Saturday, June 3, 2017

Growing Granola

I had been looking forward to growing a vegetable garden all year. Outdoor skills are not plentiful on my resume, so I knew this was going to be a great learning experience for all of us. It's fun to take on a project where everyone is a beginner and can learn from each other. I love how a garden can ensnare your senses and provide so many opportunities for hands on learning. So our gardening journey begins!

In March, I started herbs from seed in pots and the window box on my shed. Only the cilantro has grown in both, though squirrels ravaged the other 3 pots multiple times. 

In April, I built a garden box and planted radish, carrot, and green onion plentifully around a couple of broccoli and cauliflower seeds. Squirrels have been constantly digging up this raised bed, despite multiple attempts to deter them. After a few weeks, nothing had sprouted and my mom brought be some strawberry and hula berry plants, so we added them to that bed. We also transplanted my withering blueberries, hoping to revive them. A few days later, radishes started to pop up. In the weeks since, I have tried replanting carrot seeds, which may now be starting to sprout (unless they are just weeds.) I also added marigolds and a tarragon plant to deter pests. The radishes seem to be thriving and the berries have started to flower and fruit. My rather dead blueberry plant now looks green and healthy, although the larger pink lemonade variety has not shown much change. 

The squirrels have been digging up this bed so much and I am often having to replant the radishes. Besides the squirrels, my biggest concern for the plants in this bed are ants feasting on the radishes and critters eating up the strawberries. Spreading coffee grounds seems to have helped with the ants and pepper seemed to hold off the squirrels for a few days, but I'd love a long term solution, as they are planting peanuts in here, which our little one is deathly allergic to. 

My parents brought me some of their old raised beds that they weren't using and filled them with compost for us. They are filled with the bulk of our plants so far. The left is filled with herbs, squash, and cucumbers, while the right has tomatoes, spinach, peppers, and brussel sprouts, and pole beans. I have also planted some carrot seeds in the right bed, although none have sprouted. Both now have marigolds in them too. Cucumbers and beans line the inside length of the beds, and I am currently working on building a trellis that will meet in the middle for them to grow up. Ideally, it will form a little fort for the kids and make it easier to harvest. 

I also planted sunflowers and wildflowers along the side of our house. This spot is going to be bursting with color later this summer! 

That's a large extent of my growing projects so far. Some days it seems like I bit off a little more than I can chew, but maybe that's all part of the experience. I have a few starts growing inside from the seeds that didn't want to grow outside, so I will probably add a couple to the pots that didn't make it when they get a bit bigger. We also have a ton of wood from our demolished deck that I'd like to make a couple more raised beds out of.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Game of Life

Mother. Wife. Allergy Aide. Homeschool Headmistress. Explorer. Writer. Gamer. Artist.  Tea Enthusiast. Adventure Seeker. Novice Gardener. Chef. Story Lover. Lifelong Learner.

This is me in a nutshell, though the list seems ever changing. 

Most of all, I feel like a beginner in all too many aspects of my life, not where I expected to be as I near 30. Even writing seems so foreign to me some days. It's interesting how each time I sit down to write, I feel like such a different person. BrenĂ© Brown writes about this in Rising Strong. She says, "Our identities are always changing and growing, they're not meant to be pinned down." It's funny that through the many transitions, I thought I'd lost my voice as a writer and, in turn, lost myself.  Always searching for a constant that remains in flux. 

I feel like my family's been in constant transition since my husband and I got married nearly seven years ago. We shocked ourselves and loved ones by jumping head first into our relationship. Much like the beginning of The Game of Life, we knocked out one major milestone after another. College - career - marriage - house - a couple of kids. Then as gameplay slows a bit, I was prepared for life to settle down, spending my days gaining mastery over my domestic domain. Pay days- collect LIFE tiles - pay other players money. Instead we've been starting one new journey after another, shifting our life into one I hadn't envisioned. 

Here I'll share the ups and downs that this game of Life is taking us, through homeschooling, allergies and chronic illness, along with the love we have for art, nature, games, and food :)

Sunshine and glitter,

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Fresh Start

A few months ago, I became a stay at home mom to my two energetic little girls. Although I was prepared for shifts in many areas of our life, including our financial choices, housework duties, and participation in toddler activities, I never expected my personal transition to be a very difficult one, especially given that I had still been supplying all of the childcare duties. However, when it came to my identity, I realized I had put a lot of stock in external factors, making people proud of me and my usefulness to others.

I really didn't know who I was anymore, as I'd spent all my time being devoted to being wife, mother, and employee. I felt like a politician, standing for family values, but having fairly hollow representation of them. For the first time in years, there was time in the day to think about who I wanted to be and what specific values I thought were most important for my family to live up to.

Marianne Williamson wrote, “It takes endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”
Looking back to my adolescence, I often struggled with finding myself and my passions, focusing on acceptance by my peers. I rarely chose the challenging opportunities that would lead to greater introspection.
In a time of unlimited distractions to consume our time, it's easy to see how one can lack self worth, self respect, and self love, when ultimately you lack a sense of self.

My journey of self discovery is far from complete, but I see the benefits of my progress every day. I am so grateful to my husband for supporting us through this adventure and see that I will be so much better prepared in guiding my children to find their sense of self as they get older. 

To the parents out there feeling lost, I urge you to take some time to reconnect with who you are. Your identity as a parent and role model for your child can even make parenting a much more enjoyable experience.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

PB Oatmeal Cookies

After adapting this recipe, these cookies taste like Girl Scout Do-si-dos! Those are by far my favorite of the girl scout line and these actually were an improvement.

(adapted from Better Homes & Gardens)(Makes about 60-2" cookies)

3/4 cup Crisco shortening
2/3 cup Peanut Butter
3/4 cup Sugar
2/3 cup packed Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 + 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 + 1/2 cups Rolled Oats, finely ground

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Beat together butter and peanut butter until well combined. Add sugars, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Beat well.

3. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour then stir in oats

4. Drop rounded balls about tablespoon size onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake 12 min or until light brown around edges.