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Ethan Graduates!

2016 May 23
by Becky

EthanPreKGraduation-Cap&Gown

Goodbye preschool, hello Kindergarten!!!!

I can tell Ethan is burnt out, ready for a break and a new routine, and I’m certainly ready too. The end of the school year is so packed with events like the school “soiree” that happened yesterday, and, of course, graduation.

Graduation!!!

EthanPreKGraduation-FamilyPIc

In years past the pre-k kids have participated in the all-school Spring concert, singing a little song in that horrible-yet-adorable way 3-5 year olds do, but this year the teachers put on a special ceremony just for our little big kids. My first impression was, “We’re ridiculous even calling this ‘graduation’…it’s preschool!” I kind of felt like we were moving into the over-celebrating zone, making everything magical as parents tend to do these days. But it IS a big deal to head off to real elementary school (even if it’s just down a hallway about 50 feet) and our family got really excited about the big day.

EthanPreKGraduation-Diploma

The graduates were AMPED for the ceremony, we could hear their shrieks of excitement from our seats in the cafeteria. They sang a few songs—one set to Summer Lovin from Grease—and then “walked” for their diplomas. Ethan was in the zone, all professionalism. My face hurt from smiling.

I can safely say Ethan is VERY ready for Kindergarten. His reading and math readiness skills are kind of blowing my mind and I’m so excited to see what next year brings. Hopefully I can figure out a way to keep his little brain sharp over the summer.

Of course the sad part of leaving is saying goodbye to his brilliant, spectacular, beautiful, and incredibly patient teachers. Oh how I’ve enjoyed hanging around before and after class getting to know them!

EthanPreKGraduation-Teachers

I have no doubt in the abilities and dedication of all the teachers in our school, but after two years I’ve grown pretty attached to these three smiling faces. That’s why we were thrilled to find out one of these ladies is switching to Kindergarten! So she’ll be Ethan’s teacher for another year (woot woot!!).

This little event was the perfect way to celebrate our boy making the big jump to “real” school. Now we’re skating through the last few days of the school year—pretty sure every class in St. Louis either having a field day or going to the zoo or the Magic House through the whole week—and then summer begins!! Pools open next week! And it’s beginning to get HOT.

Happy Summer!!!

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Strawberries on Sunday

2016 May 19
by Becky

StrawberryPicking-FamilyPic

After last year’s successful strawberry picking adventure, I made sure to put it down as an option for every open weekend this month…just waiting for the day we didn’t have plans and could make the short drive over to Belleville, IL for our berry fix. The season goes by fast and I didn’t want to forget!

It was cold on Saturday, but Sunday promised to be gorgeous so we met friends at Eckert’s bright and early to beat the crowd. We arrived to a close-to-deserted farm and hopped on the wagon ride with our baskets at the ready. I wasn’t totally sure what Finn would do this year, as last year he spent the whole journey happily strapped to my back.

He figured things out pretty quick.

StrawberryPicking-FinnPicking

StrawberryPicking-FinnEating

StrawberryPicking-Picking

And I didn’t even get a shot of Ethan for the first 15 minutes because he high-tailed it to the middle of the field for some serious berry hunting. He and Stu made finding the perfect strawberry their mission and had overflowing baskets in no time.

StrawberryPicking-EthanBerry

The wind was blowing so we were grateful for our sweatshirts, but the sun kept us warm and cool mornings are apparently the best time to pick berries anyway so yay. Ethan and his buddy Joaquin were perfect gentlemen, walking through the fields, wisely choosing the best berries to add to their collections. What a great way to spend a morning—burning some energy and being close to nature. There’s something magical about eating produce right from the vine.

StrawberryPicking-EthanJoaquin

Finn ate and ate and I couldn’t bring myself to wipe his strawberry juice covered face, it was so cute. Every passerby exclaimed, “Did you eat a few strawberries??” or something of the sort and he grinned his biggest strawberry-covered grins in return.

StrawberryPicking-FinnDadWagon

StrawberryPicking-MomFinn
We stopped at the country store and Strawberry Festival carnival after a tractor ride back from the field. The big kids went on the little train and I took Finn to pet goats and cows. They even offered pony and camel rides and a yoga class! Eckert’s really is a cute place. They have this fruit picking thing so streamlined, which makes it all that much more fun for families. We’ve always wanted to make it for Honeycrisp Apple season so fingers crossed this fall we’ll fit a trip in the tiny window they are available.

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I spent that afternoon cleaning and freezing our overstock of berries (we always get too many) and made the puree for Jeni’s Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream that we’ll be churning this weekend.

StrawberryPicking-StrawberryIceCream

I’m not a jam person, the amount of sugar scares me, but ice cream I like. I’ve been busy prepping decorations for our school’s Ice Cream Social fundraiser happening this Sunday, so ice cream has been on the brain 24/7. Hope my homemade stuff turns out!

Have you been berry picking? Where do you go? Any recipes to share? 

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