Tuesday, August 23, 2016

1st Day of School 2016/2017

As I'm typing this, we have another 1st day of school under wraps.
Our school day begins at 8:30 and we finish up at noon, aside from an hour of reading in the afternoon, when the smallest Hilty is napping.

This year presented a new challenge, I have a kindergartner.
I've never taught a child how to read, & I'm still not too confident that I have what it takes :) but I'm giving it my best shot!
My 1st year of homeschooling, the children were way past the stages of learning to read & homeschooling them was/is no hardship at all. Aside from a little guidance here & there, they are able to do it on their own. This year, I'm very hands-on & sit with my Kindergartner the entire morning.

1st Day of Kindergarten for this one!

1st day of 4th grade!

1st day of 6th grade!

1st day of 7th grade!

This one wants in on all the action! He sits right next to me & has approximately 100 questions for the duration of the school day. Something tells me I need to pick up a few preschool work books & let him in on the action.

I am so grateful that each one of the children enjoys being home-schooled. I love the fact that they aren't sitting behind a school desk for 6+ hours every day...the next few weeks/months of fall, are the best months of the entire year(in my humble opinion) :) 
The stifling, can't-breathe-when-outside,  heat of summer-time is behind us & the children are spending so many hours of play, outside. 
I feel as if we're prolonging summer break, by being able to enjoy these gorgeous afternoons, outside.

Lifting my cup of jo-Here's to another successful school year. Stretching & growing young minds, building good character & embracing the moment!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dog days of summer

The "dog days of summer" Some of the hottest days of the year, is when my garden goes a little crazy & everything ripens all at once.
Earlier this week, I canned 19 pint salsa. Yesterday there was 10 dozen ears of corn to clean & freeze, & today I'm in the kitchen, elbow deep in sauce.


My house smells like a little Italian Granny's kitchen :)
The smell of tomatoes, peppers & onions simmering on the stove top has to be one of my favorite things about canning season.

There is something so fulfilling about filling the cellar shelves with home-canned goodies from my garden...& when the snow flies & there are sub-zero temperatures outside, I don't need to venture outside. I just need to head to the basement to do my grocery shopping, Husband can pick up the basics on the way home from work :)

Here are the recipes I used if you're interested...

14 cup tomatoes, peeled & diced
3 cup onion, chopped
2 cup green bell peppers, diced
1/2 tomato sauce
3 T sea salt
1 T chili powder
1 T garlic powder
1 1/2 t cumin
2 T organic cane sugar
5 T clear jell
1/2 cup vinegar
-Mix clear jel & vinegar. In a large mixing bowl, mix all other ingredients then add the vinegar/clear jel mixture. put in pint jars & cold pack for 15 minutes.

Pasta/Pizza Sauce
1/2 bushel tomatoes(9 quarts juice)
4 large onions
4 large green peppers 
2 sweet banana(or hot peppers)
2 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
5 T oregano
5 T sea salt
1 T + 1 t black pepper
2 T basil leaves
4-12oz cans tomato paste
6 T flour
1 1/2 cup olive oil
-cut up tomatoes, peppers & onions & place in a large stock pot. Simmer for one hour, then blend in a blender. return to the stock pot. Mix the oil & flour & add to the pot. add remaining ingredients & simmer for 1 hour. pour into jars & cold pack for 1/2 hour.

-If you're gluten intolerant, eliminate the flour & simmer the sauce till it reaches the desired thickness.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Celebrating Gracie's 11th Birthday

Little miss ended up celebrating her Birthday the entire week of her special day. Not a bad way to celebrate...

We have a once-monthly family dinner with my extended family & it just happened to fall on Gracie's Birthday this year, so we had to have cake & presents :)

Grandma Raber has a special gift for knowing & remembering the special interests of her grandchildren & buys gifts accordingly. 
Grace loves puttering around in the kitchen, helping me bake pastries & helping to cook the family meals. Ever since she watched the American Girl movie "Grace" (who also loves to bake) I haven't been able to keep her out of the kitchen :)
She is now the proud owner of  2 cookbooks of her very own. Grandma also made the sweet little apron shes wearing.

...more goodies

Earlier in the week, she had 2 of her cousins over for a Tea Party Luncheon, complete with dainty tea cups & Mama's wedding china.

Her gifts from Mama & Daddy...she was thrilled :)

Every day, I thank God for giving me a little pink in my life. Someone to do all the girly things with. Your adventurous spirit inspires me. Your willingness to help, in all areas, blesses me.
Your sensitivity to other's needs, challenges me to be more sensitive...
I'm so proud of the young lady you are becoming.
I love you, sweet girl <3

Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer-time Happenings

Hello there!
It's been pretty quiet here lately. It's summer-time & most of our time has been spent outside. Swimming, camping, sleepovers & wading in the creek with cousins & the neighborhood children...
This will also go down as the summer that I took little to no photos :(
3 weeks till school starts & there are no digital memories of summer 2016...
I need to change that very soon!

Today, the children & I spent most of our morning in the garden, & all afternoon in the kitchen.

We picked the 1st of the tomatoes...adding these tiny tomatoes to your sauces, creates a thick, rich sauce base...I washed these, put them in a freezer bag & threw them in the freezer till I have more ripe tomatoes to add to them.

Then we washed & peeled the cucumbers, put them in jars & pickled them. This is the children's favorite recipe for pickles. They eat them like they're candy.

Banana Pickles
Peel & slice in quarters, length-wise.
Pack tightly into quart or pint jars.
In a large saucepan, combine:
6 cup organic cane sugar
2 cup water
2 cup vinegar
2 T. turmeric
2 T. salt
2 T. mustard seed...
Bring to a boil then pour pickling juice over cucumbers & cold pack in a water bath for 10 minutes after it comes to a boiling point....

Then there were sweet banana peppers to clean, slice & preserve...

Sweet Banana Peppers
Slice peppers into thin rings & put into jars...
In a medium sauce pan, bring remaining ingredients to a boil & pour pickling juice over the pepper rings in the jar.
3 cup white vinegar
2 cup water
2 T. sea salt
2 T. organic cane sugar
1 garlic clove (per jar)
Cold pack in a water bath for 10 minutes after it comes to a boil.

These sweet banana peppers stay crisp, unlike some other recipes I've tried.
We love using them on tacos, sloppy nachos, chili, pizza & so much more!

Thats all for today :) ...Happy Monday!