Monday, May 27, 2013

We Be Jammin'.... heehee

It's strawberry season!! We met up with some friends for berry picking, and naturally, we HAD to make jam with our yummy fruit.
It was a beautiful day for berry picking.... slightly overcast and just a little breezy. Not too hot, not too sunny. Just right!
Strawberry freezer jam is one of our favorite things. It's really quite easy to make; give it a go!
Mash 'em. 
 Mash 'em good.
 Stir the pectin and sugar mix. Note: be sure to buy the "freezer pectin" not just regular pectin; this is what makes it work without the boiling method!  

 Add to the berries....

 Beautiful red!!
Pour into jars...
Lick the bowl and whisk, of course!!

 Store the jars in the freezer, and begin dreaming of all the delicious ways to use your strawberry freezer jam!!
How we used it on Memorial Day:
Stay tuned for more summertime adventures in the herd! :)


Saturday, May 11, 2013

On Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a holiday that causes me equal parts joy and extreme discomfort. I love being a mother...every part of it has changed me; mostly for the better. But its this holiday that makes me squirm. People all around my life are posting cute pictures of them with their mother, telling sweet memories and stories of childhood. That is wonderful, and I am glad with them that they experienced that love and can look back fondly.

We can't all look back on childhood with fondness, however. Some of us are just 100% relieved that we are grown and those years are passed. Some of us have no pictures to post, no anecdotes to share. Some of us have a hard time even turning onto the card isle this time of year. To honor that which has brought so much pain, judgement, and heartache into my life...that is a hard task to accomplish, for certain.

I know some people will try to tell me that I should "honor my parents while they are here on earth". Should I? Is it ALWAYS the "right" thing to do? To gloss over the years of pain and hurt for the sake of.... ?

I know some people will tell me I need to heal more, that I need to give all of this over to the Lord, and trust that He will help my heart be whole, and that I can love others despite their words, actions, and opinions.

The thing is, I communicate with Him regularly regarding this subject. I pray for love to grow, and for pain to lessen. I'm doing my part, and giving Him my heart. He has done much; I have grown as a parent...I've got more confidence that I can do this "mom" gig successfully moreso than I did a year ago. But healing is a step by step process, a daily commitment to become something different than I used to be, to let go of fear, hurt, anger, pride, insecurity, and the harsh words that seem to hang on and linger no matter how fast I run in the opposite direction. Healing is messy. It cannot be glossed over, it has to be REAL.

In this season of my life, healing does not mean I must be present and celebrating because a calendar tells me so. Right in this moment, healing looks like spending every moment I can with my own little ones, curbing my own words and actions so that their memories are worlds more positive than my own. Right now, healing looks like being a mother, and looking forward, not backward.

As I said, I am extremely glad for all my friends who will be able to hug their mothers tomorrow, to take them out to eat, present the perfect Hallmark card, and enjoy an afternoon of laughter, tears and love.

 Celebrating what motherhood should look like is very important.

 Please just try and remember in the midst of your holiday that there are those whose experience differed drastically. There are those who are doing all we can to smile through the day and step by step recover from the past. Pray for us, that our futures, and our sons' and daughters' futures, may be brighter and that one day Mother's Day will look like we've always hoped it would; with the renewal and change we reap from what we sow with our own babies now. 

Happy Mother's Day, from our herd to yours.

Friday, May 10, 2013

I Wanna Go to AWANA :)

We love that our kids get to be a part of a fantastic AWANA program at our church. We had our end of the year awards ceremony this past Wednesday. So proud of both my little elephants.... Pink Elephant got to say the Cubbies key verse during the program, and did an excellent job. Blue Elephant finished 2 years worth of work in just one! (Playing catch up since he was still a Cubbie during his Kindergarten year.) Daddy Elephant and I are proud of each of our little clubbers! :)

Pink Elephant learned 28 verses this year, and will be moving up to the Sparks Club in the fall. Blue Elephant learned 85 verses this year, and will be entering his last year of Sparks as a 2nd grader this fall. Great work, AWANA elephants! Love, M.E.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Almost Done....And NOW I Blog About It! ;)

We are almost done with our school year. What I mean by "almost" is that tomorrow is the last day of school! It will have been 182 days of learning, adventures, memories, and family-oriented fun. I truly love teaching my children; about life, the Lord, and 'book' learning, too. Now that we are "almost" done, I will have time to blog about all that we did...well, okay, not ALL. A few glimpses, more like it. I mean, I want to enjoy the summer sun as much as they do- and get my revamped schoolroom into tip-tip shape for the upcoming 2013-14 school year this fall.....when I will be teaching a 2nd grader and a (gulp!) Kindergartener! I cannot believe my babies are this old, already... Pink Elephant is about to be 5 in July. How? When? WHAT? :(  Bittersweet....yet, I am so excited to walk through Kindergarten with her. Can't wait to be there for her lightbulb moments, discoveries of new things, new ideas, new truths. I've been blessed to see her learn to read, already. (Totally unexpected and self-directed, I just followed her lead!) BUT I'm getting away from my original thought. (Not hard to do, if you know me! LOL).

OKAY! Now, what you've all gathered here for..... pictures of my beautiful little elephants. I mean, that IS why you're reading, right?!? Yep, I thought so! Here are a few things we did this year....

Part of our reading curriculum this year was an Eric Carle Unit...and I just can't resist the opportunity to turn something into a craft! 
My budding reader...SO proud of my Pink Elephant!

The Very Lonely Firefly required a puppet show, of course!

Of course, we had to love on Stripes in the middle of things....

During our USA Exploration, I wanted to study the Iditarod in Alaska. We couldn't find a copy of "Balto" rent, to buy, Netflix,, we made our sled-dog snack and settled on "Eight Below"(set in Antarctica) which the kids loved!!

Blue Elephant went up to his room to play after the movie, and then came back downstairs with this....his own sled dog team, made of legos! I love the little lego man riding on it. Also, I happen to adore the little Elephant who built this.....

More Eric Carle, this time with a snack for The Grouchy Ladybug. I used this book as a spring board to discuss "politeness vs. rudeness" with both the kids. This is a hard to grasp concept for BE; with his ASD, he has to learn how to be mindful his tone and choice of words. I think the book helped him understand a lot!
Our USA Exploration brought us to Idaho the week before Easter, so I thought some springtime potato stamping might be fun.... (we also made mashed potatoes together, but that was a different activity, and'd rather see a cool potato stamp than a pile of mashed potatoes, am I right?!)

My favorite painting buddies....

Yes, I had to do one, too... what is parenthood but re-living your childhood through fresh eyes?

Another Eric Carle activity... I'm telling you, we did about 10 EC books this year, and I loved every single one! The kids looked forward to craft/snack day each week, almost as much as I did! For The Foolish Tortoise, we decorated (gluten free) pizza crusts to look like Tortoise Shells! :)

No, there isn't cheese, either. We've all learned to adapt to the GFCFSF is just a fun privilege, no matter the lack of dairy! :) 

Pink Elephant enjoying her tortoise shell pizza.....

 I leave you with a shot of my sweet Blue Elephant. This has been a 'slice' of our school year as a whole. Thanks for stopping looking for our "last day" celebration pictures, soon!

I love my elephants!!