Friday, January 13, 2017

Maple Syrup Snow Candy Recipe

On Wednesday we woke up to over a foot of snow.

We are glorying in all the beauty.

Roo has never seen this much snow before and loves sniffing, digging, and bounding across the yard. The snow is up to her neck, so her bounding looks more like bouncing (she's our Kanga-Roo), and it is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.

I am also delighted to report that I enjoyed a major limbic system retraining victory after the snow fell:

I went cross country skiing!

We all did, actually.

It was much easier than walking anywhere.

A few months ago I got motion sickness just turning my head, rolling over in bed, or walking across the room, so it was wild to be gliding across the snow and feeling fine.

The second day we skied it was much icier.

Much, much icier.

So icy that I took a hard fall on my tailbone.

The fall seemed to have caused some whiplash, and since then my body has been in a bit of a tizzy that feels like a flare-up in my chronic symptoms. So, I've decided to cozy up with Anne of Green Gables and some maple syrup snow candy for the rest of the afternoon.

If you've ever read the Little House on the Prairie series, then you may remember that in Little House in the Big Woods Laura enjoys maple syrup snow candy at her grandmother's house. I first made this candy after reading the book as a kid and was so excited to make it today.

It's super easy (and delicious!), and I've posted the step-by-step recipe below for those of you with snow outside your window.


1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
2 TB butter (optional)
A pinch of sea or pink Himalayan salt


1. Put the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

2. Boil for a few minutes until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage or 235 degrees Fahrenheit for those of you who have a candy thermometer.

I didn't have a thermometer, so after the mixture had boiled for a few minutes, I drizzled a bit of it into a glass of cold water. It formed a soft ball upon hitting the water, so I knew it was ready.

3. Once the mixture is ready, take it outside and pour it into a clean bed of snow. Be sure to wear your boots while you're cookin' so you can make a mad dash outside when the mixture is ready!

I recommend you use a rubber spatula to coax the mixture into the snow in bigger ribbons than the ones I made, since the thin ribbons can be hard to fish out of the snow. 

You could also pack snow into a pie pan and bring it inside for this step.

4. After you've finished pouring your candy, it is ready to eat!

And boy oh boy is it GOOD.

I hope you are all having a lovely Friday!

Cheering for you, Home Skillets,


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© by scj

Monday, January 9, 2017

Happy News

It snowed again this weekend.

This is the snowiest winter this area has had in awhile, and we are loving it.

We love watching the snow fall from our cozy perches by the fire place, but we especially love going on walks in the snow.

My brother and his wife stopped by for a bowl of soup just as the snow started to fall, and they left my mom and me a note on their way out.

Roo likes it too! She gets cold, though, so my mom has devised a way to make one of her wool vests fit Roo. The fitting process involves lots of safety pins and is not unlike fitting a cloth diaper to a newborn baby.

The vest tags! 😂

My mom is nothing if not resourceful.

A related side note: Roo went through heat recently — apparently small dogs go into heat at a pretty young age — and my mom fashioned diapers for her out of old underwear. Watching Roo trot around the house in those "diapers" was one of the delights of my life.

Roo adores my resourceful mom.

They are BFFs.

Oh Roo-berry, you are the apple of our eyes, the sauce on our spaghetti, the peanut to our butter. We love you, as is evidenced by our suffocating snuggles and excessive doting, and we are wondering how you will do when Baby Jackson is born...

Yep, that's right: My brother, Aaron, and his wife, Natasha, are having a BABY, due in June, 2017!!!!!!

This week, Baby J is the size of a white onion. We are fresh out of white onions, so we found a yellow onion that looked like a white onion, and we marveled at how fast Baby J is growing.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, then you know my brother met his wife on their college track team. He was a dual sport athlete at their university — he played soccer and was a sprinter on the track team — and she was a world-class heptathlete. After graduating from college, Natasha went on to compete on the world stage, and she trained for years at the Olympic training Center in Calgary, Canada. Her goal was to compete in the 2016 summer Olympics for Canada. Unfortunately, her years of training were riddled with frustrating, incapacitating injuries that interfered with her Olympic dreams, and it was with peace and hope for a new season of life that she retired from track and field last year.

We are all excited about what this next season holds for her and Aaron.

She and my brother announced their pregnancy on Facebook with this sweet video, accompanied by the caption: "Aaron and I collaborated on a design project together. It's not your average Nike ad..."

(This video format may not be compatible with your mobile device).

You guys, I think I am going to adore auntie life. And my parents. Well, they are over the moon about being grandparents.

They've already started buying baby clothes, starting with this onesie:

Photo taken from Pinterest

Baby Jackson, you are the perfect addition to our clan and we love you already.

Hopeful, grace-filled Monday, my friends.

I'm cheering for ya!


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© by scj

Monday, January 2, 2017


I never used to think about hope much, but now I know: hope is jasmine winding its way through your insides, climbing into your most intimate parts, filling the empty spaces with the fragrance of spring.

When you are sick for years and years, your hope of health shrivels and droops until it is nothing more than a few black, spindly stems. When this happens, it is easiest to let hope die, but you mustn't.

You must coax your hope back to life with the water and air of imagination. You must imagine you are climbing Half Dome, or learning to surf, or hosting a tea party, or running in the rain, and you must imagine you are doing it all with ease. Do this daily, and with time you will notice your hope has sprouted the tiniest waxy, green leaves. One day it will bear fragrant blossoms again.

For months I've been working to cultivate hope by imagining myself exploring Portland with my siblings, a cup of tea in hand and the neurological firestorm at bay. And you guys, today I did it, just exactly the way I imagined.

It was wondrous.

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© by scj