Thursday, July 30, 2015

Garden: Midseason Success and Failure

How's your summer going? Ours has been so full of so many good things. I am so thankful for this season with our family. We've been having a lot of adventures together. But even when we are just at home we are staying busy. Our garden is one thing we all work on together. 

I am so thankful that we get to have a garden, and even more thankful that we don't rely on it alone to be able to eat. We are reading the Little House books right now and thinking about how families used  to have to grow enough to survive gives me a whole new respect for homesteading life back then. 

Every year we seem to have different challenges in the garden. This summer it's often felt like we are failing out there. Squash beetles have killed some of our squash, we have planted peppers three different times and they just keep dying. Twice I planted beets and something ate them the minute they come up. Half the green beans I planted didn't come up and none of the cucumbers. We started tomatoes earlier than ever and we've had fewer than ever ripen up. Nonetheless, the season's not over, and we are enjoying some success. Here's a few things that did work and are making us happy. 

The few beets that did come up have beautiful tops. I can't wait to sauté these up with some butter and snow peas. Our snow peas also did great this year and we picked several bowls full. 


Some friends of ours gave us this windmill. I love seeing it in the garden. It's perfect for our little city farm. We planted some spaghetti squash nearby and they have over taken the bottom of the windmill. There's five good-size spaghetti squash on this trellis.  The ones at the bottom are huge!


One of our planters was more weeds than veggies. A lot of things we planted just didn't come up there, so we pulled out the young onions (which are still a usable size), and tilled it up and started over a couple weeks ago. Everything else below we picked in the last couple of days. When I put it all together I realized, we aren't failing. Some things are working, and seeing this pile of stuff we grew makes me happy, and eating it together will make us healthy. What more could we ask for? It's enough. I'm still hoping for more tomatoes in the next couple months though ; )


I hope you are enjoying the fruits of your labor, whatever they may be, and finding that they are enough. Happy summer! We'll be taking advantage of the last couple weeks of summer fun before school schedule starts here. Oh how I love these long and full days.

You are loved!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Family Fun Night: Paddington

Sometimes on Friday nights we like to do something special with the boys. Usually nothing fancy just a good time together: game night, a movie, camping in the backyard or a free activity in town. A few weeks ago we had a Paddington Bear night. We got the book from the library, rented the movie from Redbox, and made special desserts and snacks to munch on while we watched the movie. Something about having a theme makes the night even more special for them.


They both had these plain teddy bears. I turned them into Paddingtons using some felt and fleece I had left over from other projects.  The hat was no-sew I just hot glued two pieces of felt together and  added a little brown ribbon. For the coat I just traced the body of the bear from the knees up (plus about a 1/2 inch all the way around) onto two layers of blue fleece. I made the sleeves extra long so I could roll them up as a cuff. Stuffed animal clothes are really easy to make. Felt and fleece are great because they don't frey and you can do minimal sewing or just hot glue. Older kids would probably have fun making the clothes themselves with felt, scissors and a little help with hot glue. 


For dessert we had ice cream, marmalade and teddy grahams.


The marmalade is really good if you put some in a dish and warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave then pour it over the ice cream. Yum.


We also made a s'mores mix with the Teddy Grahams, chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.


We loved our Paddington night. Spending time together doesn't have to be expensive or complicated, but I feel like we have to do these things on purpose or the weeks just slip away. Maybe your family would like a Paddington night? : ) I hope you are having some fun family time this summer! 4th of July, here we come!

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