Our kids show us who we really are!

In this podcast episode, and in this blog post, Kelsey shares about life with 5 kids under the age of 7. We talk about the “mess” inside ourselves and how our kids help us get “cleaned up!” We also discuss the beauty and freedom of creating our own “family culture”, and not being bound to looking like anyone else.

Books Discussed in Podcast:

(Parenting Scripts was recommended by Kelsey’s sister-in-law)

An Author/Blogger/Podcaster Kelsey has enjoyed:



Other Blog posts by Kelsey can be found Here.

Valor was just getting up from his nap when we took this picture, so we will get him in next time!

In this blog post, Kelsey talks about making memories by building a living history.

(This is separate from the podcast episode)

During some of my childhood years my family lived in an old farmhouse in the country. My siblings and I had large maple trees to climb, big old barns to explore, an old grape arbor to munch from, and acres of field to run through. My mother liked to grow a large garden each year, and we learned at a young age how to help her plant, weed, and harvest the produce grown in it. Mom loved to garden.

She would tell us that she got into gardening as a way to spend quality time with her busy father when she was a child. In turn, she invited us into the garden with her as a way of passing on what had become special to her. We would begin at the local greenhouse where we would pick out tomato plants, melon starts, packets of green bean and corn seeds. My dad would borrow the landlord’s old blue Ford tractor to till the soil, and I would climb up onto his lap to help him steer.

I can recall it like it was yesterday, the feel of dad’s old sweatshirt, the scruff of his beard grazing the top of my head and the smell of the diesel smoke puffing from the exhaust as we chugged along. 

The days grew hotter and the plants grew bigger until, in the dog days of August, the once hard, green tomatoes began to turn into soft, red fruit ready for harvest.

We knew it was time for the canning season; out came the glass Ball and Kerr jars, new lids from the Super Value and from the basement we carried up the old black, speckled canner. We would don our aprons and set to work in that old farmhouse kitchen preserving our summer’s harvest.

My mother taught us, first by us watching, and eventually, by us helping, the art of canning our own food. That age old tradition began to weave its way into my heart and my identity. That pleasant feeling of setting ourselves to such a purposeful task was satisfying. We worked, not only for the need of the food for the winter, but also for the visual reward of rows of jars standing at attention filled with bright red tomatoes.

And the much anticipated ‘POP’ of the lids as one after the other obediently sealed tight.

I hoped then that someday I would have my own home and garden and my own family to pass this tradition on to. 

Many summers later, I find myself standing in my own kitchen, with my own brood of children as we don our aprons and prepare to can a bountiful crop of ripe tomatoes.

We planted the seeds together earlier in the spring.  We cared for the tender little plants as they unfurled their first sets of leaves and began to soak up the light and spread their roots deep into the soil. Together we spent time out in the sun, under the bright blue sky, pulling pesky weeds and talking about the gardens in our hearts and what weeds we ought to pull from there so God’s glory can grow abundant. At long last, as the crickets begin to sing their end-of-summer song, the mornings are a little cooler and the sunflowers are in full bloom, we begin the tomato harvest.

Now it is time to pass down the traditions and make the memories with my own children that I so cherish from my childhood. As we get out those glass Ball and Kerr jars from the attic, wash our Tattler lids and seals and bring up the old black, speckled canner from the basement, we talk about the life of these tomatoes and the process we are about to embark on.

Our four year old tells us how it all began with a small, delicate seed many months ago, while he sorts out wide mouth lids from small mouth lids. Our daughter, six years old, brings the stool over to the counter and fills a big bowl with ice and water, preparing things for the peeling station…all the while talking about things a seed needs to grow into a strong plant and bring forth good fruit.

Our eldest, seven years old, refreshes our memories on the steps ahead…scoring, blanching, peeling, boiling jars, filling to the top and sealing tight.

Our two year old gets into mischief and pulls on my legs to remind me that this is indeed not as interesting to her as it is to us. The baby, well he sleeps until the most time sensitive moment in the process and then he lets out his wail to let me know he is hungry, and not hungry for tomatoes.

My children are full of mischief and imagination. Including them in these tasks of adulthood is not always easy or peaceful. There are certainly times I get frazzled as they bicker over who gets to do which task or my four year old begins to pulverize the blanched tomatoes in his hands getting tomato juice all over the kitchen. Some years we don’t get around to starting our own plants and some years my garden doesn’t produce as bountifully as I would like. But God always provides whether it’s through a family member starting extra plants or a generous neighbor who has more harvest than they need.


What I have decided is most important here is not that the process go perfectly from beginning to end, from seed to table, but rather that I keep a living history in our lives; that my children learn the age old task of preserving their own food and appreciate the art of it. But above all, the importance of creating a wholesome, beautiful childhood for my children, just as I had, so that too may be passed on to the next generation as it was for me.

Happy canning!

Some Faves Today:

Currently Reading: The Lost Castle Series by Kimberly Camdron

In my morning mug: Special English Breakfast from Harney & Sons Co (with a splash of milk), iced medium roast coffee with milk in the afternoon

Listening to today: Adventures in Odyssey: Pranks for Memories

Reading with the children: 90 Devotions for Kids from the book of Matthew – Adventures in Odyssey, The Boxcar Children Homerun Mystery by Gertrude Chandler, The Bombay Boomarang Mystery by Franklin W. Dixon, Pages of History: Secrets of the Ancients by Bruce Etter


Kitchen Tip:

If you have build-up on your kitchen and bathroom fixtures you can mix up baking soda and lemon juice into a paste, coat your fixtures in the paste and let it set for 20 minutes. Go after it with a scrubby pad and you’ll find the build up comes right off! 

Caution: if you had a dark finish on your fixtures it may also remove some of the finish.