Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

String-a-Long and One Small Change

Just popping in to let you know about my March projects. So far my time away from the blog has accomplished me absolutely nothing. We have all been struck by a nasty cold and apart from my head feeling like it’s going to explode for the last several days, I’ve got four snotty children, two of whom now have lovely coughs to go along with the nose running. Ugh, anyway, I have higher plans for the rest of the week provided that recovery is speedy. At least we all came down with it at the same time, way better than it dragging on for a month because everyone gets sick one at a time. So, first off, Mousy Brown and Rattling On have set up a String-a-Long 2010 challenge. I was so excited as I have been making fabric shopping bags forever, and always loved string bags, but had never made one myself. I’ve got my yarn and hook ready and as soon as I can think straight without all the pressure in my sinuses, then I’ll be off. I’m using the Econo-Shopper Mesh Bag pattern for my first one, but I have plans to try out several different patterns over the course of the month. As you can see from my yarn choice, I have opted for a more outlandish colour, just kidding. I can’t seem to get out of my kick of coordinating colours at the moment. I’m trying to have several in the same shades to look nice on a hook by the door, but I do intend to make some more fun coloured bags to have in the car. Next, my March change for One Small Change. I’ve struggled to come up with what change we should work on, so I think this month it will be a combination of a few small things. We’ve gone to shopping less often, yay, so making some more string bags will help as I need more to hold the larger amount of groceries. I also want to bring in some air cleansing plants into the house. Ever since I ditched the peace lily I haven’t had any plants that are good at purifying the air, so I want to get a few in the house. Lastly, the winter wind is starting to die down, so I am hopeful that by the end of the month we should be able to go back to line drying our laundry. Our house is too small for me to hang it inside during the winter months, there is literally no room to accommodate all that much laundry so I can’t wait to be able to get it back outside. As far as February’s change went, it went really well. I did have to get rid of two onions as they were bad, but I am pretty sure that they were already bad when I got them as they were in the middle of a huge bag of onions that I bought and every other onion was fine. We were very careful about eating every last bite of everything that came into the house and had very little waste. Well, I’m off again for the week. I’m hoping to be back towards the end of the week, but that will depend on how everybody is feeling. I’ll pop in for sure on Friday and let you know what’s going on. I hope everyone is having a great week, I’ll catch up with you guys later.

crochet, gardening, green, home, nature • Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 • 13 Comments »


I’m enjoying the scent of my hyacinth as I try to mentally prepare for this week. We spent the last two days rearranging the living room to make more effective use of the small space. We’re nearly there, but I still have to finish sorting through our books and put the ones we are keeping back on the shelves. This is also the week that our eldest gets his braces on. I know he’s getting so big now, but I still think 8 is really young to be getting braces. We don’t really have a choice though as his permanent tooth that grew in behind his baby tooth has to be pulled forward so it doesn’t throw the rest of his bite off. I had braces when I was a kid, and I have them now, so I know how hard it can be when your mouth hurts. It’s overwhelming right after they tighten them and it can be really tough to eat. We’ve been trying to prepare him that it will hurt a bit, but that it will go away after a while. We’ll give him plenty of tylenol if he needs it and plenty of smoothies and other soft things to eat to ease the discomfort. I’m trying not to dwell on it in my own mind, it needs to be done. All he can think of is how fun it’s going to be to get glow in the dark bands on his braces, just so he can show them off to his brother at night.

family, gardening, nature • Monday, February 8th, 2010 • 6 Comments »

Black Bean Salsa

I don’t think I can actually call this a recipe, it’s more just throwing things together in a bowl and stirring. Either way, it’s delicious, and nutritious. Here is what you need. equal amounts of black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes diced jalapeno garlic lemon or lime fresh parsley sea salt If I’m being really good and planning ahead, I will cook the black beans from scratch. If it’s summer time, I’ll dice up fresh tomatoes. This time, I was out of garlic, didn’t have any jalapenos and trust me, the “fresh” tomatoes are not so tasty in Wyoming in January. This is one reason why I love this salsa, it’s so forgiving and very flexible. I used two cans each of beans, corn, and diced tomatoes that had diced mild chiles already in them. I used garlic powder (because raw garlic is a bit too much for me). Normally I squeeze lemon juice over it, but this time I had limes, and it was just as tasty. Normally I hate when somebody tells me their recipe and includes no measurements. I’m really sorry, because it’s what I’m doing now. I don’t ever measure any of this, I just taste it a lot as I mix it together. I make a huge batch because the kids love it and it goes quickly. So if you don’t have four kids that devour food like locusts, you might not want to make quite such a big batch. I figure if I’m gonna make it, I may as well make enough to last a few days. Just dump the beans, corn, tomatoes, and diced jalapeno together in a bowl. If you are using canned beans etc. remember to drain them and rinse the beans also, otherwise the salsa gets really goopy. Chop up a handful of fresh parsley and throw it in. Squeeze approx. one lime worth of juice in and start mixing. Season with garlic and salt and enjoy! It makes a great snack, or a quick lunch in a pinch.

food, gardening • Thursday, January 21st, 2010 • 12 Comments »

Purging the (not so) Peace(ful) Lily

To go along with a fresh year, and decluttering I have decided to get rid of my peace lily. It sits behind my sink in the kitchen and I see it quite a few times a day. It was given to my by some friends when I was in the hospital, pregnant with the babe. Unfortunately, they turned out to be not very nice friends and now everytime I see the lily, I think of that situation and am saddened. I don’t know why it has taken me this long to just get rid of it. When I think of all the time that I have been reminded of an unpleasant situation, I’m not sure what possessed me to hang on to it this long. Now it’s gone, and it feels good.

gardening, home • Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 • 9 Comments »

Be Still

be still necklace A new year, so full of possibilities. I must admit, after all the gearing up for Christmas, it is sometimes a bit of a relief when it is finished. I immediately think of the spring coming (though that won’t be for many months here), and new life and warmth. I look forward to celebrating a new year of birthdays starting with all of my boys in the spring. Thoughts of what to plant, where to plant it, and how much to plant. Dreaming of picnics every week in the warm summer sun, having it be warm enough to let my kids play for hours outside every day. We have serious cabin fever by this time of year. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just cold, but the wind makes it unbearable. I’m not such a huge fan of resolutions, but a new year does make me reflective over how I would like to do things this year. Much of this past year was spent physically, mentally, and emotionally recovering from the previous two years. This year I feel a renewed vigor and enthusiasm, and I am excited for the possibilities. This necklace was a gift from Hubby. It was made by Lisa Leonard and is called Be Still. I absolutely love it, and it is a constant reminder to be still. Being still is sometimes a little difficult with four children. This year, I want to live in the moment more. Enjoy each and every hug, story, cuddle that I am blessed enough to have. I want to enjoy cooking more, so often it’s a matter of just trying to get a nutritious meal on the table while stopping a squabble, holding a fussy babe and trying to think straight and stir at the same time. I want to be outside more, and truly enjoy the beauty of the world around us. To visit family more as time goes by so quickly, and the children are growing at the speed of light. I want to lie in the grass and read stories to my children, make them picnics to have on adventures in the back yard. Then there are the more domestic things that I want to accomplish, such as being more organized, getting some sort of chore system worked out with the abilities of everyone in the family. Being really good about making a big shopping trip and then only going out when we need milk and fresh veg/fruit. I could go on forever as there are probably hundreds of things I want to do, but my overarching goal is to be still, enjoy what God has given me, and make thousands of new, fantastic memories with my family. I sincerely hope that you all have a wonderful new year and are able to accomplish all that you want. Happy New Year!

books, crochet, family, food, gardening, gifts, green, home, homeschooling, kid's art, nature, sewing, thrift store finds, travelling • Friday, January 1st, 2010 • 11 Comments »

Paper Flowers

paper flowersA couple of weeks ago I was brainstorming for ideas for decorating my girl’s room and making paper flowers was one thing I thought of. Last week I saw Lisa’s paper flower tutorial which is great. There are also some paper flowers in Green Crafts for Children which is a fantastic book. I ended up using Lisa’s tutorial as a base but used tissue paper that was 8" x 8" instead of 8" x 16". I also rounded the corners for more defined petal shapes. I love how they turned out and my daughter had a lot of fun making a bunch. We made enough to fill a silver bucket for her dresser (I’ll show you all the finished bouquet as soon as her room is done). You should definitely give these a try, there are so many variations, and they are inexpensive and quick to make. They were a huge success.

family, gardening, home, kid's art, nature • Monday, November 2nd, 2009 • 10 Comments »

Birthday Goodies

birthday flowersI received some wonderful presents for my birthday, and wanted to share them with you. I got these gorgeous flowers, just perfect to brighten up the kitchen. It makes me smile every time I look at them.birthday bits and bobsSome great new (well, old, really) hankies to add to my collection that I use daily. A beautifully hand crocheted baby bib and some silver baby spoons for the little one, and an old wooden spool which will decorate my studio, one to grow your own food.jpgA new gardening book to hopefully help me figure out what I’m doing.stripey blanket.jpgA pink stripey blanket that is destined to be repurposed as it has a little hole and a couple of stains. I also got two sets of Wee Wonderfuls embroidery patterns, the All Four Seasons Stitchettes, and the All Four Fairy Stitchettes. Last but not least, is a 1- year subscription to the British Country Living magazine, which I’m super, super, super excited about. I had such a great birthday, and got some wonderful things. There is going to be a lot of fun crafting before Christmas and plenty to learn before spring hits with a new garden. Hope you guys are having a great week.

books, gardening, thrift store finds • Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 • 8 Comments »

A Children’s Village

children's villageThis past Friday we visited the new Children’s Village at the Botanic Gardens in town. I was absolutely amazed, and the kids had a blast. I think this is going to be our new go-to destination. They had statues, and sculptures….duck statuebird sculpture a large wooden dome with plenty of wooden chairs and a big bucket of chalk for all those budding little artists….wooden domewooden paths through the pond leading to teepees….wooden pathplenty of hands on experiments….water pumpnot to mention, a door leading to a far away land…far away landand of course a puppet theatre…puppet theatreThere were many other fun things including, sand pits, a floating bridge, plenty of picnic tables, and a grassy area for sack races. There were also plenty of beautiful plants, flowers and veggies growing around the village. We had so much fun and the kids have been asking over and over to go again, now if only it wasn’t 34 degrees and raining. Hopefully we’ll get another little patch of nice weather, when I’m sure our first stop will be this amazing children’s village.

gardening, homeschooling, nature • Monday, October 5th, 2009 • 5 Comments »

Tomato Harvest

tomato harvestThis has been the first year I’ve really attempted a garden. We’ve had some successes and plenty of failures. We’ve had some really unusual weather this summer and everyone I know who has a garden has had plenty of issues, even experienced gardeners. We’ve had lots of fun, and it’s actually been very calming for me. I love going out and watering in the mornings, even the weeding wasn’t too bad. The best part was being able to walk outside, pluck a juicy, ripe tomato, and then slice it up for lunch all within five minutes of it being on the vine. More often than not I had eager helpers. All in all I’m very pleased with the results, and look forward to having another go next year. The temperature in the last two weeks has been really strange as the first week was in the 90’s and then it scooped down to a week of the 40’s (even snowing one day). Now we are back up to the 70’s and it is feeling more like the beginning of fall should feel. I love snuggling up with a blanket and drinking hot cocoa to warm up in the evenings, but only after a proper fall. I was not liking the sudden jumps in temperature. I think the extremes did my tomato plants in as they pretty much look dead now. There are at least a couple of dozen green tomatoes still on them and though it is a little sad that I do not think they will continue to ripen, I’m thankful for all of the ripe, juicy tomatoes we have had in the last several weeks. The picture above is of all of the remaining ripe, or almost ripe tomatoes that we decided to rescue in case of another drop in temperature. I haven’t quite decided what to do with the green tomatoes, but think perhaps trying a new green tomato recipe might be the trick to using them up. Any suggestions?

gardening • Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 • 6 Comments »

A Rainbow of Bell Peppers

bell peppersSadly this was the last week of our local farmer’s market. I was looking for some good bargains on items that I could preserve for the winter, and I knew I hit the jackpot when I saw these gorgeous peppers. We have one organic farm that has a stall at the market, and their produce is exceptional and their prices are phenomenal. Often their prices beat the conventional produce of the other sellers. As much as we can, we try to buy organic food and support the farmers who are growing their produce in this way. With six mouths to feed and a tight food budget it isn’t always possible to buy organic, so when I come across a good deal I try to stock up. I think they thought I was a little nutty when I told them I wanted 20 peppers, oh well, I had a plan. When we got home I started to wash, slice, and dice these babies and after a couple of hours (with plenty of distractions), I had these… diced bell peppers20 bags of diced peppers ready to go into the freezer. Not only will it save me time when trying to get supper ready, but we will have scrumptious, farm fresh, organic bell peppers during the freezing, wintery months. The only regret I have is that I didn’t buy more.

food, gardening • Monday, September 28th, 2009 • 9 Comments »