Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Your Invited...

You are invited to my pitty party

Where: Here on my blog

When: tonight

Today was my first day with kids/students back at school and my second day back to work; with my kids in daycare and I am so tired, so sad and frustrated. I missed Allie and Jack all day and I feel so sad that I am not home with them any more. I feel guilty that when I get home I am tired and I only have a few short hours with my kids before they go to bed. Well, that is if they don't fall asleep on the couch once we get home; like Allie has the last two nights. I feel stressed out that I am not able to get everything done that I want to and that it feels that there is so much to do. I feel like I won't be able to get through the year and all of this makes me feel like a terrible teacher and MOM!

I just want to be home and I hate that there is nothing that I can do to make this happen. Well, that is all I really have to say tonight. Sorry for being a downer, I just needed to vent and get all of this off of my chest and hopefully this will help make me feel better. I hope it works, someone said that this is supposed to be cathartic to get it all out.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In the Kitchen: Crab Apple Jelly

So, I have been working on this post all day... well I have been getting ready for this post all day. When we were in Vermont I was inspired by my mom's friend Bonnie to try making crab apple jelly. So here it is a step by step on how to do it yourself and trust me you will love it!

What you'll need:
Jelly Jars
Crab Apples
Jelly Strainer Bags

Before you get started you should open and wash your jelly jars. I wash
mine in the dishwasher, so they are nice and hot when you put the jelly in.

To get started de-stem and wash your crab apples...

then, cut them in half.

Then, put them into a big stock pot and put in just enough water to cover them.

While your crab apples are cooking (you will want them to get to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook them just until they are tender), get your jelly strainer bags ready. I use ones that have a draw string, so I didn't need to buy the stand. I just hang mine from the cabinet knob and put a bowl under them to catch the juice.

When your crab apples are tender, scoop them out and put them into your jelly strainer bags and then pour the water/juice that is left in the pot, right into strainer bags and let them strain/drip out their juice.

If you boiled your crab apples at night and loaded your strainer bags then you can head to bed. If you are like me and you are doing it all in the same day, then you should let them hand and drip for an hour or two, then squeezed the bags to try and get all the juice out.

Once you've collected all the juice into the bowls poured it into a large measuring pitcher. Now your ready to put the juice back into the pot and boil it with some sugar. For every cup of juice you will need 2/3 of a cup of sugar. Then boil (a good rolling boil) the mixture fro 10-12 minutes.

Keep those jars hot in the dishwasher until you're done boiling the mixture, then, take them out a couple at a time and fill the hot jars with "jelly juice", screw on the tops and turn them upside down for five minutes. Then flip them right side up and set them aside to cool on the counter overnight. Don't worry, they won't look like jelly yet. Come morning you will have delicious Crab Apple Jelly.


Oh, and if you have any problems with your jelly jelling then, check out this site

My Classroom As of Friday

So this is what my classroom looks as of Friday afternoon when I left. I had to get a little creative this year and change some things to get 21 desks to fit! I think that I am going to pick up some cheap, yet cute fabric at Walmart this weekend to recover the bulletin boards. I know why would I re-do them? But, the thing is that I haven't re-done them in several years. I won't say how many because some of you will be horrified. I just hate to waste it and I use fadeless paper and it has held up really well so I just haven't bothered; but I do think it would brighten up the room a bit. I also need to get the bulletin board banners up and ready for the kids work. I still can't believe that the kids start on TUESDAY!! Where oh where has my summer gone!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back to School Update

So today was the first day that I went in to work on my classroom. As you know if you have been reading, I have been dreading this. My mom came to stay with the kids both today and tomorrow so that they don't have to go to daycare until next week and I headed out at 8:30 and was there by 9 am. I have to say that as I was pulling into the parking lot I had a pit in my stomach.

There are two things that I wish, first that I wasn't going back and the other is to have been able to go back part-time (switching to Kindergarten). Being part-time would make this all a bit easier. But that is not how it turned out and perhaps there is a reason for all of this; a reason that I do not yet understand.

I made good progress with my room today, I got all of my purchase order for the year put away, desks arranged (all 21 of them!), my reading library settled and put back out onto shelves, I also got all the labeling done and my welcome bulletin board in the hallway done. Tomorrow I will work on doing a little bit more settling and then I will working on "prettying" up the room!

There weren't too many people at school today, but a few asked if I was glad to be back and I was really honest and said "no". I know when people ask this they don't really expect you to be honest, but my heart just isn't into this. Don't worry, I will get it together before the kids get there on Tuesday; but for now I am just not into it.

Tomorrow I will take pictures of my classroom, for anyone who is interested in seeing it.

What is it? Answered

Sam's Mom, you were right it is a plastic bag dryer *grin*. Nice guessing!

But, I have found it also handy for drying bibs, wash cloths and plastic bags!
I picked this up in Vermont at the Manchester Woodworking shop. This shop was great they had unfinished wooden furniture, poplar wooden ornaments, etc. Most of what they sell they make right there on the premises and the prices were so reasonable! I saw a wooden doll highchair for Allie that was $32 dollars! and a wooden doll clothing rack/closet that was $25! I have my eyes on those for Allie for Christmas. I also have my eyes on a great hanging wall shelf with 4 cubbies and hanging pegs that was $52. I also go this super cute birch bark moose, that will be so cute for Christmas!

They also had a larger one that I think I will have my parents pick up when they are back in VT in October. I am thinking of using them in a Christmas vignette.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Our Trip to Vermont: Part 2

When ever I go to Vermont it makes me miss living in New Hampshire, Matt and I lived there throughout college and then for 5 1/2 years after college. Well I miss it except for the winters, I'm not a huge winter fan. Anyways Sialia Farm is the name of Bonnie and Pete's farm. They used to have sheep farm and some chickens; Bonnie is an avid knitter and they would sheer their own sheep, then she would clean the wool, dye it, hand spin it into yarn and either sell it locally or use it to make custom sweaters, mainly for children. I have to say I have been lucky enough to have a small collection of her beautiful sweaters. The one below is the most recent, she gave it to Allie this weekend. I will take pictures of the others and post them in another post (they are in the kids rooms and I can't get to them now.)

The first sweater Bonnie made Allie, I accidentally washed and shrunk it so tiny it would fit her Bitty Baby. I was post-partum hormonal and I was so upset, my mom called Bonnie and when I got home from my stay at my parents there was a new one waiting for me *grin*.

Any way enough about sweaters. Now they now longer have sheep, it was more work than they could keep up with, so now all they have are the chickens. I swear there is a point in here, sometimes I tell a story like my Grandmother did. Right now they have baby chicks and they were so cute and Allie was so excited. She even got to hold them and there was one that she particularly liked and she got all caught up telling it a story, so cute. Jack was also quite interested in the chicks and was eager to touch them, with Grammy's help to be gentle.

Both Allie and Jack took right to Bonnie and Pete, not like either of them are very shy. Allie can do the whole shy thing when she meets someone new, but they both really warmed up to them. Allie wanted Bonnie to sit with her in the coop and anywhere else that we were and Jack really took to Pete. He would just giggle, smile and watch Pete.

The flowers that Allie is holding in her hand are from the yard, she was pretending that she was getting married. Of course Grammy sang her the song "Here Comes the Bride" and Allie sang it over and over.

Here are some more pictures of Bonnie's flower gardens and the kids and the chicks, enjoy! Isn't this picture of the mother hen with her chicks sitting on her back just the cutest thing.

I love hydrangea, they are one of my favorite flowers.This is the largest hydrangea that I have ever seen. You can't really see it, but there is or was a garden there too!

So, now that you know my favorite flower, I am curious, what is your favorite flower... so go ahead and leave a comment and let us all know.

What is this?

Can anyone guess what this is? I got it on our trip to Vermont. Leave a comment and let us know what you think and I will post again tomorrow night, letting you know what it is. Can't wait to hear your thoughts *grin*.
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Our Trip to Vermont: Part 1

This past Sunday and Monday my Mom, the kids and I headed up to Vermont to see an good friend of hers from nursing school. We had such a great time; we stayed at the Manchester View which was so nice. Below are some pictures of the gardens and our room. Which was by the way a wonderfully generous upgrade from the innkeepers. A couple of days before we left my mom called to make sure that she had asked for a porta-crib for Jack. When she did the innkeeper said that the room we had reserved would be to small and that he was upgrading us to a bigger room, for free, how generous! The Manchester View is a hotel that we have wanted to stay at for many years, it is just around the corner from Bonnie and Pete's house. But until I had my own children there was never a real reason for us to stay anywhere other than Bonnie and Pete's. But let just say that things would be just a little chaotic with my two small children and they probably wouldn't have wanted us to come back.
This was our room, nice, huh! And there was plenty of room for the four of us and that is a deck in the back of the picture *grin* If you have ever stayed in a hotel with young children then you know how hard it is to get them to sleep and not have to go to bed yourself at 7:30 when you put them to bed. The deck was perfect, it gave Mom and I a place to go when the kids went to bed other than to bed ourselves!
The pictures below are pictures of the gardens; they were in full bloom and so beautiful!

More to come about our trip at little later.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The End of My Summer

I want to cry, that is all I can even say to describe how I am feeling right now. I had started this post a week ago and put it aside because I just didn't want to think about going back to school and the summer coming to an end. Well, that all came to a smashing end tonight and it hit... it's a long story and I actually don't really want to go into all the details, it just all revolves around school stuff.


As summer is rapidly disappering, I am starting to get "that" feeling. Well let me back up a bit and explain that feeling... when I was in college, I was a nanny for the summer before my senior year and as the summer was coming to an end Justine (that was the mom's name) she said to me that she hated the end of the summer. She said that she just couldn't stand leaving the NH farm and going back to LA, getting the kids ready for school. She said that it made her so depressed and put her in a total funk for the first part of the fall. Which I totally couldn't understand at that point in my life because I was in college and i just couldn't wait to get back to school.

All I have to say is that, now I totally understand... I am dreading going back to work the end of this week to set up my classroom and then next week with kids. Even typing that sentence gives me "that" feeling. That of anxiety and sadness. I feel anxious about all that the school year brings with it, my days get so much longer and much more stressful. My day will start at 5 am and I usually don't get to bed until 10 or sometimes 11pm. I end up feeling that I never get a chance to catch my breath and it is just go, go, go. I also feel that I am never spending enough time with Allie and Jack. Nevermind trying to keep up with the housework, that just becomes a loosing battle.

I have really come to like our summer routine, we have found what works best for us and we do what we want, when we want to. We go to the library, the beach, the park, our backyard and Grammy and Papa's (when we can.) I love enjoying our mornings together and being lazy if we want to or heading out and going on an adventure. I love snuggling in bed the three of us in the morning and watching my children get to know each other better day by day. I have loved seeing the bond between them develope and I love that Allie can bring a smile to Jack's face and hearing her call him "bruda". These are all the things that I am going to miss when I go back to work.