As a homeschooling mama, I always have my eye out for different and fun ways to learn things. eeBoo Flowers alphabet rummy is a game we love. They are well designed and sturdy, the pictures are colourful and there are little faeries on each card. Since we’ve started playing this game my kids have soaked in some of the flower names without even trying. They recognize many of the flowers when they see them out and about, and I’ve learned quite a few myself. Our favourite version of the game is Pick A Posey, which is basically Go Fish. At 8, 6, and 4 all of them can manage playing it well, and we all have a great time doing it. Anything that can combine learning and fun is good in my book, and these fit the bill perfectly.
Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category
This past Saturday we drove to the park to have a picnic, but when we got there our usual spot was taken. We drove around to find another spot and found a perfect little area that we ended up having all to ourselves. There was a little grove of small trees that made the perfect hideaway, and just a little walk away was a section of the botanic garden. To my surprise there was also a little section of allotments. I had no idea they were there, but was thrilled to find them. Two of my kiddos walked with me around the lots trying to see everything that was being grown there. There were all the usual veg, such as squash, tomatoes, and green beans, but there were also some I had not seen grown around here like the artichokes and brussels sprouts. There were also plenty of beautiful flowers. It was exciting to see some of these and it gives me some hope of what I may be able to grow in the future. I do love having some fruit and veg growing in our garden as it’s so nice to be able to run outside and pluck some juicy tomatoes off of the bush for lunch, but I can imagine it would be quite nice to whisk away for a couple of hours on your own to just clear your head and dig in the earth. With a nursing babe, that’s not really a possibility at the moment, but in the future, who knows. I have big plans on expanding my garden next year, and hopefully not so many of my seedlings will die. As I am basically teaching myself the ropes, I guess I must expect plenty of failures, but hopefully I’ll start having more successes as well. Regardless, it’s refreshing to see food being grown, and for me it is extremely fulfilling to feed myself and my family food that we have grown ourselves. What are your favourite things to grow?
I adore this little cactus, a Painted Pinwheel. It belongs to my daughter and it sits on my kitchen windowsill. I see it many times a day and I just love that even though it’s a cactus, it is a perfect little flower.
These are two books that I am really excited about. I’ve already been making my own yogurt for about a year and a half, and we made butter once, but I have been interested in making different kinds of dairy products for a while now. The Home Creamery is fantastic and has all the info I need to try sour cream, creme fraiche, mozerella, kefir, cottage cheese and many more. I think it’s a good beginner’s look into making your own dairy products. The second half of the book is full of recipes that use all of the different kinds of cheeses and milks. I’m really excited about getting my kids involved and trying these out. I can only imagine how good a pizza would be with made from scratch dough, homemade sauce, tomatoes right off the vine, basil from out of the pot, and homemade mozzarella. Landscaping With Fruit is another book I’m loving. This year I took the plunge and got four fruit bushes, three currants and a raspberry bush. Granted, they are teeny and the currants aren’t even producing fruit yet, but I happily dream about the day when we can walk out into the garden and collect baskets of berries, or pick pears, or apples, or peaches off of trees. This book is beautiful to look at and has given me quite a few ideas to use when planting more fruit.
My kiddos have been really enjoying watching the progress of our veggies. This is my boy and he is very proud of his onion. We’ve watered and watched until we could stand it no longer. He was very excited when I told him he could finally pull his onion out of the ground. It may not be huge, but it’s his and it made the most delicious spaghetti sauce. It is so true that if the kids have a hand in growing the food, they are more likely to enjoy eating it. You can be assured that we will be planting more onions next year.
I have always been fascinated by tomatoes that are colours other than red, so this year we planted several different varieties of tomatoes. I was really excited about bright yellow, sunshine orange, and dark purple tomatoes. Alas, the Lemon Boy plant succomed to some bizarre fungus. The Black Cherry plant somehow managed to not grow very much at all. My Valencia tomato plant, however, is doing just fine with at least 20 tomatoes. Despite being accidentally broken off the vine, this little guy ripened up beautifully on the porch. Our little red onion also suffered a blow early on in life. When it was tiny, some curious little fingers attempted to pluck it out of the ground. With it’s roots barely under the soil, this onion grew above ground. He managed to grow to a decent size and will soon be enjoyed for a meal. This is the first year I’ve attempted planting anything more than herbs in pots, but I am loving every minute of it. I may not know enough to figure out what happened to two of my tomato plants, but the small successes we are having are fantastic. I am very much looking forward to better luck next year, and the huge amounts of orange tomatoes we should get here shortly.
This past May, I went with a friend to a plant sale in town. We were having a cold snap in the weather and were shivering as we walked around. I picked up several tomato plants as those I had started from seed seemed to be struggling, but my prized find was a raspberry bush. I say bush, but it was barely more than a twig with a few leaves on it. There it sat in a pale blue pot, calling my name. I have wanted to grow soft fruits for the past few years, but that day I decided to jump in with both feet. What was the worst that could happen? I cradled the pot in my arms and dreamt of all the gorgeous juicy raspberries we would have one day. I was told to wait several weeks before putting it into the ground in order to prevent transplant shock, so each morning I would put my pale blue pot out onto the porch to soak up the sun. Each night I would carry it back in to protect it from a chill. Soon, I planted my raspberry bush in the ground, and after a few weeks it had morphed into two twigs with a half a dozen leaves on them. I had no expectations of any fruit this year, all I wanted it to do was bask in the sun and soak up the nutrients from the soil that surrounded its delicate roots. Two weeks ago, I noticed something white on the bush. Assuming it was some sort of bug, I leaned in for a closer look. To my surprise, it was a tiny, white raspberry. Each day my children and I closely inspected this delicate little gem just waiting for it to mature. At last our first raspberry has grown into a gorgeous fushia berry. Not bad for a bush that isn’t even a foot tall. It may not be much, but I’ve never been so happy to see one little raspberry.