Blueberry Picking

About a year ago, I found out that there is a U-Pick Blueberry Farm in our area–Leavelle Farms! I was so excited…until I realized that it was already closed for the year. 😦 Bummer. I was determined not to miss it again, though, so I “liked” their Facebook page to make sure I was notified when they reopened.

They opened in mid-June, and I kept trying to schedule a trip out there…and kept having conflicts come up. I’m actually glad that I didn’t get to go sooner, because Michael was able to go with us when we finally got to go! Woohoo! I love a family adventure!

We headed out mid-morning on Saturday. We arrived to find the weather pleasant and the sky overcast–perfect berry-picking weather!  The farm was perfect–plenty of bushes with lots of berries, easily accessible bathroom (essential for a pleasant outing with kids), friendly owners, and only $6 per GALLON of berries you pick! We picked and picked…even through a rain shower. We all got a bit wet, but we also left with a full gallon of berries to enjoy.

It was a wonderful day, but I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves…

(I apologize for the focus issues in some my pictures. I’m still working on getting used to my camera, and I get in too much of a hurry sometimes.)

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Note that the focus here is on the bush, not the adorable face…should’ve switched to manual mode… 😉

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Note that NOTHING is in focus here…I like to call this one “auto-UNfocus”

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Marked improvement. I love this shot.

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All of my guys working together…smile.

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And finally, my little drowned rat. 🙂 Sweet boys, sweet berries, and sweet memories. You can’t beat that.

We had so much fun that I gathered up my mom, my niece and nephew, and our awesome neighbor friends and went back on Monday! We gathered another 4 gallons between the three families! There are now 12 quarts of berries in the freezer to get us ALL through the winter with muffins, cobblers, and other blueberry dishes. 🙂

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I’ll have to share my recipe for blueberry cobbler that came out of this adventure soon, too. 🙂 Yum!!

 

 

Kids in the Kitchen

My guys and I had a great afternoon in the kitchen. Things have been really hectic lately, and I haven’t gotten to spend very much time just hanging out with them in a while. Since Zander’s progress report was really good (including a 7 point jump in his lowest score from his last report card!), I had promised to make monkey bread as a treat.

As I was gathering all of the ingredients, Wyatt popped open his step ladder to join me. He was determined to help me cook, and instead of trying to get him out from under foot…I found him a job. In fact, I let him do a job that he’s never gotten to do before–using a knife to cut something up! He got to use a table knife to cut the biscuit dough into quarters before dropping them into the bag of cinnamon sugar. Zander got in on some of the cutting action too, and we had the whole pack cut up before long.

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A few shakes of the bag in each set of hands, and we were ready to dump the dough pieces into the Bundt pan, pour the butter and brown sugar goo on the top, and bake it!

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I tried to let it  cool a bit before serving, but it already looked like this before I was able to snap a shot. 🙂

A half eaten loaf of monkey bread.

This is how the monkey bread looked after I tried to let it cool enough to eat. I had to put it out of reach (notice it is sitting on the coffee pot) so the kids couldn’t grab any more before supper. It didn’t help at all to keep MY hands off of it.

This project wasn’t anything fancy, and we just used the recipe on the 4-count package of small Pillsbury Biscuits. It was the time and focus and fun that really made this one special.

Simple Saturday

I’m linking up with Iris via Dwija for {Simple Saturday}

Ok…since it’s been a while since I’ve posted, and since I’m so exhausted by this tornado of a child that I call “Wyatt,” all you get is a picture.

This one is worth a thousand words at least.

And very few of them can be said in the presence of said child.

Tiny Terror paints on wall

I call it, “Toddler in Acrylic on Drywall.”

Guess what’s next on the home-renovation list?

NOT this room. Not till he gets past his Picasso phase.

 

Finding Balance

I wrote the first part of this post over a week ago. It is a testament to the last week’s craziness that I am just now being able to finish it. Oh well! It still holds true.  

I am struggling with exhaustion, frustration, and edging toward burn-out. In the past month, I have been trying to live as if I am already a stay-at-home mom while continuing to fulfill my obligations at work. It’s really the essence of what made me want to make this change, but knowing that the end of this season is in sight makes it so much harder to wait for it.

It feels like those last few weeks of pregnancy. You know that your life is about to change immeasurably, you know the change is going to be challenging but rewarding, and you know that there’s nothing that you can do to make it come any faster without creating problems. I have been trying to diaper the baby before it has even been born.

In the last few weeks I have been cleaning, decluttering, baking, cooking, meal planning, bargain shopping, budgeting, and blogging. I do pretty much all of those things anyway, but I have been in super-hyper-overdrive. I have been running myself into the ground.

I am going to have to find some perspective and balance. I am enjoying doing the things that I have been doing, but I have added too much too fast. I can’t expect to be able to do what I have never been able to do just because I quit my job. I still have at least 6 weeks to work before I can really embrace the changes that I am so looking forward to.

The last week at home with a sick baby has both helped and hurt this challenge in unforseen ways. I have had to accept the fact that sometimes, you just have to nap with the baby…even if there are dirty dishes in the sink. I have also lost a good bit of the cleaning head-start that I had achieved with my initial adrenaline rush. My house is a wreck again. Arrgh!

The positive side (and there’s ALWAYS a positive side) is that I have purged so much stuff that my house is cleaner than before even as messy as it is right now. There are about 30 fewer cups and glasses available to BE dirty, so there are fewer dirty cups and glasses. There are about 500 fewer pieces of clothes available to BE dirty, so I have done a maintainance level of laundry washing all along instead of just pulling yet another outfit from my clothes basket.

I am making progress, but I want to do so much more. I want to have the time and energy to do everything. It is frustrating to be so limited, but it is just God’s way of making us prioritize. He will only give us one “tank of gas” per day, and only 24 hours to use it. If we try to do more than we are capable of, our bodies will stop us in our tracks. I want perfection. I have never been close to it, but I am sure that it is lovely.

Just imagine–all of the laundry is washed and put away…maybe even ironed. All of the dishes are clean, and there is a delicious, nutritionally-balanced meal on the table that kids and husband will both love. The bank account is at a comfortable level, and all of the bills are already paid for the month. The pantry is well-stocked with the foods and supplies that we need. We have a family devotion every morning in which we share our prayers with each other and grow closer to God and each other. We never raise our voices in anger, and all….

Ok…I get it. I have watched too many 50’s era TV shows.

Reality is nothing like that, but a girl can dream, right?

I am not really trying for perfection. I have to remind myself of that frequently. I am working for PROGRESS. I am taking baby steps toward a cleaner, better, more peaceful, and more joyful home. Until I am home full-time, I have got to find a way to pace myself. In fact, I will need that discipline even once I am at home too.

For me, for now, I think that finding “balance” means taking a Sunday afternoon nap while my boys sleep. It means that sometimes, the dishes have to wait. It means that I understand that it’s not always a good thing to push yourself to your limit. Sometimes it is needed and necessary, but sometimes it’s just overactive perfectionism and pride.

Now, I have to wrap this up. I’m going to catch a quick nap.

Wednesday Project–Glassware Galore

So…I have been home for two days now with my little man. We determined yesterday morning that he has contracted Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. If you don’t know what that is, be thankful.

I have an almost two year-old with a mouth FULL of BLISTERS. His hands are also covered, and his feet have a sprinkling thrown in for good measure. He is miserable. I am miserable. My efforts toward nightweaning have been thrown out the window.

For the record, we were on night FIVE of nightweaning. That is FOUR nights that I successfully held out and sacrificed sleep for the sake of the dream of a night spent in my own bed after almost two years on the couch/extra bed.

The fifth night was the night that his mouth, apparently, broke out in painful blisters. He wailed, he cried, I crumbled. He still didn’t sleep. He didn’t sleep last night either.

I. AM. A. MOMBIE. (It’s like a zombie, but more maternal…and seeks coffee instead of brains, but with the same passion.)

All of that to say…the project for this week is not going to be impressive, nor is it going to have “before” pictures. I will, however, post a picture of all the stuff I pile up to donate before it goes out the door.

My project was started inadvertently this morning while I was operating on a week’s worth of missed sleep and only one cup of coffee. I was talking to my mom and began gathering up “stuff” that I have been meaning to purge. Coffee cups, old glasses, extra bowls, two extra steam baskets for the one pot that fits them, you get the picture…

I ma going to continue to clear out pitchers, vases, and the myriad glassware that lives in my house for the purpose of collecting dust. I have several pieces that I love and will keep. The cool thing is that I will now be able to find a spot for them to be seen! At least, that’s the plan. Check back with me on Monday to see how it goes!