Homemade in the city

Today was a great day, and I tried to document in photo's to share the joy.

This morning I took the kids with a friend of mine and her son downtown to the Minneapolis Farmers market. We were in need of some produce that doesn't grow in our garden. A little crazy with wired kids running around downtown.

Here is a look at all the great things we got, and yes that is a lot of fresh ginger, garlic and plantains.

And this was a treat for me. I couldn't resist the deep enticing colors. I split them between three vases and placed them around my house.

After we got home, another friend of mine came over with two little girls that she nanny's. We had planned to walk down to the cemetery to pick crab apples to make homemade sugar free jelly. I have read that crab apples make the best jam. I know what you might be thinking, that I took my kids to the cemetery to pick apples, but the apple trees line the perimeter of the grounds and there are over two dozens trees that are free for picking. Otherwise they would just go to waste.

(mmmm....food going to waste, and so you make the most of it. Sounds like my previous post, and there I was in a place of judgement and now I stand in the same place. Funny how God works those things.)

When you read this it sounds like it was a really great fall day, but I have to be honest, today it hit 95 degrees and because of the humidity if felt more like 115. We walked these kids more than 8 blocks and forgot to bring water. I know. Rock star mama. We stopped at business office, yes of the cemetery to see if we could get a drink of water. The men working were so kind looking at us drenched in our sweat dragging the kids inside. They did want to know why we had a step ladder walking around cemetery. My first thought, was OH CRAP he's gonna tell us we can't pick the apples. I kept thinking, most of the time I live by the philosophy, do now and ask for forgiveness later. This wasn't going to work this time. So I fessed up and told the truth with my most sheepish look and asked if that would be OK. They said of course, that's what their there for.

Then I thought, why have I been dragging my kids down to the apple orchards every year and paying a pretty penny to do this when I can go 8 blocks and do it for free?

Regardless, we had a great time! Here are my boys on the step ladder, working together to get the apples.

Middle was a very hard worker and very slow to find the right apples.

He couldn't reach most of the them, so I stepped in to help.

Little was the one in charge of inspection. She got fired after she kept eating the ones she got.

We thought we should get a photo of all the kids and all the apples they helped pick. One whole bucket full! That's a lot of crab apples.

And no, Big doesn't need the helmet, he just likes it.

Here's a close up of all the kids hard work. And Cassie and helped too!

On our way home, we walked and watched cop car after cop car scream by us, block of roads and patrol our area. We joked about how we were trying to be all farmer like and harvest food and make things homemade, but we totally live in the ghetto. The contrast was very striking today. Live where your planted right?

On our way home, still dripping in sweat, we decided to walk through the park. The park boasts a really great wadding pool. We decided to all jump in with our clothes on and cool off.

Or just stick your head in.

The baby was enjoying playing on the seal!

The best part was dripping wet from the pool and walking home to dry off. Once we got home, we were hot again and refreshed ourselves with cucumber water and fruit Popsicles.

After a rest, the boys manned up and helped seprate the good apples from the bad apples. Considering the kids picked the apples, I was pretty impressed how many good apples there were!

After the apples were sorted, we decided to try our hand at our first batch of jelly. Most jelly uses a 1 to 1 ratio of water/juice to sugar. We don't eat sugar so we decided to try a little honey instead. Instead of using all our apples and trying a new recipe with all of our spoils, we only used four cups of apples. We boiled them up, and then mashed them.

After we boiled four cups of apples, we got about two cups of juice to start our jelly. We added one cup honey and let it boil for another 10 minutes. It seemed to have worked, so we put it in a jar, and stuck in the fridge. We'll let you know how it turned out. We have a huge bowl of apples waiting for a recipe that works. If you have any tips, just let me know. We have no idea what we're doing. We just wanted to have fun.