home, I take care of the cooking (including meal planning, shopping, baking, canning), daily cleaning tasks, most of the dishwasher loading/unloading (my Mother also helps with this), pet care, maintaining the calendar and appointments, taking care of clothing needs for the children, decorating and making things pretty around the house!  My Mother does the great majority of the laundry, sewing and all of the ironing because when she moved in with us, she made it known that her way was the only and best way!  So, I just make sure she has all the laundry supplies she needs :)  Outside of the home, my husband handles lawn care, car maintenance, gutters, garbage and home repairs (doing them himself or hiring out).  He also handles the finances and bill paying, discipline of the children and has the final say on major family decisions.  Oh, and squashing bugs and reaching things that have been placed on the top shelf and pushed all the way to the back!  There are a few areas where roles are crossed. The garden is outside and that's primarily my little hobby.  My husband is much better at organizing.  So, he usually organizes the pantry, closets, the kids' toys, even the refrigerator.  And, he prefers to make his own lunch.  Which is usually a combination of leftovers from dinner and his own creations.  Child rearing, of course, is something we both actively take part in!

Even though I work outside of the home, our approach to homecaring has never struck me as being unfair.  I grew up watching my own Mother work and maintain a home.  It just felt natural to me to take on the bulk of the housework when I became a wife.  Call me old-fashioned, but it works for us!

How is housework handled in your home?

Mary Ellen


Friday, September 28, 2012

Delicious Homemade Apple Recipes from Living On A Dime

Clayton (age 1.5) at the NC State Farmers Market

If you find that you have a few dozen more apples than you know what to do with, or if you just can't resist the great sales that stores have on apples this time of year, these recipes from Dining On A Dime will help settle your frugal dilemma.

Apple Tips:
  • When you have a partially eaten apple, save the good part and chop it into pieces. Place in a microwave safe dish. Blend together 1 tsp. each brown sugar, flour, oatmeal and margarine and a dash of cinnamon. Top the apple with the topping and microwave until tender.
  • Core and slice apples very thin. Dehydrate and use in granolas, eat alone or soften in warm water to use in recipes.
  • Slice apples and use in pancakes or waffles.
  • Freeze extra apples for later. Peel, slice and core them and then store in 2 cup portions in freezer bags.
  • Use soft apples in cooking.
  • Cut apples into small pieces and add to salads with a fruit based dressing.

Homemade Apple Butter
9 to 10 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. salt
Place everything into a crockpot. Stir, cover and cook on high 1 hour. Cook on low for 9-11 hours or until thick and dark brown. Stir occasionally. Uncover and cook on low 1 hour longer. Stir with whisk until smooth. Refrigerate or Freeze. Makes 2 pints.

Apple Pie Filling
9 cups baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
5 cups water
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Toss apples with lemon juice and set aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add apples and return to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender (6-10 minutes). Cool for 30 minutes. Then ladle into freezer containers or bake immediately. Makes two 9-inch pies.

Fried Apples
4 large apples, cored and sliced
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Cut apples into 1/4 inch slices. Heat butter in a large skillet. Put the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the skillet and cover. Over medium-low heat, cook apple slices 7-10 minutes or until they begin to soften and the syrup thickens. Serve coated with excess syrup on top. Serves 4.

Baked Apples
apples, cored
raisins (optional)
1 tsp. margarine
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 Tbsp. honey or brown sugar
(These ingredient amounts are per apple.)
For each person, use 1 apple. Fill the center of the apple with all the ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees until tender or put in a Dutch oven on top of stove and simmer on very low until tender.

Apple Snack
2 qts. apples, peeled, cored and halved
Coarsely grate apples. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 225 degrees until dry. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Apple Crisp
6 apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon and/or nutmeg
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange apples in a well-greased baking dish. Blend all remaining ingredients except water. Spread evenly over top of apples. Pour water over the topping. Bake 45 minutes until apples are tender and top is crisp. Serves 6.

Peach Crisp
Use peaches in place of apples.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Preserving the Season - Canning Pear Honey

Preserving the season - locally grown pears
Godwin's Orchards, Johnston County, NC

With the change in season, pears have made an appearance at our farmer's market.  Last year, I bought pears from my pastured egg lady.  But this year, her trees didn't produce.  Fortunately, the gentleman I buy apples from also has pear trees.  He offered me a great price on the pears, so I bought the entire basket right then and there!

Interestingly enough, I don't really like pears!  But, I do love pear honey - which is like applesauce (but with pears, of course!) and crushed pineapple.  And despite the name, there's no honey involved.  The finished product just has a golden, honey color - hence pear "honey".  

Pear Honey
original recipe can be found here

3lbs fresh pears, peeled, cored and chopped {you'll need about 7 lbs of whole pears}
3 cups sugar
1-8 oz. can of crushed pineapple in juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1.  Combine all ingredients in a large stainless steel saucepan.
2.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
3.  Simmer for 40 minutes.
4.  Drain some of the cooking liquid and using an immersion blender (or masher), grind pears to a thick, applesauce like consistency.

My new canner - an anniversary present!
This girl loves practical gifts for the home :)

5.  Spoon into prepared canning jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. 
6.  Process in boiling water for 10 minutes.

I was able to make 7 half pint jars of pear honey - one of which was gifted to the gentleman from the orchid.  He's going to bring more pears to the market next weekend, so I'll be back in the kitchen canning very soon!

Attention Target shoppers...On my last Target trip, I found this box of 12 regular mouth canning lids with bands on clearance for $2.78.  That's the cheapest I've seen for this in our area.  Might be worth a look-see if you're in Target.  Also, tis' the season for discounted school supplies, backpacks and lunch boxes at Target.  Get a start on next year's school supply shopping or stock up for the rest of this school year!

Mary Ellen