Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Throw Grandma From the Plane: Noted Children's Author Takes A Leap for Literacy

Jill Vanderwood, author of What's It Like, Living Green? will take a Leap for Literacy, skydiving from 12,500 feet Saturday, September 12, 2009. This is a fundraiser to benefit the Literacy Action Center in Salt Lake City and the Reading Tub in Virginia and promote eco-consciousness through children’s literature.

Ogden, Utah (PRWEB) September 8, 2009---To celebrate Grandparent's Day, Jill Vanderwood will take a Leap for Literacy, on Saturday, September 12th to call attention to the problems of illiteracy and the need for environmental consciousness. Pointing out the fact that 70,000 adults in Salt Lake and Davis Counties cannot read two syllable words, the author hopes to make a difference by providing educational materials for adult learners through the Literacy Action Center in Salt Lake City and kids in Title 1 schools, through the Reading Tub. The West Valley City grandmother will take off and land at Ogden’s Skydive Center at the Ogden Hinckley airport. The event is sponsored by Highland Cove Retirement Community.

Donations for the Leap for Literacy should be made directly to either Literacy Action at 3595 South Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84115-4434 or the Reading Tub at 3585 Glasgow LN, Keswick, VA 22947. Vanderwood plans to travel statewide educating children with her book on the small ways they can help preserve the environment for themselves and future generations.

“I’m 56, a grandmother, and I decided it was time to expand my horizons,” Vanderwood said. “I’ve always wanted to try skydiving and I love writing and educating children. Supporting the cause of literacy and eco-conscious education has given me the courage to take the Leap for Literacy.”

Jill Ammon Vanderwood is the author of four children’s books, including What’s It Like, Living Green? Kids Teaching Kids, by the Way They Live. This book is the winner of the 2009 National Indie Excellence Award in the ‘Green’ category, and The 2009 Teen Development Award, in the Preteen Nonfiction category. The author has also been honored with the 2008 League of Utah Writers, Writer of the Year Award.
For more information, please visit her on the web at www.jillvanderwood.com

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Jill Pickle is Making Dill Pickles

Jill Pickle is Making Dill Pickles

My son is an organic gardener. It’s really just a hobby with him, but also provides a variety of tasty vegetables for our table. This year we grew spinach and three varieties of tomatoes; grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and a much larger table size. We also have zucchini in all shapes and sizes and, of course, the pickling cucumbers!

They don’t call me Jill Pickle for nothing! This year it seems the cucumbers are ready much earlier than last year. Wanting the very best, fresh pickles, my gardener went to an Artesian well to get spring water. He bought and peeled garlic, and even bought sea salt. Since we didn’t have our own dill, we bought locally.
My neighbor, Virginia suggested that we add up to three cloves, (the spice) to each bottle, which we tried with one, just in case we don’t like it.

Here is the recipe for my “Famous” Pickles: ***WARNING*** Once your family has tried these pickles, you may never get away with store bought pickles again.
I cut this recipe out of the newspaper in the Bay area around 1981, and have been making the pickles ever since.

This recipe for dill pickles is from the files of Dr. George York, food technologist at U.C. Davis. They suggest that using this easy method, the cucumbers are place in jars, then the boiling brine is poured over, and the filled jars are processed in a boiling water bath.

Quick Dill Pickles

4 pounds or 2 quarts cucumbers—(this recipe is only for 6 pints or three quarts, so I usually make about two and ½ times the recipe for the brine, so I can make seven jars. My boiling water bath canner holds 7 jars.)

6 teaspoons salt

2 cups vinegar—I use white vinegar and buy it by the gallon

4 cups water

9 heads of fresh dill or 3 tablespoons dried dill

18 peppercorns—don’t use pepper corns that have been in your cupboard for awhile, always buy a fresh bottle.

It is helpful to have a canning funnel and a ladle to fill the jars and a jar lifter to remove hot jars from the canner.

Wide mouth jars are best, since pickles are difficult to remove from regular mouth jars, but I always use whatever I have.

If you have had a box of canning lids for awhile, you will need a fresh box —the ones that are round and flat with the rubber rings—last year’s box of lids usually won’t seal.

Use only perfect canning jars without cracks or nicks and NEW lids, (if they are bent or rusty, toss them into your recycle bin). Check lids—the rings that tighten around the top of the jar--to make sure that they fit perfectly. Wash jars in hot, soapy water and rinse well just before using, the dishwasher works great, and you can keep them warm until you are ready to can the pickles). Wash cucumbers thoroughly. For whole pickles, small cucumbers up to four inches are preferred. Usually with larger cucumbers, it is better to slice, quarter, or halve lengthwise before pickling.

Combine salt, vinegar and water. Heat to boiling. Pack cucumbers into hot, clean jars. For each quart jar add 3 heads of dill, or 1 tablespoon of dried dill, or 1 tablespoon of dill seed, using more or less dill as preferred. Add six whole black peppercorns per jar. Using a canning funnel, fill jars with boiling vinegar-salt solution to ½ of tops for quarts and ¼ inch for pints. Wipe off the top of each jar with a clean, wet cloth. Seal quickly with lids and bands that have just been scalded in boiling water.

Process pint jars for 10 minutes and quart jars for 15 minutes in a simmering water bath. This is when clouds of steam appear.

THE PROCESSING METHOD: Place filled and sealed jars on a rack in a deep pot. Pour in hot water to cover jars. Bring water to simmer and keep it simmering throughout processing time. Add more hot water if needed, to keep jars covered. When processing is done, remove jars and let cool. Remember hot jars may break if set on a cold surface or placed in a draft—I always place a bath towel onto the counter, so I can place the jars on a soft surface.

To test seal: The next day, check to see if jars are tightly sealed. Press center of lid. If lid stays down, the jar is properly sealed.
To store: Label jars and store in a cool, dark place.
For Kosher-style dill pickles: Follow recipe above, except add 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved to each jar.

Makes 6 pints or 3 quarts

The smell of cooking vinegar will clear your sinuses like nothing else I know of. We usually can pickles between August and September, and traditionally open our first jar on Thanksgiving. The longer you can wait to eat your pickles, the better. Last years pickles definitely taste better in our potato salad.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What's It Like, Living Green Fundraiser In Florida

Announcing What's It Like, Living Green Fundraiser for the Hibiscus Children's Center in Florida [original story]
Author Jill Vanderwood to help Jessie Green Reach Hibiscus Playground Fundraising Goal

'Giving Back' has become a family tradition for Devon and Jessie Green. Now the Hibiscus Children's Shelter will get a playground.

Provided by: Michael Green
On March 29, 2008, a letter to the editor appeared in the Stuart News regarding the desperate need for a new playground at the Hibiscus Children's Shelter in Jensen Beach. You can view this letter at: TCPalm

The letter which appeared exactly one year ago today was written by seventeen year old Devon Green, who is well known for helping the shelter to raise money to provide for the children in past years. Devon's letter was an appeal to our generous community to help her younger sister Jessie to raise enough money to build the playground. Now, exactly one year later, a well-known children's author from Utah has offered to contribute a large sum of money that may push this fund raiser "over the top". Jill Ammon Vanderwood is a highly regarded and successful author. She was the 2008 Writer of the Year for the League of Utah Writers. She is the author of four children's books: Through the Rug; Through the Rug 2: Follow that Dog; Stowaway: The San Francisco Adventures of Sara the Pineapple Cat, and her first non-fiction book-What's it Like Living Green: Kids Teaching Kids by the Way They Live-her most recent publication, released by Booksurge Publishing on March 10, 2009.


Mrs. Vanderwood grew up in Oregon, the third of eleven children. Jill and her husband Bill are parents of four and grandparents of six. They make their home in Utah.

Jill loves going on adventures with her grandchildren, she loves to travel and tries to write something every day.

The "kids" whose special stories are told in Jill's most recent book include Martin County's own Devon and Jessie Green. Now, Jill is offering to help Jessie to reach her fundraising goal by contributing the sales profits from 100 books which amounts to a very generous contribution. To make this even more exciting for the shelter kids, Jessie has gathered commitments from local business people for the construction of a water feature in the playground, a hero wall recognizing the contributors who made it possible, and a fence to make the playground safe and private. Stay tuned for further updates as this long awaited successful outcome becomes a reality.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What's It Like, Living Green?

What's It Like, Living Green? Kids Teaching Kids, by the Way They Live
Was published on March 1oth of 2009!

This book is a compilation of stories and tips about living green. You will meet a girl who learned to drive with a car fueled by used cooking grease. You will read about a girl who started a recycling business when she was only five years old, reaching up to one hundred homes and businesses. Learn about Ryan Hreljac, who started Ryan's Well Foundation, by saving up his first $70 to build a well for a school in Uganda, when he was seven years old.

Kids and their familes are making a difference for the environment, and so can you.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Reuse Tips

Reuse Tips From-
Jill A. Vanderwood
Whats it Like Living Green?

· When planning a backyard barbeque, I invited guests to bring a potluck dish and their own reusable utensils, plates and cups. This cut down on the waste of plastic and paper products.
· When having a picnic at the park, carry your own reusable dishes and utensils. Have you seen the overflowing trash cans at the park?
· Do you pack lunches for your family for work or school? There is no need to buy paper lunch bags or sandwich bags. We use lunch boxes and reusable sandwich-sized containers.
· Do you pack chips or cookies for lunches? Try using small reusable containers, which fit right into a lunch box.
· What about plastic utensils? Sam’s Club® or Costco® carry stainless steel utensils in restaurant packs of spoons, forks or knives at a reasonable price. These won’t match your regular utensils, but they come in handy for yogurt or dessert, and they won’t cause waste in a landfill.
· Are you trying to cut back on the use of paper towels? K-mart® sells bulk packages of thin washcloths. These are very handy for quick clean-ups and they can also work well in a lunch box, as a napkin.
· When I started carrying a reusable water bottle to work, I soon noticed that everyone else began carrying one as well.
· If you are like me, it’s hard to remember to bring the cloth bags into the grocery store, even though they are in my car. I’ve found something that helps. If I get up to the checkout without the bags, I ask the cashier to load my groceries back into the cart, without bags. I then take the food to my car and pack the items into my own bags. Soon, to avoid embarrassment, you will remember your bags.
· Stores in my area offer a five-cent credit for any reusable grocery bags you use. They also give me that same credit when I refuse a bag.
· Be sure to watch when someone is bagging your food. The baggers are so fast, they may have all of your groceries bagged before you hand them your reusable bags.
· Don’t be afraid to make a change. Your example will help others to take a green leap.
Watch for my new book in 2009--What's It Like Living Green? Kids Teaching Kids by the Way They Live