It Takes a Village

WOW! It has been almost 3 years since I had a blog post – the time has flown and I just am not sure where it went. I started this blog with the BEST intentions and then I suppose that life got in the way.

You see,  I am a working mother of 4 (yes FOUR) children. Our oldest at home is 15 (we have a 28 year old as well who is well off on her own in the world), then there are the “middle children”, 16 months apart ages 7 & 8. Finally, our sweet Shelby Sunshine. She is our 4th and final child and 16 months old.

Interestingly enough, the last time I shared a blog post I was in Florida. Well, I am back again and just happen to have some “free” time. Given my family size, free time is a rare commodity and time alone with my spouse is equally as rare. But, while walking on the beach with him last night I reflected on how GRATEFUL I was for this time away and remembered “It takes a village”.

I am traveling for work and was able to stretch it a few days and have my hubby here too. I can barely remember the last time we were away alone with nothing to do.  I LOVE my children and there is actually nothing I love more than being a mommy. But, sometimes I just need some time to unwind.

There are so many hands that have helped to make this weekend away happen.  Seven people actually… They picked up my kids, dropped them off, stayed with them overnight, changed diapers, cooked meals, took them to baseball, soccer, Jack and Jill, got them off of the school bus and back on, combed hair and settled arguments – I am sure there were a few.  I hope that I can thank them and that they know how important they are to us.

So, in this short stint away, I am reminded of what is important to me: my family, my husband, and me. I am important to me. My health, sanity, spiritual health, mental health, emotional health, physical health are all important to me. I have to take time to nurture me – as much as I nurture my 4 children. I have to take time to nurture my marriage- just as much as I nurture my 4 children.

In short, life is about balance – easy to say for sure. I suppose that will be my focus over the next few weeks – paying attention to my life and balancing things. For now, I am going to enjoy the next 24 hours away and just relax.

 

 

 

 

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To Swim – Or Not To Swim? That is the Question

I am four weeks into my swimming lessons and am on the verge of week five. I have missed a few lessons due to vacations with the family. During these weeks I have learned something key –

1.  Kids learn to swim because they play in the water so they get a better sense of what they feel like in the water (above and below the surface).

girl swimming

2. I do not play in the water….

But, I AM following the advice of my daughter to “Listen to my teacher”. A progress report is coming.

Stay Tuned

“Mommy, listen to your teacher!”

Words of wisdom from my 4-year-old daughter as I packed up my swim bag to leave for my first lesson yesterday. When she saw me getting ready to leave she asked if I was heading to my swim lesson. I told her yes and she suddenly transformed into my “big” little girl. She told me to sit with her. So I did. She then became my “coach”. She told me how I was going to have to practice blowing bubbles, and put my face in the water and kick my feet. She ran down a long list of exercises I would do including the kickboard complete with a visual demonstration of how to move my arms.  I was impressed that she could explain so much! I thanked her and told her I would do my best. As I was getting up to leave and putting my bag over my shoulder she said “Mommy wait!” I looked back and she smiled and said “Mommy, listen to your teacher!”

What GREAT advice – I wonder where she got that from!

Made With Love, And God’s Help!

strawberriesEvery spring I make an effort to go strawberry picking. It doesn’t always happen though. But, this year I managed to pick the right day, time, and number of children to bring along and I got to Jones Family Farm https://www.jonesfamilyfarms.com/ at 8:30-ish this morning to go picking.

It was a BEAUTIFUL Saturday morning in Connecticut! 75 degrees or so and sunny! we rode on the tractor out to the fields and I just knew this was going to be great! The strawberries were simply beautiful and there were just SO many! The children helped pick (something that is a rare experience since they always seem to want to eat more than pick and just fool around). 12 pounds and one hour later we were back on the tractor to pay and head home.

After a few stops around town in search of mason jars and fruit pectin we were home and the fun began.

MAKING STRAWBERRY PRESERVES!

I am no pro at this. I just learned a few years ago from reading the directions in the box of pectin. But, this year I consulted my new favorite cook book “The Joy Of Cooking” (I LOVE this book) and explored a few new recipes and took some time to learn about liquid versus non-liquid pectin and canning methods. I wont bore you with the details but I will share some before and after pictures

Helper #1 - "Mr. Oh So Helpful!"

Helper #1 – “Mr. Oh So Helpful!”

Helper #2 - "Miss I'm Not So Helpful"

12 pounds of fresh picked strawberried - YUMMY!!!

12 pounds of fresh picked strawberries – YUMMY!!!

So, once I was home and read the directions on the pectin, I got everything ready.

Getting Ready to Get Started

Getting Ready to Get Started

my first batch of preserves

My first batch of preserves

24 Jars of YUMMY Strawberry Preserves

24 Jars of YUMMY Strawberry Preserves

So, while I am by no means a pro at canning or even making preserves. I am pretty good at it (If I do say so myself). I really enjoy making them and luckily it was quiet and peaceful in my kitchen (Children were outside playing). So, it was just me, my berries, my cooking music and God this afternoon.

We will try them out tomorrow morning. Stay tuned!