Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vacationing with kids: learning as they go...

Last Friday we got the girls up and ready for the day, got dressed and got into the car. We started driving, and driving and finally one of them asked if we were going the wrong way. My husband and I looked at each other and said, " Oops looked like we are, lets just go to the mountains this weekend ". The girls just looked at us with wide eyes..... "Really? Are you for real? Are you kidding?"
Of course we weren't kidding, we had been planning a little 3 day trip up to a cabin for a while and thought it would be fun to suprise the girls. They were suprised and excited.

Many people we know take extravagant vacations to the beach, or to a waterpark or to another destination with little characters with mouse ears and rides and such. ( Not bashing those places, just not what we are in to).

We have always wanted our children to be able to appreciate
- all the beauty of nature
- family time with our family
- inexpensive trips that create a life time of memories.

So off we went:
We went to this fantastic old homestead that we explored for hours. We had a picnic, we walked around, we talked about the "olden' days" we discussed homesteading and just enjoyed our family. It was a beautiful day, we were the only ones out there, ( probably because it was about 30 minutes on a tiny dirt road) and it was just awesome. I'll share a few photos of it now:
This is the main cabin. It was an adorable little cabin, with a huge loft. The fireplace was beautiful also. The girls enjoyed exploring and we talked about how things were done before electricity, how the homes were built with native logs and what each of the different rooms would have been used for.

Here are a few of the old out buildings. It was a beautiful day....

I just thought this was a super cute picture of my daughter.
 And here are all three little blessings. :)

 Yes I was a super dorky mother and made the girls pose by the outhouse....
I couldn't resist taking this picture of my daughter by this beautiful barn wood. It was amazing.  
Then we took a drive and saw some elk! This is a young calf. What this picture couldn't capture as hard as I tried was the fact that there were 2 coyotes on the tree line stalking it. It was a great lesson about the food chain, conservation, hunting and all kinds of other interesting topics.

Then we played in the river. The beautiful river.....
We threw rocks, we found minnows, we found frogs, it was also an amazing geology lesson. Take a look at those cliffs!!!!!
We ended the weekend with a tour of a local cave. Fascinating. My husband and I have been to many caves around the country, the kids though are just getting old enough to really appreciate the majesty of nature.

It was a great weekend. It wasn't that far of a drive, we spent QUALITY time with each other, we hiked, we picnicked, we sang goofy songs and above all else we drew a little closer to each other in this world of gadgets and gizmos and extravagant living.

Happy Homesteading all.....

Linked up to : Morris Tribe Blog Carnival, Natural Living Monday Frugal Days Sustainable Ways Homestead Revival Thriving Thursdays Mothering Mondays Mama's Story Mondays Far Above Rubies Eco Kids Tuesdays

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Muscadine Jelly: Take 1

We love our muscadines. My oldest daughter won't eat anything EXCEPT homeade muscadine jelly. I can honestly say that in her almost 7 years she has never had store bought jelly ( to my knowledge at least). Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches are a staple in our house, especially for lunches and it takes a lot of jelly. I have made strawberry, blueberry and blackberry this season already, but our muscadines are ready and I made one batch this weekend. I forsee several more batches in the future...
Aren't these delicious looking? The girls helped me pick them and only about half of what they picked ended up in the basket.

I washed them really well then put them into the pot to start the juicing process. I just smash them down with a potato smasher, then strain the juice into a different pot until I'm ready to cook it.

Ah the beautiful juice. It smells heavenly, and I always keep out a few cups to drink over the next day or so. Such a fresh juice, it is delicious.

And here are the "fruits" of my labor! I got 4 pints, 2 half pints, 1 quart and 2 little 3/4 pint sized jars. Of course we had to taste some and it was delicious. I am hoping to do about 4 more batches before the muscadines are gone...
 So what are you up to these days?

Until next time,
Happy Homesteading......

Linked up to The Carnival of Home Preserving, Morris Tribe Blog Carnival, Monday Homesteading Barn Hop, Frugal Days - Sustainable Ways, Simply Made Home, Fill those Jars Friday
These are great blogs with lots of link ups you might like.