Garden Photos/Project Update

Here are some lovely hollyhocks- these were actually here before we moved in. They’re perennials, they’re beautiful, and we’re taking LOTS of seeds when we go!

Aawww, how cute! Our carrots have foliage!

Our kale can beat up your kale!

A wildflower from the wildflower mix finally bloomed! It’s lovely, is it not?! It’s about the size of a half-dollar coin.

Another view of our carrot patch. Kind of blurry. Very messy with dead leaves and sticks.

Our snap peas blossomed… and gave us beautiful flowers to behold!

Remember those tasty little rubies? Here they are!

Okay, so I didn’t plant these. But this basket is a beautiful basket, and I tend to it better than I do to the rest of the plants!

Our first harvest! Yummy, they were good!

And here’s a teaser shot for the table- I haven’t gotten it cleaned off enough to take a picture of the entire thing yet. Trust me, I love this thing. It’s worth the wait.

Another teaser shot- there are drawers on the ends of the table. My neighbors, who are awesome, got me these acrylic drawer pulls. Lovely.

There’s the back of a chair- just to give you an idea of what they look like. Distressed, but not too distressed, you know?

Annnndd…. A new project! I found these beauties at the flea market a couple weeks back. I can’t WAIT to get my hands on them! I’m thinking aqua, with a bit of white. Or maybe steely gray. I can’t decide.  (And yes, that’s a king size headboard behind them, which I was unable to convince the lady to keep… so… anyone need a really old headboard?)

 

I’m thinking of doing steely gray fixtures and then making the wire part steely gray as well. Or gold! See, haven’t decided.


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Busy but Good Busy

Well, it has, yet again, been a while. I have not felt particularly busy, but things have been happening. Definitely have a lot going on around here, when I stop to think about it. Lovin’ the craziness, because it’s coming at a doable pace. Bring it on.

Hula Girl Update

  • Weaning- Well, it’s official. We started weaning exactly one week ago. We started by dropping one of her nursings and replacing it with a cup of whole milk. She did pretty well, drinking about 4 oz the first day, which was way more than I expected. She then proceeded to drink anywhere from 1 to 4 oz/day for the last week. Today, I dropped a second nursing. She drank 3 oz for the first cup, and when she wakes from the current nap, she’ll have the opportunity to drink up to 6 oz more (although I think she’ll stick with 3-4 oz). We’re currently on 2 nursings/day now, one right when she gets up and one right before bed. I think I will drop the bedtime nursing last. By the time she’s 100% weaned, our goal will be 16-24 oz of whole milk/day, spread across 4 cups. Doable. I am also remembering that we can count yogurt, cheese, and on the (very infrequent and special) occasion, ice cream.
  • Talking- Hula Girl is on the brink of a major language explosion again, I do believe. She is really into jabbering and babbling on and on in baby talk. I hear a lot of “Dadadamamadadammamanaanoononono.” She also likes to experiment with pitches and volume. Her favorite pitch/volume combo is definitely the ear-piercing shriek. Her second favorite is the whispered, “Ahhhhhhhhhh!” She has gotten quite good at saying and signing many words, such as more, mama, dada, milk, no, uh-oh, elbow (pronounced, “Bel-bow!”), all done, banana, and a few more. We’ve also noticed her ability to make the sounds for quite a few animals, including pigs, sheep, dogs, cats, lions, tigers (which sound freakishly similar to lions), chickens, fish, ducks, and monkeys.  But my favorite “new words” as of recent times have been the colors. Yes, she knows some colors. I walked into her room yesterday wearing a purple dress, and she pointed to it and said, “Pu-pow.” She has also successfully identified blue (“Boo”) and yellow (“weh-wow”). Oh, and she can say our cat, Riley’s, name: “Rah-rah.” She even uses the /r/ sound. I can’t wait until this girl really gets going!
  • Walking/Standing with Arms Down- Hula Girl’s walking and standing has mostly included the “arms-bent-at-the-elbow-and-balled-into-fists-for-balance” maneuver. However, she’s been trying to walk and stand with arms at her sides for the past couple of days. Let me tell you, that has got to be the funniest thing to witness, ever. Since she doesn’t have her hands up to balance, she sticks her little tummy out instead- like, WAY out. And she doesn’t do it slowly or subtly. Nope, it’s more of a hip-thrust motion that goes awry, and it always knocks her down after a few steps. So funny.
  • Does it Fit?- Hula Girl’s latest “something to do” obsession has been to see what fits inside of what. She has a Victoria’s Secret shopping bag, a big plastic liquid measuring cup, a felt brown toy grocery bag, and a small 1/3 cup dry measuring cup. These, together with her other toys, have kept her entertained for hours during the past week. She’ll start by putting something in the Victoria’s Secret bag, lifting it, and walking around with it for a bit. Then she moves the toy to the liquid measuring cup, and carries it around. Next, to the grocery bag, to be carried, and finally, to the dry measuring cup. Most of her toys don’t fit in the dry measuring cup. However, if they do fit, she will walk around holding the cup by the handle and jiggle the toy inside of it so that it clanks around while she walks, which is probably the most fun she’s ever had. Just ask her! She also likes to go “shopping” and fit as many toys as possible in one container before dumping them into the next. Carrying boxes, bags, and containers is the coolest!

My Projects Update

  • Well, the table and chairs are finished! I will be taking/posting pictures soon. I will actually be posting a before/after because it really does make me HAPPY to see what we started with, and how it ended up. Let me just say, I LOVE our table and chairs now. LOVE. I couldn’t be happier with them.
  • I also cut the fabric for 12 cloth napkins to go with my table and chairs today. I will be finishing the hems this evening after I visit our local Walmart for the thread (I know, who runs out of white thread!?) They match the chair fabric.
  • I will be making some cloth flowers next, to put up on my shutters in the kitchen. I have an old window and shutters hanging on the wall, and I will be putting a mini-bunting in the window, but the shutters really need… something…. to make them seem less boring. Fabric scraps? Check. Flowers are definitely in our future. 🙂

Garden Update

Remember how I was feeling somewhat down about our garden recently? Well, I’m not so forlorn anymore.

  • Carrots- they’ve come up, and now they’re sprouting the more ferny-looking leaves at the top! SO cute!
  • Kale- um, we’re having a lot of Zuppa Toscana soup this fall. I am so looking forward to it. (Did you know, by the way, that kale is one of nature’s superfoods? It’s PACKED with nutrients, and it’s quite tasty!)
  • Chives/Green Onions- The ground looks like the head of a ChiaPet where I planted these babies. I consider that a good sign.
  • Strawberries- our strawberry plants make delicious strawberries. They’re tiny, but it’s like eating the very best, sweetest little rubies on the planet. Seriously, they’re awesome.
  • Herbs- haven’t sprouted. Boo.
  • Green Beans- These babies are taking over our lives. They’re going to be monstrous.
  • Peas- We’ve already harvested/indulged on these little pops of perfection. My friend Aaron recently tasted some of the first harvest, and referred to fresh snap peas such as ours as “God’s candy.” Well said, Aaron.
  • Jalapenos- the potted ones are hangin’ in there; the ones in the ground aren’t coming up. Not that I mind.
  • Broccoli- we have one broccoli plant. It’s surviving.
  • Cucumber- we have one cucumber plant. It’s surviving, but definitely not thriving. I will be shocked if we have cucumbers at all.
  • Tomatoes- all three plants have yellow blossoms and are on the 2nd or 3rd rung of our tomato holder thingies.
  • Squash- we have so many squash plants. I hope you all like painted gourds, because that is what we’re giving away for Christmas presents this year. I might only be half-kidding.
  • Brussels sprouts- not sure on these. We might have some growing, but they might be weeds. We’ll see when they get bigger. We just don’t know what they’re supposed to look like when they sprout.
  • Corn- oh yeah, our corn is growing now!!! We’ve got about 25 corn plants that have sprouted; I am sure more are on their way. YESSSS!
  • Watermelon and Cantaloupe- After the squirrels ate the first round of seeds, Jonathan planted about 17 seeds/mound. And we’ve got about 7 plants growing outside. Now if we could just remember which ones were cantaloupes and which ones were watermelons…

See, busy. But good busy. Pictures to come.

 

 

I’m not ready

Yesterday I mentioned that I have a few more thoughts on this topic. However, I’m not fully prepared to share those thoughts at the moment, so I’ll postpone that post for a few days.

Not a lot is happening in life right now. I started planting all the seeds in our garden yesterday and planned to finish this morning but God had other plans and it has been raining pretty much nonstop today. I refuse to go plant seeds in the rain.

My friend’s wedding is on Sunday, and we’re going to have a busy weekend! It should be a blast! I’ll be the Matron of Honor (yes, MATRON, as if I’m soooo old), and I finished writing my speech yesterday. I think it will impress the crowd. Because, you know, it will be all about me that day.

I am working on ideas for my hair for that day. I’m not really concerned about my makeup. Pretty much if I even put on makeup (don’t worry friend, I will wear makeup to your wedding!) it will be an improvement on the norm. I might research some ideas just in case. I don’t really follow makeup trends, ya know?

The rain has made it quite a dreary, tiring day. I think I’m going to attempt a nap this afternoon, depending on how long Hula Girl’s nap goes. I still have to make dinner first, so we’ll see.

More thoughts later. And if you know of a good makeup or hair site, let me know. I’m also adding links to my friends’ blogs on my blogroll, so if you have one that I don’t know about, please let me know!

Garden Update

Last week, I graced you with some images of our garden and yard, before we were able to really start doing any real “gardening.” Here is the one-week-later update. We put a lot of work into the yard and garden this weekend, and I’m proud that we actually have something to show for it! Here’s how it looks right now (and I literally just took these pictures, so you’re getting the freshest look possible!):

Garden space, as viewed from the walkway (Jonathan added the pathways yesterday in the rain):

Garden space, as viewed from the patio (the poles were in the backyard garden area, but they served no purpose there; we will be painting them green and using them to make a fence to keep varmints and deer out of our garden!):

Rock area, no longer filled with weeds (this project took me about 2.5 hours- there were so many small, difficult to pull, weeds out there– I will no doubt be performing daily weed maintenance all summer long- blech!):

Backyard, still with plenty of bare patches:

Largest bare patch in the backyard (is it just me, or does it seem to have grown larger?):

Hope that our backyard might actually fill in by the end of summer:

Patch of dirt beside the walkway (notice that the walkway is also now weed and grass free):

I bought a mini rose on Valentine’s Day and followed the directions and planted it outside. It promptly died. Yesterday, Jonathan informed me that it was coming back!:

And last but not least, a couple cute little fern-like things that I liked so I left:

So, that’s that! I hope you enjoyed the fruits of our weekend! Tomorrow, an update on Hula Girl- there is so much to tell!

Ok, so I forgot to title this post…

Okay, here are the promised pictures, in all their earthy and planty glory:

Garden space, as viewed from the walkway to our gate (the dirt looks good, right? We worked the chicken manure into the soil last night):

Garden space, as viewed from our patio:


Rock area, filled with weeds (I actually pulled out quite a few. After about an hour of weeding, here’s what’s left- it IS trashy, huh?):

Backyard with plenty of bare patches:

The largest bare patch in the backyard (the green stuff is fertilizer mixed in with grass seed):

Jonathan’s creative “sprinkler,” used before the purchase of a real one:

The weeds we do pull from our backyard:

The weeds I am choosing to keep in our backyard (can you see why?):

The patch of dirt beside the walkway (it’s situated next to a… bomb shelter? wine cellar? Who knows? Our house and its surrounding buildings are OLD.):

And now, the plants which will populate our garden:

The seeds have been started:


The sprouts are coming up:

The peas started out this small (well, technically, smaller- they WERE seeds):

And another of the baby pea plants:

Pea plants today (I am choosing to call these “adolescent pea plants”):

And last, but not least, our kale, with first leaves (and visible just below the first leaves, the cotyledons. Remember the four-leaf clover things?):

Well, that’s all for now! I hope you’ve enjoyed this small tour, and that you will be able to fully appreciate the work we’re doing. I can’t wait to see the results!

PS- I am STILL seeking cutesy garden phrases. Leave a comment!

Beautiful Day for Gardening!

Mother’s Day was good.

Today Hula Girl is 11 months old. Seriously? ELEVEN MONTHS already!? I can’t believe it… but it’s true. My little girl is growing up so fast.

Today is an absolutely gorgeous day. I have had every window in the house open all day long, and there has been a very nice, mild breeze since about 10 a.m. I have done about 7 loads of laundry today, and I’ve hung many things out on the line to dry, which they’ve done in about 20 minutes’ time. It’s a breezy, sunny, fantastic day, all in all. And I plan to spend the evening (after Hula Girl’s 8:00 p.m. bedtime) working in the garden.

Our garden is going well.

The good things about our garden- our pea plants are so tall that we are ready to thin them. They’re even sending out tendrils! Our kale plants are on their first set of true leaves. (The cotyledons on kale, interestingly, look like four-leaf clovers!) We are going to be raking chicken poop into our soil this afternoon/evening. I am SO excited about this. It means we’re almost officially ready to start planting seeds! Our seedlings, which we started in the garage a few weeks back, are so-so. Some are awesome (roma tomatoes, for example), and some just haven’t sprouted (rosemary).

The bad things about our garden- we have a LOT of weeding to do right now. See, our entire front yard is rocks. Our land lady decided it was too much hassle to have tenants keep up a lawn out there, so she put in rocks. (Jonathan also mentioned that xeriscaping is quite popular these days as it can add up to $10,000 to your property value. Not sure I believe that one-who wants ROCKS and cacti?) Anyway, with the addition of said rocks, one is supposed to have put down a layer of black plastic material to stop anything from growing. Our land lady is an economist, however, and she felt this step not only costly, but unnecessary. So we have weeds. Lots and lots of weeds. Ugh. It almost looks like a large garden. It also looks trashy.

The back yard is another story entirely. It’s really coming in nicely! There are only a few true dirt patches. We have now added another layer of fertilizer (done by me, by hand last night-ha!) and have spread new grass seed in the bare patches (which really are shrinking). The grass itself is quite green now that we’ve been consistent about watering. There are a few weeds popping up here and there, but I have actually chosen to allow some of them to stay- they have REALLY pretty morning glory-type flowers, and I think it looks rather idyllic to have beautiful white flowers sprinkled throughout the yard each morning. The other weeds, like dandelions and lamb’s ears, have got to go. Actually, I think all the dandelions are gone for now. I’m sure we’ll fight them all summer long.

I also plan to sprinkle some wildflower mix along the walkway from our driveway to our gate and in the planter box under Hula Girl’s window. We were contemplating putting melons or squash in the planter box, but it is really close to the house, and we’ve sprayed for insects there, and who knows what else seeps out of the foundation of the house. I’d rather not eat food from that particular section of dirt.

I will be taking some “before” photos today, so be prepared to witness the mess that we’re dealing with. I can’t wait to post “before” and “after” photos at the end of summer. (I have visions of grandeur here… allow me to hope!)

Check back tomorrow for those pictures and leave me your best gardening wisdom or quotations (I want to post cutesy garden signs in and around my garden).

I’m Late, but these Flowers are Early!

Ok, go ahead. Just call me a liar. Extenuating circumstances. I have not yet signed on to my computer today, with one exception. But that exception shall remain secret- I have my reasons. Therefore I was late in posting today. I apologize again.

I am going to just go ahead and post a few early spring photos. These are not technically a part of our “garden” as we did not plant them, but they are on the property around our house, so I claim them as mine.

First Lilac Blossoms

Now, the lilac bush is something Jonathan and I tended in the fall. We noticed it was overrun with dead seed pods and that it had a lot of watersprouts and really thick old dead branches. We took a risk and trimmed it up, with fabulous results this spring! We have about a million buds just waiting to open. Unfortunately, they’ll probably burst out just as we leave for California. (These four little flowers already have that famous and wonderful lilac scent. Ahhhh.)

Beautiful flower that grows on this vine-like plant. What is it?

As the caption intimates, we have no idea what this flower is. But it sure is pretty. It is about the size of a silver dollar, maybe a smidge bigger. I had torn out a lot of this plant earlier this spring in order to get spiders and awful creepy crawlies away from the house outside of  Hula Girl’s room. Apparently I did not damage the plant at all- it is fully grown back in where I raked it out. Hardy, beautiful, and lush. I like this plant. Anyone know what it is?

Look for another post tomorrow. Perhaps more informative!

What is your favorite spring flower?

My Best Friends’ Weddings

The kitchen is scrubbed, top to bottom. The laundry is *almost* done, including all the diapers. The carpets are vacuumed. The meals are planned, the grocery list is made, and we’re headed to the grocery store during Hula Girl’s next awake time.

It has been a productive day so far.

I have begun the process of looking for a place to rent in the new town, just in case Jonathan gets the job and it offers a decent salary. We are going through some major issues with our current place of residence, and we really want to move out. It is really frustrating to be dealing with everything we are dealing with, since we really are great tenants- we’re clean, quiet, respectful. I don’t think our land lady really understands how much we’re doing and how she should be treating us. Sigh.

I’m going to try out some new recipes this week. I’ve decided that since I’m going to be doing this whole “Mommy” thing for quite some time, I may as well learn to cook something other than our normal rotation. So this week, we’re going to have some new dishes, and we’ll be evaluating the likelihood of repeats. Here’s the menu for the week (dinners):

  • Monday: Fettuccine with Zucchini Sauce and Meatballs; Salad on the Side
  • Tuesday: Drunken Chicken over Rice with Broccoli
  • Wednesday: Herb-Roasted Chicken with Shallots; New Potatoes and Corn on the Side
  • Thursday: Turkey Burgers  and Savory Brussels Sprouts

Jonathan is cooking on Thursday. I don’t grill. I should clarify that turkey burgers are not a new dish for us. They’re just less frequent. Also, we don’t eat much red meat; the meatballs mentioned on Monday will be turkey meatballs.

I am really looking forward to the end of this summer when we can start harvesting yummy vegetables from our garden. We’re really going to enjoy the bounty! Today, I came across a lot of really tasty-sounding recipes utilizing the veggies we’re going to grow. I can’t wait to use the recipes and share them with our neighbors and friends! I sure hope we can actually grow some stuff…

Next weekend, Hula Girl and I will be taking a short trip to my parent’s house, just an hour and a half away. Jonathan has a mandatory work training on Friday and Saturday, so we will be missing him. However, it will be a lot of fun to see Grammy and Grampy, and to play with Hula Girl’s new toys! My mom purchased a little walking/riding toy for Hula Girl recently, and we’re so excited for her to try it out. She’s good at walking while she pushes the laundry basket around the living room. She’ll be walking all on her own very soon. It will be a good opportunity for her to practice her balancing skills!

The next weekend is when we leave for our trip to California, to attend my good friend’s wedding and to see the other grandparents, Ama and Papa. We’ll also get to see Jonathan’s sister (who is going to LOSE in the Easter Egg Competition), his aunt (who made the delightful quilt I mentioned in this post), and some other fun folks. I really hope we get to the beach one day, even though it is somewhat far from where we’re staying.  At least Ama and Papa’s house is a lot closer than ours is to the beach!

We will be spending 10 days in California, so two weekends. Then I will be spending the next weekend with my best friend and all of her closest friends as we celebrate her upcoming marriage by throwing her a bridal shower! I am really looking forward to treating my friend a bit, as she just really really deserves it. We got to have coffee together last night, and I really enjoyed our time together. We’ve never had one of those best friend relationships where every little detail is important. I don’t really care what kind of music she listens to. But we do know each other well, and we can discuss the bigger picture. I also noticed that our friendship has not suffered from lack of time spent together- in fact, our friendship is enhanced even more because it is well-seasoned with prayers and words exchanged in hard times and in glad times. I am grateful that God has placed my best friend in my life, even if I’m not the only friend “of honor.” 🙂

What is your favorite memory with your closest friend?

It’s a Beautiful Life

Boy, oh boy, was I wrong. Yesterday should not have been called gorgeous or beautiful. No, no. Yesterday was merely mediocre. Today is gorgeous. Jonathan and I spent Hula Girl’s first nap outside, planning out where exactly we’re going to plant each plant in our garden. We also watered the back lawn (which we’re bringing back to life through intense labor and re-seeding- you’re welcome, Land Lady), weeded, and marked out the pathways through the garden. During her next nap, we’ll be back outside, weeding (we’ll be doing a lot of this all summer long), starting some seeds in the garage, and doing a general clean-up around our property.

We live at the intersection between two streets- both streets end at our corner. Our house is situated up against the foothills of the mountains, in an area affectionately known by the locals as the “Hogbacks.” This area hosts a variety of activities; namely, elementary and middle school boys go up there and shoot each other with paintball guns. Because of the geography of our location, we tend to get a lot of wind. This wind brings with it the filth and refuse from all our neighbors within a 2-mile radius. This morning’s sampling included an empty Pop Tarts box, a broken yellow balloon, a bit of Styrofoam,  about three boxes’ worth of cardboard, and some electrical tape. Typical haul.

Yesterday, Jonathan came home early and watched Hula Girl so I could get out and do something. I went to the coffee shop and had an iced caramel latte. Then I went to WalMart and bought wooden letters, craft paint, ribbon, and silk flowers to make Hula Girl’s name on her wall. I finished this morning- it turned out far better than I expected! Here are some of the letters:

These are my 2 favorites!

I love crafting. I love making things. I get creative little spurts. Jonathan and I have decided that I am very good at making things, but they have to be things I can make in under three hours. If something is going to take longer than three hours, I will run out of steam and will not likely ever finish that project. The exception- if something is a gift, I will spend more time on it, but I will need to space it out over the course of months. This is why my adorable sister-in-law has yet to receive her Christmas gift. I’m making it, and it’s taking longer than three hours. Sure hope she likes it after all!

Did you do anything fun for April Fool’s Day yesterday?

 

I Smell, Like, Soap!

Today started pretty early- Hula Girl woke at 5:00, made some noise, and went back to sleep. Then we heard her at 6:15. Since she’s been on this antibiotic, she’s had really large, very frequent, very smelly (Jonathan tells me), very loose stools. TMI. I was really concerned that she might have had an early-morning bowel movement, and since she’s never really had diaper rash in her entire life, I didn’t want today to be the day. So I had Jonathan go check her diaper- nothing. But instead of putting her back down and coming back to bed until our normal wake-up time of 7:00, he just sat in her rocker and held her while she slept. So precious!

She has been in a great mood all day long. Smiling, giggling, squealing, bouncing up and down, and waving her little arms around have kept us all quite happy. Let’s hope her attitude stays great for this afternoon. We’re receiving some visitors from where we used to live!

Yay, Spring Break! Our visitors are not coming to our house (too germy) but we’re going to meet them somewhere. It’s a great family, whose eldest was in my class two years in a row (I taught her in 4th grade and 5th grade) and whose youngest is probably the kindest, most compassionate child to walk this earth. I “nannied” for this family a couple of summers ago, and it was a blast! The girls are so easy-going and pleasant. They are very well-mannered. Even though I’m sure they fight sometimes, I never even witnessed one squabble.

As I was showering in preparation for this  visit, I was steaming up the bathroom as much as possible (did you know sinus congestion can give the sharpest headaches known to man?), and I had a revelation: I could smell my soap. After a week of not smelling anything, it was the best smell ever. However, it was fleeting. But I am holding out hope that it is the forerunner of many wonderful sensations to come in the next few days.  I WILL kick this sickness.

Jonathan dug up the roots of an old tree in our garden this morning. It was very manly of him. I am so glad we get to share this project together. Gardening is turning out to be a lot of fun (even though I haven’t really participated beyond research and shopping for seeds yet). I’m looking forward to having something exciting to do while Hula Girl is sleeping this summer. She naps twice a day and goes to bed by 7, so we’ll have a LOT of time.

Here’s hoping I can smell something (or taste something) by tonight! What is your favorite smell?

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