April/May 2014

As predicted, when the weather warms up, I find myself spending a lot more time away from the keyboard and a lot more time out making memories. I did jot down a few things from the past few months to share though!

Although the milestones aren’t as obvious now here are some things almost 4-year-olds can do:

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They can put away the silverware

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Build a blanket fort without any help!

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Help Daddy cut the grass

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Pick radishes

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Take care of their very own tomato plant

A Few Stories from Spring…

Caleb is really starting to wonder about future events in a way he couldn’t before. “What would happen if…” is the beginning of many sentences around here these days. In April, he asked me in a very concerned voice: “Mommy, what if the library runs out of books?” Apparently he imagines that citizens are flocking to their library on the same day, checking out books by the dozens. If only :) I love this little boy…

In April, he mastered putting on all his clothes by himself. He had still been working on the ever-tricky shirt up until now. It’s definitely simplified our morning routine even more!

I also saw Caleb’s social development really expand this month, he now has many special friends of all ages from the librarian and his Sunday School teacher, to an older girl in our small group and of course a few friends his own age. I love hearing him talk about them and ask if they will be at different places we go. As an only child with a stay at home mom, we spend a *lot* of time together, so seeing him develop close relationships outside of me was a big and exciting milestone for us!

As many of you may have seen on facebook, the young woman we’ve been sponsoring through Compassion International no longer needs our support due to her dad finding a good job! I explained this to Caleb and asked if he’d like to help pick out a little boy or girl his age to help and write letters to. After showing him the 15 or so pictures of children born in June 2010 looking for a sponsor, he reached his conclusion in just minutes. He looked and the pictures and before I could say a word, he pointed to a child from El Salvador who had been waiting for a sponsor for over 6 months and said, “That’s the little girl I want to help.” and then ran out the door to play. David and I have sponsored 2 children and we have agonized over who to pick each time. Our first sponsored child was from Tanzania, and Hanna, who just graduated, was from the Philippines. David has actually been to El Salvador on a missions trip before, so it was really neat to me that Caleb chose this particular little girl. We’re looking forward to getting to know her.

In May, Caleb finished his K3 program for the year. We had this precious conversation before pre-k closing ceremony:

Me: So, I asked you a question at the beginning of this year, and since it’s the last day of preschool, I wanted to ask you again. What do you want to be when you grow up?
C: Hmmm, I need to think about that a minute mommy.
Me: Ok, sounds like a good thing to put some thought into.
C: Yeah…(thinking)…I want to be…Daddy when I grow up! Did Jesus hear me?
Me: He did
C: Will he make me into Daddy?

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First Day of Pre-K

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Last day! Same shirt completely unintentional :)

 

Homeschool Conference 2014

Let me start this post by saying: I dread telling people we’re homeschooling.

I worry people will assume a certain set of reasons why we’ve chosen this path (most of which are unflattering stereotypes that don’t represent most of the homeschooling families I know). So let me start this post with a disclaimer that I think there are HUGE benefits to both homeschool and public school. We may not do this forever, but for these early years, it seems like a good fit for our family.

With that being the current plan, I packed up my trusty backpack I’ve been using since I was 15, and headed to my very first homeschool conference with two older, wiser mom friends, which definitely added to the fun and inspiration level of the weekend. It was encouraging, exciting and kind of like trying to drink from a fire hose. Here are my top 5 takeaways in no particular order:

1. Hands-down, one of my favorite parts of the weekend was getting to look through all the curriculum I’ve read reviews about. If you’re considering homeschooling, I *highly* recommend attending a conference for that reason alone. I was amazed how quickly I was able to rule out some programs that were not a good fit for me as a teacher, despite many people loving them. Now the next step will be to see how they work for Caleb.

2. Going along with that, I loved that I went the year before I need to buy curriculum/make choices. It was so freeing to check out everything with no pressure to buy. I did end up picking up a gently used copy of “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”. It looks basically identical to the America Reads curriculum I did with students when I was in college. We’re definitely not ready to use it yet, but at least when he asks, “Can you teach me how to read?” I’ll be ready : )

3. Even though I lean towards a certain educational philosophy, I really enjoyed hearing speakers who follow a different lean. Most teachers (home or otherwise) pull from several philosophies because each one has strengths. It was great to hear some of those emphasized that I might not be exposed to in my usual reading and I definitely took away some ideas I want to apply, even now, in our home.

4. It got me really excited about homeschooling. Seeing so many other families (and more Ergos than I’ve ever seen in one place before in my life!), hearing speakers who are passionate about effective teaching/learning, and talking to my mom friends who have been there/done that was incredibly encouraging.

5. Speaking of those who have been there done that, one of my big conference take aways was actually outside the realm of curriculum/academics. I heard from so many people that weekend: “Don’t be so focused on getting it all done that you forget to enjoy your children and their childhood. Take time to build memories, work on life long habit/skills, go on field trips.” Again, something that was meaningful for me to hear even before we “officially” begin.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I’m already looking forward to going again next year : )

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This seemed like a good place for a random piece of Caleb art. Notice they’re no longer just heads with tails ; ) I will never stop being amazed by how much he changes each year!

 

 

When Mother’s Day is Hard, He is Faithful

Figuring out what to write about not being able to have a second child is hard. It’s more of a coffee shop conversation thing than a blog post, you know? There’s so much on the interwebs about infertility, but I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t find it hard to talk about. It’s just so raw.

On top of that, I’ve already been blessed with one child, which may make it hard for others to understand why it’s a big deal or, worse, wound someone who is struggling to have their first child. So there’s that. It’s a complicated topic.

So hello, draft number 7? 8? I’ve tried to write on this topic. I already wonder if you’ll see the light of day. Starting paragraph 3 by personifying you is not a promising start…

But I did want to write because I know this holiday, like so many others, is hard for those who have experienced loss. Whether the loss of a dream (like me), the loss of your own mother or the loss of children, holidays have a way of reminding you who *isn’t* there.

In previous years, I’ve tried to cling to the people I do have, my own wonderful mother is still alive and able to talk on the phone with me about her next visit and my incredible son is here to cover me with snuggles and love. There is tremendous joy in those things and I am so so deeply grateful.

But at the end of the night, after the phone calls are made and the last kiss has been given, I sit down and see photo after photo of friends my age who have completed their 2-3 child family in the time since we’ve had Caleb, and suddenly that comfort feels a little hollow.

I’ve noticed in these days leading up to Mother’s Day this year that I feel different. We’ve now not only walked through 2+ years of preventing having another child due to my chronic pain, but seeing God answer the prayer, “Lord, if, and only if, it is good, grant us another child.” with, “No, it is not good.” for nearly a year. As the months pass, I find myself trusting that my Heavenly Father truly does know what is *good* in a deeper way than ever before.

Not because I can list out a bunch of earthly reasons that I can see (though I can see a few) but because He did not spare his own Son for me, while I was yet His enemy. He’s already loved me, already given me the gift I most needed- Himself. I can trust that when I ask for bread, he does not give me a stone.

Don’t get me wrong, I still cry over what isn’t almost every month. I journal and pray and pin sad art prints on pinterest (on a private board). But I feel sure in these times that God does indeed keep track of all my sorrows and hold all my tears in a bottle, numbered. I know that no pain, no infertility has come into my life that has not passed through his inspecting, loving, fatherly gaze and I am truly able to say, this Mother’s Day,

“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been,Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!”

 

March 2014

This month was full of lots of fun mini-milestones that make my mommy-heart smile. Caleb learned to spit in the sink (and *only* in the sink…) and graduated to big boy toothpaste, he got his first letter in the mail from a friend his age after missing a day of pre-k because of croup, knows most of his letters/letter sounds and learned how to button his own buttons! He was beaming with pride when he showed me how he can button himself up, just like Daddy :) It’s hard to believe that this month last year he was taking his first nap in a big boy bed and just beginning to potty train. It’s been a big year!

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I was even prouder of a different milestone this month, which happened during a visit from our dear friends. They also have a 3 year old son, who remembered (and loved) Caleb’s big stuffed giraffe from his last visit here. He asked to sleep with it. Although Caleb is generally good at not being overly possessive of his toys, giraffe has become a special buddy since their last visit, and not something I would feel comfortable forcing him to share, but I did want to give him the opportunity. After explaining how special it would be to his friend, Caleb brought him the giraffe himself! Elias was delighted and I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder.

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Winter held on through most of the month, but we did have a few warmish days. We used one of them to take a family walk through the neighborhood. Caleb asked to ride his bike, which, if you’ve seen the hills in our neighborhood, you know is a big request for a little person to make. David carried his bike past the hill of doom we live on to a side road where it would be safe for him to ride and Caleb rode his bike on the road for the first time. He was so happy and proud. He loved riding and looking at the rivers of melting snow trickling down the hills. After our walk we came home and made popcorn and hot cocoa, one of our favorite winter treats. It was one of those days that was perfect for a million wonderful, small reasons and will probably still be etched in my mind when I’m a little old lady :)

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February 2014

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February was the first month since we’ve lived in PA that we’ve had snow on the ground every day from the beginning of the month to the end. We had a blast sledding with neighbors, walking on the frozen lake at our favorite state park and shoveling, shoveling, shoveling…

IMG_1941 IMG_2034 IMG_2147 IMG_2168Needless to say, we also needed some ways to stay busy indoors too. Every once and a while, I torture Caleb by making him do arts and crafts. He loves it for the first 5 minutes so we worked on some handmade Valentines, 5 minutes at a time, for about two weeks. At the end, I had him write the first letter of his name on each card. On card #7, he looked at me and said, “Why do all these people have names that start with C?” After I stopped laughing, I explained to him that he was signing his name :)

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Another thing I noticed while we were crafting, Caleb surprised me by randomly switching to writing with his right hand after months of practicing left. He seems to do both equally well so I did some reading up on hand dominance. Apparently, while many children show a clear preference by ages 2-3, some kids keep you guessing until Kindergarten or even 1st grade! Who knew? The advice from the occupational therapy world seems to be, let them switch back and forth as long as needed, don’t choose for them, help them get a correct pencil grip on both sides and it will eventually become evident. So that’s what we’re doing.

IMG_1864One day, I was telling David my disappointment that there was some play dough ground into the rug. He reminded me that we’ll already need to replace the carpet before we move (someday, a long time from now ;) so not to worry too much about it. I realized there are a number of perks to having older things when you have small children. Like when a broom stick handle “sword” scratches our leather couch (which we got 2nd hand, pre-cat-scratched) I can shrug it off in a way I couldn’t if we had lovely new ones. Obviously, I still try to teach him the importance of caring for our things, but having a rough and tumble boy, I know wear and tear is unavoidable and I’m glad I can enjoy the ride rather than worry about the carpet :)

One of my highlights from this month was a humorous conversation I had with Caleb after coming home from a playdate with one of his buddies where we met his little brother, Jaxom, for the first time:

Me: Do you think you might want a baby brother or sister someday?

C: No, I hate brothers and sisters. (Eeek! Where did the H word come from???)

Me: Aww, that’s sad. Mommy doesn’t have one in her tummy right now, but maybe someday I will.

C: If you grow one in your tummy, I want it to stay there!

*Pause*

C: Can you grow a baby in your belly?

Me: Maybe. It’s up to God. He’s the one who puts babies in bellies.

End of conversation. Apparently Caleb is not pining for a sibling. LOL.

About a week after that conversation though, Caleb told me, right after little Caleb went home, that he would like a little brother or sister who sleeps at his house. They definitely have sibling love going on :)

IMG_1650Caleb has pretty much given up napping these days. He still takes a quiet time in his room each day, but rarely goes to sleep. However, on those days when we have somewhere to go in the evening, I tell him, “Caleb, we are going to go someplace fun tonight and you are going to get to stay up late and play with friends, so you need to go to sleep this afternoon.” And he will! Every time! He puts himself right to sleep. I am so thankful he is willing to do this!

IMG_2111Most of David and I’s news this month centers around health and wellness. I started physical therapy again for some pain I’ve been having. 4 weeks later, I’m having less pain, but tons more soreness as I try and get these weak muscles of mine to cooperate. I just keep repeating to myself, “Strength is built over time.” Or at least that’s what they tell me as I sweat to lift my leg 2 inches off the table.

We also invested in a treadmill this month. David found during a work trip last year that he really enjoyed using one so we’re replacing our stationary bike that currently only David uses (because I find readjusting it for my height to be a pain) to a treadmill we can both use. I’m excited!

Comparison, Guilt and the Grocery Budget

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As anyone who knows me or has read the blog for a while knows, I love making goals for the new year. I usually keep up with about half of them and I’m totally fine with that. To me, goals are how our family tweaks the new year to make it run more smoothly than the year before, not the be-all-end-all. They’re meant to work for us, not crush us under their weight.

One goal however, that resurrects in some form each year, stubbornly refuses to conform to this philosophy and leaves me gasping under it’s pressure by April.

Lowering the grocery budget.

This simple, inane goal has become one of the few areas I struggle with wanting to compare myself to everyone else in. I want so much to wisely steward our finances and am always astounded by how capable other women seem to be of feeding their family on a smaller budget than ours. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw this post on Money Saving Mom: Can a family of 3 Survive on a $400/month Grocery Budget?

Finally! It was so encouraging for me to see that Crystal (the Money Saving Mom herself) and other women further along the frugality food chain than me think that sticking to that number would be challenging, but do-able. My feelings exactly!

Last year, I could occasional stay under my $425 budget, but often went over, especially when we needed to restock on tissues, diapers or other “once and a while” purchases. I felt like such a failure each time. Surely $425 is a generous budget for a family of 3?!? But apparently, it’s considered challenging…by some.

Because then I read the comments.

And there they were. These amazing super-women who are somehow able to care for the food/hygiene needs of a families of 9-11 people on the exact same budget I have. And my bubble burst.

They are doing the exact same things I am- shopping at ALDI, gardening, couponing/shopping sales, and yet somehow we are ending up with two very different outcomes.

As the frustration and guilt welled up inside of me over this topic for one too many times, I decided to do some heart searching and here is what I found:

1. In all honesty, there are things I could be doing better if what I want most is to lower the grocery budget. However, I like keeping a few frozen pizzas in the freezer for convenience, keeping a small stash of individually packed snacks/granola bars in the pantry for last minute dashes out the door, buying organic meat and farm fresh eggs, and organic produce when the cost difference is less than $1/lb. It’s not a mystery what could be cut. I just don’t want to.

2. What is my motivation for wanting to save more? In my mind, I say it’s because I want to “Live simply so others can simply live” but I have a sneaking suspicion that in my heart it has a lot more to do with wanting to be able to feel a sense of pride (not in a good way) of how frugally I feed my family compared to other people. Sickening, I know. I feel like I need to defend myself and say all the things I DONT feel that way about, but I’m going to be confident that all of us have *something* we struggle with feeling insecure/prideful about and keep moving.

3. What do I hope to gain from reading about saving on groceries? I’ve been reading articles about it for the last 5 years. I’m pretty sure I’ve already picked out the methods that work for me, and have plenty of other ideas I haven’t implemented floating around in my mind should I want to try something new. There is nothing to be gained from continuing to read them other than to compare myself to others. Time to stop clicking.

So what’s my grocery goal for 2014? Stop comparing our budget to someone elses.

January 2014

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We spent the first two weeks of the month soaking in time and warmth with family in Florida. It was a wonderful visit as always. Caleb especially loved every minute with his Grandparents, uncles, aunt and cousin. I could put a million pictures in here, but I’ll save it for a facebook album ;)

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And then we came back to this:

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Beautiful, but oh so cold after having just been in Florida. Fortunately Caleb loves the outdoors, no matter what the temperature. He was however, quite offended by the frigid water coming out of the faucet. “That is too cold, Mommy.”

We’ve started working on a few new independence skills this year. Socks were one of our last hurdles to Caleb getting dressed in the morning on his own. Until suddenly, with no prompting, he picked up a pair last week and said, “I can do my socks all by myself!” And he did. So now, Caleb can dress himself completely except for his shirt. So proud! It definitely makes getting ready for preschool in the morning less hectic for both of us.

Speaking of preschool, Caleb’s class started making “journals”. His teacher gives them each a prompt, writes down their answer and then has them draw a picture to illustrate. This month’s was, “When it’s snowing, I like to _____.” Caleb said, “Go sledding”. When he drew his picture, he drew a circle with 2 blobs on it and informed me it is “Caleb and Daddy on the sled.” This was especially precious to me because I missed getting pictures of the real event due to being stuck inside recovering from a vicious cold. I managed to catch this “after” shot through the window though :)

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This month at preschool they have really started working on letter recognition. So far they’re up to the letter G, so I decided to put our last name on the wall, under Caleb’s first name (which is what they were working on most of the fall). To my surprise, he was able to tell me all the letters in his last name right away. I’m amazed at how much he’s picked up just from talking and reading together. He then told us he want to “know all the letters” and has been having a great time playing games like this one:

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“Find the letter “X”, Caleb.”

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“WHAP!”

It’s fun to put some of my tricks from teaching to use!

I love the imagination and creativity of this age. Caleb is constantly cracking me up with unexpected solutions to my daily dilemmas. Recently, he overheard me saying I’d lost something and reassured me saying, “I can find that for you mommy! I’m a paleontologist!” That’s about what it would take to find some of the things buried around here :)

One of my goals for this year is getting back to doing our monthly family update, since I do love to read back over them and remember what Caleb was doing at different ages. We’ll see how dedicated I really am when the weather warms up and we’re free to spend the day outside again. I hope everyone’s 2014 is off to a wonderful start!

 

2013 Christmas Card

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2013 Christmas Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Our Family’s Top 10 Highlights for 2013

1. Our year began with some big transitions for Caleb. Just when we thought time couldn’t move any faster, he moved to his big boy room and began potty training. He handled the changes well. Mommy may have shed a few tears over how fast her little boy is growing up.

2. In May, we celebrated our 4th anniversary with an overnight campout and local winery tour. Neither of us had ever done a wine tasting before and we enjoyed it immensely! It was a great time of reconnecting and reflecting on how our friendship has grown over the years.

3. In June, we went on our first overnight camp out as a family with several other families from our church. With 9 adults and 15 kids, it was a fun and exhausting weekend. We swam in the lake, rode bikes, made smores and ate watermelon cooled in a stream. No wonder Caleb came away from the weekend loving everything about camping! With his birthday in just a couple weeks, we knew he’d love a “camping party” so we set up our tent in the backyard, put some magnetic fish in the kiddie pool and made a fake fire from sticks and tissue paper. It was simple and everyone had a great time, especially the birthday boy.

4. Caleb also fell in love with “swimming” this summer. Despite the fact that it was one of the coolest Augusts we’ve ever experienced, we made sure to make several trips to the community pool so he could splash around in his puddle jumper until his lips turned blue.

5. Later that same month, Sarah was blessed with the opportunity to celebrate her friend, Sarah Tew’s, 40th birthday at the beach. Three days of celebrating life, walking on the beach, staying up late talking and sleeping in each morning did wonders for refreshing her spirit.

6. In September, Caleb started preschool two mornings a week. He adores his teacher and all the fun things he gets to do at school. He loves memorizing anything- songs, verses, even entire stories from his Bible CD’s. Needless to say, we have to be really careful what we speak about in front of him. Just yesterday I heard him remark to one of his stuffed animals, “It’s been a long day for all of us…” Haha! He’s always listening…

7. In October, David received special recognition at work for his role as a minion. Literally. One of David’s coworkers had the idea to dress their entire team up as minions (and Gru) from Despicable Me for Halloween. They won the costume contest by a landslide.

8. David was able to complete several projects he’s been working on this year. His favorite is one he jokingly refers to as the “easy button” and another that he built to automate many of the repetitive tasks at work. I told him to be careful not to automate himself out of a job ;)

9. Sarah continued to be a caregiver 2 days/week to another little boy (also named Caleb) who is a year younger than our Caleb. It’s been a blessing watching the boys grow closer this year and teach each other new things.

10. The biggest highlight of our year was definitely the time we got to spend with our friends and family. We feel so blessed to be able to give and receive so many visits each year with those we love.

Growing Together

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15 minutes until we need to leave for preschool and we’re both still in our pajamas. Trying to get Caleb dressed, but he is fighting me every step of the way. Twisting away from my help, then barking orders at me when I try to give him independence. Frustration rises up inside of me. It doesn’t take long for hot, angry, loud words to come bubbling out of my mouth. His anger rises to match mine. More fighting from him, more yelling from me. Finally, his tears start flowing, even as he fights me harder.

Conviction. He is wrong to disobey, but I am wrong to pretend my yelling is being done in love. I’m angry and I want him to feel it.

I stop trying to wrestle clothes on him and say quietly, “Caleb, I need to tell you something.” He stops squirming, but sits still with body rigid and tense. I’m sure his mind is wondering if there will be more angry, condemning words.

“Caleb, I’m sorry for yelling at you. Mommy was wrong to yell angry words. Please forgive me.” He can tell I mean it from my heart. He leans his back into my chest.

“I forgive you Mommy.”

We sit together for a long pause.

“Mommy?”
“Yes, buddy?”
“I have somethin’ I need to tell you. I’m sorry for disobeyin’.”

“I forgive you buddy. Thank you for forgiving me too”

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“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  -2 Corinthians 12:9

I am Caleb’s mother, and that gives me authority in his life, but we are both sinners who stand before the Cross, in need of forgiveness. In that way, we are complete equals. Although I’ve asked Caleb’s forgiveness for yelling many times over the past 2 years, this is the first time he’s seen his part in a conflict and asked for forgiveness too, without prompting from me. It’s like watching a sprout come up from the ground. Tender, new, still in need of much nurture, but encouraging and beautiful just the same.

Garden 2013: A Recipe and Reflections

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Although it still feels like summer outside (hello 85! Stay as long as you like!) the garden is aware it is fall none-the-less and is winding down for the year. As always, I’ve begun to think about what worked well this year and what I’ll change next year.

Last year, I planted mostly heirloom tomatoes and was plagued with fungus, budrot and overall low yield. This year, I planted only 1 heirloom of the 4 plants, aggressively trimmed back foliage and watered more diligently. We were reward by eating all the tomatoes we wanted without purchasing a single one from the store, even with all our company! It was fantastic.

In the past 3 weeks though, so many ripened at once, I knew I’d need to do something to preserve them because we couldn’t eat them fast enough. I decided to try my hand at making sauce and the results were so fabulous I had to share!

The recipe I followed can be found at Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/08/fresh-tomato-sauce/

If you’re interested in trying it out. Here’s a step by step of how it went for me:

Finely chopped onion and celary, shredded carrot, and minced garlic. All cooked 10 minutes in the olive oil.

Finely chopped onion and celery, shredded carrot, and minced garlic. All cooked 10 minutes in the olive oil.

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I did blanch/peel the tomatoes, but as most of mine were small and meaty, I just swiped any big clumps of seeds out with my fingers and ignored the rest.

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That seemed to get plenty of juice out with minimal effort from me.

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A view of the sauce when it started. Big chunks of tomato!

After 15 minutes of cooking I decided I might not have gotten enough of the juice out and looked around for some tomato paste to help it thicken

After 15 minutes of cooking I decided I might not have gotten enough of the juice out and looked around for some tomato paste to help it thicken

My mom had given me several jars of this deliciousness, so I threw in a table spoon and froze the rest.

My mom had given me several jars of this deliciousness, so I threw in a table spoon and froze the rest.

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After an hour of cooking, the final consistency was perfect. Just like sauce from the store!

And the taste was incredible. I could have kept eating it right off the spoon!

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The result of all that hard work- enough for 3 or 4 pizzas. Definitely need to plant more tomatoes next year!

You might be asking yourself, “Was it worth all that work?” My answer would be, “Yes and no.” If I was doing it simply to be frugal, I would consider that a poor return on my time investment when I can buy jarred sauce I like for $2/jar (or less, on sale). However, I really enjoyed the process of making it and the taste is truly “sauce nirvana”. I also would have cried if those tomatoes had gone to waste. David and I agreed that we need to plant even more bushes next year so I can make a much bigger batch of this sauce.

I once heard a gardener say that her garden is all about growing tomatoes and basil and I’d have to agree. We’ll probably devote one whole bed to it next year and use the other for a few eggpant/squash and some lettuces. I’m already missing the fresh veggies of summer, but I’m thankful that a good year in the garden means we have bursts of summer put up in the freezer to remind us winter won’t last forever.

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