Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sugar or Salt Scrub

A thrifty lubricating hand or foot scrub is super easy to make by adding oil to salt or sugar; and you won't believe how great they work. Table salt or fine sea salt works just as well as sugar or brown sugar. My favorite is the fine sea salt. Mix in oil adding just enough to fully saturate; and then store in a container with a lid. A mason jar works great by the kitchen sink; a recycled plastic jar works well for bathroom use as it won’t break if you drop it from slippery hands.  

You can add some fragrance or essential oils if you like for a nice scent.  I usually grate some lemon or orange rind into the mix, but I have added a teaspoon of lemon extract or juice too to give it a fresh scent. An added benefit to adding lemon juice is that it will help remove kitchen odors from your hands such as fish or garlic. Many folks like lavender scented essential oils for this scrub and it will keep a long time after making. It can be stored in the fridge if you like; but don’t get water in it. Use a scoop or dry your hands before dipping it out.

Brown sugar works nice with vanilla fragrance, or no fragrance. If you find that salt or sugar is just too rough and abrasive, try grinding a cup of oatmeal in the blender then use it instead of salt or sugar. Even baking soda will work. You will love this scrub on your face, but if you have oily skin you may want to mix the oatmeal with a lightly beaten egg white instead of oil, or just plain water. This oatmeal mix will need to be used immediately and not stored.
When you use the oil scrub, starting with your skin dry is best, gently rub,  giving it time to work, and then wash off with plain warm water, no soap.  Dry very thoroughly, and you won’t believe how nice your skin will feel! If you use this on your feet, DON’T do it while standing in the shower! Your feet will be very slippery.
Either of these scrubs can be used as a body scrub, but be careful with the salt or sugar scrubs.  They are sometimes too coarse to use on the body; it might be best to save them for your feet or hands.
I usually use olive oil in my scrubs because it’s handy, and relatively inexpensive in the amounts used for a scrub.  Almond oil is an excellent oil to use on the body.  I don’t use it in my scrubs because it is more expensive, but it is wonderful. Of course don’t use it if you have a nut allergy!  I use almond oil mixed with lotion for extra moisturizing; I pour a few drops in my hand, add some lotion and mix the two together in my palm before smoothing it on myself.

 *Update. A commenter suggested using coconut oil for this scrub and she is right! Coconut oil is amazing for your skin ans I have yet to try it. I will soon though. Thanks for the suggestion :)

Start with about 1 cup of sugar or salt, stir in about a ½ cup of oil or until the salt/sugar is fully saturated.  Add scent if you want (essential oils, grated citrus peel or other scents) a spoonful of lemon juice and mix well. Add a spoonful of vitamin E oil if you like. Now go ahead and pamper yourself.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Use for an Everyday Kitchen Tool

With all the extra effort lately to save money I have a new way to keep my feet looking good between pedicures; stretching out the time between getting them.  That saves money right? Today I have for you a kitchen tool that works so good....on your feet! 

Scotch Bright scrubbing sponges. I’m not kidding! My husband and sons have tried this and love it, men need help with their feet too. At the end of your shower when the skin on your feet is soft, soap up the scrubber side and scrub away on your heels and where ever your feet are rough. Just be sure to not scrub so hard and long that you injure yourself.  I like this so much more than a pumice stone.  It fits nicely in your hand and bends around your foot easily.

This happens to be the brand I use but I’m sure others will work fine too. This one is for ‘delicate care’ so it is softer than some. Use a bath brush on your toes and over your toe nails. You can file your toe nails down to help prolong getting a new pedicure too.
Slather your feet good with lotion after drying; but wipe the excess off the bottom of your feet so you don’t slip or dirty up the rug ok?

Update: Try a good home made scrub after you use the scrubbing sponge.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I’m So Excited!

I will get to why I am so excited in a minute. If you are reading this post then you probably know that I am a newbie to the blogger world. But I’m sort of a ‘closet’ blogger in a manner of speaking because I haven’t told anyone other than my kids and husband that I have a blog! And they think it’s a faze I’m going through and will get over soon.  Maybe they are right; but I think they are wrong. I have not commented on other blogs leaving my blogs name, (not saying that’s wrong, I too WILL do that soon) I haven’t in any way put Family Home and Life out there other than here. I LIKE blogging, it’s my personal time and thoughts, and it’s separate and yet linked to my life as a grand mother, mother and wife.  Does that make any sense? This blog is something I do for me; not anyone else. When I’m good and ready, after I’m sure I’ve found my voice and know how to use it, I will tell everyone who will listen that I have a blog. I’m just not there yet. I have learned that blogging takes a lot of time and commitment. My hat is off to you veteran bloggers; you make it look so easy.

I spend most of my life right now being there for my family in one form or the other. I, me, gets lost in all that and I have a few things to say. I have a perspective on life; yes it’s mine, and how to live it. I want to share it with someone who will listen and take me seriously. I hope that’s you. I hope that you are blessed, encouraged, and learn from me if only from my mistakes, and take away with you something that is a part of me and my life. I think I’m kind of trying to make my mark, knowing that as I get “ahem” older, I have less time to make any kind of a lasting impact on my world. I’ve lived and learned a lot in my time on this earth; what good is it if I just die with my experiences and yes wisdom and take it with me?  So I want to share it with you because you are the one who is here taking the time to read what I have to say. Thank you!

And now why I am so excited as I write this post; I have had my very first comments on my blog!!! Other than the one my daughter left a long time ago.  That one doesn’t really count does it? She felt obligated. Thanks honey! Momma loves you!  But my first other comments came from Angie and she has a blog called The American Homemaker. Please go over there and check it out. And thank you Angie! You made my week!
By the way, when I do come out of the closet and go public with my blog, I’m going to have a give a way.  I hope to be ready by the end of this year, hopefully before Thanksgiving.  So check back ok?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Family Day Garden Grows…..

Here is a picture of our family day garden we planted in an old horse trough filled with purchased compost and dirt. At the very bottom we put a few plastic bottles and containers to take up some space, covered that with straw before adding the mixed dirt and compost. We watered it well for a week before it was planted to help it all settle with the plug removed at the bottom to allow for drainage. The picture is taken from the end of the trough.
On our Family Day in March we planted water melon that now has fruit the size of the tip of your pinky finger, potatoes that are sprouting lots of leaves and stems, and carrots.  The carrots are a growing a little slow I think; it may be all the competition for root space by the potatoes. We planted cantaloupe; it was slow coming up but also has the beginnings of tiny fruits. And we have yellow squash; it seems to love the trough and doesn’t mind having so much company. It is bearing well and we will enjoy it fresh on the dinner table soon.  Under the squash is lettuce.  It like the carrots, are struggling along.  I’m pretty sure lack of sun is the problem. 
My hope for the compact garden is that the squash plant will soon drape over the side of the trough and give the lettuce the needed light.  Yes it was an ambitious project in such a tiny space; but it was planted with love and a lot of fun with the grandkids and a great time of learning for them. Even if it never produced anything it was still worth it. It is also teaching us that you can plant a lot in a small space if you need to with a little space planning.  With the water melon and cantaloupe both falling over the side and hopefully the squash soon, it will shade the metal sides of the trough and help keep it cooler.  It is located in a very hot corner on a concrete slab and I hope we can keep it growing with our hot desert summer upon us.
I love to go out in the mornings with coffee in hand to see the progress of each plant.  The bees gently buzz in and out around the plants searching for flowers and all seems in order and right in the world. In the meantime, I’m keeping a look out for more old horse troughs to plant.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mason Jars

One way I use my Mason jars is to save time in the kitchen.  Here’s a trick not too many people will still remember.  Did you know that you can use a small mouth Mason jar on your blender? Why would you do that you ask? Well you can use a jar on the blender to dice, chop, puree and blend small amounts of food. You don’t have to drag out your food processor for little jobs. If you have a small kitchen and rarely use a food processor anyway you may not even need one if you have a blender and Mason jars. 

It can also save on cleaning up because you can store your processed food right in the jar you used on your blender.  The only thing you need to wash will be the blender blade. But with an important warning! DO NOT DO THIS WITH HOT FOODS OR LIQUIDS! Since there is not a lid at the top for pressure to escape, heated foods or liquids can cause cracking of your jar or even cause them to explode! Please don't chance that. Cold or room temp foods only in the jar on our blender.

Almonds above, and below Mozzarella cheese.

I use it to make whipped cream, grind spices, peppercorns, to finely chop nuts, cheese, to make bread crumbs, even to grind up coffee beans. I do use it for finely chopping onions at times but they will get soggy processed this way.  You just have to remember that you can’t over fill the jar. Filling no more than half way usually is my rule of thumb, sometimes less.  Be careful when you first try this time saving kitchen trick and you will soon learn to love it too. Just make sure you use the small mouth or regular mouth jars, about 2 ½ inches across. The large mouth won’t fit.  Some mayonnaise jars will work too as they have the same size mouth as the small mouth Mason jars; which also means you can use a canning lid on the mayo jars if you want to.
Since it’s just my husband and I at home most nights for dinner, I can whip up just enough whipped cream for the two of us as our dessert topping in a pint size jar.  Of course you can use a larger jar as long as it is a small mouth jar. Whipping cream whipped this way will not be as stiff as when you use a mixer but for the time, effort and clean up it saves me it works out just fine. Sometimes I will make more than I need and store it whipped in the jar.  It doesn’t hold up for long, but we don’t mind our whipped cream a little flat.
Here is how I make whipped cream in a pint jar.  I fill it less than half way with heavy whipping cream. I add 1/4 tsp or less of vanilla, and a heaping Tb of powdered sugar to the jar.

I then remove the blender blade and put it on top of my jar.

This is what it looks like before I turn the blender on.  It takes less than a minute for it to whip.  Next you will  see why you need to not over fill your jar.

The cream jumps up to the top of the jar then settles back down a little way. It needs that space to whip properly.

Once it is finished whipping it will settle and you will no longer see movement in the jar. Remove it from the base and carefully remove the blender blade. Don't be tempted to lick it or use a finger to taste from the blade! Stir the whipped cream if you like.  I have tried to re-whip it after stirring to see if I could get it a little stiffer but haven't been successful. But really we don't mind. It still tastes great.  If you learn any tricks for a better whip let me know!

This is how my whipped cream looks after using the blender and Mason jar method topping a jar (of course) of jello.

These are just a few ways I use Mason jars in the kitchen to save time, clean up and save space.

1.       To process small amounts of food, eliminating need of using a food processor
2.       To make whipped cream
3.       To grind/blend peppercorns and herbs and spices
4.       To chop nuts, make bread crumbs
5.       To chop/grate cheese
6.       To store processed food in and save on clean up

Have a look at my other post for more ways to use these jars, Glass Canning Jars, Fruit Jars, Mason Jars, Ball Jars ,and More Uses for Mason, Canning, Fruit Jars!

Update**7/11/2013 Trevor wrote to tell me that he has been able to obtain a thick whipped cream by using 1/2 pint jars instead of 1 pint jars. It makes me wonder..... if the jar contains more cream to begin with maybe the pint would work as well as the 1/2 pint. Thanks for the info Trevor! I will try your method.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cutting Back…..Clothing

Today my area of savings will be about clothing. I wrote about how we needed to drastically cut back our spending in Cutting Back till it Hurt also under the label A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned. I have learned a lot in the last few years about saving money, mostly by not spending it in the first place.  Clothing is an area where you can see huge savings if you shop right; sometimes just by not shopping at all. First of all, I don’t go shopping any more as a recreation. I go because I need to. It’s been 6 months at least since I’ve been to a mall.  I only go maybe once a year. I wrote about a funny experience I had, very embellished of course, that you can read at Warning! Junk Mail can be Dangerous! if you like. There’s no sense in spending your time in a place where you might spend money you don’t have to spend, on over priced things you don’t need. Then you won’t be feeling sorry for yourself over what you don’t have, or use all your free time thinking about how to get it. Really, don’t you have better things to do?

Most Americans could easily stop buying clothing for themselves and wear for years what they now have in their closets (if you don’t have growing children of course).  It would be 2 years after our deep 'budget cutting' before we purchased any clothing items for ourselves except 2 shirts and some slacks my husband’s job required him to have. Then when we did shop for clothing, it was at discount stores and only purchasing what was marked down.  I rarely spend more than $10 for a blouse or $12 for slacks. I like to wear good quality shoes, actually my feet demand that I do, and it’s hard to find shoes at a really low price.  I buy the better quality being careful to purchase what is most versatile with my wardrobe and careful not to purchase too many pairs. I also go to the big department stores because you can usually buy better quality there, but I only look at the racks that are deeply discounted. Better quality usually means it will last and look better longer. Most of the clothing that is sold at the big stores with low end pricing will not hold up to wear and tear or washings as it should.  I prefer to shop for better quality clothing and still I only pay a dollar or two more if I buy from the discounted racks. We never pay full price for clothing! End of season sales are great places to find bargains, my favorite time to shop. There is always a sale if you wait, and you usually can.
My husband has good luck finding clothing at yard sales which is the cheapest place you can purchase clothing.  Also thrift and second hand stores; they often have sales too.  Though I do look on occasion I don’t have as much luck finding my size or something I would wear and feel comfortable in that’s second hand. Usually I find that thrift and second hand stores charge too much.  I would rather buy new and pay a couple of dollars more, even if it means I can't buy as much. Not that I think there is anything wrong with second hand clothing. Yard sales are the best place to buy children’s clothing. If you can take the time needed to look through all that’s available you can find items with little wear. Since children out grow clothing usually before they wear it out, you can find things that have only been worn a few times, some not at all.

We think about clothing items we need before we shop for them, we don’t buy on impulse. However, if in the summer time we find a winter clothing item that we know we will need next winter we will get it if the following applies. It needs to fit right, be a style and color that we like. Don't buy anything that doesn't fit right now.  You know the "I'm on a diet so this will fit soon" line that we tell ourselves? I had way too many of those clothing pieces in the back of my closet.  If you are on a diet it's best to wait until you are the smaller size before you buy.  Our body shapes change and you may not look as good as you had hoped in that great dress in the too small size you bought before you lost the weight.  Or like me, never reached my target weight so the clothing was never worn by me at all. There is no point in buying an item that we don’t really like even if it’s functional and meets our needs because we won’t wear it if we don’t like it. My rule for buying used clothing is that it has to look new. There’s no point in buying clothing items that are showing their age, I have a closet full of those already.  I won’t bother with buying clothing that needs altering, mending or has a stain even if I think I can fix it. Unless it's free, I have better things to do with my time.

When I was a child everyone had play clothes, school clothes and special occasion clothing. You wore what was appropriate for what you were doing. As soon as you got home from school, you changed into play clothes. Clothing lasts much longer this way, it's something I still do; rotating my clothing.  When something is new, I am more careful with it and only wear it when I leave the house, or to work.  Once it is no longer 'fresh' looking, or passed it's prime, it becomes my wear at home clothing. I change into wear at home clothing as soon as I'm home again. I don't by new lounge wear to wear at home and I now actually wear my clothes out.  My grand daughter pointed to a blouse I was wearing one day and said, "hey gramma, you are wearing that same shirt in this picture". I was indeed; a picture of me on vacation in a blouse that had become my wear only at home clothing.  It is thread bare now as it was a favorite. I bought it back when I didn't worry about cost as much and good quality, I have worn it for 5 yrs now and this summer will be it's last. 

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your budget is to learn to hand sew and mend your clothing, and darn your socks. You will get so much more wear from your clothing if you will keep them mended. There are tutorials all over the internet and on You Tube.  Do a search for what you want to know about mending and I’m sure you will find it. You will not need to visit alteration shops anymore. You can do some creative camouflaging to cover up stains or tears like adding patches or embroidery to extend the life of your clothing. Check out Creative Mending over at for some really great ideas.
We buy less clothing now, we live in a smaller place and closet space is also smaller. It can be hard sometimes to keep our closets from becoming over crowded. One way to do this is to remove and get rid of an item when you purchase a new item. How many blouses do you need? Pants and skirts? Shoes? Can you make do with 5 pair, 10 or 20?  Cut back on amounts until you get to a place that feels comfortable and try to stay there. It will be hard at first but it will be easy once you get used to it. Having less clothing than we use to have also means we have less stuff to manage and care for.  Our closets stay neater and more organized.  We can dress faster; there are not too many choices to make. We don’t have items hidden in the back that we eventually throw out because we simply don’t want them any more even though they are practically new. We are not being wasteful with our money by having more than we need, overcrowding our space, stressing getting ready to go somewhere, thus we are more peaceful and relaxed.  See how this works? We have what we need, and that’s all we need.

Children’s Craft Apron

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With as many children as I have around all the time I am always looking for good activities to keep them busy.  One of their favorite things to do at my house is paint pictures and make crafts.  I wanted to make aprons to protect their clothing and of course I wanted them to be very inexpensive. Most purchased children’s aprons are of a light weight fabric that paint goes right through; even the ones from home improvement stores still tend to leak paint. I always try to make do with what I already have so I started looking around my house and at my fabrics. 

I had a canvas tote bag and the thickness of the canvas would be just right for the aprons. This is a great way to use those souvenir totes instead of storing them unused in a closet.  I decided how to best use my tote bag for an apron before I started cutting. I wanted to do as little construction as possible and make use of all parts to save money by not buying anything and having a nice looking apron when I was done. It worked out great and I made a couple more the same way.

The first apron I made I just estimated were my cuts should be but I worked out a way to help ensure that the aprons would be the size I wanted using a shirt.

First I chose which side would be the back and cut down the middle from the top to the bottom removing the back handle. Then I cut to each side at the bottom cutting away seams. 

I opened out my tote bag and centered the shirt on the side I wanted as the front of the apron. Will the handles need to removed or can the handle just be cut to size for the neck ties? On this bag I needed to remove them, they were spaced to far apart.

On this bag I left the handles on and cut them in half.
I determined where I wanted the top neck line of the apron to be and adjusted the shirt to correspond with where the apron would lay naturally if it were on a child.


I then decided where I wanted the edges of the apron to be from side to side at the top of the apron neckline. I placed pins there and at the place where I wanted it to come to under the arms.

Folding the back of the tote bag over the front of the shirt, I cut where I would like to have the back sides end at; cutting away excess.

Then I cut into the bag along underarm area and down front sides. Using something round to make a nice curve at the underarm, I marked and cut.

Decide how you want to finish off the cut edges of the apron. 

I used seam binding on two of them; one a raw edge binding and the other a folded binding. 

On the third I just stitched with a zigzag stitch. Apply binding or edging of your choice, or use a decorative stitch on cut edges. 

Using the shirt again I determined how long to make the neck and back ties. If you left the handle on your tote to use as a neck tie, cut it to appropriate size.  If you removed the handle, pin one end of the handle to apron top and adjust it to size, cut.

Stitch hook and loop fasteners to ends of ties or if the handles of your tote bag were not appropriate for this application you can use cloth ties or shoe strings like I did in the apron below. Attach neck and back ties to apron.

Here is how I first decided on my apron design, using a shirt and measuring tape.

 I measured chest, length and how far down to armhole line.  I measured the bag and pinned were the cuts should be, I noted that the handles were attached too wide.

The sides of this apron are more sloping and don’t wrap around in back as far as the last one I made. Doesn't the bag design make the apron fun?

You could also use an already made apron for a pattern.

Here’s what it looks like from the back.

You could line the apron with something water proof if you wanted.  Some tote bag materials are somewhat water proof and could work well for these aprons. Wasn’t that easy? If you don’t have any totes they can be found at thrift stores and yard sales in abundance. Cost, almost nothing!

I linked at Skip To My Lou.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mother's Quilts

Pearl Irene is in heaven now. She left behind a legacy of remembered love. A caring person, a helper, and always ready to do what needed to be done.  If you were sick she was the one you wanted to be there caring for you and your home. A wife, a mother,  grandmother and great grandmother. We all have at least one item she made for us, most of us have several.

Quilts are what she made most, they were highly sought after in our family.  Occasionally she would sell one because she needed the money, but it took so much time to sew one and we kids and grand kids jealously wanted everyone she could produce.

In her last ten years of life she would quilt 8-9 hours a day, and her work became better and better so polished was her craft.

But my mother’s life had many many sad places; most of them before I came along.  The fabric of her life often rent and torn by tragedy, leftovers were what she was left with. 

These things that her life were made of became her art. Stitched together, a patchwork life became a beautiful comforting giving work of love. 

The many quilts she made are treasured still. The threads that held it all together her love of family, her legacy of love.

My grandmother also quilted, as her mother before her. I have continued the generations of quilters in our family.  I don't know who will quilt after me, but I sincerely hope one of my daughters or daughters in law will learn to quilt one day so this legacy of love can continue.

I have scanned old pictures of some of her quilts, most of them she forgot to take a picture of before they went to their new homes. I know the quality of the pictures isn't very good, and it was degraded even more when I had to change the format to jpegs, but still I hope you see the beauty.

Thank you mom for all the love and beauty you left behind.  You are loved still, and remembered often.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Strawberry Banana Jam

Strawberries are in season and I always make at least one batch of jam every spring.  My favorite recipe is one of my mother’s recipes that also uses bananas in the jam.  I must confess that although I helped my mom some when she made it, I never had the confidence to try it on my own.  The spring after she passed away I remembered that there would be no fresh jam that season; unless I made it myself of course.  So I dug around in her old recipe books and found the loose sheet of paper where she had written her jam recipe splattered with pink strawberry juice spots.

In honor of Mother’s day, and because it’s strawberry season, I am sharing this recipe with you.  I made a batch last week so hopefully my directions are clear and you can make this jam too.  It’s not nearly as hard as I had imagined.  It just takes some fore thought and prep.  I recommend that you make it when you have time to spare and no little ones under foot.  The cooking strawberries and sugar get very hot and can splash.  Once you get started with the cooking it’s not a good idea to have interruptions or take a phone call.  Stick with it and you will be rewarded with a delicious jam that’s not as hard to make as I thought.
I have to say that I am not in any way knowledgeable about making jams. Aside from some experimenting with it when I was first learning to cook many years ago, the only knowledge I have is from watching my mother make jams.  What I have written here is what I observed her doing and what I have done with success. You might like to consult other recipes to see if my directions are correct. I know that the altitude where you live plays a part in determining how long you process the jam after it is cooked and in the jars. Where I live our altitude is around 1000-1200 ft.  You can store the jam in the freezer or refrigerator if you want to skip the ‘canning’ process to make it shelf storage safe.
You will need to have some canning jars; I use the pint size and the ½ pint size for jam. If you are using the ½ pint (8oz) size you will need 8, if you use the pint size (16oz) you will need 4; or a mix of what ever you choose to equal that above. Wash your jars and the 2 piece lids. Make sure you use new lids not used ones. I use approximately 3 lbs (or almost 2 quarts) of strawberries, and 3-4 ripe bananas. I wash the strawberries well and remove the stem. Don’t be wasteful and take too much strawberry off with the stem, but you will want to remove any green or unripe areas on the berries.  Remove any soft spots or funny looking places.

Put your jars in a tall pot that has either a rack in the bottom or a wash cloth. The pot should be tall enough for the jars to fit inside allowing for water to cover them with about an inch to the top edge. My mom always put them in upside down, I’m not sure why, I put them in upside down too. Fill the pot with water up to about ½ full. I put the funnel in there too and put the lid on to hold the heat in. Turn on heat, you will want this to come to a slow boil and boil for at least 15 minutes. Put your lids in a sauce pan with other tools you will be using, a ladle and a funnel, and fill with water.  You will allow this to almost simmer, do not boil. You may need to add hot water if levels get too low.

At this point I put my berries in a food processor and give them into a fine chop, you can chop/process them into as small of pieces as you like. You could even puree them too.  You want 3 ½ cups of strawberries when you are finished. Mash or process your bananas to the consistency you would like. Pour your berries and bananas into at least a 6 quart pot, 8 quart is better. Add 3 tbs of lemon juice, and stir all together well.  Stir in one box of fruit pectin. After  stirring add 1 tsp of butter.  Measure 6 1/2 cups of sugar into a separate bowl and set aside.

Turn heat onto medium high to high under fruit and start stirring, making sure you don’t let it burn on the bottom.  Use a heavy pot if you have one, which helps it to not burn. I like to use a wooden spatula that has a flat bottom for stirring this. You will notice that foam is forming on top of the fruit mixture. Bring fruit to a rolling boil stirring continuously. You will see bubbles popping, but when it starts the full rolling boil it will rise up in the pot. Notice the level in the pot above before it starts the full boil.

When you are sure of the full boil add the sugar all at once and stir it in keeping the heat on. When a full boil starts again time it for exactly one minute and turn off the heat. See how the level rises in the pot at the full rolling boil above.
Your jars should have been boiling gently during this cooking time; turn off the heat under them too and the sauce pan. You want your jars hot because if you allow them to cool before you finish the jam they may break when you pour the jam into them.

Quickly skim off the foam from the top of the fruit mixture using a large spoon.  This is good too, just put it in a separate container and put in fridge; you don’t want it in your jam jars but you don’t need to throw it out.

Take a jar from the pot using a jar lifter or tongs, pour off the water back into the pot, set jar close to your jam pot and put the funnel in it. Be careful! It’s a little tricky with tongs.

Ladle the hot fruit into the jar filling to about ¼ to 1/8 of an inch from the top. Remove the funnel and use a clean cloth to wipe top of rim clean, place lid seal and ring on it. Tighten the ring carefully. You need to tighten it enough to keep water out but not so tight that you cause the rubber seal to be broken. Move the jar aside and continue until all jam is gone.  If you don’t have enough jam to completely fill your last jar then put that jar in the fridge when it cools and don’t give it the water bath.

Place all full jars back into water pot and add hot water left in your sauce pot to it if needed.  You want the jar lids to be covered by about an inch, add hot tap water if necessary. Put a lid on them and bring to a slow boil.  Process for the suggested time for your area, mom always processed for 8 minutes here.
When they have boiled for the allotted time remove them from the water bath and put them on a towel on your counter.  You will begin to hear a sucking popping sound as the temperature change pulls the lids down and the seal is made. Once jars are completely cool you can remove the rings if you like and store your jam with out them.  Your jars may need to be wiped down as they may have accumulated minerals or some strawberry residue on the out side. You now have a wonderful delicious home made jam fresh from your kitchen!  Thanks mom!

Strawberry Banana Jam
3 ½ cups of crushed, chopped or pureed strawberries, around 3 lbs or 2 quarts
½ cups of mashed ripe bananas, about 3 medium to large
3 tbs of lemon juice,   1 tsp of butter (*see note),  1 box of fruit pectin
6 ½ cups of sugar, measured and set aside in a separate bowl
Mix strawberries, bananas, lemon juice, fruit pectin in a 6-8 qrt pot, add butter.  Bring to a full rolling boil and add sugar all at once.  Bring it to a full rolling boil again and boil for exactly one minute. Skim off foam, ladle into hot sterilized jars and process in a water bath.  Makes about 8  half pint jars.
* Note *Update 7/12/12: I was laying in bed this morning trying to go back to sleep and the question Lisa Marie asked in comments about the butter came to mind. I think that perhaps the addition of butter could cause some problems as butter, a dairy product, needs refrigeration. Unless the cooking changes that. Any ideas from any of you? Anyone who has done some research?

I linked this at Bloom Designs, Under the Table and Dreaming, My Turn, Love Bakes Good Cakes, Ginger Snap Crafts and Cheerios and Lattes.