Thursday, June 28, 2012

blue berry jam

Ok, so I've got a confession.

I love making my own food!

Well... I guess I didn't make the blue berries, but hopefully in a couple years we will grow some!

Nevaeh and I went to The Berry Patch yesterday. Boy, was it fun!

If you haven't heard of this place, it's a berry farm where you can go pick your own berries (and lots of other fruit as well) and take them home. Nevaeh and I picked about 8 lbs worth of blue berries.

Hmmm, I should correct that, I picked 8 lbs worth of blue berries. Most of what Nevaeh picked went into her tummy, not the bucket.  ;)

Now, I had no idea what to expect and I had no inclination of bringing home that many blue berries. But like one of my life group ladies said, We had to pick every single last berry we could!. (paraphrased) It was hard to stop picking scrumptious, mouth-watering, farm-grown blue berries!

Getting ready!

 Pickin' some berries!


 This pic makes me smile because she looks like she wants to say, "Dude, mom, you're not getting any of these. Don't even try."

So, now the question... what do I do with ALL these berries?!?!?!?!


JAM.... of course!

So, with no further adieu, my very first..

Home made Blue Berry Jam

I made a freezer jam. A jam without cooking and it goes into the freezer... hence freezer jam. :) You can make canned jam, but that is a lot more involved. 

I basically used the recipe on the back of the Pectin package (pectin for freezer jam), but I don't like following another recipe. So I had to change something up. Instead of using sugar, I used honey.

Honey is healthier than sugar. Don't get me wrong, sugar is fine too. God created our bodies to need sugar, but if I can use a tid bit healthier ingredient that I already have, I'm going to use it. Honey is a more natural sweetener and doesn't give you that sugar high/crash.

1 2/3 cups blue berries
just under 2/3 cup honey
1 package of pectin (a thickener in the canning section at Wally world)

Mix honey and pectin until combined. 

Crush berries. Don't pulverize the berries, but crush them enough to have chunks. 

Add the honey mixture to berries and stir for 3 minutes. 

Ladle into freezer jars. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Can refrigerate for 3 weeks or freeze up to a year.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

no-sew roman shades

I have gotten such a great response from my no-sew roman shades, and many questions about how to make them. So I decided it would be much easier to show you!

I hope this is an easy follow, the pictures aren't great because they are from my phone but the end result is cute!

What you need: Fabric.   Scissors.   Iron on fabric tape.   Tension Rods (I used 3)


Not shown: Measure your window.

You obviously need to have the width somewhat accurate, but the length does not need to be. Unless it is on a window you will be letting the curtain down to "close" the shade and you want it to cover the window completely.

I cut my fabric 2 inches larger width wise and 4 inches larger length wise.

To begin, iron a 1 inch fold on all sides.
**Ironing first helps a ton when trying to get the iron on tape to sit in the fold.**
Place the tape inside the fold and iron for about 10 seconds, or until the tape is melted to fabric. Now you have a nice edge for your shade.

Again, do this to all sides.

Now, you will need to make the tension rod sleeve. I had 2 extra inches to work with, but make sure you place the rod and then fold the fabric so you are sure the rod fits in the sleeve. 

Iron the fold down, again, to make it's easier when ironing the tape. Put the tape only on the edge of the folded piece. Not up into the fold, because that is hole for the rod. Iron down the tape. 

**Here I cut the iron tape in half to make it only 1/2 inch wide. A precaution for me so I wouldn't make a spot too closed off and the rod wouldn't fit.**

Place the other tension rods where you want them. You can move them later if it's not the desired look.

Slide the 3rd tension rod into the shade sleeve and put it up onto the window. Obviously, it has to be the top one. And the fabric has to hang BEHIND the other rods. Like so...

Now, I really hope the pictures help with this.

Pull the fabric between the top rod (the one in the sleeve) and the second rod over the second rod. 

The fabric will hang over the rod and look like a fold in a roman shade. 

This is what one fold should look like. Do the same thing between the second and third rod to have two folds of a roman shade. 

And viola! A no-sew roman shade!

If you have any questions, please ask! If you want to stop by the house and take a look, let me know.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

our first apple pie

One of the many great things of homeschooling, I can truly incorporate what we are learning and life. I know every aspect of her schooling (I say schooling, but it's more fun right now) so I can really purposely plan her play around her learning.

One book that we have been reading is Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie.

I loved Amelia when I was little. She was so funny to me. And is incredibly funny to Nevaeh.

Amelia and her Grandma bake an apple pie together, and if you have read any of these books, you can just imagine the fun Amelia brings to baking.

Nevaeh has asked when we are making an apple pie every, single time we open the book.

So I have been incorporating a lot of numbers and baking into our play.

But on Friday I surprised her with Granny Smith Apples. She was sooooooo excited because that's what they use in the book and she knew instantly what they meant.


The crust is ready to chill! Notice her little baking apron, she had her hat and her mitten on too. She loved it. Since Amelia was baking with Grandma, she dubbed me grandma and dubbed Jason Granddad. It was just role playing, but it still felt really weird to be called grandma. :)

Nap is over, chilling is done, now we are rolling it out. She is using her little rolling pin!

Adding the ingredients. 

 I love her.

 Checkin' things out.

And it's in the oven! Gray is guarding it. 

 And our yummy pie! It was delish! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Lovin' our home

I can not say it enough.... Thank you God!!!!

I love our home so much sometimes I just smile at His indescribable gift! (2 cor. 9:15)

We are having fun in our new yards and the deck is used everyday. Getting things even more settled is a blast, but decorating has been set a side. All of this craziness the last couple months is catching up to me and I'm constantly weary and tired of all things physical.

Foe example: I started painting our entry hall a week ago and it is the same now as it was then.

Shelves and family pictures are going to wait until we get new ones in the fall and I'm focused on getting back into routines.

School routines. Food/grocery shopping routines. Cleaning routines. House maintenance routines. Every routine. And it is hard.

But besides all the stuff that still needs to get done, we are lovin' our new home!!

Here are some photos of us enjoying every aspect of summer and our home.

swing set playin'

 sprinkler fun

 My son does not seem old enough to be able use a fork. But he's a pro and won't eat unless he has one. 

 Look at that proud smile!

 Enjoying our deck. 

 One thing I actually enjoy now is cleaning. I want to take care of the home I love. 

That leads me to this wonderful mop. It is like a swiffer wet jet, but no batteries and you can add your own cleaner. It is amazing! 

It really did clean the dirt off the floor instead of moving it around. I tested it by cleaning a little area and then wiped it with a paper towel. It didn't get black residue! 

And the cleaning solution I made was pretty good. I usually would use vinegar (my go-to ingredient for anything clean) but I had a lot of Murphys oil soap for hardwood and laminate flooring. No it doesn't leave an oily residue. And yes, it's all natural, at least thats what the bottle says. I will probably go to vinegar when it's gone. 

I mixed it like the directions said then I added a couple squirts of dish soap AND JET DRY. 

Yes! the stuff you put into your dishwasher. I thought if it dries streak free on dishes, why not on the floor? and it worked! You could use rubbing alcohol too, but I didn't have any of that. 

Yay for clean floors! 

Saturday, June 2, 2012


You like that? park-normous! Haha, all this moving has gone to my head.

Anywho's, a park. That's enormous!

I wanted to move somewhere with a nice park close by, but that kinda got pushed to the side. I got so excited  about the greenbelt trail being less than a block away, that all memory of a nearby park went to a far away land.

So the kids and I have been exploring the neighborhood to find parks. There are 2 within walking distant; one is in the middle of apartment complexes further away. I don't think we will go that one again any time soon. It's just knowing there are thousands of people surrounding you (literally, on all sides... in a very small area) is kinda creepy to me. That and random groups of people standing around staring at you and talking. Yep, not my cup of tea.

The next happens to be Crestview elementary school. Now, when we came across this bad boy, I was amazed! It's so awesome!

The pictures don't do it justice. And, at some point, I will post a picture of the hill that we need to trek up to even get to this park.

 Well, there are hills on all sides except towards Baskin Robins, which is not good.

Park-normous! It never ends. You go up stairs, up to another platform, through a tube, up to another platform, over a bridge, over ANOTHER bridge, down to platform, and so on. Nope, it does not end there. We had a blast. 

 Then there is still another enormous play area for older kids. Neveah was eyeing it longingly. 

 Gray just went across the bridges and back for a good 15 minutes. Across.

and back.

 And Nevaeh did everything she could. 

My brother was in town from his last ship voyage. He's in the Navy.

Him and his niece and nephew. One of Gray looking.

 One of Nevaeh looking. With my two kids, we almost always need to get 2 shots to ensure a look from each child.

 Me and my bro.

 And add Trish, his girlfriend. She is a sweet heart. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

movin' on up...!


Where to start!?

How about a timeline of everything? Ok, here it goes!

March 1: Put house on market
March 5: first showing!
March 7: starting to sweat a little.....
March 8-9: got our first offer!!! :)
March 10-11: accepted the offer!
April: 26: move into rental house
April 30: close the sell our house!!!!!!!!!!!!
May 21: close on our new home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (notice the many more exclamation points.)
May26: move in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( again, much more exclamation points!)

All within 3 months (which is the average time before someone gets an offer) we have moved into our new home.

God was guiding it all.

For example; we had an issue with our credit that wasn't allowing us to move forward with a pre-qualification letter. Randomly, the day we truly needed it (or the sellers were going to walk) we got it through and our credit changed. Well, not randomly... point to the one above!

Also, because of all the credit problems, we couldn't close on the buy of a new home for a month after the close of the sell. We had no idea where to stay, trying to find friends that would bunk us for a week at a time and we would move around. PRAISE THE LORD that didn't happen. We had some friends who willingly let us use their rental for the month it was vacant.

What. A. Blessing!

It has been an adventure and God has definitely taught me through this process, because it was not easy with kids! But more on that later.

Enough talking... onto the pictures!!

We absolutely love our new home! And every day I thank God that everything worked out.

Grays first hair cut! During all the commotion of selling, we had to cut Gray's hair. 


 Gray loves to wrestle. Every time time anyone is laying on the floor, he will walk over and plop right on top. Giggling the whole time.

 Not only has God blessed us with a new house, he has blessed us with a free swing set! 

New home pics!!!!!
Our school/toy room. I love having this room. It is so nice to be able to have a space dedicated to all things kids. 

 I was pretty excited for this find. A lot our block buster stores were going out of business. And EVERYTHING was up for grabs. These, now shelves, were once the home to dvd's on a wall.

 Our kitchen.... just wait for the transformation that will be happening in this room!

 Our family/tv room. Watchin some vegetales. This is the only tv we have, and will ever have, in our home. So we congregate mostly in this room. We also, not pictured, have a formal living. It's called formal living, but I call it a kids room extension. 

 Grays room. At some point, I will paint a ball diamond on the green wall. 

 Nevaeh's room. Thanks to all who helped painted these two rooms before we moved it!

 The view from the family room. A wonderful back yard! Almost all shaded, but enough sun to be able to enjoy it's warmth. 

 And a cute pic thrown in.... he's so handsome!