Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurry

This morning Megan climbed into bed with me for what she calls "mama time." She was laying next to me in the crook of my arm talking and laughing and it was pure bliss. I made the statement that I have missed our snuggle time. She replied that is because you are always in a hurry.


Oh.my! My heart dropped and I think it may have skipped a beat or two. She carried on chatting while I tried to wrap my head around her statement.

I can't stop thinking about it because you know what... she is right. Some mornings she will ask for mama time and I will give her a quick kiss and tell her I have to get in the shower. At lunch the boys are ready for rest so we hurry to get the boys in bed. In the afternoon I tell her to hurry up and clean up her craft or puzzle because the boys will be waking up. Then later I hurry to start dinner so it is ready when Chuck gets home. Then it is hurry so the boys are ready for pick up. Then it is hurry and get through evening task of homework, pick-up, bath and snack.


My heart desires a slow, simple, life. Am I really living that life? I guess in little bits and pieces I am. Do I feel rushed? At moments, yes. Do I want Megan to grow up thinking that I was always in a hurry? Absolutely not!!


The balance of life can be hard. I have had lots to ponder today, and for days to come I am sure. It is time look at my days and make sure my most precious gift doesn't feel like life is hurry, hurry, hurry. My sweet girl is growing fast and I really don't want to miss any snuggles, giggles or smiles while I hurry!




Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Grape Jelly

When I mentioned that I was going to make some jelly I was asked to show how I do it. First you need a cute little helper! :)




Seriously you need to have 5 cups of grape juice. To do this you need approximately 3-4 lbs of Concord grapes. Removes stems, wash grapes and then crush. Put in sauce pan with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes.

I then run the grapes through a sieve to remove seeds and skins. You can take the "pulp" stuff in the top of the sieve and squeeze through cheesecloth to remove more juice. If you end up short on juice you can add up to 1/2 cup of water to equal the 5 cups needed.

Now you proceed to the next step or you can store your juice in the refrigerator for up to a week. This works well for me since I have young kids in my care and don't always have a large block of time.

Pour 5 cups of juice into a large sauce pan.


Stir in one box of pectin. (I prefer Sure Jell.)


Bring to a rolling boil stirring constantly. Then add 7 cups of pre-measured sugar.


Return to a rolling boil stirring constantly. Boil for one minute and then remove from heat. Skim off any foam and then ladle into sterilized jars. Process in a water bath canner for 5 minutes.


Remove jars and place on a towel. You should hear a lovely "pop" sound as the jars seal. Once cool check to ensure all of your jars have sealed. The next day I remove the rings, wash jars in soapy water, date the lid and store to enjoy later!

All of these instructions are included in your box of Sure Jell. I find jelly to be super easy. You can go here and see how I made apple jelly. Hope this helps!

I hope you are taking time to enjoy the simple moments!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Doing What Brings You Joy

It is easy to get caught up in what others are doing. Looking at this blog where everything is made from scratch, looking at that blog where the pictures of her home look like it should be on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. It is a wonderful thing to learn and see new things. The problem begins when we start feeling discontent with the blessings in our own life.

Is it okay to make everything from scratch? If it brings you joy then yes.

Is it okay to decorate and maintain your home as if Better Homes and Gardens would walk in the door? Sure, if it brings you joy.

The point is that we should all be living life in a way that brings joy to you, to your family and most importantly the Lord.

Should your worry if your neighbor looks down on you because you have laundry on the line? If it brings you joy, no.


You have to ask yourself why am I doing this? If you are canning because it is the "in" thing. Then you shouldn't do it. If you find joy hearing the pop of the lids and seeing the jars lined up then yes you should do it!


If you live your life trying to fulfill the perfect imagine of others you will never know true joy.


Finding joy is a personal thing. It really is a matter of the heart. When you do things that are pleasing to the Lord, make you smile, please the ones you love and make your heart sing, then and only then will you find joy.

I hope you are taking time to enjoy the simple moments!




Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Sweet" Teacher Gift

The first week of school is coming to an end and it has been a great week. Megan says that she doesn't like school, she LOVES school! This mama couldn't be happier. :) When I saw this featured I knew exactly what I would send in to celebrate this wonderful week.


You can find the instructions for these here. I made three each for her teacher and classroom aide. I wrapped a piece of card stock around the "pencils" to look like a pencil case and then tied on the tag. It says "I hope your first week has been sweet!" Just a little something that I hope will make them feel appreciated.
I hope you are taking time to enjoy the simple moments!





Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Out and About

Since I didn't get any grapes off of my vine I had to go on a search for concord grapes. I found some at an orchard in a town about forty-five minutes from me. So we headed out on a little road trip.

We drove down some beautiful country roads and found the place we were looking for.




It was a little early for most apples, but seeing all of those full trees was making our mouth water. Megan was a little disappointed that we weren't able to pick. A sample apple put a smile on her face and I assured her that the time is near.

This orchard had a wonderful country store. Selling local beef, blue ribbon winning veggies and they even had some local Amish fair. I spotted some fresh butter and knew it was a must have.



We enjoyed it on our dinner rolls last night and it was wonderful!!


The grapes have been worked into juice and will turn into grape jelly some time this week. I had to buy a jar of store bought a few weeks ago. It doesn't come close to taste of homemade!

I hope you are taking time to enjoy the simple moments!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

School Days

Yesterday was the first day of school. Megan was super excited. She is going to the same place she attended preschool last year. It is a Christian school that goes through 5th grade. She is in their half day program.


My big girl ready to go.


She was impatient with pictures because she was ready to hit the road. She went through the car line like a champ. She declared it fun!


Once in her classroom it was right to work.

I am still keeping the boys four days a week and we had a quiet morning without Megan. Abe missed her like crazy (and so did Mama!). Before we knew it Megan was home. She chattered about all of the kindergarten happenings and asked when she could go back! I call that a success.

I hope you are taking time to enjoy the simple moments!




Monday, August 22, 2011

The Last Days...

of summer vacation. I can't believe the lazy days of summer are about to end around here. :( We have been squeezing in all of the fun we can.


An evening treat.


Making cookies.


Creating.


Playing and making a big mess!


Sleeping in late. Doesn't that position look comfy?!


Doing a favorite chore. Anything that involves a spray bottle is a hit.


A trip to the park.

That is what I have been up to the last few days. Megan heads out this morning for her first day of kindergarten. I have a huge mix of emotions about it. I know she will be fine and have fun, it is just hard on this Mama!

I hope you are taking time to enjoy the simple moments!




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Preserving

I received a call from my mother-in-law asking if I wanted some sweet corn. Of course! I ended up with 4 dozen ears.


An afternoon was spent getting it ready for the freezer.


Thirteen quart bags in the freezer. I still need to put up some more, but this is a start.

Next I will be working on these.


Today I will be making some bread and butter pickles. Yum! So what are you putting up?

I hope you are taking time to enjoy the simple moments!




Sunday, August 14, 2011

Signs of Summer

Since it is August we should be having the dog days of summer. Instead a wonderful cool front has been visiting and it has been so nice! Most of my time is spent outside soaking up all the wonderful weather.



Afternoons you can find us under a shade tree playing.


Lunches are enjoyed on the back porch.


Chasing butterflies... and one was finally captured! (then quickly released)


Cute little piggies.


Daddy spent the weekend working on the fence. He had to remove part of the sidewalk to put a couple of post. Megan was super excited to dig in the dirt.

It looks like this weather will be sticking around all week. Yeah!


I hope you are taking time to enjoy the simple moments!


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Snapshots of My Life

If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves. ~Maria Edgeworth


I love it when my days tick right along and that is exactly what has been happening lately. Many things have happened, nothing exciting, just moments that make up my life.

I recently acquired an electric tart warmer. I love it! I sat it on the entertainment stand and the way I had it arranged it blocked some things. A good reason to do some tweaking.


I am pleased with how it turned out. Even Chuck commented on how he liked the different heights of the pictures.

I am still keeping the boys four days a week.


Spending time snuggling with Eli is such a hard job! :)

Many, many afternoons are spent outside.



Seeing these cute little red faces just screams summer to me. Of course we have been staying hydrated and taking breaks in the cool house.

Chuck had a little mishap and for the last week and a half he has spent lots of time like this.


He was loading a metal cabinet on his truck and it slipped and hit his ankle. A trip to the doctor confirmed that it wasn't broken. Just bruised and very swollen. After days of rest and ice he says it is much better.

Abe celebrated a birthday.


He is now two! It feels like yesterday I started watching that fuzzy headed little baby and now he is a full fledged toddler.

The "new" table is working out well.


We eat dinner not long after Chuck returns home from work. The boys are still here and it is nice that they can join us at the table and enjoy a little snack.

While Megan spent some time at Grandma's I filled the cookie jar.


I thought her expression was priceless when she saw her evening snack.

Much needed rain rolled through this evening along with a cool front. The windows are open and I am enjoying listening to all the wonderful night sounds. I am not wanting to wish summer away, but I am thankful for the cool down.

I hope you are taking time to enjoy the simple moments!