Around the Garden


Hi Friends! It's Spring!  And while it's still pretty cold and cloudy in my area, I've been enjoying as much time outdoors as possible.
I've decided this is the year to beautify my garden.  Normally, I focus most of my efforts on growing food.  This year however, I'm trying my hand with more perennials, trees, bulbs and flowers.  Here's what my boys and I have been working on the past few weeks:

1.  Remember the old windows I've been collecting? I stripped the old paint, put down a fresh layer of non-VOC outdoor paint and built some simple cold frames. I didn't follow any instructions, just made a simple box out of lumber and attached the windows with some hinges.
2.  I'm rooting various plants from my garden and my mom's.  I have various lavender, viburnum, daphne and climbing roses trying to take root.  If this batch doesn't work out, I'll try again when things are warmer.
3.  I've been to a few perennial yard sales and picked up several varieties that are proven to grow successfully in my zone.  Some of the varieties I'm adding include: hosta, veronica, bell flower, butterfly gladiolus, navelwort, joe pye weed, kidney vetch, foxglove, hellebores, acanthus mollis, and several others.
4.  We've also made our yard more wild bird friendly.  We hung up feeders and made nesting lanterns.  I've seen similar ones online.  I used candle lanterns that are all over the thrift stores.  We took out the glass and stuffed them full of nesting supplies.

Things are buzzing around here these days.  What's going on in your garden lately?


Monday Evening

the boys are in bed early.
i'm straightening up the house while i wait for alex to come home from working late.
i can't remember the last time we watched a movie together, just the two of us.
tonight, we're watching this, and i will most definitely fall asleep.

also, i'm totally listing to this on my computer while i clean.

happy evening to you.


My Minestrone

The weather has been so rainy lately. Cuddling up with a big bowl of Minestrone sounded so nice the other day, I started a big pot on the stove. Once it was done, the sun was out and we were able to eat that day's meal outside. The rest of the week though, it was nice to have that soup waiting in the refrigerator to warm us up after our various activities in the rain.
It's hearty and healthy. I make a big pot and it lasts us several days. It's a simple recipe that gives you a lot of leeway.

One onion
3 cloves garlic
3 carrots
3 celery stalks
3 small potatoes
1/2 head cabbage
2 small zucchini
2 small yellow squash
2 heaping cups chopped kale
1 cup diced green beans
1 cup diced broccoli
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can diced tomatoes
3 T fresh herbs (I use rosemary, oregano, parsley and thyme)
Add enough water or vegetable stock to cover and simmer.
Add 1 cup pearled barley
Add 1 cup whole wheat orzo.
Continue adding stock while it cooks.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with fresh Parmesan cheese.

I dice my veggies pretty small, about 1/4 inch size. And I swear, the more equal and consistent the size, the better the soup tastes.



A Little Art Tray

We don't do timeouts in our home. I can't quite explain why. But we do take breaks when things get out of hand. Usually Alex or I will sit with Burl and take some time to think, talk, cuddle, ponder and reconnect. Lately, my struggles with Burl (4 years old) have been more frequent. Whining, tantrums, meltdowns, you name it. I've had to get creative finding ways to bring him back to reality. In my attempts, I created this little space for him where he can go, with me if he wants, to (hopefully) collect his thoughts, meditate, take a break, and catch his breath.

He has never been too interested in art, so it's something I'm really trying to encourage. This little art tray has a few basic supplies he can use to just sit and create.

I found the little wood tray at the thrift store. I filled it with empty cans to hold colored pencils, crayons, scissors, watercolors and second hand paintbrushes. So far it's been working to help him collect himself when he starts to lose it. Hooray for Art!


Wheat Rolls

Hi Friends!

I didn't intend to be here today, but here I am.

I have yet to make wheat rolls, preferable honey wheat rolls, that I like. Do you have any tips or recipes to share? I'd sure love to hear them.




Grain Sacks

I took a few minutes one morning last week and whipped up several little sacks to use for produce, nuts, grains and dried fruits. I buy a lot in bulk at the co-op and needed something I could reuse. I had some unbleached muslin fabric and twill tape on hand, which worked perfectly for this little project.

I didn't follow a pattern but this tutorial here is pretty much how I sewed them. Easy Peasy.

Happy Monday, Friends!