I’ve always loved Usborne and DK books as the way they are done works well for readers and non-readers. There are so many pictures that my kids that can’t quite read yet are happy to sit and look at them for quite a while. My oldest son, when he first started to really read, was also happy to look at them as he was not intimidated by the short little blurbs. I’ve been drooling over these Usborne Spotter’s Guides for a while now and was thrilled when my mom handed me a big stack of them when she returned from her trip to England. They were a gift from a good friend of ours. As a homeschooling mama, I love these kinds of gifts. These books are fantastic, and they are small enough to throw in a backpack for when we go to the lake or the park. They are colourful and filled with tons of information, not to mention internet links. We love them and my kids have been pouring over them since the day we got them. They are a great addition to our nature section on the bookshelf. I am thankful for such a thoughtful and generous gift.
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 love making my own bread, there is something about smelling it rise and pulling a beautiful golden loaf out of the oven that I just adore. The only hard part is waiting long enough so as not to burn my fingers trying to get at a slice before it has had the chance to cool slightly. Both of my girls have been ill and some nice bread was just what they needed to ease their tummies back into health. I, however, needed an excuse to slather on some thick, golden Scottish heather honey. My mom recently returned from a trip to England to visit a dear friend of ours in the town that we lived in when I was a child. She brought home many treats including the honey. The second I smelled it I knew a fresh baked loaf was in order. The moment I tasted it I was transported right back to Scotland where I had first tried it. It still amazes me that a smell or taste can take you back 15 years as though it was yesterday, and I was reminded that this indeed, is the best honey in the world.
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 patchwork blanket is for my almost five year old daughter who loves all things pink. I’ve been working on making patchwork blankets for my kids for Christmas and this one is the first to be completed. We’ve had a couple of cold snaps in the last few weeks and I really enjoy thinking about all the snuggling this blanket will get. I really love repurposing items and fabrics so that they can be loved and used again. Most of the fabrics on the top have been sitting in my stash for a while, but I used a vintage sheet that I love for the back. I love all of the bright colours and flowers and I know that my daughter will too. It is big enough to completely wrap my little girl up in or for several of us to sit and share some cuddles. My favourite thing about this blanket is that the sheet I used for the back was my mother’s favourite bedsheet when she was my daughter’s age.
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.