Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

May 7, 2010
The garden beds are made
and the tender plants are put in the soil

Here is my garden this morning.
Please ignore the gate door in the background.
It just keeps falling off.

Our first tomato.
I picked it this morning thanks to a bird.
He couldn't wait either!

I think this is our first tomatillo.
I don't really know since I've never grown them before.

Is this what the plant is supposed to look like?
It seems kind of thin and spindly to me.

The peppers did not start out well.
They became a yellow-green and stayed small until last week.
All of a sudden, they greened up and took off.
We'll see if they can catch up.

We ate our first batch of okra 2 nights ago.
There were only a dozen or so, so I added some corn
and sauted them in some ghee.
Delicious! And not a hint of slimyness.

My herb garden and the start of the flowerbed.
Tony's mom gave us some flower seeds to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
They are just sprouting.

I mentioned to my dear neighbor that I missed being able to visit Ben.
She bought this stone for us to place in the garden.
I was touched beyond words.

The herbs: rosemary, basil, mint, thyme, and lemon balm.

Do you have a garden? What do you plant?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Seven Quick Takes- Summer Days

28 weeks and 5 days

One of my childhood memories involves my mother's famous line: It's a beautiful day outside. Go do something constructive. I am not sure how constructive it was, but we frequently found buckets and made a "stew" out of water, dirt, leaves, sticks, rocks and whatever else we deemed worthy to go in the pot. I looked out the window yesterday to see Jack and Anna doing the same thing. See the seed spreader in the background? They filled it with water from the pool and squeezed the handle and pushed. Water sprayed out to the delight of my kids.

One of my favorite things: the sound of the wooden screen door on my grandmother's house that leads to the basement. Not only the squeak of the old hinges as it is being opened but also the sound as it slams shut against the house.
Another favorite thing: the smell of the original Dove Beauty Bar. It brings me back to my grandmother's house once again, sitting in the cast iron tub after a long day's adventures on their small farm.
This is one of the best tracks we have ever constructed. Doesn't it look fun?

Today I found a trail-a-bike on Craigslist for a fraction of the original cost. Tomorrow morning will be the maiden voyage through the neighborhood!
I hope I have captured our love of all things summer. Enjoy the weekend. Go visit Jen's blog to see more quick takes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window... My garden is growing! The tomato plants all have green tomatoes and as I was watering them yesterday, I spied one that has the smallest hint of orange. It won't be long until that first tomato sandwich of the season. Two pieces of bread, toasted to perfection, a generous dollop of mayo on both slices, and a thick slice of tomato, lightly salted, and a dash of pepper. Mmmmm.

I am thinking... about life. Each morning, I take my cup of freshly brewed coffee and step out in the new morning air to tend my little vegetable patch. I have been thinking how one's environment can play such a big part in their growth. My parent's have the space to give each plant plenty of room to grow to its full potential. My dad can take a tiller between the rows to keep the soil aerated and to stop the weeds from taking over. Every year, their garden thrives; the plants are full and lush and produce a plentiful harvest. My little boxes, on the other hand, limit severely the plants growth. They are never as big or productive, and ususally at some point the weeds grow faster than I pull them. Where all this led me was my spiritual life. If we are boxed in by all the worldly things, we can never truly blossom as fully as God would want us to, for we are stunted by our surroundings. My hope is that I am allowing my children a bigger plot in which to grow in God's love than I had.

I am thankful for... my round belly, and the kicks and squirms within that belly that let me know she is growing as she should. I treasure each day of this pregnancy and look hopefully to the moment I hold her in my arms.

From the learning rooms... we are winding down for the summer (for which I am also VERY thankful!) We should be done by the week's end. The fall will bring many changes for our little schoolroom. Sophie will be settling in at Franciscan, Olivia will be at the Catholic High School that is just around the corner from our neighborhood, and Anna and Jack will be with me at that big table, where their feet can't reach the floor. I walked in the classroom this morning, surveying how it is now and thinking of how I could change it around to make it fit our new needs.

From the kitchen... to show how much I love my dear husband on Father's Day, I temporarily abandoned my usual healthy fare to give him his heart's desire. Beef hotdogs on store bought white buns, potato chips, and raspberry lemonade for lunch. Then we packed up and headed out for a relaxing afternoon on the beach. It was lovely and refreshed my soul. We came home full of sand in our clothes, but full of smiles and laughs and the memory of a good day together.

I am wearing... my pajamas.

I am creating... baby gifts for two other pregnant mamas, both wives of Army bandsmen. The Tradoc Band Family Association is giving all three of us a baby shower this weekend. I'll post pictures of the knitted gifts after they have been given away.

I am going... nowhere today! Yippee!

I am reading... Discipline That Lasts a Lifetime by Ray Guarendi and 1984 by George Orwell.

I am hoping... to get most of the paperwork ready to send off to MODG today. It will feel so freeing to put that package in the mailbox.

I am hearing... Tony getting ready for work, Sophie in the shower, the click of the keys as I type, the hum of the A/C unit (which is my saving grace during this hot week of 90+ temperatures), and the quiet of sleeping little ones.

Around the house... is the transition into summer. School books being closed and doors to the outside being opened. Long, hot afternoons in the sprinkler, a good book under a shady tree, a glass of iced tea, and the squeals of unbridled happiness from my children.

One of my favorite things... staring out at the endless ocean, with a breeze on my face and the fullness of God in my heart.

A few plans for the rest of the week: finish the school year!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...from last year's family beach trip.

Go on over to Peggy's to read more.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Taste Buds are Happy

We just finished dinner and I have to admit I left the table to write this post so I wouldn't eat too much. I've raved about this site before, but you simply must check out foodgawker.com. Tonight we tried out this recipe, on the homemade buns that I also found on foodgawker. I make some changes to the bun recipe. I use mostly whole wheat flour, with ground flaxseed as well. I bought some evaporated cane juice to replace the refined sugar. This week, we are also trying out sunflower oil instead of canola.

To let you know just how delicious the buns are, my mother-in-law gave me a compliment on them. That is a first in over 18 years of being married to her son!

I also just read that clarified butter or ghee does not contain milk protein, which is the source of Jack's trouble with dairy. So I made some clarified butter this afternoon and added some to the green beans and the corn. Do you know how long it has been since I've had butter on my veggies? Dinner was divine.

And the icing on the cake? Tomorrow night we can pack the leftover meat and buns for our picnic dinner at Fort Monroe, where they have weekly outdoor concerts for free. We bring old blankets, lawn chairs and a cooler full of food and have a grand evening. Tomorrow night they will be playing music from the Big Band era. Life is good, friends.

p.s. I left out the habinero pepper for the sake of my kiddos!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Say What?

Two funny stories:

Today for lunch, Tony offered to make chicken salad. We have 2 kinds of relish in the fridge. One is the store bought yucky kind. The other is the delicious homemade kind. He reached for the store bought variety, so I stated: Oh dear, he is going to defile it.
Anna immediately jumps up and says: I'll do it!
Confused, I asked: Do what?
Her response: feed Violet!

Go ahead, say it out loud! Defile it, feed Violet.

Thursday morning, Jack and Anna came to Tony and I in the kitchen, one holding the dustpan and the other holding the brush for said dustpan. Trimphantly they shouted: Look what we found in your bathroom!!
Tony inquired: What were you doing in our bathroom?
Jack answered him, but we could tell he thought the answer was obvious.
"We were founding the dustpan."

Monday, June 7, 2010


Ever since we found out the incredible news, our house has been filled with anticipation. With hope in their little hearts, they run to the mailbox, hoping that THE package has finally arrived.
Could it possibly be true?

It is! It is!

Dropping all other mail in the grass, they set to work to get at the goods.

This is tougher than it looks.

Maybe a little help from those teeth will make a dent.
Meanwhile, Jack refuels for the task at hand.

Still working diligently.

Oh, joy! They are finally in her hands!

The victory run around the yard.

My more subdued son shows off his part of the booty.

Thank you Margaret, you've made their day. Heck, maybe even the week!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Graduation Day

It still does not seem possible. My first-born has finished High School. Wasn't I just comforting a colicky baby through the night? Didn't I just kiss that boo-boo when she fell off her bike? Surely it was not that long ago that I tucked her back in bed after a scary dream.

Look at that smile. She is so excited to be embarking on the next part of her life. As her mom, I pray that I have done a good job.

Sophie and six others graduated Friday night. My neighbor Rebekah made this beautiful cake for the occasion. She is so talented, don't you think?

The Proud Graduates

Feeling like a midget here!

Both Tony's mom and my parents were able to attend. It made our day even more special!

Upon arriving home, we found this banner tied across our house! Thank you Jen for adding that last special surprise!