{ The Happy Life }


Happy Sunday, friends.

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Happy Birthday Harry Potter!!


Hard to believe, but today marks Harry Potter’s 35th birthday. How is that even possible?! We’ve never enjoyed a series of books, as a family, quite like the Harry Potter series. And certainly, I’ve never watched the same series of movies over and over and OVER again–like I have this one.

Perhaps, I’ll celebrate Harry’s Birthday by pulling the books off the shelf one more time.


Because, you know…there can never be too much magic for me.

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PS–Remember our Harry Potter movie parties? Oh, my goodness, how fun they were!! Let’s do it again–shall we?


Perfect Apricot Jam

…without pectin.

Apricot Jam

 Mmmmmm….toast and jam makes me really happy.


I had to take a break from packing and painting and weed killing because some things…like apricots, just won’t wait. At the risk of losing them all, I decided to just drop everything and make some jam in my cute little kitchen.


I wasn’t positive that I even had everything that I needed because I’m still living in one house while working on the other, and I don’t have my kitchen totally set up yet.

As it turns out, I found what I needed. I also found a very simple recipe without pectin, that–short of burning the whole pot to a crisp–promised to be pretty much fool-proof. My kind of recipe.


So, you start with 8 cups of washed, pitted, and chopped apricots. 

 Mush them around a bit with a potato masher. You don’t have to go crazy with this part–just smash them enough that you release a fair amount of the natural juices.


Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice. I used bottled juice–but if you have fresh lemons, you can use them. Either way should be fine.


Now add 6 cups of sugar to a nice, deep sauce pan. Stir in the apricots and mix it well.


Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture reaches a rolling boil, continue cooking for about 30 minutes. Keep checking on it and stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the pan and scorch.


When it starts getting really foamy, I always add about a teaspoon and a half of butter–which usually calms it all down. You don’t have to do that–it’s just what I do.

Now I should have a lovely picture of pouring the beautiful jam into the jars, but since I was alone in the house, taking pictures of that process seemed like a good way to land in the emergency room.  SO…

you’ll have to believe me when I tell you that I poured the jam in the hot, clean jars and processed them in the boiling water canner for 10 minutes.


Here’s my proof. That and…



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5.0 from 2 reviews
Perfect Apricot Jam--Without Pectin
5 pints
  • 8 cups chopped apricots
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 5 pint jars, lids and rings
  1. Mash the apricots lightly.
  2. Add lemon juice and sugar.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  4. Once it reaches a rolling boil, continue boiling for about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and pour into clean, hot jars.
  6. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
  7. Let set for a few hours until cans seal
  8. :]



Once the Bald Guy got the insulation off the ceiling the next big deal was this ancient wallpaper. Crazy stuff–I’m telling you. It was probably beautiful in it’s day, and not a particularly cheap kind either. But it made the room so dark and foreign looking to me.


I did a ton of research on exactly what solutions would take it off with the least amount of drama and I finally found a natural site that promised good results with just a few ingredients.


We planned a whole day around spraying on a vinegar and water mix and letting it soak. But first I had to take off all the fixtures. The light switch covers were actually very pretty…up close.


And these little pull chain heater vents were just so cute I wanted to leave them.

But we forged ahead and got all the hardware off the walls. Then April said, “See if you can loosen any of the paper from the bottoms before we spray.”

I grabbed a tiny corner of one panel and lifted it up gently. To my surprise, the whole strip just came off in one piece –from the floor to the ceiling!

I tried it with the next panel and sure enough–without spraying or soaking or ANYthing, the paper came off in perfect sheets–like it had never been used at all.


Seventeen minutes later we had a lovely, dry, snow white wall just waiting to be painted. It was hilarious!

So, we’ve moved on to the taping plastic everywhere and painting phase.


In the meantime…

Anyone want some wallpaper?


Hardly ever been used.


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A Stroll Out Back

While the inside of the house is being made…ahem…more presentable, how would you like to see the back? Hmmmmm?

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I have to admit, this was one of the big selling points of the house, for me. A large, sprawling backyard, with a pretty little (huge) walnut tree in the middle.

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Apparently  the place hasn’t had real people in it for years, so there are some bushes and tree limbs that are totally out of control. But just look at that cute, ancient, hand carved rooster windmill! He’s so sweet.

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Someone has been taking care of the yard for the previous owners, but still it has this quiet, untouched feel to it.

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In fact, I think the critters are so used to this place being human-free that they are startled by us being there at all.

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The birds swoop down like they’re trying to scare us out of their secret garden. Just this morning a mom and daddy quail ran right under the fence with their 9 babies like they were being chased–which they were certainly not. I would have been happy to watch them all morning.


Then there is the most mysterious looking shed or workshop or something off to the side that we couldn’t even unlock before we bought the place. We just got to wonder about it.

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Word is, that the family who built the house actually lived in this little place as a temporary house until the main one was finished. When we finally got the door open, it was dark and full of spider webs. I wasn’t too brave about it, but the Bald Guy will most likely search and destroy the creepy crawlies soon enough. Then we’ll see what’s in there.

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There was no sign of a formal garden spot or fruit trees, but there are lovely flowers popping up around the edges here and there every day. It’s almost as if they are trying to surprise us…which of course, they do.


And can I please talk to you about ROCKS?! This fellow must have been a crazy rock collector because there are gigantic ones of every kind imaginable, all over the front and back. It’s nuts.


We aren’t even moved in yet but sometimes I just go out and sit in a chair in the back and breathe it all in.

It’s just so beautiful.

And it’s…


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