As a mom of 4 boys I have low expectation when it comes to major holidays. Unless spurred on by women, men (at least mine) have no clue when important holidays are coming are that they even exist in some cases. And I will admit right here that it is my own fault for not teaching them the importance of things like this...their wives are gonna kill me...sorry future wives.
So when I walked into my kitchen on Mothers Day and found a huge bouquet sitting in the middle of my island, yes you remember that island, I was so surprised. I must say I had forgotten how a bunch of flowers can melt a girl's heart.
So thank you to my #3 son for the sweet gesture...and for the record I love being your mom!
And even though I have issues about cutting flowers myself...if someone else does and then brings them to me...I'm ok with that!
Here we are again for our kinderGARDENS update! I am going to let you all see what my garden looks like right now...and has for the past 2 months...
We have had rain, wind, hail, and snow! That does enough damage but on top of it all it has consistently been 10+ degrees below normal temperatures around here. I am beyond annoyed, way beyond irritated...no I'm quickly on my way to being down right mad at all this wet, cold, depressing weather.
Now I know that it is the Pacific Northwest and this is what we must endure for all of our lovely green trees, and flowers, and yada, yada, yada...blah, blah, blah...
Enough already, we're drowning here!
Besides my tomatoes are getting a bit grumpy...
Although my kale seem to be happy adorned in raindrops!
We got out yesterday long enough to put some straw down in the maze to keep the weeds at bay and be ready for when the monsoons quit and we can plant out seeds!
We are also in the middle of designing and building housing for the ducks, turkeys, and the new bunny Ollie.
All the baby birds are growing like crazy, they are starting to get their feathers...
Yeah, I'm talkin' about you little buddy!
We also received 3 more chickens from a neighbor who didn't have room for all of hers...
Welcome to the funny farm little guys.
All these critters will be wonderful for the garden catching bugs and slugs. Of course their poo will be great too!
So there you have it...the animals, kids and kale are growing wonderfully.
The tomatoes not so much...
We have a winner in last week's giveaway for the charming Sunflower House book congratulation Faith*Buss! For all the details go here..
Next week we will have a guest writer here on the kinderGARDENS post...stay tuned its gonna be great!
So what have you all been up to? Have you been playing in the dirt?
May I just start by saying that I am for the very first time posting this from away from home! We are at an indoor water park and have been since yesterday...isn't technology just grand? Heck I almost feel like Pioneer Woman posting from one of her swell trips...well almost. Except that I don't go on book signing tours, or live on a cattle ranch, or have lovely red hair, or would ever take pictures of calf testicles...besides that I feel just like her!
Sweet Girl is learning her addition facts. All the wonderful combination that make 10...which in an of itself if I must admit rather boring. We decided to spice it up a bit...
I cut out two sets of numbers from 0 to 10 then we glued them onto some colorful construction paper. The name of each number was written on them and Sweet Girl has started to color and decorate them.
Next lay out all the numbers...
Touch two number that equal ten. 7 + 3...yep!
0 + 10 is perfect!
Even the little guy joins the fun with a little help. Good job baby 9 + 1 is TEN!
Good thing you have long legs girlie!
Addition doesn't have to be boring...and the fun is contagious!
A big brother could just resist joining the fun!
Very good adding, 5 + 5 does equal 10! All that college is paying off...
Yes using your head and feet work!
His enthusiasm knows no bounds...notice the little eyes watching!
The kids even figured out that if they held up their ages that they too equal 10...good job guys!
The kids just had a blast and by the end Sweet Girl knew all the combination of numbers that add up to ten!
Next Big Brother turned over all the cards and made it into an addition memory game...much more challenging but again great fun!
Now I'm off to go play in the water with my two littlest kiddos...the big ones baled on me. Darn kids, they just couldn't bring themselves skip work to play with me on the water slides. So when did they learn to be all responsible and stuff?
One final thought. I am here with my sweet hubby. I love him dearly but he has one considerable flaw...he has not gained even one pound since I've known him. I on the other hand have birthed 6 babies and have gained a pound or two...or twenty. May I just state here for the record...it is NOT fair.
Before we bought our cabin on the lake 2 years ago it had been owned by an elderly couple. They rarely used it....
As its new owners we use it all the time. We have done major construction there. We have had big parties there. We bring our kids and dog up there all the time...completely disturbing the peace of the old place.
I'm sure that has annoyed the local residents completely, the four footed kind especially!
So over the winter they exacted their revenge...
Our lovely arborvitae hedge has had it knickers eaten off! They now stand there like tall willowy models in dresses far too short!
So instead of looking like this...
It now looks like this...
I bet the deer are laughing their hairy little rear-ends off!
So what does one do to keep deer from eating a whole hedge? Do I really have to erect a cage over the whole bottom half? Any tips would be greatly appreciated for this all new to me.
You see I'm used to dealing with elk and camels...not deer!
And just a side note please excuse some of the funky angles of the following pictures, I was holding the camera above my head for many...and make sure to read to the end of the post for another book giveaway!
We finally got the frame for our maze up. It ended up a bigger production than I had planned because of the terrible weather and my tendency to make things bigger than first intended!
I got the area rototilled, then we laid the felt down and put up the fencing just the way the kids wanted it.
We even enlisted grandma to help out!
When the fencing was just right I took a can of spray paint and outlined it on the felt.
Next with an Exacto knife I cut away a 3-4" wide spiral...not easy...not fun.
Then we put the fence back up and pounded in the stakes.
We ended up using about 85 feet of a 100 foot roll of fencing.
Yes it does look slightly like a prison yard but I'm hoping some sunflowers will cure that!
The kids don't seem to care...they love it!
I can't image how much they will like it when it is all covered with beans and gourds and flowers!
I also want to share a wonderful book the kids and I have been enjoying!
"Their petals open wide and spread
a golden roof above my head.
My friends come rushing down to see
the sunflower house, hand grown by me!"
It is a story of a little boy and how he planted, grew and played in his very own sunflower house. My kids love this book and the illustrations are just lovely! Because we love it so much I will be giving away a copy to someone who comments on this post. (by tomorrow 10-21-2010 at 5pm Pacific Time)
So my dear readers...how has your kinderGARDEN been growing this week? Do tell!
This was the corner of our family room...classy huh?
No matter what I could not keep those toys corralled. So I decided we needed something different...
We have sorted through and gotten rid of the toys they no longer used. Put most of the ones they do use upstairs in their play room leaving just a few well loved toys and favorite books...this is the corner of our family room now!
We have a new little painted cabinet that keeps our toys neat and tidy.
But this cabinet did not start out looking like this...I know this shocks you! No it was a free cabinet left behind by some renters that moved across country and couldn't (or didn't want to) fit it in their moving van.
This is the 'before' cabinet. It was pale pink with its undercoat of yellow showing. Frankly I love old beat up furniture and would have just given it a good cleaning and kept it as is. But I am married to a guy who has no appreciation for 'junk' as he puts it!
So paint it I did!
And since the last project was white I was going to go as bright as I could stand!
A coat of primer and two coats of coral pink...satin
After it dried I put on a coat of crackle glaze. I then let it dry for 3 hours and applied my top coat.
You must work quickly as it begins to crackle right away...the kids thought it was so cool that their new cabinet looked like bark!
I think someone has put crackle glaze on my face...sorry...just thinking out loud!
Bright and cheery huh?
New cabinet in newly vacated corner!
I must say I love those little feet...I left them coral pink!
We moved some favorite books in along with some homeschool workbooks and...
You cannot have a toy cabinet without a basket full of dinosaurs and ponies...I'll give you 3 guesses as to who owns the dinosaurs and who owns the pretty little ponies!
Do you remember the calendar I made out of sheet metal, a frame and some glass tiles? Well here it is. I am trying to decided if I like it there.
Should I leave it propped up there, hang it on the wall above, or put is somewhere else? Your help would be greatly appreciated on this matter.
(And yes I know the calendar still reads 'April')
(And yes I know I have lived in this house 15 years and still have no baseboards...honey I have no baseboards...did you hear that? I'm gonna have to get out the saw and put them up myself if you don't soon...I mean it...really.)
So there you have it...our new toy cabinet...guaranteed to keep toys picked up an in order!
I also have some swamp land you might want to take a look at...
Oh and in case you were wondering...
Yep those are chrome and orange barstools from an old diner in Seattle that went out of business. They are very old and very heavy...moving those suckers to mop is no easy task. It is one of the reason I work out...
The rest of the time it is my nemesis. The one room (along with the laundry room) that no matter how hard I try, no matter how many times I swear it will stay clean...it just doesn't...ever.
I have an oversize island in the middle of the kitchen. It is where I do all my baking and all the cooking. It is also seems to be a catchall...
I would never ever let my lovely island get this cluttered...not me!
Of course I am not the only one that uses the island...its not all my fault!
This is not me...I am neither that young or that lovely. No this is my oldest son's sweet friend Jo. She is frying up bacon to go into clam chowder. She and son went clam digging and come home with a HUGE amount of clams.
Notice...she is reading the recipe off of her I-Phone! That makes her at least 100% cooler than I ever hope to be!
Notice...the microwave oven says 9:17. That is pm! They are making clam chowder at 9:17 at night.
Notice...I am a vegan, my kitchen is frying bacon and cooking clams. Ughhh it will never smell the same! I actually had to make cinnamon rolls and lentil stew the next day to get out the smell!
My son the chef...under the close supervision of my handsome hubby. Who cannot believe that they are making clam chowder at that hour of the evening!
Then again he can't believe that I use the island as a paint booth...
Or a potting shed...which I of course would not do. Those things are not what kitchen islands are intended for!
And while I may complain loudly at times about the view of the island. I cannot complain about the view from the island!
So do you have one room or area of your house that no matter how hard you try just does not or will not stay clean?
I will feel much better about myself if you share...
Unless of course your house is always clean, then you can just pretend you didn't read this post...
Wow, that is one big egg...I feel sorry for the hen that layed that!
Yeah, it reminds me of you...
Son looking very puzzled.
This one is your oldest brother, this one is your next...this big one is you!
(First son just over 8#, second son almost 8 1/2 #, third son pushing 9 1/2 #)
So feel sorry for the hen all you want...it is your mama that deserves your awe and wonder!
Son grinning and walking away from his crazy mama...
Now we have an issue...that egg fits into that carton about as well as I did into my pants at the end of my third pregnancy. No matter how you try...its never gonna fit!
No matter what you do you are never gonna get them zipped...I mean closed.
Hold on one minute don't you have 4 sons?
I have such observant readers!
Yes I do have 4 sons...if I was going to add a fourth egg it would have to be a bantam egg. You see at just over 4 pounds boy number four was an itty bitty bit of a baby. So no I did not forget my last son...just no appropriate visual prop for him!
Well what about Sweet Girl? Doesn't she get an egg?
When she was listening to the conversation about big eggs and awe inspiring mamas she said she wanted to be a chocolate egg!
So if I had a chocolate egg, that would be my Sweet Girl...
But I don't have a chocolate egg...
Chocolate does not last long enough in my house to have photo shoots.
Which has no bearings on any zipper issues I may or may not have...
Good day fellow gardeners...grownups and kids alike!
Welcome to our new participants, we are now 36 strong...yeah!
(and if you are just hearing about our kinderGARDEN series and contest, click here to join...its not too late and we would love it if you joined us!)
Today is our day to visit all the wonderful gardens and projects that we have been working on. I am pleased to say that the rain has stopped long enough that we have actually been able to start our maze project!
After choosing where our maze would go we had to remove and relocate the red and black currants as well as a couple of gooseberry bushes.
Next we laid out a hose in the approximate shape that Sweet Girl thought would be just right!
Note, ignore the shadow of the dork with the camera above her head!
Since this is an area of the garden that has never been cultivated I decided to get out the handy dandy rototiller...
I had considered just letting the floor of the maze be grass but was honest enough with myself to know that I just didn't want to have to mow it every week!
And for the record yes my legs are that loooong...ahem.
After getting the area rototilled I tried to figure out what I could put down to keep the weeds down in the maze. Black plastic is to easily ripped, and too slippery...besides being plain ugly. I considered just putting straw down but I knew the kids would just throw it around and then up would come the weeds...
I remembered we had an old felt (from the mill my hubby works at) out in the pasture...I drug it into the garden. Baby Boy sprayed it off for me.
Of course since we used water to clean it that meant there were little puddles of water left...hmmm what do kids do in little puddles of water?
Oh yeah...its puddle jumpin' time!
You go girl!
I love how kids can find great fun in just the simplest of things!
They spent the longest time just jumping and laughing on the future floor of their maze!
Today I'm going to finish the tilling. Then I'll attempt to cut a spiral pattern in the felt...that stuff is harrrrd to cut! Next will be the fence and finally the planting. We're hoping to have it all done by the end of the weekend...if the weather cooperates!
Oh yes...we also started planting out our tomatoes! Well I planted while the little one 'supervised', lol!
So my fellow kinderGARDENERS...what have you been up to?
Have you taken the time to have a little fun in your gardens this week?
Here in the Pacific Northwest we have lilacs and camellias, our lawns are awash in daffodils and tulips. But nothing says spring in the northwest quite like the rhododendron!
"Rhododendron species are found in the wild from the arctic regions to the
tropics, spanning a wide range of climates. In the United States, a large
number of hybrids and species flourish in the pacific northwest, especially
between the Cascades and the Pacific Ocean. A favorable climate extends
down the Pacific coast, the area getting narrower as it goes south, with the San
Francisco Bay area being about the southern limit of easy culture for the
large-leaved varieties." American Rhododendron Society
We are indeed blessed with some of the loveliest rhodies around!
"Rhododendrons and azaleas belong to the genus
Rhododendron of the heath family (Ericaceae). The heath family includes
the heaths and heathers, blueberries, mountain laurels and several other
ornamental plant groups. Most members of this family require acid
soil and good drainage."
When we bought our cabin at the lake we inherited some large old rhododendrons...
I love how tropical they look when you take a close look at them! But actually most are from Asia even if they look like they might be at home in Hawaii...
So although I complain about our weather here in the Pacific Northwest...I must say that having the perfect climate for Rhododendrons is one perk that I cherish!
It is week 4! Instead of my usual update...which I'll admit would have been soooo boring considering it is still raining here...in fact instead of a maze for the kids I am considering building an ark...seriously!
Where was I?
Oh yeah, instead of my update I am leaving you all in the hands of one much more knowledgeable than I on them matter of garden design.
But don't forget to link up at the end of the post with any garden updates you have throughout the week.
And if you're new to the contest it is not at all too late to join us...click here for details!
The first time I visited Susan's blog I was so impressed by her landscape designs and ideas but frankly it was her down to earth style and wit that kept me going back again and again!
I especially love her dedication to water-wise and native plantings that are beautiful yet environmental friendly.
So you've listened to my prattle long enough, I'm going to turn the mike over to Susan
Where we lead, our children will follow
A few years ago, I designed a garden for a family that included two small girls. On the day the plants arrived, both were in a frenzy of excitement and proclaimed themselves my personal assistants. And they actually did help me carry plants around the garden…at least when they weren’t distracted by examining the flowers and delightedly rubbing their hands along the fragrant leaves of the salvia plants.
On a visit six months later, both girls were again full of excitement – this time because they wanted me to see their gardens. One showed me the little patch of earth where she was nurturing two petunias and a dandelion; the other had planted watermelon seeds and a Shasta daisy. They couldn’t have been prouder to show off their personal plots to me and I, in turn, was thrilled to think I had played a small role in encouraging two fledgling gardeners.
Before committing to a new client, renowned garden designer Topher Delaney has them fill out a questionnaire, part of which asks the client about where they lived when they were a child. Topher feels so strongly that a child’s early exposure to the outdoors influences their beliefs, preferences and values for the rest of their lives that she refuses to work with a client who declines to answer the question.
These stories are anecdotal, but evidence continues to mount that the experiences children have in the earliest years of their lives are the most influential. The time to bring our children out into the garden to dig, play and grow is right now! Whether it’s to plant vegetables, examine bugs or to just dig in the dirt for the sheer joy of it, the sooner kids are exposed to the natural world, the more likely a love of the outdoors will remain a part of their lives forever.
Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening for many families. According to an American Scientific study, we’re spending significantly less time outdoors, and visits to national parks have declined by as much as 25% in the past 20 years. In the accompanying article, author David Bello explains that “conservationists believe that the electronic world has supplanted the natural world as the leading diversion.” Landscape designer and California native plants expert Patricia St. John believes that many parents are actually afraid of the outdoors and wary of bugs and dirt. Not surprisingly, they’re raising kids who feel the same way.
What exactly does this mean for gardeners? I think it means that it’s up to us to spread the word and create as many opportunities for children to get into the garden as we can. Anything we gardeners can do to encourage kids and to “let ‘em get dirty” has an impact not only on today – we are literally shaping the rest of our children’s lives.
So here’s to changing the world, one tiny set of hands at a time.
The photo is courtesy of Patricia St. John
So here is our link for this week...make sure to visit each other sites to see all the great ideas and cute kiddos!