31: Canning and thrifting

Thursday was a mixed bag.  I did not write.  The kids and I did not play games.  I was on the computer very little, so at least that part was good.  But here’s what did get done.  I started the day crazy-tired so made my specialty– super strong Ethiopian coffee with my little  refillable Keurig gadet.  When that didn’t taste quite kick-ya-in-the-teeth strong enough, I augmented it with my homemade ‘extra shot’ –half a tube of Starbucks instant coffee.  Perfect. Add homemade granola, and it’s the breakfast of champions.

After running our 17 year old to a friend’s house to braid hair for two little girls, my youngest and I went thrift store-ing.  We found all sorts of goodies– shoes for her, a clear vase to for this project (except I used split peas), some cool storage containers for my teenagers’ shelves, a couple of girls’ tops, and an Aeropostale shirt for my son.

The very best find of all was these two cute wicker chairs that I paid a cool $3.85 each for.  They are well constructed and surprisingly un-rickety. I am wondering if I could use a dark stain on them to freshen them up.  Do you think they’d look good dark?



I came back home to can tomatoes (7 quarts) and grape juice (20 quarts).  I listened to kids read while I worked. Lunch was split pea soup and these yummy things, which I made with cabbage, mushrooms, bell pepper, and avocado.  Canning stretched on for most of the afternoon.  I was glad to have help from the teens with dish-washing afterwards. (They also helped me chop tomatoes before school.)

All those new canned goods meant reorganizing the pantry to make more space, then wiping down shelves and adding the new jars.  I think we have around 300 jars canned now, and it is FULL.  That’s nearly a jar a day of food– might be a record-breaking year by the time we can the rest of the tomatoes and do the rest of the grape juice.

In the evening I did get just a bit of sewing done– altered a thrift store top to better fit my twiggy 14 year old daughter, and mended another top.  All in all, a productive day.   How about you?

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  1. I think the chairs would look great dark! I have some outdoor wicker-look chairs someone gave me. I am planning on painting them bright colors to spruce up our patio for next year. Sounds like you had a very productive day!

    • I was actually also wondering about painting mine a bright green like my front door. Would love to see yours when you get them painted.


  2. I don’t know if the stain would work, but the chairs would look just fine dark. I’m so jealous of that price; our thrift stores no longer have thrifty prices. Just a shirt is at least $5, so I can’t imagine how much they’d have marked up those chairs.

    • Our thrift stores have gotten more expensive too. Often shirts are $4 which seems like a lot to me. Yesterday when thrifting I limited myself strictly to the ‘color of the week’– does your thrift store do that? This week all yellow tagged items were half off. I found my girls 4 yellow-tagged shirts for $1 each. That is a price I call thrifty.

      And the chairs– they were just unusually well-priced. I am continually shocked at how much thrift stores ask for what I consider to be very ugly furniture.

  3. Have you done a tutorial on canning grape juice? We usually get tons of grapes, and sometimes I’d like to do something besides jelly. My attempts at grape juice have never been successful. Love the chairs!

    • Sarah,
      I sometimes add a bit of sugar (1/2 cup per quart of juice) but basically I just boiling-water-bath quarts of grape juice for half an hour. Sometimes a bit of sediment settles to the bottom of the jar, so I usually strain the juice before serving.

      What problems did you have with canning grape juice?

  4. It took me all day to can 7 quarts of applesauce, my 6 month old was not into me canning, and there was school to do. I am worried about the rest of the apples going bad. How did you get school done & canning? Since we just moved a month ago, applesauce is our only canning. Will miss tomatoes and grape juice. Do you grow your own grapes?

    • Amy, First of all, applesauce takes forever! You did awesome to get 7 quarts in a day with a baby!

      Second, I have four teenagers and NO ONE under 7. They’re like a canning machine. Even the seven year old washes and cores tomatoes, helps wipe counters, finds me jars in the garage, etc. That day I did most of the grape juice canning, but they picked grapes for me, and also did the majority of the tomato prep.

      Canning will get easier for you as your little helpers get older. For now, do what you fits into your day, and don’t stress the rest of it.


  1. […] be able to show you pictures of that.  I’m still trying to decide whether to stain those wicker chairs I thrifted last year.  I also want to make cushions for […]