We had spent the better half of our morning watering and tending to the garden when I decided to quiz Shelby on all the varieties of vegetables (hopeful she would begin reading the little sticks we plunked at the head of each row).
"What are those?" I said, pointing to a neat row of gray green sprouts in front of her.
"Ummm, brussel sprouts!" she happily declared.
And yes, for those of you who think I'm crazy, my family actually eats brussel sprouts.
And then I pointed to the small, serrated leaves of a baby artichoke plant, sure I'd have her stumped for the answer, "What's that guy right there?" I asked.
A long pause, and then her answer erupted with, "Artishit!"


A Garden Day

Today the girls and I spent the ENTIRE day on our garden. Aside from a quick trip to the hardware store for a few more plants (already mentioned in my original list), we were home and happy to be outside. I have discovered a new me, a nurturing gardening me I never knew existed. I might even buy myself a pair of those Croc things and start wearing an apron...okay, maybe that's going too far.

Savings: I avoided the local children's clothing store where I inevitably would have spent hundreds of dollars on adorable outfits my daughter's don't need. I didn't shower (therefore balancing out the excessive watering we provided the garden).

Here is what my family and I are growing:

Kentucky Blue Beans, Snap Peas, Green Bell Peppers, Radishes (simply for the sport, not really for eating, yuk!), finger carrots and carnival carrots, yellow corn, broccoli, artichokes, brussel sprouts, mesclun, green lettuce and arugula, strawberries, watermelon (thanks Kidds), lemon cucumber, red onions, basil, thyme, and parsley.

Look Mom, No Training Wheels!

This was Shelby's share at preschool yesterday. I want to point out that the bicycle drawing was not done on her first attempt and eventually required help from Mom. After a few crumpled pieces of paper and some tears of frustration, she emerged with this documentation of her recent biking success.


The House That Jack Built

Well, actually, it's a box that John built and it is beautiful. We got a wild hair last Sunday to start a new project, a long narrow garden box alongside our driveway. We had toyed with the idea for several years but other priorities seemed to get in the way. Not this Sunday, Sunday was the perfect day to head over to the local hardware store and dive deep into unexpected debt.

Now that our children no longer have a college fund, we have (built in a record 5.5. hours) the most beautiful 3-tiered garden box to tend and harvest throughout the year.

Like I said, gorgeous!
Here is the final bill:
Lumber: $260
Lattice: $30

Brackets: $60

Soil: $65

Plants: $30

Seeds: $12

Peet Pots: $8

Chicken Wire: $15

MORE Plants: $35
Decorative Flowers: $11


I was not in any way prepared for the astronomical pricetag of this project. And in discussing this with my hunky handy man, I brought up the topic of savings in our organic harvesting. And so, he suggested we keep a running log of all the money we make back on fruits and vegetables we can eat from our own garden. Stay posted as I attempt to recoup $526 in vegetables...


All Grown Up, Two Wheel Style

Today, my Shelby rode her bike (without training wheels) around our block. Today, I beamed with- no, I bursted with pride as John and I jogged along her side, her furrowed brow bent low in severe concentration. Everytime she put her foot down to steady herself, her facial expression immediately changed, like flipping the switch on a Christmas Tree, she absolutely radiated with joy. And as I managed to push Ana along in a plastic race car, at alarming rates to keep up with our newest solo biker, I could hear the tiny "Beep Beep" of Ana's electric horn as she cheered on her big sister.
Neighbors waved and shouted their encouragement, and John, John grinned from ear to ear the whole way. He had initiated this new interest, he had invited her to try out her "two wheel bike" yesterday on the front lawn. Just yesterday, she had successfully traversed the yard a few times with his loving encouragement, her training wheels lay like wounded soldiers in the driveway. The proudest papa on the block, his little girl riding off into the sunset, one step closer to independence. A bittersweet beginning to a whole new avenue of discoveries. We've only just begun and yet, somehow, I already know that when I blink, she'll be all grown up. It will happen so fast.

A Family Tragedy

A moment of silence for the young families killed in that tragic small plane crash in Montana.

My only glimmer of happiness is that they all went together. That's how I prefer to travel, as a family, together, even if tragedy strikes.


Items I Am Loving

Call me material, call me irresponsible, but here a few itmes I call my favorite things, lately:
1. My Palladium gladiator sandals. These fabulous strappy shoes are rubber soled and have plenty of attitude for those days I want to feel like a grunge rock star.
2. Coffee, fully caffeinated.....zzzzZZZZZZZZING!
3. Watering and weeding my garden (and I didn't say this out loud but I have a secret affinity for killing snails-not in front of my children of course-which involves hi lobs and pavement)
4. One Pot Meals: I didn't notice the trend until I recapped the last 8 meals I've made at home, which include: Chili, Spaghetti, Chicken Enchiladas, Tuna Noodle Casserole (yes, it's a requested meal in my house), Sausage with Penne Pasta, Taco Salad, Teriyaki Stir Fry w/Tofu, Shredded Beef Burritos.
5. The Soundtrack to SlumDog Millionaire
6. Stick Wick Candles, a wooden wick w/natural wax that crackles when it burns, in Campfire scent
7. Ripe Pears
8. Bloody Mary's with plenty of seasonings and spice
9. Baking these box brownies: Firenza's Irrsetistable Baking Mixes: Triple Chocolate Brownie (not organic but has real ingredients)