Sunday, September 30, 2012

28 Sep 2012

Thanks to Nick from Hungary Exchange for always finding such informative info for us to share!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Homade Tomato Sauce - The Old Fashion Way

Step One: Wash Away the Dirt
Every year while growing up, my mom made her own tomato sauce.  It was usually a family event with everyone helping out in one way or another since she made enough sauce to last us until the following year.  Unfortunately I was never interested in making the sauce so I usually ended up cooking dinner which was - you guessed it- pasta with homemade spaghetti sauce!  Once I got married I tried using the canned tomato sauce and we hated it so I began making my own.  It's not hard but it is time consuming so if you plan on making a couple of bushels ask a friend to help.
Step Two: Boil Until Soft
Pick your tomatoes and shop for price and quality.  I got lucky this year - 9.99 a bushel, hardly any dirt to wash off, none spoiled and they yielded me 15 jars per bushel.  They weren't filled with a lot of water either so I kind of regret not buying more.                                                                             Step One:  Wash the tomatoes in cold water as many times as needed to clean the dirt off them.   You can also sort at the same time and remove any that look spoiled.   Step Two:  At the same time get a large pot of water boiling on your burner.  If you are only making a small amount you could use a smaller pot on your stove.  Add some to the water and allow to boil.  You will be repeating this step several times until all your tomatoes have boiled.

Step Three: Drain to Remove Excess Water
Step three:  Once the tomatoes have softened scoop them out of the water and into a clean basket or bushel lined with an old tablecloth.  Put weight on top on the tablecloth so the excess water is drained from the tomatoes and then allow them to cool slightly.  Add more tomatoes to your boiling water.
Step four:  Have your tomato press set up on a table.  I wouldn't recommend using a glass top table.  Set up a large pot or pail below the machine but elevate it so it doesn't splatter everywhere.  Use an shallow pan on the left side to catch the peels and most of the seeds.  Do not throw them out right away as you can normally pass them through the machine a second time but not more than that or it may jam up on you.
Step four: Strain
Step five:  In clean jars add a couple of washed basil leaves.
Fill jars to the neck and then put the lids and covers on them tightly.  Once done line them into a VERY large pot or old metal barrel if you have one and fill with cold water until all the jars are covered.  You should use old towels, table clothes or cardboard around the jars inside to keep them from banging against each other or the sides once they begin boiling or they'll break.  Cover pot with a cardboard. 
Put in jars with Fresh Basil
Bring water and jars to a boil and let boil for another 20 - 30 minutes.  Turn off burner and let cool COMPLETELY before removing them.  I usually wait until the following day.  Store them in a catina (cold room) until you're ready to use it.  You can cook with them immediately if you like but you will get more of a "fresh" taste.  I prefer to use my older sauce first and allow them to age a few months but it's a matter of preference.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Organizing My Research

Happy Birthday Son
Booked a few days off this week to take care of a couple of things around here and to celebrate mine and my oldest son's birthday.  It was a quiet day (which is exactly how I wanted it).  I spent it cleaning and organizing projects I had been wanting to get to for months.  The kids took care of dinner and most of the daily chores which left me free to do what I wanted.  We've been in the middle of renovations for most of the summer and I don't think there's a room in this house that hasn't been affected, including my office so it was the perfect opportunity to organize. As with any hobby you never realize just how much junk you can accumulate until you *really* start cleaning and decluttering.  I also didn't want to go through another Fall/Winter looking through tons of paper just to find a particular file either. Besides, a clean and organized space always inspires me to work better.
The filing cabinet in my office is gone as are most of my binders with copies of much of my research.  I decided it was time to go paperless for the most part.  After watching a video* on Legacy Family Tree last fall given by Mary Hill I went to Walmart  and purchased a couple of see through totes to hold my streamlined filing system and a shredder.  I didn't think a color coded system would work for me but so far it has proved to be the best system I have used. In fact I like it so much that I will also be using One Note to duplicate this same system on my computer. 

*The video is no longer freely available but you can download it on the Legacy site for $9.95 or you can check out FamilyRoots Organizer for additional information. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Why Some People Shouldn't Drive

Some people should not, no matter what the circumstances, ever be given a driver's license - me being one of them.  I happen to have the most horrible sense of direction and although I have been diving for almost 30 years I can count the number of times I've driven on a highway on one hand or been able to figure out which way is North, South, East or West when driving.  So it was no surprise that when my son asked me to drive him to a friend's house a fair distance from our home I got a bit nervous.  He couldn't drive himself since he knew he would be drinking (kudo's to him for being responsible) and his dad had already gone to bed so at 10 o'clock this evening we set out.  He drove there taking the simplest route possible so that I should be able to remember the way back easily enough. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.  I started out ok but suddenly I panicked and went opposite the way I was supposed to.  That little mistake cost me two hours driving, a half a tank of gas, four phone calls to my children (who were already looking for me) and a final call to my brother begging him to come and get me..    I can find people that lived almost two hundred years ago and connect them with living relatives and yet I can't find my way home!

My Route:

View Larger Map

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Computer Woes

Looking at this blog I just realized I haven't posted since February!  Didn't seem like that long but so much has happened I guess time just slipped away from me.  My PC has been acting up so I bravely attempted to reinstall VISTA - keep in mind I have never done an install before nor did I later realize was it really needed but hey, that's me.  Of course the computer, although  working was not perfect.  I sort of put files where they shouldn't be and quite a few of my programs no longer worked as they should so last week I enlisted the help of a friend and decided to have him do another clean install for me.  But why stop at VISTA?  Why not install WIN7?  So he did.

A few problems I have since encountered..I didn't have enough RAM to really run WIN7 correctly so number 1 son went out and purchased me some.  While this did speed up my system a hell of a lot my SKYPE, Google Talk, audio and webcam still don't work.  And they keep freezing my computer. In fact, last night for one session I actually got the 'blue screen' telling me windows shut down to protect my operating system.  If this continues I'll be definitely looking for a new PC in a short while.

Not all is lost though --- I was smart enough to back everything, including all my genealogy files onto my server and external hard drive so yay me!

Lots going on..been extracting records from several comuni in Reggio Calabria over the past few months.  At some point I hope to get them all online.  I'm thinking of hiring an assistant or enlist some volunteers to help.  There are so many records but not enough time to do it all myself.  If anyone is interested shoot me a message.  I'd be happy to have the help!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blackout in Effect

In protest of SOPA and PIPA I have blacked out all my sites for the next 24 hours along many other sites.

If internet blacklist legislation becomes law many sites will be blacked out. This may affect sites such as Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook and many more.

To find out more about this law visit

Let's make our voices heard ... STOP AMERICAN CENSORSHIP!

We will return tomorrow.