{Wish Dust}

This time of year I keep my eyes open for signs of magic. The lure of crisp leaves crunching under my feet keeps me hopping all over the sidewalk like a hyper-active toddler who just escaped from its mother’s grasp. Brilliant colors mysteriously pop out of the ground, show brilliantly on previously monochromatic trees, and with blue boldness show off puffy clouds. Crisp air pulls me outside.

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Will my homework magically disappear if I indulge in the magic of swinging in crisp air or blowing dandelion fluff?

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No, but the creative energy that autumn pulls out of me does make me work faster. Possibly because deadlines come faster when I’m doing extra things.

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Last week I took two charming children out on the swings with me. On our way back, we had a run in with wish dust. Isn’t it a perfect name for the wisps of fluff we blow when we make a wish?ย Well, Tina thought I should sell it, so I made this. No, it’s not for sale. I want to look at it myself right now.

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Then today I went out with one of those charming children. He showed me the perfect spots in the woods for these pictures. I’d say he has a good eye for magical places, wouldn’t you?

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Now, go take two pinches to keep up your imagination and enjoy the magic of autumn.

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Rose Hip & Apple Jelly Flop

A few weeks ago I headed out with my camera and a book. My objective was to get out of the building. I imagined myself finding a quiet spot to read and you never know when a photo opportunity will show up. Well, instead of heading down the road, I ended up across the hill, glorying in the warm, golden evening light. As I walked along the edge of the woods, I got distracted by red berries on a bush further back in the woods.

After gathering many branches as I could hold, and shooting some pictures, I headed back to my room to redecorate my curtain rod.

I was pretty sure I had gathered rose hips. My hunch was right. The ones I picked are the fruit of dog roses. In my search, I discovered that rose hips can be used to make things. My friend Carol, who is much more adventurous in outdoor exploration than I am, thought this was a great idea. Thus began the journey of rose hip and apple jelly.

We took a break from homework one Saturday to pick rose hips and wild apples. After sorting the fruit, we threw it into a pot, added water, and started cooking.

One unfortunate event nearly ended our project. I came back after supper and realized that the water had evaporated and the fruit was scorching. We were both really disappointed, but we decided to clean out the pan and add new water since we’d done so much work already.

Later that night I drained the juice to find a total of 1/2 cup. That was much smaller amount than we had planned, but so be it. A week went by before we found a few minutes of free time to cook the juice.

I added sugar and we took turns stirring for a few minutes.The apples had natural pectin, but I was still surprised to see it thicken after only a few minutes. The finished, cooled product was really thick. It has a very unique flavor. The first flavor I taste is apple, followed by something tart–I’m going to say citrusy because that’s the flavor rose hips are supposed to have.

No recipe this time because we’re not sure how we did it. ๐Ÿ™‚ The adventure was worth it, even if the finished product turned out differently than we had planned.

Autumn’s Glory

Today in class we discussed living in glory. Mr. Brubaker suggested that living with God in glory is not confined only to life in heaven after death. Instead, we can live with God now and experience the glory of every day…every season’s beauty.

After hearing the word “glory”, I instantly thought of my grandpa who died a few years ago. I couldn’t keep from smiling as I thought how his heartfelt glory would bounce off the pews in front of him when he agreed with something in church. Grandpa was a quiet man, but he didn’t keep his praise for God’s work inside.

Glory in the drops of rain that fall into puddles lit up by sunshine.

In swampy marshes and weeds growing in unlikely places.

In tiny flowers bravely beautifying the roadside.

Glory in puddles, in splashing, and in being a child again.

And watch out for the details and the big picture in creation.

Alice in Wonderland Tea::The End

Finally after a few months of slow posting I reached the end. This post is a conglomeration of pictures–decorations, the menu, place settings, and my lovely aunts and their friends. Enjoy!

Carnations and ranunculus–you really can do nice things with carnations. ๐Ÿ™‚

The menu. Inside I printed parts of the story explaining why the food was on the menu.

The place setting

My guests (and me. My mom thought I had to have a few pictures of me serving. So here you go. :))

And last but far from least–my wonderful aunts. If you want to get spoiled and loved lots, just get some like these! I got lucky because I got two!