So for the last two weeks, our youngest son has suffered from the lack of musical classes. But today, his suffering ended. The summer band program began today. Our 17-year-old son and I had the fun of attending our first piano class. Now I should say, I took piano lessons when I was like 6 or 7 years old and it was only for a few weeks or months at the most (I remember taking the lessons, but not how long). It was one of the few regrets I have in my life that my parents let me quit.
For most of my life, I have wanted to pursue the art of piano playing. Our youngest son wanted to learn the harp first, but finding a harp teacher is quite a challenge. So off and on he has tried teaching himself to play the piano. We also have found people to teach piano right as we were about to change duty stations. So when we saw the opportunity to take lessons this summer together, we had to try it.
So today we had our first lesson. I love that we are able to take classes together. Our band instructor made the lessons fun and enjoyable. While the class we are taking is for adults, the book we are using is for children. But I found it fun to use – especially since it was just my son and I in the class. So stay tuned the next six weeks to hear how the lessons are going.
Here is a video of my son playing.
I am looking forward to Wednesday when our son starts beginner band for the clarinet. Plus our second son, our youngest son and myself will begin band camp. Then later that afternoon my husband and my husband will play for Advanced Strings.
On a different note, our oldest son started a new adventure today. He began pursuing the goal of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant. Through a friend, we found out about the opportunity and Friday we found out he had been accepted. Today he had his first day of classes. He has three weeks of classes and upon successful completion of that, he can take the Texas state exam to be come a certified nursing assistant. He seems to be really excited about this opportunity. He was really excited to try on the scrubs they issued him today for the “on the floor” portion of the training. It is going to be interesting to hear all the things he is learning and wants to share with the family. In the meantime, school is continuing for our youngest ones for the summer. We will see how things go for them all.
Also, tonight we canned our first batch of sauerkraut for the year. There is just nothing like the taste of sauerkraut. I am so excited about what we have been able to can so far this year.
So how are things going where you are?
For those of us here in the United States, this week brought the 4th of July – Independence Day. And one of our family’s favorite things to do at this time of the year used to be putting up corn each year. When we lived in North Carolina, it was a family and friends event. We typically put up around 5 bushels for just our family. So this week, it was rather bittersweet to see my sister-in-law post pictures on Facebook of them putting up corn.
However, since we moved to Texas in March 2016, putting up food has become a wishful occupation. We so want to put up food because we really enjoy it, but we have neither space or places to find produce to buy in bulk.
When we lived in the central part of Pennsylvania from summer of 2012 until March of 2016, we were blessed to have Amish farms to buy produce from in bulk. The quality was amazing and the prices were extremely affordable.
Here are some pictures of us putting up corn in Pennsylvania.
There is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing the rows of jars on the shelves or bags full of produce in our freezer ready for us to eat in the future.
Here are some pictures of our shelves in Pennsylvania with items we were getting ready to put up or had already put up.
I think one of my favorite things to put up know is homemade sauerkraut. The flavors are just so amazing.
So what does summer bring for your family?
I love homeschooling most of the time. I refuse to exaggerate and say that every minute of every day is perfect. Nor am I willing to say that planning makes everything perfect. I have a general idea of what I want to do when. This year, I have even entered almost every single class in its entirety in Homeschool Skedtrack, an awesome online virtual homeschool planner that is best of all……FREE! I love the fact that it will automatically adjust the schedule to whatever lesson is the next one that is due.
So on the subject of adjusting – sometimes life happens and you have to go with it. We started school in July. I planned to take two weeks off in August – one to go with my husband while he went to a work seminar (we took our daughter with us for that one), plus the week after so we could go to Williamsburg with our family and celebrate 23 years of marriage. Now for some 23 years may not seem like a lot, but for me it is a milestone. You see my parents separated right before their 23rd wedding anniversary. So I feel like I have cleared a hurdle.
But those plans changed to include a third week when my husband decided to take off extra days from work. With this change came lots of work, as you can see in the picture above, we put up/canned, preserved or other wise put in mason jars and sealed a bunch of vegetables. Since this picture was taken, we have added more vegetables and some fruit. Now we are going to add Chili and Spaghetti Sauce to the mix, along with Vegetable Soup and some other kinds of soup. We added a pressure canner to our kitchen as well (Oh how I love what that can do for our family). For the very first time this year, we canned potatoes, corn, tomato sauce, sauerkraut and green beans. I love being able to just go to our shelves and grab things for our meals. And oh the fresh made sauerkraut (made by our hands) is amazing to eat.
Our children helped with these endeavors. They shucked corn. They help peel potatoes and apples and tomatoes. They fill in where they are needed. So to me, they are getting Home Economics, Cooking 101 and Life Skills all rolled into one neat package. Then my husband had to go have a pre-cancerous spot removed from his face last week – so that kind of threw a monkey wrench into life. So next week, we will be saying hello to several of our new classes. By the middle of October, everything will be in full swing – of course having three children with birthdays within less than two weeks will make that month interesting. But we homeschool year round, so I am not too concerned. Everything I want to get done will eventually get done. But all too soon our children will pass from our home in to the lives God meant for them to have. I want to be able to look back and see that we lived life rather than being so caught up in keeping to a schedule that the schedule dictated our lives instead of the reverse being true.
I would love to hear from you about what is going on in your life
So it is summertime here, which means it is time to put up fresh produce for the upcoming year. When Dennis and I were first married, we lived where we could have our own garden. Dennis has an amazing green thumb. He is able to grow anything he set his mind to, so we had all kinds of fresh vegetables. This included green beans, corn, garden peas, peppers, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, crowder peas and more.
Then he went full time in the Army Reserves, so we moved into military housing and couldn’t have a garden. From there we moved into two other homes that we could not have a garden really. Then we moved to a home where we could have had a garden, but didn’t really have the time for it. Plus the growing season was a lot shorter. Then we moved again and we no longer could have a garden. Now we live in a different home in the same area and having our own garden is not an option again. But we are tremendously blessed to live in an area where we can buy fresh produce from local Amish farms.
So this year we have made an investment in a pressure cooker so we can put up corn, green beans and other things that have a low acidity. So today for the first time, we used the new toy to put up green beans. There is such a sense of satisfaction that comes from hearing the jar lids “pop”. So we put up 7 quarts of green beans this morning. We still have corn to put up. We bought about 4 bushels of corn.
I love being able to simply go to my shelves or freezer and pick out fresh vegetables or fruit that we have put up ourselves. Plus when buying from the Amish farmers, we save money at the same time that we support their families.
So yesterday we spent the day putting up vegetables:
We canned tomatoes, blanched and froze green beans, canned bread and butter pickles, plus started the process for 9 day sweet pickles,with yesterday being day 1.
Here are some pictures:
in some of the pictures there are items we bought from some of our local Amish farmers – including Pepper &Onion Strips, stuffed peppers, Chow Chow, Applesauce, honey and some jellies.