Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rootstech Early Bird Prices End Tomorrow

Just a reminder that the deadline for the early bird discount on Rootstech 2012 registrations ends tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 30.  After that date the registration fee goes from $129 to $189.

If you have any doubts that Rootstech will be completely amazing, check out Amy Coffin's "Reasons for Not Attending Rootstech 2012"     'Nuff said?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Flip Pal Blog Hop- Week 3

So here's another project using my Flip-Pal scanner.   This project was super simple and fast. To clarify, the label holder on the first ornament was placed last, AFTER the modge podge had dried completely.

The other Flip Pal Blog Hoppers are:

Sheri Fenley
The Educated Genealogist
Drusilla Pair
Find Your Folks
Marian Pierre Louis
Roots and Rambles
Caroline Pointer
For Your Family Story
Heather Wilkinson Rojo
Nutfield Genealogy
Julie Cahill Tarr

Disclosure:  I am an affiliate of Flip-Pal which means that when you click on a link, graphic or text, and then purchase from them, I receive a small referral commission.   Flip-Pal provided me with an evaluation scanner to participate in the Simple Gifts Blog Hop, which I will not be required to return.  My opinions and reviews in this blog, for good or ill, are purely my own.  So there.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Gene & Ginny Allen
Today is the 61st anniversary of my parents marriage.  This was taken shortly after their wedding in front of their first apartment in Stillwater, OK.
This photo is from their photo album.  I have a digital copy of this photo thanks to my Flip-Pal scanner. I would not have been able to remove it from the album without damaging it and the album itself is too large to scan with a flatbed scanner.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

We have a winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Gathering Stories Rootstech registration giveaway.  I numbered the entries and submitted them to the oracle random number generator.  And the winner is...Susan Kitchens of Family Oral History Using Digital Tools!   Susan suggested that I attend this Rootstech class- Telling stories: transforming the bare facts of genealogy into the astonishing tale of you and your family.
Sounds right up my alley!  Thanks Susan!
If you didn't win this time you can still enter at Genealogy Gems through Wed, Nov 23.  Also, you can still get in on the discounted registration through Nov. 30. 

Thanks also to Rootstech who provided the free registration.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Flip-Pal Blog Hop Week 2

This is my very first attempt at video...ever. Be kind. This was done on my iPod Touch and I apologize in advance for the shakiness. It's a great little project and would work well for a teacher gift.  Or a co-worker gift...shhhh....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tell Me Where to Go.... and Win a Rootstech Registration!

Photographic postcard of the ballerina Anna Jo...
Fairy Godmother
                                    Image via Wikipedia
One of the perks of being a Rootstech 2012 official blogger is that I get to play fairy godmother and give away a FREE registration to Rootstech!  Here's how to win:

  1. Go to the schedule on the Rootstech website and pick two workshops- one that you would like to go to and one you think I should attend.  This is my first ever live genealogy conference so I really want your opinion!
  2. Share this blog post on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.
  3. Enter the contest by sending the two workshop titles and a link to your social media post (on Twitter just mention @nancyshively in the tweet) to gatheringstoriescontest@gmail.com
The winning entry will be chosen at random.  You must enter before midnight CST on Friday, Nov. 18.  If you are chosen you will receive one free registration to Rootstech 2012.  You will be responsible for your own transportation, lodging, etc. 

Good luck!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Coupon Code

Don't forget that you can get 10% off your very own Flip-Pal scanner by using the coupon code BDAY11A
Don't procrastinate though.... the coupon expires next week on November 13!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Simple Gifts- Week 1

Although I've been wanting a Flip-Pal...like forever...well o.k. for a year anyway...I didn't have a real need for one until I inherited this-

my parent's scrapbook.  My mom was a scrapbooker before scrapbooking even existed and this one documents their wedding and early years as a young couple. Besides photos there are newspaper clippings, ticket stubs, dance cards and even the 'do not disturb' sign from their honeymoon.  The album is over 60 years old and is showing its age.  A few of the pages are falling out.  The photos are either falling off the page or require a jackhammer to remove.  It is the latter that finally gave me my excuse reason for owning a Flip-Pal.  The ONLY way to digitize those stuck photos would be with one of these.
Well, lucky for me, Thomas MacEntee and Flip-Pal chose me as one of the bloggers that get to try out  one of these babies for the Simple Gifts Blog Hop!  Woo hoo!  Thanks guys!

So here's my plan....to scan as much of the album as I can and convert it into a digital scrapbook, preserving the contents of the original and making it share-able with my family.  My parents wedding anniversary was Nov. 21 and although Mom has been gone for over 2 decades now and Dad has re-married, I know he would love it as would my sisters.  Funny thing about the scrapbook though.  While there are lots of photos of me, their first child, it comes to an abrupt halt around the time my twin sisters were born!  They were still taking pictures but none of them ever made it into an organized album.   The twins pretty much rocked our world for years to come.

My Flip-Pal arrived last week.

Its about the size of a book and very light.  Everything I've heard about the Flip-Pal is has to do with its ease of use and so far I have found that to be true.  It comes completely ready to use..down to having batteries not only provided but pre-installed!  I've also heard a lot about its "stitching" capabilities.  The scanning surface is only 4x6 but if you need to scan something larger, you do it in sections.  Then the software installed on the SD card (where the scans are also stored) puts the pieces together into one image.
I decided to start with the a piece of ephemera....a joke-y check written from my dad to my mom.  I scanned it in two sections..

then I popped the SD card out of the scanner.  It comes with a USB to SD adapter in case your computer doesn't have an SD card reader.  When I took it back to my Mac, lo and behold, I found that I actually do have a slot for the SD.  Who knew?   Now up until this point, this thing has been extremely simple to use.  But the directions for using the SD card with my Mac were not as clearly written as the PC instructions.  Or at least it seemed that way to me.  I went to the Flip-Pal web site and downloaded the latest version of the stitching software and the complete user manual.  After a little reading I figured it out.  The rest was beyond easy.  I clicked on the SD card icon on my desktop, opened the Mac folder on it and launched the stitching software.  It asked me to select the scans I wanted to stitch and that was it!  The software did the rest and this was the result:

Can you tell where it was stitched?  Me neither. Amazing.

So this week I will be scanning my little heart out and trying my hand at some digital scrapbooking.  Come along....it'll be fun!

Disclosure:  I am an affiliate of Flip-Pal which means that when you click on a link, graphic or text, and then purchase from them, I receive a small referral commission.   Flip-Pal provided me with an evaluation scanner to participate in the Simple Gifts Blog Hop, which I will not be required to return.  My opinions and reviews in this blog, for good or ill, are purely my own.  So there.

The Apple Butter Recipe

UPDATE: This was the one time I used a food processor and I really didn't like the texture of the apple butter it produced.  I've gone back to using the ricer. (If you don't know what a ricer is, read this post.) Also, don't tell but I don't always peel the apples before cooking. When you run the cooked apples through the ricer, the peels get separated from the sauce.  Yes, I know its probably healthier to remove the peels (and any insecticide residue) before cooking but sometimes compromises must be made when the helpful husband is not available to operate the apple peeler.

You don't need very many ingredients to make apple butter.

  • Apples- my grandmother always used Jonathan apples.  So do I.  I usually buy about 1/2 bushel which is something like 40 apples. I've never tried them but you could probably use other varieties of apples such as Gala.  Just don't use those nasty red delicious apples.
  • Sugar- the white granulated kind
  • Oil of cinnamon- Grandma used to buy this at the drugstore.  I don't think you'll find it at your local Walgreen's though..at least I haven't.  I get mine from here.  It takes years to use it all up.
  • Red Hots cinnamon candies
  • Water
Equipment you'll need:
  • an apple peeler or corer
  • a large pot or two for cooking the apples
  • a ricer or food processor (if you're wondering what the heck is a ricer, see this post.
  • a crock pot
  • a water bath canner
  • canning jars and lids
I like to peel my apples first.  It helps if you have one of these....
                                                                 ....an apple peeler and a helpful husband.
Once the apples are peeled, cook them covered pan with a very small amount of water (no more than 1/3 cup) over medium heat, stirring frequently so all the apples are cooked evenly.  You may have to do this in multiple batches.

When the apples are cooked, put them through the food processor 3 or 4 cups at a time. Process a few seconds until smooth.  Be careful not to over-process them...you don't want baby food or apple paste!

And keep some of the cooked apples un-processed.  
Warm cooked apples sprinkled with cinnamon sugar are yummy all by themselves.  Topped with vanilla ice cream they're heaven.

Put the pureed apples into a crock pot.  This is a 7 qt one. 

Don't fill the crock brim full.  Leave room for the sugar and for simmering.  Otherwise you'll have little spots of hot apple butter all over your countertop. Not that I've ever done that. Ahem.  If you have more sauce than crock pot, refrigerate the extra and cook it the next day.  Or just eat it.
Add 3 cups of sugar to the crock pot to start.  You can always add more later.    
Put the cover on and cook on high for an hour or until hot and bubbly.

Now comes the magic secret ingredient....

Add 3 or 4 drops to the hot applesauce.  That's it.  No more.  A little of this stuff goes a long way.  I use an eye dropper to measure it.  Cinnamon oil is strong stuff. Be sure to rinse the eye dropper out immediately after use.  If you leave the oil in the dropper overnight, it will melt the plastic.  Not that I've ever done that...cough, cough.
Add a handful or two of red hots.  They give the apple butter a nice color.

Continue to cook on low for 3 or 4 hours.  Stir frequently scraping the sides of the pot as you go.  If you don't the sauce next to the pot sides gets thicker than the rest because the sugar is direct contact with the hot pot.  
Taste and add more sugar if necessary.  If the apple butter seems a little thin, remove the crock lid and cook for another hour or so, letting the extra moisture evaporate a little and thicken the apple butter.  It should be thick and a rich reddish brown.
While your apple butter is cooking wash your jars in the dishwasher using the heated dry setting.  
Here's how my apple butter looked at the end of cooking.

Now for the canning part.  Remove the wire basket that came with it and fill your canner with water. There should be a little metal tray that comes with your canner.  Be sure to put it in before you heat the water.  The tray keeps the jars from coming into direct contact with bottom of the pot. Heat the water to boiling.  This will take a little time. It goes a little faster if you put the lid on the canner. (If you have one of those flat cook tops forget everything I just said and take your stuff to a friend's house. You can't use a canner on flat cooktops as it will break them.)
Put the jar lids you will be using in a cake pan and pour boiling water on them.  Set the aside.

When you are ready to fill them, take the warm jars out of the dishwasher.  
You will need one of these funnels.  

It keeps the jar rim clean while you are filling it which is important for getting a good seal
When you fill them leave about 1/2 inch at the top. Check to make sure there is nothing on the jar rim (if there is, wipe it off with a damp paper towel.) and put on the lid and screw band.
As you fill each jar place it in the wire basket that came with your canner.  When it is full, drop the basket into the canner. 

The water should be at a full boil.
Now this next part is important.  Are you listening?
There should be enough water in the canner to cover the jars by about an inch.  If you get the jars in the canner and there isn't, ADD MORE.  I usually keep a tea kettle of hot water on the stove while I'm canning for this purpose.  After you add the water wait for it come back to a full boil.

Now put the lid on the canner and set a timer for ten minutes. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and remove the jars.  You could lift the whole basket out but I prefer to take the jars out one at a time with one of these nifty jar lifters.

 As the jars cool you will hear a little *plink* sound.  This is a happy sound.  It means your jar just sealed.  After the jars are cooled you can check the seal by pressing on the lid.  If it gives even a little bit, it didn't seal. This does not mean you are a failure.  Sometimes jars just don't seal.  Put that jar in the frig and move on.

And that's about it.  Apple butter is great on toast and biscuits.  Its also good with peanut butter.  Use it in place of the "J" in your PBJ sandwich.
If you have any questions leave them in the comments and I will answer them.
Have fun!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Birthday to Flip-Pal!

Tomorrow I'll begin blogging about my adventures creating cool stuff with my new Flip-Pal but for now I have a deal for you!  Flip-Pal is celebrating their birthday by giving us a coupon for 10% off a $100 purchase!  I love coupons.  To get yours, just click on the Flip-Pal graphic below or in the sidebar and enter the code BDAY11A at check-out.  The coupon is good through Nov. 13, 2011.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Moses Eugene Blosser

Moses Eugene Blosser
26 April 1883 - 19 Dec 1928

Forest Park Cemetery
Joplin, Missouri

Moses was my great grandfather.  He died in a car accident the same year my father was born.  I'm still researching this side of my family and I have yet to get much information about him.  I have a lot of questions...just not so many answers!

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