grape juice and homeschool

grape juice-5Our grapes are finally starting to ripen somewhat in bunches – at least there’s more than one or two ripe ones per bunch…. And if we can manage to gather a sufficient amount before the squirrels, birds and little fingers get them and eat them, we actually can collect a good bit and, you know, make something.

grape juice

My favorite is to make grape jelly, but the kids started picking grapes the other day and were insistent that they were going to make Grape. Juice. So, they gathered and gathered, and gathered some more. They roped the neighbor girls into helping them pick and after a good forty-five minutes to an hour they had a nice size container full (maybe four or five cups worth, I didn’t actually measure). Anyway, they put them in the fridge, again, insisting we they were being saved for Grape Juice.

I let them sit until Wednesday when I decided that I *could* go ahead and make the Juice, and turn it all into “life experience” and call it “homeschool”. Baby N was sleeping and the neighbor girls who had picked the grapes with them were back, so it seemed like the right time. (Not to mention, grapes straight from the vine don’t keep *that* long in the fridge before they start getting really bad.)

I don’t have pictures of the process, there were seven kids in my yard and boiling grapes on the stove so, no free hands to photograph…

grape juice-6

But, anyways what we did:

  1. Boil grapes for about 5-10 minutes, no water, no sugar, just on their own. Until they released their juices and were soft-ish and mashable with a spoon. (I did this part on my own)
  2. Put them through a food mill. All the kids took turns doing this. They thought it was great fun and I didn’t have to actually turn the handle over and over and over and over and……..
  3. We tasted it. Sour. and a little thick as I didn’t have a finer sieve or cheesecloth to push it through again.
  4. Opted to add a bit of sugar (maybe 1/2 cup? I didn’t measure) and a glass of water (<8 oz). (I put it back on the stove for this part, just until all the sugar was dissolved.)

grape juice-8

And that was it. It was enjoyed by all. It didn’t really make enough for everyone to have their thirst quenched (not when divided amongst eight people, while saving some for daddy, so really, nine people), but it was nice.

grape juice-9

I’m glad I did it. I feel like many times I just put off the kids ideas because they seem like too much work or I just plain don’t want to do it. It really helped me to actually include the kids in the making of the juice. Their excitement and enthusiasm for a “project” or activity sometimes can be infectious.ūüôā

grape juice-10

And as a side note to our homeschool, I was thinking of making a notebook of life “experiences”, where we jot down “educational” (big quotation marks here) things we do. Not because I have to submit anything at the end of the year, but more to see how much learning we do outside of our more traditional school work.

grape juice-4


Pictures are of the grapes being picked that eventually ended up as juice.
Linking up with Coombe Mill (tomorrow) for our non-Country Kids postūüėČ
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Siblings {August}

Siblings Aug-2 Siblings Aug

Pretty much just the *attempted* siblings photos this month. (One of these months, I’ll actually post ALL the outtakes I have from one single photo event… oh my goodness, the faces they can come up with.ūüôā )

The bottom one was from last week. I tried to snap it (on the front porch) because last week was the five year anniversary of buying and living in this house, and… wow… so much has changed from when we first moved, taken (on this very day actually, 16th of August, 2011):

siblings Aug throwback

Plus three siblings¬†and a whole lot of memories.‚̧


{This¬†post is part of an ongoing project to take at least one photo a month of them all together. Intro’s here}

The Me and Mine Project

My Sunday Best {6}



Blue top

Brown skirt

Fake pearl necklace with coordinating fake pearl earrings

… And sweat… And a newly turned 5-month old (not pictured)…


Ok, so I know this wasn’t the Gospel reading today, but maybe it was from a few weeks (months?) back? I dunno. Anyways,¬†I’m thinking of the Mary and Martha passage (Luke 10) and to be honest, I’ve never really “gotten” it. I’ve always felt Martha got the snub end of the deal because there really ARE things that need to be done in life, and I’ve never really been able to reconcile the things that NEED to be done vs. sitting and BEING with Jesus.

The other way I’ve never really felt I’ve “gotten” it, is, say I actually do get a chance to just sit and be with Jesus. What am I supposed to do? Especially if my chance to sit and be still comes while I’m at home? I mean, if I sit down on the couch and close my eyes and just BE with him, I fall asleep. (Hey, just being honest).

But, I was outside with the two little boys a few weeks back, Z was traipsing all over the yard and I was holding Nicholas. Z was happy, N was happy, I was thinking “Oh, I need my phone so I can take a picture”. I almost got up and got it, but didn’t want to disturb N’s contented looking around.

Well, I guess I don’t NEED to document every single happy moment of them playing outside… I guess I could just BE outside with them…

It hit me then. My kids are a big part of my vocation; they’re a big part, if not the main way, I am serving God right now, in my day to day, moment to moment life. I got a taste, probably a very small little teeny tiny taste, of what it means to be a “Mary”, of what it means to just sit and be… to just sit and listen.


It was so peaceful…

No, I won’t have a photograph to document the climbing in and out of the little tykes car or the baby staring intently at the brick walkway, but I did feel God showing me HIS truth just a little bit more.


Linking with Rosie for Sunday Best

Project 366: Week 30 {206-212}

Week 30 24 July through 30 July {206-212}

206 ~ Shoes I wore to Mass. Katherine found them and begged me to wear them. I bought them years ago for a cousin’s wedding, but haven’t worn them since (I prefer plainer shoes).
207 ~ Pretty Boy
208 ~ Time stamp on this was 07:21 (after they’d been out for a while and I came to see what they had built)
209 ~ Got to visit with Jared’s brother. We found a playground and the kids played as much as they could in the time we were there.
210 ~ Can’t nap unless all the Lego guys are just so
211 ~ A bookshelf built by my brother, for a customer for my dad’s company.
212 ~ Last minute photo for the day. Boy’s getting big, must get that other crib set up pronto….



Real camera photos this week: 2

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky


Yarn Along and Tidbits



Making: Lovely Tidbits-2

Found this Star Wars blanket on Pinterest. Decided to be ambitious and make it for Johny for his birthday at the end of September. Jared {only half joking} asked me which year I was planning to give it to him.

But, hey. One square almost done, so¬†only¬†twenty-three more to go. Plus joining. Plus the border…


Not lately, but thought I’d go back and try to at least jot down a {very} few thoughts for things I’ve read in the past few months. {These books I finished reading in April}

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Heart wrenching, haunting WWII novel. I enjoyed it.

In This House of Brede by Rummer Godden
First book to make me have actual tears running down my face in a long, LONG time!

The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbit
Read aloud with the kids. I’ll be honest, at many parts in the is book I was like “where are we going…?” But, I kept on to the end. And oh my goodness. They get to the water, and it’s just beautiful and points towards Jesus as being what we most want and are seeking, even if we think we’re looking for something else.

The Martian by Andy Weir
Sometimes just need a good sci-fi book to read. I loved the writing style of the book, and that it was science-y while still being accessible to a lay scientistūüôā


{Other tidbits from the past week or so}

Cooking: Whatever I can scrounge up in the fridge. We’re still eating off the leftovers from the cookout we had on Saturday. Tomorrow we’re planning on a meal out with Jared’s brother, and I still have a package of pork chops in the freezer.

Really, the truth? I’m procrastinating going to the grocery store. I think I can make it till Thursday, or maybe even Friday… If only the kids didn’t need their milk in the mornings…

Wanting: Maybe one extra hour in the day to read the enormous amount of books I want to read? And another hour or two to tackle all the projects that I’d like to get to?

Loving: That Nicholas is sleeping 10-12 hours a night!!!!!!! And AirConditioners.

IG account you all should go enjoy:

My brother’s:. @mattiesandchezLovely Tidbits

I know, I know, I already shared it earlier this week (last week?) on Instagram, but…. he needs {another} older sister shoutout.


I came across this photo earlier today, and shared it on FB. It’s from my brother- and sister-in-law’s wedding last year


One of my aunts commented

Su amor de esposos es el mejor regalo para sus hijos.

And, I don’t know why, maybe because it was in Spanish and I had to actually think hard about what it said so I could understand it, but it was just so special to see *that* comment on *this* picture because I forget it sometimes.
Translation: Your love between husband and wife is the best gift for your children {or something to that extent – I’m bad at translations}

Working On:

My pile of books.