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Planning for Christmas

October 11th, 2015 at 02:05 pm

I have been working on a project at work and sent it in for a presentation for our school board. The IT person replied to my principal and me that since I did such a good job, I should get Monday off. Yeah, that was a joke...we have no school tomorrow in observance of Columbus Day. However, my ever witty boss said if I continue to work so hard, in ten weeks he will give me some time off for Christmas break. Ten weeks. Suddenly I started seeing the same time frame on Facebook that Christmas is ten weeks away.

Last summer I started making some things for Christmas. I have been working steadily. On Facebook this past week, someone had a meme that said a homemade gift really isn't a cheap gift and pointed out if someone knitted or crocheted an afghan how many skeins of yarn are needed, how much a typical skein of yarn is, and how many hours was put into it. All very true. It's sad that people think that because something is homemade it is cheap. Homemade foods aren't cheap either. I have spent hours today in the kitchen canning and making jelly. Plus there is the cost of the jars, lids, rings, and whatever else is needed. When I bake there is the cost of the ingredients as well as whatever else is used to store and/or transport.

Yesterday we hit some thrift shops and I found some jelly jars very reasonable. I snatched them up because I'm about out. Good thing because today I made 6 half pints of Sweet Pepper Jelly. I have been using it on toast simply because the last time I made some I had a little left over -- not enough to can, but too much to throw out. One way it is really good is over cream cheese and serve it either on crackers or celery. Right now we have quite a few bell peppers so I figured I might as well make use of them. Below is the original recipe, but when I made it a second time, I changed it by adding more peppers. I thought the amount they had was kind of skimpy.

Sweet Pepper Jelly
3/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
3/4 cup finally chopped green pepper
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
6 1/2 cup white sugar
6 Tablespoons pectin

3 pint sized canning jars or 6-7 half pint jars, sterilized and hot

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large stainless steel sauce pan. bring mixture to a boil and boil for 6 minutes. Add pectin and boil for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off and discard foam. Ladle the jelly into the prepard jars. Wipe off rims and apply the lids. Place the jars in a large pot of water and bring to boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from water and let cool. Make sure lids have sealed. Refrigerate after opening.

I'm toying with the idea of making some apple jelly. I made apple juice yesterday and I'd like to see if I can also make apple jelly.

We hit the grocery store Friday night and found some baking ingredients on sale. I was pleased because we have a church bazaar and our church is known for selling all different kinds of cookies by the pound.

Ten weeks. Don't forget! Or are you all ready?

5 Responses to “Planning for Christmas”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I love homemade gifts! I even have a knitted throw from a sister in law that is so warm and cozy. And I love pepper jelly, preferably green and spicy. I also eat with cream cheese and crackers. One year I asked for in my stocking from my parents!

    Not ready for Christmas, but have cash saved. Smile

  2. rob62521 Says:

    Cash is always good, CCF!

  3. snafu Says:

    I too love home made gifts. They're most often offered by those who are expert at whatever they make so it's beautifully crafted and usually practical, not more clutter. My gram was of the opinion that 'any fool could buy a gift but a home made gift was made with love'. I dislike gifts that are supposed to replicate an expensive item but is cheap and poorly made. Worse yet are are items with no attached thought at all... just cross off one more name on the list! I wish they'd just skip our name.

    Pepper jelly is a wonderful gift, and while I love apple jelly, it's a really lot of work.

  4. rob62521 Says:

    Exactly, Snafu! Buy anything just to say you got them something. We had a relative that every Christmas we knew whatever she gave was because she found something really cheap. She wasn't happy when I suggested we no longer give gifts. Part of the reason was I was going to grad school and money was very tight. Part of it was because we were tired of her junk. It might have been more understandable if her family was poor, but that wasn't the case -- they made far more money than we did. Her gifts were just that...something she found. She gave DH a pair of plaid boxer shorts that were heavy material and very scratchy. He doesn't wear boxers and even just handing them made one's hands itch, can you imagine what they would do on a person's body during the day? They did make a great white elephant gift at a Christmas party the following year...the party was an all woman event. We laughed and laughed.

  5. frugaltexan75 Says:

    One of my favorite gifts from childhood (and one I STILL have out on display) is a handmade "Cabbage Patch" doll which my aunt made for me. I named her Rosie. She's about 30? years old. So, homemade gifts definitely can be very special.

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