Archives for May 2011

A little digging in the dirt.

A couple of weekends ago we planted our veggie garden. We had fun as a family going to the garden centre to pick out our vegetable plants and seeds, and then going home to plant them. We went with the intention to start small this year to make sure that we didn’t get in over our heads with more weeding and maintenance than we have time for (this has happened in the past…). Even with the best intentions it was really hard to choose and before we knew it we had loaded up on a whole bunch of different yummy things to try.

When all was said and done we ended up planting corn, carrots, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, peas, cucumbers, green peppers, cherry tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes. This is in addition to the raspberry plants, strawberry plants and green onions that we already had. We also planted some chives, parsley, oregano, and rosemary in a planter on the deck for easy access for cooking!

Along the side of the garage we planted some more perennial flowers from seed, as well as some sunflowers in the back row. I didn’t even realize that you could plant perennials from seed (of course when I think about it it makes sense, but I have only planted these from a more mature plant before, so I am excited to see the results of this super inexpensive way to add new varieties of flowers to the mix)!

The girls had a great time getting their hands dirty and getting the seeds and plants planted, and we have really been enjoying going out every day and doing a little garden tour to see how the plants are doing. Most of the seeds have sprouted into little seedlings by now, and the plants are getting taller (except for the ones that the kids took out of the containers and ripped most of the roots off of…. they didn’t make it). My highlight of the day was when Zoey was SO excited to find a centipede. I loved to see her pick it up in her dirty hands to take a good look at it, and share her excitement with all of us. It just made my day to see my girls comfortable and happy digging in the dirt with the worms, and gardening alongside me.

Laundry

I think that laundry is my biggest domestic weakness. I love to cook, don’t mind cleaning, love organizing and decorating – but laundry? I don’t like it. Every time I catch up, I feel like I can take a break for a couple of days and all of a sudden there is another mountain. I find myself ranting about the laundry once in a while and my husband will remind me that if I only wash, dry, fold, and put away ONE load of laundry every day, then it will not build up… I always agree that this is a great idea, but somehow I don’t make it happen. One day I might get a handle on this, but for now I will just plug on and try my best!
With that confession out in the open, I must say that the warmer weather is good for me in the area of laundry. I love to line dry our clothes – I love that it saves electricity, which saves money and is one more little thing that we can do to be more environmentally friendly. On days where the weather reports are calling for sun, I will always get a load of laundry on in the morning so that it is hanging in the sunshine by noon or so. That takes care of my one load a day being washed and dried. AND, as I take my wash off the line it only makes sense to fold it as I go, while Karis keeps me company and the older girls play in the yard. All this leaves is putting it away which I can usually take care of while the kids are getting their PJs on in the evening.

When I hang an entire load of cloth diapers on the line, I am visually reminded of how many diapers we go through in just a few days (even with the pottying!), and I’m thankful that we haven’t thrown thousands of diapers away.
There are so many things to love about line drying my clothes. Not to mention the great smell, and the sun bleached cloth diapers that get so nice and white.
So here’s to more warm sunny days that we can enjoy for many reasons – including laundry!

An Eco-Friendly Birthday

This past weekend Zoey turned 5! She had her first “friend” birthday party (as opposed to the family kind), and we had lots of fun. My dilemma was what to do for a lootbag. I didn’t want to fill a bag with cheap plastic toys, and I also didn’t want to load those kids up on candy. (We’ve been trying to minimize the amount of plastic that we use as a family). I searched online for different ideas, and my final picks were:

a) have the kids paint a flower pot that they can take home with a packet of flower seeds
b) paint t-shirts with fabric paint
c) make homemade caramel corn (not much better than candy I know…)

I decided to go with homemade caramel corn. We packaged it in paper bags decorated by the girls, and tied up with a nice ribbon. Although this is not the healthiest option, I liked it because it was homemade, and didn’t produce any waste – we thought that it would most likely be consumed and that even if it didn’t all get eaten that it wouldn’t sit in a landfill site forever. I would definitely like to do the flower pots and the t-shirts when the kids are a bit bigger though – I wasn’t sure if they might be a bit young for these ones this year.

Zoey chose to have frog cupcakes this year and I thought they were very cute so I thought I would share! These are the ones made by me for her party on Saturday:

And even cuter are the cupcakes that the girls decorated for the little family party that we had for her on Sunday:

They decided to do all kinds of faces on those frogs – angry, sad, happy, and there is even one with a very large nose!
I would say that it was a successful birthday party and a fun day overall.
I would love to read about your eco-friendly lootbag ideas – let the ideas come!

Teething and Amber Necklaces

Karis has been wearing her amber teething necklace for a few months now, and it seems to be really helping! (For details about how these necklaces work, see my last blog about it). She did not have a teething necklace when her first two teeth came through on the bottom, and she was in quite a lot of discomfort. She wanted lots of snuggles, and she was clearly not feeling so well. Because of this, we decided to give this inexpensive, natural option a try to help her out and we’re so glad that we did. Since wearing her necklace, she has gotten four more teeth on the top and I think that she may be working on some more. When the last four teeth came through we hardly knew it – she still slept great, and she was almost her regular self. I definitely recommend amber teething necklaces!