Saturday, June 30, 2012

Conversations With a 7-Year-Old

Setting: Backyard; I'm in our shed cleaning and organizing and she's swinging on her tree swing near the door.

E "Mom, if you could have just one wish what would it be?"

Me "Probably that we wouldn't have to ever worry about money."

E "Ok, what if I add you up to 5 wishes?"

Me "Whoa, well that's a lot to think about."

E "Ok I'll minus you down to 3."

Me "Ok, no money worries, health and safely for those I love, and...well peace I guess just about covers it."

E "Well, what if our car could fly? Like a rocket button?"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

St. Louis Gateway Arch

E got a close up look at the arch today, incredible!

On the Receiving End of a Video Chat

As I mentioned before E got to tag along on the last leg of her daddy's tour. Kinda awesome, right? Not too many kids get to take a week and a half off of homelife and drive from Atlanta back to Seattle in a tour van. She's loving it. I've had a harder time not having her around. I think there were 2 consecutive nights I spent away from her last year sometime, but nothing like this type of separation. Our family is equally divided down the middle; 2 away and 2 stay. Of course we have our multiple daily conversations when I have to interrogate her on teeth brushing and vitamin taking. Every once in a while my phone let's me know there is a video chat afoot; let the silly face making contest begin! Her and her N could have hour long spells doing this: 

We miss her, and cannot wait until next week when we're all back together again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Boy Time

I'm not sure how I'm going to cope. My first born off on an adventure with her dad for the next 10 days.

At home.
With the boy.

Day in and day out with N. No school, no schedule to speak of, just us and the long long days. I haven't been a parent of one in a long time, "How do I do this again?" He still naps more often than not, and he really will eat most anything so that's something. Wait! He loves the children's museum, the zoo, the aquarium, going on hikes, taking long baths, digging outside with me, playing on our swing set, visiting the swimming pool, playing indoors, cooking...hmmmm on second thought I think this is going to be fine, we might actually not be able to fit everything in! And isn't this exactly what I was lamenting when he was born; that he wouldn't get that undivided attention E had for the first 5 years of her life? This is going to be really good.

Here is my latest solution to his accumulating Playmobil construction collection: IKEA has these extra large shallow under-the-bed storage boxes that are the perfect fit for keeping the mess contained and easy play! Now if we could just manage to get him in matching pajama's once in a while, who is his mother anyhow?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Definition of an Orchard

The definition of an orchard as spelled out by wikipedia is "an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production." My guess is that my front yard won't look the way it does for many more years. I am slowly replacing ornamental's with plants that give a little bit back. Last fall I planted a 4-way cherry, a 4-way pear and a Gravenstein apple. In years past I put in blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb and strawberries. Everything is growing and looking very healthy (except maybe save for the strawberries, can't figure out why they only want to make pea-sized berries). I wasn't sure I would get anything this season from my fruit trees what with it being their first year in my yard and the flip-floppy weather we're so famous for in the lovely Seattle area. Here is a little peek at my orchard.

The apples are right now about the size of a 'shooter marble' and my mouth just waters when I think of the pie and homemade sauce in my future!

This is on the Bartlett branch, disappointingly no D'Anjou this year (which is kinda the reason I got the tree in the first place)

I have exactly 3 cherries growing this year; have to put up the bird netting soon I would die if birds ate them!

Loads of raspberries comin'; these are the epitome of summer fruit in my mind, nothing better.

Blueberries makin' their way too!

Here are my funny little strawberries, the smallest things I have ever seen (but darn tasty when ripe)! Anyone know what's happening here? I acquired them from a neighbor and his berries were 'normal' - they're Alpine which are a more petite berry, but come on; I'd need 100 of these things to call it a snack!

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Garden Defines Me

So this is the 3rd/4th year I have worked/expanded our family vegetable garden. I started with a pretty foundational love of plants and working in the dirt and have now turned over most of my southern facing side yard to food production. In past years I've grown some family standards and then also thrown a few "hmmmm...that would be interesting" cultivars in the mix. This year I decided to stick with only things I know my family will eat (maybe with a little coaxing). I started everything from seed (mostly using Territorial Seed Company mail order) except the tomatoes came as 3" starts. And cartwheeling greenhouse aside, this is looking like my best year ever (knock on wood). A huge thanks goes out to my dad for opening up the sky for me, with the branches gone my yard and food budget got a great face lift.

This years garden list is as follows:
Dutch Fingerling, Yukon Gold, Red and White Potatoes
Sunflowers (for seeds)
Red and Golden Raspberries
Green, Burgundy, and Yellow Bush Beans
Storage Onions
Brussel Sprouts
2 Varieties of Kale
Salad Mix
Dual Purpose (baking and carving) Pumpkins
Sugar Snap Peas
Tomato's 8 Varieties
Purple Bell Pepper
Purple and Orange Carrots
Easter Egg Radishes
Flat and Curly Leaf Parsley
Popping Corn
Some random squash from seeds I saved from last year.

Photos of above mentioned deliciousness:

Realizing that this photo doesn't really do the space justice this is a  5x17 foot bed

4.5x15' bed

9x17' with 2 foot walkway divider

To put it all in perspective, I have a close-as-I can-get-aerial-shot of the garden. Because this is taken from the furthest perch on my deck the bed against the house is not pictured nor the popping corn rows just behind the tomatoes and wooden raised bed.

As for my goals:

  1. I really want to continue to replace and repurpose my existing ornamental beds with ones for food. I am visualizing a blueberry hedge just in front of the apple and pear trees in the front and ripping up more lawn for over-wintering raised beds.
  2. I want to save the seeds of things that we loved (just one tomato offers so many seeds!)
  3. I want to continue my investigations in succession planting to have a constant harvest.
  4. I want to do a cover crop for the first time.
  5. I really want to pay attention to what grows well on my plot and what we will eat. I have wild dreams of wheat and quinoa in years to come too. We'll see.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Party Time!

N got to celebrate his big day for a week. I started decorating the house a week before the actual party, and I was glad to have it so festive! N really wanted a Totoro Party. Our family has a very soft spot in our collective family heart for the Studio Ghibli animated films and Totro is at the squishy center. I set to work checking out blogs from moms that had done the same thing, I filed some good ideas away and wondered if I was really going to pull this off? I found a site dedicated to free printable's I used for hanging ceiling decorations, I found another that offered free wallpapers that I downloaded and printed up for magnets. The kids and I started sunflower seeds so our guests could take home a few sprouts a la the acorn garden scene. I visited a handful of Asian markets to pick and choose a few snacks that our American kid palates would appreciate. I began strategizing how to pull off a Cat Bus birthday cake and Soot Sprite and Totoro carnival games...I had waaaaay too much fun with this.

Seed Starting
Making Acorn Bean Bags

Turned out Great!
These Guys were Lurking Everywhere!
Making Pom Pom Soot Sprites
Assembly Line
Super Cute
Late Night Cake Assembly
Bean Bag Toss Final Product
Fishing for Soot Sprites (we also had leaf hats and soot sprite necklaces )
Bubbles are always a hit
Soot Sprite Balloons
Take Home Gifts
The weather was so nice
The finished product
Surveying the Goods
Stamp of Approval
Blow out the candles
Soot Sprite Cupcakes

Gifts! (notice the lovely Totoro hat he got!

Thank You Card Sneak Peek
* Thanks so much to Jason and Eileen for taking pictures for me at the party, you made this post possible!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

3 Already

He joined us with a ferocity to be reckoned with. Big in stature and personality. He gives his 7-year-old sister a run for her money every day. He's a sweet and strong headed, bright-blue-eyed and brown haired hurricane. He's 3 today.

I delivered him here at home he weighed in at 10 pounds 12 ounces!

He was a little slow learning to walk, but practically runs everywhere now!
Give this a guy a shovel and he's happy for hours; at the playground, beach or in the garden with Mama.
Like many boys wheels are his thing.