Urban garden patch: green tomato relish

This green tomato relish came from ...
this early-fall urban garden patch.

Strictly speaking, most of the tomatoes came from the front yard, but lots of peppers and herbs were gathered from the back yard too. When I sent AppleApple out to pick whatever she could find, before the first frost, I never imagined she'd come in with pounds of produce -- but she did! Now, what to do with pounds and pounds of green tomatoes? Sure hope our family likes green tomato relish, because we made a ton. I can't say that another late-night canning session was how Kevin and I envisioned spending our Sunday night, but it seems that canning always happens late at night -- or is still going on late at night, no matter how early one begins.

Kevin is also experimenting with dehydrating hot peppers.

Our house smelled fabulous yesterday.


Some other exciting* things happened this weekend. (*applicable to item # 1 only if "exciting" = "organizing")

1. The kids and I went through all their drawers, plus the bins in the attic, resulting in three bags of purged too-small clothing, and a whole new wardrobe for the younger ones (hand-me-downs, but new to them.) Such a lot of work! Any six-year-old girls in the 'hood looking for clothes? I'm passing CJ's outgrown clothing on to his cousins, but Fooey's will simply be donated.

2. Our family accepted some big challenges this weekend. I ran a tough race on Saturday morning. And both of my eldest kids went to rep soccer tryouts, Saturday and Sunday. This is not big news for our soccer girl, who loves these situations, but it is big news for our eldest boy, who tends to shy away from challenges. And I'll admit we pushed him a bit to get him out there. But once he was out there, I think he realized that he belonged as much as anyone, that his skills were solid, and that he knew what he was doing. He tried to hide his smile of pride afterward, but he couldn't, quite.

3. On the parenting front, Kevin and I both felt like we'd added a piece to the puzzle, just observing our son's confidence after we'd pushed him to try something at which we did know he could fail. That's a scary thing to ask of a kid. It was rewarding to see him working hard -- but I think it was even more rewarding for him to see himself differently, as someone who is willing to take a risk and try his best, no matter the results. I don't really like pushing my kids, as a general rule -- I want them to explore and discover their own passions, and support them as they develop and grow as individuals. But what about a kid who doesn't seem to know his own passions? How passive/active should a parent be? All I can observe is that our eldest has thrived with a push now and again -- he would have given up the piano very early on, if I hadn't believed in his musicality and insisted he continue, and found a piano teacher who was a good fit; he was recently overheard advising his youngest sister, who is a beginner, that playing the piano is really fun, you just have to learn the basics. I know there are no guarantees of success, and parenting experiments can and do back-fire, but I'm proud of our boy for accepting this new challenge and running with it. I'm curious to see where it leads.

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