Happy Goodbyes

God found her a new home.

We just got to spend the best 6 weeks with a sweet baby girl.  She just went to be with her “forever” family this last Friday.  I am SO excited for them to give her a comfortable and loving home, full of siblings to love on her.  Her new parents are just wonderful.  We will never forget the precious (and also sleepless!) weeks God allowed us to spend with her.  We’ve shed some tears over her leaving us but now it’s time to pick up our little life again as a family of 5…instead of 6.

On the bright-side:  my purse is SO much lighter and my arms are free to squeeze my little ones whenever I want!

Until the next sweet bebe…

Snapshots of a LEGO party

 

A few months ago, I decided to throw together a LEGO party for Mr. J.  I always start out planning really simple parties, but no matter what I do, they end up bigger.  There always seems to be life craziness that is going on around party season.  When life gets intense for me, I take on more projects.  It’s a fault of mine.  I totally recognize this.  I started prepping the things for this party the day before.  That’s not a lot of time but when you’re crazy like me, you find a way to work it out!  Sometimes working it out involves drawing and cutting out Lego heads until after midnight.  Sometimes it also means finishing a Lego shirt, seconds before guests arrive.  It’s true, I’m weird.

Anything for J.

Anything for Lego.

I wasn’t crazy on my own, though.  My super awesome sister made this Lego pinata.  We both saw this pin from the blog Delia Creates and knew it would be pretty perfect, especially since I haven’t noticed Target selling Lego pinatas lately.

I had plenty of Lego coloring pages printed from the Lego website.  I broke out the Lego brick and Lego man molds.  I decided to make chocolates for the ice cream bar with both.  Super cute.

I’ve seen so many cute mason jar lids floating around, I decided to spray paint a few for the party but is colors I could use at any time really.  We filled up soap bottles with Legos for the bathroom from this idea.

My amazing sister also made the Lego man banner (based in this pin from Zakka Life) which was AMAZING!

Everything worked out in the end because the birthday boy and all of his guests seemed to enjoy themselves.

What a great day celebrating an awesome 5 year-old!

Our Little Summertime Gift

 

 Sweet Summer.

I love you for your refreshing breezes.

Your warmth brings new life to my very favorite foods.

Berries are one of your specialties.

You do them WELL.

We are enjoying our summer days.  We’ve had a few changes around here.  A few weeks ago we got our very first foster care placement.  It’s true!!  We’ve been so thrilled to share our home and arms with a cute little snuggle-bug again.   It’s been so strange to care for a newborn having NOT just given birth and NOT breastfeeding.  I tell you, those two things make a world of difference!  I still wake up several times a night, but I am not nearly as fatigued as I was after giving birth, while also not having the ability to walk.  For those who have asked, we don’t know how long this sweet baby will be with us, but we will give her all the love we can until she goes to be with her forever family.

I am so excited to be able to do what, I believe, God intended for us all to do.  There are so many kiddos in need of our love.  Sometimes, we get busy with our jobs and appointments and forget about those in need of our compassion.  As a wife and mother,  I have made a specific choice to stay home and care for my kids.  Thankfully, this also means I am able to bring other little ones into our home along the way, be they friend’s kids or strangers.   I love that.  Kids get shuffled around a lot these days so they need a little love.  Sometimes my job is difficult, but I am SURE I am doing what God wants me to be doing right now and for that I am EXTREMELY thankful.

This IS my job.

This is my privilege.

My heart is full.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “

(Matthew 25: 31-40)

If you are interested in adopting a sweet child like this one, contact an agency like the one we do foster care with.  They work with adoptive families nationwide for domestic as well as international adoption.  Check them out!

 

Summer In A Jar: Lavender Strawberry Jam

It’s the last day of school.

Let me say that again.

IT’S THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!

While I love EVERY bit of teaching my kids, every teacher needs a break at some point, right?

It’s summertime.  Can you believe it?

Here in San Diego, God has been showering my garden with sunshine-y goodness and I’ve been soaking it all in.  I am so thankful to have a few sweet little strawberry patches, a large boysenberry ‘wall’, and a few blueberry and golden raspberry plants to round out our little backyard homestead of berries.  I have learned so much about gardening the past several years.  The more plants I grow, the more I want other people to experience the thrill of seeing God’s amazing creation, growing before their eyes.  If you’ve been thinking of gardening in even a small part of your yard, check these out:

“The Backyard Homestead” and “The Urban Homestead”

These books make it super easy to find a growing style that works for you and your size of yard.  Like any process, gardening is about organization and planning.  The seeds pretty much cooperate with any conditions as long as they have sun, water, and food (by way of awesome soil).  It’s easier than you think!

Summertime means jam to me and LOTS of it.  One of my favorite smells on the entire planet is that of strawberry jam cooking on a slow summer day.  There is usually music playing and I try to have friends around whenever possible.  Friends make the time pass by quickly and they usually get to take some of the goods home!

Jam is also a great thing to share with…well…anyone.  It can be a hostess gift, thank you present, get-well gesture, teacher’s gift, or can be shared with those neighbors you’ve been meaning to introduce yourself to for the last year.

Here’s how I make my lavender strawberry jam…

Lavender Strawberry Jam

(sources: many different recipes combined over many years of good and bad jam)

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 tsp. Pomona’s Universal Pectin (found online or at natural food stores like Whole Foods)

8 cups strawberries, hulled and cleaned

2 tsp. calcium water (from the Pomona’s box)

1/2 c. lemon juice, fresh squeezed

3 tsp. dried lavender blossoms, chopped

1. Start by boiling some water in a large pot for sterilizing your jam jars, if you’re using them. Place another pot on the stove for your lids.  When the water is boiled, you will add as much water as needed to cover the lids and rings.  They are sterilized separately because placing them in boiling water can melt the rubber on the lid, which is needed to seal the jar.

2. Mix the sugar and pectin in a bowl and set aside for later.

3. Crush the strawberries until you are happy with them.  I like mine with a few chunks so squish yours a lot if you prefer your jam smoother. This is a GREAT thing to have kids help with.  They love it!

4. Bring the strawberries to a boil, then add the lemon juice and calcium water.

5. Gradually stir the pectin and sugar mixture in with the strawberries, until combined.  Add the dried lavender.  Return to a boil and stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.

7. While it’s returning to a boil, lay out 1 towel for your hot jars to lay on and 1 towel for the completed jars to sit on.

8.  Skim the foam, if it is present (trust me, you have to do this or it will leave a funky looking white layer on the top of your jam which resembles mold.  I may or may not know that from experience).  Remove sterilized jars from the water with tongs and place them on the towel.  Keep water boiling.

9. Carefully fill the jars until there is a 1/4 space between the jam and the top (that space is called ‘headspace’ in the jam world :)).  Wipe around the rim of the glass with a clean rag or paper towel.  Use the tongs to place the lid on top and then used your fingers to screw the outer rings on.  Not too tight, just finger tight.

10. Place the filled jars back in the boiling water for 10 minutes.  Remove and place on the towel.  In an hour, tap the lids to make sure they are tight and don’t press in.  If the lids do pop in and out, then immediately place those jars in the fridge.  They are still good to eat.  Let the others sit still for a day and then they are ready to hand out to friends and family or store away for the winter!

For some cute canning jar labels check out the link below:

Stick around and find us on:

F a c e b o o k  //  T w i t t e r  //  P i n t e r e s t  //  I n s t a g r a m  //  E m a i l

Loving Now…some links

Just thought I’d share some things I’ve been enjoying lately (some you probably saw on Instagram, if not find them here) and also some things I’d like to try…

I was pleased to hang out with some wonderful ladies at the Creative Connection Event here in San Diego, hosted by Jessica and Marissa at Isari Flower Studio.  Connect here to get updates for these fab events in your area.

More recently, I was able to watch a summer entertaining demo by the fabulous duo, Valley & Co. (easy summer drink from them here) at West Elm.  I picked up a fabulous juicer, which I already used to make strawberry lemonade this last weekend. Yum. I also got to see the ladies of Flamingo Toes and We Love Citrus. Nice to see you guys!

Need to get those little kiddos to work?  Ashley’s chore charts are pretty perfect.

Just bumped a project up to the top of my list.  This west elm DIY log stool is awesome!!

I can’t wait to get chickens and Julia Rothman’s book is making it harder to wait.

Loving these hoops for sale in Megan‘s shop here.  Love them.  Totally my style.  Check out her whole fabulous shop while you’re there.  If I had a shop (soon!), it would looks like hers.  Lovely job, Megan :)

This post by Ruth really resonates with me and has been on my mind A LOT.  I’ve lost friends to the black hole that social media is.  Hint: relationships are meant to include ACTUAL people, as much as I really love my online friends. Don’t forget about your LIVE friends :).

For San Diegans’: Tried Banker’s Hill Restaurant and Bar this week.  The deviled eggs  were INCREDIBLE, as was the goat cheese and spiced strawberry bruschetta. Michelle, at the bar, can make a good cocktail.  She made me a lovely drink with a blend of whiskey and vanilla flavors.  So good.

Foot pain? Blister easily? I am thrilled to have a possible solution to my foot/nerve pain with this new Dr Scholl’s high heel product!  I get to be a product tester with this one for BzzAgent (been with them for like 7 years!) :)

Have YOU seen anything good lately?
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