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  • Jennifer Sydney Stewart

summer christmas

I’ve been putting on a private musical performance in my children’s bedroom at night. Every night they both ask me to sing to them. Each of them a different song. Somewhere Over the Rainbow has been my son’s favorite these days. I try to switch it up a bit with Papermoon or even My Favorite Things with him, but he’s pretty set on my Wizard of Oz. However, my daughter’s favorite song is Jingle Bells. And for whatever reason, she asks me to sing Jingle Bells to her every single night. Except this last week, she insisted I sing just Christmas songs. I tried to explain to her that Jingle Bells is a Christmas song, but alas, I found myself singing in the dead of summer, Let it Snow, Silent Night, Up On The Roof Top, and out of the blue I started singing to her O Holy Night. Not really realizing how long the song was, I found myself going into a full blown mode, Andrea Bochelli style, O Holy Night. I was deep into the high note so much that I looked down and noticed she had fallen asleep!! I walked out of the room laughing to myself. Thinking what if every audition I had, whether it for TV, film, or stage, was just for my daughter. And I had to perform JUST for her. I would 100% get every part. And that left my heart so very full that evening.

We live on, what was once, an old Blackberry Farm. Not in use anymore, of course, but the vines are still here. What’s left of them. Blackberrys are coming out of my ears on this property! So much so that I’ve been busy this summer making all kinds of Blackberry Jam. My canner has been busy!!! So In honor of my night time performances and those sweet ears that listen, I want to share with you a recipe. Here is a taste of a simple Vanilla Blackberry Jam Recipe to share with you. And goodness it is delicious!

Blackberry Vanilla Jam

Blackberry Vanilla Jam Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of fresh blackberries

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 vanilla bean


  • Split the vanilla bean and scrap the beans using the back of a knife.

  • Place blackberries in a sauce pot and add sugar, lemon juice, vanilla bean. Use a fork to mash the ingredients together and sit aside to macerate for a couple of hours.

  • Place sauce pot with ingredients over medium heat. Bring mixture to a gentle boil stirring continuously. Cook for about 10-15 or until thickens.

  • Remove jam from the heat and let cool. Store jam in glass jars in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Or to preserve fill your canner up with water so it covers the jars by 2" and boil for 15 minutes to seal!

I’ve chosen Carrie Underwoods version of this epic Christmas song. Because now I clearly have to pair this beautiful jam with O Holy Night. Even in August, it sits well with you. Making your summertime Blackberry jam that much more significant. Enjoy!!

I’m often reminded of how lucky I am to learn from two toddlers on a daily basis. How much they are listening, learning, and loving full heartedly. I love being an actor because I get to play pretend, tell stories… but for these little monkeys, they get to play pretend and make up stories every day. And that’s a beautiful thing. Thank you babies, for letting me put on a concert for you. That falsetto never sounded so good.

As it's been said, Christmas should be year round... so Merry Christmas my lovely readers! And Cheers to the remainder of your summer, fall and soon to be Holiday season.

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