Monday, July 30, 2018

My Little Piece of Heaven

When I'm searching for a little peace there is nothing better than a gorgeous morning on my patio with a cup of coffee, the birds singing, and my dog.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Rhubarb Jam

Everyone knows that certain foods can transport you right back to your childhood. For me, rhubarb jam is one of those foods. It was always an absolute favorite of mine. A special treat. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water.

I've always talked about rhubarb jam to my kids but they had never had a chance to try it. A couple of years ago I decided to remedy that and I planted rhubarb in my garden. You can't harvest the rhubarb for the first couple of seasons so this was the first year I could actually harvest and use the rhubarb.

I made the jam, and as predicted, it was a hit. A new favorite. Thank goodness I planted a lot of rhubarb. I will be making this all summer long.

The recipe is my grandmother's and it is ridiculously easy.

8 cups of rhubarb
4 cups of sugar (I try to cut the amount of sugar down if possible)
6 oz strawberry jell-o

Peel and destring the rhubarb and cut into small chunks.

Boil rhubarb and sugar on the stove (I add about a cup of water- just enough to coat bottom of kettle) for approximately 3-4 minutes until the rhubarb is tender.
Turn off heat and add jell-o.
Pour jam into jars and allow to cool.
Jelly can be refrigerated or frozen.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Summer's Start

The kids last day of school was June 8 and I took the traditional "last day of school" photo. I was not going to do the side by side comparison photo because I honestly didn't want to see it. This year has gone by faster than any year of my life and I did not want to see proof of time's passage in pictures. But I did it anyway. I don't know why. And, once again, I was shocked at the kids' growth in one short school year. It is pretty amazing. And sad. 
They are all growing up far too quickly. I can't even begin to explain how melancholy these two photos, side by side, make me feel.  Ugh.

The weekend after school let out Grace had her dance recital. This was Grace's first year with Dollhouse Dance Company and she really enjoyed it. And let me tell you, they go all out for the end of the year dance recital. It is HUGE. This dance company only started four years ago and already they have made a national (and world) name for themselves. They have won nationals for the last three years and placed, 2nd and 3rd at worlds this year and last. That is for their competitive hip hop group. Grace is currently taking contemporary dance and she loves it. It is her thing. I must say, she is a natural.
A couple friends of mine were at the recital and sent me a few photos. I was actually in the moment and didn't take any photos or videos (I did order the video, however). I love this photo!!!
In the photo above Grace is 2nd from the left and in the picture below she is in the center.
The girl is a natural dancer. Everyone was saying how she stood out. I must agree. She did a great job! She was so proud to have her brothers there cheering her on. She is so often at their football/basketball games that it is nice to have them there for her. The grandmas really enjoyed the show too. It was so much fun!

As for the rest of our summer (so far), I am trying to get in as much fun and relaxation as possible. It is difficult because I am taking a class this summer as well. It is a CNA course and I am in clinicals at a nursing home. I start at 5:45 in the morning and I'm done at 2:30. Long, hard day but it is just a few times a week. And I will be done in a few weeks.

In the meantime we are soaking in all of the summer goodness. The kids and I have been trying to do all of our favorites like walks out to the lighthouse, the farmers market, and swimming at our favorite little lake when the temperatures finally got hot enough. 
Todd and the boys have gone up to the cabin a number of times. Grace and I have gone up as well but last two weekends we stayed home and had some quality ladies time. Last weekend we went to Strawberry Fest in Cedarburg. It is one of my favorites and I hadn't been there in years. I used to live there so it is always fun for me to visit and show the kids my old apartment and stomping grounds.
This weekend Grace and I had time to ourselves again. The temperature was close to 100 all weekend so we bought a pool and set it up in the backyard. It was fabulous! We also went to the farmer's market, swam all day at the lake, and ate at our favorite restaurants. It was a fabulous weekend. Tomorrow we will drive up north to join the boys at the cabin for the entire week. It is a perfect summer break.

After this week it will be back to the grind of school and work. But I will continue to try and make this summer fun and memorable for us all. I only have these kids all together for a few more summers. I have to make the most of it.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson