Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Family Time :: The Norfolk Botanical Gardens





My husband works interesting hours and days since he is in the restaurant business. It is how it has always been since we've been married, so I am used to it now. It also is one of the bigger reasons why we home school. A normal shift for him goes from about 2 pm from anywhere to 11 pm or 2 am (depending on the season). His days off usually are Mondays and Tuesdays but this summer we've been blessed enough to also get him most of Wednesdays too. If the kids we're in school or even pre-school, they not get to see him very much since he works night shifts and isn't off evenings. But I digress! 

It's made for an interesting social life for us but we make it work. Our other couple friends have more 9-5 jobs. But the one happy benefit is that we get lots of time together. He also is able to be a part of the kid's home schooling. We try to devote one day each week to going out somewhere with the kids. Then once a month we try to go somewhere extra special, like cherry picking. 


This past week we all packed up and headed to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. My Grandmother's house- and my mother's and father's childhood homes- are super close to the gardens. I went there a few times as a child but was wholly unimpressed. But a few years back we went again with Craig's family and man had it changed! It is seriously is a Waldorf homeschoolers dream land. They have a dirt factory, sand mountain, water play area, edible garden, Tee-pee village, desert village, farm play area, butterfly house, and enchanted forest. I am sure there is more and that those names aren't the correct ones, but you get my drift!! 

Our monthly theme is berry picking and we were able to pick and eat a few blackberries while we were there in their edible garden as well as plant some seeds, among many other things! 

What did you all get to do this week? How do you work in family time together? I'd love to know!

Love and light,
Nicole

PS: Don't forget to enter my $75 Nova Natural giveaway. I am extending the entry deadline until Sunday at midnight! A few working Mamas emailed me and asked about an extension since they don't get to use the computer much during the week. I am happy to do so! 





Eating lunch next to the worms in the compost bin!! 



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Virginia's Peaches: Picking and A Canning Recipe








Hello dear friends! I am so excited to share with you bit of our peach picking trip that my family took this past Tuesday. As I mentioned in my last post, Summer for us is fruit filled. Beginning with strawberries in May and ending with blueberries in August (plus apple in September),  we spend our summer picking and day tripping. 

Last Summer we managed to squeeze in strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and apples. However this year my daughter is determined to pick everything that comes in season... in our state! Sadly we already missed cherry season by two days due to a late frost that killed most of the orchard's crop but I was happy to discover peaches just came in season. So we packed all the kids up- baby too- and headed to Charlottesville which is about 2-2.5 hours away. While the weather was a bit cloudy and sprinkling on our way up, the trip was so worth it.  Once you've picked and eaten a fresh peach- all other peaches will pale in comparison. 

The orchard we went to was the same one we visited this Autumn with our co-op, Carter Mountain. I have come to really love this place. The set-up is great, especially for families. It is also beautiful. Every time I visit this area of our state, I don't want to leave. I adore the mountains.  After we picked, and treated ourselves to some fresh baked peach donuts and peach cider slush- we headed home to make peach cobbler, juice, and jam. 

I used my bread maker this time to make jam. My machine specifically has a jam setting! I was given this maker for Christmas from my mother. I use it almost daily. You'd be surprised how many things is can make. I primarily use it to make dough, so I can shape and bake my bread it myself. But I digress, I will just have to write a bread maker post another time!







I doubled and slightly modified the recipe that was included in my bread maker cookbook. You can also follow this recipe by using your stove top, just skip down and I explain that process below. 

Also if you blanch your peaches first, it makes peeling them so much easier! 


Virginia Peach Jam

Ingredients:
-4 cups of peeled and sliced peaches (if yours are not mushy ripe yet then you'll need to slightly mash them)
-2 cups organic sugar
-1 tps of apple pie spice (optional but I liked the extra kick it gives) 
-5 tps of lemon juice 
-3 tbls regular fruit pectin (optional but since peaches have less natural pectin in them and your jam will be a bit runny and more like preserves if you omit this)

If your using a bread machine, select your jam setting and sit back! Once it's done transfer your jam immediately to their jars. If you don't process them in a hot water bath, then you will need to keep your jams in the fridge or freezer. Processed jar will last 6 months in your pantry. 

If you don't have a bread machine, just add all the ingredients to a large boiling pot and bring your jam to a boil, stirring constantly. Once you've got a rolling boil add your pectin and boil for two minutes. Then remove from heat and transfer your jam immediately to their jars. As I said above, if you aren't going to give them a hot water bath to seal the jars, you'll need to put them right into your fridge or freezer. 

Cheers and Enjoy!
Until next time, 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blueberries for Sal



Today we went on our much missed family outing. Since Craig has been working crazy hours, we have not be able to go on our weekly family outings, much to Deirdre's chagrin. However today was the perfect day to do one. We've been in our new home for a week now and we are settled - so now let's go on an adventure! An adventure inspired by her favorite book, "Blueberries for Sal."


And off we went to the Pungo Blueberry Farms in Virginia Beach! It was a lovely family friendly place (restrooms, sheltered picnic areas, cold water, and wagons to help you carry the little ones around). The farm was also family owned and the really cared about their farm and its patrons. They even had a cute play blueberry figure! I will so come again next year!



The kids were in heaven, despite the heat. Deirdre actually picked some while singing a song about a blueberry gnome named bill whom was protecting her from the blueberry troll name grimace.








Jonas just ran from bush to bush stuffing his face. He was wild and having so much fun. We did not care how many berries he ate or how far he tarried, he was loving life and will surely remember this experience for years to come. Family fun.  











Bonne Nuit, Mes Amies

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Libertas

It has been a week since my graduation. I do not feel substantially different but I will say that I am relieved and have more peace since I do not have the unfinished degree hanging over my head anymore! The ceremony was wonderful and I will post more about that another day.


I really enjoyed my party and being surrounded by those I love the most. I think achievements in life are never reached alone. There are many loving people behind you, helping you, and supporting you along the way.  All my people where there- minus a few notable ones like Mabel and Tom (but a huge congrats to their daughter and my friend Sue whom also graduated with her Masters). I am so blessed to have my church and home group in my life. They were in the trenches with me day to day (especially Craig, Chris ,MK&DK) from the beginning in Fall 2005.


I suppose the surprise of the day was also receiving my Masters of Arts degree in Teaching. I had been in the program and was very close to completing my coursework before I took time off in May 2009. So when I finished my Bachelors in History this May, I just let the MAT be and did not revisit the the idea of completing it. However, much to my surprise I had indeed finished it and my Bachelors in History on the same day. So here is to finishing it all! 


Now much to my pleasant surprise I have loads of free time. I have finished 2 quilts this week and have many more projects, crafts, trips, and packing planned for the upcoming summer! However my prayer is that the Lord would provide ways for me to bless others with the gifts he gave me through my education in the coming year. 









Until then I leave you with my daily verse:

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. - James 1:12