A Year Together…

A flower we found on our summer hike

A while back, school registration came…and went. I’m still kind of in shock.

The two oldest children will be staying home with me this year, while the five year old will be heading off to Kindergarten.  And of course, we will have the two littles in tow.

So I’ve been busy trying to plan what we are going to do this year, and trying to simultaneously soak up the last little bit of summer.  Summer hikes, making jam, time with family… there’s just never enough time for everything I think summer should entail.

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Check out this dragonfly we found while picking blackberries for jam.
Honestly, how did it come about? Claire, the 8-year-old, has been begging to homeschool since about half way through last school year. I told her she had to finish the year. I figured she would change her mind.  Her friends at school have always been so important to her.

But even the day before registration I asked again, and both Elise and Cyrus still maintained they wanted to stay home.  Rose wanted to go to kindergarten.  I have put in a lot of soul searching and prayer, and I think this is for the best (although I’m dreading the opinions of others, even though I know that doesn’t really matter).

I’m wanting to spend time with them and have adventures while things are still exciting and the world is still magical to them.  Before hormones and friends and attitudes take over.  I figure they can always go back next year.

Elise and a Vulture at the Zoo
Making friends at the zoo.

Blueberry Butter: Canning Adventures

blueberry and raspberry jam

Sometime Friday I mentioned to the Mr. that I wanted to make homemade jam this year.  I was sad because I thought we had missed all the strawberries, and that’s my favorite jam of all, because that’s what I remember my grandma making.  Well, by the very next day he was driving me out and about to find some berries!

We spotted a small, unassuming sign on the side of the road that said “Raspberries.”  A nice family had a patch of raspberries in their yard that they were willing to sell from.  We loaded up 8 pints.

A short distance further, we ran into a more commercial looking outfit selling blueberries.  I let my husband get out and talk to them while I sat with the kids.  I told him, “Just pick some up to eat.  One project at a time.  Lets deal with the raspberries first.”  He came back to the car with 50 pounds of blueberries.  I kid you not.

So we let the kids gorge themselves on blueberries.  We froze 4 gallon size bags for smoothies.  We had guests over and tried to stuff them full of blueberries.  In the meantime, I made some raspberry jam.  Then I made some blueberry jam.  We ate more berries.

blueberry butter

Finally, I found this recipe for blueberry butter.  I thought, “Why not?,” and I mixed up some blueberries to put in the crock pot over night.   After that, we gave away the last remaining blueberries to a friend, and took a sigh of relief.  (BTW, the man of the house says this looks like tar on toast…so he didn’t even get a taste, ha!)

Today I canned the blueberry butter into two pint jars, so that I can eat it later when I’ve recovered from our blueberry madness!

Update:

I feel like for the sake of honesty, I have to tell you…the blueberry butter was not a hit.  My kids refused to eat it, which I didn’t really mind because of the staining power of blueberries.  The raspberry jam, on the other hand, is long gone.  It was the hands down favorite of all the flavors we canned this summer.  So next year I will make more raspberry, and just freeze the blueberries for smoothies.  And I definitely will not let my husband buy 50 pounds next time!