End of Summer Recap

September 1, 2014

There is something about August 30th that feels so final.  I know that we have at least another month (maybe more) of really warm weather but now that we’re on the eve of September it all seems like a down hill slide toward Christmas.  Right now I’m sitting outside and it’s pretty hot but the wind is blowing and I can see just a few yellow leaves on the vines covering our pergola.  Feeling and hearing the wind blow around me is like summer is telling me good bye, that the wind is blowing it to the southern hemisphere and making room for fall and winter.  

When I was a kid it seemed like my mom always bought me new clothes right before school started.  They were always fall colors and styles and signaled the end of summer and start of a new school year.  I haven’t been very good about buying new school clothes for my boys before school starts because it’s just too difficult to think about long pants and hoodies when it’s 98 degrees out.  The new school clothes will come soon enough but I think because I put it off all that comes with the start of a new school year has snuck up on me.  

Yesterday was the first football game for our beloved university.  That snuck up on me and one week ago I found myself scrambling to find a sitter.  I kept thinking I have tons of time only to realize that I was out of time.  Thankfully I found someone and we were able to make it through the heat only to leave early because my head cold made me want to curl up on the concrete and take a nap.  We won, by the way, handily.

summer recap

Just a few days before college football snuck up on me, Harry started preschool.  I had been thinking about this all summer, excited about the new school he was going to, excited about his new back pack and water bottle, excited that he picked out a new Batman shirt to wear.  Then we went to drop him off and I had that mixture of excitement and sorrow.  Up until this year he had been attending Mother’s Day Out at our church.  This didn’t seem like a big deal to me because between the two boys we had been going there for six years.  It was at our church and all the teachers were so familiar that it felt like a second home to us, not school.  Now we took him to a new preschool and I walked away and felt that tightening in my chest that all moms feel when they realize things are moving way too fast and why can’t he just stay this age forever.  I know he can’t stay 4 but I desperately want him to.  I watch his little face, listen to his little laugh, cherish his little voice and try to imprint these things in my mind so I never forget just how precious he is.

summer recap

Just a few days before Harry went to preschool, Addison started 4th grade.  This year hasn’t been as bitter sweet as past years because we’re still an entire year away from 5th grade and I don’t think about 5th grade.  Last year was tough because 3rd grade is on the “older kid” side of the school.  Instead of turning left each time we passed through the doors, we had to turn right.  It was a big deal for me.  This year it was the same routine.  We had this “big kid” side of the school down and my throat didn’t tighten up with I turned right this time.  Plus, we’re an entire year away from 5th grade and we won’t talk about 5th grade.

 

summer recap

In just a few days it as all snuck up on me.  Before I know it I’ll be preparing for Addison’s birthday, buying Halloween costumes, roasting turkey and dragging out Christmas decorations.  Can it please slow down, just a little?

Easy Fig Preserves

August 25, 2014

Easy Fig Preserves

 

The weekend before school started I took the boys to visit my parents for one last hoora.  My mom had a few pounds of figs from her tree that needed something done with them.  Fig tarts, jam and spreads are delish but the easiest thing to do is make fig preserves.  This recipe is so simple and easy anybody can do this.  These easy fig preserves are the perfect place to start for someone who is wanting to get started with canning and learning how to make jam.

Easy Fig Preserves

There are only 3 ingredients in these fig preserves.  Figs, sugar and lemon.  The ratio to fig and sugar is 1 to 1.  Yes, it is a lot of sugar but it is so delicious.  The end result it almost like candied figs.  We also had a lot of juice left over so we canned that to use as fig syrup.  How awesome will that be on ice cream or pancakes?!  

1.  Use a heavy stock pot.  For every pound of figs one pound of sugar.  We had 4 pounds of figs and 4 pounds of sugar.      

Do NOT add water

2.  Cook on low heat until sugar melts and figs create their own juice.  Gently stir to combine.  

3.  Thinly slice a lemon (discard seeds) and add to the pot.  Simmer on low for 45 minutes to one hour.

4.  While the figs are simmering, wash your jars and lids in the dishwasher (no soap) just to heat them up and sanitize them.  Keep them hot until you are ready to assemble.  

5.  Also, while the figs are simmering, fill your canning pot with water and put it on the oven to boil.  This is a crap ton of water and will take a long time to get going so it’s fine to start it while the figs are cooking.  

6.  When ready to fill your jars, assemble all of your supplies:  hot jars/lids, wide mouth funnel, ladle, wet dish cloth, dry dishcloth.     Fill your jar with figs and syrup.  Use the wet dish cloth to wipe off the top of the jar and clean off any sticky syrup.  Put on the lid and tighten. These jars are hot, the kind of hot that will make you swear so you’re going to want to protect that manicure (that’s where the dry dish cloth comes in.)  

7.  Time for a water bath.  Place the jars in your canning pot and boil for 15 minutes.  Make sure the water comes up to the bottom of the lid.  Don’t completely submerge.    

If you are new to canning you must have a canning rack inside of your pot.  If you’ve been doing this a while you can skip these instructions and move on to step 8.  

A canning rack will hold your jars while they are taking their bath.  You CAN NOT place your jars directly on the bottom of the pot.  I’m not exactly sure what will happen if you try this with out the rack.  My guess is it will set of a chain reaction of events that will lead to the apocalypse.  This theory is unfounded…but I wouldn’t test it if I were you.

8.  Remove the jars and set aside to cool.  When you hear the pop you’ll know your jar is sealed.

easy fig preserves

easy fig preserves

 

easy fig preserves

 

easy fig preserves

These figs were just a small part of our trip.  The rest of the time was spent at the water park, playing in the sprinkler, swinging on the swings, petting the cat and general frivolity.

easy fig preserves

easy fig preserves

easy fig preserves

easy fig preserves

easy fig preserves

easy fig preserves

easy fig preserves

 

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Easy Laundry Room Makeover

August 22, 2014

easy laundry room makeover

Earlier this summer I was forced to take stock of my laundry room.  Our washer kicked the bucket and we had to buy a new one.  Since I had to clean off the clutter around the old washer to make way for the new washer I thought this would be a good opportunity to give my laundry room a makeover.  

I have plans to make my laundry room a little bigger but those plans involve a contractor and money so who knows if those plans will ever come to fruition.  In the meantime I discovered a way to have a very cost effective and easy laundry room makeover.

Step One:

Admit that your laundry room is a complete wreck and is need of serious attention. Continue reading

An Open Letter To Moms Sending Their Kid to School For The First Time

August 15, 2014

letter to moms sending their kid to school

Dear Overly Excited Mom With A Child About To Enter Public School For The First Time - 

This is an exciting time.  You and your precious child are about to take the leap into the unknown…public education.  Since you’re a reader of ‘mom blogs’ you probably also have Pinterest boards of back to school organizational ideas, new teacher gift ideas, fall class party ideas and any number of uber-crafty ways to impress your new teacher. Continue reading

Back to School Essentials Giveaway

August 13, 2014

Back to School Essentials

I’m excited to announce that I’m going to have a regular, monthly segment on Oklahoma LIVE.  I’ve tricked them into thinking I know what I’m talking about when it comes to parenting and all the fun stuff you can get for your kids.  So, if you’re in Oklahoma, set your DVRs for the 2nd Wednesday of every month on KSBI, 4:00 p.m.

This month the topic is Back to School Essentials.  Check it out…

Continue reading

Find Your Village

August 7, 2014

find your village

Recently I read a blogger who had the privilege of being on the Huff post.  She waxed poetic about a village of women who loved each other, depended on one anotherother, helped each other in every family rearing occasion.  She lamented the loss of this intimate village that she has never had. Continue reading

Shock Value – Support small movie makers

August 1, 2014

Shock Value

(source)

I’m going to lay this all out on the table before we get started:  I don’t like horror movies.  Psychosocial thrillers, yes.  Paranormal scream-fests, no.  I have to close my eyes through the Paranormal Activity trailer for goodness sakes and I still get a little jumpy when our tv goes fuzzy thanks to The Ring.  I couldn’t sleep for a week after watching that.  Alien horror, no. thank. you.  I don’t want to imagine being ripped apart by an oversized, slimy cockroach type thing.  Aliens are our friends and I stand behind that if only to give myself peace for the one day we finally encounter them. Continue reading

DIY Fire Pit

July 29, 2014

DIY Fire Pit

Earlier in the spring I came across a DIY fire pit post from another blogger.  I pinned it and convinced Dear Husband that this fire pit would make a perfect addition to our back yard.  

I’m happy to announce that our DIY fire pit is a success!  We have had a few fires and many s’mores.  

My original idea was to fill in the seating area with pea gravel.  But after some calls to local dirt and gravel suppliers I realized pea gravel delivery is no small task.  Plus, we would have had to dig out the grass or kill it and after seeing how hard the dirt was just from digging out the small pit, I wasn’t willing to go to that much work.  Grassy seating area it is!

DIY Fire Pit Instructions 

Continue reading

70s Playlist

July 25, 2014

Earlier this month we threw a 1970s themed party.  Among the polyester, platforms and mustaches was an amazing 70s playlist.

Dear Husband took it upon himself to create the perfect 70s playlist.  He worked on this bad boy for weeks, possibly months.  All the music had to be from 1974 or earlier and was a perfect mixture of soul, funk, rock and very early punk.  

He had 4 hours of music plus an alternate list for the late night guests.  This is just a sampling of his master list: Continue reading