Early stages of writing

Emery has learned to write her name on her own!! As I’ve watched her progress over the last few years I can’t help but think about the early stages of writing I learned about in my teaching career.

Since she was a wee little one we have had a little table for her with an array of writing mediums available; pencils, colored pencils, crayons, markers, and blank paper. Coloring books are also located on the table, but Emme has never been that fond of them;she prefers plain paper. Needless to say we have quite a collection of “scribble drawings”. I love them ALL!

When she turned 3, I started modeling writing her name for her. She also went to preschool two days a week and her name was wrote on all her projects, on her hook, on her backpack, etc.. In a nutshell, her environment was emerged in her name. She never really cared for writing it herself though. I never pushed her either…just kept modeling with writing and saying the names of the letters. We also talked about how names always start with a capital. It may sound cheesy but it is oh so important when children turn 5. I’m going to put on my kindergarten teacher hat for a moment and say PLEASE, Oh PLEASE teach your child to write their name with a capital letter only at the beginning. The rest of the letters should be lowercase. Thank you🙂

So back to this week/month. Emery has finally started wanting to write her name. As soon as she wanted to and felt confident, she has been on a roll! Her name is showing up everywhere! ~B

Blackberry picking

We went blackberry picking today. It amazes me how grown up my girl looks in this photo. Only 4 years ago she was a tiny infant. Now she is an independent, willful, intelligent, girl who changes her clothes at least five times a day and spends more time eating the berries than picking them when we go on berry picking adventures.

At least blackberries are super healthy. Plus, I grew up doing the same thing.

Just the smell of blackberries instantly brings back childhood memories. I instantly see myself picking away in the woods behind our house. It makes my soul smile thinking about it.

My mama always took us on blackberry picking adventures. She saw it as free food, and now as an adult I totally agree. In our neck of the woods blackberries are everywhere: find a good patch and pick away. Just make sure the berries are a little off the road because of all the exhaust and dirt kicked up from cars and make sure they weren’t sprayed.

Berry pleased,

~Brooke

Fairy Houses

Em and I recently checked out this book from our local library.

Imagination flows through this book as a little girl’s parents show her a special place in the Maine woods where people build fairy houses.  In the story details are given on how to build a house suitable for fairies and it discusses living vs. artificial materials.

Em was inspired to build her own house.On a morning walk we gathered a few materials to build our first fairy house. It was a great chance for her to apply her new knowledge on living vs. artificial materials. We also had to make sure the living material was not disturbed from a living state; we had to use leaves that have already fallen from trees or feathers that have fallen off a bird.

Em made little beds from leaves, a table from a dirt mound with berries for dinner, and a pathway of rocks for them to hop on. I helped with the roof🙂 Of course, she constantly wants to check on the house to look for fairies, just like the character in the book did. The house is a permanent part of our yard now🙂

~B

People moments; a photographic portfolio




When my child was born, I discovered my love for photography. I’ve slowly but surely developed my skills over the last 4 years, and still have more to learn. The above shots are a collection of my favorite. As you can tell my subjects are limited to a few family and friends. I’m always looking for new subjects🙂

~B

Nature Moments; a photographic portfolio

I’m an aspiring photographer. This is my beginning collection of captured moments inspired by nature. I hope you enjoyed🙂

~B

a handful of thanks

We made thank you cards for Em’s birthday guests. There is something I love about a child’s hand print. My mom still has my preschool handprints hanging on one of her walls. It has always been my favorite childhood art piece.

We used a few art supplies we had around the house: kids paint, paintbrushes, and card stock cut up to any size you prefer( When I cut mine I kept envelope size in mind).

Find an area around the house that can get messy. I chose outside because the weather was nice. If I did this inside our house, I would sit at the table or on the floor and put a tarp under us to allow for an easier clean up.

Once we were set up outside, Emery chose a few colors and we went to work. I painted her hand with a good coating of paint. I then placed her hand straight down on one of the card stock pieces.

To make a full print I gently pressed on each finger. I talked with her about doing her best to not wiggle as I did this. It worked for the most part🙂

I gently pressed on the bottom, than on the top.

After pressing each finger, I also pressed lightly on the area above the palm. Then lifted her hand straight up. She eventually took over this step as we made each card. This is what it looked like.

We did a few in this color and then I cleaned off her hand so we could do another color. The paint cleans off easy because its kids washable paint. I used a different paintbrush though so I didn’t have to clean the brush during our project. My child is a little too fast paced to wait through that. After all the cards were done I let the cards dry in the sun. While they dried I cleaned up and she played in the yard. Once the cards were dry, Em put stickers on the back of each card. She had a pirate party so we tried to use pirate stickers. Once we got started she thought of adding personal touches. Like on Grandma Michelle’s card she used convertible stickers. It turned in to her picking stickers for each person on our list. So cute & emergent learning at the same time🙂 After the stickers were added, I wrote a message in the blank area.

I also wrote the words thank you on the front. We mailed a few and also delivered a few. It ended up feeling  very personal and it cost us nothing…well maybe a few stamps🙂

U-pick berry picking tips

I have fond memories of berry picking as a child, most are of wild blackberry bushes. I haven’t experienced much berry picking as an adult until today. I thought I’d share a few tips I learned along the way.

The first thing I did was seek out a local, organic U-pick farm on the internet. I found a few and narrowed it down by reviews, price, and location. If you live in the Portland metro area, I found a great place named Thompson Farms located outside of Damascus/Gresham. They have been established for over ten years, are family owned, and have always been organic. The berries are Oregon Hood berries, are only $1 dollar a pound, and are FABULOUS!! There is also a produce stand to pick up a few more fruits and veggies if your heart desires so.

This is the 1o pounds of berries we picked. It adds up fast :0If you decide to go berry picking here are a few tips:

  • Locate a local farm of your choice-call ahead for field reports and price per pound. Individual farm’s crops vary so this is very important!! If you can locate a website, you should be able to find the phone number too. Some of these phone lines ring directly to a farmer’s house so please respect the hour of day you choose to call.
  • Bring buckets/ tupperware/large bowels/baskets/boxes, etc. I saw one person with strawberry cartons from the store-what a great way to re-use. I purchased a few baskets with handles from the local dollar store.
  • Weigh in your buckets/containers as you arrive. Look for the cashier. The scale is usually located there. This may be a good time to ask if there is any info you need to know, especially if you are a newbee. My friends and I were newbees and at the end we wondered what the pink flags in the field meant…next time we will ask?? We also didn’t realize we needed to weigh our buckets prior to check-out but the cashier graciously helped us.
  • Go early;the earlier the better. If you can, go in the middle of the week or on the first day of picking. If not, go Saturday morning. Some days farms will have no pick days in order to let the crops ripen so make sure to call ahead.
  • Wear proper clothing. Prepare for a mess. Wear clothes that can take stains and closed toe shoes are a really good idea. Hats are also a good idea. You may even want gloves.
  • Bring cash and bring enough. You’d be surprised how fast those pounds add up. Plus, most farms have a produce stand that is very tempting.
  • Know how much you want. I plan on making jam, so I wanted plenty. I may even go back for more.
  • Baby wipes are always a good idea if you are bringing babies, toddlers, or children.
When you get home you have to clean the berries.I also wanted to freeze a few; here is my process. This takes some prep but is worth every minute of it..believe me , I’ve learned the hard way.
This was my work stationTo wash the berries, I start with a large bucket full of cold water. I soak a large amount of berries in this water for a few minutes.
I then start pulling each berry out and pluck off the stem. I save the stems for my neighbor’s bunny. That is what the yellow bowl is for. If you want to save the stem, so be it🙂 I place the strawberry in a nearby strainer. Once the strainer gets about 10-15 strawberries in it, I once again rinse them in cold water from the faucet. I then place the strawberries one by one on a wire drying rack with paper towels under it.
If you don’t own a wire rack like this, a doubled-paper towel will work on its own, but I highly recommend purchasing one for many reasons(cookies are one!) Go do other household things and let the berries dry in open air. If you plan on eating or using the berries right away, you don’t have to let them dry as long as you should for frozen berries. once dry, put berries in a container for storage in fridge. If I am freezing the berries I let them dry really good and then place them on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. I make sure the berries are not touching because I don’t want them to freeze together.
Once the sheet is full,place the sheet in the freezer for about 45 minutes to an hour. When walking, move slowly and make sure the sheet has a level surface in the freezer. You don’t want your berries rolling as you place them in the freezer. Once the berries are nice and frozen, take them out of the freezer. Give the cookie sheet a good shake and take the berries off. This is a fun part a toddler can help with🙂 I(we) put them in a ziplock bag for freezing. The berries never stick together or end up smashing each other into a frozen juicy mess this way!! I do this with other fruits as well. Blackberries worked great with this method.I even tried it with peaches. I left the skin on, but it still worked. And the  frozen fruit is  SO good for smoothies. I am looking forward to those winter months when I can pull out frozen fresh berries and still know where my food came from!🙂
Happy Summer & longest days of the year!!!!
~B

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