FINALLY … this year we had elderberries to eat from our backyard and they were so good picked straight from the shrub. Unfortunately, we had a tree fall on one of them, so not sure we can save it for next year. We don’t really have enough yet to make many recipes, but planning to try out this recipe for an elderberry shrub. Elderberry is great for boosting immunity, so lucky us they ripen just as school is beginning and germs are swarming. We also buy this elderberry syrup Sambucol, that’s great for boosting immunity and soothing sore throats, and have found a local kansas company, Wyldewood Cellars, that makes an elderberry concentrate that we also love.
Explore growing some elderberry shrubs in your own yard or forage for some in the wild. (just be sure to know the difference between elderberries and toxic berries. Eating them when fully ripe and cooking them first is also advised). They are very easy to care for, but usually don’t produce fruit for a couple of years after planting.
We have endured hours upon hours upon hours in the car lately enjoying the beauty that surrounds us. We have enjoyed more of our fair share of adventures this summer and hopefully I will be able to carve out some time to share some of them with you. The images above are some quick shots of the Flint Hills of Kansas that we drove through tonight after visiting our family in Wichita. I have such a sense of peace every time I drive through the rolling Flint Hills. If I am driving just with the kids they are well aware that we will be stopping along the road several times to snap photos capturing new undulations of the endless land and sky. I could photograph this vast beauty for hours, someday with a great camera and not just my iPhone.
….This has been the summer of driving… First round trip from Kansas City to Florida and then round trip from Kansas City to Maine. So, I thank my dear children for being beyond patient while I tacked on another 30 minutes to our drive.
The drive tonight through the Flint Hills gave me a sense of rejuvenation, as it always does, and allowed me to appreciate all of the beauty that we have taken in this summer and the special time shared with dear friends.
Stay tuned! I will post more pictures of our hiking adventures in Maine.
I really had to capture this photo of the boys reading because most of our moments (so far) this summer have not been this peaceful. We left for a fantastic vacation to Rosemary Beach on the last day of school, so we are just now getting into a (lazy) summer routine of sorts. I like to leave the summer a bit unstructured which means we don’t sign up for weeks of camps or sports and mostly just take each day as it comes. Last week started off a bit rough though, and I was in slight panic mode rethinking my decision not to schedule more into our days. This “unstructured routine” does take a bit of planning on my part, making sure that I have enough ideas to keep them creatively inspired. I had high hopes of organizing art materials and decluttering toys (this article is helpful) – so they are not overwhelmed with too much stimulation…..I am slowly getting to this. I forget that summer involves a lot of time in the garden (which I love and wish I could spend more of my time tending to), and maintaining our forest of weeds that are now about as tall as I am. I am slowly weed eating down areas to fill in with native plants and wildflowers and after 5 years of doing this, I am trying to find peace in the fact that this will be an ever ongoing process and know that I am doing the right thing by not taking the easy route by killing the weeds with the dreadful roundup. Read this article and you will not want to use it either and be very diligent about what is done by any lawncare company.
So, lately, work at home has consisted of pulling weeds out of areas and slowly working as a family to naturally beautify the landscape we have. The boys just finished pulling weeds around a small group of pawpaws. This is work they are very proud of and earned a bit of allowance money for, which is always a strong motivator.
I just read this short article on encouraging sibling relationships and found the ideas simple, but very effective, and I agree with all five. Here’s another good article on sibling chores.
We are now settling into a summer groove, and not planning so much into our days allows us to be at home for whole days at a time. The boys are able to start projects and really get engaged with their creativity. They are working on a lego city with our billions of lego pieces and working on joint chores (such as weed pulling and wood stacking), creating recipes, helping with the garden, reading together, alone, and to their sister, and beginning some art projects. They get rewarded with small doses of technology like computer games and videos (I’ll fill you in on a fantastic, cool, educational video site soon) but mostly we are filling our days with activities that are hard to dive into during the busy school season.
I’ll keep you posted on how our unstructured days are going, but for now they are suiting us well!!
I would love to hear how your summer is going and what special projects or daily activities bring your family together during the summer.