Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Transplanting the Garden

We transplanted the garden to the large 4ft x 4ft x 16in raised bed that my husband and I made. (Mostly me, but I needed his brawn.)

The girls helped layer the newsprint and cardboard to keep the weeds from going up.  They helped me mix the compost and peat moss and sprayed me down repeatedly trying to get the soil moist.  

Most of what we are growing is supposed to do well with tomato cages, so it looks an awful lot like… well, I don't have words for it, which is strange, I LOVE words.

We planted the zucchini, cucumber and tomatoes.  We promptly lost a zucchini, a cucumber and a tomato to some kind of burrowing animal. The beast hasn't come back and it had better not.  I have a feeling it was a despicable cat. Chili powder is supposed to keep out rabbits, maybe it will banish the cat as well. 

Last year my cucumbers got aphids.  This year I planted green onions between plants to keep them out.  I have hopes for crops this year, not just crop.

The girls wanted flowers so we planted petunias.

We also planted several flower seeds.
Sunflowers and Bluebonnets

Morning Glories

Bachelor Buttons

My herbs:
Rosemary, year 2

Boxwood Basil

Chives and Garlic (?)

I don't remember what is in that last pot.  The chive is the middle one, the thing to the top right is probably a garlic.)

This is a lettuce from my farm delivery.  I was surprised it was doing so well.

The peppers and eggplant will finish out the raised bed.  I still have to plant the carrots and romaine lettuce.  I don't know where they will go yet.  The herbs will end up in cans.  I have aspirations of hanging them from the pergola.

I am ready for fresh salsa and vegetables! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Found: Step 2

We have recently started teaching our youngest to read.  Sugar is 4.  Ginger started learning at 3.5 or so.  (She begged.)

I made what other moms of pre-readers have told me is absolutely genius.  Okay, but I didn't think it was anything special.  Spreadsheet + as many 2 letter words as I could think of.  Most reading programs I have seen start with cat and dog. I always felt like it's starting on step 3. 

Step 1: Learning the letters and their sounds.
Step 2: Learning that sounds blend (2 letter words.)
Step 3: Learning that sounds can make words (3+ letter words.)

Part of our bedtime routine is to play a game.  Phonics + games = fun and learning. Enter 2 Letter word Bingo.

The child learning to read draws a word from the pile and reads it.  First, she will say the names of the letters. A D. Then she says the sound of the letter. a + d.  Then we try to put them together faster and faster. ad ad ad.  To demonstrate this point, we did something silly.  She was the first letter and I was the second.  If we are far away form each other we say our names far apart too.  Sugar. Mommy.  If we are close together (I pull her into my lap) we say them close together too.  MommySugar. MommySugar.  And I tickle her.  She laughed, and she got it.  She read 4 of the words without much help at all after that explanation. We keep going until all of our bingo cards are full and the child has read all her 2 letter words.

We will stay on the 2 letter words, much to Ginger's disappointment, until Sugar has them mastered. Then we will move on to 3 letter words in the same manner.  Once she knows a lot of 2 letter words and a few 3 letter words we can move on to the mainstream learn to read books.  This game helps her get more confident before I hand her a book that is full of words and expect her to know what to do.  

Why does the world skip step 2?  I know it is hard to write a book with only 2 letter words, but surely someone can think of something to blend sounds.  Oh, I guess that was my job.  Done!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Seed starting with kids

I am not being paid for this post.  It would be nice if I were, but alas, I am not.  Let us all take a moment to pout.

On to the meat of the matter.  Or the vegetable rather.  My mom sent the girls some gardening tools a few seed packets and money for veggie plants with a caveat that we should try Growums.  She thought they looked cool and were interactive enough to make it a little bit of homeschool botany.  I agreed and thus we added a little character to our gardens.

We bought 3 growums kits.  A Pizza garden, a Ratatouille garden, and a Salad garden.  Each kit come with the soil pellets, seeds and a self watering tray to start the seeds in.  There are enough pellets for 2 of each of the type of seeds they include.

The pizza garden includes roma tomatoes, basil, peppers, and oregano.

The ratatouille garden includes fireball tomatoes, zucchini, more peppers, and eggplant.

The salad garden comes with carrots, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, and more roma tomatoes.

The pellets do not look like that to start with.  They are flat and dry and compact.  When the girls added water they expanded into the little self contained domes.  The girls LOVED watching them grow.  It did not get old even after the 3rd tray.  I think we will be use these kits as long as they keep selling them.

We poured water into the center of the dish every day and watched for the seeds to sprout. Everyday, the girls excitedly yell at me that it is time to water the gardens.  Everyday, the girls claim one to water.  Everyday, I hope the girls don't spill the water onto the antique buffet that they are perched on.  

After only 4 days:

The girls were getting a little nervous because all the seeds were not sprouting at the same time.

After 4 weeks:

The girls are better gardeners than I am and I hope to learn some things from them.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

No more three year old!

Sugar is 4! I no longer have any terrible threes in my house and I don't think I could be any happier.  Babies are okay, but I like little girls better.  Little girls who hug me for no reason.  Little girls who get my attention only to say, "I love you, mommy."  Little girls who try to french kiss me every once in a while and cause me to laugh hysterically as I dodge the wet kiss.

Sugar was queen for her day and picked her breakfast and too cookies to school and then picked where we would have dinner.  (Pizza buffet.)  She got a balloon that was just her size.  Seriously, head to toe.  She had a blast.

My favorite part was when she tried to put on a newborn onsie that her great grands had bought for a baby doll.  I was laughing pretty hard but I managed to get it all on video.  Ah, technology, how did we save the laughs without you?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

By Your Birthdays Combined...

I absolutely LOVE my girls.

I screwed up a little on the delivery for Sugar.  She arrived much faster than I anticipated.  It took me a very long time to get pregnant with Ginger and I was expecting the same with the second.  No way, I had no trouble at all getting pregnant the second time.  Why does this matter?  The girls are EXACTLY 2 years and 2 months apart.  Every year, I blow all my cool mom birthday planning on child #1 (Ginger) and then child #2 (Sugar) gets jipped.

I try every year to not let this happen, but I am a BIG planner.  I plan for a month at least.  After the planning is the big day, all the loud children, the big mess, the toys everywhere.  It is enough to make me hate birthdays for the next 4 months.  Poor Sugar falls right in the middle of this hatred.

I vowed, this year will be different!  I do that every year, but I think I actually followed through this time.

Ginger got to be Queen for the Day on her actual birthday in exchange for allowing me to plan and throw  1 party for both of them right smack in the middle of their birthdays.  SHE SAID YES!  I started jumping up and down and let her go queen crazy on her special day.

The combined party went wonderfully.  I screwed up and planned it for the same weekend our friends' twins have their birthday, so I still have things to work out in the process.  But besides that it was glorious.

Pump It up took my money, happily, and provided a fun, bouncy environment for the 13 or so kiddos we invited. They kept us on a schedule, they set out the food, they made the kids follow the rules, they cleaned up the mess.  The girl in our party room even wrote down a list of who gave what.  I know!!!!  All for the low, low, low price of one car payment.  You know what? I would GLADLY do it again next year and I think the mister is on board, since he didn't have me acting like a crazy lady before or after.

Now if only I could get the girls to write those thank you notes.  :)