Merry Christmas! I just love this holiday. I love the decorations, food, and time spent with family. I love that I finally have time to relax and sit at my computer and type this post. I've been waiting for days for this. :)
Christmas is an important holiday to me because it reminds me to really reflect on the real reason for the season - God sent His Son down to earth in order to save me...and you! How amazing is that! This year, we've celebrated in many of our traditional ways, but we've also started some new traditions to help us teach Pebbles the real meaning of this holiday. It's not about Santa Claus or Christmas trees or presents - it's about the birth of our Savior and God's plan for the redemption of His people.
Today, we had an all-day-long birthday party for Jesus! When Pebbles woke up and ran into the living room, she saw balloons filling the floor.
We wore party hats and blew on kazoos and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.
She especially loved her birthday cookie.
One thing I've been trying to impart to Pebbles is the importance of giving to others. She may be young, but I think she's getting it. We enjoyed taking special gifts to friends and neighbors as a way to wish them Merry Christmas. My favorite gift to give this time of year is Christmas Jam.
Christmas Jam is easy to make if you know how to can (if you'd like a full tutorial, see my post on canning here), and because you can use either fresh or frozen fruit, you can make it any time of year!
Begin by preparing your canning supplies. Get your hot water bath going and your jars sanitized.
Process frozen cranberries and strawberries in the food processor until grated. If you use fresh fruit, make sure you freeze them first to make grating easier. Grating ensures that your jam will have an even consistency.
Place the grated fruit into a large stockpot along with 5 pounds of sugar...and remember, 1 bag of sugar is equal to 4 pounds, so make sure you have enough!
Bring everything to a full rolling boil, and boil for 1 minute.
Remove the jam from the heat, add pectin, and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Skim off the foam before pouring into jars.
Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. This recipe makes at least a good dozen jars, so you'll need to process them in batches.
This jam is delicious and makes such a thoughtful and unique gift. I like to dress my jars up a bit before giving them away.
First, I cut a circle out of some scrap fabric. You want the circle to be at least an inch larger around than your jar lid. I like to use pinking shears to give the edges a fun look.
Place a small amount of cotton batting on the inside of the circle.
Center the circle of fabric on the jar with the batting in between the fabric and the jar. Screw on the outer lid to hold it in place.
Use a small amount of twine to attach a gift tag. Totally cute!
- 40 oz. frozen whole strawberries or 2 ½ quarts fresh strawberries
- 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries
- 5 pounds sugar
- 2 pouches (3 ounces each) liquid pectin
Grind strawberries and cranberries in a food processor or grinder; place in a large kettle. Add sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil; boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; add pectin. Cool for 5 minutes; skim off foam. Pour hot into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Adjust caps. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. Yield: about 14 half pints.