Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Making Applesauce

Oh Fall, how I love you so! One of our yearly fall fun activities is to make applesauce. We have a local orchard that sells seconds and we buy them up and make as much sauce as we can to get us through the winter. This year it was a group effort. I decided to try and use this as a homeschool lesson.

 We split the apples up. Some were peeled and cored by my helpers.
We had a lot of apples.

The apples that didn't fit in the crock pot I cut up and did the old fashioned way in stock pots on the stove. 

The crock pot is such an easy way to make the applesauce. Just throw them in with as much cinnamon as you like and just a few Tablespoons of water. Let them cook on low until they are ready to be mushed. My first go round I just used a spoon to stir and mush. The next time I used my immersion blender. The blender is the better option if you have one. But either will work.
 Meanwhile on the stove the apples were cooking down. I used Macintosh apples which really don't need much extra liquid. My sauce was almost too watery. But you can't mess up apple sauce so it was fine. I have a really poorly designed strainer I used for the apple sauce in the pans. It was much more labor intensive to get the seeds and skins out, but we got a lot more sauce this way.

I used this as a lesson to work on following directions. We also talked about the parts of the apple. My littles collected the seeds and worked on counting and my older kiddos used it as a botany lesson to review some of the concepts we had learned this year. It was a fun way to break up our routine.

I ended up freezing about 10 pints of applesauce and keeping out 2 to eat right away. The kids love eating things they make, and there is no added sugars just apples and cinnamon. Oh, and as a bonus my house smelled amazing!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Soccer Survival

Tis the season in our home when all the craziness of soccer hits our family. With four kiddos all with practice, mini camps, and games our week is very full. Since my hubby also plays, refs, and coaches we are on the go a lot.

Here are a few things we do to keep our sanity:

Plan ahead:
We sit down at the beginning of each week and coordinate our week. Who is taking whom to practice. What other activities and responsibilities need to be taken care of. Then we write it all down on a master calendar. We find that Google Calendar works well because we can share it.

Give yourself grace:
When we have to eat by 4:30 most days and I only have 30 minutes to cook meals will look much less extravagant than normal. Because we are very crunched throughtout the week for time it is hard to even prep ahead. So I use stolen time to prep meals when I can. If the kids are doing a good job of doing their seat work I use that time to prep dinner. Sometimes I double it and freeze one. I also try to make good use of our crock pot. If I can throw dinner in the crock pot before the kids wake up I am free to do school, chores, errands, and the rest of my day before dinner rush.

A place for everything:
We find that hooks are the key to organization for us. Each kiddo has a hook for their soccer bag, back pack, library bag, and jacket. They have to keep all soccer equipment in their bag so in the rush of  practice time we aren't down a shin guard or soccer sock. We also have a basket of back ups since it will inevitably happen that we can't find something.

Savor the moment:
These are crazy days. They will go by fast. They are sometimes frustrating, but I'm told I will miss them. For now, I will do my best to enjoy the excitement of the seasons even if it is a little extra work.

How do you stay sane in sports season chaos?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Lovin'

Summer is upon us! I am so in love with summer. As my kids are getting older it just gets more fun. We have built up quite the list of summer traditions for our bucket list. I thought I would share some of our fave summer activities

 Family Summer Bucket List

Backyard fire with s’mores
Drive-In Movie
Dayton Dragons game
Go to the pool
Catch Lightning Bugs
Summer reading program at the Library
Trip to Grandpa and Grandma’s cottage
Swim at Mimi’s
Traveling playground
Go to the zoo
Play in the sprinkler
Plant flowers
Water gun war
Water balloon fight
Family game night
Half price shakes at Sonic
Wegerzyn Garden
Splash pad
Do Sparklers
Go for bike rides
Explore hiking trails
Have a lemonade stand
Help a friend
Science experiments
Paint, play dough, messy crafts
Make popsicles
Eat watermelon
Play in the rain
Make ice cream sundaes
Go on a road trip
Go to the farm
Go garage saling
Give away toys we don’t play with anymore
Do a puzzle
Make cookies for neighbors
Cow appreciation day at Chick Fil A
Sidewalk chalk
Go to the beach
Build a sand castle
Go to the museum
Explore our city
Watch fireworks
Play outside

 Our friends did a backyard drive in. It was so much fun! The kids made their own cars and we saw Big Hero 6.
 Finishing up our last week of school means we had to stop and grab ice cream.
 To kick off summer we went to the real drive in. We saw "Tomorrowland" and "McFarland USA". Both were great movies.
 This year the library theme is Super Heroes. We have loved going to Super Thursdays each week to play games, do science experiments, and make crafts. We love our library.
 We have hit up several of our local playgrounds with splash pads.
 Oh, and Sonic has half price shakes after 8. We have done that just a few times. :)
 Water guns and splash pads.
 We made it to the zoo. It was lots of fun. 

We have made quite a dent in our summer bucket list. I can't wait to cross off the rest of our list. I'm a little sad that summer is going so fast, but so glad we are enjoying it so much.