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Friday, March 20, 2009

Of squirrels and hoarding

It's that time of year again when I inevitably slip into my winter hoarding mode. Here in the infamous snow belt region of upstate NY, I face each winter wondering how many months it will be again before we see green grass and warmer temperatures. And while we're waiting for that first snowfall (which I love, by the way), we spend our days hiking hills through the multi-colored leaves that are falling, and harvesting vegetables from our garden to can or freeze for the coming cold months. Autumn is my favorite season of the year ... hands down.

I also find myself cleaning out bookshelves, storing or giving away books and curriculum we no longer need, sorting through summer clothes that have seen better days, and just organizing overall. I think I know the dreaded months of January and February are coming (this homeschool mom's most hated months!), and I'm subconsciously attempting to prepare for them in advance.

All of this canning, sorting and organizing definitely put me in the mood for recording one of our latest Podcasts over at Sonlight.com. Jill, Kelly and I put together a fairly extensive series on goal setting, homeschool time management, conquering the clutter in your household, and overall organization. We had a great time sharing practical ideas and swapping stories from our homeschooling and child-rearing memories. If you find this time of year inspiring you to sort, clean and organize, take a few moments to listen to some of our tips and suggestions. I think you'll enjoy them!

And just to share some of the great "smells" floating around our household, here's my time-tested spaghetti sauce recipe. I canned 42 quarts of this delicious sauce which we will enjoy over all sorts of pasta throughout the cold winter months to come.

Judy's Spaghetti Sauce

(I use a combination of whatever canning tomatoes are available and Romas) 4 quarts (16 cups) of processed tomatoes (I remove the stem end and puree them in my blender, skin and all)
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
3 Tablespoons Parsley Flakes
1 teaspoon Basil
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Pepper
6 teaspoons Salt
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 chopped Onion Combine in a large stock pot. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir in 1 - 12 oz can of Tomato Paste. Cook 30 minutes more (or longer) until sauce thickens to your liking. Yields 7 pints of spaghetti sauce ENJOY!!

~Judy

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