Sunday, May 6, 2012

Garden Project 2012

This is the third year of our garden project. 
The first year we planted green beans, tomatoes, onions and green peppers in the 2 raised beds we built.  We had a great crop of green beans but our tomatoes didn't fair so well and neither did the onions.  The green peppers did ok. 
 These are our beds before we got fill and planted

Last year we again tried the same plants but added in wax beans, chives, basil and zucchini.  Our tomatoes did much better last year and so did the green peppers.  The wax beans were a bust and our green beans gave us just enough to eat.  Again an epic fail on onions.  I just can't grow them!  We had luck with the zucchini, but after getting 5 nice zuccs the plants died.  But the basil and chives took off.
 Onions, peppers, and tomatoes 2011
 Green beans, wax beans, chives, basil and zucchini 2011
We had a bit of a bunny problem and they were eating our plants as they came up so we got the fencing.

This year, I have given up on onions.  I moved my chive plant to a corner and rearranged where we are planting everything.  I filled one of the beds with compost from our composter and got 2 bags of mushroom compost to put in the other.  Yesterday the kids and I planted carrot seeds in the garden and peppers and beans in starter pots.  We started some lettuce a while back in containers and they are still just little sprouts.  Now that the weather is warmer I'm hoping they'll take off.

Crossing our fingers for a good crop this year!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The giving life

I want to live a giving life.  I chose this long ago.  I see so much around me that can be changed just by giving something.  Sometimes it's a hot meal.  Sometimes it's a couple dollars.  Sometimes it's a smile.  No matter what there is always someone in need.  The hardest part is figuring out what that need is.  Some people do not like to ask for it.  Some people want to pretend it's not there, or may not even know it's there.  But we all need something.  I have a compelling need to give.  Which a lot of times puts me in a bind.  Like right now when I'm overbooked.  Too much in too little time and I will get it done and be proud of myself for it.  But... I will be worn out and need to recover.  With three little ones, ok 2 little ones and 1 big kid, I'm realizing my need to give needs to shift gears to a more productive line.  I just don't really know how to do that.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Season of Giving...

This year, just before Christmas, Linus was given his first ear infection caused by a bacteria that also causes conjunctivitis.  So at least it wasn't pink eye right?  Poor Bridgette had a terrible cough and swollen glands, but it was just a virus.  I was put on an antibiotic for a sinus infection just before Christmas as well.  Then on Christmas Eve at my parent's house, Brian started with sneezing and runny nose and felt miserable.  Noah started the same symptoms with a fever on Tuesday.  Bridgette's cough came back.  Linus finished his antibiotic on Wednesday.  Thursday night developed the cough.  Today (Friday) he had a fever and a goopy eye and I literally had to run him to the doctors office in Blairsville minutes before they closed down for the weekend to be seen.  His conjunctivitis is back and he has RSV. We have to continue putting the ointment in his eyes and just wait out the coughing and treat the fever with tylenol and advil.  It's going to be another 4-5 days and he should be back to normal.  One can only hope. 

I'm filling my kids up with oranges and other vitamin C rich foods.  We're all drinking lots of fluids and getting plenty of rest.  I have a feeling we won't be seeing the ball drop tomorrow.....

Next year for Christmas, all I want is a healthy family!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Continuing Traditions

Brian talked for years about how his Grandpa, Ken Wolfgang used to make wreaths every year to put up around the house. He used to go with him to pick the princess pine and then Grandpa would wrap the pine on wreath forms. So a couple years ago we decided to try to make some, cause the ones we saw at the stores were pretty pathetic. We went and picked the pine in Creekside on a hill and then went to Blue Spruce and found some more. I cut the roots and brown parts off of the pine and then twisted bunches with green floral wire. Brian then took the bunches and wrapped them on the wreath frame. I can't remember what year that was, but I remember having to go out 2 or 3 times to pick enough pine for 5 wreaths, 3 for our porch, one for Jen and one for Pat. But we haven't done it since and so our porch has gone wreathless.

This year, Brian and I decided we could do it again and start it as our own tradition. The weekend before Thanksgiving, we took all the kids and ran out to Blue Spruce to pick the pine. Bridgette and Noah each got their own bag and Brian and I showed them what to pick. The pine there is really dense so it was easy for them to find and pick. Bridgette also helped keep Linus happy who was secured in the stroller with snacks and toys. And by secured, I mean we were on a hill and I had him propped against a tree and the brakes set just in case. We were out for about an hour and Brian and I filled our garbage bags and Noah had his shopping bag pretty well filled and Bridgette had a nice little batch as well. Then the bags set in the car and then the garage for about a week.

We did get around to it though. Noah was a big help when we started cutting the roots and cleaning the pine up for the bunching part. He went through his whole bag! I wrapped the bunches and Brian put the bunches on the wreath frame. Noah's bag alone did almost a whole wreath! It took us about an hour and half and we had a finished wreath that went up on the porch right away. I spent some time during the day cleaning and bunching the rest of the pine and Brian worked on making the wreaths at night. Over the course of 3 more nights, we have 4 finished wreaths, 3 of which are on our porch and 1 will be heading out to Pat's to go on her door.

I was surprised that only going once got us enough pine to finish 4 wreaths and still have some left over to put around the front door. The kids had a blast picking the pine and running around in the woods. Noah enjoyed even helping cut the pine (we did it while we watched the Muppet Christmas Carol). I think this is going to be a fun tradition that as the kids get older will only get easier. I just hope they enjoy it and can keep it going.

Thank you Grandpa Ken!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why my kitchen is always clean

When I get stressed out or nervous, I like to cook or bake something. I have found that spending an hour in the kitchen helps me to calm down and helps me to organize my thoughts. I've been doing a lot of cooking and baking in the last 2-3 weeks. Brian's layoff set off a time bomb in me. We knew it was going to come, but it's still a shock. Luckily, he was offered a temp position at IUP to finish up some loose ends and so we could still count on a paycheck. But even that is short lived and so far with a couple interviews and a lot of applications filled out we are still without a permanent job. Then came the election, which we were pretty solid that Brian was going to win a seat on School Board, but still anything could happen. So I have been cooking a lot and that means a lot of cleaning up. I like to walk into the kitchen with clean counters so I can gather my thoughts and decide what I want to make. Sometimes, like dinner, it's already decided and I just have to fix it. Other times, I'll just decide it's time for some cookies or pie or crisp or bread. But I can't do anything if the kitchen is a mess. So I make it a point to keep my kitchen clean. I wash, dry and put away the dishes within a half hour of meals or my baking frenzies. The kids usually help me so I don't have to worry about not spending time with them. They love to help me measure and mix. And yes, the tasting is the best part. Or they dance and sing to the music that is almost always on in the kitchen while I do the cleaning up. I've even taken an end table and set it up as Noah's homework station when I need to get dinner ready and he has to do his homework. My kitchen is small and we run into each other a lot, but I think I'm happiest if I can be with my kids and cooking. But one thing you can count on, unless I'm sick or have run away, my kitchen will be clean.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Noah's progress

Brian and I met with Noah's 1st grade teacher on Thursday. I was a little shocked as we walked out of that meeting. Noah is one of his best readers and is off the chart for his grade. He's also one of his best in math. I am not so surprised at what Noah can do, but more at what they expect 1st graders to be doing. I don't really remember what all we were to do in 1st grade. I know that Noah is smart... hey look at who his parents are :). I wonder if the benchmarks for the kids are set low. I always encourage my kids to read and they see me and Brian reading all the time, the paper, a book, the Bible. I want them to love reading the way I do. Bridgette and Noah both help me cook and bake by counting and measuring. Noah has been helping when he shops with me by writing down the prices and helping me tally them so we know how much we're spending (it keeps me on budget). The other day while I was working on bills, I wrote down a couple numbers and Noah helped me calculate them by adding and subtracting. I feel like I spend such a minimal amount of time doing these things, but I guess that is all that is needed to help nurture their abilities and curiosity. Now the one main thing we need to do is focus on Noah's handwriting. It needs some work...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sharing my toys

One Christmas a long time ago I opened a present from my little brother. It was a brand new Ski Barbie! She was beautiful! Had cool shades. Her signature pink high heels could be switched out for ski boots that hooked into her pink skis. The only problem... I was either 12 or 13, I don't quite remember, but I didn't play with dolls anymore. I held onto her though, because she was so much nicer than any of the other dolls I had since she was new. So when my Dad called and said he had found a box of Barbies, I asked if Ski Barbie was among them. Sure enough, there she was in all her glory! I made sure to tell everyone that she was MINE! My sisters could not claim her. I brought her home and then promptly forgot about her. While cleaning out the basement "play room" I found her again. Along with Miko the Hawaiian Barbie, who was in that box too. And now that gift so long ago given has now been given to someone who truly loves it and has been playing with it since. She even accompanied us today on a Women's Club Coffee/playdate.

Thank you again Stevie!