Yaya's Cafe

The Mix of Stuff Blog

Pear Jam and Stuff August 21, 2013

Filed under: DIY,Food,Party,recipe — Yaya @ 2:02 PM
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Hello All,

It’s been a while. Thanks for dropping by. First let me just say – I made Pear Jam but I am not a fan of pears. So why did I make Jam, you ask? Because when we bought our house we happened to have a pear tree in the backyard. Most people would say, oh well you don’t have to eat them if you don’t want to. But seeing all the pears on the tree, just sitting there waiting is like watching strawberries rot: Plain messed up.

Even though I am not a fan, I have plenty of friends who are. So every year during August and September I harass them until they come over and pick some off the tree. LOL. Now that sounds like it would be enough but it isn’t. There are always a ton of pears left on the tree, that even the birds and squirrels and occasionally our dog can’t or won’t eat.

Last Year, I made a few different pear treats and had a mini pear party. Everyone had fun and liked the treats, except me. I had fun. I enjoyed getting together for the heck of it. I just found no pleasure in the overwhelming pearness of a pear party. Lol. The only thing I truly liked and enjoyed eating was Pear Jam with toast and cheese. I also liked it on waffles and pancakes the next day.

Another Pear season has rolled around and I said to hell with coming up with pear desserts, this year is all about the jams. *_*

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Yaya’s Homemade Jam

(with Pear Bits)

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 8 Cups of peeled, cored and well chopped pears
  • 3 Cups of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Sugar (regular white sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp. of Cinnamon
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. of Nutmeg
  • 1/4 of a Cup of Spiced Rum (Optional)

**Yields 6 half pint jars.**

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Chop the pears and place in a large pot or bowl.
  2. Add 1 cup of white sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar. Mix well, until it starts to become syrupy.
  3. Cover and let it sit for 10 – 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Place pears and syrup in a large pot (if not already in one) and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Bring pears to a simmer on medium heat. Lower slightly and let simmer for 90 to 120 minutes (1 1/2 – 2 hours). NOTE: On my stove medium heat is like cranking the heat to five out of nine. To lower slightly would be 3 or 4. I usually cook them on 4 for 90 minutes and switch to 3 if it needs a little more time.
  6. Place pears in warm jars and slap on a lids. Once that is done, tighten the lids and boil enough water to cover about 3/4 of the jar.
  7. Let it boil for 10 – 12 minutes and remove from water.
  8. Set aside and allow to cool before storing in a cool dark place.

NOTE: Make sure to double check the seals before long term storage.

Hope this recipe helps a few more people figure out what to do with their ton of pears this summer. Have a wonderful day!!

Thanks for reading!

 

City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri July 14, 2013

Filed under: Family,Holiday,Opinion,Review,Updates — Yaya @ 10:21 AM
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City Museum was great. We went a few days ago and had a blast. There is so much to do and plenty to see. The fun ranges from slides to caves to a Ferris wheel on the roof. Here are some of the photos we took during our mini staycation.

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The Party! August 16, 2012

Filed under: Birthday,Cake,Candy,Drinks,Food,Music,Party,Updates — Yaya @ 8:07 AM
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Hello All!
The party itself was fun. We had food, music, Kinect and good friends. It was a very goofy party with plenty going on.

Decorations:
We used blue, red, green and yellow streamers. We also had a triangle flag banner with the same colors and balloons. The food, especially the cupcakes were an added perk that made decorating simpler. As far as the tables througout the party, I covered them with white linen tablecloths. I definetely kept it simple. I guess, you can think of it as a throwback.

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I know it is hard to see in this picture but all the hallways were decorated with these “drum stripe” patterns. The ceiling had a mix of single color and dual color streamers zig-zagging back and forth. There were also a lot of twisted streamers accenting different areas.

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They look kind of like this. Sorry about the pictures. I was exhausted after a long day of baking and getting things started (like maranating the chicken and pork for the party). This area had better lighting during the party but not so much for the decorating part the night before. Hence, the photos are a tad dark.

Anyway, the balloons were blown up the day of using some good old lung power. The linens were placed on the tables just before guests arrived along with the cupcakes and other snacks.

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Activities:
Everyone had plenty to do during the party. For the kids we had pin the tail (a classic), Frog Hunt (a game I put together myself), chalk drawing on the driveway, bubble blowing in the yard and fishing for prizes.

NOTE:For the fishing game we used a water table my son received as an early birthday gift and filled it with fake fish they could catch with mini fishing poles. Anyone who caught a fish got a big prize like card games and slinkies. Everyone got cookies for participating.

Pin the tail on the donkey is self explanatory and requires no work to put together. All you need to do is tape it where you want it and voila.

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For Frog Hunt you need a sandbox, a pail and shovel and some toy frogs. I used some simple plastic jumping frogs. They are the kind you push down with one finger to make them jump.

The game is called Frog Hunt because you don’t tell the kids where you hid the frogs right away. What you do tell them is that they have have to go around to each activity and ask about the frogs. They need to ask if you have seen them or if your activity involves frogs. Seems a little hard but it helps get kids to talk and interact. The person helping with each activity replies that completing the activities will get you a clue.

What I told each person was that they needed to spell S-A-N-D by giving each group a clue. I also told them the kids had to go through the activities as a group the first time around to get the clues in order. Placing them in groups helped tremendously. That way each group gets the clue at the same time and no one gets “lost.”

By the end of the four activities they will know that they need to find sand. We don’t have a sandbox in our yard so I got a small plastic kids pool and filled it with sand. Then I buried the frogs. When it was time to look for the sandbox and frogs, I gave each one a plastic pail and shovel. Then I let them loose in my backyard. They dug up some frogs and other treasures.

NOTE: To keep the location of the frogs secret we held all the activities in the front yard and indoors the first time. Afterward we shifted everything to the backyard.

Once the kids got tired we had them come in for lunch and dessert. We also turned on the Kinect and let them play while we pulled out the snacks and extra drinks (juice boxes and water bottles). Once all that was done we let them play whatever they liked and handed out more prizes.

Favors:
The favors were S’mores, the pail and shovels, whatever they dug up, the prizes they won and a trip to the candy and toy table.

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Here are some of the things that went to the candy and toy table. As you can see there are some jars of candy and little toys. We also had popcorn. As soon as they got their stuff we sent them inside to sing happy birthday and eat some cupcakes. Afterward they got to check out their swag.

Overall, I think everyone enjoyed themselves. This was the kids part of the party so it definitely focused ony son and his friends. Later that night we had a more adult oriented party. The kids who were still around with their parents played on the Kinect or watched a movie in my son’s room. Most of the adults ate, drank and danced. It was lots of fun and we got some great pictures with our nice camera.
After reading about all the craziness I hope you are inspired to throw your own Summer party. Enjoy the rest of the Summer!

Thanks for reading!

 

It’s that time of year again! July 30, 2012

Filed under: Birthday,Party,Updates — Yaya @ 9:58 PM
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July and August are Birthday season in my house and many others. Winters are really cold around here. Lol. Anyway, last year I had a Sesame Street Party for my son’s First Birthday. It was fantastic! There was plenty of food, fun and Summer cheer to go around.

This year I am doing something a bit different. I am having a mini party for my son’s second birthday followed by a dance party for myself. Our birthdays are four days apart so I figured why not. That and the fact that my mom is visiting and keeps reminding me that sharing a birthday (sort of) doesn’t mean I need to stop celebrating mine all together. It makes sense but I really didn’t mind just having a party for my son. Admittedly, I will enjoy spending time with friends and birthdays are a great excuse to get together. ^_^

The point is I am having a large party that combines two birthdays of very different ages. At first, I wasn’t sure I knew where to start. Then it came to me. What is a party without the food? Not as fun.

That said, I came up with a menu and worked backwards. I wanted something fun and full of adventure. I also wanted a bit of magic and whimsy for my son. A two year old likes doing stuff… All the time. My son is active and imaginative so I thought about what I like to do during Summer. I like camping, swimming, fishing and eating outside (even when it feels like everything will catch fire).

Put that all together and you get this year’s overall theme:
SUMMER FUN!

I guess you must be wondering how magic and whimsy fit into this. Well, it is simple. Toddlers love to pretend and play. They like to eat and have fun. That is the magic of Summer. When you’re young, regular activities are magical. To help it along I am going to set up some fun activities and food.

At the top of the list I have a Sandbox Treasure Hunt, A noise maker parade and some Kite Flying. There are several other things in store for my little one and friends but you’ll have to check out my next post to find out how I will pull two birthdays and a simple theme together.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great week!

P.S. I will provide instructions and activity ideas in my next post or two. ^_^