A Balancing Act

At the end of May I told my former co-teacher that I would be her long term sub. while she was on maternity leave for the first 6 weeks of the school year. I knew it would be a huge relief to her to have someone who she has taught with, start the school year off. Plus I also thought that it would help me fight the "not-back-to-school" blues that I assumed I would have.

I'm three weeks into the job, and I have three weeks left to complete. I am exhausted, wiped out, pooped, dog tired! Working full time, raising Silas, trying to be a good wife and keep a house clean is stretching me pretty thin. I have a HUGE amount to respect for the moms who have to work outside the home. I know how draining it can be because I am there right now. Plus Silas has now decided that since I'm not home during the day, he is going to pay me back by returning the middle of the night feedings that he gave up months ago! Thanks little man :)

On the flip side I am also battling guilt. I love teaching, I mean LOVE it. I have always wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. Sure, there are a lot of things that I don't agree with in our current public education system. However I love the students, love planning, love creating and love grading (okay that last one is a lie because I despise grading!) In the morning it is so hard to walk out the door knowing that I am leaving Silas for 8-9 hours, I feel like I am missing so much with him. Then I get to school and I fall into a routine and the day just rolls by. On the way home I am excited to get home, yet also eager to return back to school the next day. There lies the guilt. How can I hate to leave Silas, home and my desire to be a good wife yet still love to work?

To make my lack of time at home more productive I did a lot of planning over the summer. I have a freezer stocked with meals so I don't have to come home and cook. I have created a much simpler cleaning schedule that just allows me to pick up a little each night. I also have the biggest help of all in my mom, mother in law and sister in law. The three of them rotate to come over every day and watch Silas. While they are here they do my major cleaning (bathrooms, floors, and kitchen) plus laundry! I am very spoiled I know, but incredibly grateful because instead of having to spend my Saturdays cleaning, I can spend time with Brett and Silas.

I am very glad that I don't have to keep this pace up for to much longer, just three more weeks. I will continue to sub. (1-2 days a week at the most) to keep my love for teaching alive. But I am looking forward to being at home where I can train and teach MY child instead of others.


Weekend Cooking

This weekend was super busy, but I was able to make two things that I have wanted to make for a while:

  1. Mixed berry freezer jam

  2. Dill pickles

They were both incredibly easy to make (I don't know why I waited so long!) and neither one of them required traditional canning materials or methods. In fact I made both during Silas' afternoon nap.

I found the simple Jam recipe in the July 2011 issue of Real Simple. The original recipe called for 5 cups of blueberries, but Brett's favorite jam is raspberry so I substituted for raspberries, I also added some blueberries and strawberries from the fridge that needed to be used.

Berry Jam

5 cups berries

1/2 cup of sugar

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp kosher salt (I never have kosher salt, so I use the regular salt that I have in my pantry.

In a medium saucepan, combine the berries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Mash with a masher or wooden spoon until all the berries have released their juices

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to container and refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for up to a year.

  • TIP: this recipe can also be made with frozen berries: 2 10oz bags. Cook the frozen berries for 2 to 3 minutes before mashing.

I stored my jam in a little glass Pyrex bowl.

The dill pickles were just as easy to make too.

Dill Pickles

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup sugar (the pickles turned out a little sweeter than I liked, so I think next time I am going to add about a 1/2 cup sugar)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 pound pickling cucumbers or baby cucumbers, ends trimmed and sliced

8 garlic cloves

2 tsp black peppercorns

2 large seed heads fresh dill (my grocery store was out of fresh dill so I had to substitute with dried dill)

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1 cup water, vinegar, sugar and salt, and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

Place pickles, garlic and peppercorns into a jar. Stuff the dill seed head into the center of the jar. Pour the cooled mixture over the pickles. Screw the lid onto the jar, shake well and refrigerate for 24 hours before using. Keep refrigerated for up to 1 year.

Yesterday was also a very special day for me and my family. I got the privilege of baptising my mom at Lee's Summit Community Church. My mom's faith has been growing for a number of years. She has gotten pretty involved in the women's ministry at her church, even becoming a group leader of the Single Woman's Bible study. I had been praying for a number of years that she would meet and become friends with mature Christian women. I was thrilled when she told me she was going to be getting baptised, but then I was shocked when she asked me to do it!

Apparently since her church is so large, the pastors let you choose a person to baptise you as long as they have their own personal relationship with the Lord. Tears came to my eyes yesterday morning as my mom shared her testimony in church before the baptism. All of those prayers for so many years have been answered. It was a special day for my mom, one that I will always treasure.

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